Skip to content

Weekly Roundup: February 19, 2021


At the Blog

We published the second half of our symposium on basic income as a transformative policy tool.

On Monday, Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò argued that UBI should be located in a project of redefining what security means, as a way of dismantling racial hierarchy and making our relationship with nature more sustainable.

On Tuesday, Noah Zatz argued that any policy of income provision must contend with all of the institutions designed to extract income before it can be spent on goods and services–most notably the criminal legal system and predatory lenders.

On Wednesday, Lydia Nicholson questioned the very premise of the symposium, arguing that leftists should focus on direct provision of essential goods and services rather than relying on consumer markets.

On Thursday, Raúl Carrillo argued that redesigning the system of basic provision is connected to the project of establishing basic rights and that close attention to the way the fiscal state works defuses major critical objections to rights talk.

In LPE Land

The Democracy Beyond Neoliberalism conference is still ongoing! Don’t forget to register for the panels you’d like to attend (you can also catch them afterward: recordings are being posted a couple days after the events take place). The next event is Monday’s panel on racial capitalism, featuring Angela Harris, Athena Mutua, Daria Rothmayr, Veena Dubal, Mehrsa Baradaran, & K-Sue Park.

This evening, ClassCrits is hosting “Presumed Incompetence”, a panel the challenges facing women of color in the legal academy.

Elsewhere on the Internet

Caroline Parker

I enjoyed this Current Affairs piece on orphaned oil wells and the attendant regulatory challenges. I will be listening to the accompanying CA podcast this weekend.

Also on my weekend reading list are these new two pieces:

Matthew Clair & Amanda Woog in the California Law Review on courts and abolition.

Melinda Cooper on the role of user fines and fees in neoliberal governance in the United States.

Sarang Shah

I finally got around to reading and digesting Veena Dubal’s The Drive to Precarity: A Political History of Work, Regulation, & Labor Advocacy in San Francisco ‘ s Taxi & Uber Economies as part of our LPE Seminar at Berkeley Law this week. Dubal’s history of the taxi industry in San Francisco complicates the typical narrative about the rise of Uber and Lyft by situating the development of Transporation Network Companies (TNCs) in a broader narrative of triangulation between taxi drivers, unions, taxi companies, and city regulation. For anyone interested in the granular details on how law at the local, state, and federal levels has structured and conditioned a specific market, Dubal’s paper offers an excellent demonstration of how to tell these details while clarifying the necessity of a commitment to worker power.
Not LPE, but…every semester I latch onto some book outside of my research and coursework that helps orient me toward what I believe in and who I am. Last year, that text was Ursula Le Guin’s A Non-Euclidean View of California as a Cold Place to Be. This semester, it appears that book is Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium, Calvino’s Harvard Norton lectures. Calvino outlines five qualities of writing and art he believes crucial to achieving a more humane 21st century. I believe these qualities, such as Lightness and Multiplicity, are also crucial to our work in LPE. As such, I’ve returned to these lectures several times over the past two months searching for guidance and solace.

Sam Aber

Just a few links this week. This piece by Jameel Jaffer and Katy Glenn Bass is one of the better takes I’ve seen about the Facebook Oversight Board (the so-called Facebook “Supreme Court”). It emphasizes the need not to let Facebook frame the conversation exclusively around its individual content-moderation decisions. We—and the Oversight Board—should look, rather, at the larger platform architecture that helped to create the conditions for the rise of Trumpism in the first place. Another article here recounts Facebook’s miserable behavior in Australia in response to the country’s effort to make it pay for news its users share.

A couple of interesting pieces on France’s ongoing reckoning with its colonial past, along with its surging Islamophobia and struggles with extremism of various kinds. This piece takes a larger view of the recent murder of the teacher Samuel Paty and the French response, in the context of the recent trial of fourteen accessories to the 2015 attack at Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cachet. This review offers a disturbing look, from the perspective of French veterans of the war, at the reverberations of the Algerian War of Independence in modern France.

Luke Herrine

If you read one thing, read this resolution to create a right to a job proposed yesterday by Rep. Ayanna Pressley, with consultation with many folks in LPE world, including the LPE Project’s own Raúl Carrillo. It is a powerful document, containing the condensed version of multiple overlapping arguments for guaranteeing a job as a way to transition away from capitalism.