Recently in Global Citizen Category

Birthright Lottery cover

Last year, I read Ayelet Shachar's important book, The Birthright Lottery: Citizenship and Global Inequality.  She discusses the book herself here, and I won't replicate that concise summary (though it is worth reading).  The book's core insights are powerful:

  • Birthright citizenship is a form of property entitlement by which relatively wealthy people transfer a bundle of rights and opportunities to their children.  

  • The global citizenship regime acts to seal poor people into enclosed political and economic systems which limit their life opportunities.  The result of these limitations, backed by the full force of the sovereign state, is that only 3% of the global population migrate from their countries of origin. 
     
  • This regime is unjust.  It is based solely on accident of birth.  It is grossly inconsistent with democratic principles held in liberal societies.  
Shachar's premises seem obvious once seen in print, and  you wonder why these ideas aren't more widely acknowledged.  In Birthright Lottery, she builds a new legal framework for defining citizenship based on those premises.  

The existing citizenship regime is built upon two legal principles: jus soli (citizenship defined by place of birth) and jus sanguinis (citizenship defined by blood).  These principles represent an improvement upon previous regimes based on transfer of rights and property within bounded family groups alone, and have led to a just legal and political theoretical framework within liberal sovereign polities. 

But the framework falls apart in an anarchic international political system of sovereign states of radically disparate wealth and power, and becomes instead a mechanism for perpetuating inequality.  Those who are excluded from the citizenry of wealthy states do not have political equality or equality of opportunity.  Meanwhile, a global educated elite can travel, and often live and work, abroad.  Members of the cosmopolitan elite have easier access to membership in polities outside of their countries of origin.  They can freely transfer capital across sovereign boundaries.  They are not constrained by the international political system; rather, the system works to preserve the elite's wealth and status much as the aristocratic transfer system of Old Europe did in years past.  


Shachar proposes a new legal principle for defining political membership groups: jus nexi.  This new framework would "[establish] that the social fact of membership offers a valid foundation for access to political membership" and would "[highlight] the significance of developing ties and identification with the country over time as the basis for bestowing citizenship and its benefits on long-term residents."

During the past few weeks of Egypt's social unrest leading up to President Hosni Mubarak struggling to hang on to power, a particular topic has been on my mind: how food pricing, deregulated genetically-modified food, and corporate greed link together to result in social symptoms like what we're seeing in Egypt or like what we have been seeing on the immigration front right here in the United States. I blogged about this very same topic over at Project Economic Refugee, focusing on how food prices have contributed to social instability in Egypt and in Mexico. On that post, I referenced an article that was published on The Nation magazine on corn pricing's impact on migration from Mexico to the United States that referenced how:

By some estimates, dispossessed farmers account for almost half of the 500,000 or so Mexicans who, until the recent recession, immigrated illegally to the United States each year.


If you haven't been on facebook, twitter, or following the news, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced yesterday that he would be introducing the DREAM Act as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.  Univision anchor Jorge Ramos tweeted last week that Reid wanted to move the DREAM Act before November.  Now we know how Reid wants to move it.  The DREAM Act could come up for a vote as early as Tuesday of next week.
I have not written since my grandfather died.  I have not let sadness overtake me either.  I've wallowed in nothingness, occupying myself mostly with movies and online television shows.  Writing it out, now, I realize that nothingness is worse than sadness.  It certainly is no way to honor a life that was so full.

I've long imagined writing something brilliant about my grandfather, or my whole family, for that matter.  As my grandfather's health deteriorated, I also imagined having something profound to say after his death.  Writing that out feels macabre and self-indulgent.  Weeks have passed and the words haven't come.
It's good to see some activists making the connection between foreign policy and migration, and acting on it.  The Stop Deportation Network in the United Kingdom is working to stop the first mass deportation flight to Baghdad: (sombrero tip to Earwicga via Ten Percent)

The Stop Deportation network and the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, along with other groups and organisations, are demanding that the first mass deportation flight to southern Iraq, expected to leave on Wednesday, is cancelled and the detainees threatened with forcible removal are released immediately. Over the last week, detainees in various immigration detention centres have been given 'removal directions' clearly stating they will be removed to Iraq, rather than the Kurdistan Regional Government-controlled region, which was stated in previous removals.
UPDATE II: An advertising blog, Agency Spy, got a hold of this post.  I also found the website of the guy that made the ad.
 
CORRECTION:  In an email to Tony Herrera, the President of the advertising agency which represents Corona, wrote the following:

Tony--

Thank you for reaching out to us and bringing this ad and the Citizen Orange discussion to our attention. Prompted by your note, we looked into the origin of this ad as it wasn't created by the agency and it appears to be a spec piece done without client input or approval by an aspiring art director.

We're not sure how it made its way onto the blog you forwarded, or others for that matter, but wanted to let you know. We'll also make sure this is clarified on Citizen Orange and the other blogs that posted the ad.

Again, appreciate you bringing this to our attention.

Kind regards,

Peter Krivkovich
President / CEO
Cramer-Krasselt
www.c-k.com
Peter Krivkovich - Email (8 October 2009)
Also see the comment that was left by Kristin Fletcher, another representative of Cramer-Krasselt, below.  My original post was written as follows:

-----------------------------------------

It's always fun to see faulty nativist logic twisted on itself.  Laura Martinez at Mi Blog es Tu Blog found this priceless piece of advertising (sombrero tip to The Mex Files):



Drink us and we'll hire more Mexicans in Mexico.
Corona Advertisement - Mi Blog Es Tu Blog
(28 September 2009)
UPDATE I: See conversation between myself and RickB of Ten Percent in the comments of this post for added context.
Kyle has graciously lent me the Citizen Orange platform again after a hiatus of several months.  Going forward, I will most likely be spending more time here and at the Sanctuary (more to come soon on recent events in the social change-o-sphere, such as it is). 

This by way of pointing out that an uncouth pseudonymous libertarian blogger has again accurately deciphered the most recent chapter of the U.S. imperial adventure--Vietnam Part VIII: Afghanistan.  Now that the last U.S. troops have finally exited Iraq, all four million Iraqi refugees have happily returned to their ancestral lands, and Iraqi citizens have breathed a collective sigh of relief to live in the peaceful, fully sovereign, beacon of democracy they now inhabit, President Obama has turned a stern eye to the Enemies of Freedom currently plaguing the good people of Afghanistan. 

Or at least that's the version of events Tom Friedman subscribed to until recently.

La Oreja de Van Gogh is a Spanish band that makes catchy pop music. I haven't heard them since lead singer Amaia Montero went solo in 2007, but I'm going to have to track down their latest album now to see what it sounds like.

The video above is a very literal interpretation of the lyrics to "Un Mundo Mejor." Following is the more upbeat "20 de Enero" which will forever remind me of Buenos Aires circa 2003. (Not because Argentina was overrun by space aliens that year, but because that's where I was living when the album was popular.)

What the World Eats

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food - Egypt.jpg

Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio's book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats has been out since 2005, but I didn't see it until today. It has been bouncing around Facebook lately, and it turns out it was featured on Time's website in a three-part series at some point. (Parts I, II, and III)

The concept is simple: families from around the world are photographed with all the food they eat in a normal week, and the cost of the food is calculated and included in the caption.

The high:

The Melander family of Bargteheide (Germany)
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07

The low:

The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp (Chad)
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23

Life in Mexico

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I can't imagine leaving the only home I've ever known to some strange and foreign land that I've never been to. That's why when I started following blogs about husbands and wives with kids having to move to another country for legal reasons made me think if I could do the same. I have a lot of respect and admiration for them because they are making a tremendous sacrifice leaving their homes for their loved ones. So here's a few of the blog I've been following. Give'em a read when you have the chance.   









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