To understand courts’ relation to the reproduction of economic domination requires close investigation of how they actually work for different types of litigants.
In my new article, Monopolizing Whiteness, I examine the causes and consequences of “white island districts,” i.e. those that enroll predominantly white and affluent student bodies, despite being in racially and economically diverse metropolitan areas. I theorize that white student segregation in districts like GPSD is a product of (what sociologists refer to as) social closure— a process of subordination whereby an in-group works to curtail an out-group from accessing resources constructed as scarce. I suggest that the “essential facilities” framework of antitrust law can help to illustrate what a legal framework looks like that could appropriately recognize and address the process and harms of social closure.
Understanding the law’s role in the project of Israeli colonization requires examining how distinct legal frameworks applied across a legally fragmented space can nevertheless share a common defining logic. One manifestation of this shared logic becomes evident by scrutinizing claims to land adjudicated by Israeli courts: Israeli state agencies and Jewish settler groups are treated as presumptively proper claimants of property while non-Jewish Palestinians are treated, at best, as dwellers who are not entitled to claim property but merely inhabit the land at the sufferance of Israeli authorities.
How can we fight for accountability when privatization is designed to allow the government and private contractors to evade just that? A recent lawsuit—and the campaign behind it—points to one underexplored answer.
In liberal-leftist discourses, both Zionist and otherwise, the pivotal year for what is called the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is 1967. Israel’s control over all aspects of Palestinians’ lives, both those who live within the ‘Jewish state’ and those who reside in the Occupied Territories, renders the 1967 paradigm not only unpersuasive, but ridiculous.
Much attention has been rightly paid to the billions of dollars that the U.S. government hands over to Israel every year, regardless of Israel’s war crimes, or even the warnings of military and diplomatic experts’ that such support might harm U.S. strategic interests in the region. Less public scrutiny has been trained on the U.S. government’s indirect support to the Israeli settlement enterprise through the export of private actors, ideology and capital. But the colonization of Palestine has always been a multinational endeavor that extends beyond state-based support and that is inextricably intertwined with private forms of action.
This post is part of our symposium on The Neoliberal Republic by Antoine Vauchez and Pierre France. Read all posts here. Like many other new shiny things, it ended with disappointment. Emmanuel Macron’s victory in 2017 was hailed as the advent of ‘le nouveau monde’ vis-à-vis the old political elites—a glimmer of hope in the…
Embracing the terms “economy” and “political economy,” as LPE has done, risks – unless we are careful – invoking just the kind of separate, reified realm that we are trying to critique. In our view, defining “the economy,” and studying how legal institutions have done so, should be central issues that LPE scholarship aims to address.
The anti-discrimination framework imagines a situation where authorities unjustifiably favor some categories of its population over others. While this analysis is not wrong, it obscures how Zionism – the political movement for a state for all Jews in the world and Israel’s official ideology – privileges even foreign Jews, to varying extents, over indigenous Palestinians. The systemic harm here is not merely discrimination; it is one of colonialism. And when we speak of colonialism – and especially settler colonialism, which seeks not only to rule native populations but to replace them – the logic of racial capitalism is seldom far behind.
The threat of precarious work does not come exclusively from marketization swamping a shrinking welfare and regulatory state. It comes as well from a metastasizing and thoroughly racialized carceral state, one that simultaneously speaks the language of public violence and sings in the liberal key of choice. Even critical accounts of the criminal legal system fail to fully capture the relevance of this dynamic, focusing only on how it produces economic exclusion, not also incorporation on subordinated terms.
I follow Patricia Williams, Angela Harris & Aysha Pamukcu, in arguing universal rights, to basic income and other resources, are insufficient but necessary ingredients for justice. Indeed, I argue for permanent, non-discretionary funding of these rights. No one truly knows how much money the U.S. government spends encoding and encasing private property rights, much less private capital’s rights to coordinate or contract. In many ways, these costs are “baked into” society. So, ultimately, should it be for rights to income, healthcare, housing, education, employment for all.
The argument goes that cash benefits, such as UBI, afford recipients the dignity to choose what they need, versus in-kind benefits which paternalistically define that need for them. By removing government restrictions on spending, they allow recipients the freedom to consume on their terms. However, this so-called choice is in name only without a guarantee that basic needs will be met. The context of housing provides one example of this. The reality of cash benefits is that even where choice is not restricted by the state, it remains restricted by the failures of the market.
It would be ironic indeed if a UBI slipped quickly through the fingers of lower-income people of color and into the coffers of jurisdictions most aggressively criminalizing poverty. This would negate UBI’s ability to facilitate work refusal because UBI—devoured by debt—would no longer be available to meet basic needs without a wage (or connection to a wage-earner). Moreover, this negation’s radically unequal racial distribution would mock UBI’s pretensions to universalism. Substantive universality requires more than formal inclusion and nominally equal payments. It requires cash receipts that deliver equal capacity to refuse work.
UBI as part of the project of building collaborative security for all.
Surely advocates of such programs do not envision Qatar as their model society. And yet it is too easy to imagine a version of a Gulf state arising from a basic income initiative that provides cash support to citizens, who no longer need to take work that is unsatisfying, while denying it to noncitizens, who are brought in do the difficult and dangerous jobs that remain.