Once an arm of the radical labor movement, the ACLU now defends free speech as a neutral principle — including the anti-union speech of bosses and the political speech of corporations. The story of the ACLU’s evolution is the story of liberalism itself.
Laura Weinrib is professor of law at Harvard Law School and the author of The Taming of Free Speech: America’s Civil Liberties Compromise.
Conservatives like to claim that leftists are opponents of free speech. But that’s nonsense: it was radical labor organizers who founded the ACLU and who fought for civil liberties as a means to resist capitalists’ power.