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Weekly Roundup, September 25, 2020


This week at the blog…

…we began a symposium on the deep problems with the criminal legal system.

On Monday, Tariq El-Gabalawy introduced the symposium.

On Tuesday, Marcelo López and Alejandra Gutiérrez discussed the intergenerational impacts of incarceration on their own families and communities and how that has guided their thinking through law school and beyond.

On Wednesday, Tariq analyzed the toxic racist culture of police departments, drawing from reports of longstanding ties between cops and white supremacist militias.

Elsewhere on the internet…

Lydia Nicholson:

Twitter this week featured a great thread (featuring graphics!) about how financialized real estate has led to the continuing depletion of affordable housing in LA. This is a city-specific story that is also nationwide, and global. It was based on this incredible report by LA orgs SAJE, ACCE, and UCLA Law, which advocates for a vacancy tax and other supplemental policies to try to stop landlords from hoarding vacant units for profit. Very much worth a read.

As the world crumbles, I loved this Teen Vogue article on tenant movements. The article highlights the tensions between movements fighting for government relief and those who rely more on communal power. But also mostly it just gives me hope that we’re gonna win.  

Lastly, on my radar but not on my “beat” this week are a couple upcoming events. One is an October webinar series on Jews, Class, and History by Jewish Currents. The other is even easier to engage with: a twitter power hour on Ending Carceral Ableism, just join on twitter by following the hashtag.

Caroline Parker

During the last month, the editorial team has been thinking how to talk about “law and wildfire.” This week, I stumbled across the very literal answer from Prof. Dave Owen at Hastings. “This didn’t just happen to us; our smoke and fire problems are consequences of law and policy.”  Lots of LPE questions to ask next…

I thought Bill McKibbin’s New Yorker column was especially relevant for law students this week, warning against reliance on courts and other “established channels” for action. 

And finally, in this interview about their new book, Robert Pollin and Noam Chomsky talk about the relationship between the COVID-19 and a global Green New Deal. Contrary to silver linings stories about clearer skies and bolder birds, stopping the economy is not the answer. To them, it is this moment has revealed “why a degrowth approach to emissions reduction is unworkable” and why “transition cannot be premised on contraction of employment and income.” Later on, Pollin also Greta Thunberg as a “remarkable Swedish teenager.

Anna Wherry

The House passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a piece of celebrated bipartisan legislation that would require employers–although not all employers–to provide some forms of accommodations to their pregnant workers. A Better Balance wrote an Op-Ed supporting the legislation when it was first introduced in the House back in 2012, and the passage was well received in left media. I haven’t had time to dig into what the House passed yet, but a few immediate concerns and questions spring to mind: e.g., which employers are exempt from guaranteeing these protections? While the act, if passed, is perhaps better than not having protections in place, it’s not surprising to me that the act received bipartisan support as it fits squarely within the logic that citizens should be primarily productive workers—a logic now extended to pregnant women. But what about support for the “nonproductive” labor that is required for social reproduction? That still, unfortunately, still seems far away, even as it has become evident that we need what Kapczynski and Gonsalves have called a “new politics of care.

You might have seen that Jeff Bezos is creating a free preschool, called the “Bezos Academy,” for children from low-income families. Twitter for reminded us that Amazon paid no federal income tax on over 11 billion in profits in 2018 alone–certainly enough to fund universal preschool.

Not news, but for an inspiring read to get you thinking about how the left should be responding to this moment, I suggest Roberto Unger’s interview in the Nation.