Friday, July 22, 2016

Commentary on Michael Strauss's Essay: "Returning Guantanamo Bay to Cuban Control"


(Michael Strauss, Pix from The Global Journal)

The Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE) will hold its 26th Annual Conference in Miami 28-30 July 2016. The conference theme this year is "Cuba: Assessing the Reforms." Conference papers will focus on the current economic and political situation in Cuba in the wake of normalization of relations with the U.S. and of the significant discussion about the future course of Cuban macro economics undertaken during the course of the 7th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party in April 2016. For more information see HERE.

My friend Michael Strauss is presenting an excellent and provocative paper I have been asked to serve as discussant for a marvelous paper to be presented in the "Legal Issues" Panel of this Conference on July 28, 2016. The paper, entitled, Returning Guantanamo Bay to Cuban Control, is the subject of this post. The Commentary may also be downloaded HERE.
An ASCE member for seven years, Michael J. Strauss is Professor of International Relations at the Centre d’Etudes Diplomatiques et Stratégiques (CEDS) in Paris, Instructor in International Economic Law at Université de Paris 5, and Invited Professor of International Law at the Belarusian State University and MITSO International University in Minsk.  His research encompasses two fields that have become pivotal in US-Cuban relations. One is Guantanamo Bay, which the US leases for a naval station (his book on the territory’s legal status has become a standard reference). The other is international economic law, where he studies the impact of trade sanctions. Prior to entering academia, Strauss was an international financial journalist, serving as bureau chief in various cities for Dow Jones (where he wrote a weekly column on commodities), Knight-Ridder and Agence France-Presse. As an award-winning investigative reporter, his stories led banking regulators throughout Latin America to close the Socimer network of banks and financial companies in 1998. Strauss earned his Ph.D. in international relations and diplomacy at CEDS. He was an International Fellow at Columbia University’s School of International Affairs (now SIPA), and holds degrees in journalism from the University of Minnesota (B.A.) and Columbia (M.S.).
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Friday, July 15, 2016

26th Annual Conference: Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy: "Cuba: Assessing the Reforms"





The Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE) will hold its 26th Annual Conference in Miami 28-30 July 2016. The conference theme this year is "Cuba: Assessing the Reforms." Conference papers will focus on the current economic and political situation in Cuba in the wake of normalization of relations with the U.S. and of the significant discussion about the future course of Cuban macro economics undertaken during the course of the 7th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party in April 2016. Topics include demography, infrastructure, legal and political reforms, and the emerging changes to Cuban international relations.

Mission Statement: The Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE) is a non-profit, non-political organization incorporated in the state of Maryland in 1990.
Our mission is to promote research, publications, and scholarly discussion on the Cuban economy in its broadest sense, including on the social, economic, legal, and environmental aspects of a transition to a free market economy and a democratic society in Cuba. ASCE is committed to a civil discussion of all points of view.
Affiliated with the American Economic Association and the Allied Social Sciences Association of the United States, ASCE maintains professional contacts with economists inside Cuba —whether independent or associated with the Cuban government— who are interested in engaging in scholarly discussion and research. Papers and their formal discussions, as well as roundtable summaries, are included in a volume of papers and proceedings. Twenty five such volumes have been published and they are widely used inside and outside of Cuba by universities, research centers, government agencies, and others.

The Conference Program follows along with links to the Proceedings of prior meetings.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

ABA Corporate Laws Committee Publishes for Comment an Exposure Draft of the 2016 Revision of the Model Business Corporation Act

(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2016)


In the United States since the 20th century, important non state actors have assumed powerful quasi legislative functions.  The American Law Institutes Restatements of the Law have served as an important source of guidance for courts and legislatures in a variety of fields.  Likewise the American Bar Association has produced a series of quite influential model acts to serve as legislative templates--and interpretive glosses, on some of the most important areas of law in the United States. (Considered in broader context here).

The Model Business Corporation Act has been one of the most influential pieces of non-legislative legislation of this generation.  It has served as the basis for law reform in a majority of states and its official comments  have been influential in judicial decision making throughout the United States. Its origins lie in 1940 when, in the anticipation of the enactment of a Federal Corporations Act, the American Bar Association was asked to prepare an appropriate model for Congress to consider.  (Melvin Eisenberg, Review Work: "The Model Business Corporation Act and the Model Business Corporation Act Annotated," The Business Lawyer 29(4):1407-1431 (July 1974)). There was no Federal Corporations Act, but the Model Business Corporations Act by its 1946 publication, the effort assumed an even more potent form as a model of state legislatures seeking to modernize their structures for the regulation of business enterprise operating in corporate form. (Ibid).

Now, the ABA Corporate Laws Committee is publishing for comment an Exposure Draft of the 2016 Revision of the Model Business Corporation Act. This Revision represents the first top to bottom revision of the Act since publication of the Revised Model Business Corporation Act in 1984. 

 Comments are encouraged but must be delivered to the Corporate Laws Committee Chair, Karl John Ege, before August 15, 2016 either by mail to 1201 3rd Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA 98101, or by email to kege@perkinscoie.com.

The announcement and links follow.

The Contradictions of Cuban Leninism: Challenges for Surviving Engagement with the United States


René Gómez Manzano is an independent journalist and critical outsider in Cuba. He has for many years reported on changed within the Cuban state and its ruling Communist Party. Educated in Havana and Moscow he began defending dissidents in 1990 and has served time in prison for his actions. He remains active in Cuba and tolerated by the state ad PPC. Amnesty International named him a prisoner of conscience in 1998 after his arrest and imprisonment in the late 1990s.

From his Wikepaedia page:
(La Habana, 19 de diciembre de 1943) es graduado en Derecho en las Universidades de Moscú y La Habana. Fue abogado de oficio del Tribunal Supremo (1985-95). Periodista independiente. Presidente de la Corriente Agramontista, y en la actualidad, y desde febrero de 2013, es Miembro de Comité Coordinador de la Unión Patriótica de Cuba.1234 Es un disidente cubano especialmente conocido por su ensayo "La Patria es de Todos", que él co-escribió con Martha Beatriz Roque, Vladimiro Roca y Félix Bonne Carcasés, y también por sus constantes estancias en prisión por mandato del gobierno cubano, siendo considerado prisionero de conciencia. Amnistía Internacional le ha denominado prisionero de conciencia en numerosas ocasiones ya desde 1994, cuando militaba en el Consejo Nacional por los Derechos Civiles (CNDC).
Mr. Gómez Manzano has recently written an essay worth some consideration for those who are students of Leninist organizations, in general, and Cuba in particular.  Written in Spanish, it suggests some of the difficulties that is faced by a Leninist Party that falls into the errors of rigidity and bureaucratism of the Soviet style. (See HERE and published Northwestern Interdisciplinary Law Review 8:71-130 (2015). I have suggested earlier the way those failures are impeding the Cuban state and Party to change with the times and the challenges it will produce.  Gómez Manzano offers an insider's view of the increasing frustration within the Island even as it seeks to work against the logic of its formative institutional cultures. For Cuban style Socialist modernization to work, it may be necessary to move more decisively toward a new Socialist model, or face the likely prospect of U.S. style transition.  The caution and indecision of the Cuban Party apparatus may secure short term stability but at a great cost.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

U.N. Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law - "Widening the Democratic Space: The Role of Youth in Public Decision Making"--Submission of Foundation for Law and International Affairs (FLIA) and Coalition for Peace & Ethics (CPA)


(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2016)


Human Rights Council Resolution 28/14 (9 April 2015) established a Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law. Further to that effort the UN announced its first Forum to be held in Geneva 21-22 November 2016 in Room XVII Palais des Nations. The Forum targets academics, non governmental organizations and experts. Resolution 28/4, and related materials may be found HERE.

An earlier post included my Commentary for the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law - Widening the Democratic Space: The Role of Youth in Public Decision Making. It may be downloaded HERE or HERE.  The Chinese language version may be accessed here: 对首届人权、民主与法治论坛“扩大民主空间:青年在公共决策中的作为”主题的一些看法 (My Commentary for the U.N. Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law).

Both the Foundation for Law and International Affairs (FLIA) and the Coalition for Peace and Ethics (CPE) reached out to their networks to supplement this commentary.  The submission of FLIA and CPA follows.  

Monday, July 04, 2016

Democracy Part 36: Representative Democracy in an Age Beyond the State--The United States in a Global Political Society




(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2016)


For American Independence Day I have gotten into the habit of considering questions touching on the essence of American political ideology (e.g., Ruminations 56: On Symbols in American Political Ideology--From Russian Imperial Anthems to Confederate Battle Flags, Marriage, Legislature, and Statute; Ruminations 52: Surmizing Liberty and Equality in American Political Ideology; Democracy Part 28/Ruminations 51: On the Contradiction of Voting, Democracy and Revolution in the U.S. and Egypt).

Yet Americans don't think much in ideological terms; Americans think even less in historical terms, except perhaps to the extent necessary to reach back to a term useful in new ways for current debates. Americans invoke ideology instrumentally, especially in defense of their customs and traditions, or sometimes against them, in either case with sometimes profound effects. And sometimes Americans use their ideology strategically to manage or rework historical perception--but only when it is practical, that is when it furthers some political, social, economic or cultural objective with respect to which sufficient political mobilization can be cultivated.

So I have wondered how I might answer the following question were it ever posed by an individual who is not a U.S. national: If the traditional structures of the unending debates about the nature of representation in representative democracies obsolete in the shadow of globalization, who or what should be the object of representation.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

对首届人权、民主与法治论坛“扩大民主空间:青年在公共决策中的作为”主题的一些看法 (My Commentary for the U.N. Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law)


(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2016)


Human Rights Council Resolution 28/14 (9 April 2015) established a Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law. Further to that effort the UN announced its first Forum to be held in Geneva 21-22 November 2016 in Room XVII Palais des Nations. The Forum targets academics, non governmental organizations and experts. Resolution 28/4, and related materials may be found HERE.

An earlier post included my Commentary for the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law - Widening the Democratic Space: The Role of Youth in Public Decision Making. It may be downloaded HERE or HERE.

This post includes the Chinese translation of that commentary, 对首届人权、民主与法治论坛“扩大民主空间:青年在公共决策中的作为”主题的一些看法.