XR Portland 2019 Zenith action

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 Left: Extinction Rebellion Portland activists block a tar sands oil train with a “Victory Over Fossil Fuels Garden” on active railroad tracks in protest of tar sands exporter Zenith Energy, one of Oregon’s largest sources of carbon emissions
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Activist Defense

The CLDC represents activists that, in the course of fighting for a better world, are arrested and criminally charged. We believe their courage deserves the best possible defense that can incorporate the political, social, and philosophical motivations of these activists.

Civil Cases

The CLDC engages in civil litigation to hold the powerful accountable and to protect the rights of activists and marginalized communities. Our civil litigation is aimed at holding governments, corporations, and the powerful accountable when they violate the constitutional rights of others. The civil practice of the CLDC is shaped and driven by a desire to create a lasting impact.


Standing Rock Update

May 6, 2021
3:00 p.m. PT — 5:00 p.m. PT

Webinar--information provided upon registration

In 2016, Water Protector resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) magnified the connection between Indigenous sovereignty and climate protection.

Join CLDC attorneys, legal partners, and activists for an update on civil litigation, the continuing push to shut down the pipeline, and revelations about police collusion with the fossil fuel industry.

Our panelists include Natali Segovia, staff attorney for Water Protector Legal Collective; and Will Parrish and Alleen Brown from The Intercept.

Impact Litigation: What It Is and Why It Matters

May 20, 2021
3:00 p.m. PT — 5:00 p.m. PT

Webinar--information provided upon registration

Impact Litigation ( ˈim-ˌpakt ˌli-tə-ˈgā-shən): (verb) legal strategy and efforts based in effecting systemic and long lasting change beyond the particular case involved.

Impact litigation is a critical tool in the movement's toolkit. Join impact litigators involved in prisoner rights, state overreach, police misconduct, & wildlands defense from CLDC and across the country for a thoughtful discussion on impact litigation's history & the successes it has brought.

Representing Radicals—with the Tilted Scales Collective & Lauren Regan

May 23, 2021
2:00 p.m. PT — 3:30 p.m. PT

Webinar--information provided upon registration

Register HERE on Eventbrite

Are you or your comrades facing criminal charges related to your political actions or associations? Are you having trouble communicating with your lawyer about your political principles, legal goals, or personal priorities? Or, are you an attorney representing activists and unsure of how to work with them? Join us for a presentation from the Tilted Scales Collective on key points from their new book, Representing Radicals, with additional insight from Lauren Regan, executive director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC).




The Civil Liberties Defense Center supports movements that seek to dismantle the political and economic structures at the root of social inequality and environmental destruction. We provide litigation, education, legal and strategic resources to strengthen and embolden their success.

CLDC educates, supports and defends grassroots activists nationwide. We are dedicated to being a backbone for the grassroots and the frontlines. We help activists navigate the legal system, we represent them at no cost when they are arrested and we help them make smart choices in the face of state repression. We provide the necessary legal support so that activists can have long, sustainable lifetimes fighting in the movement for justice.

We also provide Know Your Rights and other legal trainings for activists and other vulnerable groups such as youth, tribes, the houseless community and the undocumented community. We believe that knowledge is power, and when people have the tools and understanding to take action and demand that the government honor all their rights, then grassroots activism will be the best chance of exacting necessary change.

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