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Weekly Roundup: November 17, 2023


At the Blog

On Monday, Amna Akbar kicked off a symposium on non-reformist reforms by examining the renewed interest in the concept among contemporary social movements. As she writes, “The turn to non-reformist reform is part of a larger meditation on what strategies and tactics will help build a more equal and just society, one that works for the many rather than the few, where people have their needs met and democracy extends to all realms of life well beyond the ballot box.” Building on the insights of these movements, she argues that non-reformist reforms “require a horizon beyond legalism; they embrace antagonism and conflict rather than depoliticization and neutrality; they aim to shift the balance of power; and they build mass organization and prepare the people to govern.”

On Wednesday, Karl Klare continued the series, offering a moving personal-theoretical account of how and why the critical legal left came to embrace non-reformist reforms in the 1960s and 70s. As he writes, “Grassroots activists hungered for new, non-violent paths to systemic change. Left tradition bequeathed us two, exhausted scenarios – revolutionary seizure by a vanguard party, and parliamentary politics under the aegis of a Northern-European-type social democratic party. These approaches focused on capturing state power but said little about transforming consciousness and social practice. Despite its achievements, conventional social democracy compromised too much with capitalist logics, failed to break decisively with dominant culture, and hesitated to ally with newly politicized identities. The insurrectionary path produced some repellant regimes in the 20th century and seemed implausible anyway given contemporary societies’ tight integration and diverse social and economic identities…. Gorz’s impactful work, which fortunately received rapid translation, provided a conceptual vocabulary that helped us to articulate what we were looking for.”

In LPE Land

Brishen Rogers, Noah Zatz, and several colleagues shared a brief memorandum on Title VII’s application to employee and student political speech, which outlines circumstances in which terminating employees in response to advocating for Palestinian rights would violate federal law.

A group of more than 250 legal scholars, including many LPE and LPE-adjacent scholars, signed an open letter to the Deans of U.S. Law Schools in support of students’ rights to engage in speech and advocacy around the unfolding crisis in Israel/Palestine. The text of the statement and list of signatories can be accessed here.

A reminder that on Monday, November 20th, at 12:10p ET, our Law & Organizing initiative will be holding a virtual event on Power-Building for the Long Haul, featuring Rachel Gilmer (Dream Defenders), Astra Taylor (Debt Collective), and Tara Raghuveer (KC Tenants), and Daniel Martinez HoSang (Yale).

On the following Monday, November 29, at 4p ET, please join us (virtually or in person) for the Book Launch of Your Money or Your Life: Debt Collection in American Medicine with Dr. Luke Messac, who will be in a conversation with Lindsey Muniak, an organizer with the Debt Collective, and Gregg Gonsalves from the Yale School of Public Health.

In a hot new paper on the the Kroger-Albertsons merger, Marshall Steinbaum shows that the merger would probably reduce labor market competition, both by reducing individual worker’s bargaining power as well as that of their union.

Cool new HLR foreword alert: Maggie Blackhawk’s, “The Constitution of American Colonialism.” Some have called it epoch-making; others have said that if you’re going to read one law review article this year, this should be it.

On Odd Lots, Lina Khan discussed, among other topics, the FTC’s recent monopolization claim against a private equity firm that’s been buying up anesthesiology companies across Texas.