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Abstracts for Social Justice Vol. 29, Nos. 1-2 (2002):
Globalization and Environmental Harm
This overview covers the venal, corporate-oriented environmental policy and appointments in George W. Bush's first term.
Key words: environment, globalization, environmental harm, Bush environmental policy, Bush, George W., environmental protection -- global warming, environmental protection -- United States, United States -- Supreme Court, right wing
The Friedrichs' case history of a World Bank-financed dam in Thailand addresses whether the policies and practices of an international financial institution can be characterized as a form of crime and whether the "crimes of globalization" need to receive special attention. The authors review charges of World Bank complicity in harmful policies: those with genocidal consequences, that exacerbate ethnic conflict and the gap between rich and poor, that foster immense ecological and environmental damage, or displace indigenous people in developing countries without adequate (or extremely insensitive) resettlement plans. The article assesses the role of activist protest and engagement, as well as that of human rights law, in countering such practices.
Key words: social movements, World Bank, crimes of globalization, social movements, international law, criminology, dams -- Thailand -- environmental aspects, globalization -- anti-globalization movement, globalization -- economic aspects
Berman Santana casts the U.S. military as the most egregious domestic polluter, subject to less oversight, regulation, and sanction than any other toxic criminal. It is the main energy consumer, generates far more toxic waste per year than the top three chemical companies, and most of the nuclear waste. The essay centers on antimilitary movements linked to issues of environmental and social justice. The clearest example is the grass-roots struggle to oblige the U.S. Navy to stop bombing Vieques, Puerto Rico, and to clean up and return the lands for community directed, ecologically and socially sustainable use.
Key words: social movements, militarism, Navy, environmental harm, environmental protection -- environmental racism, environmental protection -- United States, protests [demonstrations, etc.], Vieques Island [Puerto Rico]
Ruggiero's essay on Attac, an organizational acronym that in French stands for "Association for the taxation of financial transactions to help citizens" (in reference to the Tobin tax), addresses social movements attempting to counter hegemonic globalization. He argues that the term "globalization" has served mainly to legitimate the deregulation of financial markets, and has justified the decline of state powers to regulate capital flows. This process seemed as inevitable as the disempowerment of social movements, which were consequently advised to circumscribe their political possibilities, reducing them to a politics of conserving and in some instances downright conservative resistance. Attac is perhaps an embryonic example that other types of resistance are possible. This essay discusses the ideas, structure, and action of Attac, and attempts to locate this association, or movement, on the theoretical map of social movement theories. First, a chronology of its establishment and growth is provided, then the key ideas underpinning its activity are analyzed, and finally, some theoretical issues elicited by that activity are discussed.
Key words: social movements, France -- Attac [organization], globalization -- anti-globalization movement, globalization -- economic aspects, social movements, Tobin tax
The author discusses the emergence of criminal cartels in the toxic waste disposal industry at the time the U.S. government passed the first important toxic waste legislation in its history. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which mandated special handling of the newly recognized category of waste called either toxic or hazardous, was designed to patrol and discipline the waste disposers, not the producers. In the 1980s, the Superfund legislation mandated that all responsible parties (producers and disposers) would have to clean up polluted sites. The article compares the methods of expansion of carting companies and landfill operators run by organized crime and those run by a two-firm private oligopoly that became the waste industry's most important companies. Bloc finds very little variance between the organized crime cartel and the industry giants in terms of legal issues such as antitrust violations and pollution. He also examines the firms' involvement in illicit plans and actions to dump toxic waste in Third World countries.
Key words: environment, environmental crime, pollution, waste management, crime and criminals -- organized crime, environmental protection -- United States, environmental protection -- legislation, hazardous wastes, refuse disposal industry, New York
White addresses the conceptual foundations for a political economy of environmental harm. He reviews the criminological study of environmental harm and examines how production and consumption are organized within capitalist society. This has implications for the social regulation of environmental harm. The author argues that there is a need to move from concern about the state of (environmental) crime, to concern about crimes of the state, which whether by omission or facilitation, is allowing the harms to occur. This task must include consideration of neoliberalism as an ideology and practice. Recent years have seen a massive shakeup in the role of state apparatus and in the penetration of capitalist modes of operation across all aspects of social life. This has involved substantial shifts in ownership (from public to private), in institutional orientation (from social objectives to economic efficiencies), and in patterns of social control (from rights-based to market-based forms of regulation).
Key words: environment, environmental harm, political economy, capitalism, civilization [modern] -- commodification, criminology, economics -- consumption, environmental protection -- Australia, state [the] -- regulation
Petrucci closely examines the notion of sustainability and reviews the options for an alternative environmental ethic. He sees an ongoing need in theoretical environmentalism to examine concepts and assumptions that surround the term "sustainability" and to examine the key issues governing its expression in mainstream developmental and political policy toward the developing world. The central theme of this article is that the epithet of sustainability, as currently understood in the "Northern" public arena and by many development agencies, is too loaded to be of any authentic or practical use. Its current deployment on the global scene as a political catchphrase engendering a vague sense of goodwill toward the "Third World," and the environment generally, has done little to engender any radical shift in top-down development strategy and oppressive global trading practice. The conceptual and ethical limitations of the rallying cry of sustainability within our free-market global economic system therefore need to be made evident, so that genuine developmental alternatives may be more fully voiced for, and by, oppressed peoples. This commentary delineates what those alternative forms of class/capital-conscious sustainability might be. The first step in this process is to explore the origins and associations of sustainability in a discursive manner, and thereby to map out the extent to which it underpins the status quo in the current ideological landscape. Although the issues covered are global in scope, this article has a European emphasis.
Key words: environment, sustainability, environment alternatives, cost-benefit analysis, economic growth, economic policy -- free market model, environmental ethics, sustainable societies
Ruggiero's review of Pearce and Tombs' book examines neoliberal globalization and takes an in-depth look at corporate crimes such as accidents within the chemical industries. Accidents within the chemical industries are viewed as corporate crimes, and more specifically as safety crimes. The review discusses the Bhopal disaster the labor relationships informing the industry.
Key words: health care and occupational health, corporate crime, chemical industry, Bhopol
Beger's article observes that recent school shootings have produced a climate of fear that facilitated an expansion of law enforcement into schools and a constriction of Fourth Amendment rights for public school children. In the name of school safety, lawmakers have made it easier to punish children as adults for a wide range of offenses that were traditionally handled informally by teachers. Moreover, the courts have failed to safeguard the rights of students against arbitrary police power by granting police and school officials greater authority to conduct searches of students, often in the name of creating a drug-free environment.
Key words: intelligence/surveillance, schools -- Fourth Amendment, drugs, public schools -- violence, searches and seizures -- United States, United States -- police, United States -- Supreme Court
The authors assesses black female incarceration and drug arrests in the 1980s. The study reveals that proportionately more black women were incarcerated for drug offenses than were white women and that black women incarcerated for drug offenses were substantially less likely to have been involved in the criminal justice system than were their violent offense counterparts. Consequently, the War on Drugs served to punish Black women drug users, not to punish criminals.
Key words: prison, Black female incarceration, African Americans -- prisoners, crime and criminals -- drug use, women -- prisoners
Poupart examines the ways in which the historical domination and oppression of American Indians by Western nations perpetuates crime and injustice in American Indian communities. The social ills devastating American Indian communities today -- alcoholism, family violence, incest, sexual assault, and homicide -- were practically nonexistent in tribal communities before the European invasion. Poupart argues that the domination and oppression of American Indian Nations have brought about economic deprivation, loss of tribal sovereignty and increased dependency, internalized oppression, unresolved historical grief, and the normalization of violence, all of which contribute to crime in Indian communities today. She also alludes to the ways in which corporate America has polluted reservation air, land, and drinking water.
Key words: Native American, crime among Native Americans, genocide, Indians of North America -- criminal justice, Indians of North America -- history
Menjívar and Kil use media analysis to explore the subtle exclusionary language in U.S. public officials' discourse on immigrant-related issues. Their case studies, primarily of Latino immigrants, demonstrate how "liberal," benevolent rhetoric can disguise exclusionary practices toward immigrants and criminalize their behaviors without proposing viable alternatives to improve the conditions being condemned. Benevolent rhetoric based on law and order often serves to substantiate the opponents of immigration, who use more restrictionist language.
Key words: immigration, social control, immigration, liberal discourse, discourse analysis, food habits, housing -- United States, immigrants -- United States, medical care -- United States
A Report from the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, Durban, South Africa, 2001
Citation: Social Justice Vol. 29, Nos. 1-2 (2002): 177-185 Buy PDF
Maran reports on the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance that took place under United Nations auspices in Durban, South Africa, in September 2001. In this global forum, which the Bush administration effectively boycotted, member states were to commit to remedying and ultimately eliminating racism and related violations. The report summarizes major themes of the conference, among them reparations as an internationally accepted principle for compensating people for violations of their human rights, race and gender, environmental racism, migrants' rights, and race and criminal justice.
Key words: race, xenophobia, human rights, racism, religion, United Nations, United States -- World Conference against Racism, racial discrimination
This essay celebrates the life of Beverly Axelrod, one of the nation's most extraordinary civil rights and social justice attorneys, who died on June 19, 2002.
Key words: women, obit, Axelrod, Beverly, civil rights -- United States, peace movements
Copyright © 2002 by Social Justice.