This paper provides an account of reparationsin general and then presents briefly oneexplanation of why many present day AfricanAmericans believe they are entitled toreparations from the U.S. Government.This explanation should not be seen as a finaljustification, but only as an indication whythe demand for reparations for AfricanAmericans might be seen a plausible. Next, ifit is reasonable to assume that reparations toAfrican Americans are plausible, I then go onto explain why reparations might be necessaryto fill the breech that (...) is perceived to existbetween many African Americans and theirgovernment. This explanation will involve anexamination of the relationship between threeconcepts: forgiveness, reconciliation, andreparations. Then I explore why an apology orreparations for slavery and Jim Crow might benecessary for reconciliation between manyAfrican Americans and their government.Finally, I examine the contention that thelegislative process can be used to obtain anapology or reparations from the government. (shrink)
Abstract: International instruments now defend a "right to the truth" for victims of political repression and violence and include truth telling about human rights violations as a kind of reparation as well as a form of redress. While truth telling about violations is obviously a condition of redress or repair for violations, it may not be clear how truth telling itself is a kind of reparations. By showing that concerted truth telling can satisfy four features of suitable reparations (...) vehicles, I defend the idea that politically implemented modes of truth telling to, for, and by those who are victims of gross violation and injustice may with good reason be counted as a kind of reparations. Understanding the doubly symbolic character of reparations, however, makes clearer why truth telling is unlikely to be sufficient reparation for serious wrongs and is likely to be sensitive to the larger context of reparative activity and its social, political, and historical background. (shrink)
Abstract: This article provides an account of the meaning of reparations and presents a brief explanation as to why African Americans believe they are entitled to reparations from the United States government. It then goes on to explain why reparations are necessary to address the distrust that is thought to exist between many African Americans and their government. Finally, it rejects the belief that reparations require reconciliation.
Positive law and problems with identifyingbeneficiaries confine reparations for U.S.slavery to the level of discourse. Within thediscourse, the broader topic of rectificationcan be addressed. The rectification of slaveryincludes restoring full humanity to our ideasof the slaves and their descendants and itrequires disabuse of the false biological ideaof race. This is not racial eliminativism,because biological race never existed, but moreimportantly because African American racialidentities and redress of present racism arebased on lifeworlds of race in contrast withwhich the biological idea has (...) been an externalimposition. (shrink)
Offering the most comprehensive book-length study to-date of reparation programs, this handbook contains an innovative blend of case-study analysis, thematic papers, and national legislation documents from leading scholars and practitioners. This landmark work will make a genuine contribution to the theory and practice of reparations.
This paper argues that Leif Wenar's theory of reparations is not purely forward-looking and that backward-looking considerations play an important role: if there had never been a past injustice, then reparations for the future cannot be acceptable. Past injustice compose the first part of a two-tiered theory of reparations. We must first discover a past injustice has taken place: reparations are for the repair of previous damage. However, for Wenar, not all past injustices warrant reparations. (...) Once we have first passed the initial test of demonstrating a past injustice has taken place, we then determine whether or not to finally accept reparations based upon forward-looking considerations. What is important to note is that this decision to award reparations is based upon forward-looking considerations, but only after first satisfying the test of a past injustice. Thus, backward-looking considerations make up an important first part of Wenar's two-tiered theory of reparations. It is not my argument that this theory is unsafe and I find Wenar's arguments both novel and highly compelling. However, the view that this theory is forward-looking -- and not backward-looking -- is not entirely accurate. My brief reply corrects this part of an important new theory of reparations in the hope of strengthening its persuasive power. (shrink)
This short article explores the relationship between transitional justice mechanisms and peacebuilding by analysing the role that reparations may play in transforming or deepening conflict. Research seeks to identify potential components of an emancipatory approach to peacebuilding through the prioritisation of ‘transformative reparations’ processes, framing this proposal within the case study of collective reparations to the trade union movement in Colombia.
This introduction to our special section of Human Rights Review on Reparations and Peacebuilding gives an overview of the challenges currently confronting both peacebuilding and reparations. The special section aims to explore the relationship between these two mechanisms and examines the role that reparations schemes can play in salving or exacerbating conflict.
Reparations is an idea whose time has come. From civilian victims of war in Iraq and South America to descendents of slaves in the US to citizens of colonized nations in Africa and south Asia to indigenous peoples around the world--these groups and their advocates are increasingly arguing for the importance of addressing historical injustices that have long been either ignored or denied. This volume contributes to these debates by focusing the attention of a group of highly distinguished international (...) experts on the ways that reparations claims figure in contemporary political and social justice movements. Four broad types of reparations claims are examined, those involving indigenous peoples, the legacy of slavery in the United States, victims of war and conflict, and colonialism. In each instance, scholars and activists argue about the character of the injustice for which reparations are owed, why it is important to take these demands seriously, and what form redress should take. The aim is not consensus but to exhibit better the complexity of the issues involved--a goal which the interdisciplinary nature of the volume furthers--as well as the importance of taking seriously both conceptual issues and the actual politics of reparations. (shrink)
This is a defense of blackreparations using the theory of reparations setout in John Locke''s The Second Treatise ofGovernment. I develop two mainarguments, what I call the ``inheritanceargument'''' and the ``counterfactual argument,''''both of which have been thought to fail. In nocase do I appeal to the false ideas that presentday United States citizens are guilty ofslavery or must pay reparation simply becausethe U.S. Government was once complicit in thecrime.
A recent development in philosophical scholarship on reparations for black chattel slavery and Jim Crow segregation is reliance upon social science in normative arguments for reparations. Although there are certainly positive things to be said in favor of an empirically informed normative argument for black reparations, given the depth of empirical disagreement about the causes of persistent racial inequalities, and the ethos of 'post-racial' America, the strongest normative argument for reparations may be one that goes through (...) irrespective of how we ultimately explain the causes of racial inequalities. By illuminating the interplay between normative political philosophy and social scientific explanations of racial inequality in the prevailing corrective justice argument for black reparations, I shall explain why an alternative normative argument, which is not tethered to a particular empirical explanation of racial inequality, may be more appealing. (shrink)
Between 1904 and 1908, German colonialists in German South West Africa (GSWA, known today as Namibia) committed genocide and other international crimes against two indigenous groups, the Herero and the Nama. From the late 1990s, the Herero have sought reparations from the German government and several German corporations for what occurred more than a hundred years ago. This article examines and contextualizes the issues concerning reparations for historical human rights claims. It describes and analyzes the events in GSWA (...) at the time. It further explores whether international humanitarian law and international human rights law today permit reparatations to be obtained. The article therefore examines the origins of international criminal law, as well as international human rights and humanitarian law, to determine whether what occurred then were violations of the law already in force. Finally, the article examines and evaluates the Herero reparations cases, as well as the potential impact of the cases on the wider reparations movement that sees an increasing number of claims for events that occurred during colonial times. (shrink)
There has recently been a surge of interest, theoretical and political, in reparations for slavery. This essay takes up several moral-political issues from that intensifying debate: how to conceptualize and justify collective compensation and collective responsibility, and how to establish a plausible connection between past racial injustices and present racial inequalities. It concludes with some brief remarks on one aspect of the very complicated politics of reparations: the possible effects of hearings and trials on the public memory and (...) political culture of a historically racist society. The hope is that these arguments, taken together, draft a coherent case for slavery reparations as pursued by the Reparations Coordinating Committee. (shrink)
All of these claims for reparations have mobilized popular support, and all share a degree of intuitive plausibility. The challenge to the theorist is to judge whether and which of such demands are grounded in sound principles of political normativity, so as to be able to select out the valid claims and to measure how the urgency of these claims compares with other demands on the public agenda. The most basic question for those considering the justiﬁcations of reparations (...) is how to orient their theories within the space of reasons. Do valid claims for reparation rest at the deepest level on reasons we have for redressing a past injustice? Or do they rather rest on reasons we have to improve our current relations so that we can get along better in the future? Are valid reparative demands backward- or forward-looking? (shrink)
In this article I argue that Fanon articulates a more complex relationship between his notion of radical freedom and slavery reparations that allows for the possibility of demanding the latter without sacrificing the former. While at times Fanon seems to posit a simple dilemma according to which one must choose between freedom and reparations, he also describes a vicious cycle in which the taking of material reparations appears to be a precondition for freedom, yet the claim for (...)reparations appears to come at the cost of adoption of a constraining cultural identity. In other words, the process of attaining the material conditions necessary for radical freedom through slavery reparations can have the opposite effect of inhibiting freedom. The question of the possibility of taking reparations without sacrificing freedom becomes a question about the possibility of thinking about enslaved Africans and their descendants as a collective entitled to reparations without positing a constraining cultural identity. (shrink)
The end of the twentieth century witnessed a resurgence of demands for reparations for slavery and segregation in the United States. At the same time, a chorus of prominent political theorists warned against the threat "identity politics" poses for democratic politics. This essay considers whether it is possible to construct an argument for reparations that responds to these concerns, particularly as they are articulated by Wendy Brown. To do so, I explore how Brown's analysis of the dangers of (...) political organizing around "wounded identities" and of appealing to the state for redress might inform and be informed by arguments for black reparations. (shrink)
The renewed interest in the issue of black reparations, both in the public sphere and among scholars, is a welcome development because the racial injustices of the past continue to shape American society by disadvantaging African Americans in a variety of ways. Attention to the past and how it has shaped present-day inequality seems essential both to understanding our predicament and to justifying policies that would address and undermine racial inequality. Given this, any argument for policies designed to pursue (...) racial justice must be, at least in part, backward-looking, justifi ed partly as compensation for the effects of the wrongs of the past. However, some arguments about black reparations, both pro and con, are focused too far in the past. An unspoken assumption of much of the debate about black reparations is that these would be reparations for slavery. This, we argue, is a mistake. Racial inequality in the United States today may, ultimately, be based on slavery, but it is also based on the failure of the country to take effective steps since slavery to undermine the structural racial inequality that slavery put in place. From the latter part of the nineteenth century through the fi rst half of the twentieth century, the Jim Crow system continued to keep Blacks “in their place,” and even during and after the civil rights era no policies were adopted to dismantle the racial hierarchy that already existed. An important part of the story of racial inequality today is the history of housing and lending discrimination in the second half of the twentieth century (McCarthy 2002; 2004). Home equity, for many Americans, is a very important source of wealth, and the decades after World War II were ones of rapid home equity growth. They were the decades that saw the creation of a large, mostly suburban, middle class. But the middle class that was created was also mostly White, and this was due largely to government policies that (in many cases intentionally) excluded Blacks from the opportunities to get into the home market and benefi t from home equity growth. In this paper we argue that recent housing and lending discrimination constitutes an important basis for black reparations.. (shrink)
This article proposes a normative theory of reparations for political violence from the standpoint of contemporary critical theory debates on recognition and redistribution. I argue that any satisfactory reparations theory should aspire to ‘status parity’, a term coined by Nancy Fraser, and should include symbolic and material components for both individuals and groups. The essay argues that reparations can promote a number of worthy goals, including the reaffirmation of moral respect and dignity of victims.
George Schedler raises interesting issues with regard to the amount of reparations owed for slavery, the parties who are owed reparations, and the standard for these reparations. His arguments, however, do not hold up upon analysis. His analysis of the case for the descendants of slaves being owed compensation seriously overestimates the case for such reparations. He does not identify the grounds for such compensation, i.e., either stolen inheritance or the descendants’ trustee-like control over the slave’s (...) estate, and this results in his not identifying the metaphysical and epistemic problems that accompany the descendants’ claim to reparations. In analyzing whether the U.S. government owes compensation, Schedler provides arguments based on its small role in bringing about slavery and the break in national identity that followed the Civil War. Such arguments fail but his conclusion can be supported by other arguments, specifically the nature of the federal government’s relation to slavery and the limited nature of its powers. Thus, the case against reparations is overwhelming but not for the reasons Schedler provides. (shrink)
This article offers a new interpretation of Marcel Mauss's The Gift. It situates Mauss's argument within his broader thinking on the politics of sovereign debt cancellation and the question of German reparations paid to the Allies after World War I. Mauss applauded the policies of reparation and debt cancellation proposed by the French "solidarist" activists who were responsible for inclusion of reparations provisions in the Versailles Treaty. But Mauss was also aware that their legal mobilization could not by (...) itself restore a sense of solidarity among European peoples. Broader systems of political alliance and anthropological norms of gift-making were also necessary. In Mauss's writings on war reparations, as in The Gift, he described the legal, political, and macrostructural dynamics at work in the settlement of reparations and sovereign debts, which he differentiated from the dynamics at work in the speculative logics of financial capitalism. In doing so, Mauss provided insights into the settlement of sovereign debt crises, which still agitate the international community today. (shrink)
Reparations whether to blacks for slavery, or to Indians for land theft, or to settle any number of other conflicts, has an interesting political background. Analysts on the left, who are usually no friend of private property rights, nevertheless rely on this doctrine to support their case for reparations. Those on the right, in contrast, who supposedly defend the institution of property rights, jettison them when it comes to reparations. It is only libertarians, such as the present (...) authors, who both favor private property rights in general, and, also, apply them to the issue of reparations, who are logically consistent. (shrink)
The paper adopts philosophical research methodologies of conceptual clarification, critical analysis, and extensive argumentation. It attempts to jointly employ African metaphysical and epistemological grounds to address the problem of finding appropriate justification for reparations for Africa on the issue of past slavery and slave trade. The paper states that the crux of the problem is how to formulate a coherent theoretical framework, which provides a strong connection between the direct victims of slavery and slave trade and their descendants in (...) Africa, on the basis of which the latter could justifiably claim for restitutive justice against the wrong done to the former. Western traditional accounts usually define reparations such that the concept only intelligibly applies to moral relations among contemporaries, not between the departed and the living. This reasoning, therefore, forecloses any moral relations between the departed and the living, making it morally unjustifiable for the latter to claim for restitutive justice on behalf of the former. However, this study re-thinks the concept of reparations, using two core areas of African philosophy. African metaphysics recognizes that an experiential being is ontologically connected to the other, that is, any other experiential being and spirits, inclusive of ancestors. This relationship also invariably closes the epistemological gap between the experiential and non-experiential worlds, making them a unity within African cosmology. Situated within the present study, the foregoing shows that the living could justifiably claim for restitutive justice on behalf of the departed, the direct victims of slavery and slave trade. (shrink)
For the peoples who have inhabited, since time immemorial, the lands within the external borders of the U.S., remediation of genocide, land theft, and ethnocide is a pressing issue. However, monetary reparations would frustrate the reacquisition of the American Indian capacity to self-determine on ancestral lands. Because the injustice at the core of U.S. history is neither broadly acknowledged nor deeply understood, Part I provides historical foundation and sketches the factual predicate to the American Indian claim for redress. Part (...) II presents and evaluates theories of justice with respect to this claim. Part III counters the shortcomings of these theories with a theory, Justice as Indigenism, that propounds a program of land restoration and legislative reform that will accord the full measure of relief to American Indians consistent with the requirements of justice for all peoples. (shrink)
Then newly elected Labor Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, made a historic statement of “Sorry” for past injustices to Australian Indigenous peoples at the opening of the 2008 federal parliament. In the long-standing absence of a constitutional ‘foundational principle’ to shape positive federal initiatives in this context, there has been speculation that the emphatic Sorry Statement may presage formal constitutional recognition. The debate is long overdue in a nation that only overturned the legal fiction of terra nullius and recognised native title (...) to lan with the High Court’s decision in Mabo in 1992. This article explores the implications of the Sorry Statement in the context of reparations for the generations removed from their families under assimilation policies (known since the Bringing Them Home Inquiry as the Stolen Generations). We draw out the utility of recent human rights statutes—such as the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT)—as a mechanism for facilitating justice, including compensation for past wrongs. Our primary concern here is whether existing legal processes in Australia hold further capacity to provide reparation for Australian Indigenous peoples or whether their potential in that regard is already exhausted. We compare common law and statutory developments in other international jurisdictions, such as Canada, as an indication of what can be achieved by the law to facilitate better legal, economic and social outcomes for Indigenous peoples. The year 2008 also saw Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper express his apology to residential school victims in the Canadian Parliament, providing thematic and symbolic echoes across these two former colonies, which, despite remaining under the British monarchy, both forge their own path into the future, while confronting their own unique colonial past. We suggest that the momentum provided by the recent public apology and statement of “Sorry” by the newly elected Australian Prime Minister must not be lost. This symbolic utterance as a first act of the 2008 parliamentary year stood in stark contrast to the long-standing recalcitrance of the former Prime Minister John Howard on the matter of a formal apology. Rather than a return to a law enforcement-inspired “three strikes and you’re out” approach, Australia stands poised for an overdue constitutional and human rights-inspired “three ‘sorries’ and you’re in”. (shrink)
Positive law and problems with identifying beneficiaries confine reparations for U.S. slavery to the level of discourse. Within the discourse, the broader topic of rectification can be addressed. The rectification of slavery includes restoring full humanity to our ideas of the slaves and their descendants and it requires disabuse of the false biological idea of race. This is not racial eliminativism, because biological race never existed, but more importantly because African American racial identities and redress of present racism are (...) based on lifeworlds of race in contrast with which the biological idea has been an external imposition. (shrink)
Focusing on contemporary social issues-- the environmental crisis, population growth and demographic change, and the question of whether reparations are owed to indigenous peoples--this study presents a theory of intergenerational justice that gives citizens duties to past and future generations, and explains what relationships between contemporary generations count as fair.
In this paper, I ask how – and whether – the rectification of injury at which corrective justice aims is possible, and by whom it must be performed. I split the injury up into components of harm and wrong, and consider their rectification separately. First, I show that pecuniary compensation for the harm is practically plausible, because money acts as a mediator between the damaged interest and other interests. I then argue that this is also a morally plausible approach, because (...) it does not claim too much for compensation: neither can all harms be compensated, nor can it be said when compensation is paid that the status quo ante has been restored. I argue that there is no conceptual reason for any particular agent paying this compensation. I then turn to the wrong, and reject three proposed methods of rectification. The first aims to rectify the wrong by rectifying the harm; the second deploys punitive damages; the third, punishment. After undermining each proposal, I argue that the wrong can only be rectified by a full apology, which I disaggregate into the admission of causal and moral responsibility, repudiation of the act, reform, and, in some cases, disgorgement and reparations, which I define as a good faith effort to share the burden of the victim’s harm. I argue, further, that only the injurer herself can make a full apology, and it is not something that can be coerced by other members of society. As such, whether rectification of the wrong can be a matter of corrective justice is left an open question. (shrink)
Driven by a sharp increase in claims for reparations, reparative justice has become a topic of academic debate. To some extent this debate has been marred by a failure to realize the complexity of reparative justice. In this essay we try to amend this shortcoming. We do this by developing a taxonomy of different kinds of wrongs that can underwrite claims to reparations. We identify four kinds of wrongs: entitlement violations, unjust exclusions from an otherwise acceptable system of (...) entitlements, and two kinds where a social practice systematically fails to embody an acceptable system of entitlements. In deliberation about what is required to repair a historical injustice the weight of backward- and forward-looking considerations is a function of the distinctive features of the injustice in question. Hence, the first step in adjudicating claims for reparation is to identify what kind of wrong the claim arises from. From the taxonomy of wrongs we are thus able to construct what we call the Field of Reparative Justice, which illustrates how the structure of deliberation for reparative justice tracks the distinctive features of different kinds of wrongs. (shrink)
The history of international relations is characterized by widespread injustice. What implications does this have for those living in the present? Should contemporary states pay reparations to the descendants of the victims of historic wrongdoing? Many writers have dismissed the moral urgency of rectificatory justice in a domestic context, as a result of their forward-looking accounts of distributive justice. Rectifying International Injustice argues that historical international injustice raises a series of distinct theoretical problems, as a result of the popularity (...) of backward-looking accounts of distributive justice in an international context. It lays out three morally relevant forms of connection with the past, based in ideas of benefit, entitlement and responsibility. Those living in the present may have obligations to pay compensation insofar as they are benefiting, and others are suffering, as a result of the effects of historic injustice. They may be in possession of property which does not rightly belong to them, but to which others have inherited entitlements. Finally, they may be members of political communities which bear collective responsibility for an ongoing failure to rectify historic injustice. Rectifying International Injustice considers each of these three linkages with the past in detail. It examines the complicated relationship between rectificatory justice and distributive justice, assesses the appropriateness of judging the past by contemporary moral standards, and argues that many of those who resist cosmopolitan demands for the global redistribution of resources have failed to appreciate the extent to which past wrongdoing undermines the legitimacy of contemporary resource holdings. (shrink)
This essay brings Critical Whiteness Studies into liberationist Christian ethics in order to analyze white Protestant responses to the 1969 Black Manifesto, which demanded reparations from white churches. The essay's primary argument is that the absence of a sense of white moral agency among white Protestants manifested itself in behaviors and rhetoric that ensured whiteness went unacknowledged, which caused Protestant responses to the Manifesto to fail. A related argument is that white behavior and rhetoric were particularly dramatic because of (...) the call for reparations. Reparations assume that race is a material relationship in which there has been a perpetrator and a victim, rendering the acknowledgment of white agency unavoidable. This essay thus analyzes several ways in which whites can be seen turning away from white selves, turning a scrutinizing gaze instead to Black selves and, in the process, absenting white agency from the work of racial justice. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Thinking in black and white; 2. Repairing the slave reparations debate; 3. Advancing the slave reparations debate; 4. One cheer for affirmative action; 5. Two cheers for affirmative action; 6. Why I used to hate hate speech restrictions; 7. Why I still hate hate speech restrictions; 8. How to stop worrying and learn to love hate crime laws; 9. How to keep on loving hate crime laws; 10. Is racial profiling irrational?; 11. Is (...) racial profiling immoral?. (shrink)
Two of the most important theories in contemporary liberal egalitarianism are Ronald Dworkin’s equality of resources and Amartya Sen’s capability approach. Recently Dworkin has claimed that Sen’s capability approach does not provide a genuine alternative to equality of resources. In this article, we provide both an internal and an external critique of Dworkin’s claim. In the first part of the article we develop an internal critique by providing a detailed analysis of Dworkin’s claim. Andrew Williams has contested Dworkin’s claim, but (...) he has failed to convince Dworkin of his objections. We analyze this debate, and offer an argument that, we hope, settles this dispute. In the second part of the article we argue that an analysis beyond the current parameters of the liberal-egalitarian debate points to three significant differences between Dworkin’s and Sen’s egalitarian theories: the degree to which they rely on an ideal-theoretical approach; their ability to judge social structures that are intertwined with people’s social endowments; and their endorsement of a well-defined criterion to demarcate morally relevant from morally irrelevant inequalities. This broader analysis not only reinforces our conclusion that Dworkin’s equality of resources and Sen’s capability approach are genuinely distinct, but it also suggests some more general insights that may be relevant for a better understanding of contemporary egalitarian thinking. (shrink)