Calls for justice and reconciliation in response to political catastrophes are widespread in contemporary world politics. What implications do these normative strivings have in relation to colonial injustice? Examining cases of colonial war, genocide, forced sexual labor, forcible incorporation, and dispossession, Lu demonstrates that international practices of justice and reconciliation have historically suffered from, and continue to reflect, colonial, statist and other structural biases. The continued reproduction of structural injustice and alienation in modern domestic, international and transnational orders generates contemporary (...) duties of redress. How should we think about the responsibility of contemporary agents to address colonial structural injustices and what implications follow for the transformation of international and transnational orders? Redressing the structural injustices implicated in or produced by colonial politics requires strategies of decolonization, decentering, and disalienation that go beyond interactional practices of justice and reconciliation, beyond victims and perpetrators, and beyond a statist world order. (shrink)
Does the concept of political friendship make sense, and does cultivating political friendship among peoples strengthen universal peace? This article provides an Aristotelian account of political friendship as distinct from but analogous to personal friendship. Political friendships, founded on mutual recognition and respect, are characterized by consensual agreement about the fundamental terms of cooperation. While promoting such political friendship at the global level would be a measure to strengthen universal peace, another form of friendship, politicized friendship, is to be avoided, (...) as it is driven by rivalrous rather than equitable self-interest, and breeds political enmity and strife. Taking Aristotle's insights about political friendship to the global arena, the article considers Rawlsian peoples to be suitable subjects for political friendship. The duty of assistance and the duty to oppose outlaw states illuminate demands of political friendship among Rawlsian peoples that entail equity, power sharing and even sacrifice. (shrink)
On the morning of April 24, 2013, more than 6,000 people filed into the eight-storey Rana Plaza building in Savar, Bangladesh, mainly to work in five garment factories that produced clothing for global retail firms, such as Loblaw, Primark, Joe Fresh, Benetton, Mango, Matalan, Bonmarche, and The Children’s Place. Only a day earlier, major cracks had appeared in the building and were inspected, prompting a brief evacuation. The next day, despite a police-issued evacuation order, the building owner and factory managers (...) ordered the workers back into the building. (shrink)
How do experiences of shame and guilt shape or reflect the ways in which the vanquished are reconciled (or not) to the new world order established by the victors? Shame and guilt are universal experiences in the emotional landscape of post-war politics, albeit for different reasons and with radically different political effects. An examination of Germany after 1918 and of Japan after 1945 reveals that experiences of shame and guilt may be pivotal for creating conditions of possibility for reconciliation marked (...) by political and moral transformation. This transformative potential of shame and guilt, however, is a double-edged sword. In threatening old identities, values and beliefs, experiences of shame and guilt may provoke defensive, reactionary and violent political responses, and thus may precipitate hideous rather than salutary transformations. Political leadership and political culture are crucial factors in shaping the kind of reconciliation — reactionary or transformative — as well as the specific nature of transformations that experiences of shame and guilt may motivate the vanquished to pursue. (shrink)
The problem with the politics of victimhood, as conducted by revolutionaries and counterrevolutionaries engaged in ideological conflict, is that it creates a morally arbitrary hierarchy of victims that can then be used to justify the worst moral transgressions against the "other.".
Monique Deveaux’s Poverty, Solidarity, and Poor-Led Social Movements makes a timely, compelling, and important intervention in the philosophical literature on poverty and global justice, and improves our understanding of the nature and extent of responsibilities of variously situated agents towards the poor. Deveaux’s focus on poor-led social movements emphasizes that effective poverty reduction requires building up the collective capacities of the poor to engage in joint collective action to oppose and dismantle unjust structures. This approach politicizes poverty and provides a (...) powerful refutation of some previous approaches that primarily formulated responses to global poverty to consist in mere charity to lighten the poor’s deprivations, or top-down solutions imposed by technocrats and other development experts. Deveaux then extends the concept of solidarity to characterize the political responsibility of the nonpoor, which consists of acting in political solidarity with poor-led organizations and movements. It is this latter move to extend the concept of solidarity to characterize poor-nonpoor cooperative activities that I question in this commentary. When the concept of solidarity, understood as identification-based joint action, is stretched to encompass cooperation between all those who may act together to resist, oppose, and dismantle the structures of domination and oppression that constitute poverty, there is the danger of obscuring the alienation and oppositional social positions that attend conditions of structural injustice. To acknowledge the limits and dilemmas of solidarity practices between the poor and nonpoor is perhaps a sober reminder of one of the major costs of living in conditions of structural injustice. (shrink)
This brief response cannot adequately address all of the challenging issues raised by Robert Meister in his reply, so I hope only to clarify our main points of contention that will likely continue beyond this exchange.
Catherine Lu | : Is the discrepancy between the cultural and linguistic rights of immigrants on the one hand and national groups on the other justified, with the latter group typically enjoying a fuller set of such rights than the former category? Patten presents a case for accepting some modest departures from neutrality in the treatment of immigrants’ cultural rights and that of majority and minority national groups. I challenge his thesis by asking whether such departures are justified with respect (...) to already settled immigrants; whether the situational argument for unequal treatment is inconsistent with the theory of culture offered earlier in the book; and whether contexts of historical injustice against immigrant groups might complicate judgements about the national minority/immigrant dichotomy with respect to minority cultural rights. | : L’opposition entre les droits culturels et linguistiques des immigrants, d’une part, et ceux des groupes nationaux, d’autre part, est-elle justifiée, considérant que ces derniers apprécient un ensemble plus complet de tels droits que ne le font les immigrants? Patten pose que de modestes écarts de neutralité seraient acceptables dans le traitement des droits culturels des immigrants et ceux de la majorité ainsi que ceux de groupes nationaux minoritaires. Je critique sa thèse en demandant si de tels écarts sont justifiés eu égard aux immigrants déjà installés ; si l’argument pour les traitements inégaux n’est pas incompatible avec la théorie de la culture offerte auparavant dans le livre; enfin si les contextes d’injustice historique contre les groupes d’immigrants ne compliquent pas les jugements sur la dichotomie entre minorité nationale et immigrants lorsqu’il s’agit des droits des minorités culturelles. (shrink)
In the short story that opens Lebow's sobering and provocative book, Richard Nixon has gone to hell. There, the devil, inspired by human innovation, has set up an Auschwitz-Birkenau-style concentration camp to torment mass murderers, including Nixon and Pope Pius XII.
We live in a time of “cosmopolitan regard,” when there is widespread acknowledgement that every person has moral importance. At the same time, most of us affirm and practice particular regard for our family, friends and compatriots, despite knowing that in our contemporary world, every day, many people, in many places, are treated like nothing. Are cosmopolitan and particular regard fated to be irreconcilable features of our moral lives? Are the grounds for our moral duties to our fellow citizens fundamentally (...) different from, and potentially in conflict with, the grounds of our moral duties to others with whom we share no political association? What is required in the way of political morality by cosmopolitan regard? Does it require symmetry between our particular and universal obligations? Under what conditions may asymmetrical accounts of obligation be justified? Richard Vernon’s book makes an elegant contribution to debates in contemporary political philosophy about the moral basis .. (shrink)