Friday, April 30, 2021

The 8th Cuban Communist Party Congress From the Outside In: Declaration of the Lawyers of the Group 'Corriente Agramontistas'



 While most attention has focused on the 8th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (Partido Comunista Cubano), a number of groups that fall outside of the mainstream of the current political economic model have also sought to have their voices heard.  One, made up of lawyers and others, the Corriente Agramontista, has distributed a Declaration that appears below and is worth reading in the shadow of the major events of the 8th PCC Congress. The Declaration suggests that inthe face of the grave crisis facing Cuba, that substantial and radical reform is necessary in the political, economic, and social spheres. The PCC is unlikely to be moved, though its members will take note.  The effect f these sorts of interventiosn will be hard to gauge, but that they may be made without substantial interference (for the moment) though at some sometimes great personal cost, suggests that someone is listening.

Discurso pronunciado por Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, Primer Secretario del Comité Central del Partido Comunista de Cuba y Presidente de la República

Perhaps there is no better encapsulation of the direction of the VIII Congress of the Cuban Communist Party than this extract from the Speech delivered by the newly minted First Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party (who is not, for the first time either Fidel or Raúl Castro), Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez.

Este Congreso, con su amplio y crítico debate, defendiendo la visión integral de continuidad, ha aportado ideas, conceptos y directrices que trazan la guía para avanzar resistiendo. Pero es imprescindible enfrentar ese desafío con el mayor conocimiento posible del complejo contexto nacional e internacional, conscientes de que el mundo cambió de un modo dramático y hay demasiadas puertas cerradas para lasnaciones de menos recursos y muchas más para quienes nos empeñamos en ser soberanos.

This Congress, with its substantial and critical debate, defending the integral vision of continuity, has contributed ideas, concepts and guidelines that outline the guide to move forward by resisting. But it is essential to face this challenge with the greatest possible understanding of the complex national and international context, aware that the world has changed dramatically and there are too many closed doors for nations with fewer resources and many more for those of us who strive to be sovereign. (Discurso pronunciado por Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, Primer Secretario del Comité Central del Partido Comunista de Cuba y Presidente de la República)
This theme was picked up by the local press (Analysis: Cuban Communists under pressure to accelerate economic reforms) but from the perspective of reform, rather than from the now deeply embedded culture of caution in the face of reform--even under conditions of severe crisis. 
The tensions and the roadmap for Cubanapproaches to engagement in the first years after the formal stepping aside of Raúl Castro (who likely will remain a potent and legitimating force on the sidelines and whose allies continue to serve the PCC and the state apparatus). It is then worth reading careffully the first Discourse delivered by the new first secretary at the start of his formal leadership.   

This post includes that intiial address in the original Spanish with a crude English translation, along with brief reflections on the state of Caribbean Marxism (considered in more detail here) in Cuba and its potential future course.

8th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party: New Politburo Leadership



With the end of the 8th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (Partido Communista Cubano (PCC)) the PCC announced the new leadership core.  It was noteworthy for the shifts that have come now that Raúl Castro has left the post of PCC Fist Secretary. The new leadership was announced on the 8th COngress Website: Nuevo Buró Político, Secretariado y miembros del Comité Central del Partido Comunista de Cuba (+Fotos) ("Así lo informó el General de Ejército Raúl Castro Ruz, tras dar a conocer a los 14 integrantes del Buró Político, de los cuales fueron ratificados nueve compañeros e incorporados cinco como nuevos miembros").

The photos and positions of the new leadership of the Politburo and the Secretariat follows:


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

European Center for Constitutional Rights 2020 Annual Report and the Legalization of Human Rights



European institutions, public and private, have been at the forefront of efforts to transform human rights norms and principles into an enforceable system of law.  This project of legalization is potentially quite potent.  It has certainly projected private power through the use of the mechanisms, ideologies, and structures of law, in the great global conversations about the scope of expected conduct of individuals and organizations with respect to human rights.

Among the actors in this substantial effort has been the European Center for Constitutional Rights (ECCR).  It has just posted in 2020 Annual Report which may be accessed HERE.  The ECCR Press Release follows.

Announcing 10th Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights (29 November – 1st December 2021)



I am delighted to pass along the announcement of the forthcoming 10th Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights (29 November – 1st December 2021).  This year the event will again be held virtually. Here is the announcement:

10th Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights

The Working Group on Business and Human Rights in coordination with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is pleased to announce the dates of the 10th Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights.

Date: 29 November – 1st December 2021

Due to the ongoing worldwide challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights will once again be held virtually in 2021. Further detailed information on the format and agenda, as well as practical information on registration and participation in the Forum will be provided on this page as soon as possible.

2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and this will form the central theme of the 2021 Forum. This milestone provides an opportunity to look back at progress and challenges to-date and, more importantly, to inspire a renewed push for scaled-up global implementation by States and businesses in the decade ahead. It also comes at a time when the world is facing a convergence of crises – ranging from the ongoing human and financial costs of COVID-19 to the existential climate crisis, growing inequality, systemic and pervasive gender and racial discrimination, shrinking civic space, and human consequences of technological developments. Against this backdrop, the Working Group is taking stock of the first ten years of the Guiding Principles and developing a roadmap for the next decade (“UNGPs 10+”). The stocktaking and roadmap will be launched in June 2021.

The UN Forum provides a key global platform for stakeholder dialogue on how to increase the pace of implementation of the Guiding Principles by States, businesses and other actors. Further information and a concept note for the Forum will be provided on this page soon.

Monday, April 26, 2021

The People Serve Their Nation Best by Denouncing Dangerous and Harmful Remarks that Mislead the Public! On China's Reporting Zone for Harmful Information [“涉历史虚无主义有害信息举报专区”]

Pix Credit HERE
There has been much discussion in the West about the way in which the social order has more aggressively used tactics of denunciation and social and economic exclusion as a means of punishing words or actions that are now deemed not merely offensive, but also incompatible with the emerging core principles of correct social conduct. Much of this has been informal and private, sometimes aligning the interests of economic and non economic actors. Some of it has been memorialized in law and administrative systems. But the systems of punishments and rewards for breaches of emerging core cultural taboos tends to be driven by private rather than public actors within market based social systems. The practice has caused some controversy but also appears to be somewhat effective--at least in with respect to aspects of life that can be recorded and then distributed through social media and press outlets--in substantially curbing the public expression of private opinion. But, in a way that is consistent with the organization of societal. cultural, political and economic life in liberal democracies, the efforts have been largely unregulated, and the process tends to avoid any of the niceties of formal process overseen by the state. Within institutions, such patterns of denunciation have been better bureaucratized, especially in large institutions. In either case the process sis marked by cultures of surveillance, denunciation, and exclusion or punishment.

Marxist-Leninist States have not escaped this apparently global trend. But while the construction of systems of denunciation, exclusion and rectification have been largely driven by social and market forces in liberal democratic states, in China, such systems are likely to be much more centrally organized and public. Where alignments of economic and societal forces drive such systems in the West, in China such systems are driven by the vanguard and operationalized through organs of its administrative apparatus.

It comes as no surprise, then, that Chinese authorities have now announced the institutionalization of systems of denunciations of expressions that threaten the social and political order. The issue has become more sensitive as the vanguard party gears up to celebrate its 100th anniversary. To that end, Chinese authorities have announced the establishment of a denunciation hotline ,“涉历史虚无主义有害信息举报专区” operated by the Reporting Center of Cyberspace Administration of China. 

Where in the West, denunciation is centered on the great anti-discrimination campaigns of the last half decade, now intensified, in Marxist Leninist States such systems of denunciation are geared to the protection of the integrity of the vanguard system itself.  These are encompassed not merely in the great patriotic campaigns (themselves a proxy for the development of the ideal member of collective society), but also in the inculcation of the principle of a vanguard led society. Expressions of disloyalty or disrespect, in both contexts, to the great principles to be protected must be denounced to protect the core principles on which the integrity of each system, respectively, is grounded. 

It follows that the system of denunciation in China, especially during the celebrations of the CPC's centennial, would focus on the preservation of the correct view of Chinese history, and the political economic model that has made China what it is today.   Included, then, among expressions that must be denounced are:

1. Distorting the history of the Party, the history of New China, the history of reform and opening up, and the history of socialist development; 2. Attacking the party’s leadership, guiding ideology, principles and policies; 3. Defamation of heroes and martyrs; 4. Denial of Chinese excellent traditional culture, revolutionary culture, and advanced socialist culture. [1.歪曲党史、新中国史、改革开放史、社会主义发展史的;2.攻击党的领导、指导思想、方针政策的;3.诋毁英雄烈士的;4.否定中华优秀传统文化、革命文化、社会主义先进文化的。] (“涉历史虚无主义有害信息举报专区”)

The text off the announcement follows below in the original Chinese and in a crude English translation:

Pix Credit HERE
The great value in studying these efforts for those in liberal democratic states is the opportunity it offers to consider the ways in which both systems appear to be aligning their disciplinary objectives, even as they each more distinctly evidence the very different approaches (grounded in fundamental differences in guiding ideology)  to implementation.  While liberal democratic and Marxist Leninist systems do clearly embrace quite different hierarchies of values and objectives, the tactics that they use to attain them appear more similar than different, even if they are operationalized differently and consistent with the operating logic of each system. In both cases, societies identify and privilege those aspects of fake or false or dangerous statements that attack the integrity of the political system and its societal objectives, The impulse to identify and suppress dangerous ideas, words, thoughts, and the principles they represent, is thus common to both contemporary expressions of imperial narrative. What distinguishes them is both what is privileged as central to the integrity of the system (anti-discrimination and equality principles in once case and collective prosperity and stability) and the way that methods of suppression are understood as legitimate (or tolerable) within each system.


Sunday, April 25, 2021

The Duty of Faculty is to Further the Great Patriotic Campaigns! 中国共产党普通高等学校基层组织工作条例 [ Regulations of the Communist Party of China on the Work of Primary Organizations in Regular Colleges and Universities] and the Florida Anti-Faculty Bias Legislation

A very interesting set of revisions to the 中国共产党普通高等学校基层组织工作条例 [Regulations of the Communist Party of China on the Work of Primary Organizations in Regular Colleges and Universities] originally approved in its current form in 2009 and promulgated in 2010, and now revised by the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee (26 February 2021) and promulgated by the CPC Central Committee on 16 April 2021. These were announced at roughly the same time that the Florida legislature sought to acquire the Governor's signature on faculty anti-bias and reporting legislation targeting the dissemination of knowledge at public universities in that state. The updated regulations and the proposed legislation both point to what appears to be a tendency within the two great imperial centers to better manage the university as an instrument for the training of students and the normalization of appropriate values and perspectives. More precisely, they each nicely illustrate the (politically-culturally necessity of) subjectivity of knowledge, not in the sense of facts (though there is subjectivity in the recognition of facts) but in their signification, for the affirmation and preservation of societal collectives.
In China that instrumentation is wielded through the appropriate organs of the vanguard party and its university cadres and reflects the social and political organization of the nation. To that end the CPC Regulations for cadres in universities becomes a key element of alignment and discipline, especially for the great patriotic and political campaigns that mark the cultural and social work of the vanguard's New Era. A central element of the regulations is the more disciplined and focused organization of CPC cadres within the university to more effectively meet the vanguard's leadership and guidance responsibilities within the university.
In the United States it is reflected in the contests among privatized social and cultural collectives for the control of both the political-societal narrative that is to projected into students and society in general, as well as an increased contest for the control of the political mechanisms to better align state power to the aspirations of these warring factions. To that end, elite factions with enough political power have sought to control various aspects of university operation.  The dominant faction has focused on the great anti-discrimination campaigns of the last several decades, but the opposing faction has now enough clout to begin to push back. A recent example is the measure now before the governor of the state of Florida that would  deploy the denunciation based tactics of the great anti-discrimination campaigns against what is perceived to be error in political indoctrination delivered through traditional forms of education (Florida bill would allow students to record professors to show political bias).

The full text of the revision to the 中国共产党普通高等学校基层组织工作条例 and my crude English translation, along with the Florida Faculty Anti-Bias Legislation, and brief reflections follow. 

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Just Published: Volume 15 Issue 3: "Emancipating the Mind in the New Era: Bulletin of the Coalition for Peace & Ethics" (Winter 2020)


Cover Volume 15 No. 3


I am delighted to announce the publication of the Winter 2020 issue of the Coalition for Peace & Ethics' Bulletin--Emancipating the Mind in the New EraVolume 15 No. 3 may be accessed free by clicking on the links provided below. All available on line issues of the Bulletin may be accessed HERE.

This last issue of 2020 is divided into two parts.  Part I includes delivered inputs in response to a call for input by the UN Working Group for Business and Human Rights on its preparations for the celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights by the Human Rights Council. Part II includes three essays in issues of Cuban economic and political reform efforts in the shadow of the transition of authority within Cuban ruling circles and its larger implications. These include consideration of the right to political resistance built into the 2019 Constitution and implications of the economic reforms of mid 2020. It also includes a consideration of comparative patterns of reform cycles in Cuba, China, and the United States.

The Table of Contents with links to individual articles and contributions, along with the short introduction to the volume follow below. A link to the entire issue also follow. 


Friday, April 23, 2021

Available Soon: 4th Edition of Ravitch and Backer, "Law & Religion: Cases, Materials, and Readings" (West Academic, American Casebook Series, 2021)



I am delighted to pass along the announcement that the 4th edition of Frank S. Ravitch and Larry Catá Backer, Law & Religion: Cases, Materials, and Readings  (West Academic, American Casebook Series, 2021).  The 4th Edition reflects the substantial changes in jurisprudence and the points of controversy that have occurred since the publication of the 3rd Edition in 2015. In some respects this half a decade has seen the rise of potentially transformed jurisprudence  as well as the development in important ways in what had already been noted areas of application ripe for change.  

Our Preface provides a nice summary of the materials:

The book covers three general topics: 1) Church/State Law (issues arising under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and statutes such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act); 2) Religious Law (the role and substance of law in various religious traditions); and 3) Comparative Law and Religion (the law relating to religious freedom in other countries). Most books in this field have little or no material on the latter two topics. The bulk of this book is devoted to First Amendment Law, but the book also provides an overview of Jewish Law (Halakha), Islamic Law (Shari’ah), Buddhist conceptions of law, Catholic Canon Law, Protestant conceptions of law, and Hindu law as well as significant background on comparative Law and Religion. The discussion of First Amendment law integrates cases, questions and narrative to provide an in-depth understanding of the Religion Clauses of the United States Constitution.

As the preface suggests, the materials are divided into two parts.  The first and core part of the materials focus on a detailed consideration of the distinctive jurisprudence of religious liberty within the constitutional system of the United States (with respect to which Frank did a superlative job of organizing complex materials in an accessible form). I took the laboring oar on the comparative, foreign, and international materials. To give the comparative element of the materials a little more context, the text is organized initially around the issue of the regulation of the wearing of religious public. In the study of religious systems, the focus is on the way in which religious and secular law collide and might be either ordered or aligned within the U.S. system and under the framework of the European Convention for Human Rights.  

The materials are useful as a resource and were developed for use in advanced law and graduate classes. We are happy to discuss the book with anyone who might be interested in adopting the text anyone else with an interest in the materials.  

The Introduction to Part I (The U.S. Religion Clauses of the Federal Constitution and its jurisprudence) and Part II (The "law" of religion, national, regional, and international legal regimes for the protection of religious liberties outside the US.) follows below.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Upcoming Webinar: Foreign Direct Investment--Lessons for Cuba 5 May 2021 10 Am-Noon East Coast Time



ASCE Virtual Event

Foreign Direct Investment: Lessons for Cuba

Wednesday, May 5 10 AM to 12 PM


This webinar will outline the salient features of FDI, touch upon the challenge of negotiating investment contracts between states and foreign investors, and, in particular, the current process of approval in Cuba.  It will consider what Cuba, as a developing nation with an economy in transition, needs in terms of a regulatory framework to attract FDI. 


Panelists:   Karl Sauvant (Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment), Natalia Delgado (Cuba Capacity Building Project at Columbia Law School), Jorge Piñon (University of Texas Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy), Pedro Freyre (Chair, Akerman’s International Practice), Christine Concepción (McDermott, Will & Emery), Ricardo Ampudia (Shook Hardy & Bacon)

Co-sponsored by the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy and the Cuba Capacity Building Project at Columbia Law School


Register at

Or via the QR Code 



Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Knowledge Must be Correctly Cultivated! Considering! 中小学生课外读物进校园管理办法》 "Administrative Measures for the Entry of Extracurricular Reading Materials for Primary and Secondary School Students"

It seems that there appears to be a convergence around the construction of firewalls around speech that is permissible and speech that is taboo. That, at least, is one thing that the vanguards of the liberal democratic and the Marxist Leninist camps appear to agree about in their respective new areas of societal, political, economics, and cultural organization. Speech, uncontrolled, is dangerous to a society. It must be cultivated like the food that is grown to keep a population healthy. And to that end, each society requires a farmer to oversee and ensure that weeds do not invade and that noxious and deviant expressions are suppressed.

All for the good order of society. And society, as it comes to be defined in each era of its development, must be defended--especially against itself.

Yet it is not merely speech that is now understood to require a new set of taboos around which one can distinguish a permissible "freedom" and an impermissible offense to society, politics, culture and the like that must be administered (for we do live in an age of societal administration by organs of control fashioned in accordance with the pretensions of the political ideologies of the collectives that make and remake them). .

No, it is not merely speech, but knowledge itself that must be carefully cultivated, harvested, and consumed, for the greater good. That requires an even stronger administrative control element and a sharper drawing of lines between knowledge that is taboo and knowledge that must be naturalized among recipient populations. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, the correct management of knowledge (and its production) also requires a the sharpest distinction between knowledge that may freely circulate among the people--for their own good and the greater glory of the collective society managed by vanguards (each in their own distinct ways in liberal democratic and Marxist-Leninist order)--and knowledge that remains solely the province of the guiding vanguard itself or its instruments (human and singular or collective and institutional). Freedom to cultivate, disseminate and internalize knowledge, in every society and in every era must be carefully managed--from the definition of knowledge itself to its presentation, to its internalization and expression by recipients at appropriate times and in appropriate ways. The liberal democratic camp, like its Marxist Leninist counterpart are now in an intense period of (re)defining and (re)deploying knowledge in societally useful ways 

These are old habits. The objectification, cultivation and management of knowledge in whatever forms are technologically possible is ancient. In the "old days" both book confiscations and destruction, and tight control over knowledge permitted to the masses, have long histories in the contemporary great seats of liberal democracy and Marxist Leninism. They now appear to return to human organization after the briefest period where knowledge and its production was for a time allowed to roam more of less freely (or at least more freely than it had before). The result has appeared catastrophic to some, and certainly highly disruptive of the maintenance of placid and efficiently operating societal orders. Not that either speech or knowledge production was ever entirely free of constraint, or freely shared outside of the guiding vanguard. But now both liberal democratic and Marxist Leninist vanguards have again converged around the older notion that both speech, and knowledge (its production and dissemination) but be both better managed and more tightly control for the achievement of core societal objectives (expressed in quite different ways in liberal democratic and Marxist Leninist political orders). That much the twin great antipodes of imperial power are (re)constructing for the world as they remake it in their respective images.

This is not so much a criticism--how can one criticize the waves for pounding a shoreline and in that process remaking it?--but an observation that while the great emerging imperial societies continue to express their attachment to notions of the great freedoms of expression and knowledge production/dissemination, the meaning of those concepts is undergoing some substantial change. And, of course, the great harbingers of this new turn toward well cultivated freedoms of the 20th century--those who insisted in the notion that within the state (or revolution, or Party) everything and outside of them nothing, might best recognize the trend which now appears to be unstoppable.

It is with that in mind that one might most usefully approach one small aspect of this transformation, of this better management of knowledge, its production, dissemination and expression, in the emerging context of protecting society against itself and against others.

To that end, on 6 April 2021 the Chinese Ministry of Education issued the "Administrative Measures for the Entry of Extracurricular Reading Materials for Primary and Secondary School Students" 《中小学生课外读物进校园管理办法》. It worth a careful reading, not so much for its uniqueness as for its candor. The Chinese Education Ministry is merely doing in a direct way what is being undertaken in culturally compatible ways within liberal democratic society. The focus is different of course. Yet both seek to preserve and advance their conceptions of the social and political order in in the manner that accords with the political strictures and institutions of these respective societies.

Each imperial camp with vigorous criticize and condemn the efforts of their rival in their efforts to operate their respective systems within meaning frameworks compatible with their core principles. That is both to be expected and necessary to sharpen and refine the difference that itself gives form and meaning to the principles and operations of each system. Yet as one undertakes this necessary performance of criticism one ought not to forget the equally necessary element of self.criticism (at least among members of elites and vanguards who have a hand in these operations). In that context..the better analysis is not the banal (but necessary) one: the extent to which the actions and understandings of the rival system are incompatible and dangerous to the integrity of one's home system and framing principles. That is easy enough. In this case, of course, those incompatibilities are glaring but also useful only as a means of analyzing what actual construction of taboo barriers for the protection of the integrity of the home system of knowledge production and dissemination. In this case there are no surprises.

The harder and more important analytical framework is whether the analyzed actions are themselves compatible with the principles and objectives in whose service they have been created and operated. That is by far the more interesting--and difficult (sensitive) question that tends to be avoided in this age of ideological competition and democratic centralism (applied in contextually appropriate ways in Marxist Leninist and liberal democratic orders). At least in conversations among and within ruling elites, that reticence is lamentable. And even within that framework there are compatibilities that might be usefully explored.  First the importance of education institutions as gatekeepers of knowledge production and dissemination.  Second, the focus on the definition of knowledge that must be avoided either as a contaminant or as a threat to the integrity of the social order. These impulses are shared in common among the leading elements of both Marxist Leninist and liberal democratic camps (through their parties in power).  Third, the ways in which these differences and alignments suggest where each of these systems seek to project their approaches outward within their emerging spheres of influence, and in competition for the control of a global narrative of knowledge, knowledge production, management, and deployment.

The "Administrative Measures for the Entry of Extracurricular Reading Materials for Primary and Secondary School Students" 《中小学生课外读物进校园管理办法》follows below in the original (with thanks to China Digital Times for first posting)  and in a crude English translation. 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

The Markers of Pathos: Congressional-Executive Commission on China Co-Chairs Condemn Political Prosecutions of Democracy Advocates in Hing Kong


The Congressional-Executive Commission on China was created by the U.S. Congress in 2000 "with the legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China, and to submit an annual report to the President and the Congress. The Commission consists of nine Senators, nine Members of the House of Representatives, and five senior Administration officials appointed by the President." (CECC About). The CECC FAQs provide useful information about the CECC. See CECC Frequently Asked Questions. They have developed positions on a number of issues.

CECC tends to serve as an excellent barometer of the thinking of political and academic elites in the United States about issues touching on China and the official American line developed in connection with those issues. As such it is an important source of information about the way official and academic sectors think about China. As one can imagine many of the positions of the CECC are critical of current Chinese policies and institutions (for some analysis see  CECC).

For some time CECC has focused on events in Hng Kong (for CECC performance in this sector, see their webpage: Developments in Hong Kong and Macau). Most recently, the CECC chairs, newly installed in their roles with the change of the majority party in Congress, have opined about the recent report of the conviction of several highly prominent individuals who were driving forces in the pan-democratic movement in Hing Kong--a movement largely supported (to the extent such things are possible) by factions of officials in the United States. As reported by the New York Times:
A Hong Kong court on Friday sentenced Mr. Lai to 12 months in prison for his role in a peaceful demonstration in 2019 against Beijing’s encroachment over the semiautonomous territory. Three activists and a labor leader were given sentences of eight to 18 months for their role in the protest. . . The sentences fell short of the maximum of five years in prison the defendants had faced. Still, they sent an unmistakable message that activism carries severe risks for even the most internationally prominent opposition figures. Supporters of the defendants say the sentences are the latest sign of the fundamental transformation that Beijing has sought to impose on Hong Kong, once a bastion of free speech, to silence dissent.

The American Secretary of State, fresh from hi meeting with his high level Chinese counterparts expressed the obvious--at least from the American perspective, but little more.  The Department of Stte public response was short and a repetition of prior positions without the need to signal that anything new will be done:

The United States condemns the sentencing of seven pro-democracy leaders on politically-motivated charges. Beijing and Hong Kong authorities are targeting Hong Kongers for doing nothing more than exercising protected rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech.

Today’s sentences are yet another example of how the PRC and Hong Kong authorities undermine protected rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration in an effort to eliminate all forms of dissent. The seven pro-democracy leaders – Martin Lee, Jimmy Lai, Albert Ho, Margaret Ng, Cyd Ho, Lee Cheuk-yan, and Leung Kwok-hung – participated in a peaceful assembly attended by 1.7 million Hong Kongers. The sentences handed down are incompatible with the non-violent nature of their actions.

The Sino-British Joint Declaration, a binding international agreement, guarantees Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy, and people in Hong Kong are entitled to the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Joint Declaration and Basic Law. We will continue to stand with Hong Kongers as they respond to Beijing’s assault on these freedoms and autonomy, and we will not stop calling for the release of those detained or imprisoned for exercising their fundamental freedoms.

 The CECC followed suit in a similarly worded Press Release that read its entirety as follows:

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA), the Chair and Cochair, respectively, of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), issued the following statement about the conviction and sentencing of multiple democracy advocates in Hong Kong for unauthorized assembly, including—Leung Kwok-hung (18 months), Jimmy Lai (12 months), Lee Cheuk-yan (12 months), Au Nok-hin (10 months), Cyd Ho (8 months), Albert Ho (12 months, suspended), Margaret Ng (12 months, suspended), Martin Lee (11 months, suspended), Yeung Sum (8 months, suspended), and Leung Yiu-chung (8 months, suspended).

“The convictions should be condemned by all those committed to restoring Hong Kong’s autonomy and human rights. These are clearly political prosecutions. Jimmy Lai, Martin Lee, Lee Cheuk-yan, Margaret Ng and others were singled out and targeted by the Hong Kong law enforcement for participating in a peaceful march. Few predicted that there would one day be political prisoners in Hong Kong, and that is now sadly the case, with more to come under the draconian National Security Law. Hong Kong’s democratic freedoms, guaranteed by international treaty, continue to be under assault. Jimmy Lai also faces other charges relating to his operation of a pro-democracy newspaper, demonstrating that the freedom of the press is also fast fading. The signal sent today should have serious implications for relations between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China. We stand ready to legislate for the people of Hong Kong and urge the Biden Administration and the international community to hold accountable those responsible for political prosecutions in Hong Kong.”

In a way the statement serves as a great barometer of the pathetic in the emerging forms of U.S. engagement--pathetic in its sense of qualities that arouses pity or sorrow from the original sense of feelings e of suffering or calamity.  It ought to provide some comfort to the Chinese central authorities who might rightly read into statements such as these  the lament of the defeated and the gestures of those who have abandoned the field but are still trying to preserve the semblance of face. It is the pathos of 29 April 1975 in Saigon.  The wheel turns. 

What follows are brief reflections on an unconventional reading of the text circulated by CECC in the shadow of the State Department response. The discursive trope is pathos calculated to raise emotions among those who enjoy that sort of performance but which require no additional response.

"'What is to be Done?'". . . . 'Nothing'!; Cuba Standard: Economic Trend Report 4th Q 2020 and 1st Q 2021

Pouring a bucket of cold water on all state and private businesses living off tourism, the Cuban government realized it was not yet possible to reopen international travel. Just a few weeks after the re-opening of airports on Nov. 15, a third wave of contagion hit the island.

Selective and micro-focus quarantines, great agility and speed in applying tests, and contact follow-up and isolation continue to be key to Cuba’s successful COVID-19 response.

Although this differentiated approach is a more rational strategy in economic terms, because it avoids a total lockdown, it is not completely sustainable in the mid-term, due to the country’s need for income from tourism. One of the dilemmas is that the virus containment strategy applied in Cuba is feasible only as long as the number of cases remains low or moderate. 


So begins the Cuba Standard Economic Trend Report for Cuba's fourth Quarter 2020 and  first quarter 2021 just recently made available by Pavel Vidal (Chief Economist) and Johannes Werner (editor). The full report makes for very interesting reading.  The Executive Summary follows. 

The bottom line is quite straightforward and quite expected for a country in Cuba's position and coming out of its history at a moment of potential weakness and vulnerability as the last of the founding old guard retires (though by no means disappears): the Cuban authorities will do nothing for the moment.  The answer to Lenin's old question, "What is to be Done?" then is "Not a thing of significance"--an aggressive and quite deliberate "nothing" that itself will prove seek to project "something" into the calculus of transitions. 

 The current round of economic reforms will be  further implemented deliberately and cautiously, the state and party apparatus will be effectively on lockdown as the political transition formally moves forward; and in the meantime and at the margins, the Cuban state will continue to exploit those areas that appear most promising.  These include the continuing exploitation (in every sense of the word) of its growing medical and tech know how, the Belt & Road connection, and the connection with Iran.Internally the issue of the coherent and solidarity of the Cuban Communist Party will likely move to the center of concerns--though very far from public view. And in this time of transition it is unlikely that Cuban authorities will be in much of a mood to make concessions, even to as careless and ideologically sloppy (though undoubtedly well intentioned in their own way)  administration as the one whose disordered political party (though no less disordered than their opposition) currently in control of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government.  

Friday, April 16, 2021

Just Published: "The Problem of the Enterprise and the Enterprise of Law: Multinational Enterprises as Polycentric Transnational Regulatory Space" in the The Oxford Handbook of Transnational Law (Peer Zumbansen, ed.)

I am happy to report that the The Oxford Handbook of Transnational Law (Peer Zumbansen, ed.) is available for pre-orders and will ship on 30 April 2021. The publisher describes the book this way:

The Oxford Handbook of Transnational Law offers a unique and unparalleled treatment and presentation in the field of Transnational Law that has become one of the most intriguing and innovative developments in legal doctrine, scholarship, theory, and practice today. This in itself constitutes an ambitious editorial project, not only within law and legal doctrine, but also with regard to an increasing interest in an interdisciplinary engagement of law with social sciences - including sociology, anthropology, political science, geography, and political theory. Closely tied into the substantive transformation that many legal fields are undergoing is the observation that many of these developments are driven by changes in an increasingly global legal practice today. The concept then, of 'transnational law' aims at capturing the distinctly border- crossing nature even of those legal fields which had for the longest been time been seen as having merely 'domestic' relevance. This shift also requires a conscious effort among law school classroom instructors, casebook authors, and curriculum reformers to adapt their teaching content to these circumstances. As the authors of this Handbook make clear, this adaptation requires a close dialogue between a scholarly investigation into the transnational 'concept of law' and the challenges faced by practicing lawyers, be that as solicitor, in-house counsel, as judges, or as bureaucrats in a globalized regulatory and socio-economic environment. While the main thrust is on the transnationalization of legal doctrine and legal theory, with a considerable contribution from and engagement with social sciences, the Handbook features numerous reflections on the relationship between transnational law and legal practice.

The 53 articles that comprise this work are well worth reading and will serve as a very useful resource for those interested in the field and its many byways, tributaries, and meanders. Great thanks to Peer Zumbansen (now at McGill)) without whose vision and organizational ability this would not have been possible.

My own contribution, The Problem of the Enterprise and the Enterprise of Law: Multinational Enterprises as Polycentric Transnational Regulatory Space, explores the emerging complexities of polycentric regulatory space represented by the convenient construct--the multinational or transnational enterprise. To that effect it examines first the relationship between emerging transnational law and an objectified MNE. It then considers the way that the focus and context of transnational law shifts as the regulatory focus moves from MNE as object to the MNE as a set of linkages and connections, and then to the regulation of production through which is itself the object of MNE function. This reconsideration of the character of the MNE produces a substantial effect on the way in which transnational law is understood and applied, matching polycentricity in the construction of law with polycentricity in the construction of the MNE itself.

The pre-publication version of the chapter may be accessed HERE.

The table of contents of the Handbook is reproduced below. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

China's "New Vision" Campaign Taking Charge of the China Narrative One Story at a Time: China-Uganda and the "My Story Competition"



As is perhaps at last better known to the great elite liberal democratic vanguard communities (given the structures of social and political organization within liberal democratic orders one cannot call these parties, as those are the fronts for more durable guiding organizations which manifest only within the political sector)  and their administrative partners in the regulatory and security organs (though not yet understood by their media outlets in the press and social media) China, through its Party propaganda and foreign ministries has begun much more robustly to project and control the narrative of its own image, and the explanation of its own system, to its partners abroad.  The framework for this projection is the Belt & Road Initiative.  BRI, as is also now better appreciated (perhaps) has as one of its key elements a cultural, political and people-to-people component that is meant to create deeper and stronger alignments between China and its partners.   

That this is critical work is undeniable--the control, and controlled projection, of a well curated national image and of its political-economic model principles in ways that are better aligned to the cultures and expectations of receiving societies is an essential and fundamental task in (1) challenging and then supplanting the Western liberal democratic model as the baseline against which to measure the welfare and happiness of a political  community, and (2) providing  the principles guiding the means by which that welfare may be advanced by the state and its related organs. Fundamental to this project is the construction of an easy to understand image and  principles system, and then to embed and naturalize its matter-of-factness within the masses of a target community. The more the common people come to understand and embrace a way of understanding a dominant power and its political-economic-social system, the more likely it is that stronger bonds will be created--to the greater glory of that exporting state. 

Both the Trump and Biden administrations understand this at some level--though to date their efforts have been hampered both by a lack of commitment to such a project and as well because of the debilitating effects of the continuing and quite aggressive warfare among elements of the liberal democratic vanguard communities. That factional fighting has produced an inward turning that makes effective projection of a unified vision of the liberal democratic and markets based order now much more difficult and easier to target for the weaknesses their own elites are constructing. 

The Chinese vanguard is not so hampered.  And so it is with great interest that one can observe the ways in which its propaganda and foreign ministries coordinate efforts, under the guidance of the vanguard and its developing approach to a construction of the narrative of China and its system, within BRI partner states. One of the more visible projects coordinated with the upcoming celebrations of the centenary of the Communist Party of China is the "My China Story" campaign available through the Chinese People's Daily operation. 

But much more interesting is the targeting of this campaign within China's Belt & Road African partner states. This morning for example, the Chinese embassy in Uganda publicized through one of the most widely circulated newspapers in the nation  its sponsorship of the "My China Story" Competition., the picture of which appears above.  It is part of the Chinese New Vision campaign in Uganda and coordinated with Chinese national (e.g., HERE) and global (here) efforts to develop and reframe the way in which people--the masses--come to understand and engage with a China that is more immediate, friendlier, and better aligned with the values and aspirations of those who share their stories.  These are stories that make China accessible and that create a baseline of believability against which stories that paint China in a harsher might will be judged by the masses--that is by the masses who vote in liberal democratic orders. In this sense Chinese vanguards have both discovered and have begun to understand the way that mass perception politics can significantly (if indirectly) affect the political choices of those who depend on the popular vote to govern.  

But more than that, it suggests a long term and potentially quite significant operation to supplant the old liberal democratic normative baseline for understanding and judging reality with a Chinese socialist one. That baseline places at the apex prosperity and stability principles.  It values rule of law in the service of those principles and the objectives of collective improvement in quality of life measured by economic, social, and cultural factors.  It places civil and political rights as the methods, which when appropriately managed, may contribute to the collective project of prosperity and stability, but which must be aligned with the responsibilities of the leadership of the nation--however that leadership is constituted.   It is not clear whether or how the West can respond to this quite distinct vision when, in the proces sof their own factional wars, they appear to be aligning along the same lines.

Friday, April 09, 2021

The End of the Official Castro Era--The 8th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party Announcement and Theme (The Party is the Soul of the Revolution)



This post begins is the first of a short series considering the 8th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (VIII Congreso del Partido Comunista Cubano). This Congress is particularly interesting, and potentially important, as a result of the convergence of several factors.

1. Raul Castro appears ready to retire from his role in the all important post of first secretary of the PPC. "Raúl Castro is to stand down as the party’s first secretary, the true source of power on the island, and armed forces commander after serving two five-year terms. He succeeded his brother Fidel, who handed power to him several years before his death in 2016." (Exit of Cuba’s last Castro brings curtain down on revolutionary era). That is a momentous event--from the perspective of history (people love to mark historical events, it is perhaps the way that societies tell time). But is is also important from the perspective of politics as a relatively untested and unknown generation will be given freer (but not free rein) to move the state apparatus forward under considerably stressful times.

2. This marks the first Congress immediately after the roll out of what might be potentially the most significant set of changes to the economic model of the state. The changes include grudging liberalization of the conditions for non state economic activity, a more robust engagement with the contemporary flows of global trade, and the unification of Cuba's currency. That it was done as a technocratic rather than an ideological exercise is also significant. That produces a tension that the 8th Congress may seek to resolve--the development of some sort fo ideologically sound imprimatur, grounded in traditional Cuban Caribbean Marxist ideology--to support the profound changes.

3. The COVID-19 pandemic has produced a series of challenges and opportunities that the Cuban state has sought to exploit (in the one case) and overcome (in the other). This is the moment for the triumph of Cuban medical diplomacy now augmented by a strong tech sector. The success of its COVID-19 vaccine, if handled correctly, will produce a substantial amount of political capital abroad that Cuba might be able to exploit, even if Cuban authorities receive very little by way of financial compensation for the effort. One might expect this sector of the 2030 Economic Plan to be an important element of the pageantry if not the work of the Congress. 

4. This set of political and economic changes are occurring at a time of social unrest. While Cuba had been relatively successful in managing its intellectuals since 1961, that efficient management (as brutal as it was some time to time) appears to be breaking down. The Movimiento San Isidro, a collection of artists and others that have captured the imagination of the liberal democratic camp and its intellectuals) is likely the tip of the iceberg. And yet the traditional mechanisms of suppression are likely to be less available than they were. The PCC's ability to meet this challenge in ways that preserve stability will be among the first real tests of the new leadership. Indeed, the incoming leadership's pointed reference to Fidel Castro's 1961 speech and the construction of a propaganda campaign around it suggests the nature of the battles that lie ahead (Cuba President Recalls Fidel Castro’s Historic Speech to Intellectuals :That speech became the founding platform of cultural policy of the Cuban Revolution). An English translation of that speech, well worth reading for its overtones to much of the global conversation about speech today, may be accessed HERE.

5. The theme of the VIII Congress suggests its discursive challenges. "El Partido es el alma de la Revolución"--The Party is the Soul of the Revolution--is a semiotic meadow (perhaps a minefield as well. There is a sense built into the proceedings of both promise and danger. Like elites in the rest of the world, it has become clear that a control of the way in which the masses are led to the understanding of the world is essential for the project of both managing mass behavior and of directing it toward preferred objectives. Guiding ideology remains a powerful weapon and its contestation around the world has posed problems for vanguards from the United States and China to those of Cuba. Each, of course, utilizes quite distinct tools for the construction and maintenance, and for the naturalization of its guiding ideology within their respective political cultures. But especially in periods of transition, control of the guiding ideology (its construction, elaboration, contestation, rejection or replacement) is the key to power among those who seek to assert it, guide it or use it. Here there are two great objects at stake. The first is control of the meaning of the term "Revolution" which had been carefully curated since the 1959 establishment of the current political-economic model. The second is the legitimacy of the naturalization of the product of that control deeply within the way that the masses approach and understand the world. The "soul of the revolution" then suggests both a normative perspective and the legitimization of the mechanics of its development and deliverance. All o this may be up for grabs now.

6. The United States continues to dominate this Congress as it has virtually every other one. It is a pity but hardly to be avoided that even as the PCC declares its autonomy, it does so only by reference to and in the shadow of the United States. That has proven to be in some respects its greatest protection. But increasingly it may become the greatest weakness of this Party and its ideological apparatus. A state cannot control its people on the basis of negatives (e.g., we are not the United States). That effectively gives the other party control over your own destiny, a result that is becoming increasingly apparent int he case of Cuba. Cuba can no longer afford to build its ideologies as a function of its contests with the US). This is a lesson that is hardly ever learned, certainly it remains unlearned in politics that sees in the construction of difference (internally or externally) a quick, dirty, and expedient way to elaborate administrative power in the hands of a controlling group--whatever their political inclinations).  Intellectuals, especially, are good are seeking to deride the construction of otherness in power relations but then use it precisely to rearrange the allocation of power among the categories of otherness constructed. A great pity but perhaps the fate of society as currently understood by those with the power to control. 
7. For all that, the United States does remain a wild card.  The Biden administraiton does not yet appear to have developed anything like a robust coherence to policy going forward--it is still working against the shadow of the Trump Administraiton. This also poses dangers and opportunities for the Cubans. This is especially so now in connection with relations to Iran.
8. Yet the VIII Congress does little by way of confronting the real threat to Leninist parties: exclusivity that ultimately provides the greatest contradiction between Marxism and Leninism. The establishment of a communist society (whatever its conceptual gymnastics about the ownership and allocation of capital and the role of planning or markets) ultimately requires that the vanguard and the masses become indistinguishable.  That is the success of the establishment of a communist society requires that everyone be a member of the vanguard.  But the vanguard as a Leninist revolutionary party  (and then a party in power)  is grounded in the notion that the masses are not ready, and later that external threats require a Leninist organization to serve as a techno-bureaucratic force to lead the masses toward whatever is defined as victory in any particular era of historical development. But a Leninist party that fails to expand and to embrace an ever growing  number of mass elements runs the risk that it will become corrupted.  So corrupted it runs the danger of becoming a ruling clique mired in either left or right error.  The failures of the PCC to more actively address this issue of working style may in the end pose the greatest threat to its long term survival.

These are the themes that the the object, in the usual discursive tropes of the PCC, that are meant to give meaning to the words elaborated by the Central Committee pf the PCC in its Announcement of the Holding of the VIII Congress (Convocatoria al VIII Congreso del Partido Comunista de Cuba), the text of which in the original Spanish and with my own crude translation, follows below. 

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

"Hong Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems': Essays from the Year that Transformed the Hong Kong SAR (June 2019 – June 2020)--Preface Essay Summaries and Table of Contents


For the last several months I have been sharing sneak peeks of a book to be published in early 2021: Hong Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems':  Essays from the Year that Transformed the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (June 2019 – June 2020)  (Little Sir Press).  The essays are presented in the form of a diary that marks an intellectual progression that matches the march of events. Each was written as events unfolded (each essay is dated to the time of its initial writing) and lightly edited for the book.  The object is to capture not just the strategic and normative developments that produced the new order for Hong Kong in June 2020, but also to give a sense of the uncertainties and anticipations as the events themselves unfolded during the course of the year.  The process of ideological genesis over the course of the year  is best captured from a state of anticipation without the benefit of foresight. The essays , then, do not look back on events after the fact, but speculate, discover, and captures moments that from June 2020 look inevitable but which from the perspective of June 2019 appeared far less so. 
In an effort to avoid the prohibitive cost of hard copies, the book will be made available first as an EPub (iBook, Kindle, Amazon) (ISBN: 978-1-949943-03-0 (ebk). My thanks to the Coalition for Peace & Ethics for making this possible. I have previously shared an early drafts of the preface (here), and chapters 2 (here; June 2019), 9 (here; August 2019); 12 (here; August 2019); 20 (here; November 2019);  25 (here; May 2020); and 28 (here; 4 June 2020). .   

Here I wanted to share the portion of the book Preface with  the summary of the essays in the book, along with a detailed table of contents. The Preface, Table of Contents, and the Chapters that have already been shared, are available on the Little Sir Press Website for the book: Hong Kong Between "One Country" and "Two Systems."  Please click on Access Preface and Selected Chapters.

We are organizing a number of book sessions  to introduce the materials and speak with interested readers.  Stay tuned. 

Please let me know (offline) if you are interested in receiving a review copy.


Monday, April 05, 2021

On the Road to the New Democratic Dictatorship in Hong Kong it is Necessary to Control the Masses

"The Hong Kong government has no authority to dictate which passports foreign governments recognise as valid,"(Exclusive: Hong Kong tells foreign governments to stop accepting special British passport)

Recent news reports from Hong Kong suggest yet another diplomatic skirmish between old and new Empires over a site of imperial conflict--Hong Kong.  At the end of March Reuters reported that China sought to declare invalid (in accordance to the laws of China as applied in this context and in furtherance of Chinese interests) a form of passport issued by the UK to its overseas citizens (recognized as the UK determined in accordance with its own laws and in furtherance of its own sovereign interests).

The Hong Kong government on Thursday confirmed a Reuters report that it had told 14 countries to stop accepting a British travel document that many of its young people use to apply for working holiday visas in Europe, North America and parts of Asia. In a move seen by some envoys as a diplomatic affront, the government informed the foreign consulates in a letter that it no longer considered the British National Overseas (BNO) passport a valid travel document as of Jan. 31. The letter, seen by Reuters and confirmed by the Hong Kong government after the story was published, demanded that its Hong Kong passport should be used instead. "The UK will continue to issue British Nationals (Overseas) passports which remain valid travel documents." Almost 3 million Hong Kong residents hold or are eligible for the BNO document that was created ahead of Britain handing the city back to Chinese rule in 1997. (Exclusive: Hong Kong tells foreign governments to stop accepting special British passport (quoting a spokesperson from the UK Foreign Office))

Beyond the usual petty games that are the stuff of entertaining the masses by feeding the propaganda organs of empire, there is an important ideological element to the move that may be worth considering at some leisure. To some extent, it is possible to frame these decisions from the lens of Mao Zedong's germinal and still profoundly influential insights developed in his “On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship” (30 June 1949) in commemoration of the 28th anniversary of the CPC.  Two insights are readily apparent.  The first is the notion of the value of people as critical elements in revolutionary struggle.  Controlling people (especially those who might be turned to counterrevolutionary purposes) is essential to the success of the work of a vanguard.

Revolutionary dictatorship and counter-revolutionary dictatorship are by nature opposites, but the former was learned from the latter. Such learning is very important. If the revolutionary people do not master this method of ruling over the counter-revolutionary classes, they will not be able to maintain their state power, domestic and foreign reaction will overthrow that power and restore its own rule over China, and disaster will befall the revolutionary people. (“On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship”)

Second, the work of the vanguard is critically hampered where it is unable to rectify counter revolutionary thinking. To those ends it is important not merely to ensure that foreign vanguards not have access to local potentially threatening popular elements, it is also important to maintain substantial control of the element oneself.  That, of course, is the essence of building a strong people's democratic dictatorship--what may be understood to be a work in progress in Hong Kong.   

You are not benevolent!" Quite so. We definitely do not apply a policy of benevolence to the reactionaries and towards the reactionary activities of the reactionary classes. Our policy of benevolence is applied only within the ranks of the people, not beyond them to the reactionaries or to the reactionary activities of reactionary classes. . . Here, the method we employ is democratic, the method of persuasion, not of compulsion. When anyone among the people breaks the law, he too should be punished, imprisoned or even sentenced to death; but this is a matter of a few individual cases, and it differs in principle from the dictatorship exercised over the reactionaries as a class. (“On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship”).

And thus its essence--democracy for the people (defined by reference to their patriotic loyalty expressed through the practices and behaviors indicated by the vanguard, for example through the National emblems and Anthem laws).  For the rest of the population there is only to obey and to rectify false belief and action--or be punished (for example through operation of the National Security Law).  There can be no middle way in this.  And efforts of foreign states to project their power through their power of citizenship and residence will be viewed necessarily as a gross interference in the establishment of a proper peoples democratic dictatorship in Hong Kong. From the perspective of the Chinese vanguard this must be both necessary and good; the result inevitable.  From the perspective of the liberal democratic states, the opposite is true; it evidences a gross violation of the rules of international comity and an interference with national authority to determine the character and availability of access to its own polity. This contradiction will not be easy to resolve. The contradiction is made harder to confront where the discursive needs of internal and external communicators--of performance of principle for inside and outside objectives are themselves incapable (for the moment) of rationalization.