Sunday, July 21, 2019

The New Draft of the "Legally Binding Instrument to Regulate, in International Human Rights Law, The Activities of Corporations and Other Business Enterprises:" What Changed From the Zero Draft--A Side by Side Comparison




The Coalition for Peace and Ethics BHR Treaty Project is considering Draft of the "Legally Binding Instrument to Regulate, in International Human Rights Law, The Activities Corporations and Other Business Enterprises," released on 16 July 2019 by the open-ended intergovernmental working group (OEIGWG) Chairmanship. The CPE INtroduction Statement can be accessed here: The New Draft of the "Legally Binding Instrument to Regulate, in International Human Rights Law, The Activities of Corporations and Other Business Enterprises" And a Call to Submit Comments Before October 2019.

In our initial post we noted the potential utility of comparing this new draft to the original Zero Draft that garnered so much attention last year.  This post includes a side by side comparison of the Draft of the "Legally Binding Instrument and the original Zero Draft.

One comment--the drafters of these documents have not made it easy.  There is a lot of symbolism in the ease with which a document is made accessible to those from whom engagement is sought.  The harder it is to engage deeply, the more likely that underlying the engagement is the notion that such depth of analysis is not necessary.  That, in turn, suggests the sort of elite project that this effort could not possibly have meant to convey.  These notions were strong motivators for CPE to seek to provide a FAST side by side comparison for those unable to invest the time or who might nt have the tech resources to do this for themselves.  CPE will prepare and distribute a downloadable version soon.  PLEASE NOTE THAT THE IMAGES APPEAR SMALL ON THE SCREEN BUT THEY MAY BE ENLARGED.  ALTERNATIVELY THE SIDE BY SIDE PROVIDES A MEANS FOR THOSE WITH COPIES OF BOTH VERSIONS TO PRODUCE ALTERNATIVES SOLUTIONS.


Saturday, July 20, 2019

The New Draft of the "Legally Binding Instrument to Regulate, in International Human Rights Law, The Activities of Corporations and Other Business Enterprises" And a Call to Submit Comments Before October 2019

(Pix this post all © Larry Catá Backer 2019)

It is always exciting to engage in the production of nostalgia.  That is even more the case when the production is for a worthy cause. And there is probably no worthier cause to my mind than the project to robustly embed a strict sensitivity to human rights norms within the operations of economic enterprises, or broadly, within the cultures of economic activity however undertaken. 

Even as political, social, and economic power fragment along new and ever more complex lines, many well-intentioned, sophisticated, and thoughtful people remain committed to a view of the world that has not only disappeared--except as to the wisps of its form that still serve as a means organizing factions--but that is being recast in ways we can hardly understand.  In a world in which law is being transformed into data with consequences, where enterprises increasingly govern their production chains through regulatory contract, where administrative discretion carries more weight in the public and private sector than the rules with respect to which they are rarely held to account, and where the boundaries between the public and private interventions of state and non-state institutions have become blurred (to put it mildly), it is hard to generate much more than a pedantic excitement over the efforts to finally (and three quarters of a century late) develop a gloriously antiquarian instrument for a civilization whose ghosts can only haunt us now.

I speak, of course, of the new Draft of the "Legally Binding Instrument to Regulate, in International Human Rights Law, The Activities Corporations and Other Business Enterprises," released on 16 July 2019 by the open-ended intergovernmental working group (OEIGWG) Chairmanship. "Ahead of the fifth session, the Permanent Mission of Ecuador, on behalf of the Chairmanship of the OEIGWG, released a revised draft legally binding instrument on business activities and human rights. The revised draft will serve as the basis for direct substantive intergovernmental negotiations during the fifth session of the OEIGWG, to be held from 14 to 18 October 2019, in Geneva." (Source: Open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights: Mandate).

Still, this is a worthy exercise (as I have suggested before (here, here, here, and here), not so much for its stated objectives, but for the principles and perspectives they may generate to contribute to the next generation of structural governance instruments that will have top be developed over the course of the next decade. To that end, a study of this Draft "Legally Binding Instrument" is both worthy and important--not just out of respect for those worthy people whose vision is therein articulated, but also for the value that its insights and failings contribute toward the useful end of embedding principles and expectations grounded in human rights within all economic activities. It will be useful, in that respect to compare this Draft to the original Zero Draft that circulated last year.

Lastly, serious study may be helpful to the members of the OEIGWG as they approach their consideration of this draft in October 2019. OEIGWG will officially and publicly consider the Draft Legally Binding Instrument at its next meeting in October 2019.  It might aid the OEIGWG and their advisors, including those charged with the drafting and defending of the Draft Legally Binding Instrument to receive thoughtful commentary by stakeholders and other interested parties. In its Note Verbale by the Chairmanship of the Working Group regarding the release of the revised draft legally binding instrument it was noted that:
The Chairmanship will convene informal consultations with Governments, regional groups, intergovernmental organizations, United Nations mechanisms, civil society, and other relevant stakeholders, before the fifth session of the OEIGWG, including on an updated program of work, in accordance with additional information to be announced in due course.
The Coalition for Peace and Ethics, as a member of that large group of interested stakeholders largely ignored by those who have been selected to influence the process--that is, as part of what the OEIGWG dismissively implies as the class of "irrelevant stakeholders"--urges all similarly situated stakeholders to make their views known to the OEIGWG and their functionaries before October 2019.  We encourage all civil society, business, state, and other actors, to participate actively and fearlessly in the process leading to (and eventually from) the efforts to fashion this instrument in this way.  CPE will be delighted to post those comments as well to its website as part of its Coalition for Peace and Ethics Project on the Effort to Elaborate an International Instrument on Business and Human Rights (for CPE Treaty Project analysis of the prior draft see ZeroDraft). Direct comments to  igwg-tncs@ohchr.org.

In addition,  over the course of the next several posts, the Coalition for Peace and Ethics BHR Treaty Project will consider this Draft "Legally Binding Instrument."  For this post the CPE-Treaty Project provides a copy of the Draft, which follows along with the Note Verbabale (along with additional links).


Publicación de borrador del ensayo "La debida diligencia en las universidades" [Posting Draft essay: Human Rights Due Diligence and the University].






Fue un gran placer anunciar la publicación del libro Retos y Desafíos de las Empresas y los Derechos Humanos (Carolina Olarte-Báceres, Catalina Irisarri Boada y Laura Arenas). Peralta, eds.) Será publicado por la Pontificia Universidad Javeriana y Grupo Editorial Ibañez (ISBN 978-958-749-000-0).

También me gustaría compartir con mis lectores hispanohablantes por vía de este post el borrador (previo a su publicación) de mi contribución (en español) titulado: La debida diligencia en las universidades.  El ensayo se deriva de una transcripción de las observaciones hechas en la Conferencia "Foro Retos y Desafíos de las Empresas y los Derechos Humanos" (Forum Obstacles and Challenges for Business and Human Rights).

It was a great pleasure to announce the publication of Retos y Desafíos de las Empresas y los Derechos Humanos (Carolina Olarte-Báceres, Catalina Irisarri Boada y Laura Arenas). Peralta, eds.) Será publicado por la Pontificia Universidad Javeriana y Grupo Editorial Ibañez (ISBN 978-958-749-000-0).
I would like to share with my Spanish speaker-readers in this post the pre-publication draft of my own contribution (Spanish only): La debida diligencia en la universidades [Human Rights Due Diligence in the University]. The essay is drawn from a transcript of remarks made at the Conference "Foro Retos y Desafíos de las Empresas y los Derechos Humanos" (Forum Obstacles and Challenges for Business and Human Rights).


Friday, July 19, 2019

Se Publica "Retos y Desafios de las Empresas y Los Derechos Humanos" [Obstacles and Challenges of Enterprises and Business and Human Rights] (Carolina Olarte-Báceres, Catalina Irisarri Boada, and Laura Arenas Peralta, eds.)



(Pix credit: here)

Para los hispanohablantes, me complace anunciar la publicación anticipada del libro Retos y Desafíos de las Empresas y los Derechos Humanos (Carolina Olarte-Báceres, Catalina Irisarri Boada y Laura Arenas). Peralta, eds.) Será publicado por la Pontificia Universidad Javeriana y Grupo Editorial Ibañez (ISBN 978-958-749-000-0).

El libro tiene su origen en la maravillosa conferencia organizada por los editores, que tuvo lugar en Bogotá en marzo de 2018 en la Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. Más sobre eso aquí: Anuncio de la Conferencia: "Foro Retos y Desafíos de las Empresas y los Derechos Humanos" (Foro Obstáculos y Desafíos para las Empresas y los Derechos Humanos).

Esta publicación incluye el borrador de Front Matter, incluido el índice (en español). Espero que aquellos interesados ​​en las perspectivas latinoamericanas sobre negocios y derechos humanos puedan considerar explorar la riqueza de conocimientos y perspectivas que los editores pudieron desarrollar en este trabajo.

For Spanish speakers I an delighted to announce the anticipated publication of the book, Retos y Desafios de las Empresas y Los Derechos Humanos [Obstacles and Challenges of Enterprises and Business and Human Rights] (Carolina Olarte-Báceres, Catalina Irisarri Boada, and Laura Arenas Peralta, eds.) to be published by the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and Grupo Editorial Ibañez (ISBN 978-958-749-000-0).

The book has its origins in the wonderful conference organized by the editors, which took place in Bogotá in March 2018 at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. More on that here:  Conference Announcement: "Foro Retos y Desafíos de las Empresas y los Derechos Humanos" (Forum Obstacles and Challenges for Business and Human Rights).

This post includes the draft Front Matter, including the table of contents (en Español). I hope that those with an interest in Latin American perspectives on business and human rights might consider exploring the wealth of knowledge and perspectives that the editors were able to develop in this work. 


Thursday, July 18, 2019

Association for the Study of the Cuban Ecoomy Annual Conference: "Cuba - Growth or Decline? Is the Revolution Dead?"





The 2019 annual conference of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE) will be held in Miami July 25-27, at the Miami Hilton Downtown Hotel. Details on registration, lodging at the hotel, and the Program are at: www.ASCECuba.org

The 3-day event (Thursday - Saturday) will feature scholarly presentations and round table discussions by world-class experts, including from Cuba. The conference hotel is at 1601 Biscayne Blvd.

The theme of the 29 the conference will be: "Cuba - Growth or Decline? Is the Revolution Dead?"

Among the topics discussed will be: the Cuban economy after 60 years of the revolution, continuities and change; developments in the domestic political situation, including debates about same-sex marriage and property rights; Cuba' s relationship with the United States and with Venezuela, including the application of the Helms-Burton Law, and the trade in oil, doctors, and weapons; current economic policies and the dual currency system; cuentapropismo and self-employment; the possibility of a new "special period" ; developments in agriculture and food shortages, as well as energy shortages; the adoption of new technologies and changes in internet policies.

The impressive roster of participants includes Professor Carmelo Mesa-Lago, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh; Professor Lillian Guerra, University of Florida-Gainesville, the official Keynote Speaker at the lunch; Professor Mauricio de Miranda Parrondo, Head of the Economics Department of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana de Cali, Colombia. Traveling from Cuba will be Professor Armando Nova, from la Universidad de la Habana, Manuel Cuesta-Morúa, from Arco Progresista, several independent journalists, and some cuentapropistas from small businesses in the island.

Papers will also be presented by Professors from various excellent American universities, and professionals from the World Bank, the U.S. Department of Labor, the International Monetary Fund, and the Department of State.

Members of ASCE are providing key support to the travel by Cuban scholars and for the student paper competition, thus contributing to generating a rich body of knowledge in line with ASCE's mission of promoting scholarly discussion on Cuba's economy and society.


ASCE is a non-profit, non-political organization, whose mission is to promote research, publications, and scholarly discussion on the Cuban economy in its broadest sense, including 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.

Please join us!


The Draft Program follows:


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

QR Codes for Short Course at Universidad Latina de Panamá: "Introduction to the Language and Systems of Law in the US"


I have been posting the PowerPoints developed for the short course meant to introduce foreign lawyers and law students to the language of law, the ideologies, and the sub-systems of what together constitutes U.S. law. The Program was sponsored by the Universidad Latina de Panamá and Penn State Law. 

For ease of reference I have posted here QR Codes for each of the lectures.  They follow below and I hope they may prove useful.  Happy to chat with those interested about the soon to be published book on which these lectures were based, on the teacher's manual which should be completed soon, additional problem sets and exercises, or generally about the design and presentation of similar short courses.


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Immersion in a Dynamic Legal Culture: Introducing Students in Panamá to the Law, Systems, and Legal Culture of the United States; Part 7 Judicial Review and Constitutional Interpretation





I was delighted to have the opportunity to teach in the Penn State Law-Universidad Latina de Panamá Program on the Legal English in the U.S. Legal System. The program gave me an opportunity to road test portions of my just finished book, Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States: Structures, Functions, Principles, and Practices in National and International Context (Carolina Academic Press, forthcoming 2019) (for writing about the development of this book in its prior versions, see IntrotoUSLawBook).  For those interested in reviewing the page proofs of the Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States, please email me for a copy.


It also permitted me the opportunity to teach the introduction to the U.S. legal system both the well trained non-U.S. lawyers and to do it in Spanish over a short but intense course. I am grateful to both institutions, and their respective leaderships, for helping to make this possible. A big shout out to my teaching assistants, Isa Ferrera Baca and Brandon Ruggiero, both of Penn State University, for their excellent work in putting together the materials, and especially for their organization of the program exercises and the English-Spanish vocabulary.


This post includes the PowerPoints for our seventh and last session--which introduced students to the controversies around the issues of judicial review and constitutional interpretation. In particular, the students considered the function of the courts in the context of constitutional interpretation and the way in which the Common Law "method" was transformed into an instrument of politics through the application of the ideologies of interpretation "of" and "from" text. 



Part 1 (Introduction) may be accessed here.
Part 2 (Common Law) may be accessed here.
Part 3 (Equity) may be accessed here.
Part 4 (Statutes) may be accessed here.
Part 5 (Administrative Regulations) may be accessed here.
Part 6 (Ideologies and Practice of Statutory Interpretation) may be accessed here.
Part 7 (Judicial Review and Constitutional Interpretation) may be accessed here


Monday, July 15, 2019

Immersion in a Dynamic Legal Culture: Introducing Students in Panamá to the Law, Systems, and Legal Culture of the United States; Part 6 Statutory Interpretation






I was delighted to have the opportunity to teach in the Penn State Law-Universidad Latina de Panamá Program on the Legal English in the U.S. Legal System. The program gave me an opportunity to road test portions of my just finished book, Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States: Structures, Functions, Principles, and Practices in National and International Context (Carolina Academic Press, forthcoming 2019) (for writing about the development of this book in its prior versions, see IntrotoUSLawBook).  For those interested in reviewing the page proofs of the Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States, please email me for a copy.


It also permitted me the opportunity to teach the introduction to the U.S. legal system both the well trained non-U.S. lawyers and to do it in Spanish over a short but intense course. I am grateful to both institutions, and their respective leaderships, for helping to make this possible. A big shout out to my teaching assistants, Isa Ferrera Baca and Brandon Ruggiero, both of Penn State University, for their excellent work in putting together the materials, and especially for their organization of the program exercises and the English-Spanish vocabulary.


This post includes the PowerPoints for our sixth session--which introduced students to the ideologies and techniques of statutory interpretation. 



Part 1 (Introduction) may be accessed here.
Part 2 (Common Law) may be accessed here.
Part 3 (Equity) may be accessed here.
Part 4 (Statutes) may be accessed here.
Part 5 (Administrative Regulations) may be accessed here.
Part 6 (Ideologies and Practice of Statutory Interpretation) may be accessed here.
Part 7 (Judicial Review and Constitutional Interpretation) may be accessed here


Sunday, July 14, 2019

Immersion in a Dynamic Legal Culture: Introducing Students in Panamá to the Law, Systems, and Legal Culture of the United States; Part 5 Administrative Regulations







I was delighted to have the opportunity to teach in the Penn State Law-Universidad Latina de Panamá Program on the Legal English in the U.S. Legal System. The program gave me an opportunity to road test portions of my just finished book, Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States: Structures, Functions, Principles, and Practices in National and International Context (Carolina Academic Press, forthcoming 2019) (for writing about the development of this book in its prior versions, see IntrotoUSLawBook).  For those interested in reviewing the page proofs of the Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States, please email me for a copy.


It also permitted me the opportunity to teach the introduction to the U.S. legal system both the well trained non-U.S. lawyers and to do it in Spanish over a short but intense course. I am grateful to both institutions, and their respective leaderships, for helping to make this possible. A big shout out to my teaching assistants, Isa Ferrera Baca and Brandon Ruggiero, both of Penn State University, for their excellent work in putting together the materials, and especially for their organization of the program exercises and the English-Spanish vocabulary.


This post includes the PowerPoints for our fifth session--which introduced students to administrative regulations.  It includes an analysis of the "Census Question" case: Department of Commerce v. New York, U.S. Supreme Court No. 18-966 Slip op. (Decided June 27, 2019)



Part 1 (Introduction) may be accessed here.
Part 2 (Common Law) may be accessed here.
Part 3 (Equity) may be accessed here.
Part 4 (Statutes) may be accessed here.
Part 5 (Administrative Regulations) may be accessed here.
Part 6 (Ideologies and Practice of Statutory Interpretation) may be accessed here.
Part 7 (Judicial Review and Constitutional Interpretation) may be accessed here.


Saturday, July 13, 2019

Immersion in a Dynamic Legal Culture: Introducing Students in Panamá to the Law, Systems, and Legal Culture of the United States; Part 4 Statutes








I was delighted to have the opportunity to teach in the Penn State Law-Universidad Latina de Panamá Program on the Legal English in the U.S. Legal System. The program gave me an opportunity to road test portions of my just finished book, Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States: Structures, Functions, Principles, and Practices in National and International Context (Carolina Academic Press, forthcoming 2019) (for writing about the development of this book in its prior versions, see IntrotoUSLawBook).  For those interested in reviewing the page proofs of the Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States, please email me for a copy.


It also permitted me the opportunity to teach the introduction to the U.S. legal system both the well trained non-U.S. lawyers and to do it in Spanish over a short but intense course. I am grateful to both institutions, and their respective leaderships, for helping to make this possible. A big shout out to my teaching assistants, Isa Ferrera Baca and Brandon Ruggiero, both of Penn State University, for their excellent work in putting together the materials, and especially for their organization of the program exercises and the English-Spanish vocabulary.


This post includes the PowerPoints for our fourth session--which introduced students to the cultures, ideologies and expressions of statutory law within a complex federal system. 


Part 1 (Introduction) may be accessed here.
Part 2 (Common Law) may be accessed here.
Part 3 (Equity) may be accessed here.
Part 4 (Statutes) may be accessed here.
Part 5 (Administrative Regulations) may be accessed here.
Part 6 (Ideologies and Practice of Statutory Interpretation) may be accessed here.
Part 7 (Judicial Review and Constitutional Interpretation) may be accessed here.







Immersion in a Dynamic Legal Culture: Introducing Students in Panamá to the Law, Systems, and Legal Culture of the United States; Part 3 Equity




I was delighted to have the opportunity to teach in the Penn State Law-Universidad Latina de Panamá Program on the Legal English in the U.S. Legal System. The program gave me an opportunity to road test portions of my just finished book, Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States: Structures, Functions, Principles, and Practices in National and International Context (Carolina Academic Press, forthcoming 2019) (for writing about the development of this book in its prior versions, see IntrotoUSLawBook).  For those interested in reviewing the page proofs of the Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States, please email me for a copy.


It also permitted me the opportunity to teach the introduction to the U.S. legal system both the well trained non-U.S. lawyers and to do it in Spanish over a short but intense course. I am grateful to both institutions, and their respective leaderships, for helping to make this possible. A big shout out to my teaching assistants, Isa Ferrera Baca and Brandon Ruggiero, both of Penn State University, for their excellent work in putting together the materials, and especially for their organization of the program exercises and the English-Spanish vocabulary.


This post includes the PowerPoints for our third session--which introduced students to the cultures, ideologies and expressions of equity and its relationship to other U.S. legal subsystems. Also explored was the manner in which Equity is both autonomous and permeates the foundations of the U.S. legal system .


Part 1 (Introduction) may be accessed here.
Part 2 (Common Law) may be accessed here.
Part 3 (Equity) may be accessed here.
Part 4 (Statutes) may be accessed here.
Part 5 (Administrative Regulations) may be accessed here.
Part 6 (Ideologies and Practice of Statutory Interpretation) may be accessed here.
Part 7 (Judicial Review and Constitutional Interpretation) may be accessed here.






Thursday, July 11, 2019

Immersion in a Dynamic Legal Culture: Introducing Students in Panamá to the Law, Systems, and Legal Culture of the United States; Part 2 Common Law



I was delighted to have the opportunity to teach in the Penn State Law-Universidad Latina de Panamá Program on the Legal English in the U.S. Legal System. The program gave me an opportunity to road test portions of my just finished book, Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States: Structures, Functions, Principles, and Practices in National and International Context (Carolina Academic Press, forthcoming 2019) (for writing about the development of this book in its prior versions, see IntrotoUSLawBook).  For those interested in reviewing the page proofs of the Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States, please email me for a copy.

It also permitted me the opportunity to teach the introduction to the U.S. legal system both the well trained non-U.S. lawyers and to do it in Spanish over a short but intense course. I am grateful to both institutions, and their respective leaderships, for helping to make this possible. A big shout out to my teaching assistants, Isa Ferrera Baca and Brandon Ruggiero, both of Penn State University, for their excellent work in putting together the materials, and especially for their organization of the program exercises and the English-Spanish vocabulary.


This post includes the PowerPoints for our second session--which introduced students to the cultures, ideologies and expressions of common law. Particular attention is paid to common law as a set of substantive law field, as a method of judging, and as a method of approaching the relationship between law and the courts.


Part 1 (Introduction) may be accessed here.
Part 2 (Common Law) may be accessed here.
Part 3 (Equity) may be accessed here.
Part 4 (Statutes) may be accessed here.
Part 5 (Administrative Regulations) may be accessed here.
Part 6 (Ideologies and Practice of Statutory Interpretation) may be accessed here.
Part 7 (Judicial Review and Constitutional Interpretation) may be accessed here.













Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Immersion in a Dynamic Legal Culture: Introducing Students in Panamá to the Law, Systems, and Legal Culture of the United States; Part 1 Introduction




 I was delighted to have the opportunity to teach in the Penn State Law-Universidad Latina de Panamá Program on the Legal English in the U.S. Legal System. The program gave me an opportunity to road test portions of my just finished book, Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States: Structures, Functions, Principles, and Practices in National and International Context (Carolina Academic Press, forthcoming 2019) (for writing about the development of this book in its prior versions, see IntrotoUSLawBook).  It also permitted me the opportunity to teach the introduction to the U.S. legal system both the well trained non-U.S. lawyers and to do it in Spanish over a short but intense course.

I am grateful to both institutions, and their respective leaderships, for helping to make this possible. A big shout out to my teaching assistants, Isa Ferrera Baca and Brandon Ruggiero, both of Penn State University, for their excellent work in putting together the materials, and especially for their organization of the program exercises and the English-Spanish vocabulary.


This post includes the Syllabus (including course philosophy in English and Spanish)) and the PowerPoints for the first class.  Future posts will follow the class to its conclusion. For those interested in reviewing the page proofs of the Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States, please email me for a copy.



Part 1 (Introduction) may be accessed here.
Part 2 (Common Law) may be accessed here.
Part 3 (Equity) may be accessed here.
Part 4 (Statutes) may be accessed here.
Part 5 (Administrative Regulations) may be accessed here.
Part 6 (Ideologies and Practice of Statutory Interpretation) may be accessed here.
Part 7 (Judicial Review and Constitutional Interpretation) may be accessed here.








Monday, July 08, 2019

Human Rights in Latin America: Articles in Vol. 23 Iuris Dictio (Universidad San Francisco de Quito)



Those interested in issues of human rights in Latin America might find the articles in the latest issue of  Iuris Dictio interesting and provocative,  They are highly recommended.

The table of contents with kinks to the articles follow.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

From the CPE Working Group on Empire: Ruminations 87-- Reflections on President Trump's July 4th Speech and the Convergence of the Rhetorics of Empire

 


The 4th of July is the day celebrated for the declaration of the intention of the 13 united colonies of their independence from the Crown of Great Britain and Ireland, as well as its Parliament. The event always tends to bring out everyone with an axe to grind--all of which then tend to be plunged into the heads of actual or perceived enemies.  It is a moment when leading groups restate their positions and seek advantage in the never ending process of controlling orthodox official narrative of "reality" and of managing the masses in the pursuit of influence and the harvesting of votes (an industry that remains one of the bright spots of the American economy). Indeed, the United States ruling classes, on its over privileged and arrogantly detached political left and right wings, has tended to indulge in many such moments lately)


The Coalition for Peace & Ethics Working Group on Empire suspects that all of this is both necessary and beside the point at this historical moment.  What CPE-WGE finds remarkable is the way in which the rhetorics around important historical markers (in the case of the U.S. for example the 4th of July)  have begun to converge around two key elements.  
 
The first is the increasing acceptance of a core leader model of governance; in the United States situated around the person of the U.S. President (and thus the intensity of the battles over the body and fate of Mr Trump), and in China around the development of a core leader ideology around the person of President Xi from which radiates collective leadership, which is then replicated down the chain of the organization of state and party apparatus. 

The second, is the way in which the leadership core of both exhibit similar discursive trends in the construction of new models of self reflection, and on that basis of projection of national self understanding outward. In both cases one sees the development of a model in which the core draws on the deep wells of historical tradition, culture and learning to project those insights as the incarnation of a model that can be be projected onto the new era (inward) and exported to the model of empire (outward through America First and Belt and Road Initiatives).

The CE-WGE has spent considerable time considering the development of those rhetorical tropes (and the exploration of the ideology of "new era" empire it reveals) from the Chinese side of empire (e.g., CPE EmpireSeries).  For this post CPE-WGE explores a similar development from the U.S. side of empire.  To that end it provides below a critical analysis of the speech delivered by Mr. Trump at the official 4th of July festivities held at Washington, D.C.  It follows below. For the orthodox discussion of the speech within the U.S. from partisan perspectives see, e.g., here and here). What emerges is an interesting parallel in the way that empire is reconstructed from within a context of globalization.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

The Draft "Hague Rules on Business and Human Rights Arbitration" Now Open for Public Consultation and Comment



For years, people who worried about these sorts of things have worried that the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights was heavy on principle and very light on implementable mechanisms.  That was, of course, a deliberate choice in the development of the UNGP.  They might be understood as primarily privileging principles in order to provide a necessary foundation on which the international community (or effectively constituted fragments thereof), might develop structures and approaches to implementation that would be contextually appropriate. 

Still, the value of unification, especially in the development of standards and processes of remedy, was strong.  I counted myself among those who, years ago, pushed for such efforts around the then nascent Working Group. I argued then:
 "But the WG missed more than that. The WG failed to grasp the opportunity to become the source of the highest and most credible and consistent interpretation of the UNGPs applied in context. That failure to take on a quasi-judicial role, not unlike that of the European Court of Justice in interpreting the application of European Law, in form and effect, though not binding in fact, has significantly diminished the importance of the WG’s work and might well imperil the dynamic element of the UNGPs. The UN Development Program (UNDP) remains a framework in search of a jurisprudence. It’s most significant value lies in its application to concrete disputes among the critical stakeholders to the UNGP – states, business, and individuals on whose behalf civil society plays a decisive role. The principles of the UNDP can only be reified – made concrete – through the dynamic evolution and deepening of the “law” of the UNGPs’ consistent application through a bottom up, case-by-case basis. And this, from the perspective of both static and dynamic evolution of the UNGPs, is fundamental – both for the WG and for those civil society elements that can play a crucial role in bringing such actions and thus adding muscle to the third pillar. To this end an interpretive facility is imperative. There is no evolution of the UNDP without a substantial body of application in which the UNGPs are manifested in the actions of its three stakeholders. . . The binding effect of the determinations of any interpretive facility is less important than the project of producing these interpretations consistently and in the context of disputes actively contested among states, enterprises, and civil society actors before the UNGPs neutral interpreters." (Larry Catá Backer, "From Guiding Principles to Interpretive Organizations: Developing a Framework for Applying the UNGPs to Disputes that Institutionalizes the Advocacy Role of Civil Society," in Business and Human Rights: Beyond the End of the Beginning 97-110 (César Rodríguez Garavito, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2017) . 

Eventually, a group of quite thoughtful and capable individuals who represent the core stakeholder groups in the processes of reifying a rule system for the human rights obligations of economic enterprises,  began a process of considering the possibility of developing at least one form of unifying mechanism for the resolution of claims of human rights wrongs by economic enterprises in ways that would, it would be hoped, contribute to the construction of global consensus (common law style to be sure) on principles and their application (through the mechanisms of arbitration) in this emerging field. A drafting team put themselves together to this end.  Guided by a unifying vision of the value of an arbitral remedial mechanism, they eventually constituted themselves the  Drafting Team of the Hague Rules on Business and Human Rights Arbitration and included among them Bruno Simma, Chair, Diane Desierto, Martin Doe Rodriguez, Jan Eijsbouts, Ursula Kriebaum, Pablo Lumerman, Abiola Makinwa, Richard Meeran, Sergio Puig, Steven Ratner, Giorgia Sangiuolo, Martijn Scheltema, Anne van Aaken, and Katerina Yiannibas.  

The Drafting Team started with a process of drafting and wide consultation among those interested, including many who frequent the UN Forum for Business and Human Rights in Geneva. Though it has been a long time coming, the effort was perhaps worth the wait.  The Drafting Team has produced a Draft Hague Rules on Business and Human Rights Arbitration which is now ready for public consultation.  

If you are at all interested in this area--especially in the area of remedies--you might be moved to have a look and make your views known.  This project is likely coming and it will profit from a substantial volume of considered reaction; so make your views known.  Businesses (beyond the usual mega-enterprises heavily involved in the field already) and  civil society (beyond the mega global organs already deeply embedded in these conversations) ought to make their views known.  The development of joint positions might also be valuable among affinity groups for greater impact. 

The call for public comment circulated by Katerina Yiannibas follows along with relevant links and the "Introductory Note" and Article 1 (Preamble).  The Draft Rules contain 51 Articles and a Code of Conduct (also reproduced below). Be aware that comments must be submitted in the boxes provided  to be considered by the Drafting Team; but comments may be freely circulated or directed elsewhere as well if the object is for greater engagement and reaction by other actors. It is my hope as well that the institutional organs of the new Belt and Road Initiative that focus on remedy will also reach out. My comments will follow in a future post.


Tuesday, July 02, 2019

CPE Working Group on Empire: Part 2--Observations on Xi Jinping, Speech Delivered at the G20 Leaders' Summit on the World Economic Situation and Trade Issues--"Work Together to Create a High Quality World Economy" [习近平在二十国集团领导人峰会上关于世界经济形势和贸易问题的讲话(全文)携手共进,合力打造高质量世界经济]






As noted in a prior post, the Coalition for Peace & Ethics Working Group on Empire has been following the events around the reconstruction of the global trading order through the lens of the bilateral negotiations between the United States and China.  In particular, while it has been considering the specifics of an eventually constructed agreement, the WGE has focused more attention on the construction of something perhaps even more durable--new theories of empire that will sustain the visions being developed now under the leadership of Presidents Xi and Trump. (See CPE EmpireSeries)

While the complex contradictions and battles for control of the narrative of trade in the West is dynamic and contingent, at least it is readily accessible, the Chinese positions are perhaps less accessible outside of the leadership cores of that nation. To the end of centering Chinese perspectives to better balance analysis of the quest of these two great nations to remake the world between them, the CPE-WGE has focused analysis on key pronouncements of the Chinese leadership (with a sensitivity to whether they were constructed for internal or external consumption). The object is not criticism but decoding (something beyond mere translation).  


This post is the second of 2 posts in which the CPE-WGE considered Xi Jinping's important speech delivered at the recently concluded G20 Leaders' Summit in Japan provides another indication of the perspectives and objectives of China's leadership core with respect to the necessary ordering of global trade to its liking.  Understanding that perspective is essential if one is to better understand the parameters within which China is prepared to negotiate, and beyond that, those parameters with respect to which its partners must be willing to go it alone--either without China or in competition with it. The English and original text (中国语文) of the Speech, "Work together to create a high-quality world economy" [携手共进,合力打造高质量世界经济] may be accessed HERE


Our second set of reflections, G20 in the Shadow of Belt and Road-- Reflections on Xi Jinping Speech, "Work Together to Create a High-Quality World Economy, was prepared by Flora Sapio and follows below. 

 pix credit here

Monday, July 01, 2019

CPE Working Group on Empire: Part 1--Observations on Xi Jinping, Speech Delivered at the G20 Leaders' Summit on the World Economic Situation and Trade Issues--"Work Together to Create a High Quality World Economy" [习近平在二十国集团领导人峰会上关于世界经济形势和贸易问题的讲话(全文)携手共进,合力打造高质量世界经济]



Xi Jinping's Speech delivered at the recently concluded G20 Leaders' Summit in Japan provides another indication of the perspectives and objectives of China's leadership core with respect to the necessary ordering of global trade to its liking.  Understanding that perspective is essential if one is to better understand the parameters within which China is prepared to negotiate, and beyond that, those parameters with respect to which its partners must be willing to go it alone--either without China or in competition with it. These are all political decisions, of course; but political decisions in which the interests of many sub-communities (business, political, intellectual, and civil society, for example) may either converge or fall out of the aggregation of great principles that drive each of the United States and China as they reshape their view of themselves in the world and construct multilateral relations more protective of their core interests and their core partners.  







The Coalition for Peace & Ethics Working Group on Empire has been following these vents closely, While it has been considering the specifics of an eventually constructed agreement, it is focusing on the construction of something even more durable--new theories of empire that will sustain the visions being developed now under the leadership of Presidents Xi and Trump. 

President Xi's speech provides another set of valuable insights from the Chinese side.  It is worth considering in its own right.  In this post and the next  CPE-WGE presents its brief thoughts on the speech and what it may point to in the upcoming negotiations--and more importantly, in the further development of Communist Party ideological thinking that will likely be unveiled in fuller form in the upcoming 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress.

Our first set of reflections, The Meaning is in the Title--Reflections on Xi Jinping Speech, "Work Together to Create a High-Quality World Economy, along with the English and original text (中国语文) of the Speech, "Work together to create a high-quality world economy" [携手共进,合力打造高质量世界经济] follow.  The second reflection prepared by Flora Sapio may be accessed here
 


Sunday, June 30, 2019

Statement of the CPE Working Group on Empire on the G-20 Meeting of Presidents Trump and Xi


(Pix credit: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters posted HERE )

It was with some relief that the political and economic classes greeted the tentative but from their perceptive positive forward movement between China and the United States after their respective Presidents met at the G-20 Meeting in Japan. "Mr Trump also said he would allow US companies to continue to sell to the Chinese tech giant Huawei, in a move seen as a significant concession. Mr Trump had threatened additional trade sanctions on China. However, after the meeting on the sidelines of the main G20 summit in Osaka, he confirmed that the US would not be adding tariffs on $300bn (£236bn) worth of Chinese imports." (G20 summit: Trump and Xi agree to restart US-China trade talks). This appears to have had an effect on global financial markets (at least in the short term) (Dow Futures Higher as Trump/Xi Meeting Dominates G20 Focus, Keep Markets on Edge).  It was noted, however, that Presidents Trump and Xi had reached a similar agreement last year at the Argentina G20 meeting (‘It’s a temporary timeout’).

The Coalition for Peace & Ethics Working Group on Empire issued the following statement in the wake of that news:
Both Presidents Xi and Trump bear a heavy responsibility for ensuring that they each protect the highest principles and aspirations of their respective countries and that they each promote those core values that all peoples share. The process of realizing these objectives has been made more difficult by the uncertainties that arise at the start of this new era of historical development. For both countries, this new era presents new contradictions unique to each that must be understood as central to their respective continued development. Each requires greater attention to the obligation to emancipate the mind in the face of the respective historical realities of China and of the United States if they are to be overcome. That process can be painful. But under the core leadership of Presidents Xi and Trump, it now appears clearer that the collective leadership of both states will be able to work successfully toward a resolution that respects the core principles of their respective collective economic systems and is also sensitive to the respective dignities of their peoples. In the process, under their collective leadership and guidance, they will together contribute, each in their own way, to a more stable and equitable world order more suitable to the present times.

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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Announcing Publication of "The Cuba-US Bilateral Relationship: New Pathways and Policy Choices" (OUP 2019)


I am happy to announce the (pre)publication of The Cuba-US Bilateral Relationship: New Pathways and Policy Choices published by Oxford University Press and set for delivery September 2019. The book profited from the vision and editing of a great team from Creighton University: Michael J. Kelly, Interim Dean and Professor of Law, Erika Moreno is Associate Professor of Political Science, and Richard C. Witmer is Professor of Political Science.

This book brings together experts from across three disciplines—politics, economics, and law—to address the key issues that affect Cuba-U.S. bilateral relations today. The chapters identify the opportunities and challenges presented to both nations in each of their respective disciplines while staking out what the future may hold. I was delighted to have been included in this effort. The book is especially timely now that the region continues to experience substantial flux. 
Features:
• Looks at the U.S.-Cuban bilateral relationship through the interdisciplinary lens of politics, economics, and law
• Timely analysis of U.S.-Cuban relations since 2014 and during the first two years of the Trump administration
• Includes a foreword by the first U.S. Ambassador to Cuba and an afterword by the acting Secretary of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy

The description, table of contents, and contributor information follows. Finally, as part of the book kick-off, Oxford University Press has created a book flyer with a 30% discount code. I have included the flyer below as well. Feel free to print and circulate--and order the book!


Latin American Research Review: Links to Articles in Vol 54(2)



Happy to pass along the links to what looks like some very interesting new work from the latest issue of the Latin American Research Review. Particularly interestung may be the essays on the situation in Venezuela.

The Latin American Research Review (LARR) is the academic journal of the Latin American Studies Association. LARR publishes original research and review essays on Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latina/Latino studies. It covers the social sciences and the humanities, including the fields of anthropology, economics, history, literature and cultural studies, political science, and sociology.

The journal reviews and publishes papers in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. All papers, except for book and documentary film review essays, are subject to double-blind peer review.



Wednesday, June 26, 2019

"Theory Before Theory, and the Trade War Before the Trade War: Qiushi writing in Qiushi Journal A Perspective on Sinification" Brief Thoughts on Autumn Stone, "On Correctly Handling Government and Market Relations" [论正确处理政府和市场关系]

(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2018)

Over the course of the last several weeks the Coalition for Peace & Ethics Working Group on Empire has been focusing the ongoing reshaping of the global order through the dialogue between the two emerging imperial powers--China and the United States (CPE EmpireSeries). Like others, CPE-WGE has thought to better analyze the underlying premises that shape the communication between these two trade leadership cores through a more rigorous analysis of the writings of Chinese thought leaders not directly intended for Western audiences.

In our last post Larry Catá Backer considered Zheng Yongnian's  essay, "Is Marxism Really Revived in China? [马克思主义在中国真的复兴了吗?]. The engagement with Marxism within the evolving principles of Chinese engagement with the world might provide useful hints about the principles underlying Chinese discursive styles in its negotiations with the U.S. leadership core. (Brief Thoughts on Zheng Yongnian: Is Marxism Really Revived in China? [郑永年:马克思主义在中国真的复兴了吗?]). This is part of the larger project of theorizing empire from the perspectives of Chinese and U.S. critical actors.

In this post Flora Sapio examines the writing of the person writing under the pen name Autumn Stone [秋 石] in Quishi the theoretical journal of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, and the Central Party School. More specifically, the post focuses on Autumn Stone's important article, "On Correctly Handling Government and Market Relations",  [论正确处理政府和市场关系] published on January 15, 2018.

Flora Sapio's essay, "Theory before Theory, and the Trade War Before the Trade War: Qiushi writing in Qiushi Journal: A Perspective on Sinification."

Monday, June 24, 2019

Brief Thoughts on Zheng Yongnian: Is Marxism Really Revived in China? [郑永年:马克思主义在中国真的复兴了吗?]

(Pix Credit HERE)

Over the course of the last several weeks  The Coalition for Peace & Ethics Working Group on Empire has been focusing an an interesting element in the ongoing reshaping of the global order through the dialogue between the two emerging imperial powers--China and the United States (CPE EmpireSeries).  That dialogue has been external--as both seek to define themselves in relation to each other and to transform and apply a substantially new conceptual framework. That framework takes as a given the rejection of the old bases of empire--occupation, racism, colonialism, and exploitation--in favor of what appears to be a new foundation. That new foundation is based on an embrace of the fundamental tenets of post 1945 economic globalization, and principally the free movement of goods, capital, and investment, along with the managed movement of people.  While it remains to be seen whether this transformation will succeed either as theory or in fact, the dialogue between the leadership cores of both states (Mr. Xi and Mr. Trump), suggests a commitment toward those efforts to which the intellectual and official classes of both states have been deployed.

The dialogue has also been internal. Since 2013 in China and since 2016 in the United States, internal elites have been faced with the core contradictions of their internal systems in the face of the emergence of empire.  For the United States, that internal dialogue has been both operatic and exaggerated-at least in public. Despite the unhelpful histrionics, the dialogue has forced the Americans to look more deeply at themselves and their sense of self, a process that is both far from complete and unclear as to its direction. Yet that dialogue itself helps situate the American movements out of the old approaches to its relationship with the world toward something new if still somewhat undefined (and untested). 

The internal dialogue of Chinese intellectuals and the leadership classes has been equally interesting for its intensity and sincerity. At its core, the external dialogue is shaped by the intense internal debate about Chinese principles, and more important, the Chinese character of these principles. That, in turn, has its core in a fundamental intellectual contradiction of the Chinese Marxist Leninist Line in the New Era--the principles underlying the outward reach of the principles of Reform and Opening Up (改革开放) and the long arc of stripping China of what is perceived as the vestiges of its semi-colonial humiliation and dependence on the West for its modernization and political-economic model. 

Sinification becomes a more delicate and complicated enterprise in the face of two countering realities.  The first is that the construction of empire requires an openness to imperial interaction between the core and the collective. China remains at an early stage of development of its mass line principle--both as a means of internal democratization, and as a means for weaving together the complex relationships that will eventually constitute a strong Belt and Road Initiative system. The second is that of the nature of inter-systemic communication itself in the face of history. That requires a careful balancing between the necessarily of every living political culture to absorb as well as project its own self-reflexive principles and by successfully operating within them prove their legitimacy and authority, against the danger of intellectual colonialism and the loss of autonomy.

Indeed, the balancing between absorption and autonomy and the utility of the mass line have been playing out in China's construction of its own trading system and in its reconstitution of its relationship with a non-dependent partner-competitor. Indeed, the discomforts of this contradiction, and its resolution, might well provide a foundation for the development of the Chinese line in its bilateral negotiations with the United States. Those negotiations may be important in themselves; but they assume a far greater importance as the discursive site in which China seeks to resolve its own historical contradictions and emerges as a more self-reflexive political model fit for its new era.

These issues converge in recent intellectual (and political) efforts to develop both Marxism (the normative a basis for the Chinese system) and Leninism (its operational principles founded on the leadership core of a revolutionary vanguard responsible for its collective). The issue is particularly delicate because it exposes the difficulty of a simple minded Sinification project--the core values of the political-economic model of China is itself the product of the intellectual power of German Jews resident in part in England, and Russian intellectuals who developed and operationalized a version of the normative vision whose birthplace is undeniably European.

The resolution of the issue is a critical barometer for the nature and intensity of the deployment of Chinese principles against Western negotiating partners.  Yet there is little the West can do as China sorts through the development of its own political theory in the shadow of its recent past. n this respect China is undergoing the same stormy process as the U.S..  While the Chinese focus on its relationship with the West from the end of the Qing period, the Americans are now equally absorbed in the resolution of its Civil War.  In both cases, the ghosts of the 19th century and its perceived perversion of both states into the 20th century now consume their respective intellectual and political classes--and help shape the approaches to empire--and thus the bilateral negotiations of each with the other.

In an excellent essay, Zheng Yongnian, Prof. Chairman of the Public Policy Institute (IPP) South China University, provides a quite useful window on the Chinese side of these dialectics. His essay, "Is Marxism Really Revived in China? [马克思主义在中国真的复兴了吗?] follows below, along with some brief observations. The article was first published in the Lianhe Zaobao on July 10, 2018.