After a lifetime of radical anti-American activism and passionate legal advocacy for foreign and domestic terrorists, cop-killers, and gangsters, convicted terrorist enabler Lynne Stewart died at her home in Brooklyn – instead of in prison where she was supposed to be.
Her son said Stewart, 77, expired Tuesday from complications related to cancer and a series of strokes. Mourners who run the website of “Democracy Now!” ran a headline describing her as the “People’s Lawyer & [Former] Political Prisoner.” The article called her “[a] former teacher and librarian, [who] was known as a people’s lawyer who represented the poor and revolutionaries.”
That represents only part of the life story of the self-described “radical human rights attorney” and cheerleader for totalitarianism.
This outspoken, persistent, quick-witted woman didn’t look like a zealous subversive. She may have been a bit too extreme for many liberals but they gave her a pass because, after all, her heart was in the right place. To the Left, this Maoist who said she favored “violence directed at the institutions which perpetuate capitalism, racism, sexism, and at the people who are the appointed guardians of those institutions,” was an endearing, grandmotherly figure blessed with a disarming honesty.
“I’m not a pacifist,” she once said. “I have cried many bitter tears. There is death in history, and it’s not all rosebuds and memorial services. Mao, Fidel [Castro], Ho Chi Minh understood this.”
“I don’t have any problem with Mao or Stalin or the Vietnamese leaders or certainly Fidel [Castro] locking up people they see as dangerous,” Stewart told Monthly Review in 2002. “Because so often, dissidence has been used by the greater powers to undermine a people’s revolution.”
This lovable, folksy ball of fluff hailed the Black Lives Matter-inspired killers who gunned down police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge last year as noble freedom fighters.
“They are avengers,” Stewart said. “They spoke for some of us when they did that.”
“They are not brazen, crazed, you know, insane killers,” she said. “They are avenging deaths that are never and have never been avenged since the ’60s and ’70s.”
Stewart likened American conservatives to the theocratic totalitarians of the Islamic world who abuse women, treating them as chattel. “The American Right,” she said, “is certainly anti-woman, anti-inclusiveness, and I certainly oppose that here in my own country for my own sake, for my children’s sake, for the way I want to live.”
She was simply misunderstood.