The Critical Lawyers' Handbook Volume 1
3: Critical Legal Practice
A first principle of a 'counter-hegemonic' legal practice must be to subordinate the goal of getting people their rights to the goal of building an authentic or unalienated political consciousness. This obviously does not mean that one should not try to win one's cases; nor does it necessarily mean that one should not continue to organise groups by appealing to rights. But the great weakness of a rights-orientated legal practice is that it does not address itself to a central precondition for building a sustained political movement - that of overcoming the psychological conditions upon which both the power of the legal system and the power of social hierarchy in general rest. In fact excessive preoccupation with 'rights-consciousness' tends in the long run to reinforce alienation and powerlessness because the appeal to rights inherently affirms that the source of social power resides in the State rather than in the people themselves.
(Peter Gabel and Paul Harris, 'Building Power and Breaking Images: Critical Legal Theory and Practice of Law', Review of law and Social Change, 1982, vol. II, p. 369)
We will not even adequately defend ourselves in the present, never mind usher in a brave new citizen's world, if we adopt a strategy which is based around the law, constitutional reform and the acceptable face of the market.
(John Fitzpatrick, 'Legal Practice and Socialist Practice', in this chapter.)