Good Native Governance for the Seven Generations

Good Native Governance for the Seven Generations

Native Nations in the United States are stronger today in many respects than they have been in the past 250 years. Despite much growth, however, tribes continue to experience the instability that comes from the ruptures of colonialism and must work to recover, rebuild, and revive the cultural lifeways that make them who they are as Indigenous Peoples. This presents a significant governance challenge for many Indian nations in the modern world. This struggle is, in many ways, at the heart of Rosser’s provocative deep dive into the remarkable experience of the Navajo Nation in A Nation Within.

A Nation Within: Navajo Land and Economic Development

A Nation Within: Navajo Land and Economic Development

Demand for land and natural resources has fundamentally shaped both the development of the Navajo Nation government and the relationship between the tribe and non-Indian interests. In this post, Ezra Rosser kicks off a symposium on his recent book, A Nation Within, by offering a brief look at this history, and suggesting that Diné have the power to assert even greater control over the reservation.

Where the Law Falls Short: The Value of an Interdisciplinary Approach to Problem Solving

Where the Law Falls Short: The Value of an Interdisciplinary Approach to Problem Solving

Many of us went to law school in the hopes of acquiring the tools necessary to contest and overhaul systems of oppression that have harmed our families and communities. The law, as we saw it, was the means or site of resolution. Yet for the increasingly complex and interconnected social problems that face our communities, traditional means of lawyering through direct services and litigation are often insufficient and ill-fitting. By taking an interdisciplinary approach, Berkeley’s Policy Advocacy Clinic is able to locate creative, non-litigation strategies to address systemic racial, economic, and social injustice.

Designing an Emancipatory Clinic

Designing an Emancipatory Clinic

By helping students understand the broad extractive forces that shape the lives of precarious communities under racial capitalism, CUNY’s Community & Economic Development Clinic seeks to train not just technicians, but movement lawyers who partner with grassroots organizing groups.

Reaching Beyond the Binary to Find Humanity

Reaching Beyond the Binary to Find Humanity

The criminal legal system functions by separating acts of harm and violence into two opposed sides—“perpetrator” and “victim”—and lining up legal workers to vindicate one side’s rights to the exclusion of the other. This approach puts forth a scarcity model of justice, in which attending to harm is a zero-sum game. But if we wish to train our students to think holistically about justice, we must encourage them to appreciate the vast range of harms caused by the the criminal legal system.

Leveraging Law School Clinics Against Family Policing

Leveraging Law School Clinics Against Family Policing

Every year, the American family policing system separates roughly half a million children from their parents. This system, though long overlooked, is increasingly being recognized for what it is: a way to control and terrorize politically marginalized communities. To date, however, challenges to family policing have largely focused on state agencies as the primary actors in this system, and courtrooms as the primary battleground, while paying less attention to other driving forces like capitalism, public-private relationships, and the powerful investigative and administrative structures in which the judicial venue is nested. Taking the lead from abolitionist’s broader work that seeks to fundamentally re-draw relationships and the distribution of resources, law school clinics should similarly expand their advocacy beyond now well-trod legal paths.

Law Clinics and Racial Capitalism

Law Clinics and Racial Capitalism

Law schools are disorienting spaces, particularly for those who arrive seeking tools for justice and transformation. The basic 1L curriculum is steeped in our country’s history of settler colonialism and slavery, and the law taught in the first year largely constitutes a legal infrastructure that has fostered and protected racial capitalism. This symposium highlights how law clinics can disrupt that infrastructure and build toward emancipatory futures.

On Being Essentially Dispossessed

On Being Essentially Dispossessed

During the pandemic, many workers deemed “essential” were nevertheless denied access to even the most rudimentary social safety net. How did this cruel paradox become possible? And how should we make sense of the antagonistic terms of the law in the lives of workers during this moment of extreme crisis?

International Law and (the Critique of) Political Economy

International Law and (the Critique of) Political Economy

International law has a thriving critical scene, arguably bigger and more institutionally established than any other field. Yet political economy has been an unstable point of focus for critical international lawyers, in part because the justifications of the status quo in the international domain never coalesced into anything akin to a ‘21st-century synthesis.’ This picture of fragmentation and instability helps explain why Marxism provides a useful set of intellectual tools for approaching law, in particular, and social formations in general.

A Conversation about Marta Russell with Liat Ben-Moshe and Dean Spade

A Conversation about Marta Russell with Liat Ben-Moshe and Dean Spade

For the final contribution to our symposium on Marta Russell, Beatrice Adler-Bolton interviews Liat Ben-Moshe and Dean Spade about the connections between their work and Russell’s political economic analysis of disability and law. They outline how Russell’s work fits within Critical Disability and Legal Studies and explore what her critiques have to offer current movements for liberation and economic justice.

Disability and the Cisgender State

Disability and the Cisgender State

In the escalating wave of anti-trans legislation and administrative violence sweeping the United States over the past several years, the credo on the left has often been that political violence against trans people is mere pretense: a right wing culture war meant to distract from issues more properly political-economic, or a cynical ploy to motivate a conservative voting base. This superficial reading is as naïve as it is dismissive of trans people’s material circumstances. What we need, instead, is a materialist critique that identifies state transphobia as dedicated to the broader neoliberal goal of dismantling public goods and modes of care in the name of cost reduction.

The Reactive Model of Reasonable Accommodation

The Reactive Model of Reasonable Accommodation

The concept of reasonable accommodations at the heart of the ADA severely undercuts the efficacy of the law. Employers, public entities, and private businesses are allowed to ignore the inaccessible nature of their programs or activities until an individual with a disability seeks (or begs) for access. This reactive, individualized model does little to prevent mass-produced inaccessibility.

Moral Equality, Marxism, and Outraged Empathy

Moral Equality, Marxism, and Outraged Empathy

In her earlier work, Marta Russell called readers attention to the economy as a factor producing disablement and argued that we needed to re-embed the market in society, to tame businesses’ need to profit via the social policies of an interventionist state. By the end of her career, however, Russell had gone further, focusing on capitalism itself. Her solution expressed not a Polanyian ideal of a somewhat more egalitarian capitalism, but a Marxist aspiration to a vastly better and more egalitarian society, achievable only by ending capitalism through collective action.