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Weekly Roundup: October 23, 2020


At the Blog

We hosted the beginning of our series celebrating the inaugural issue of the Journal of Law and Political Economy!

First, Angela Harris and Jay Varellas, the EICs of JLPE, introduced the issue.

Then Natsu Saito summarized her argument that Kwame Ture’s distinction between exploitation and colonialism needs to be revisited and reconsidered.

And Amy Cohen reviewed her case for revisiting negotiation theory, which has a more radical history than commonly understood and, she argues, has potential for helping us reconsider the meaning of value creation.

Finally, Sandeep Vaheesan laid out his reconstruction of the neoliberal era of antitrust: not about “consumer welfare” (whatever that is) but oligarchy.

Two more posts in this series next week! Stay tuned.

Elsewhere in LPE Land

Don’t forget to check out the Events page to join the APPPEAL reading group on capitalism, the NYU LPE series on LPE basics (Frank Pasquale is next up!), or Berkeley’s LPE Soc’s series on property law!

You can also check out a recording of Amy K’s presentation in the NYU LPE series here. (And don’t forget to check out our summer video series!).

Elsewhere on the Internet

Anna Wherry

Merve Emre wrote an excellent piece in the Boston Review this week, “All Reproduction is Assisted.”  Emre pushes against the narrative of “natural” that has come to dominate reproduction and motherhood in the global north (natural birth, breast is best, etc). Like anti-naturalist feminist scholars before her, Emre wants to think about alrticulating alternative strategies of reproduction might look like–but she argues that what is lost in her foreberers’ call for universal access to reproductive technologies, etc. is “how particular technologies calibrate particular peoples’ experiences of reproduction and care; how they bring to light vast structural inequalities of time, money, kinship, healthcare, legal protections, and bodily integrity; and how, when these inequalities become palpable enough, the desire to reproduce naturally can undercut a progressive politics of reproduction.” Emre’s piece thinks about what this narrative might look like by considering people’s lived experiences of reproduction, especially people who don’t fit the hetero couple model, and challenges us to think, in concrete terms, what a “positive right to reproduction” might look like.”

A complementary piece to Emre’s is this article challenges the narrative that Amy Coney Barrett “had it all” by revealing how it obscures the conditions that enabled her to care for a big, Catholic family. The author, also Catholic and professor at Notre Dame, was unable to have and raise the children she wanted; the university failed to provide the health care or parental leave that would have made this possible. The author persuasively asks: 

“Considering Barrett as a model of a new “conservative feminism” leaves me asking so many questions: Why is it that when politically conservative women balance large families and demanding careers (usually thanks to other women providing paid care for their children), they’re trotted out as modeling a “new feminism that tells women they can have it all”—but when poorer, politically liberal, and/or less educated women outsource care, they’re criticized for not being a “hands-on mother”? Why don’t we extend this same adoration to mothers of color? When Black mothers lovingly and successfully embrace a village-oriented approach to child rearing, why are they labeled “deficient,” or worse “deviant,” even as they follow global and historical child-rearing norms? […] Being “pro-life” means more than preventing women from obtaining abortions.”

And two great book reviews that touch on the history of U.S. imperialism. This review of Stephen Wertheim’s book Tomorrow the World (forthcoming October 2020) on the birth and rise of U.S. global imperialism and supremacy asks: are Americans, as Wertheim suggests, actually growing opposed to war or are they, as the reviewer wonders, merely temporarily tired of losing?  “Perhaps the current fatigue with military adventurism is less an epochal break than the latest episode of a recurring tendency of the U.S. public to grow tired of failed wars—think Vietnam—only to rally to the flag again when a shiny new product rolls off the line—think the first Gulf War.” I also appreciated this review of Christine Hong’s A Violent Peace, which I hope to read soon, on the legacies of race and U.S. militarism in the Pacific.

Tariq El-Gabalawy

Protests in Nigeria this week led to a horrifying government attack, now being called the “Lekki Massacre.” In an effort to understand the issues anti-police protestors are fighting back against in the country, I came across this very informative write-up in Teen Vogue. The piece discusses the origins of the #EndSARS hashtag, as well as the youth organizers that have been at the forefront of this movement. More recently, major figures within Nigeria have started to call for President Buhari to resign for failing to take opportunities to engage with protestors before resorting to horrific violence.

New developments from the story of the grand juror in the Breonna Taylor case who has sued for the release of the Grand Jury Transcripts. The Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Annie O’Connell gave the grand juror permission to speak freely about the proceedings, stating, “This is a rare and extraordinary example of a case where, at the time this motion is made, the historical reasons for preserving grand jury secrecy are null.” She also criticized Attorney General Daniel Cameron for his “theatrical” objections to the release. Following the ruling, the juror released a statement providing additional information about how the AG failed to bring charges even though members of the jury did not feel like many of the officers’ actions were justified. 

The Appeal ran a great spotlight on efforts against re-electing Michale Toomin, presiding judge of Cook County’s juvenile justice division. I appreciated this piece because it both simultaneously demonstrates the power individuals on the bench are given, while at the same time spotlighting the very feasible ways judges can impact reform efforts. Judge Toomin has refused to bring his court into the 21st century by continuing to detain young people and refusing to offer proven diversion programs. The article has a number of touching quotes from activists in IL who are fighting for his removal.

LA County Sheriffs have notoriously been riddled with accusations of misconduct, this article in the LA Times provides a great spotlight on how the city of Compton has been impacted since the County Sheriffs’ took over the city’s policing operations more than 20 years ago. These incidents of brutality – along with news of how Sheriff Villanueva attempted to cover up misconduct committed by deputies who responded to the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant – have led to the Sheriff’s Civilian Oversight Commission to call on Sheriff Alex Villanueva to resign. 

Also in CA, voters are deciding on a proposition that could replace the state’s cash bail system with an algorithm based risk assessment. Proposition 25 has received mixed reviews, with many community organizations to publicly oppose it. The Appeal had another piece that discusses the debate around the proposition and how it could impact people of color who are already over-represented in the state’s carceral institutions.