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McGill Journal of Political Studies

Winter 2020


McGill Journal of Political Studies

Winter 2020 • McGill University


Copyright This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ The McGill Journal of Political Studies (MJPS) is published annually by the Political Science Students’ Association of McGill University (PSSA), 845 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montréal, QC H3A 0G4. Electronic editions are available at: ssmu.mcgill.ca/mjps ISSN 0835-376X (Print) ISSN 2291-5648 (Online) The Journal is jointly funded by: The Political Science Students’ Association of McGill University (https://www.mcgillpssa.ca/) The Arts Undergraduate Society (https://ausmcgill.com/) The Students’ Society of McGill University (http://ssmu.mcgill.ca/) For further information, please contact our Liaison Librarian Sandy Hervieux, at McGill University. All assertions of facts and statements of opinion are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of the Editorial Board, the Advisory Board, the Faculty Advisors, the Arts Undergraduate Society, the Students’ Society of McGill University, McGill University, or its faculty and administration.


Table of Contents VI VII

Foreword Professor Elisabeth Gidengil Words from the Editor-in-Chief Abigail Pender Editorial Team Submission and Review Process

1

The Importance of Balancing Ideology with Strategy in Canadian Conservative Politics Brooke Brimo

IV V

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Games of Thrones: The US and Russia’s Intervention in Syria’s Civil War From 2011-Present Bo Peter Zhang

21

Behind The Mask of “Progress”: Peru’s Forced Sterilization Program From 1996-1998 Brianna Cheng

31

The Evolution of A Resistance Movement: The Case of Hamas Madelyn Evans

47

An Analysis of the Current State of and Prospects for Healthcare Reform in the United States Sophia Dilworth

61

Liberal Peacebuilding in Sierra Leone: The Role of the Judiciary, Natural Resource Sector, and Local Government in Consolidating Peace Sophie Wirzba

75

Displaced Without Advocates: Dissecting Efforts to Mainstream Internal Displacement Under Institutional Constraints Husayn Jamal

83

Arabization: Towards an Exclusive National Identity Florence Harvey-Hudon

97

The Failure of the Second Reconstruction: Black Deprivation in the Post-Civil Rights Era Leina Gabra

109

On the Artwork Isabel Baltzan


Foreword Sponsored and organized by the McGill Political Science Students Association (PSSA), the McGill Journal of Political Science showcases some of the best research conducted by our undergraduate students. The papers selected for publication provide fresh insights into an array of important questions around the world. Students are responsible for every aspect of the editorial and production process. It is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of the editorial team that this issue of the Journal is appearing on schedule in the midst of a global pandemic. I am sure you will find much to interest and inform you in this issue. Professor Elisabeth Gidengil PhD professor, Political Science Department


Words from the Editor-in-Chief Over the past year, I have had the honour to lead the creation of the McGill Journal of Political Studies (MJPS) 2020 Print edition. The MJPS serves as an important platform that showcases the highest quality of undergraduate papers in the political science department, fostering discussion between students and professors. An academic journal has the ability to educate readers while bringing pertinent issues to the forefront. This journal aims to shed light on important modern day issues that span across various countries. From Peru’s forced sterilization program, to health care reform in the United States, and the lasting effects of colonialism on Algerian and Moroccan identities. Each article seeks to present its given topic from a unique perspective, encouraging readers to engage with the full complexity of each article. This journal would not have been possible without the immense amount of work our team of editors, authors, and reviewers have put into preparing polished academic pieces. Special thanks goes to our graphic designer; Isabel Baltzan for her dedication and creativity, and our managing editor; Mariana Furneri for her continued support and hard work. I would also like to thank Sandy Hervieux; our library liaison, and Elisabeth Gidengil; our academic advisor, for the resources and valuable advice they have provided. Thank you to the Political Science Students’ Association and MJPS Online for your support. A final thank you goes to you, the reader, for supplying MJPS with an audience, to whom it tries to stimulate curiosity. Abigail Pender Editor-in-Chief, McGill Journal of Political Studies


Editorial Team Editor-in-Chief

Managing Editor

Editorial Board

Peer Reviewers

Abigail Pender

Kennedy McKee-Braide Marie Fester Bianca Ho Mary Lynne Loftus Ashton Connor Mathias Ender McDuff Ilona Metais Stephan Rookwood

Mariana Furneri

Stephanie Cairns Grey Cooper Elizabeth Franceschini Olivia Gumbel Vlady Guttenberg Rachel Kalmanovich Evy Konstantopoulos RenĂŠe Lehman Marie Le Rolland

Advisory Board

Sandy Hervieux MLIS, Library Liaison Elisabeth Gidengil PhD Professor, Political Science Department Madelyn Evans VP Academic, PSSA Francesca Wallace MJPS Print Editor-in-chief 2018-2019

Graphic Design

Isabel Baltzan


Submission & Review Process The McGill Journal of Political Studies (MJPS) accepts manuscripts in either French or English from undergraduate students at McGill. Selected papers are required to have been written for a political science course at the 300-level or above and must have received a minimum grade of 80% (A-) or higher. Selected manuscripts contain well-structured, strong, unique arguments, and excellent grammar. Selected papers in political science are some of the best that undergraduate students have written at McGill University. Manuscripts are accepted throughout the Fall and beginning of the Winter semester in three rounds of submission. All papers enter a double-blind review process. Authors’ names are withheld while an anonymous team of undergraduate and graduate peer reviewers analyze and critique each paper. The Editorial Board then convenes in January to review the anonymous peer review feedback and select the strongest manuscripts for the journal. Authors’ names are released only after the final content is selected, ensuring the integrity of the double-blind review process. At this time, each Editor is paired with an author for a revision phase to prepare the manuscripts for publication. The Journal’s Editorial Board is run on a voluntary basis by undergraduate students at McGill University. The Editorial Board relies on the help of undergraduate and graduate peer reviewers, as well as an Advisory Board consisting of the Vice President Academic of the McGill Political Science Students’ Association, faculty from the McGill Political Science Department, and staff from the McGill Library.


The Importance of Balancing Ideology with Strategy in Canadian Conservative Politics Brooke Brimo Edited by Mary Lynne Loftus

In order for a right-leaning party to win office in contemporary Canada, the party must strategically balance the defense of conservative principles with persuasive efforts to attract new voters.


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ABSTRACT Federal-level conservative parties in Canada and provincial-level conservative parties in Alberta have historically operated within dramatically different political contexts. Federal-level conservatives have been relegated to opposition benches throughout most of the nation’s history. Albertan politics, on the other hand, was dominated by conservatives until the Progressive Conservatives’ 44-year-long reign ended in 2015. Even though the Canadian and Albertan conservative movements have faced different circumstances, the parallels between their recent trajectories are remarkable: a new, strongly ideological party emerged and the old party collapsed; the new party resisted ideological compromise and failed to appeal to mainstream voters. This essay traces these trajectories from two points of view: the rational-efficient model and the responsible-parties model. This paper argues that, for a right-leaning party to win office in contemporary Canada, the party must strategically balance its conservative principles against moderate appeals to the public. INTRODUCTION hock, disbelief, joy and dismay” were terms that came to mind when describing Alberta’s 2015 election results.1 Conservative parties in Alberta had experienced long eras of unchallenged dominance until the Progressive Conservatives’ record-breaking 44 uninterrupted years in office came to a stunning end. No longer invincible, the provincial party was forced to confront the internal divisions and external threats that had impaired its federal counterparts since before Alberta’s entry into Confederation. Federal conservative parties have been locked into a near-unending state of opposition within Canada’s predominantly progressive political culture. The conservative movement has been forced to accommodate the competing ideologies of social conservatism, progressive conservatism, market-based liberalism, and populism; and has not always managed to do so without splintering.2 Despite these differences in political context, there are remarkable similarities between the recent fracturing and reunification of the Canadian and Albertan right. In each case, the dominant conservative party compromised its principles sufficiently to drive its traditional support base to form a new party, and then collapsed under the strain of an internally contradictory electoral coalition. The new party catered to an excessively narrow base and resisted ideological compromise, and therefore failed to appeal to mainstream voters. To each party involved, a merger appeared the logical pathway to gaining or regaining power. This paper argues that, in order for a right-leaning party to win office in contemporary Canada, the party must strategically balance the defense of conservative principles with persuasive efforts to attract new voters. Each of these considerations is counterproductive when it is not moderated by the other. This argument holds to a lesser extent in Alberta, where right-leaning parties have greater latitude for strategic maneuvering due to the relatively conservative nature of the province’s political culture.

“S


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THEORIES EXPLAINING POLITICAL PARTY BEHAVIOR Political scientists are conflicted as to how political parties ought to behave. The rational-efficient model theorizes that winning is the only acceptable election outcome because it is the only outcome that grants party elites the power to govern. All party activities should therefore be geared toward garnering popular support, and parties should employ whatever lawful means necessary to win.3 This vision, however, leaves little room for parties to advance moral or ideological objectives. The responsible-parties model posits that parties are vehicles through which people democratically advance their visions of the common good. Elections should provide voters with meaningful choice among competing ideologies, and the winning platform should provide the government with a mandate reflecting the population’s desires.4 But, this model neglects strategic considerations, notably the popularity of the ideology in question. In recent years, right-leaning Canadian parties have generally won office when they have found a balance between the rational-efficient model’s emphasis on strategic appeals to the masses and the responsible-party’s model’s emphasis on moral and ideological principles. THE COLLAPSE OF THE CANADIAN AND ALBERTAN RIGHT The federal Progressive Conservative (PC) Party and the provincial Progressive Conservative (PC) Association of Alberta disintegrated as some of their supporters, betrayed by the parties’ abandonment of core conservative principles, formed competing political organizations, and their tenuous coalitions of support fell apart. At the federal level, the large electoral coalition assembled by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney collapsed in 1993. According to Carty, “aggregation excesses” arise when leaders construct “coalitions that contain more internal contradictions… than their party members are willing to accept.”5 When an aggregation excess reaches an unacceptable level, party members begin to prefer exiting the party over internal party reform. Mulroney had won office by appealing to the regions that felt victimized by the previous Liberal government. He vowed to repeal the National Energy Program, which had lessened the Western provinces’ control over their oil and gas resources, and to initiate negotiations to affirm Quebec’s status within Confederation, after the Constitution was patriated without the province’s consent.6 However, Carty warns that, although parties may want to cater to as many groups as possible, they must “be careful not to actually catch all.”7 It proved impossible to fulfill the conflicting interests of both regions, the party’s traditional support base, and its new supporters at once. The federal PCs’ high levels of taxation and spending, implemented to satisfy economic progressives, alienated the party’s primarily Western fiscal conservative base.8 The Meech Lake and Charlottetown negotiations infuriated Westerners, who perceived these efforts as special treatment for Quebec, and motivated the grassroots formation of the Reform Party. On the other hand, these negotiations’ failure to satisfy Quebec’s demands motivated the formation of the sovereigntist Bloc Québécois by federal PC and Liberal defectors.9 Although the PCs had won using a rational-efficient strategy, the resulting aggregation excess caused the party to fracture.


Balancing Ideology with Strategy in Canadian Conservative Politics

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At the provincial level, the Alberta PCs’ more gradual demise was precipitated by the accumulation of multiple problems including an aggregation excess. From 2008 to 2015, the PCs withstood the presence of a strong right-wing competitor and numerous scandals. The Wildrose Political Association was formed in 2008 when the pre-existing Alberta Alliance and Wildrose Party merged. Wildrose became a serious contender in 2009, when, despite the precarious state of the economy, PC Premier Ed Stelmach increased the energy sector’s royalty rates. In response, oil companies’ contributions to Wildrose increased from $230,000 to $2.7 million annually.10 During Premier Alison Redford’s tenure, Wildrose leader Danielle Smith discredited the government’s moral authority by uncovering and publicizing illegal donations, sex scandals, and excessive personal expenditures on the part of PC caucus members.11 In 2012, under new leader Jim Prentice, the PCs held onto office through a rational-efficient strategy, assembling a coalition of centrist and left-leaning voters who shared an aversion toward Wildrose. However, this coalition of negative partisans disintegrated as Prentice alienated each of its constituent groups whose fundamentally contradictory interests could not simultaneously be satisfied. He disappointed progressive supporters by making large budget cuts to education and health and welcoming 11 Wildrose floor crossers into the PC caucus. He abandoned fiscal conservatives by implementing 59 unpopular tax increases and projecting an unprecedented $5-billion deficit.12 In 2015, the Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP) defeated the PCs, having capitalized on the prevailing desire for change. The PCs’ tenacity was a function of Alberta’s political culture. Conservative governments have significant room for political error before having to worry about electoral loss because Alberta’s political center is further right than the rest of Canada’s. Until 2015, Albertans had become complacently accustomed to long periods of single-party conservative dominance, turning out to vote in low numbers and consistently providing the most popular party with overwhelmingly large majorities. However, Albertans also tend to abruptly abandon their support for the incumbent in large numbers, as they did in 2015.13 Therefore, both the federal and provincial PCs disintegrated in part because they unreasonably prioritized rational-efficient appeals to the masses at the expense of their ideological credibility.

REFORM, ALLIANCE, AND WILDROSE According to Lusztig and Wilson, “electoral realignment will occur when a large segment of public opinion on a significant issue or issues is not reflected in the agendas of existing partisan options”.14 The Reform Party, the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance, and the Wildrose Political Association, created out of dissatisfaction with the federal and provincial PCs, gave voice to rightwing principles unsupported by the other major parties. The PCs had adopted an incoherent ideological position to achieve the rational-efficient objective of winning. In contrast, these parties staunchly promoted a coherent right-wing vision of the common good in accordance with the responsible-parties model. At the federal level, the Reform Party, led by Preston Manning, distinguished itself by promoting conservative moral values, opposing Quebec’s constitutional demands, advocating democratic reform, promising lower levels of taxation and


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spending, and expressing skepticism regarding immigrant-generated cultural change.15 Reform failed to persuade mainstream voters to support a vision narrowly aimed at an ideological and regional minority. Most Canadians, who hold socially progressive views on issues such as criminal justice, LGBT rights, and multiculturalism, refused to endorse social conservatism.16 The populist, Western alienation approach, which pitted hard-working Western Canadians against privileged Central Canadian elites, failed to gain traction outside the West. The party’s reputation was irreparably tarnished when racist organizations attempted to take control of local riding associations.17 Manning launched the United Alternative campaign to reshape the party’s image, knowing that its potential for nationwide growth was limited unless it could moderate its platform and appeal to all regions. Reform rebranded itself as the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance and elected Stockwell Day as leader in 2000. Improvement in the party’s electoral performance was negligible, as its platform remained unacceptably socially conservative and the party remained inextricably associated with Western interests.18 Wildrose similarly took a responsible-parties approach, articulating a clearly populist, democratic, and socially conservative ideological vision. Wildrose was more electorally successful than Reform and Alliance because this vision resonated better with provincial-level voters: the party’s highest-ever popular vote share was 34.3% in 2012, as compared to Alliance’s 25.5% in 2000.19 The party portrayed its principles as Alberta’s central, defining values and accused the PCs of having abandoned these values.20 This assessment of Albertan political culture was only partially correct. On the one hand, Wildrose’s platform astutely embodied sentiments such as Western alienation and populism that were prevalent among voters: for example, it advocated provincial autonomy over pensions and income tax, changes to the federal equalization formula, democratic institutional reform, and greater transparency of government in response to the Redford administration’s corruption.21 On the other hand, the party’s right-wing economic, environmental, and social positioning ran counter to prevailing trends in public opinion. Alberta’s contemporary political culture may be the most conservative in Canada, but it is less conservative than stereotypes suggest. Albertans do hold more individualistic and populist beliefs than other Canadians, and the vast majority do believe their province is treated unfairly at the expense of Central Canada. But, about three-quarters welcome high government spending in areas such as health care, are critical of the energy industry’s role in politics, desire stricter environmental regulation to combat global warming, and believe that same-sex marriage and abortion should be permitted.22 Even though Wildrose gave voice to substantial underrepresented minorities, the majority considered its platform unacceptable. Regionalism also played a role in Wildrose’s failure to form government; the party struggled to expand beyond its traditional bases of support in Calgary and Southern Alberta. The PCs kept Wildrose out of office by turning Wildrose’s strategy on its head, portraying their own moderate, centrist values as true Albertan values and labeling Wildrose as an extremist outsider.23 Overall, Reform, Alliance, and Wildrose failed to win office because they excessively prioritized their ideological convictions at the expense of their popularity.


Balancing Ideology with Strategy in Canadian Conservative Politics

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UNITING THE RIGHT The federal Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) was created in 2003 and the provincial United Conservative Party (UCP) was created in 2017 as the two right-of-center competitors merged. Party mergers, in which two or more parties unite into a single new party and cease to exist as independent organizations, are rare occurrences in stable democracies. BÊlanger and Godbout argue that parties will only unite if they share ideological commonalities, in accordance with the responsible-parties model, and if a merger makes strategic sense, in accordance with the rational-efficient model.24 Ideologically speaking, each pair of parties shared similar conservative objectives, although one had compromised them and the other had overemphasized them. Multiple strategic incentives can exist. First, a single-member plurality (SMP) electoral system can disadvantage ideologically similar parties. Parties other than the most popular one tend to receive smaller shares of legislative seats than votes, and right-wing vote-splitting tends to make a centrist or left-wing party the most popular. In the 1993, 1997, and 2000 federal elections, the PCs accordingly received a much smaller percentage of seats than votes. Reform, due to being concentrated in the West, earned nearly identical vote and seat shares, as SMP tends to overrepresent parties that concentrate their efforts in particular regions. But, when Alliance attempted to expand nationwide, it became underrepresented as well. Both federal parties therefore had an institutional incentive to merge.25 The same incentive existed for the Alberta PCs following the 2015 election. Due to being regionally concentrated in Southern Alberta, Wildrose’s vote and seat shares corresponded. But, the PCs received 27.8% of the popular vote and only 11.5% of the seats.26 Second, mergers are likely to occur when both parties stand to gain valuable new resources they could not otherwise access. In accordance with the spatial theory of voting, when two parties exist to the right of the median voter, and when a popular centrist party exists, the right-of-center parties must share or compete for resources such as votes, party members, staff members, and donations.27 The federal parties were motivated to unite by the prospect of pooling Eastern PC votes with Western Alliance votes, assuming that most conservative voters would remain loyal to the merged party. Both parties, especially the struggling PCs, were also motivated by access to money. Corporate leaders disadvantaged by Liberal policies pressured the two parties to merge, threatening to withhold contributions from both of them if they remained separate.28 In addition, Bill C-24, which would take effect before the 2004 election, banned corporate political donations, capped individual donations, and designated pervote state subsidies to be paid to each party. Both parties were funded primarily through large corporate donations and small contributions from grassroots members, but the PCs were relatively more reliant on corporate donors and, with low popular support, could not expect the subsidies to compensate for the loss of these contributions.29 At the provincial level, a united party could count on geographically widespread support thanks to voters’ strong attachments to Wildrose in Calgary and Southern Alberta and to the PCs elsewhere. Each party also felt financially threatened by the other. The NDP government and Wildrose opposition had crippled the PCs by banning the corporate donations on which


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they depended. However, the winner of the 2017 PC leadership race, former CPC cabinet minister Jason Kenney, demonstrated superior fundraising capabilities and threatened to diminish Wildrose’s relative financial standing.30 Third, parties are likely to merge when they perceive rebranding as strategically necessary. Marland and Flanagan define political branding as the creation of a desired image through market research, which seeks to identify and understand target audiences, and the propagation of this image through advertising and media relations.31 A party whose ideological positioning no longer resonates with a sufficiently large segment of the electorate must shift its ideology to remain relevant. When its reputation holds it back, rebranding is advisable. At the federal level, Alliance struggled to alter its socially conservative, anti-Quebec, Western protest image.32 Alliance leader Stephen Harper orchestrated the merger negotiations with PC leader Peter MacKay, driven by the conviction that, within a progressive political culture whose voters could not easily be persuaded to support conservative causes, a right-leaning party could only form government if it was moderate and united. Harper aimed for social conservative voices to be outnumbered, yet still represented, in policy deliberations, so that both moderate voters and the party’s traditional support base could identify with the platform that would result.33 Harper was elected leader of the merged CPC in 2004. At the provincial level, following the PCs’ 2015 defeat, Kenney was elected PC leader with a mandate to negotiate a merger with Wildrose leader Brian Jean. PC members believed that rebranding was necessary to dissociate the party from scandal and corruption and recommit it to conservative principles. Wildrose members also aimed to downplay the unpopular ideological positions associated with their party. Kenney was elected UCP leader in 2017, defeating Jean.34 In the early 2000s, the CPC’s approach to politics constituted an optimal compromise between a rational-efficient political persuasion strategy and a responsible-parties promotion of a conservative vision. CPC marketing strategist Patrick Muttart revolutionized Canadian campaigning through audience micro-targeting: rather than appealing to broad demographics such as regions and social classes, strategists segment the electorate into lifestyle-based subgroups using sophisticated market intelligence collection techniques and convey a customized message to each group deemed persuadable.35 This technique hinges on perception. The party formed a minority government in 2006 and 2008 by targeting fiscal, progressive, and social conservatives, Western populists, and Québécois nationalists. Although these ideologies can conflict, their adherents could each perceive the CPC’s carefully crafted platform as a coherent expression of their preferred ideology or could at least concede that the CPC was their best possible option; aggregation excesses were thus avoided.36 The CPC formed its first majority government in 2011 in part due to the micro-targeting of immigrants. Immigrants are becoming the main carriers of traditional family values, and those who came to Canada legally tend to be intolerant of the abuse of the immigration system. As Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Kenney constructed a comprehensive database of persuadable immigrants and appealed to their conservative tendencies.37 Therefore, the CPC won office by strategically balancing the defense of conservative principles with persuasive efforts to attract


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new voters. The UCP’s policy declaration represents an even stronger affirmation of conservative values. The platform incorporates fiscal conservative principles, such as limited government and free enterprise, social conservative principles, such as the centrality of the family, and principles upon which both factions generally agree, such as self-reliance and the protection of public safety.38 Sayers and Stewart expressed concern that the staunchly right-wing UCP might be too unattractive an option to pull back the centrist former PC voters who had supported the NDP as an act of protest but had become disillusioned by the government’s performance.39 Nevertheless, in the 2019 provincial election, the UCP earned 54.9% of the popular vote, as compared to the NDP’s 32.7%, and this despite allegations that Kenney colluded with leadership contender Jeff Callaway to undermine Jean’s leadership campaign.40 This election result suggests that the 2015 surge in support for the NDP was likely not indicative of a permanent shift in Alberta politics, although only time will tell whether this is the case. The UCP’s strong ideological commitments therefore appear not only driven by moral conviction but also by an understanding of Albertan voters’ preferences. Overall, the CPC successfully formed government thanks to a strategy that allowed the party to both advance a vision of the common good and persuade new voters to endorse it. The UCP experienced similar success even with its more strongly conservative positioning.

CONCLUSION Although conservative parties in Canada and Alberta operate within dramatically different political contexts, their recent trajectories share remarkable similarities. The Canadian and Albertan right fractured as the PCs, in order to maximize their electoral support, attempted and failed to balance between the contradictory interests of too many groups. Reform, Alliance, and Wildrose expressed views that had been absent from mainstream politics but failed to appeal to voters beyond a narrow minority. These events demonstrate the importance of balancing between a principled commitment to a political vision and strategic effort to garner electoral support; each of these considerations is counterproductive when it is not moderated by the other. The united CPC found a compromise solution through its revolutionary micro-targeting strategy, which effectively persuaded diverse new voters to identify with the party’s carefully constructed conservative platform, and the UCP successfully incorporated select fiscal and social conservative principles into a platform that a majority of Albertan voters could support. However, it would appear that the parties’ paths are once again diverging. The UCP’s success and the CPC’s failure to win office in the 2019 provincial and federal elections, respectively, suggest once again that the conservative positions popular in Alberta do not sufficiently resonate with the Canadian electorate as a whole, due to the CPC’s strategic choices, voters’ ideological leanings, or some combination of both.


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NOTES 1  Emily Mertz, “Shock, disbelief, joy and dismay: social media reaction to Alberta election,” Global News, 6 May 2015. 2  Broadbent Institute, “Canadian Values Are Progressive Values,” Broadbent Institute, (2013): 2. 3  John Kenneth White, “What is a Political Party?” in Handbook of Party Politics, eds. Richard S. Katz and William J. Crotty London: SAGE Publications, (2006): 9-10. 4  White, “What is a Political Party?” 10-11. 5  Roland Kenneth Carty, “The Politics of Tecumseh Corners: Canadian Political Parties as Franchise Organizations,” Canadian Journal of Political Science 35 no. 4 (2002): 723-745. 6  Éric Bélanger and Jean-François Godbout, “Why Do Parties Merge? The Case of the Conservative Party of Canada,” Parliamentary Affairs 63, no. 1 (2010): 41-65. 7  Carty, “The Politics of Tecumseh Corners: Canadian Political Parties as Franchise Organizations,” 726. 8  Michael Lusztig and J. Matthew Wilson, “A New Right? Moral Issues and Partisan Change in Canada,” Social Science Quarterly 86, no. 1 (2005): 109-128. 9  Bélanger and Godbout, “Why Do Parties Merge? The Case of the Conservative Party of Canada,” 43. 10  Karen Kleiss, “Analysis: How the Alberta Progressive Conservative dynasty fell,” Edmonton Journal, December 26, 2015. 11  Karen Kleiss, “Analysis: How the Alberta Progressive Conservative dynasty fell.” 12  David Taras, “Politics, Alberta Style: The Rise and Fall of the Progressive Conservatives, 1971-2015,” in Orange Chinook: Politics in the New Alberta eds. Duane Bratt, Keith Brownsey, Richard Sutherland and David Taras (Calgary, AB: University of Calgary Press, 2019), 26. 13  David Taras, “Politics, Alberta Style: The Rise and Fall of the Progressive Conservatives, 1971-2015,” 16. 14  Lusztig and Wilson, “A New Right? Moral Issues and Partisan Change in Canada,” 110. 15  Lusztig and Wilson, “A New Right? Moral Issues and Partisan Change in Canada,” 111. 16  Broadbent Institute, Canadian Values Are Progressive Values, 10. 17  Kelly Gordon, “The Conservative Party and Ideology” (PowerPoint, 2019). 18  Bélanger and Godbout, “Why Do Parties Merge? The Case of the Conservative Party of Canada,” 58. 19  “Thirty-seventh general election 2000: Official voting results,” Elections Canada, 2000. 20  Anthony M. Sayers and David K. Stewart, “Breaking the Peace: The Wildrose Alliance in Alberta Politics,” Canadian Political Science Review, 7, no. 1 (2013): 73-86. 21  Sayers and Stewart, “Breaking the Peace: The Wildrose Alliance in Alberta Politics,” 74-80. 22  Sayers and Stewart, “Breaking the Peace: The Wildrose Alliance in Alberta Politics,” 401402. 23  Sayers and Stewart, “Breaking the Peace: The Wildrose Alliance in Alberta Politics,” 418419. 24  Bélanger and Godbout, “Why Do Parties Merge? The Case of the Conservative Party of Canada,” 50-51. 25  Bélanger and Godbout, “Why Do Parties Merge? The Case of the Conservative Party of Canada,” 51-54. 26  “Election Results,” Elections Alberta, 2019. 27  Bélanger and Godbout, “Why Do Parties Merge? The Case of the Conservative Party of Canada,” 54-57. 28  Michael D. Behiels, “Stephen Harper’s Rise to Power: Will His ‘New’ Conservative Party Become Canada’s ‘Natural Governing Party’ of the Twenty-First Century?” American Review of Canadian Studies 40, no. 1 (2010): 118-145. 29  Bélanger and Godbout, “Why Do Parties Merge? The Case of the Conservative Party of Canada,” 56. 30  Sayers and Stewart, “Breaking the Peace: The Wildrose Alliance in Alberta Politics,” 413. 31  Alex Marland and Tom Flanagan, “Brand New Party: Political Branding and the Conservative Party of Canada,” Canadian Journal of Political Science 46, no. 4 (2013): 951-972, doi:10.10170S0008423913001108, 952-953. 32  Bélanger and Godbout, “Why Do Parties Merge? The Case of the Conservative Party of Canada,” 58. 33  Behiels, “Stephen Harper’s Rise to Power: Will His ‘New’ Conservative Party Become Canada’s ‘Natural Governing Party’ of the Twenty-First Century?” 123. 34  Sayers and Stewart, “Breaking the Peace: The Wildrose Alliance in Alberta Politics,” 412416.


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35  Marland and Flanagan, “Brand New Party: Political Branding and the Conservative Party of Canada,” 956-957. 36  Behiels, “Stephen Harper’s Rise to Power: Will His ‘New’ Conservative Party Become Canada’s ‘Natural Governing Party’ of the Twenty-First Century?” 122. 37  Marci McDonald, “True Blue,” The Walrus, 28 May 2014. 38  United Conservative Party (2018). United Conservative Party Policy Declaration. Issued by the United Conservative Party, 2018, 5-17. 39  Sayers and Stewart, “Breaking the Peace: The Wildrose Alliance in Alberta Politics,” 417419. 40  “NDP Gain Nine Points Since January, But UCP Lead,” Mainstreet Research, 21 March 2019.


Games of Thrones: The US and Russia’s Intervention in Syria’s Civil War from 2011-Present Bo Peter Zhang

Edited by Stefan Rookwood

It is all too unfortunate that the two powers must establish their interests atop corpses who died for Syria’s peace…


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ABSTRACT The Syrian civil war is arguably one of the bloodiest conflicts the 21st century has seen. Much of its geopolitical complexity lies in the added involvement of great foreign powers in the region. This paper will explore three motives that drove the United States and Russia’s intervention in Syria. The first is external, or reasons driven by Washington and Moscow’s strategic interests on the international stage beyond their own borders. The second is internal, or how the two powers’ intervention in Syria had direct ramifications on their domestic politics, such as electoral success. Finally, an assessment of the two powers’ rivalling relationship in the conflict will be considered. It would, of course, be too naïve to assume that these three factors alone shaped the United States and Russia’s intervention in the region. These three factors would appear to have been the chief instigators behind the two great powers’ attempt to both prolong and evolve what was once a Syrian conflict into a conflict of global scale, so as to pursue and satisfy their own agendas in the international “game of thrones.” INTRODUCTION 020 marks the 9 year of Syria’s civil war. 1 Today, there is no consensus on its fate. Some sources speculate the conflict will end soon, while others, claim that it has ended already. In any case, a conflict that began in March 2011 with peaceful protests for rights and reform as a part of the Arab Spring movement has since transformed into one of the most violent confrontations in the post-Cold War Middle East.3 When pro-democracy demonstrations broke out in the Syrian city of Deraa in March 2011, protestors knew little of the repression they would soon face. In the wake of the toppling of the Tunisian and Egyptian presidents, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria quickly ordered his forces to crush domestic dissent to prevent suffering a similar fate. Within weeks, Assad’s forces killed and imprisoned thousands of demonstrators, whom he declared “terrorists of the state.”4 Consequently, protests demanding the president’s resignation erupted nationwide. As the tension between the government and civil society boiled, calls for overthrowing Assad also grew. Both sides began deploying ever more radical and violent methods, marking the start of a civil war that was to last until the time of writing. In the early days of 2011, few anticipated that a civil war between Assad’s regime and local rebels in Syria would escalate into a conflict in which international powers, especially the US and Russia, vied for power. Indeed, what was once a Syrian civil war has morphed into a conflict of global dimensions. Three factors, in particular, help to explain American and Russian interventions in the conflict. The first factor to consider is the two powers’ external motives, or reasons driven by Washington and Moscow’s strategic interests on the international stage beyond their own borders. Second, their internal motives, or how the two powers’ intervention in Syria directly impacted their domestic politics. Finally, an assessment of the two power’s rivalling relationship amid the conflict will be considered. It becomes evident that the US and Russia’s intervention in the Syrian civil war was a deliberate attempt to prolong the conflict, in order to pursue and

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wipe out its bases in the region. This counter-terrorism view became more overt in 2017 when President Trump declared that the US has “very little to do with Syria other than killing IS.”13 In any case, the US’s support for these local groups was not futile, insofar as its own goals were considered. In particular, its work with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), consisting mainly of Kurdish fighters called YPG, was relatively successful. Since the SDF’s founding in 2015, the US had dropped countless tons of arms and ammunition from assault rifles to mortars, as well as advisors from the US Special Forces to SDF bases, under General J. Votel’s command.14 Indeed, the SDF became one of the most effective forces that helped defeat the IS in north-eastern Syria. In contrast to the US, Russia has, since Cold War days, had a “political base” in Syria – a historic presence that is maintained through Kremlin’s ties to Assad’s security elite. In fact, the Carnegie Moscow Center scholar, Alexey Malashenko, reflected that Syria-Russia relationship is “the last remnant of Soviet politics in the Middle East.”15 Despite their historic tie, Moscow did not clarify its support for Assad until mid-2015. Still, Russian support for Assad’s regime has always been present, if only implicitly. Even when Russia supported the US-led UN resolution demanding that “Assad relieve Syria of chemical weapons,” it was in reality “an escape valve” for Assad’s regime to avoid a punishing blow initially suggested by the US.16 Thus, what exactly were Russia’s external motives for intervening in Syria’s civil war? This paper focuses on two aspects: military strategy and arms sale – both factors rooted in “Russia satisfying its own global stage perception.”17 To start, because of their historic tie, President Assad is one of Russia’s closest, and perhaps Russia’s only real ally in the Middle East. Therefore, a regime change following Assad’s downfall, as advocated by the US, would critically damage Russia’s interests in the region as it would lose its key foothold in the region.18 In terms of military strategy, Russia would lose Tartus, its only port in the Mediterranean. This would, according to Russia’s Interfax-AVN military news agency, limit its “options for the continuous presence of Russian [naval operations] in more distant oceans.”19 To confirm how vital the port was to Moscow’s interests in the region, in 2017, Russia and Syria signed agreements to “indefinitely prolong” Moscow’s control of the strategic port.20 This meant Russia would hold sovereignty over the territory, which would only further justify and legitimize its intervention in the region. The second external motive for Russian intervention lies in its arms trade interests in Syria. Between 2007 and 2011, Russia supplied Syria with 72 per cent of its arms imports.21 The exact supply since the start of the civil war is unknown, but an increase should be expected. These arms deals, according to Sorenson, are “more about strategic allegiance and perceived political dependence and less about profit.”22 Rather than a sign of weakness, the deals were an effective strategy that subjected Syria more tightly under the Russian sphere of influence. Not only did these arms deals keep a Middle Eastern doorway open for Russia, but they also enhanced the perceived client-patron relationship between Syria and Russia.23 Of course, such a relationship is possible only if Assad’s regime remains intact. This, too, justifies the greater presence of Russian


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satisfy their own agendas in the international “game of thrones.”

THE UNITED STATES AND RUSSIA’S EXTERNAL MOTIVES In regard to the United States, the Obama administration, in 2011, tried to “stay out” or “minimize” its role in Syria. The Obama Administration believed that an extensive military intervention would pose a threat to both the current balance of power in the region and the US’s own positioning on the global stage.5 This attitude is best reflected through American decision-makers’ attempt to learn from the mistakes of its 2003 invasion of Iraq. According to a Foreign Policy piece written in 2018, which assessed Washington’s psychology at the start of the war: Many [policymakers] looked at the 2003 invasion of Iraq and decried how it destabilized the region, damaged relations with Washington’s allies, and [undermined] the U.S. position in the region. It seems lost on the same group that U.S. inaction in Syria did the same.6 For the US, it was clear from the beginning that the Syrian situation presented a dilemma: interfering may lead to another Iraqi fiasco, while staying away meant it was going to watch regional instability escalate. Either choice would have undoubtedly spoiled relations with America’s regional allies, diminishing its influence in the region and on the global stage. In any case, this dilemma, which followed from the Iraqi lesson, helps to clarify the US’s inaction early on in the civil war. This political impasse was all to change in two years. US military intervention in Syria began in 2013 in the wake of Assad’s use of chemical weapons.7 Cruise missile strikes against Assad’s territories were carried out shortly thereafter. After the attack, President Obama told CNN in an interview that what he has “seen [is of grave concern], something that is going to require America’s attention… it’s getting to some core national interests that the US has.”8 While Obama did not specify these “core national interests,” his reaction revealed that the US’s intervention would be, at least in part, motivated by its own gains. Even if the US’s missile attacks signalled its condemnation for Assad’s violation of human rights, by 2013, the US’s external motive for intervening shifted to containing the Islamic State’s influence in the region as the Islamic State took control of “large swaths of territory and has taken the war into Iraq.”9 Other than its usual airstrikes, the US funded local rebel groups, including the Free Syrian Army (FSA).10 Simultaneously, the US Department of Defence and CIA began recruiting Syrian fighters for their own ends. The New Syrian Army was created as a result.11 The local recruits were explicitly told that their objective was “not to topple the Assad regime but to fight only the jihadi groups like the IS forces.”12 Behind the US’s conflicting interest with local fighters, Washington’s true motive for intervening in Syria is again emphasized: to contain, first and foremost, the Islamic State’s influence in the region, as opposed to aiding its people for humanitarian or democratic regime change purposes. This is not to say that the latter is to be dismissed as a viable motive entirely, but simply that it was of lesser consideration than the former when confronted with the realpolitik of the day. Indeed, the US’s focus in Syria has henceforth been to defeat ISIS on the battlefield and


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operations in Syria in contrast to the US. More specifically, through this connection, Russia gained influence over Syria’s military sectors. According to Matthew Crosston, a professor at Brown University, “Moscow hopes to bind Damascus to its own military-industrial complex. Russia wants to move beyond simply reequipping Syria’s missile defence systems and instead become the foundation for the country’s missile umbrella.”24 It becomes evident, then, that Moscow plans to be Damascus’s sponsor on the international stage, thereby becoming Assad’s “indispensable friend.”25 In any case, the Syrian arms trade was crucial in shaping Moscow’s decision-making. Roy Allison, an Oxford political scientist, takes this claim further, suggesting that Putin presents himself as the “cheerleader-in-chief ” for the recent rise in Russia’s share of global arms sales.26 Naturally, Russia’s military cooperation with Syria helps perfect the picture of Putin’s Russia as a “reliable” arms supplier. Above all, this military alliance is an assertion of Russian dominance in the Middle East.

THE UNITED STATES AND RUSSIA’S INTERNAL MOTIVES By turning to the US and Russia’s internal motives, or more specifically, their domestic-driven interests to intervene in the Syrian crisis, it becomes evident that both powers had their national audiences in mind. At the onset of the Arab Spring in late 2010, the US’s foreign policy in the Middle East was, broadly speaking, “moderate.”27 In the words of then-Secretary of State John Kerry, this meant that the US supported regimes “defined by [their] adherence [to] democratic process and to an all-inclusive, minority-protecting constitution.”28 Thus, in light of Assad’s crackdown on protestors, the US quickly promised to the international community its commitment to making the Syrian president step down. The US, however, did little to “walk the walk,” due to the myriad risks associated with intervention.29 So, what were the US’s internal motives for its initial reluctance to intervene in the Syrian crisis? Why did the US step up its role as the crisis escalated? The answer to this first question has a simpler answer: the US, as discussed in its external motive earlier, feared another Iraqi fiasco. Moreover, domestically, Washington was aware that most American taxpayers would be unwilling to spend money on yet another “bloody and unwinnable conflict.”30 If anything, a second military campaign of Iraq’s scale would have been even less popular with voters, as there was no homeland attack (9/11) as a precursor to justify America’s direct involvement in Syria. This inaction displayed by the US is plausible, considering there was also an internal motive – or rather, need – for President Obama to fulfill his campaign promise to reduce military involvement in the Middle East. Up to this point, containment policies – or strategies to stop the expansion of the conflict – have been the preferred method for Syria. According to Daniel Byman, a fellow at the Brooking Institute, containment was far less “costly than aggressive options like direct intervention.”31 Additionally, the containment policy did not require a large-scale military presence, which was precisely what Obama had in mind to fulfill his campaign promise. In any case, the initial reluctance that the US had towards Syrian intervention was internally motivated to appeal to its domestic population, the Americans voters. America’s unusual indifference to the Syrian changed by August 2013, when


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it launched missiles against Assad’s regime in response to his use of chemical weapons.32 It would appear as though this military intervention in Syria contradicted Obama’s earlier pledge to reduce military activity in the region. In reality, this was a calculated move on Washington’s part. Here, the US’s rhetoric, one that is centred around countering humanitarian concerns and rights violations under Assad’s regime, could be seen as an instrument to legitimize intervention in Syria. After all, if the US government was doing its part to relieve mass-refugee flows and internal displacement in an embattled country, it would receive some praise among its voters. Upon hindsight, it might have even helped in raising Obama’s approval ratings. Still, this may seem yet another excuse for the US to intervene in the conflict, similar to the way in which it legitimized the invasion of Iraq in 2003. There are fundamental differences between Iraqi and Syrian interventions, however. Contrary to the revenge-oriented rhetoric in the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq, here, the US is trying to play the role of “global police” so as to both restore peace for Syria, and more crucially, “kill IS.”33 Still, in both settings, American rhetoric to help embattled Syria and salvage its population was designed for domestic audiences in order to justify its internal motives for intervention. Meanwhile, on the Russian side, there were strong speculations that Russia’ s pro-Assad position in the Syrian crisis reflects “instrumental concerns about state cohesion within Russia domestically and its near neighbourhood.”34 It is out of this consideration for domestic politics, more than any deep solidarity with the Syrian leadership, that has maintained Moscow’s alignment with Damascus.35 The most obvious motive among these internal, domestic concerns was resisting Islamic terrorism. Since the early days of Syria’s civil war in 2011, Russian officials have justified their position in the crisis as a “bulwark of international and regional order” against the potential spread of transnational Islamist networks.36 Here, the term “transnational” provides insight into Russia’s internal motive. According to the Syrian foreign minister, Walid Mouallem, speaking at a conference with his Russian counterpart, Lavrov, in 2013, “one of al-Qaeda’s branches is conducting the main combat actions in Syria and it has brought into Syria militants from places including Chechnya.” This was the very place where Russia launched a war against, in the 1999-2009 Chechen War, in an attempt to suppress its separatist tendency.37 In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood became viewed by Moscow as a terrorist organization precisely because of its supposed role in the North Caucasus during the Chechen war. This fear that Islamist influence might once again threaten Russian control over its North Caucasus region only adds credibility to Moscow’s incentive to contain Islamist violence in Syria. This view helps to explain Russian intervention as a means to secure its own domestic stability. Still, non-Russian political commentators from the West speculate about the extent to which this was an indispensable motive behind Moscow’s intervention. For example, Fiona Hill, the Foreign Affairs writer-turned-presidential advisor wrote an article in March 2013, entitled, “The real reason Putin supports Assad: mistaking Syria for Chechnya,” in which she stated that Russia was merely using terrorism as an excuse to secure its only political base in the Middle East, as established earlier in this paper.38 If this were true – which is impossible


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to determine with certainty – then it would, ironically, be similar to the American rhetoric deployed to justify its own intervention in Syria. Beyond the terrorism-induced motive to intervene, two other civil motives also played a role in shaping Russia’s intervention in Syria: the Orthodox Church and Russian citizens living in Syria. Many Russian politicians have claimed that Putin was heavily influenced by the Russian Orthodox Church, which in turn lends support to Kremlin.39 Since the beginning of the civil war, the Church feared that Syrian Christians, “most of whom are Orthodoxy, would be persecuted if Islamist factions came to power in Syria.”40 This is convincing speculation, as it aligns with Russia’s hardline approach towards Islamists of any faction. The second civil factor concerns Russian citizens living in Syria. In 2013, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov claimed that there were “several tens of thousands of Russian citizens living in Syria who were unable to evacuate [amid] the civil war.”41 Not only were they mostly married to Syrians, but about half of these Russian citizens living in Syria supported the opposition, according to the Kremlin.42 This means that the failure to protect its own nationals in foreign spaces would weaken Putin’s popular, hardline image and credibility before the Russian public.

US-RUSSIA RELATION IN THE SYRIAN CIVIL WAR Finally, it is essential to assess American-Russian relations amid their intervention in Syria’s civil war. In comparison, Russia undoubtedly had a greater stake in Syria than the US. Crosston asserts that Syria was Russia’s only real ally in the Middle East, making it arguably more heavily invested in Syria.43 In fact, Russia’s stakes were so high that it would even compromise its already tense relations with the US. For example, when the US called for a regime change in Syria at the UN in 2011, Russia was the only member to veto this US-led resolution.44 In February, 2012, Russia vetoed yet another “strongly worded draft resolution” to depose Assad in opposition to all 13 other Security Council members, with the exception of China.45 Russia’s justification for vetoing, according to Foreign Minister Lavrov, was that relying on foreigners to help countries overthrow regimes was dangerous and contagious, and would ultimaelty be “an invitation to a whole array of civil wars.”46 Both acts of vetoing served as a direct confrontation against the US on the international stage, adding a subtle layer of Cold War proxy rivalry between the two great powers. Beyond the word battles, however, it was clear from the start that the two powers shared polar opposite views regarding Syria’s fate. When the Arab Spring first broke out in Syria, the American media portrayed the situation as a “groundswell of grassroots democratic ideals,” while Russia viewed it as a threat, to the extent of “a potential Great Islamist Revolution,” according to one Kremlin spokesperson.47 Further, when Putin met with Obama in 2012, he had apparently justified authoritarianism and scoffed at democracy promotion in the Middle East.48 It is no wonder, then, when reporters like Alexander Golts of Moscow Times argued that “Putin identifies with Assad… He is firmly convinced that democracy, the rule of law and human rights are all [but] contrivances that allow the West to control weaker nations.”49


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Nonetheless, despite its stakes at hand, Russia shared the US’s commitment to counter terrorism. Indeed, this paper has provided plentiful evidence regarding both powers’ willingness to combat the Islamic State. It is crucial to note, however, that Russia takes a broader view of what it considers to be terrorists than does the US, which, in turn, reignites the old ideological battle between the US and Russia in terms of what constitutes as the “enemy of the state.” Their respective definitions would be leveraged as weapons of ideological warfare against their intended targets; in this case, against each other. Russia is more inclined to Assad’s definition of terrorists, essentially any armed groups which oppose his regime, in contrast to the US or UN definition, consisting of mainly the IS and Al-Qaeda.50 Naturally, Russia did not welcome the US’s support for local rebels such as FSA and SDF. President Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, even commented that American action to support local rebels “created a serious obstacle for building an international coalition to fight it and to effectively resist this universal evil,” – by which he meant terrorism according to Russia’s standard.51 Of course, the US did not share Russia’s view on this so-called “universal” evil; after all, it considered only the IS and Al-Qaeda – and not local rebels who opposed Assad – as its targets. Regardless of their various motives and rhetoric for justifying their intervention in Syria’s civil war, one final view was held true for both the US and Russia: Syria was just a “temporary place for [them] to fight. They have little interest in ceasing to kill and destroy, as Syria was not their country, and thus their mere presence mostly contributed to the intractability of the conflict.”52 What Sorenson does not consider here is the subtle implication that Syria was not just a temporary place for them to fight the rebels, but fight each other, as the two great powers compete for international influence in proxy-lands. Indeed, Syria was no more than a chessboard on which the two powers competed for their own gains, whether on the international stage or within their domestic sphere.

CONCLUSION In sum, amid the chaos of the Syrian civil war, the United States and Russia played pivotal roles in shaping the conflict it has become today. Whether or not American and Russian foreign intervention in the Syrian Civil war was a deliberate attempt to prolong the conflict so as to satisfy their own agendas is of course open to debate. The three factors considered in this paper – the two powers’ internal, external motives and their relationship to each other – provides some theoretical ground for arguing that this is indeed the case. While it is all too unfortunate that the two powers must establish their interests atop corpses who died for Syria’s peace, spectators ranging from world leaders to students of politics have much to learn from the lessons of the US and Russia’s interventions in Syrian civil war. After all, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. NOTES 1  BBC News, “Syria Profile – Timelines,” BBC News, January 2019. 2 The Economist. The Economist Newspaper. Accessed February 20, 2020. 2  3  Daniel Byman, “Containing Syria’s chaos,” The National Interest, No. 140, December 2015, 30.


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4  David S. Sorenson, Syria in Ruins: The Dynamics of the Syrian Civil War. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2016, 221. 5  Sorenson, Syria in Ruins, 220. 6  Steven A. Cook, “The Syrian War Is Over, and America Lost.” Foreign Policy, July 23, 2018. 7  Sorenson, Syria in Ruins, 221. 8  Mark Landler, Mark Mazzetti, and Alissa J. Rubin, “Obama Officials Weigh Response to Syria Assault,” The New York Times. August 22, 2013. 9  Byman, “Containing Syria’s chaos,” 30. 10  Byman, 32. 11  Sorenson, Syria in Ruins, 224. 12  Sorenson, 224. 13  “Syria Conflict: What Do the US, Russia, Turkey and Iran Want?” Deutsche Welle, Janurary 23, 2019. 14  Byman, “Containing Syria’s chaos,” 32. 15  Roy Allison, “Russia and Syria: Explaining Alignment with a Regime in Crisis,” International Affairs, no. 4, 2013, 803. 16  Sorenson, Syria in Ruins, 122. 17  Matthew Crosston, “Cold War and Ayatollah Residues: Syria as a Chessboard for Russia, Iran, and the United States,” Strategic Studies Quarterly, no. 4, 2014, 95 18  Crosston, 95. 19  Allison, “Russia and Syria,” 807 20  “Russia-Syria Accord Allows up to 11 Warships in Tartus Port Simultaneously,” Deutsche Welle, Janurary 20, 2017. 21  Roy Allison, “Russia and Syria,” 805. 22  Sorenson, Syria in Ruins, 221. 23  Crosston, “Cold War and Ayatollah Residues,” 96. 24  Crosston, 96. 25  Crosston, 97. 26  Crosston, “Cold War and Ayatollah Residues,” 97. 27  Sorenson, Syria in Ruins, 101. 28  Mark Hosenball and Phil Stewart, “Kerry Portrait of Syria Rebels at Odds with Intelligence Reports,” Reuters, September 15, 2013. 29  Mark Hosenball and Phil Stewart, “Kerry Portrait of Syria Rebels at Odds with Intelligence Reports,” 30  Byman, “Containing Syria’s chaos,” 32. 31  Byman, 40. 32  Sorenson, Syria in Ruins, 224. 33  “Syria Conflict: What Do the US, Russia, Turkey and Iran Want?” Deutsche Welle, Janurary 23, 2019. 34  Roy Allison, “Russia and Syria,” 810. 35  Allison, 810. 36  Allison, 809. 37  Peter Walker and Tom McCarthy, “Syria Crisis: US Says ‘We’ll Take a Hard Look’ at Russian Proposal - as It Happened,” The Guardian, September 9, 2013. 38  Fiona Hill, “The Real Reason Putin Supports Assad.” Foreign Affairs, December 3, 2013. 39  Fiona Hill, “The Real Reason Putin Supports Assad.” 40  Allison, “Russia and Syria,” 804. 41  Sarah Wallace, “Hundreds of Thousands of Syrians Are Trapped, Unable to Get Food or Aid,” The New York Times, September 23, 2016. 42  Allison, “Russia and Syria,” 806. 43  Crosston, “Cold War and Ayatollah Residues,” 52. 44  Crosston, 53. 45  Crosston, 54. 46  Byman, “Containing Syria’s chaos,” 37. 47  Dmitri Trenin, “The Mythical Alliance: Russia’s Syria Policy,” Carnegie Papers, Carnegie Moscow Center, February 2013, 120. 48  Dmitri Trenin, “The Mythical Alliance: Russia’s Syria Policy,” 120. 49  Alexander Golts, “Putin between Asad and Mubarek,” Moscow Times, 7 June 2012. 50  Sorenson, Syria in Ruins, 223. 51  Sorenson, 223. 52  Sorenson, 227.


Behind the Mask of “Progress”: Peru’s Forced Sterilization Program from 1996-1998 Brianna Cheng

Edited by Ashton Connor Mathias & Marie Fester

Paradoxically, Fujimori sought to appeal to "popular sectors", but his policies caused the most harm to poor, indigenous women.


ABSTRACT As President of Peru from 1990 to 2000, Alberto Fujimori went to great lengths to underscore his commitment to women’s rights: he increased the participation of women in high levels of the Peruvian government and appealed to feminist organizations across the country. A prominent component of Fujimori’s “feminism” was the initiation of a national family planning program. This program was based on the principles of the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994, famous for its emphasis on reproductive rights. Yet, Fujimori’s family planning program was mobilized to carry out a forced sterilization campaign. Primarily poor rural Indigenous Peruvian women were sterilized without consent, resulting in high levels of complications and deaths. This paper offers an examination of the intersections between neopopulism and neoliberalism in Fujimori’s family planning program. Specifically, it argues that Fujimori’s government enabled its sterilization campaign and impeded feminist opposition to the program with neopopulist rhetoric. The campaign must be considered a racialized neoliberal policy so as to not marginalize it as an unfortunate, isolated incident in Peruvian history. Rather, Fujimori’s campaign was a calculated initiative that corresponded with Fujimori’s macroeconomic policy. More broadly, this paper complicates the typical separation of more “traditional” political concepts such as neopopulism and neoliberalism from the study of gender in politics and additionally seeks to shed light on the historical embedment of Malthusian thought in neoliberal policies.

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INTRODUCTION n 1998, Giulia Tamayo, a lawyer working for the Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights (CLADEM), a feminist human rights group, discovered evidence of abuses in Peruvian hospitals committed by the state-run family planning program. She documented 243 cases of female sterilization under questionable circumstances in nineteen different departments, prompting The Defensoria del Pueblo Peru (Office of the Public Defender in Peru) to conduct a full investigation of the program. Under the program, Peruvian doctors conducted 217 446 surgical sterilizations on women from 1996 to 1998. It was found that for every 100 000 operations, there were 7.35 deaths due to poor sanitation conditions during surgery, poor medical practices, and lack of post-operation care. Of the 157 cases of sterilization investigated in 1999, forty-one had no record of consent at all. Most of the women sterilized belonged to poor, rural, Indigenous communities.1 Ironically, during this time, Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was championing himself as a modern leader that encouraged the economic, social, and political elevation of women in Peruvian society. One prominent measure was the installation of a reproductive healthcare and family planning program that was based on the principles of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, the fifth World Population Conference held by the United Nations. How then, in this period of increased national and international

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rhetoric surrounding human rights and women’s reproductive rights, did Fujimori institute a destructive national sterilization campaign that derailed women’s reproductive agency? Furthermore, how can this campaign be understood in the broader context of the Fujimori regime’s neopopulist, neoliberal politics? Political scientists tend to regard gendered politics as a separate sphere of study in comparison to more “classical” political theories such as populism or neoliberalism. However, I hope to demonstrate through an analysis of the Fujimori government’s coerced and unsafe sterilizations the intimate relationship between these concepts and gendered politics. In this paper, I argue that Fujimori’s administration ironically enabled its forced sterilization campaign against indigenous women through neopopulist rhetoric of women’s rights; this same rhetoric prevented adequate change to the program through limiting feminist opposition. This campaign must be considered as one of Fujimori’s neoliberal policies so as to not marginalize it as an isolated incident, but part of a calculated, racialized economic policy.

CONCEPTUALIZING NEOPOPULISM AND ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH NEOLIBERALISM IN 1990S LATIN AMERICA The definition and characteristics of populism and neopopulism are highly contested. In order to fully understand how Fujimori’s neopopulism shaped the sterilization campaign of 1996-1998, and national gendered politics during his regime in general, it is necessary to first outline the form that Fujimori’s neopopulism took. Kurt Weyland, a prominent scholar of Latin American political science, distinguishes neopopulism from the “classical populism” that spread throughout Latin America from the 1930s to the 1950s in that neopopulism does not entail the same economic policies like distributive measures and import substitution industrialization (ISI). Rather, neopopulist leaders of the 1990s typically, though not by definition, enacted neoliberal policies including austerity measures and structural adjustment programs, but retained the political features of classical populism. Weyland defines a neopopulist as an individual leader seeking or exercising power through rallying support from popular sectors. A neopopulist capitalizes on charisma and relies on noninstitutionalized or minimally institutionalized support from the masses. 2 Like classical populism, Latin American neopopulism often coalesces in the concentration of political power in a single person, harming democratic institutions.3 Fujimori is often posited as the prototypical neopopulist due to his neoliberal economic policies, as well as his personalistic leadership style and heterogeneous support base. To address the former, Fujimori implemented institutional neoliberal reforms to restructure the inflation-stricken economy he inherited. A comprehensive structural adjustment program was put in place, which included the deregulation of financial and labor markets, the reduction of tariffs, the privatization of enterprises, and a broadening the tax base. The percentage of Peruvians in poverty rose to 54% after this shock.4 Yet, Fujimori remained a popular leader; political scientist Jennifer Holmes and scholar of public administration Sheila Amin Gutierrez de Pineres contend that this support derived primarily from Fujimori’s improvements in security in the midst of war against


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rebel groups.5 The Peruvian president’s popularity relied upon the direct linkages between himself and his followers for support, rather than relying on institutionalized forms of mediation— a distinctly populist political trait. He carefully crafted his image as a strong, yet distinctively “progressive” leader to gain a wider base of support, especially from lower-class sectors. Due to a lack of institutional checks, Fujimori became increasingly authoritarian throughout his presidency. In 1992, Fujimori initiated a self-coup as Congress was dissolved and Fujimori took authoritarian control. Fujimori asserted that the coup was necessitated by the existence of dangerous insurgents, justifying his choice and furthering his “strong man” image. In a 1993 plebiscite, the Peruvian people approved a new constitution whereby Congress and the judiciary had a formal reduction of powers. 6 Fujimori remained highly authoritarian in nature until the end of his tenure as President in 2000, representing the breakdown of democracy that so often accompanies neopopulism.

NEOPOPULISM’S ROLE IN FUJIMORI’S FORCED STERILIZATION CAMPAIGN I do not seek to argue or imply that populism or neopopulism in general produces a specific type of gendered politics. In fact, to suggest that populism produces specific gendered dynamics undermines the utility of populism as a political concept that can be applied to a variety of different regimes. Rather, I contend that it is possible to discern how a specific regime’s populist elements influenced its state’s gendered politics. During his tenure as president, Fujimori consistently pursued seemingly “feminist-friendly” projects and evoked the rhetoric of elevating the status of women when it boosted his constructed image of a progressive, modernizing, charismatic leader.7 He touted his appointment of an unprecedented number of women to high political positions in the Peruvian national government, including Martha Chavez, the first president of Congress, along with other female ministers, vice ministers, and executives in state agencies.8 Perhaps most tellingly, Fujimori boasted that he was the only male head of state to address the UN World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, announcing his “dedication to the improvement of the position of fifty per cent of the population which had been excluded [from full citizenship] for a long time.”9 He presented himself as a genuine, casually progressive, non-elite leader, wearing blue jeans and tennis shoes while he announced his reproductive health and family planning program that was heavily based upon the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo’s Programme of Action (POA), which controversially established access to reproductive and sexual health care services, including family planning, as one of its central goals.10 Prior to this family planning program, surgical contraception, including sterilization, was illegal in Peru barring cases where pregnancy would cause a demonstrable fatal risk. Fujimori legalized these forms of contraception and asserted that this was a step towards giving Peruvians more choice in their reproductive decisions.11 The Catholic hierarchy in Peru were adamantly opposed to all forms


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of artificial sterilization, especially surgical sterilization.12 Fujimori broke from the Catholic hierarchy through imposing these new measures, accusing them of sabotaging the health of Peruvian women.13 This demonstrated to his supporters that he would not be manipulated, while also presenting a popular anti-establishment elite stance. Eventually, a coerced and unethical sterilization campaign was conducted through the family planning program. In order to secure funding and legitimacy for this program, Fujimori garnered the support of the women’s movement, the international community, and the social and political left in Peru. The government received sixteen million dollars from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support its family planning plans in 1996. However, the money did not fund the improvement of rural healthcare conditions, such as creating and maintaining hygienic working environments, medical supplies, or beds. Rather, make-shift mobile medical services were funded and rural doctors received quotas to sterilize women.14 Thus, Fujimori’s coerced sterilization campaign was mobilized through securing the support and funding for a family planning program that hinged on the neopopulist promotion of international reproductive rights rhetoric.

THE COMPLICATIONS OF BACKLASH AGAINST FUJIMORI’S POLICIES Fujimori’s neopopulist exercise of power also complicated feminist movements’ and non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) backlash to the sterilization campaign. After the 1992 self-coup, Peruvian media was heavily censored and objectors and opponents of the regime were denied basic human rights.15 Due to this repressive political environment, feminist activist groups had difficulty opposing the forced sterilization campaign after it was revealed to the public. Criticizing the government threatened not only the individual activists within these groups, but these groups’ very existence. These fears were sharpened by the fact that Fujimori remained a popular president: publicly opposing his policies could damage the image of the feminist movement in Peru. Several feminist groups were aligned with the regime to maintain economic support, such as Manuela Ramos and Flora Tristan, complicating their ability to speak out.16 Because Fujimori had positioned himself as a leader in women’s rights and had implemented various pro-women measures as part of his neopopulist strategy, many women’s groups were hesitant to criticize his family planning program in fear that many of the benefits that women had received would be rolled back. They also did not want to create a negative image of reproductive rights in the public eye as such criticism would effectively place themselves in line with the Catholic Church, who were also publicly criticizing Fujimori.17 It must be made clear, however, that despite these barriers, various women’s groups in Peru researched women’s experiences with the family planning program, challenged the government, and spurred dialogue that objected to paternalistic health care systems.18 Consorcio Mujer, a consortium of Peruvian feminist NGOs, for example, conducted community surveys to show officials there was no unmet need for sterilization, decreasing pressure to fulfill impractical sterilization quotas.19


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THE CORRELATION OF NEOLIBERALISM AND MALTHUSIAN THOUGHT IN CONTROLLING WOMEN’S REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS These sterilizations cannot simply be seen as the failure of a generally well-meaning family planning initiative; they must be understood as one of Fujimori’s regime’s deliberate neoliberal policies with similarly harsh, and perhaps even more shocking, consequences for the Peruvian public. The Cairo conference’s POA, the very programme that Fujimori based his family planning initiative on, did not challenge neo-liberalism, but in fact endorsed it. The intersection between population, development and economic growth, and thus the underpinning of the POA’s neoliberal nature, was Malthusian thought. In 1798, Thomas Malthus argued that if population growth continues beyond agricultural capacity, resources would become scarce and world living standards would regress.20 In line with this thought, the POA’s ultimate goal was “population stabilization.”21 Thus, women’s reproductive rights were not instated to benefit women, but a means to an end in controlling population.22 This created problematic results: globally, most funding for contraceptive research was targeted towards long-lasting or permanent provider-controlled surgical, hormonal and immunological methods, placing efficacy over safety.23 The recommended means of population control by the POA represented a neoliberal, macroeconomic approach: governments were encouraged to introduce user fees for health services and contraceptives. As well, the POA emphasized private sector production and distribution of contraceptives and recommended that governments “review legal, regulatory and import policies that unnecessarily prevent or restrict the greater involvement of the private sector.”24 Furthermore, “traditional” neoliberal economic reforms disproportionately disadvantage women, particularly poor and racialized women. These policies often restrict or reduce women’s access to housing, sanitation, food, and clean water, causing a rise in poor health, including reproductive health.25 The POA fails to address these issues, further revealing its alignment with neoliberal principles. Like the POA, the Fujimori regime’s family planning program espoused the need to elevate women’s reproductive rights while also seeing them as a means to an economic end. In practice, however, the 1996-1998 coerced and unsafe sterilization crisis bypassed the idea that providing accessible contraception and reproductive healthcare would naturally bring the birth rate down. Rather, permanent sterilization of Peruvian women was a government imperative that sought to control female bodies for means of economic growth. The Peruvian population ballooned from about six million in 1940 to over twenty-five million in 2000.26 Government documents show that behind the scenes, the presidency and prime minister’s office saw the sterilization as an economic development measure that would lead to an increase in GDP per capita. In one document entitled “Basic Social Policy Guidelines,” developed in 1993, population growth was predicted to impede the economy’s capability of employment and social services. Another document named “Social Policy: Situation and Perspectives” stated that the number of people who decided upon a permanent method of family planning was one of thirteen indicators of success in promoting economic growth.27 As


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such, population reduction in the form of permanent sterilization was essential to the Peruvian government’s conception of prudent macroeconomics. The government’s forced sterilizations were targeted towards poor, indigenous, rural areas, revealing that their neoliberal family planning project was clearly racialized. Quotas were created for the number of women sterilized in rural Peru. Christina Ewig reveals that Fujimori met weekly with local healthcare officials to promote increased quotas, further suggesting that the status of women or the improvement of reproductive health were not actual considerations in Fujimori’s family planning program.28 The provision of food or clothing, deception, and threats were utilized to coerce women into sterilizations.29 Yet, these rural areas were not overpopulated and had a lower comparative population density to urban areas.30 Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, eugenics were actively employed in attempts to solve overpopulation and poverty throughout the “Global South.”31 The Fujimori regime’s focus on indigenous women in their sterilization project reveals that the specter of eugenics still looms over neoliberal understandings of population politics. Indigenous women are thought to be easily coerced, and the very “need” to control these women’s reproduction demonstrates the reduction of these women to their womb: a womb that will inevitably overproduce poor Peruvians. The insistence on sterilization, rather than other forms of birth control, insinuates that these women could not be trusted to use other contraceptives, reinforcing an image of uneducated, unteachable indigenous women. The experiences of these women are rendered invisible in the late twentieth century discourse of the “right to choose,” a slogan regarding abortion rights touted by predominantly white women’s groups.32 In the Peruvian forced sterilization campaign, racialized constructions deem that racialized women should not be granted the “right to choose” because they are believed to be incapable of responsibly choosing for themselves.

CONCLUSION Mujeres de Anta (Women of Anta), an NGO meant to publicize violations committed by the Peruvian government and fight for reproductive justice, was founded in 2001. One member of the association stated, “They made my husband sign a document, and they told him that they would heal me, but given that he could not read, he did not know what the document was about ... and they also threatened my husband that if I did not show at the local clinic, the police would take him prisoner. My husband made me go because he was afraid.”33 This fearfilled quote provides a reminder of the tangible, extremely harmful effects of the Fujimori regime’s campaign. As such, these women deserve space in political science literature. This paper has shown the ways in which Fujimori’s populist regime enabled an unsafe and coercive sterilization campaign for the purpose of economic growth. While many women did in fact receive increased reproductive freedom and access to contraceptives and resources as a result of Fujimori’s family planning campaign, the campaign itself was built upon racialized Malthusian principles. Paradoxically, Fujimori sought to appeal to “popular sectors,” but his policies caused the most harm to poor, indigenous women. Often, scholars characterize a regime through the presence or lack of presence of legislation.


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This paper sought to problematize this notion: Fujimori’s institution of a gender quota in Congress was thought to represent an increase in gender equity in Peruvian politics and furthermore, an extension of citizenship and adherence to liberal values. Yet, Fujimori’s regime also co-opted feminist ideology in pursuit of an economically conservative political project. To gain additional theoretical power and prominence in scholarship, further research concerning how “classical” political concepts such as populism and neoliberalism can be nuanced with gendered analyses is required. Perhaps this research will shape the scholarly field to more tangibly represent how politics influences people’s lived experiences.

NOTES 1  Christina Ewig, “Hijacking Global Feminism: Feminists, the Catholic Church, and the Family Planning Debacle in Peru,” Feminist Studies 32, no. 3 (2006): 646-647. 2  Kurt Weyland, “Clarifying a Contested Concept: Populism in the Study of Latin American Politics,” Comparative Politics 34, no. 1 (2002). 3  Kurt Weyland, “Neopopulism and Neoliberalism in Latin America: How Much Affinity?” Third World Quarterly 24, no. 6 (2003): 1107. 4  Roberts, “Neoliberalism and the Transformation of Populism,” 96-96. 5  Jennifer S. Holmes and Sheila Amin Gutierrez de Pineres, “Source of Fujimori’s Popularity: Neo-liberal Reform or Ending Terrorism,” Terrorism and Political Violence 14, no. 4 (2002): 93-112. 6  Philip Mauceri, “An Authoritarian Presidency: How and Why Did Presidential Power Run Amok in Fujimori’s Peru?,” in The Fujimori Legacy: The Rise of Electoral Authoritarianism in Peru, ed. Julio Carrion (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2006): 39-60. 7  Stéphanie Rousseau, Women’s Citizenship in Peru: The Paradoxes of Neopopulism in Latin America (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009), 24. 8  Stéphanie Rousseau, “Populism From Above, Populism From Below,” in Gender and Populism in Latin America: Passionate Politics, ed. Karen Kampwirth (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2010), 144. 9  Quoted in Jelke Boesten, “Free Choice or Poverty Alleviation? Population Politics in Peru under Alberto Fujimori,” European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, no.82 (2007): 7. 10  Ewig, “Hijacking Global Feminism,” 640. 11  Ewig, 640. 12  Ewig, 640. 13  Jadwiga E. Pieper Mooney, “Re-visiting Histories of Modernization, Progress, and (Unequal) Citizenship Rights: Coerced Sterilization in Peru and in the United States,” History Compass 8, no. 9 (2010): 1042. 14  Boesten, “Free Choice,” 6-7. 15  Ewig, “Hijacking Global Feminism,” 651. 16  Ewig, 651. 17  Ewig, 651. 18  Bonnie Shepard, “Let’s Be Citizens, Not Patients!”: Women’s Groups in Peru Assert Their Right to High-Quality Reproductive Health Care,” in Responding to Cairo: case studies of changing practice in reproductive health and family planning, ed. Nicole Haberland and Diana Measham (New York: Population Council, 2002): 339-354. 19  Bonnie Shepard, “Let’s Be Citizens, Not Patients!,” 350. 20  Thomas Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population (London: J. Johnson, 1798). Retrieved December 7, 2019 via Online Library of Liberty. https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/malthus-anessay-on-the-principle-of-population-1798-1st-ed. 21  United Nations, International conference on population and development programme of action (Cairo: UNDP, 1994), 21. 22  Sumati Nair, Sarah Sexton, and Preeti Kirbat, “A Decade after Cairo: Women’s Health in a Free Market Economy,” Indian Journal of Gender Studies 13, no. 2 (2006): 171-193. 23  Asoka Bandarage, Women, population and global crisis: a political-economic analysis (London: Zed Books, 1997), 90. 24  Asoka Bandarage, Women, population and global crisis:, 91.


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25  Nair, Sexton and Kirbat, “A Decade after Cairo,” 179. 26  Boesten, “Free Choice,” 4. 27  Ewig, “Hijacking Global Feminism,” 642-644. 28  Ewig, “Hijacking Global Feminism,” 644. 29  Carlos Caceres, Marcos Cueto, and Nancy Palomino, “Sexual and Reproductive Rights Policies in Peru: Unveiling False Paradoxes,” SexPolitics: Reports from the frontlines (2008): 140. 30  Boesten, “Free Choice,” 7. 31  Boesten, “Free Choice,”, 4 32  Kalpana Wilson, “Towards a Radical Re-appropriation: Gender, Development and Neoliberal Feminism,” Development and Charnge 46, no. 4 (2015): 813. 33  Quoted in Mooney, “Re-visiting Histories,” 1044.


The Evolution of a Resistance Movement: The Case of Hamas Madelyn Evans

Edited by Ilona Metais

Hamas’ electoral victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections definitively marked the group’s entrance into the political sphere, impacting the internal political scene as well as regional dynamics.


ABSTRACT This paper will explore two crucial moments in Hamas’ history, which mark monumental changes in the evolution of Hamas as an organization and a movement. Firstly, this paper will analyze Hamas’ milestone electoral victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, which marked Hamas’ formal entrance as a political actor in the region. Hamas’ electoral triumph was due to disillusionment with the corruption of Fatah, popular legitimacy established through its economic and social programs, and the platform’s emphasis on a secular – rather than ideological or religious – agenda. Secondly, this paper will examine Hamas’ unprecedented rebranding in its 2017 charter, which reflects the movement’s ideological shift and an upgraded political program. The group decided to adapt its image because of exacerbating constraints from the situation in Gaza, the prospect of reconciliation with Egypt, and a need to gain legitimacy on the global level. Finally, this paper will discuss prospects for the future of Hamas, explaining how Hamas’ previous patterns of adjustment and adaptation to the needs of the Palestinian people signal the likelihood of a continuation of similar shifts. Overall, this paper seeks to demonstrate that over the course of Hamas’ existence, adaptation has become a defining characteristic of Hamas as a movement.

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INTRODUCTION In December of 1987, shortly after the First Intifada erupted, a group of Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the Gaza Strip established Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya (the Islamic Resistance Movement). Best known by its Arabic acronym “Hamas,” (meaning zeal), the Islamist militant group declared its commitment to the destruction of the state of Israel, to the rejection of a twostate solution, and to the liberation of all of Palestine.1 Since its founding, Hamas differentiated itself from other Palestinian groups by its refusal to join the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and through its strategy of embracing armed struggle over peace treaties. As a religious-nationalist liberation movement, Hamas fiercely renounced negotiating with Israel diplomatically on the premise that doing so would act as a formal recognition of the state’s existence and legitimacy. Over the course of Hamas’ existence, its strategies, agenda, and ideology have evolved significantly. This paper will explore two crucial moments in the group’s history which mark monumental changes in the evolution of Hamas as an organization and a movement. First, this paper will analyze Hamas’ milestone electoral victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections. These elections marked Hamas’ formal entrance into politics and established the group as a player within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which could no longer be ignored. In order to assess how Hamas achieved such an unanticipated political triumph, this paper will examine the main factors which led to this electoral victory including the failings and corruption of Fatah, the establishment of charitable grassroots networks, and Hamas’ broad, secular platform. Next, this paper will examine Hamas’ unprecedented rebranding in its 2017 renewed manifesto, which reflects the movement’s ideological shift and showcases its upgraded


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political program. The factors that led to Hamas’ shifting trajectory will then be assessed, and these include mounting pressures from the worsening conditions in Gaza, the need to better relations with Egypt, and a desire to improve its international standing. Finally, this paper will discuss prospects for the future of Hamas. Overall, this paper seeks to demonstrate that through Hamas’ decision to become a formal political actor in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections and renewal of its charter in 2017, adaptation has become one of the defining characteristics of Hamas as a movement. Furthermore, this paper argues that Hamas’ actions demonstrate that the group has evolved into a rational political actor who adapts to the changing demands of the Palestinian people and the regional status quo.

THE MILESTONE 2006 ELECTIONS: HAMAS’ TRIUMPH On January 25, 2006, Hamas shocked the world with its landslide victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections. In an election with 77 percent voter turnout, Hamas won 42.9 percent of the vote, giving it a parliamentary majority with 74 of the 132 seats.2 The rival party, Fatah, received only 41.43 percent of the vote. Consequently, the results of the 2006 parliamentary elections overturned forty years of Fatah’s domination.3 The election was judged by international observers to be “competitive and genuinely democratic.”4 By virtue of its victory, Hamas formed a government and became the leading force in Palestine for the first time since its founding.5 The 2006 elections were for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), the legislature of the Palestinian National Authority which embodied Palestinian political legitimacy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.6 Fatah, a secular political party, was the preferred ruling government by Israel, the United States, Europe, many Arab regimes, the United Nations, and various other regional and international players. Governments across the globe were stunned: a “terrorist organization” (as it had been labeled in the West) could emerge as a victorious popular political power.7 Between 2000 to 2005, Hamas was responsible for more than 40 percent of Israeli fatalities through its repeated violent attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers.8 The Islamist militant group emphasized that its participation in the 2006 elections was part of its broader strategic goal of resistance to Israel and expressed its standing commitment to the liberation of Palestine and rejection of the Oslo agreements.9 In spite of the group’s claims of consistency in its goals, however, Hamas’s decision to participate in the 2006 legislative elections signaled a significant shift in its approach to the political status quo.10 Up until 2005, Hamas had refused to participate in national elections because it would have been an endorsement of the Oslo agreements.11 The provisions of the 1993 Oslo Accords stipulated that the Palestinian leadership recognized Israel’s right to exist and were willing to commit to finding a peaceful solution. Hamas rejected participation in the 1996 legislative elections, because it perceived the elections as an outcome of the accords.12 Hamas’ entrance into the political process hence raised questions about the group’s fundamental stance.13 In the lead-up to 2006, Hamas justified its decision to participate in the elections by claiming the Oslo Accords, for all


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intents and purposes, “terminated with the eruption of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000” and that Israel had recognized this termination by violating its provisions.14 The reasoning held little weight, however, since Hamas’ participation in the election was an implicit acceptance of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. In late 2004, Hamas made the decision to participate in the Palestinian municipal elections. Though these elections signaled Hamas’ increasing disposition toward the political realm, they were of lesser significance because the municipalities were primarily in charge of mundane matters of daily life.15 Hamas’ engagement in the 2005 elections thus did not spark doubts regarding the group’s commitment to its founding principles laid out in its 1988 covenant. Participation in legislative elections, contrastingly, necessarily required Hamas deal with Israel, the international community, and various political compromises.16 The party understood that participating in the legislative elections entailed a new political idiom and terminology; such changes were reflected through their more moderate rhetoric in the election manifesto.17 At the level of its internal make-up, Hamas became more politicized – somewhat at the expense of its characteristic militarism.18 Hamas’ victory in the 2006 elections had far-reaching implications. In the wake of the electoral results, Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia from the Fatah party and his cabinet resigned. While Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas successor for prime minister, called for a political partnership between Hamas and President Abbas, several Fatah leaders voiced that they had no intention of forming a coalition with Hamas.19 Consequently, the 2006 legislative election ushered in a murky period of transition within the Palestinian Authority (PA). The institutional fragmentation and instability within the Palestinian arena in the aftermath of the elections marked the intensification of tensions between Fatah and Hamas – tensions which would escalate into civil war just one year later. Hamas’ parliamentary victory also had momentous policy implications for Israel. Hamas’ triumph reinforced the credo that violent resistance against Israeli occupation was popular among the Palestinian people. Israel responded by vowing to reject dealing with Hamas politically unless it disarmed and renounced its commitment to the destruction of Israel.20 Additionally, Israel, along with the United States and its Quartet partners (Russia, the European Union and the United Nations) cut off contact with and halted assistance to the PA.21 Israel began withholding approximately $50 million in monthly tax and customs receipts it collected for the PA.22 Furthermore, banks around the world refused to deal with the PA, suspending its access to banking services and loans for fear of conflicting with U.S. anti-terrorism laws and being cut off from the U.S. banking system.23 Accordingly, Hamas’ decision to take part in the 2006 elections profoundly impacted the nature of the movement, the Palestinian political scene, and regional dynamics at large.24

FACTORS OF HAMAS’ 2006 ELECTION VICTORY Hamas’ unanticipated victory in the 2006 elections can be traced to several fundamental factors, one of them being the pervasive failings and corruption


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of Fatah. Since the mid-1990s, Fatah had earned the reputation as a “corrupt, divisive, and unresponsive” governing body.25 Having dominated the Palestinian movement for decades, Fatah “had arrogantly come to view itself as the natural and indisputable leader.”26 Fatah’s numerous scandals and inability to provide basic services or address high unemployment left many Palestinians impatient with the endemic corruption of the regime. Moreover, much of the population was further disillusioned with Fatah’s cynicism and lack of strategy.27 Fatah had demonstrated an inability to win any concessions with Israel; meaningful negotiations between the two sides were consistently undermined, reflecting poorly on Fatah’s diplomatic capabilities. Many Palestinians viewed the unilateral nature of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 as a decision that former prime minister Mahmoud Abbas had nothing to do with and that perhaps was triggered by Hamas.28 The culmination of Fatah’s shortcomings thus created a large gap in effective, popular leadership. Through a cleverly organized campaign, Hamas was able to fill that void in Palestinian governance. In the lead-up to the 2006 elections, Hamas launched a political crusade against corruption. Monopolizing on Fatah’s weaknesses, Hamas ran under the party name “Change and Reform,” distinctly framing the election as a vote for the rampant corruption of the current regime versus a vote for change. Throughout its campaign, Hamas was able to construct an effective dichotomy between itself and Fatah in the public sector primarily through its network of social and economic programs. Fatah sorely lacked in these sectors and thus appeared “deficient and seemingly incapable of remediation.”29 By underscoring the services it provided via its charitable institutions, Hamas advanced the perception of itself as the only viable political faction challenging the inadequacy of Fatah.30 In 2004, a woman at an NGO meeting in Gaza stated, “We support Hamas because they take revenge for us, because they are strong and honest.”31 Her views co-align with many of the attitudes among the population at the time. Many Palestinians indicated that despite voting for Hamas in 2006, they did not support Hamas’ Islamic platform or its focus on violent resistance. There was an overwhelming perception among Palestinians, even among Hamas’ enemies, that the group was “clean” in comparison to Fatah.32 Therefore, the majority of Palestinians voted for Hamas because they wanted “change and reform in a dysfunctional system.”33 Another significant factor which led to Hamas’ election victory was its successes in establishing charitable grassroots networks addressing social, economic, and political needs.34 The electoral campaigns in 2004, 2005, and 2006 which Hamas participated in were key to expanding its reputation as a charitable social welfare organization.35 These elections provided Hamas with opportunities to channel its power to the local level. Throughout these campaigns, Hamas often ran candidates on the basis of their charitable and social service work.36 After its success in the local elections of July 2005, Hamas broadly expanded its legislative platform. It committed to providing social welfare, building a strong civil society, instilling viable institutions, and implementing financial management and accountability.37 Hamas’ platform also promised economic reform, including free market initiatives, foreign investment, and reducing unemploy-


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ment.38 The group delivered on many of its welfare promises. By 2005, Hamas and its affiliated Islamic charities were supporting 120,000 individuals with monthly financial donations in Gaza.39 The social welfare sector provided some form of assistance (such as emergency cash, food assistance, and medical care) to one in every six Palestinians.40 It also dispensed need to struggling families, schools, hospitals, and orphanages, and youth programs.41 Hamas’ focus on improving Palestinians’ lives was a party line which appealed to much of the public suffering from the economic conditions under Fatah’s inept governance. For years the PLO had failed to administer social services in the Palestinian territories or cater to the demand for jobs. In the face of enduring economic hardship, Hamas’ social programs offered the promise of aid and comfort many Palestinians sought.42 Islamic notions of zakat, the social justice and charity aspect of Islam, also coincided with the appeal of Hamas’ platform. As one of the Five Pillars of Islam, zakat consoled many Muslims at a time when many in Palestinian society were turning increasingly to religion for solace, support, and solidarity.43 Overall, it is evident that Hamas’ expansive social services network proliferated the movement from below and expanded Hamas’ strength throughout the public sector, ultimately leading to its victory in the 2006 elections. A final critical factor of Hamas’ milestone victory was the group’s broad, secular platform and its capability to adapt to changing popular perceptions. Throughout the electoral campaigns leading up to 2006, Hamas demonstrated its ability to adapt to the needs of its constituency. Its platform was versatile, mobilizing a new discourse which stressed social, economic and governance issues above Islamic and bellicose matters.44 In order to reach a broader scope of voters, Hamas limited its ideological language and branded itself as a pragmatic political party and welfare provider. By doing so, Hamas expanded its appeal to Palestinians who were not affiliated with the movement and may not have necessarily agreed with its radical militant line.45 Its emphasis on a more secular program allowed Hamas to build a broader support base beyond followers of Islam. In its legislative electoral platform, religious references amounted to only “a page and a half out of the document’s fourteen pages.”46 This demonstrated Hamas’ more flexible interpretation of its religious principles and allowed for the prioritization of its constituents’ socioeconomic and political concerns. The group’s reduced religious agenda also enabled Hamas to form alliances with non-believers and non-supporters such as Christians, Marxists, and secularists.47 The majority of its legislators and municipal councilors were in fact “professionals and community leaders with a secular as opposed to a strictly religious education.”48 Overall, these strategies enabled the party to attain a broader form of civic and political engagement. Thus, the stress on a secular program rather than on ideology or religion was an additional component essential to Hamas’ electoral victory in 2006.

HAMAS’ IDEOLOGICAL SHIFT: REBRANDING IN THE 2017 MANIFESTO On May 1, 2017, Hamas released a new manifesto – the first since its found-


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ing charter of 1988. The new charter, issued by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Doha, Qatar, unveiled a strategic rebranding of Hamas as an organization.49 The document attempted to present a “softer and more moderate face” of the Islamist militant group broadly known for its violent campaigns against Israel.50 In the document Hamas, for the first time, accepted the idea of a Palestinian state in the territories occupied by Israel in the six-day war of 1967.51 This was a notable shift from Hamas’ former stated position, which rejected any territorial compromise.52 Hamas’ previous refusal to accept the 1967 borders has been a “major sticking point” in failed negotiations between Israel and Palestine.53 Such a shift in an ideological stance was a culmination of years of Hamas’ evolving agenda. For years Hamas had been strategically adjusting its political program and sending signals it might “be ready to begin a process of coexisting with Israel.”54 While previous Hamas leaders hinted at the potential to accept a Palestinian state on 1967 lines, such ideas were never explicitly proclaimed in an official document. May of 2017 thus marked an unprecedented articulation of the progression of Hamas’ political strategy and its aim to distance itself from its former, more radical agenda.55 The document has been described by some as the “contemporary summary of Hamas beliefs and aims” and has the potential to guide the group toward a more peaceful path as negotiations advance in the future.56 Although the document may not represent a revolutionary departure from Hamas’ worldview, the substantive changes made in the new charter show there is at least the potential for a peace settlement – a potential which did not exist before. Hamas’ new charter thus marked a significant turning point at which the group sought to update its principles, policies, and evolving ideological goals to meet the external pressures of its geopolitical environment.57 In the new policy document, Hamas softens some of its stated positions and uses more measured, pragmatic language. Although in the new charter Hamas does not explicitly disavow its aim to destroy Israel articulated in the 1988 Covenant, its language regarding its stance towards Israel is notably different. Rather than include its traditional discourse on the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic state, the new document instead insists on armed resistance.58 The new document offers no recognition of Israel (referring to the nation as the “Zionist entity”), but makes the noted differentiation that Hamas opposes Israel on national rather than religious grounds.59 Interconnected with this modified attitude towards Israel, the new charter distinctively shifts away from using anti-semitic language. The 1988 charter was condemned for its frequent use of anti-Jewish rhetoric, criticized by many as racist.60 At the May 1 press conference, Hamas leader Meshaal stressed a change in the group’s approach to the Jewish faith, affirming that “Hamas believes our struggle is against the Zionist occupation, the Zionist enterprise. It’s not a struggle against Jews or Judaism.”61 Explicitly underscoring his statement was Article 16 of the new charter, which states, “Hamas affirms that its conflict is with the Zionist project not with the Jews because of their religion.”62 Such terminology is a stark contrast to Hamas’ 1988 covenant, which is rife with anti-Semitic language and compares Jews to Nazis.63 Article 7 of the former charter quotes the Prophet’s hadith: “The [Day of Judgment] will not come until Muslims will fight


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the Jews (and kill them).”64 In the new charter, the lack of anti-Jewish sentiment can be seen as a response to the criticism it previously received and a tactic by Hamas to improve its international standing. Hamas’ desire to broaden its global appeal is an important factor which will be later discussed. It partially explains why, in 2017, Hamas chose to offer a framing of the struggle against Zionism and Israel as having nothing to do with religion.65 Perhaps more consequential than the manifesto’s modified attitude towards Israel and the Jews is the significant adjustment in Hamas’ relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood. The new document abandons past references claiming Hamas is part of the Brotherhood, marking a crucial departure from a founding component of the group.66 Initially emerging as an outgrowth of the pan-national Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’ founding was intrinsically linked to the ideals and religious guidelines of the Islamist organization. The Hamas Covenant of 1988 explicitly states the link between Hamas and the Brotherhood in Article Two: “The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine.”67 In the 2017 charter this association was abandoned, suggesting Hamas’ effort to portray itself as a local Palestinian movement which stresses the “necessity of building Palestinian national institutions,” rather than pan-Islamic objectives.68 Throughout the document, the nationalist and resistance aspects of the group’s purpose are emphasized far more than the religious ones.69 These changes are notable because they demonstrate that the movement’s policies and positions have shifted away from Islamism and dogma and are now closer to spheres of pragmatism and nationalism.70 Cutting ties with the Brotherhood was also significant for its potential to improve Hamas’ strained relations with Egypt and other Arab states.71 Considered a terrorist organization by many Middle Eastern nations, numerous Arab leaders view the Muslim Brotherhood as a threat to their authoritarian rule. In Egypt, in particular, the group has been systematically targeted by the government especially since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s bloody crackdown beginning in 2013.72 Related to Hamas’ abandonment of its Brotherhood linkage, the new document also insists that Hamas “opposes intervention in the internal affairs of any country.”73 The reassurance that the group is not a revolutionary force which pursues foreign interference is a commitment which was welcomed by other states in the region.74 Such distinctions in the 2017 charter are further indications of the movement’s shift in strategic thinking. The impact of the changes Hamas made in its 2017 manifesto are broad-reaching and have the potential to influence future actions taken by the group. The movement’s ideological shift entails another major implication: a direction towards reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. As noted earlier, a key element of the new document was Hamas’ acceptance of establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. For the first time in the group’s history, Hamas accepted the same goal as Fatah.75 The fundamental difference previously dividing Hamas and Fatah was Hamas’ commitment to Israel’s destruction versus Fatah’s engagement in peace talks with Israel. Their divergence in goals had caused prior efforts to reconcile the two Palestinian factions to fail. Now that Hamas no longer calls for the demolition of the Israeli state, there


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is the wider possibility the two parties can amend their differences.76 The new charter brings both sides closer “to the same negotiating objective.”77 Such steps towards reconciliation and a unified Palestinian objective are crucial in the long term goal of achieving some type of peace settlement with Israel and establishing Palestinian sovereignty. Reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas could facilitate peacemaking because Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas would be able to ensure Israel that a treaty in Gaza would be honored.78 Thus, the fact that this charter has begun, at least in theory, to bridge the gap between two major Palestinian groups is largely significant in the broader context of the conflict. Overall, Hamas’ new manifesto exhibits several pivotal shifts in the movement’s development. It adopts a nuanced tone, softer rhetoric when discussing Israel, calls for national unity, and cuts its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. Mustafa Barghouti, an independent Palestinian politician, noted the document was “the outcome of a political dialogue that has been held over a very long time,” and called it “a sign of maturity and a sign of political development.”79 Such comments reaffirm the document’s importance in reaching a point of progress in the movement and an upgraded political program. Though the document does not radically undermine every element of the founding charter, it represents the legitimate potential for a more peaceful Hamas and an improvement of regional geopolitical relations in the future.

FACTORS OF HAMAS’ IDEOLOGICAL SHIFT IN THE 2017 CHARTER The significant changes reflected in Hamas’ new manifesto and the timing of its release can be largely traced to the mounting pressures that the group faced (and continues to face) in the Gaza Strip. The revised charter was issued amid a continuing Egyptian and Israeli blockade of Gaza which had been in effect since June of 2007. Following Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, Israel imposed a land, sea, and air blockade on the territory on the grounds of preventing militant attacks.80 Over the past decade, conditions in the area under Hamas’ control have dramatically worsened. The blockade has crippled Gaza’s economy, cut people off from the outside world, and left its 1.9 million inhabitants suffering daily hardships.81 As of mid-2016, the unemployment rate was almost 42 percent – one of the highest in the world – and over 70 percent of the population was receiving some form of international aid, the majority being food assistance.82 By 2016, over 95 percent of the water was undrinkable and the surrounding sea was polluted by sewage.83 In 2015, a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development warned that “the Gaza Strip could become ‘uninhabitable’ by 2020 if current economic trends persist.”84 The worsening conditions in Gaza have increasingly constrained Hamas’ political choices, placing increasing stress on the group to find some sort of solution. Movement restrictions imposed by Israel since the 1990s have rendered Palestinians in Gaza unable to access the remainder of the occupied Palestinian territory and the outside world.85 The isolation of Gaza was exacerbated by Egypt’s closure of the Rafah crossing in October 2014. Under Egyptian President


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Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the Egyptian government tightened security along the Gaza border, closed many of Hamas’ tunnels, and targeted Gazan fishing boats which strayed into Egyptian waters.86 The loss of the tunnels in particular presented a serious logistical challenge for Hamas due to the critical role they played as an underground passage for smuggling combatants, weapons, and goods.87 The volume of trade which traveled through the tunnels was up to “$700 million dollars a year,” highlighting the substantial damage the loss cost Hamas.88 Each of these factors underscored Hamas’ incentives to adopt a new stance to attain reconciliation with Egypt and an alleviation of Israeli restrictions. It is evident that the extreme conditions of Gaza placed increasing pressure on Hamas to create a more flexible, moderate political and diplomatic framework in order to implore external powers to ease the blockade.89 The exacerbating humanitarian crisis situation in Gaza has also served as an impetus for Hamas to seek to regain its declining support among its civilians. As of mid-2015, opinion polls found a high level of frustration among Gazans, with only one third expressing satisfaction with the performance of the government.90 A positive evaluation of conditions in Gaza stood at a mere 14 percent, and 60 percent of Gazan youth between the ages of 18–28 expressed a desire to emigrate.91 Hamas’ failures in providing services for the inhabitants of Gaza thus undercut its popular legitimacy among the Palestinian people. In the 2017 manifesto there is an important emphasis on nationalism and upholding the “aspirations of the Palestinian people,” underlining a stronger commitment to improving the societal issues Palestinians face.92 It is evident that the pressure to improve its reputation among Gazans led Hamas to formulate a new nationalistic framework. Another factor which explains the shift in Hamas’ ideology, as promulgated by the 2017 manifesto, was Hamas’ need to improve its relations with Egypt. These relations were interconnected with the situation in Gaza; the longer Hamas failed to reconcile its differences with Egypt, the longer the blockade would persist and exacerbate the conditions there. The new charter’s more moderate tone demonstrates an effort to alleviate economic pressure in Gaza from the tight border restrictions imposed by Israel and Egypt.93 Such objectives also explain why Hamas sought to distance itself from the Muslim Brotherhood. As previously discussed, cutting ties with the Muslim Brotherhood offered the potential for Hamas to gain Egypt’s favor. Especially in recent years, Hamas felt the heavy burden and cost of its affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood in terms of its impact on its international reputation.94 In the context of the regional atmosphere at the time, Hamas realized abandoning its association with the Brotherhood could benefit the movement’s standing. Numerous Arab states, particularly Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, were engaged in an offense against the Brotherhood and were suspicious of Hamas’ association with terrorist groups. Egypt had frequently accused Hamas of collaborating with the Brotherhood in planning terrorist attacks within the country.95. In abandoning the linkage, Hamas aimed to present itself as a group completely independent from other transnational organizations, reassuring those countries wary of the Brotherhood.96 This aimed to facilitate the “opening of channels to dialogue


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with Cairo” without the lingering affiliation of the Brotherhood.97 Such efforts have proved relatively effective; relations between Hamas and Egypt started to improve the summer of 2017, just several months after Hamas’ new charter was published.98 A final crucial factor of the ideological changes displayed in Hamas’ new charter was a desire to improve its international standing. Due to years of failures in gaining legitimacy on the global level and being characterized by much of the West as a “terrorist organization,” Hamas sought to reshape its image internationally. Traditionally, Hamas has been shut out of the peace process. In an attempt to distance itself from its terrorist label, Hamas utilized the 2017 charter to present itself as a responsible political partner capable of speaking both the language of politics and resistance.99 It welcomes “the values of cooperation” and seeks to build international legitimacy by engaging in political and financial relations with various state actors.100 As Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, argued, “To the world, our message is: Hamas is not radical. We are a pragmatic and civilised movement.”101 The group’s desire to garner broader international support explains why the new document removes all anti-semitic language, cuts its linkages with the Muslim Brotherhood, and abandons its call for the destruction of Israel. Hamas’ new branding efforts thus offer a more moderate face to a group seeking to improve its standing among the international community.

FUTURE PROSPECTS FOR HAMAS The 2006 Palestinian elections and the revised 2017 manifesto demonstrated that adaptation has become one of the main characteristics of Hamas as a movement. Throughout its history the group has adjusted to the changing circumstances in order to meet the political reality of the region. Hamas has repeatedly abided by the desires of the Palestinian people, demonstrating remarkable flexibility in its ability to adapt to the status quo. In its efforts to continue to soften its image to the world, Hamas’ military wing has decreased in importance while its political wing has expanded. Hamas’ previous patterns of adjustment signal the likelihood of a continuation of similar shifts. Historical precedents show that processes for militant organizations to change their ideology or disarm take years. It is significant to note the amount Hamas has evolved in the last thirty-two years and especially in the past decade alone. Up through 2006, Hamas considered the land of Palestine as indivisible and not something they would negotiate with. However, as the 2017 manifesto demonstrated, Hamas now accepts a Palestinian state at the 1967 borders. While a once more extremist Hamas entirely rejected the Oslo Accords, the group later amended its stance by engaging in the Palestinian electoral process. These changes demonstrate that Hamas has compromised on some of its founding principles in order to adapt to the regional and political status quo. With the direction the movement is currently heading, there is the possibility that Hamas will compromise more of its harder stances for the sake of attaining full Palestinian sovereignty. Hamas no longer seeks an escalation of violence and has not ruled out the possibility of joining the Palestinian order. The group will likely


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continue its apparent willingness to explore the possibility of coexisting with Israel because it has recognized that its current strategies have failed. Additionally, given the realities of the status quo in Gaza, it is highly foreseeable that Hamas will seek to pursue a more viable future for the territory.102 As the situation continues to worsen without any prospects for improvements on the near horizon, Hamas may make some sort of concession to Israel and Egypt. Hamas is struggling under the strained financial situation and its legitimacy is diminishing in the eyes of its people. The conditions of poverty and environmental hazards continue to mount in severity and the Palestinian population living there cannot afford to wait any longer. The external pressure placed on the group by the nearly thirteen-year long blockade of Gaza already proved to be a large factor behind Hamas’ decision to rebrand itself to the world in its 2017 manifesto. The increasing pressure the situation in Gaza mounts on the population may drive Hamas to finally agree to a cease-fire. It is expected that the Israeli government will continue to refuse to establish contact or negotiate with Hamas unless the movement demonstrates it is no longer the same movement it was founded as and that it does not seek to destroy Israel. If Hamas makes substantive, genuine, and repeated efforts to signal its willingness to work for peace negotiations with Israel, there is the possibility Israel might be willing to cooperate. Additionally, if Hamas were to reconcile its differences with Fatah and accept a coalition government, it might be more welcomed into the negotiating process. Many regional powers, including Egypt, are proponents of Hamas and the PLO joining together to restore unified Palestinian sovereignty. While Hamas cannot turn back the clock and reverse its former days of championing a military struggle and encouraging suicide bombing, it can look towards a future of negotiations, reconciliation, and possibly, one day, peace.103

CONCLUSION Over the course of this paper, two critical moments in the evolution of Hamas as a movement were examined. Hamas’ electoral victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections definitively marked the group’s entrance into the political sphere, impacting the internal political scene as well as regional dynamics. Its victory was traced to disillusionment with the shortcomings of Fatah, well-developed social welfare programs, and its emphasis on a more secular platform to garner broader support among the Palestinian population. Hamas’ publication of its revised charter in 2017 was another significant milestone in the group’s history, representing a point of political development, the culmination of several ideological shifts, and, moreover, further proof of the group’s ability to adapt. Its rebranding was traced to internal pressures from the situation in Gaza, external pressures from Egypt, and a desire to increase its international legitimacy. Since its founding, the trajectory of Hamas as a movement has shifted profoundly from radicalism to pragmatism, demonstrating remarkable adaptability. In the years to come, the world will witness the far-reaching reverberations as the Hamas agenda continues to adapt.


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NOTES 1  Khaled Hroub, Hamas : A Beginner’s Guide, 2nd ed. (London: Pluto Press, 2010), [xvi], digital file. 2  Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, “Factsheet: Hamas and the 2006 Palestinian Elections,” Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, last modified February 2006, https://www.cjpme.org/fs_012. 3  Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, “Factsheet: Hamas,” 4  Congressional Research Service, International Reaction to the Palestinian Unity Government, by Paul Morro, [2], May 9, 2007, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RS22659.pdf. 5  Hroub, Hamas : A Beginner’s, viii. 6  Hroub, viii. 7  Hroub, viii. 8  Jaegar A. David et al., “Can Militants Use Violence to Win Public Support? Evidence from the Second Intifada.,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, [529]. 9  Baudouin Long, “The Hamas Agenda: How Has It Changed?,” Middle East Policy Council XVII, no. 4: https://www.mepc.org/hamas-agenda-how-has-it-changed. 10  Scham, Hamas : Ideological Rigidity, 12. 11  Long, “The Hamas.” 12  Hroub, Hamas : A Beginner’s, xiv. 13  Scham, Hamas : Ideological Rigidity, 12. 14  Scham,12. 15  Scham,12. 16  Scham,12. 17  Scham,12. 18  Hroub, Hamas : A Beginner’s, xiv. 19  GlobalSecurity.org, “Palestinian Parliamentary Elections 2006,” GlobalSecurity.org, https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/palestine/pa-elections2006.htm. 20  GlobalSecurity.org, “Palestinian Parliamentary.” 21  Congressional Research Service, International Reaction, 1. 22  Congressional Research Service, 2. 23  Congressional Research Service, 2. 24  Hroub, Hamas : A Beginner’s, xiv. 25  Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, “Factsheet: Hamas,” 26  Ali Abunimah, “Hamas Election Victory: A Vote for Clarity,” The Electronic Intifada, last modified January 26, 2006, https://electronicintifada.net/content/hamas-election-victory-vote-clarity/5847. 27  Abunimah, “Hamas Election,” The Electronic Intifada. 28  Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, “Factsheet: Hamas.” 29  Sara Roy, Hamas and Civil Society in Gaza: Engaging the Islamist Social Sector (n.p.: Princeton University Press, 2013), [207], https://doi.org/10.23943/princeton/9780691159676.001.0001. 30  Roy, Hamas and Civil, 204. 31  Roy, 204. 32  Scham, Hamas : Ideological Rigidity, 13. 33  Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, “Factsheet: Hamas.” 34  Michael Arnold, “Quicktake Hamas,” Bloomberg, last modified March 25, 2019, https:// www.bloomberg.com/quicktake/hamas. 35  Roy, Hamas and Civil, 206. 36  Roy, 206. 37  Roy, 207. 38  Roy, 207. 39  Lihi Ben Shitrit, Righteous Transgressions: Women’s Activism on the Israeli and Palestinian Religious Right (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015), [71]. 40  Roy, Hamas and Civil, 204. 41  Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, “Factsheet: Hamas.” 42  Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, “Factsheet: Hamas.” 43  Roy, Hamas and Civil, 204. 44  Long, “The Hamas.” 45  Will Carroll, “Hamas and the Arab State: A Transnational Terrorist Social Movement’s Impact on Regimes in the Middle East” (master’s thesis, 2005), 80], 46  Roy, Hamas and Civil, 207. 47  Roy, 207.


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48  Roy, 207. 49  Adam Hoffman, “The ‘Hamas Document’ and the Muslim Brotherhood: Ideological or Political Shift?,” Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, last modified May 4, 2017, https://institute. global/insight/co-existence/hamas-document-and-muslim-brotherhood-ideological-or-political-shift. 50  Hoffman, “The ‘Hamas.” 51  Patrick Wintour, “Hamas presents new charter accepting a Palestine based on 1967 borders,” The Guardian, May 1, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/01/ hamas-new-charter-palestine-israel-1967-borders. 52  Yolande Knell, “How Much of a Shift Is the New Hamas Policy Document?,” BBC, last modified May 2, 2017, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39775103. 53  Colin P. Clarke, “Hamas’s Strategic Rebranding,” Rand, last modified May 17, 2017, https://www.rand.org/blog/2017/05/hamas-strategic-rebranding.html. 54  Scham, Hamas : Ideological Rigidity, 2. 55  Long, “The Hamas.” 56  Wintour, “Hamas presents.” 57  Hoffman, “The ‘Hamas.” 58  Long, “The Hamas.” 59  Hoffman, “The ‘Hamas.” 60  Knell, “How Much,” BBC. 61  Knell, “How Much,” BBC. 62  “Charters of Hamas,” Contemporary Review of the Middle East, no. 4 (December 2017): https://doi.org/10.1177/2347798917727905. 63  Hoffman, “The ‘Hamas.” 64  Israeli, Raphael, trans. The Charter of Allah: The Platform of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas). Jerusalem, Israel: The Hebrew University, n.d. https://fas.org/irp/world/para/ docs/880818.htm. 65  Khaled Hroub, “A Newer Hamas? The Revised Charter,” Journal of Palestine Studies XLVI, no. 4 (Summer 2017): [102], https://doi.org/10.1525/jps.2017.46.4.100. 66  Wintour, “Hamas presents.” 67  Israeli, The Charter of Allah. 68  Hoffman, “The ‘Hamas.” 69  Hroub, “A Newer,” 102. 70  Hroub, 110. 71  Tamara Qiblawi, Angela Dewan, and Larry Register, “Hamas Says It Accepts ‘67 Borders, but Doesn’t Recognize Israel,” CNN, last modified May 3, 2017, https://edition.cnn. com/2017/05/01/middleeast/hamas-charter-palestinian-israeli/. 72  Wintour, “Hamas presents.” 73  Hoffman, “The ‘Hamas.” 74  Wintour, “Hamas presents.” 75  Arnold, “Quicktake Hamas,” Bloomberg. 76  Arnold, “Quicktake Hamas.” 77  Wintour, “Hamas presents.” 78  Arnold, “Quicktake Hamas,” Bloomberg. 79  Qiblawi, Dewan, and Register, “Hamas Says,” CNN 80  “The Gaza Strip: The Humanitarian Impact of the Blockade | November 2016,” United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs occupied Palestinian territory, last modified November 14, 2016. 81  Oxfam International, “Timeline: The Humanitarian Impact of the Gaza Blockade,” Oxfam, last modified 2018. 82  “The Gaza.” United Nations Office 83  Oxfam International, “Timeline: The Humanitarian,” Oxfam. 84  United Nations, “Gaza Could Become Uninhabitable in Less than Five Years Due to Ongoing ‘de-development’– UN Report,” UN News, 2015. 85  “The Gaza.” United Nations Office 86  Clarke, “Hamas’s Strategic,” Rand. 87  Clarke, “Hamas’s Strategic.” 88  Jon Donnison, “Gaza Tunnel Trade Squeezed by Egypt ‘crackdown,’” BBC, 2012. 89  Hroub, “A Newer,” 106. 90  Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No - 56 (Ramallah, Palestine, 2015), 91  Palestinian Public.


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92  “Charters of Hamas,” Contemporary Review. 93  Knell, “How Much,” BBC. 94  Hroub, “A Newer,” 107. 95  Hoffman, “The ‘Hamas.” 96  Hroub, “A Newer,” 107. 97  Hroub, 107. 98  Ali Adam, “Egypt and Hamas’ warming relations raise eyebrows years after coup fallout,” The National, March 10, 2019. 99  Hroub, “A Newer,” 106. 100  Hoffman, “The ‘Hamas.” 101  Hoffman, “The ‘Hamas.” 102  Richard Falk and Correio Braziliense, “The Future of Statehood: Israel & Palestine,” Global Research, last modified February 3, 2019. 103  Zaki Chehab, Inside Hamas: The Untold Story of the Militant Islamic (New York: Nation Books, 2007), 226.


An Analysis of the Current State of and Prospects for Healthcare Reform in the United States Sophia Dilworth

Edited by Mariana Furneri

The current political climate is one in which even a moderate approach to healthcare reform becomes highly controversial as each party is unwilling to concede any ground.


ABSTRACT Although Democrats and Republicans agree that the American healthcare system must be modified, consensus is difficult to achieve. While Republicans advocate for increased market competition to lower costs and improve efficiency, Democrats advocate for a “public option” in which the government acts as a low-cost insurance provider alongside the market. This paper demonstrates that these positions are not as incompatible as they appear and that a compromise plan incorporating aspects of both parties’ plans is, in theory, attainable. Both parties recognize that proposed plans will require concessions. At the same time, both parties are hesitant to support any healthcare reforms proposed by the other, as the polarized political system has transformed accepting compromise into concession, and concession into failure. This issue is further complicated by concerns of stakeholders, namely the healthcare industry. As such, prospects for healthcare reform, which, in a bipartisan system, is possible only through compromise, appear dire.

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INTRODUCTION: THE NEED FOR REFORM The unique debate surrounding healthcare in the United States is both a product of and reinforced by American Exceptionalism. Thus, the United States remains not only as the single Western nation lacking universal healthcare, but the only nation in which, for many, this lack of coverage is a product and source of pride. Nonetheless, the emergence of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid throughout the 20th century has demonstrated that the American commitment to libertarian values may not pose an insurmountable barrier to the extension of healthcare. However, whether such an extension would treat healthcare solely as a privilege to be made accessible to a larger share of the population, or as a right that must be provided to all by the government, remains a contentious and mainly partisan issue. The debate is further complicated by the fact that the dispute extends beyond concerns regarding healthcare’s legitimacy as a right. In recent decades, the rising influence of stakeholders has also served to undermine and shape healthcare reform, maintaining a careful balance between mollifying the public and maintaining profits. As the stakeholder and partisan debate reinforce each other and must thus both be simultaneously resolved, the prospects for healthcare reform, be it universal or otherwise, seem dire. As such, the progress towards fundamental healthcare reform is likely to be slow and arduous, focusing on reshaping national ideology concerning health and responsibility in addition to exerting and maintaining pressure on powerful stakeholders. In light of these complications, it may be surprising that healthcare reform remains on the agenda at all. Indeed, the Constitution, from which rights in America are generally derived, contains no direct provisions for the protection of health.1 Thus, the health-related policies and programs that have emerged are a product of Article 1 of the Constitution, which authorizes Congress to “regulate interstate commerce” and to “make all laws which shall be necessary and proper to … provide for the general Welfare.”2 Nonetheless, the system remains largely privatized; insurance companies are the main providers, though coverage is


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generally purchased by employers as incentivized by the tax system.3, 4 However, privatization has somewhat decreased through public assistance programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Most recently, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, which extended healthcare to more Americans by increasing government regulations.5 However, these various programs have not achieved, nor have intended to achieve, universal healthcare. For the purpose of this paper, universal healthcare will be defined as a system in which every citizen, from birth, is provided coverage under a certain level of uniformity.6 Thus far, such extensive coverage in the United States has hardly received consideration, at least not from within the party “establishment.” That said, the inclusion of universal healthcare as a priority in Elizabeth Warren’s and Bernie Sanders’ campaigns for the Democratic nomination for the 2020 presidential elections signals that the idea of universal healthcare may be gaining ground. Nonetheless, for most Democrats, the issue of reform is not one of achieving universal healthcare but is rather more pragmatic in nature: correcting existing inefficiency. Since the 1980s, U.S. healthcare expenditure has increased to 16% of GDP, as compared to the 5–11% reached by its peer countries. Most distressingly, this higher expenditure has resulted in comparably lower quality healthcare.7 Therefore, due to inefficiency and lack of coverage, healthcare has resurfaced as an issue that can no longer be left on the fringe of the national policy agenda. Both the Democratic and Republican parties have incorporated the issue into their platforms, though, as is to be expected, the extent of reform and the values stressed in implementing any changes vary greatly between the two.

THE PARTISAN DEBATE The Ideological Debate: The Value of Health Policy discrepancies between the Democratic and Republican parties is derived in part from traditional party ideologies into which the notion of health has been incorporated. Republicans, in abiding by their libertarian principles, have generally integrated health as a negative right, that is a right which the government may not infringe upon, but has no duty to enforce.8 Under this conception, the delegates responsible for drafting the proposed Constitution intended that all rights be negative. This is exemplified by, for example, the First Amendment, which protects free speech from government interference but does not mandate a necessity for the government to provide a platform for such speech.9 In the same way, though the government may not infringe upon your health, it has no duty to protect it as a positive right through, for example, providing healthcare. Furthermore, this notion of negative rights reinforces individualism and liberty by reducing reliance on the government.10 From this ideological standpoint, universal healthcare would encourage dependency on hand-outs, thereby inhibiting individualism, and would give the government a mandate to infringe upon our freedoms.11 This infringement would be further compounded by the fact that such an endeavor would likely be funded by taxes.12 As a result, universal healthcare would reward those who cannot provide for themselves and unjustly penalize those who can. Therefore, healthcare must be a privilege, not a positive


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right, which must be earned by merit. Yet this argument appears to stand only if it is agreed that liberty and individualism are more important than life. This is certainly not a view held by Democrats, who assert that healthcare, as a fundamental requirement for life itself, must be a positive right.1314 Indeed, this is not incompatible with libertarian values held by Republicans. After all, a sick person’s capabilities are often compromised, resulting in their inability to pursue goals, to assume individual responsibility, and to enjoy liberty.15 The interpretation that individuals only have negative rights ignores how it is in fact through positive rights that the ability to pursue “life, liberty, and happiness” emerges.16 Therefore, healthcare may be, in itself, compatible with libertarian values. Indeed, without health, the right to be exempt from government interference becomes meaningless. Thus, the disparity between the Democrats’ and Republicans’ perception of healthcare may not be a product of inherently different values towards the concept of health itself but rather an entrenched conception that the adversarial party’s ideas, by virtue of belonging to the political opponent, must be irreconcilable with their own. The Practical Debate: Economic Implications of Healthcare Reform Regardless of its origin, the perceived conflict between party ideologies has also resulted in a disparity in the perception of the cause of healthcare inefficiency, the goals that healthcare reform must achieve, and the methods chosen to pursue healthcare reform. As such, the Republican Party (GOP) has identified the reduction of costs, rather than the treatment of healthcare as a right, as the primary focus of reform. Cost inflation, it maintains, is a product of overregulation, “over-insurance,” and lack of individual responsibility.17 The solution is a libertarian one: the free market and increased competition. In order to achieve the benefits of a free market, the party asserts that it will deregulate the healthcare market by reducing the various mandates that insurance companies have to abide by.18 Such mandates, the GOP argues, price millions out of the insurance market by increasing the costs for insurers.19 These increased costs force firms to either increase premiums for consumers, or to leave the market entirely.20 The latter option, too, increases premiums as the remaining firms finding themselves facing less competition, thus reducing the need to keep prices competitive. Furthermore, the party will allow insurance companies to compete across state boundaries, thus increasing competition and incentives to improve the quality of healthcare whilst reducing costs.21 The necessity to do so will be reinforced by phasing out employer-based insurance. This is intended to encourage consumers to analyze a wider variety of insurance plans, thus requiring insurance companies to offer better premiums.22 Thus, the impact of the free market on costs will be twofold: consumers will spend less as they assume individual responsibility for their healthcare, whilst companies, as required by competition, will reduce prices and aim to minimize their expenditures. Yet the GOP also recognizes a need to make healthcare “more accessible.”23 For example, it stresses that it does not intend to eliminate protection for individuals with preexisting conditions.24 Moreover, the party’s plan includes a provision for tax credits to assist those who do not qualify for public assistance but cannot


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fully afford to purchase insurance.25 Such policies are certainly not libertarian. Yet rather than indicating a change in fundamental party ideology, such amendments indicate that to a certain extent, the Republican Party has realized that its libertarian values must be adapted to modern principles that no longer fully reject social responsibility. Nonetheless, this merely grants that the party is willing to extend the privilege of healthcare because it is politically viable to do so. In other words, these concessions should not be mistaken for a genuine commitment to include every member of society in its revised healthcare plan. Instead, it is likely that in abiding by its libertarian principles, the GOP will limit this increased accessibility to only those members of society who are deemed most vulnerable, and thus “worthy,” by key constituencies. As such, some members of the public will continue to be excluded from the privilege of healthcare. Critics argue that in addition to the intended failure to provide universal coverage, the plan will also result in an unintentional failure to reduce costs. Under this conception, increased reliance on the free market and competition will propagate cost inflation rather than combat it. Though Republicans may argue that competition inevitably lowers costs, in reality insurance companies compete in additional ways that limit their incentives to attract customers merely through competitive pricing. For example, firms spend a combined $420 billion on managing, designing, and marketing various plans to appeal to customers and distinguish themselves from competitors.26 As a result, in contradiction to what the GOP claims, pricing is not necessarily the decisive factor in firm competition. Furthermore, competitive firms aim to maximize their profits and are thus more likely to increase rather than reduce premiums. This is exacerbated by “cost-shifting,” which maintains that insurance firms will charge higher premiums to the insured as the number of uninsured rises. This occurs as the uninsured represent foregone profits for which the insured have to compensate, resulting in a cycle of ever-increasing premiums.27 As a result, it is argued that the Republican plan to proliferate competition is likely to promote rather than combat cost inflation. By drawing on these criticisms and the libertarian values underlying the Republican model, it may be logical to assume that the Democrats’ model for reform would stress the elimination of competition. This is only partially the case. Indeed, the so-called “single-payer option” maintains that the government, funded by taxes, would provide all of its citizens with insurance, which would eliminate all competition in the healthcare market.28 However, although the single-payer option, by definition, provides for the Democrats’ stated goal of universal healthcare, the party has, for the most part, distanced itself from the policy. Instead, it advocates for a “public option,” in which the government acts as a low-cost insurance provider alongside, rather than in the place of, the current private and employer-based market.29 Though this would likely extend coverage by making it more affordable, it would also increase competition, thereby producing aforementioned fears of ever-increasing premiums and costs.30 As is the case with the Republican plan, this appears to be not a fundamental change in principles, but rather a reaction to a political climate in which its “pure strategy,” in this case single-payer healthcare, may be too drastic. As such, the goal of


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achieving near-universal coverage and thus a significant extension of the right to healthcare must, at least in the interim, suffice. That this is a political necessity is indicated by the fact that even this less intrusive public option has nonetheless produced substantial opposition. For instance, Republicans argue that whilst private health plans aiming to maximize profits have strong incentives to prevent fraud, government programs do not as strongly pursue such measures, resulting in widespread and unnecessary inefficiency.31 Furthermore, even the expectation that the government would be able to keep costs low is deemed questionable as it relies on the assumption that powerful interest groups affected by such cost-cutting measures will idly stand by.32 Thus, a public option, it is maintained, would increase costs for both the government and consumers, thereby exacerbating the issue at hand. As such the fiscal soundness of both the Republicans’ and Democrats’ proposals remains rather speculative. In essence, each party’s claim that only its respective plan can both increase access and reduce costs is an assertion that only their ideology and conception of health can offer a viable solution. As a result, the acceptance of the other party’s plan becomes a validation of their ideology. Thus, the critique of the economic validity of each plan is in fact a manifestation of the ideological debate. Nonetheless, as indicated by the moderation of each party’s “pure strategy” to accommodate the current political climate, the parties are willing to make concessions within their own plans. The over-arching goal of each party, however, remains the implementation of their own plan and the defeat of their adversary’s. The partisan debate thus appears to produce a hostile environment for reform in which each party refuses to accept its adversary’s plan, regardless of how many concessions it contains.

A THIRD PLAYER: THE IMPORTANCE OF STAKEHOLDERS It may thus appear that the path towards cooperative healthcare reform lies in resolving the ideological hostility between the two parties. However, the fact that the United States is a democracy means that the debate surrounding healthcare reform, which impacts a wide myriad of stakeholders such as consumers, healthcare providers and insurance companies, extends far beyond the concerns of politicians. Such stakeholders generally have little interest in discerning health’s legitimacy or illegitimacy as a right, and instead advocate for policies that promote their narrow interests. As such, a prominent inhibitor to the resolution of the debate is the general populace; though the majority generally supports the idea of healthcare reform, it is wary of the fundamental changes that such reform inevitably requires.33 This is largely a product of the general satisfaction with the prevailing system; approximately 88% of insured Americans, who comprise the vast majority of the population, are satisfied with their coverage.34 Despite this general satisfaction, the public generally sees the healthcare industry, with its “fraud, greed and inefficiency,” as the source of rising costs. Thus, the public supports reform only in so far as it intervenes in the industry to correct these malpractices, whilst keeping the prevailing delivery system itself intact.35 This results in a political climate in which any taxation, limitation of choices, or reduction of employer insurance


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is seen as an unjust imposition on the “innocent” public. This is further compounded by a change-resistant sentiment found amongst “guilty” healthcare providers and insurance companies, both of whom hold considerable power in Washington. As the contributor of 18% of GDP,36 the healthcare industry holds not only political importance but also economic significance.37 Thus, when healthcare corporations resist both significant changes to the healthcare system as well as the lowering of prices, they create a significant political barrier.38 Politicians, in attempting to enact reform, find resistance on multiple and conflicting fronts, thereby significantly reducing the policy options available. Yet politicians have good reason to avoid antagonizing stakeholders, as exemplified by Bill Clinton’s failed healthcare reform efforts in 1993. Clinton’s plan aimed to achieve universal coverage by replacing the privatized employer-based system through “managed competition” by regional health alliances established by each state.39 However, Clinton’s failure to consult stakeholders resulted in substantial opposition.40 Healthcare companies and small businesses spent over $140 million in measures to defeat the initiative.41 Furthermore, various health industry groups extended the debate to the public through public relations campaigns in which they portrayed the plan as an overextension of government bureaucracy and unnecessary risks.42 The Clinton Plan became associated with a reduction in insurance status, which propagated fears that the removal of the employer-based system would adversely affect the public.43 In reality, the plan was not quite as imposing as portrayed, but the average citizen was unable to discern this because of the plan’s undue complexity.44 As a result, the public, though a dissenter in its own right, also became a malleable resource to be used by powerful opponents to defeat the plan. Clinton’s failure thus serves as a warning that ignorance towards stakeholder influence, or false optimism towards public sentiment, is largely misplaced. As such, any successful healthcare reform is, by necessity, likely to be a result of deliberation with various stakeholders. However, this produces a serious impediment to change. As neither consumers nor affected corporations accept responsibility in the escalating healthcare crisis, the acceptance of the reduction of the employer-based system as advocated by Republicans, or the acceptance of the public option as advocated by Democrats, would appear to require altruistic actions with insurmountable costs. As a result, unless they provide substantial concessions elsewhere, both plans are unlikely to secure stakeholder support. Thus, the stakeholder debate serves to further reduce the possible scope of reform as each party is forced to make further concessions.

THE DEBATE APPLIED: THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT The importance of not only acknowledging but also allowing the partisan and stakeholder debates to shape healthcare reform is particularly evident in President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010. The plan aimed to extend coverage to millions of Americans and was a product of extensive compromise. As a result, the act overcame opposition to provide the first extensive federal healthcare reform in decades. At the same time, the


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concessions have also made it highly controversial amongst not only conservatives, but also liberals who perceive it as too moderate. In principle, the PPACA did intend to abide by liberal principles with a key aim of extending coverage. Although it maintained the employer-based model of insurance, the PPACA included an “employer mandate” requiring all employers to provide insurance to their employees or pay a fine should they fail to do so. The act also included an individual mandate that made a similar requirement of citizens to purchase a healthcare plan,45 and offered subsidies to people with an income of up to 400% of the federal poverty level to make plans more affordable.46 Additionally, the PPACA attempted to expand the uniformity of Medicaid by reducing the income eligibility requirement in all states.47 Despite these changes, the PPACA did not fundamentally alter the prevailing system through a public option, but simply modified existing institutions to grant greater access. Though the PPACA was in no way insignificant, its scope, as compared to liberal aspirations, was rather limited. In part, this appears to be a product of the concern to not only get a plan passed, but to ensure that such a plan would be viable. Indeed, as Democrats controlled Congress and held a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, Republican support was not explicitly required to ensure that the act would pass.48 It was however, required to ensure that the plan would not be repealed in the future. Thus, the plan could not be overly rooted in ideological principles. The passage of the PPACA was therefore presented not as an affirmation of health as a right but rather as an implementation of Congress’s authority to regulate interstate commerce in order to improve American lives.49 The resolution of ideological disparities was thus not encouraged. The plan further sought to reduce Republican opposition by including libertarian provisions such as private insurance, individual responsibility, and consumer choice.50 The Democrat’s recognition of the need to reduce the partisan divide, though largely unsuccessful in assuring long-term Republican support, was partially responsible for the deviation from a more assertive plan. Such moderation also served to ameliorate possible stakeholder resistance. The Obama administration quickly recognized that universal healthcare, even in the form of a public option, would not receive necessary stakeholder support. The public option was controversial even within the Democratic Party itself; several conservative Democrats threatened to filibuster any plan containing it.51 This did not bode well for the stakeholder debate where it quickly found vehement opposition, led by the most powerful voice of the debate: the healthcare industry. The healthcare industry comprised the third most important source of corporate donations to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, spent more on lobbying than any other industry, and had contributed nearly $16 million in campaign contributions to 23 members of the Senate Finance Committee.52 It thus held considerable political power in voicing concerns regarding the public option, which it subsidized with a campaign aimed at putting pressure on specific members of Congress.53 Thus, the public option was easily defeated. The healthcare industry’s interests were instead promoted in the administration’s alternatives for the extension of healthcare, which took the form of the individual mandate


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and government subsidization, since these provisions guaranteed both healthcare providers and insurance companies tens of millions of new customers. In exchange, these corporations agreed to provide insurance to clients with pre-existing conditions.54 Though it is impossible to quantify the exact extent of industry influence on the final plan, many of the provisions and limits of the PPACA appear to have been included to serve these corporations. Overall, the PPACA appears to represent the type of policy-making necessitated by the current political climate. In this climate, the goal of getting a healthcare reform passed must be prioritized over getting the optimal plan passed, which necessitates concessions. Ideally, a progression of such plans would work to alter public and partisan conceptions of healthcare, thus resulting in fewer concessions with every passing plan. Eventually, perhaps, fundamental healthcare reform would be achieved. Yet, at the same time, this method of “progression” transforms each plan, regardless of the concessions that it contains, into a success for the party that passed it. This may explain the continued hostility of the GOP towards the PPACA, which has become a considerable threat in signaling a progression towards the Democratic healthcare agenda. As a result, the current political climate is one in which even a moderate approach such as the PPACA becomes highly controversial as each party is unwilling to concede any ground. Indeed, after Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives in the 2010 mid-term elections, the House passed a series of motions to undermine the PPACA. However, with Democrats controlling the Senate and Obama in the White House, these motions were not existential threats to the Act itself.55 The PPACA was more significantly challenged in 2011, when a District Court deemed that the plan’s individual mandate, which penalized individuals for failing to purchase health insurance, was beyond the purview of Congress. Further, the Court decided that the individual mandate could not be severed from the PPACA such that the plan was deemed unconstitutional. This ruling was overturned in 2012, when the Supreme Court decided that the individual mandate was reconcilable with Congressional taxation power. However, the Court’s ruling in NFIB v. Sebelius also mandated that the federal government could not exist Medicaid funding from states that did not cooperate with the PPACA’s expansion of Medicaid. Instead, the federal government would have to rely on financial incentives.56 This decision exposed a key weakness in the PPACA: it relies on states to carry out its policies. As such, NFIB v. Sebelius enabled states governed by Republicans to refrain from expanding Medicaid in the way that the PPACA had intended.57 States also proved reluctant to set up their own insurance marketplaces, a key aspect of the PPACA intended to increase accessibility to health insurance. As such, when President Trump took office in January 2016, only 32 states had expanded their Medicaid programs, while only 12 had implemented state-based insurance marketplaces.58 This did not bode well for the PPACA, which soon became the Trump administration’s prime target; Trump vowed in his first address to a Republican-dominated Congress that they would “repeal and replace Obamacare.”59 Throughout 2017, House Republicans introduced a series of proposals seeking to repeal the PPACA, including the American Health


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Care Act, the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act and the Cassidy-Graham amendment.60 These proposals failed despite Republican control over the House and the Senate, due to “ideological divisions within the Republican party” rather than the “self-reinforcing policy legacies and vested interests” created by the PPACA.61 As such, Senate leaders introduced the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act, which sought to appeal to both Senate conservatives and moderate Republicans. Yet this bill, too, failed. As a last effort, Republicans launched the “skinny repeal” which would repeal only the most unpopular aspect of the PPACA - the individual mandate. Though this repeal also failed, Republicans eventually succeeded in eliminating the penalties imposed by the mandate by including this provision into the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.62 These failed attempts at repealing the PPACA demonstrate that the Democrats’ decision to pursue relatively conservative market-based reform has succeeded in fracturing Republican support for its repeal.63 Moreover, these failures also reflect the PPACA’s relative popular support, which reached a peak of 50% in 2017, as well as the healthcare industry’s opposition to further reform.64 While this suggests that the compromise that shaped the PPACA has contributed to its survival, the repeal of the individual mandate reflects a broader pattern of PPACA retrenchment, as Republicans have become increasingly adept at undermining the act through indirect means. For example, Trump has used executive authority to cut funding, withhold payments to insurers, and reduce the window for open enrolment.65 Furthermore, the administration has reinterpreted Section 115 of the Social Security Act to allow states to tighten eligibility requirements for Medicaid.66 Though Republican options are limited through the PPACA’s coalition-building, its erosion continues to form a key aspect of the Republican agenda. Most fundamentally, the Trump administration has “refused to intervene” when the constitutionality of the PPACA was again challenged in Texas v United States in 2018. At present, the Supreme Court is considering whether it should hear the case. There would be grave consequences if the PPACA were judicially invalidated, since states lack the legislative and institutional foundations to uphold aspects of the PPACA should it be repealed.67 In other words, the PPACA is not yet self-reinforcing which leaves it vulnerable to partisan attacks. The passage of the PPACA did not mark the end of the healthcare debate, nor of antagonistic partisanship. The question of the survival of the PPACA is further complicated by the fact that, as Republicans seek to repeal it, several Democrats, most notably Bernie Sanders, are focused on expanding healthcare outside of the PPACA’s framework.68 Thus, while the compromise that made the passage of the Act possible has helped to uphold it, it has also fractured the Democratic side. Meanwhile, though this compromise has limited Republican options at repeal, the PPACA’s market-based approach has not succeeded in garnering Republican support. Instead, the Act appears guilty by association with the Obama administration. Thus, the continued survival of the PPACA is precarious.

CONCLUSION The prospects for further healthcare reform appear dire, as the only consensus


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throughout the debate lies in the assertion that healthcare reform is necessary. As a result, though the partisan debate has its origin in the question of health’s legitimacy as a right, and this conception has influenced each party’s plan, the debate has extended far beyond this question. In fact, it appears that even if health is agreed upon as a fundamental right, each egocentric constituency, be they a political party or stakeholder, would attempt to enforce this right in “their” way, thus antagonizing each other and eventually failing to enforce the right at all. Thus, the debate becomes a question of costs and benefits and how these factors will be allocated amongst political and public stakeholders. The answer to this question, if it is ever to be achieved, will likely be a product of continued debate and an increased readiness for compromise, but will nonetheless fail to satisfy everyone. For the time being, more limited interim plans, such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which continues to be controversial and lack bipartisan consensus, have likely reached the current capacity for compromise and change.

NOTES 1  Katherine L. Record, “Litigating the ACA: Securing the Right to Health Within a Framework of Negative Rights,” American Journal of Law & Medicine 38 (2012), 540. 2  Carolynne Shinn, “The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health: Public Health’s Opportunity to Reframe a Human Rights Debate in the United States,” Health and Human Rights 4, no. 1 (1999): 114-133, http://www.jstor.org/stable/4065170, 122. 3  Jill Quadagno, “Institutions, Interest Groups, and Ideology: An Agenda for the Sociology of Health Care Reform,” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 51, no. 2 (2010): 125-136, DOI: 10.1177/0022146510368931, 128. 4  Employers are exempted from paying taxes on employee health insurance premiums, and employees are allowed to exclude such health benefits received from their taxable income (See Quadagno, “Institutions, Interest Groups, and Ideology,” 128). 5  Daniel Béland, Philip Rocco, and Alex Waddan, “Obamacare and the Politics of Universal Health Insurance Coverage in the United States,” Social Policy & Administration 50, no. 4 (2016): 428 - 451, DOI: 10.111/spol.12237, 429. 6  Béland et al., “Obamacare and the Politics of Universal Health Insurance Coverage in the United States,” 430. 7  In fact, Americans do not have a greater life expectancy than their counterparts in peer countries, and boasts an infant mortality rate of 6.3 per 1000 births, which is substantially higher than that found in most of the European Union (See Shaw and Magaldi, Analyzing the Politics of Health Care, 34). 8  Andrew Bradley, “Positive Rights, Negative Rights and Health Care,” Journal of Medical Ethics 36, no. 12 (2010): 838-841, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25764330, 838. 9  Bradley, “Positive Rights, Negative Rights and Health Care,” 839. 10  Shinn, “The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health,” 116. 11  Paul Menzel and Donald W. Light, “A Conservative Case for Universal Access to Health Care,” The Hastings Center Report 36, no. 4 (Jul-Aug. 2006): 36-45, http://www.jstor.org/stable/4625655, 36. 12  Andrew Bradley, “Positive Rights, Negative Rights and Health Care,” 838. 13  Democratic Platform Committee (Orlando, 2016). 2016 Democratic Party Platform. Issued by the Democratic Platform Committee, 2016, 31. 14  Bill Shaw and Jessica A. Magaldi, “Analyzing the Politics of Health Care: Let’s Buy Ourselves Some Civilization,” Journal of Business Ethics 92, no. 1 (March 2010): 33-47, http://www. jstor.org/stable/25621542, 36. 15  Menzel and Light, A Conservative Case, 38. 16  Efrat Ram-Tiktin, “The Right to Health Care as a Right to Basic Human Functional Capabilities,” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (2011): 337-351. DOI: 10.1007/s10677-0119322-7, 339. 17  Thomas Bodenheimer, “The Political Divide in Health Care: A Liberal Perspective,” Health


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Affairs 24, no. 6 (2005): 1426-1435, DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.24.6.1426, 1433. 18  Republican National Convention (Cleveland, 2016). Platform of the Republican Party 2016. Issued by the Republican National Convention, 2016, 36. 19  Republican National Convention, Platform of the Republican Party 2016, 36. 20  Eric D. Schansberg, “Envisioning A Free Market in Health Care,” Cato Journal 31, no. 1 (Winter 2011): 27-58. 21  Michael Schwartz and Kevin Young, “How Corporate Power Shaped the Affordable Care Act,” New Labour Forum 23, no. 2 (Spring 2014): 30-40, http://www.jstor.org/stable/24718508, 36-7. 22  Republican National Convention, Platform of the Republican Party 2016, 37. 23  Republican National Convention, Platform of the Republican Party 2016, 36. 24  Republican National Convention, Platform of the Republican Party 2016, 36. 25  Schansberg, “Envisioning A Free Market in Health Care,” 32. 26  Menzel and Light, “A Conservative Case for Universal Access to Health Care,” 40. 27  Menzel and Light, “A Conservative Case for Universal Access to Health Care,” 39. 28  David DeGrazia, “Single Payer Meets Managed Competition: The Case for Public Funding and Private Delivery,” The Hastings Center Report 38. no. 1 (2008): 22-33, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25165289, 28. 29  Scott E. Harrington, “The Health Insurance Reform Debate,” The Journal of Risk and Insurance 77, no. 1 (March 2010) 5-38, http://www.jstor.org/stable/20685289, 24. 
 30  Harrington, “The Health Insurance Reform Debate,” 24. 31  Harrington, “The Health Insurance Reform Debate,” 27. 32  Ezekiel J. Emanuel, “The Problem with Single-Payer Plans,” The Hastings Center Report 38, no. 1 (Jan-Feb. 2008): 38-41, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25165292, 41. 33  Susan Adler Channick. “Will Americans Embrace Single-Player Health Insurance: The Intractable Barriers of Inertia, Free Market, and Culture,” Law & Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice 28, no. 1 (2010): 1-50, h0p://scholarship.law.umn.edu/lawineq/vol28/iss1/1, 33. 34  Channick, “Will Americans Embrace Single-Player Health Insurance,” 32. 35  Daniel Yankelovich, “The Debate That Wasn’t: The Public and The Clinton Plan,” Health Affairs (1995): 8-23, http://courses.phhp.ufl.edu/hsa6152/articles/debatethatwasnt.pdf, 14. 36  Kevin Young and Michael Schwartz, “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: How Corporate Power Shaped the Affordable Care Act,” New Labour Forum 23, no. 3 (Spring 2014): 30-40, http://www. jstor.org/stable/24718508, 35. 37  Young and Schwartz, “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise,” 35. 38  Shaw and Magaldi, “Analyzing the Politics of Health Care,” 40. 39  Channick, “Will Americans Embrace Single-Player Health Insurance,” 20. 40  Yankelovich, “The Debate That Wasn’t: The Public and The Clinton Plan,” 8. 41  Quadagno, “Institutions, Interest Groups, and Ideology,” 130. 42  Michael R. Reich, “The Politics of Reforming Health Policies,” IUHPE 19, no. 4 (2002): 138-142, https://cdn1.sph.harvard.edu/wp content/uploads/sites/480/2012/10/Politics_of_ reform.pdf, 141. 43  Channick, “Will Americans Embrace Single-Player Health Insurance,” 21. 44  Reich, “The Politics of Reforming Health Policies,” 141. 45  Béland et al., “Obamacare and the Politics of Universal Health Insurance Coverage in the United States,” 432. 46  Béland et al., “Obamacare and the Politics of Universal Health Insurance Coverage in the United States,” 430. 47  Béland et al., “Obamacare and the Politics of Universal Health Insurance Coverage in the United States,” 431. 48  Béland et al., “Obamacare and the Politics of Universal Health Insurance Coverage in the United States,” 441. 49  Record, Litigating the ACA, 542. 50  Jonathan Oberlander, “Implementing the Affordable Care Act: The Promise and Limits of Health Care Reform,” Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 41, no. 4 (2016): 803-826,

https://read.dukeupress.edu/jhppl/article/41/4/803/13901/Implementing-the-Affordable-Care-Act-The-Promise, 807.

51  Béland et. al, “Obamacare and the Politics of Universal Health Insurance Coverage in the United States,” 441. 52  Young and Schwartz, “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise,” 34. 53  Quadagno, “Institutions, Interest Groups, and Ideology,” 133.


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54  Young and Schwartz, “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise,” 32. 55  Daniel Béland, Philip Rocco, and Alexa Waddan. “Obamacare in the Trump Era: Where are we Now, and Where are we Going?” The Political Quarterly 89, no. 4 (2018): 687-694, 690. 56  Béland et al., “Obamacare in the Trump Era: Where are we Now, and Where are we Going?” 690. 57  Béland et al., “Obamacare in the Trump Era: Where are we Now, and Where are we Going?” 688. 58  Béland et al., “Obamacare in the Trump Era: Where are we Now, and Where are we Going?” 690. 59  Béland et al., “Obamacare in the Trump Era: Where are we Now, and Where are we Going?” 691. 60  Daniel Béland, Philip Rocco and Alex Waddan, “Policy Feedback and the Politics of the Affordable Care Act,” Policy Studies Journal, 47, no. 2 (2019): 395-422, 408. 61  Béland et al., “Obamacare in the Trump Era: Where are we Now, and Where are we Going?” 693. 62  Béland et al., “Obamacare in the Trump Era: Where are we Now, and Where are we Going?” 692. 63  Béland et al., “Obamacare in the Trump Era: Where are we Now, and Where are we Going?” 688. 64  Béland et al., “Policy Feedback and the Politics of the Affordable Care Act,” 410-11. 65  Béland et al., “Obamacare in the Trump Era: Where are we Now, and Where are we Going?” 693. 66  Béland et al., “Obamacare in the Trump Era: Where are we Now, and Where are we Going?” 693. 67  Daniel Béland, Philip Rocco, and Alex Waddan, “The Affordable Care Act in the States: Fragmented Politics, Unstable Policy,” Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, (forthcoming). 68  Béland et al., “Obamacare in the Trump Era: Where are we Now, and Where are we Going?” 693.


Liberal Peacebuilding in Sierra Leone: The Role of the Judiciary, Natural Resource Sector, and Local Government in Consolidating Peace Sophie Wirzba Edited by Marie Fester & Ashton Connor Mathias

The existence of reforms and programs does not necessarily guarantee the development of positive peace — nowhere is this clearer than in Sierra Leone.


ABSTRACT This paper explores the prospects of consolidating lasting peace in Sierra Leone following the civil war by focusing on the judiciary, natural resource, and local government sectors in Sierra Leone. Liberal peacebuilding reforms in Sierra Leone have created negative peace, but not the positive peace necessary to truly consolidate lasting peace. This paper explains the shortcomings of liberal peacebuilding in three sectors by showing how liberal goals of formalization, macroeconomic stability, and decentralization in Sierra Leone fail to address long term injustices. This paper argues that the judiciary, natural resource management, and local government have the potential to contribute to a resurgence of pre-war grievances due to international reforms carried out, but also have the potential to help resolve grievances if reformed with positive peace in mind.

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INTRODUCTION On the surface, the case of Sierra Leone’s 1991-2002 civil war appears to be a rare example of successful post-war peace, which gave rise to a new peacekeeping paradigm of security and development for years to come.1 However, a closer examination of this case reveals continued corruption, political marginalization, and rent-seeking among other continued grievances, despite copious international peacebuilding efforts following the war. The success of these efforts is largely limited to the achievement of negative peace, rather than lasting positive peacebuilding successes. The narrative of success despite positive peacebuilding failures does not bode well for future or current peacebuilding initiatives looking to follow the model of Sierra Leone, as relapse back into civil war is often common during the peacebuilding process; this paper argues that building positive peace is key to preventing civil war relapses.2 The inadequate development of positive peace in Sierra Leone is signaled by widespread concern that the root grievances of the conflict have yet to be addressed by liberal peacebuilding efforts, which I explore in the subsequent sections.3 This paper begins by providing a brief context of the war in Sierra Leone, including an abridged timeline of the war, a description of the combatants, and a summary of emerging international attitudes on post-war peacebuilding at the time of the war. I then describe what constitutes the concepts of negative peace, positive peace, and liberal peacebuilding efforts. Following, I provide a general overview of what role they have played in Sierra Leone’s post-war peacebuilding process. Next, I go into greater depth about the impacts of these efforts on three specific sectors, and how these sectors can be utilized for positive peace construction. First, I discuss how international efforts in judiciary reform have systemically neglected to produce policies that adequately address the significant role of informal justice in Sierra Leone, thereby inadequately addressing pre-war grievances related to this sector. Second, I argue that the recent influx of international aid to Sierra Leone’s natural resource sector has raised expectations for the sector’s productivity and impact on the country’s development disastrously high. By focusing on corporate and government profits, the primarily macroeconomic


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agenda of international efforts has neglected the improvement of individual livelihoods it intended to create. Last, I identify the relationship between topdown, internationally-funded efforts to decentralize governance and their impact of fostering elite domination of state services through new institutions of local governance. I find that liberal peacebuilding efforts have failed to adequately address pre-war grievances in Sierra Leone by examining efforts in the judiciary, natural resource, and local government sectors. These liberal-style reforms have failed to produce positive peace to complement and legitimize existing negative peace in Sierra Leone, which I argue is crucial to consolidating lasting peace in Sierra Leone.

CONTEXT The civil war in Sierra Leone began in March 1991, when the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel group invaded Sierra Leone, supported by regional groups from Liberia and Burkina Faso.4 The war ended in January 2002, when the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Sierra Leone declared the war finished.5 This official ending of the war was largely supported by peacekeeping efforts by the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the ECOWAS Ceasefire Monitoring Group.6 The RUF was largely made up of unemployed, threatened, or otherwise troubled youth.7 The other primary combatant in this conflict was the Sierra Leone Army, however, many other local and regional groups were also involved.8 The rebel movement was largely rooted in grievances regarding lack of access to services, economic mismanagement, exclusion by elites, and corruption.9 This conflict was primarily maintained through the exploitation of diamonds and other minerals, which were illegally sold to fund the rebel movement.10 The Kimberly Process – which certifies the origins of traded diamonds – was designed in response to prevent the sale of diamonds mined to fund violent non-state actors.11 Many of these innovative solutions were based in emerging perspectives of the 1990s and early 2000s that emphasized the complementarity of security and development, resulting in increased concern for human security in post-conflict management.12 Importantly, the war in Sierra Leone took place while these perspectives gained international traction.13 Development actors were attracted to post-conflict Sierra Leone, motivated to work quickly to resolve the conflict, making it ground zero for the testing of new human security paradigms.14 The United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) – created in 1997 during the heyday of the security-development paradigm – would take these new ideas to peacebuilding in Sierra Leone in its £27 million Justice Sector Development Program.15 This program was aimed at developing and reforming Sierra Leone’s justice sector through various initiatives from 20052011.16 These efforts included police service training, the establishment of Family Support Units (FSUs) to address domestic violence, and the training of community mediators.17


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NEGATIVE PEACE, POSITIVE PEACE, AND LIBERAL PEACEBUILDING Negative peace is defined as the absence of violent conflict.18 This was achieved in Sierra Leone through the work of peacekeeping missions, however, these did not guarantee long-term civil or peaceful social relations. By contrast, positive peace is a more fluid concept, which entails the development and reform of systems that can take place in the absence of violence to address power asymmetries, marginalization, and poverty.19 These different forms of peace can often be viewed as interdependent, where positive peace cannot exist without negative peace. Liberal peacebuilding efforts can be present prior to the establishment of negative peace, but the bulk of their objectives typically take place after it has been established. The presence of liberal peacebuilding goals in state-building has greatly increased over the last twenty years, spanning many countries.20 At its core, liberal peacebuilding can be described as efforts to create a liberal-democratic state, with the “rule of law, protection of human rights, good governance,” and a market economy with limited government intervention in the wake of conflict.21 While these programs generally claim to desire positive impacts on human security and development, they are typically motivated by the prioritization of macroeconomic development and economic liberalization.22 This has been described as “Trickle-down peace”, which assumes that that “a lack of violence (negative peace) and an improved macro-economic framework (‘economic peace’) will flow down to the community and individual level, manifesting as increased personal physical, economic, and even food, security.”23 However, the reality is that these elements of human security and positive peace often do not materialize after the implementation of liberal principles. This is often in part due to their application of a “one size fits all” approach, relying on standardized solutions to complex local problems.24 International actors often overlook local history and culture in favour of quick-fix securitization and democratization.25 Such quick-fix policies have been the case in Sierra Leone’s justice sector, which is a bifurcated legal system rooted in colonial policies.26 In Sierra Leone, the legal system is divided into the high courts which administer English law, while customary law is often administered in local courts and informal settings.27 This system results in differing experiences and outcomes for participants depending on the type of law applied or court used, which is often ignored by international actors, as is explored in Section IV. Despite this, it is not the case that all international actors attempting to assist in peacebuilding and postwar reconstruction are completely ignorant of local realities. As I explore through the case of the UK’s DFID program in Section III, the problem is often that awareness of local realities does not necessarily manifest as strong policies that take them into account.28 Policies also often ignore local informal institutions that are created prior to or during the civil war to fill gaps in state services, despite their demonstrated ability to survive adversity.29 However, strong positive peace policies are crucial because it is the populations supported by positive peace efforts who provide legitimacy to the institutions which maintain negative peace.


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THE JUDICIARY A 2007 UN Peacebuilding Commission report identified justice sector reform as a key area in which peacebuilding in Sierra Leone was facing serious difficulties.30 Despite efforts to reform this sector, international actors continue to disregard informal justice mechanisms in policy creation, which has led to little improvement in justice accessibility for disadvantaged communities and demographics.31 While the actors behind these reform efforts are often aware of the significance of informal justice mechanisms, this awareness is often translated into misguided policies that attempt to formalize the informal.32 Formalizing the informal entails attempting to codify existing institutions that exist often without written procedural rules (although informal institutions are not without their own forms of structure), appropriating the function of the informal institution and attempting to codify the procedure by which that function is performed. These policies largely represent a shallow understanding of culture and power relations in these communities, which often leads to the reinforcement of barriers and unequal power relations that disadvantaged groups already face.33 These themes can be largely illustrated by the case of the UK’s Department for International Development’s Justice Sector Development Program, specifically the initiative of FSUs. On the surface, justice and security sector reform has been moderately successful in the post-war period: police brutality and corruption among police forces has fallen, and new justice initiatives such as Family Support Units to curb the post-war rise in domestic violence were created and have been widely praised.34 However, the existence of these reforms and programs does not necessarily guarantee their utility or comprehensiveness. Issues with the formal legal system such as “extortion and bribe-taking by officials; insufficient numbers of judges, magistrates, and prosecuting attorneys; absenteeism by court personnel; and inadequate remuneration for judiciary personnel” have not been eradicated according to the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission.35 The practices of extortion and bribe-taking raise high financial barriers for average citizens to access the system.36 Rural access to the legal system is also a challenge given few rural branches of the formal courts.37 Thus, the formal legal system is inaccessible to approximately 70 percent of the population.38 Inaccessibility of the legal system has existed since the codification of the dual legal system under indirect British colonial rule, as defined in Section III, and have become further entrenched by successive regimes as a tool for elite domination and ethno-legal inequality.39 Mirroring the formal system is the informal customary system, made up of various types of chiefs, secret societies, and village headmen who lead technically illegal courts where they hear cases and impose fines among other functions.40 Informal courts can play an important role in allowing disadvantaged and rural groups to access justice. However, this informal system is often discriminatory, with chiefs and secret societies imposing what is viewed as unfair fines and promoting practices that do not prioritize women’s rights.41 These practices result in grievances among citizens whose only access to the judiciary is through informal mechanisms.42 In response to the continuation of these conditions following the


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war, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified judicial reform as a key step to preventing a resurgence of war.43 A key player in reforming the justice sector has been the UK Department for International Development. For DFID, justice reform funding and technical support have largely focused on the formal system.44 This is illustrated clearly by a large gap between investment in formal legal action — specifically international criminal prosecutions — and local judiciary needs.45 While the DFID Justice Sector Development Program (JSDP) did attempt to acknowledge the role of informal actors by engaging with the customary legal system, the context in which it took place exemplifies a priority of international interests in security over the local need for reform and therefore can still be classified under the liberal peacebuilding agenda.46 While well-intentioned, intervention into the customary system made several missteps with regards to the addressing of pre-war grievances related to this sector. Firstly, DFID only worked the Local Courts.47 Local Courts are relied upon less than other actors, due to reported barriers to access.48 The focus on Local Courts led to reforms being implemented in smaller pockets of the customary system, limiting the program’s broader impact across the entire informal system. Consequently, pre-war grievances related to corruption, understaffing, etc, were somewhat addressed, but the key dimension of accessibility was not.49 The focus on specific actors (Local Courts) also excluded valuable perspectives from chiefs and secret societies, who have their own unique areas of jurisdiction.50 For example, secret societies often have special significance for women, providing policing which is often related to behavioural standards for women and enforced through customary law.51 The cultural significance of informal actors like secret societies contributes to many women choosing them as their preferred policing option instead of formal initiatives such as Family Support Units.52 Neglecting engagement with certain informal actors did a disservice to the JSDP, obscuring them from potentially understanding the specific characteristics and history that make informal institutions useful to many people. This ties into their second mistake: prioritizing formalizing the informal. The informal system was long preferred for its flexibility and accessibility, both of which are lost through institutionalizing their rules.53 By approaching the informal system as a second choice alternative to the barriers of the formal system, this program failed to harness the preferable qualities of informal justice. For example, in her book Justice and Security Reform Justice and Security Reform: Development Agencies and Informal Institutions in Sierra Leone, researcher Lisa Denney explains the importance of the involvement of “subjective and personal” attributes in adjudicating cases in rural Sierra Leone.54 Denney emphasizes that these attributes help in determining the trustworthiness of the defendant and identifying the “interests of the disputing parties”, which allow for foresight on potential repercussions on the community.55 Neglect for considerations such as these has led to concerns regarding the efficacy and fairness of the judicial sector remaining unaddressed. This exemplifies the tendency of liberal peacebuilding to overlook local cultural nuances, including accessibility barriers in Local Courts, which resultantly has failed to address a key pre-war grievance of many Sierra Leoneans. By failing to utilize this sector to create positive peace, development actors have left negative


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peace vulnerable.

THE NATURAL RESOURCE SECTOR Economic grievances played a large role in the rise and perpetuation of the civil war: economic shocks and mismanagement created the downturn of the natural resource economy in the decade prior to the civil war.56 This downturn left many poor youths without livelihoods, allowing the RUF to attract them to conflict as a means to survive, which only further deteriorated the economy.57 While some aspects of natural resources’ role in the civil war (specifically illicit exploitation funding the conflict) have been addressed through post-conflict regulation, a recent large influx of external development aid has the potential to reignite pre-war grievances. This is due to two factors: the tendency of this aid to focus on macroeconomic gains rather than improving sustainable livelihoods for locals, and its current trajectory of raising expectations of this sector beyond achievability. Both of these factors may lead to disappointment over unimproved or worsened economic conditions. To provide context to these factors, I will discuss the mining industry and, briefly, agriculture. However, themes like lack of consultation with communities, disregard for power structures, and promotion of exceedingly high expectations are also present in the management of other resources. The likelihood of the use of diamonds to fund conflict in Sierra Leone was greatly reduced following the civil war, in part through the creation of international diamond origin certification processes such as the Kimberly Process.58 However, illicit diamond mining still maintains a strong presence in the industry.59 This has hindered revenue generation from this sector, which is needed by the government to help break its dependency on outside donors and fund neglected basic social services like education and public works projects.60 Despite the negative impacts of lost government revenue from these practices, many miners have no other options. Sierra Leone lacks a significant manufacturing or service sector, and many youths in Sierra Leone are uneducated, narrowing their remaining options for sustainable livelihoods.61 The mining industry itself can be prohibitively expensive to enter, with mining licences often multiplying in cost after passing through traditional community leaders and mine officials, making illegal mining attractive.62 Artisanal mining productivity is also decreasing, lessening total opportunities and therefore increasing economic desperation among youth.63 International actors have been leading a crackdown on regulations such as these licences, motivated by a desire to reduce the sector’s potential to fund future conflict, for the government of Sierra Leone to have access to this lost revenue to service their debt, and to quickly become a productive player in the international free market.64 While macroeconomic-focused goals can be valuable for Sierra Leone overall, the execution of these agendas scarcely put a strong enough emphasis on wellbeing-centred policies that are crucial for addressing the pre-war grievances of average Sierra Leoneans through the creation of sustainable livelihoods. Macroeconomic policies also tend to ignore disadvantaged natural resource workers in other ways, typically giving power over operations in


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the sector to political elites and mining companies.65 This arrangement of power in the natural resource sector has historically led to exclusion, corruption, and rent-seeking behaviour by elites, inspiring further discontent with international interventions by those negatively affected.66 By targeting natural resource sectors for development without addressing the concerns of individuals directly impacted, international actors have disregarded the lived experiences of these Sierra Leoneans.67 The RUF capitalized on the grievances of unemployed and poor youth, and by failing to provide greater employment options for Sierra Leoneans, the peacebuilding process will not be able to prevent conflict relapse based in these grievances.68 Both the mining and agricultural sectors are plagued by poorly regulated companies that repeatedly over-promise and under-deliver.69 These promises fall on eager ears, since the desire for quick and visible progress to jump-start the economy is common in post-conflict societies.70 High expectations have been further inflated to “near mythic proportions” in Sierra Leone because of the large role natural resources played in funding the conflict.71 This is also bolstered by how often the potential of this sector is promoted in the discourse of peace in Sierra Leone. Both government and international experts have been accused of “inflating revenue projections to justify resource extraction”, a dangerous practice if these projections cannot be met.72 Failure to meet expectations can contribute to perceptions of political incompetence and corruption, which could stoke discontent. This was noted in a 2010 assessment by UNEP, which also noted that the civil war had significantly damaged agricultural land and water, undermining the institutional capacity of the sector.73 This destruction compounded with unsustainable natural resource practices also described by the study may make it even more difficult for the natural resource sector to meet expectations, leading the assessment to warn that many of the risk factors prior to the civil war were not sustainably addressed.74 While local communities and their leaders often do not have technical experience with the field desired by employers, they should be involved in the consultation process and their concerns incorporated into any project design to incorporate traditional knowledge of land and local economies into the project, and further promote positive peace and sustainable livelihoods.75 Investment into sustainable and transparent resource practices that consult with both urban and rural communities will not only directly address economic grievances and demands for accountability, but may also help to fund improvements in lacking basic amenities, which also have the potential to undermine unstable negative peace.76 In the case of the natural resource sector, the desire for this sector to succeed is clear among both local individual Sierra Leoneans, as well as larger, often international actors. However, heightened regulation of artisanal miners without investment in alternative livelihood options for miners who are excluded from the sector does not address the economic grievances that drove the conflict. The frustrations of these excluded miners are compounded when they are within the context of an unfulfilled promise of economic prosperity by corporations and the government. This has left these individuals vulnerable to manipulation


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by rebel groups as was seen prior to the war in Sierra Leone, threatening Sierra Leone’s negative peace.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT In this section, I examine how liberal local government reform aiming to promote government decentralization since the civil war has solidified elite domination of both preexisting and new institutions within rural communities. Before the civil war, there was an overwhelming sentiment that rural communities were being neglected by the government, as was evidenced by large disparities in state spending.77 This was in part due to lack of access to the judicial sector and state services, as well as the subjugation of young men to the commands of rural chiefs, who were not subject to any central government oversight. However, postwar reforms aimed at the decentralization of state services have given control over these services corrupt rural elites, giving rise to new grievances regarding rural governance. To provide context to these pre and post-war grievances, I largely discuss the chieftaincy system as the primary mechanism of local government, as well as Local Councils implemented through post-war reforms. Disparities in the provision of state services to Freetown versus the rest of Sierra Leone has existed since colonialism, however, it is a particularly salient issue in the context of the civil war.78 Lack of access to state services to young people was a contributing factor to the civil war, as noted by an Overseas Development Institute Report, saying, ‘‘the more considered view is that years of government neglect of education and other state services have helped to create a large cohort of unemployed and barely literate young people, easily conscripted by both political and criminal organizations.”79 The post-war objective of decentralization aims to address rural service deficiencies by dispersing these state-provided services —typically concentrated in Freetown— across the nation, providing opportunities through the development of the education, healthcare, and sanitation sectors. However, corrupt and imbalanced local government can be an obstacle to this, as colonially-entrenched financial practices of unpaid ‘community work’ among others contributes to the disproportionate accumulation of wealth by chiefs and other wealthy elites.80 Chiefs and other elites often manipulate their role’s functions to maintain their status, despite the unfavourable odds of their geographic location, often at the expense of their constituents trying to escape the cycle of rural poverty.81 In the case of education, chiefs will use their inflated funds from corrupt practices to send their children to school, which in turn gives their children, and therefore their whole family, an advantage over the rest of the poor rural youth.82 This cycle of poverty and elite privilege in public services has only been solidified by the fact that IMF spending caps have prevented the expansion of education. This has allowed elites to maintain an edge over the rest of the population, taking advantage of the zero-sum nature of the system under these caps.83 Elite privilege is not only constrained to accessing traditional state services but also is prevalent among social relations as well. However, these social privileges also contribute to local governance being built on financial inequality between the rural poor and the elite, which have been able to flourish without central


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government oversight and monitoring. This is specifically exhibited through the use of women as social and political currency by chiefs and wealthy men.84 Wealthy men are able to buy women through bride prices and dowries, holding these women over the heads of the non-wealthy young men who cannot afford the steep bride prices set by elites. These men are either forced to pay the elevated dowry or make “heavy commitments” to obtain a bride, an important form of social capital for many.85 This practice serves two functions: further reinforcing the financial power imbalance between elites and non-elites (further constraining access to state services), and maintaining a cultural dependence on chiefs to administrate these traditional marriage laws and customs. The combined cultural and financial dimensions of this power imbalance make it particularly resilient, because of its capability to breed both resentment and dependence, making reform incredibly complex.86 The existing power imbalance over access to state services gives local elites the incentive and means to capture decision-making power in new donor-funded Local Councils (LCs).87 Elite capture occurs when “elites control, shape or manipulate decision-making processes, institutions, or structures in ways that serve their self-interests and priorities, typically resulting in personal gain at the expense of non-elite and community.”88 LCs were implemented to perform some of the functions that the chiefs were traditionally looked at as providing, as the chieftaincy’s actual functioning capacity has greatly diminished over the past 30-40 years.89 LCs were created by the 2004 Local Government Act which had strong backing from international donors, who anticipated the councils to fill a much-needed gap in local government functions.90 However, this eager attempt at quick-fix decentralization greatly underestimated the resilience of power relations in these communities. The concentration of new responsibilities and powers in LCs provided a tantalizing new opportunity for chiefs and elites to leverage their existing asymmetrical power to further strengthen their positions. Given that LCs now control much of the revenue that funds the Chieftaincy system, councils were primarily viewed as upgrades in power, rather than better opportunities to provide services to their communities.91 International backers of reforming and improving local governance oversimplified the problem of local power relations, assuming that the creation of new democratic and local institutions would automatically result in an effective and representative system, a similar issue seen with judicial access in Section IV. However, the issue is not that the existing institutions would be preferable to the new liberal ones, it is that the nature of the new institutions leaves them vulnerable to capture by the same elites the reforms try to sideline.92 While the exact structure and future of decentralization is still widely debated, it is essential for the government of Sierra Leone as well as involved international actors to put mitigating elite capture and promoting transparency of these institutions at the forefront of this movement.93 Accordingly, in 2011, a new Decentralization Policy was adopted by the government of Sierra Leone attempting to attempt to address these issues.94 However, issues such as aid volatility, detection of elite capture, and high expectations of these LCs peacebuilding capacity of international actors remain largely unaddressed.95 Until these issues are prioritized by the gov-


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ernment and the international actors invested in decentralization, the prevalent policies to increase the functions of local government are doing less than is likely necessary to promote positive peace and thereby successfully avoid a resurgence pre-war power asymmetries and abuses. If these issues are not addressed, they will continue to threaten negative peace.

CONCLUSION This paper illustrated how liberal peacebuilding efforts have failed to adequately promote positive peace, thereby neglecting an important aspect to stabilization and consolidating peace. This is largely due to the creation of policies that failed to acknowledge and incorporate the importance of local realities, and that over-focus on macroeconomic policy rather than individual livelihoods. Furthermore, these areas need to be prioritized by peacebuilding efforts to adequately address and remedy the pre-war grievances that may otherwise resurface, and that these themes are not specific to Sierra Leone, but to liberal peacebuilding. In Sierra Leone, focus on the formal judicial system has failed to account for the financial barriers many people face when trying to access justice, as well as cultural preferences for the specific structure of the informal system. The natural resource sector has become a false beacon of hope for many Sierra Leoneans, with expectations that mining and agriculture will provide jobs for the unemployed youth that were center stage throughout the civil war. However, a massive influx of liberal aid has set expectations catastrophically high, which may reproduce the dissatisfaction that played a role in leading to the civil war. This may also be encouraged by the decline in artisanal mining and the rise of corrupt private companies, which assist in the liberal goal of bolstering the industry to pay back war debt but do little for local ex-combatants that need jobs. Finally, disregard for deeply entrenched cultural power imbalances has left newly institutionalized Local Councils vulnerable to elite capture, further solidifying elite vs. non-elite power imbalances. These institutions will continue to crystallize these relations by providing elites with greater access to resources and power. Liberal peacebuilding efforts in the judiciary, natural resource, and local government sectors in Sierra Leone have failed to adequately address pre-war grievances of largely rural individuals. Thus, reforms have failed to produce positive peace to complement and legitimize negative peace in Sierra Leone, which is crucial to consolidating lasting peace. NOTES 1  Lisa Denney, Justice and Security Reform : Development Agencies and Informal Institutions in Sierra Leone. Law, Development and Globalization, (New York: Routledge, 2014), 19. 2  George Frederick Willcoxon, “Why Do Countries Relapse into War? Here Are Three Good Predictors.” The Washington Post. WP Company, March 29, 2017. 3  Richard Fanthorpe, “On the Limits of Liberal Peace: Chiefs and Democratic Decentralization in Post-War Sierra Leone.”, African Affairs 105, no. 418 (2006): 30. 4  Mary Kaldor and James Vincent, Case Study Sierra Leone: Evaluation of UNDP Assistance to Conflict-Affected Countries, (United Nations Development Program Evaluation Office, 2006). 5. 5  Kaldor and Vincent, Case Study Sierra Leone, 8. 6  James Dobbins, Laurel E. Miller, Stephanie Pezard, Christopher S. Chivvis, Julie E. Taylor, Keith Crane, Calin Trenkov-Wermuth, and Tewodaj Mengistu. „Sierra Leone“ In Overcoming Obstacles to Peace: Local Factors in Nation-Building, 151-78, (RAND Corporation, 2013), 160.


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7  Witness to Truth - Volume Two (Chapter 2: Findings).” Sierra Leone TRC. 40. 8  Dobbins et al., “Sierra Leone”, 153. 9  Witness to Truth - Volume Two (Chapter 2: Findings).” Sierra Leone TRC. Accessed April 12, 2019. 30-31. 10  UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), Sierra Leone: Environment, Conflict, and Peacebuilding Assessment; Technical Report, February 2010, Switzerland, Geneva, 22. 11  UNEP, Sierra Leone: Environment, Conflict, and Peacebuilding Assessment, 14. 12  Denney, Justice and Security Reform, 21. 13  Denney, Justice and Security Reform, 21. 14  Denney, Justice and Security Reform, 21. 15  British Council, “Justice Sector Development Programme.”, British Council. Accessed February 29, 2020. 16  Denney, Justice and Security Reform, 22. 17  British Council, “Justice Sector Development Programme.”. 18  David Curran and Tom Woodhouse. “Cosmopolitan Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding in Sierra Leone: What Can Africa Contribute?”, International Affairs 83, no. 6 (2007): 1055. 19  Curran and Woodhouse, “Cosmopolitan Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding in Sierra Leone”, 1055. 20  Stein Sundst⊘L Eriksen, “The Liberal Peace Is Neither: Peacebuilding, State Building and the Reproduction of Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” International Peacekeeping 16, no. 5 (2009): 205. 21  Eriksen, “The Liberal Peace Is Neither”, 213. 22  Joseph Hanlon, “Is the International Community Helping to Recreate the Preconditions for War in Sierra Leone?” The Round Table 94, no. 381 (2005): 459-72. 463. 23  Carla Castañeda, “How Liberal Peacebuilding May Be Failing Sierra Leone.” Review of African Political Economy 36, no. 120 (2009): 236-237. 24  Eriksen, “The Liberal Peace Is Neither”, 211. 25  Eriksen, “The Liberal Peace Is Neither”, 211. 26  Edward Sawyer, “Remove or Reform? A Case for (Restructuring) Chiefdom Governance in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone.” African Affairs 107, no. 428 (2008): 393. 27  Sawyer, “Remove or Reform?”, 393. 28  Denney, Justice and Security Reform, 96. 29  Pierre Englebert and Denis M Tull. “Postconflict Reconstruction in Africa: Flawed Ideas About Failed States.” International Security 32, no. 4 (2008): 106-39. 119. 30  Curran and Woodhouse, “Cosmopolitan Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding in Sierra Leone”, 1060-1061. 31  Denney, Justice and Security Reform, 95. 32  Denney, Justice and Security Reform, 112. 33  Mohamed Sesay, “Hijacking the Rule of Law in Postconflict Environments.” European Journal of International Security 4, no. 1 (2018): 41-60. 34  Lisa Denney, “Reducing Poverty with Teargas and Batons: The Security-Development Nexus in Sierra Leone.” African Affairs 110, no. 439 (2011): 285. 35  Christine Cubitt, “Responsible Reconstruction after War: Meeting Local Needs for Building Peace.” Review of International Studies 39, no. 1 (2013): 102. 36  Cubitt, “Responsible Reconstruction after War”, 102. 37  Cubitt, “Responsible Reconstruction after War”, 102. 38  Sesay, “Hijacking the Rule of Law in Postconflict Environments.”, 10. 39  Sesay, “Hijacking the Rule of Law in Postconflict Environments.”, 13. 40  Sawyer, “Remove or Reform?”, 393. 41  Denney, Justice and Security Reform, 76. 42  Cubitt, “Responsible Reconstruction after War”, 102. 43  Cubitt, “Responsible Reconstruction after War”, 102. 44  Sesay, “Hijacking the Rule of Law in Postconflict Environments.”, 12. 45  Denney, Justice and Security Reform, 96. 46  Denney, Justice and Security Reform, 96. 47  Denney, Justice and Security Reform, 109. 48  Denney, Justice and Security Reform, 107. 49  Dobbins et al., “Sierra Leone”, 166. 50  Denney, Justice and Security Reform, 109-110. 51  Denney, Justice and Security Reform, 87. 52  Denney, Justice and Security Reform, 87.


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53  Denney, Justice and Security Reform, 112. 54  Denney, Justice and Security Reform, 113. 55  Denney, Justice and Security Reform, 113. 56  Dobbins et al., “Sierra Leone”, 158. 57  Dobbins et al., «Sierra Leone”, 158. 58  Michael D. Beevers, “Governing Natural Resources for Peace: Lessons from Liberia and Sierra Leone.” Global Governance 21, no. 2 (2015): 227-46. http://www.jstor.org/stable/24526163. 241 59  Sigismond A. Wilson, “Sierra Leone’s Illicit Diamonds: The Challenges and the Way Forward.” GeoJournal 76, no. 3 (2011): 191-212. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41148450. 192. 60  David Jensen and Stephen Lonergan, Assessing and Restoring Natural Resources in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding. (London: Routledge, 2012), 645. 61  Jensen and Lonergan, Assessing and Restoring Natural Resources in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, 644. 62  Wilson, “Sierra Leone’s Illicit Diamonds”, 199. 63  UNEP, Sierra Leone: Environment, Conflict, and Peacebuilding Assessment, 60. 64  Cubitt, “Responsible Reconstruction after War”, page 109. 65  Beevers, “Governing Natural Resources for Peace: Lessons from Liberia and Sierra Leone.”, 236. 66  Beevers, “Governing Natural Resources for Peace”, 236. 67  Beevers, “Governing Natural Resources for Peace”, 231. 68  Beevers, “Governing Natural Resources for Peace”, 231. 69  Jensen and Lonergan, Assessing and Restoring Natural Resources in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, 650. 70  UNEP. Sierra Leone: Environment, Conflict, and Peacebuilding Assessment. 57. 71  UNEP. Sierra Leone: Environment, Conflict, and Peacebuilding Assessment. 57. 72  Beevers, “Governing Natural Resources for Peace”, 239. 73  UNEP. Sierra Leone: Environment, Conflict, and Peacebuilding Assessment. 45. 74  Jensen and Lonergan, Assessing and Restoring Natural Resources in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, 644. 75  UNEP. Sierra Leone: Environment, Conflict, and Peacebuilding Assessment. 70. 76  UNEP. Sierra Leone: Environment, Conflict, and Peacebuilding Assessment. 60. 77  Cubitt, “Responsible Reconstruction after War: Meeting Local Needs for Building Peace.”, 97. 78  Fanthorpe, “On the Limits of Liberal Peace”, 40. 79  Hanlon, “Is the International Community Helping to Recreate the Preconditions for War in Sierra Leone?”, 460. 80  Sawyer, “Remove or Reform?”, 390. 81  Fanthorpe, “On the Limits of Liberal Peace”, 33. 82  Fanthorpe, “On the Limits of Liberal Peace”, 33. 83  Hanlon, “Is the International Community Helping to Recreate the Preconditions for War in Sierra Leone?”, 461. 84  Sawyer, “Remove or Reform?”, 391. 85  Sawyer, “Remove or Reform?”, 391. 86  Fanthorpe, “On the Limits of Liberal Peace”, 32. 87  Melissa T. Labonte, “From Patronage to Peacebuilding? Elite Capture and Governance from Below in Sierra Leone.” African Affairs 111, no. 442 (2012): 95. 88  Labonte, “From Patronage to Peacebuilding?”, 91. 89  Fanthorpe, “On the Limits of Liberal Peace”, 34. 90  Sawyer, “Remove or Reform?”, 401. 91  Labonte, “From Patronage to Peacebuilding?”, 102. 92  Fanthorpe, “On the Limits of Liberal Peace”, 45. 93  Labonte, “From Patronage to Peacebuilding?”, 98. 94  Labonte, “From Patronage to Peacebuilding?”, 113. 95  Labonte, “From Patronage to Peacebuilding?”, 113.


Displaced Without Advocates: Dissecting Efforts to Mainstream Internal Displacement Under Institutional Constraints Husayn Jamal

Edited by Bianca Ho

There must be a conscious effort to bring internal displacement into mainstream discourse rather than simply leaving them as a 'population of concern’ for UNHCR


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ABSTRACT What structural features of the international system create conditions that privilege certain groups of forced migrants over others? Enduring legacies of the post-Westphalian global order alter how migrants in flight interact with borders and international organisations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that provide protection only to refugees that fall in the gaps between states. This paper argues that efforts to mainstream the plight of those in protracted situations of internal displacement by UNHCR have been met with little success, despite the strong legacy and degree of expertise that the agency is ordinarily afforded vis-à-vis refugees. By bridging a constructivist perspective and rational choice framework for understanding domestic-level effects in international politics, internally displaced persons (IDPs) can be understood as conceptually shaped by states. This analysis frames IDPs as facing the same structural challenges as refugees but without explicit protection benefits, and therefore as significantly disadvantaged in the course of their forced displacement. The conceptual separation should thus be questioned, and the value of extending the same protections afforded to refugees to IDPs is one worth considering. INTRODUCTION Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) stand at the intersection of human rights issues, violence, marginalisation, absent or apathetic governments, and natural or man-made hazards. These challenges force them to flee their place of residence without ever crossing an internationally recognised state border.1 They are a distinctly separate category from refugees as a matter of international law since they have not left their home state despite the fact that they “would be considered refugees if they crossed a border” and are often in need of similar protections for their material survival including food and shelter, as well as safeguards from human rights violations.2 Since IDPs are not included in the formal mandate of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), further work has been required to expand the agency’s institutional practice in the face of restrictions arising from the interests of neoliberal states. This paper argues that efforts by UNHCR to mainstream IDPs among domestic publics in Global North states has been unsuccessful due to the structural constraints it operates under, as well as the issue of compassion fatigue. Beginning with an analysis of the structural constraints and limited autonomy that UNHCR operates under vis-à-vis IDPs, attention will then turn to efforts by UNHCR to mainstream the issue of internal displacement in the common lexicon among domestic publics in the Global North as it relates to Putnam’s two-level game model of interstate bargaining. To conclude, an argument for stronger IDP protection regimes, and eventual integration of IDPs into the formal mandate of UNHCR, will be advanced by building upon the evidence presented in the foregoing sections, as well as highlighting areas for future research on both theoretical and practical levels.


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IDPS IN THE INTERNATIONAL ARENA: UNHCR AND STRUCTURAL DEFICITS Individuals who flee their homes and cross an international frontier in search of protection are generally entitled to a robust and comprehensive regime made up of international organisations such as the UNHCR, the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, and numerous non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that all actively advocate for and specify the rights to which refugees are entitled.3 This sort of comprehensive regime is notably absent in relation to IDPs; there is no international organisation empowered to protect and advocate for them, there are no binding international agreements that stipulate the rights and protections that should be afforded to IDPs, and the work of NGOs on the IDP portfolio is significantly smaller than that of refugees proper.4 As a result of these structural deficits in the international system, IDPs are left particularly vulnerable to violations of their fundamental human rights. In considering the historical development of UNHCR’s practices relating to IDPs, it is important to note the initial opposition by the agency to provide assistance to the internally displaced in South Vietnam in the 1960s when Sadruddin Aga Khan, as High Commissioner for Refugees, declined to provide assistance to the South Vietnamese “precisely because they were internally displaced.”5 In this instance, UNHCR adopted a legalistic position, arguing that this group, as well as all IDPs, were firmly beyond the statutory scope of UNHCR which privileges the classical definition of a refugee laid out in the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol. Under this definition, UNHCR effectively denied protections to those who face similar conditions to refugees but have simply not crossed an international border. This line of reasoning adopts a very conservative position on the interpretation and application of international frameworks for refugees to IDPs, which reflects several structural constraints imposed on UNHCR. Such constraints include limited state-funding and heavy state intervention in the affairs and operations of UNHCR since the early days of the agency’s existence.6 As a result, UNHCR evolved under these state-imposed constraints which have limited its ability to be a champion for the rights of IDPs. Indeed, this conservative interpretation of refugee frameworks is consistent with one of the primary norms in international politics that has since been codified in the United Nations Charter, whereby it is prohibited to “intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State.”7 Arising out of the Westphalian Treaties in 1648, these notions of state-centrism and absolute sovereignty are problematic because they exist in tension with individual-centred norms of human rights, which are also stipulated in the UN Charter. These Westphalian constructions of non-intervention, state borders, and absolute sovereignty are “analytic assumption[s] for neo-realism and neo-liberal institutionalism”; theories that may not fully reflect the empirical reality of the modern state system.8 Instead, it would be more helpful to adopt a model that favours “normative discourse” in recognising a “more imaginative construction of institutional forms.”9 In this way, a greater space for theoretical imagining opens and it may be possible to conceptualise refugees and IDPs as more similar


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than different. The challenge with a neoliberal perspective regarding IDPs is that there is very little economic incentive in the entire issue of humanitarian-based migration programs for states. Since the underlying logic of neoliberalism is that states in the international system will be largely immune to competition-based pressures to maximise their material gains, on concerning an issue like IDPs where there are very few gains to be had at all, states are unlikely to have any incentive to act.10 Much of the international refugee regime was built with this neoliberal perspective that privileges the Westphalian status quo in a refusal to compromise on state sovereignty. At its creation, states had a vested interest in ensuring that UNHCR was not an operational agency and, as such, was “created by Western governments in such a way that it would neither pose a threat to their sovereignty nor impose new financial obligations on them.”11 Especially at the height of the Cold War, refugee politics was heavily politicised as an instrument to grant safe haven to those fleeing communist countries, which supported Western ideology and meant that “refugee policy was simply considered too important by American leaders to permit the United Nations to control.”12 This in turn created structural and funding deficits for UNHCR that significantly limited the global scale of its activities. What such an argument misses, however, is that it is precisely because refugee and IDP policy is so important that it cannot be left to states to administer on their own and that a UN Agency must be involved to help ensure respect for human rights. The UN Member States quite clearly limited the potential operational capacity of UNHCR in order to limit its scope for IDPs as was articulated in General Assembly resolution 47/105. Resolution 47/105 imposed specific structural constraints in UNHCR, specifying that there must be a “request from the Secretary-General or other competent authority, and the consent of the State concerned” before intervention by UNHCR can occur.13 It is well documented that the “restrictive and impractical nature of UNHCR’s original Statute” has often been an impediment to the agency assisting IDPs.14 This lack of an official mandate to protect IDPs has resulted in a situation where responses to crises of internal displacement are often ad hoc, such that they “fall through the cracks of the international assistance and protection regime,” which is detrimental to UNHCR’s codified protection mandate of displaced populations.15 As a result, there has historically been little institutionalised response to the plight of IDPs and so the underlying structural conditions have been left largely unchanged. Expecting UNHCR to protect IDPs without an explicit mandate by means of a convention or protocol acceded to by states is already a significant barrier to realising the ideal of universal respect for human rights by states. However, the imposition of structural constraints on the agency limits the ability of UNHCR to respond to crises of internal displacement in a meaningful way by setting state consent as a prerequisite for assistance. A status quo such as this devalues the notion of universal human rights, continues to perpetuate the privileged status of absolute state sovereignty, and harms legitimate humanitarian relief efforts by casting them as political decisions carried out by UNHCR on the orders of more powerful states.16 The structural constraints imposed on UNHCR there-


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fore leave IDPs without an advocate or strong legal basis to assert their rights in the international system.

A MODEL FOR MAINSTREAMING IDPS AT THE DOMESTIC LEVEL Thus far, this paper has advanced an argument that identifies the lack of explicit mandate or institution dedicated to the protection of IDPs as a product of the imposition of structural constraints on UNHCR. Still missing from this analysis is the specific effect that domestic actors have on domestic leaders, which in turn shape state policy positions that determine how constrained UNHCR is in its efforts to mainstream IDPs. In this context, mainstreaming is the process of bringing the Refugee Convention into practice in such a way that it is no longer “in isolation from international human rights law.”17 While it may seem contradictory to integrate a rational choice, two-level game approach with an argument based in the constructivist nature of international politics and the refugee/ IDP regimes, it provides an important insight into the multi-level interactions that occur within the discourse surrounding IDPs and UNHCR’s work in mainstreaming them. Since constructivism argues that prevailing norms and practices diffuse amongst states in the international system and eventually come to shape their behaviour, bridging these two approaches may not be wholly irreconcilable. The theoretical basis for this argument lies first in the rational choice two-level game model where at Level I, negotiations take place between states and a tentative agreement is reached, and at Level II, the policy must be ratified and implemented through domestic processes.18 From this, the conceptual framework for overlapping areas of interest and shared win-sets emerge, such that any potential agreement among states must be feasible at both Level I (international) and Level II (domestic) to be viable. This therefore creates a need for state leaders that are negotiating agreements to ensure that such agreements have the support of their domestic constituents, as was the case for the Refugee Convention. The challenge that state leaders face is that of compassion fatigue, where there is only a finite amount of domestic support that can be mobilized across all issue areas. Compassion fatigue is particularly a problem in relation to how socially constructed interpretations of IDPs can influence individual willingness or capacity to advocate for internal displacement as an issue requiring national attention. Compassion fatigue can be defined as emotional overload when there appears to be no easy or meaningful contribution for an individual to alleviate the tragedy they are seeing, reading, or hearing. Bluntly, it is the awareness that “no five dollar contribution, no vote, no online petition will fix the problem.”19 Compassion fatigue is critically important in understanding how domestic actors influence domestic leaders to set state preferences within a rational choice model because it is disruptive to how norms of behaviour, including treatment of IDPs, diffuse between and across states. More explicitly, compassion fatigue often leads to disengagement which removes the “common experience” and “focal points” around which the “social structure and normative context shape the actions of agents” in advocating for norms.20 This disengagement thus prevents domestic actors’ advocacy efforts from reaching the tipping point where they can effec-


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tively persuade domestic leaders to set national preferences in favour of more explicitly codifying rights and protections for IDPs. Given that norms are so important in how IDPs are perceived, the constructivist perspective neatly complements the two-level game approach in that the discourse and media coverage surrounding IDPs is also relevant and further reduces domestic advocacy in favour of greater national priority to be placed on IDPs. Due to the geographic distance of individuals in the Global North from the epicentres of most internal displacement crises, media outlets have significant latitude to “tinker with their coverage” in a way that would prevent “certain audiences turning away from difficult news stories.”21 Media institutions, as well as international organisations including the UN and UNHCR, are running up against another problem related to compassion fatigue; the “been-there, seenthat attitude” which has resulted in the need to sensationalise headlines and coverage in an effort to keep audiences engaged and continue the important work of mainstreaming internal displacement in common discourse.22 A very clear effort towards mainstreaming made by UNHCR in response to compassion fatigue on the IDP issue was the appointment of Angelina Jolie as UN Special Ambassador of Peace who visited an internal displacement camp in Syria. Her visit was a step towards building support for more robust international regimes for IDPs among Global North domestic publics. This was a reasonable approach to “bring attention to news that matters” in the face of declining coverage by media outlets and increasing fears that audiences will turn away from IDP issues.23Refugees, on the other hand, are able to more closely and directly influence domestic politics because the provision of asylum and resettlement is often undertaken by countries in the Global North as refugees seek shelter. This places them squarely within the awareness of domestic actors at Level II, making their treatment more difficult to ignore which defines state preferences in a way that is more in favour of broad humanitarian protections for refugees.24 In the absence of this same direct connection to the Global North, IDPs are left with few international regimes affording them protection and even fewer actors advocating for the expansion of these regimes. The building compassion fatigue therefore turns individuals in the Global North away from coverage of IDPs and demonstrates the need for mainstreaming activities. Media outlets respond to this fatigue by reducing coverage of IDP issues, which is countered by civil society groups and international organisations that involve celebrities and other prominent individuals to maintain continued relevance and bolster mainstreaming efforts. Overall engagement at the domestic level with IDP issues falls as news coverage also falters, which leads to decreased advocacy at the domestic level and prompts domestic leaders to set national preferences based on this apathy and in the absence of pressure to act on the deficits present in IDP regimes. Since every new issue area reduces the size of potential win-sets at Level I, maintaining the status quo in negotiations enlarges potential win-sets. Domestic actors at Level II are left too fatigued to press further, leaving IDPs without advocates at the domestic level in the Global North as well.


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CONCLUSION This paper has presented the structural constraints imposed on UNHCR by states, as well as growing compassion fatigue at the domestic level in Global North countries as detrimental to UNHCR’s important efforts to mainstream IDPs in common discourse. The present state of affairs leaves a considerable amount of ambiguity insofar as what UNHCR and other international actors can and cannot do with regard to IDPs. This provides for very few binding prescriptions in terms of state obligations to IDPs, and continues to perpetuate a neoliberal state-centric approach that holds the threshold of crossing a state border as a necessary prerequisite for broad international protection. It is wholly antithetical to the purpose of human rights that they be applied differently based on seemingly arbitrary criteria, such as having the economic resources necessary to flee across an international border or being permitted to cross an international border by the state in question. This holds particularly true for states that may fear negative publicity or international condemnation at a massive exodus, or for people who are physically incapable of fleeing which is most relevant for pregnant women, families with young children, and the elderly.25 This paper therefore asserts that the efforts of UNHCR thus far on mainstreaming the IDP portfolio have been limited by the structural constraints imposed on it by states and the growing phenomenon of compassion fatigue in the Global North. These challenges leave IDPs without advocates in the international system. From a broader normative perspective, there must be a conscious effort to bring internal displacement into mainstream discourse rather than simply leaving them as a ‘population of concern’ for UNHCR. This includes a responsibility on the part of media outlets “to show the faces of those who have been caught in the maelstrom of conflict and disaster.”26 There must be support for the integration of IDPs into humanitarian discourse to ensure that they are afforded the necessary protections for their material well-being while also upholding their rights and basic dignities. This is not to prioritise them or their rights above refugees or any other group, nor is it meant to imply that IDPs and refugees have identical needs, but rather to assert that the universal human rights of every person should be respected and that those in dire need of international assistance should be able to receive it without regard for politics or appearances. NOTES 1  Francis M. Deng, “Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement,” The International Migration Review 33, no. 2 (1999): 484. 2  Erin Mooney, “The Concept of Internal Displacement and the Case for Internally Displaced Persons As a Category of Concern,” Refugee Survey Quarterly 24, no. 3 (2005): 9. 3  Catherine Phuong, The International Protection of Internally Displaced Persons. Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 9. 4  L. T. Lee, “Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees: Toward a Legal Synthesis?” Journal of Refugee Studies 9, no. 1 (1996): 28. 5  Catherine Phuong, The International Protection of Internally Displaced Persons. Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 77. 6  Z. A. Lomo, “The struggle for protection of the rights of refugees and IDPs in Africa: Making the existing international legal regime work.” Berkeley Journal of International Law 18, no. 2 (2000): 268.


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7  Ruddick, E. E. “The continuing constraint of sovereignty: International law, international protection, and the internally displaced.” Boston University Law Review, 72 no. 2, (1997): 429. 8  Stephen D. Krasner, “Compromising Westphalia.” International Security 20, no. 3 (1995): 115. 9  Stephen D. Krasner, “Compromising Westphalia.”, 115 10  Powell, R. “Absolute and Relative Gains in International Relations Theory.” American Political Science Review, 85, no. 4 1991:1304. 11  Gil Loescher, “The UNHCR and World Politics: State Interests Vs. Institutional Autonomy.” The International Migration Review 35, no. 1 (2001): 35. 12  Gil Loescher, “The UNHCR and World Politics: State Interests Vs. Institutional Autonomy.”, 35 13  Guy S. Goodwin-Gill and Jane McAdam. The Refugee in International Law. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, (2007): 486. 14  David Lanz, “Subversion or Reinvention? Dilemmas and Debates in the Context of Unhcr’s Increasing Involvement with IDPs,” Journal of Refugee Studies 21, no. 2 (2008): 192. 15  David Lanz, “Subversion or Reinvention?”,198. 16  Roberta Cohen, “Strengthening Protection of Idps: The UN’s Role,” Georgetown Journal of International Affairs 7, no. 1 (2006): 105. 17  Tom Clark and François Crépeau, “Mainstreaming Refugee Rights: the 1951 Refugee Convention and International Human Rights Law,” Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights 17, no. 4 (1999): 389. 18  R. D. Putnam, “Diplomacy and domestic politics: The logic of two-level games.” International Organization, 42, no. 3 (1988): 436. 19  S. D. Moeller, (2018). Compassion fatigue. In R. Bleiker (Ed.), Visual Global Politics. 77. 20  Martha Finnemore, and Kathryn Sikkink “International Norm Dynamics and Political Change,” International Organization 52, no. 4 (1998): 910. 21  S. D. Moeller, (2018). Compassion fatigue. In R. Bleiker (Ed.), Visual Global Politics. 79. 22  S. D. Moeller, 79 23  Moeller, 80. 24  Busby, S. “The politics of protection: Limits and possibilities in the implementation of international refugee norms in the United States,” Berkeley Journal of International Law 15, no. 1 (1997): 27. 25  Jakob Kellenberger, “The ICRC’s Response to Internal Displacement: Strengths, Challenges and Constraints,” International Review of the Red Cross 91, no. 875 (2009): 476. 26  S. D. Moeller, (2018). Compassion fatigue. In R. Bleiker (Ed.), Visual Global Politics. 80.


Arabization: Towards an Exclusive National Identity Florence Harvey-Hudon Edited by Ender McDuff

From colony to Arab territory: A discussion on the lasting effects of colonialism on Algerian and Moroccan identities


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ABSTRACT This paper contrasts the experiences of Imazighen communities in the neighbouring countries of Algeria and Morocco, who share similar histories and political demands. While both groups have mobilized for language recognition, the teaching of Tamazight and history in schools, and repayment for the injustices inflicted against Imazighen communities during the colonial and independence eras, the Amazigh fight is more tenacious in Algeria than in Morocco. Looking at pre-colonial national identities and building on anthropological work from colonial periods, this paper assesses the effects of colonialism on national identity and reconstruction in both countries, as seen through Arabization policies. Finally, this paper draws parallels to the findings of Daniel Posner regarding size of sects, demography and regime type. Ultimately, the most significant factor explaining the varying degrees of mobilization in Algeria and Morocco is the former’s profound colonial experience, which resulted in the extremely exclusive nature of post-colonial nation-building efforts. INTRODUCTION The Imazighen — commonly known as Berbers — refer to the many tribes that have inhabited North Africa for thousands of years, regrouping in various locations throughout the expanse of the Atlas Mountains and now living in the vast area of the Maghreb.1 These Berber tribes have known the Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Spanish and French.2 Today, the largest Berberophone communities are concentrated in six main groups: The Rif, Braber, Shluh, and Soussi in Morocco, as well as the Kabyles and Shawiya in Algeria. While it is widely acknowledged that “almost all Algerians [and Moroccans] are Berber in origin (not Arab), only a minority identify themselves as primarily Berber.”3 Furthermore, the self-identified Berbers have long been denied recognition as the indigenous populations of the Maghreb, in which nations have rather tended toward “a fanatical stand about Arabism.”4 As such, the Imazighen are now demanding to be recognized “in theory as the original inhabitants of North Africa and in practice as distinct components of its society.”5 As presented in the official Berber Manifesto published in 2000, Imazighen demands include: the recognition of Tamazight as an official language enshrined in the countries’ constitutions, the teaching of Tamazight and history that includes the Berbers in schools,6 and repayment for the injustices inflicted on Imazighen communities during the colonial and independence eras.7 Historically, the Berbers have ensured the survival of their cultures and languages, with efforts tracing back to the colonial era8 that have since catalyzed in pro-Imazighen advocacy, protests that led to violence and mass arrests, and the formation of organizations and political parties in both countries, respectively.9 10 11 As a whole, the Amazigh movement has reached global visibility through organizations such as the World Amazigh Congress, and the Imazighen have sent delegations to the annual meetings of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Peoples.12 Despite these shared backgrounds and demands, Amazigh identity has manifested itself more saliently in Algerian politics than in Moroccan politics. This


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paper argues that this difference in political mobilization between Amazigh groups in Algeria and Morocco can ultimately be traced back to Algeria’s weak pre-colonial identity and transformative colonial past, which resulted in the formation of a reactionary national identity centered around a return to the Arab world, Islam, and Arabic — the ‘true’ pillars of Algerian identity. As a direct consequence, this exclusive national identity offers no room for Amazigh identity, resulting in a resurgence to protect it. In contrast, while colonial rule affected Morocco, it did not succeed in transforming the pre-existing Moroccan identity. As such, post-colonial Morocco ultimately returned to its pre-colonial self, resulting in less oppression of Amazigh rights and demands. As this paper concludes, these factors are moreover paired with a much higher political competitiveness and relative size of Berber groups in Algeria, which further explains a stronger Amazigh movement in Algeria.

COLONIAL EXPERIENCE As neighbours, contrasting the colonial experience of Morocco and Algeria enables a better understanding of how the legacies left by the colonizers have shaped formation — or reaffirmation — of national identities. Specifically, a crucial distinction must be highlighted between the two territorial regimes to which the countries were subjected. While both were colonies de peuplement (settlement colonies),13 Morocco was only a protectorate, while Algeria was “incorporated legally into Metropolitan France.”14 This divergence brought great variance in the lived experience of each population, and translated into distinct colonial legacies that can be seen both resurfacing and facing opposition in the formation of national identity and within its affirmation through time. I. Morocco For 44 years, from 1912 to 1956, Morocco was in protectorate relationships with both France and Spain, which controlled separate areas of the country.15 However, Morocco’s history and the implementation of its protectorates created circumstances that helped it retain relative independence. Firstly, by the time French and Spanish colonization began, “Morocco had a thousand-year tradition of independence,” having never been completely subject to Ottoman rule.16 Secondly, brutal military violence in Algeria not only kept the French busy (especially during the 1954-1962 liberation war), but it also served as a warning for the French, who decided to mitigate violence in Morocco.17 Consequently, the French decided not to disrupt traditional Morocco; the sultanate continued, traditional state bureaucracy was left largely untouched, and traditional society was preserved.18 Although the government was under supervision, no constitutional changes were made to restrain the powers of the sultan, which also retained symbolic importance.19 Lastly, being under the control of two countries surprisingly worked to Morocco’s benefit, as France and Spain disagreed on various issues, most notably the 1953 dismissal of the sultan and the subsequent 1956 granting of independence, both issued by France without consulting Spain.20 Additionally, this division meant Spain and France were ruling areas differently, with Spain dedicating fewer resources than France.21 This resulted in more liber-


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al policies in areas under Spanish control, which undermined the more invasive Jacobin methods of the French, who notably instated French education and engaged in divide and rule tactics between the Imazighen and Arabs.22 Ironically, the result was “just the opposite of French intentions: it provoked a Moroccan nationalist reaction and forced the administration to modify its proposals,” also leading to the institution in 1933 of ‘Throne Day,’ which celebrates the sultan’s accession to the throne.23 In this sense, French divide and rule tactics not only failed to be fruitful, but also revived Moroccan unity, which is centered around the figure of the sultan, their rightful ruler. As Brown highlights, “only Morocco arrived at independence with traditional forces still very much intact if not, indeed, in stronger position than the modernizers”.24 Overall, despite the colonization of approximately eight per cent of Morocco’s most productive lands25 and a settlement population that constituted between six and eight per cent26 of Morocco’s population, the country nonetheless managed to maintain its integrity.

II. Algeria With 132 years of colonial rule and an eight-year bloody liberation war, Algeria has known one of the most bitter colonial experiences ever seen under the French. Indeed, as summarized by Mostefa Lacheraf, a well-known Algerian sociologist, historian, writer and politician, “if ever a colonial relationship may be said to have been born, lived and died in violence, it is French Algeria.”27 This translates into multiple periods of violence: repressive pacification efforts that spluttered from 1830 until the 1850, the 1871 revolt of el-Mokrani, the disturbance of 1945, and the long revolution (1954-1962) that achieved independence.28 As for assimilation policies, the official integration of Algeria to Metropolitan France29 as a département français30 resulted in a concrete effort to make Algeria an extension of French territory, characterized by intensive colonizer settlement and social re-engineering.31 By 1954, the French settlers made up almost 10 per cent of Algeria’s population32 and occupied up to 40 per cent of cultivable land.33 Moreover, a thorough destruction of the Algerian aristocracy allowed for “complete colonial dominance of the Algerian administration”34 and “radical destruction of native society and institutions.”35 While the French developed communications, health, and educational infrastructure,36 those were widely reserved for European French speakers. In employment, public sector jobs were concentrated — and mainly reserved — for the French in urban settlements, while “underemployment and chronic unemployment disproportionately affected Muslims, who lived mostly in rural and semirural areas.”37 As such, European settlers gradually “established nearly total political, economic, and social domination over the country and its native inhabitants.”38 Simultaneously, the French practiced favouritism of certain societal groups, following classic divide and rule tactics. The promotion of the Kabylian Vulgate, “which posited that Kabylian Berbers were really European in origin and only nominally attached to Islam,”39 resulted in préjugé favorable40 (favouritism) toward the Berbers. This, juxtaposed with the Jacobin political system that was transplanted to Algeria, “left no room for Berber identity to develop”41 after indepen-


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dence and eventually “rendered any particularist assertion of Kabylian Berber identity extremely suspect in nationalist eyes.”42 More generally, the favouritism that Algerian upper bourgeoisie benefited from also resulted in more deeply transformative changes, effectively turning these elites into ‘Europeanized Algerians.’43 Through education and Westernization, these individuals became “more the product of the French educational system than of their own societies.”44 Considering French to be their mother tongue and deeply attracted to France’s ideology of liberté, fraternité, égalité, some were even willing to renounce their Muslim faith in exchange for French political citizenship.45 Parallelly, Algeria’s title of department français allowed for greater mobility of Algerians, especially after World War II, when France granted le droit à la libre circulation46 (the right to circulate freely). Indeed, this resulted in the greatest portion of the Algerian diaspora being located in France, with approximately 900, 000 Algerians currently officially living in France (some estimates including sans papiers and refugees go as high as 5 million).47 Altogether, French divide and rule techniques resulted in a tripartite separation of Algerian society, which translated into three distinct groups at the rise of the nationalist movement during the 1950s. While all groups fought for better conditions for Algerians, they fundamentally disagreed on how to achieve their goals.48 From the pro-French to the anti-French extremes, the groups were also divided along class lines and religious ideology.49 First, the Young Algerians or assimilationists were “Algerians who had gained access to French education and earned their living in the French sector,” pursued gradual reformist tactics and “were prepared to consider permanent union with France if the rights of Frenchmen could be extended to native Algerians.”50 The second group comprised of Muslim reformers who were inspired by the religious Salafi movement and formed the Association of Algerian Muslim ʿUlamāʾ in 1931 under the leadership of Sheikh ʿAbd al-Hamid Ben Badis.51 Not political in nature, the group nonetheless encouraged “a strong sense of Muslim Algerian nationality among the Algerian masses.”52 The third group was formed in the 1920s by Algerians working in France and preached a “nationalism without nuance,” fueled by proletarian circumstances and radical ideologies.53 Tangibly, this tripartition is a testament to the lack of unity that characterized Algeria at the time of independence. As a result, not only did colonialism deeply transform Algeria’s demography, but it also established deep divisions within Algerian society that made it nearly impossible to achieve national unity after independence.

NATIONAL IDENTITY Assessing the national identity of both Morocco and Algeria is vital for understanding the roles of Berber identities in politics. Examining the particular national identities in terms of their relative strengths can help deduce their effectiveness in bringing successful political order and unity. As Fukuyama notes, national identity carries out several functions in assuring the wellbeing of political entities; it ensures physical security, encourages quality of government, facilitates economic development, promotes a wide radius of trust within society, mitigates economic inequality, and fosters liberal democracy.54 As “national identity begins


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with a shared belief in the legitimacy of the country’s political system,”55 it sets the foundation for long-term societal development. Moreover, the specific articulation of national identities in Algeria and Morocco can provide crucial insights for understanding how and why Berber mobilization manifests itself differently in both countries. Indeed, the fundamental nature of national identities can help determine if they ultimately create unity or division between Arabs and Berbers. Since identity is rooted in thymos — “Plato’s term for the aspect of the human soul that is experienced emotionally through feelings of pride, shame, and anger and that craves recognition of dignity”56 — it follows that an important part of national identity is derived from the population’s shared historical memories and, importantly, “their expectations about what it takes to become a genuine member of the community.”57 Seeing how these national identities are “embodied in formal laws and institutions that dictate, for example, which language(s) will be considered official, or what schools will teach children about their country’s past,”58 will provide concrete ways to assess their relative inclusivity. This is crucial, as while national identity mostly refers to communal sentiment, it is still formed by individuals, who also search for their personal identity. As such, national identities that aim to homogenize heterogenous populations often face strong resistance, as people “want their specific selves to be recognized and celebrated, not suppressed […] They want to feel a connection with their ancestors and know where they came from.”59 This paper will focus on Arabization policies, as they symbolize a clear aftermath of the ‘politics of resentment’ that arise when “a political leader has mobilized followers around the perception that a group’s dignity has been affronted […] or otherwise disregarded.”60 While national identities in both countries are formed around the pillars of Islam, Arabic, and Arab identity, Islam is not a point of tension between Arabs and Berbers, as Berbers were effectively converted during the Muslim Arab invasion of North Africa in 7th Century CE.61

I. Morocco As a political entity whose cultural and political identity had been established since the 17th Century CE,62 Morocco’s Islamic Monarchy has fostered one of the most stable national identities in the region. Indeed, while the country has mostly identified as Arab, Muslim, and Arabophone over time, Morocco’s elites promote the prevalence of Moroccan identity as first and foremost Moroccan; this is done, for example, by prohibiting parties based on religious, ethnic, or regional identities.63 As such, extensive focus is placed on the monarchical figures of the Alawite dynasty, who have symbolized strong leaders for centuries. These figures have “often used their prestige as religious leaders to contain internal conflicts,”64 whether caused by competition among tribes, attitudes toward religious beliefs, or language policies. While colonial rule affected Morocco in significant ways, the country’s thousand-year tradition of independence allowed the monarchy to serve as an anchor of Moroccan culture and political identity throughout the oppressive rule. Indeed, while the monarchy may have lost influence during the French and Spanish occupations, the symbolic “fiction of the sultan’s sovereignty”65 was


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maintained, allowing for a certain continuity in national identity. Additionally, the sultan did play a role in defending Moroccan interests in key moments, such as in 1940 when he “signified his independence by refusing to approve anti-Jewish legislation.”66 Overall, the sultan’s ability to protect Morocco as much as possible during colonial rule resulted in fewer deeply transformative consequences for the country. Consequently, post-independence rule was less reactionary than that in Algeria, as Morocco largely returned to its past identity. While measures to promote Moroccan identity as Arab-Muslim were made, the relatively progressive ruler — whose hand was also forced by political pressure and attempts on his life67 — allowed for more inclusive post-independence policies, which were more accepting of multiculturalism than those in Algeria, as a direct result of the salience of Moroccan identity.

II. Algeria As compared with Morocco, Algeria is a much ‘newer’ country whose identity was only solidified post-independence. Indeed, Algeria’s geography and topography had resulted, before Ottoman rule, in “the western part of the country [being] associated more closely with Morocco while the eastern part held closer ties with Tunisia.”68 Furthermore, the mountainous region of the Atlas, hosting a significant minority of Tamazight speakers, made Algeria “more resistant to Arabization as compared with North African countries to the east.”69 As a consequence, Ottoman Algeria failed to develop strong political nationalism, which gave more room for the 132 years of colonial rule to transform Algeria. This meant that only a “transient, nearly rootless society” 70 emerged from the divisive colonial rule, resulting in the creation of an identity that relied on a “cult of the martyr” — the collective feeling of being “subjugated to a horrendous event that leaves indelible marks upon [a] group consciousness […] and chang[es] their future identity in fundamental and irrevocable ways71 — as a direct response to the cultural trauma.72 Thus, as a direct reaction to colonial rule, post-independence ideolgues of the National Liberation Front (FLN) political party promoted the “construction of an Algerian ‘new man’ […] culturally and spiritually liberated by a ‘decolonisation of the mind’ (decolonisation des esprits) based in a fusion of Arab nationalism and socialism.”73 Meanwhile, the Berbers promoted Algérie Algérienne as secular and multicultural, which stood in stark contrast to the FLN’s Algérie arabo-musulmane (‘Arab-Muslim Algeria’),74 causing their exclusion from the nationalist movement — a phenomenon known as the Berberist crisis75 — and subsequently from high-ranking positions in national government.76 This paper will now demonstrate how Arabization policies, which presented Arabic as the “martyr language,”77 further promoted the exclusive national identity defined by the FLN and resulted in Amazigh resistance to such exclusion. ARABIZATION POLICIES Arabization policies came as a sine qua non of post-colonial periods in both Algeria and Morocco. Indeed, Arabization served not only to disavow colonial legacies, but also as a central part of identity affirmation. Concretely, Arabization encompasses efforts aiming at the adoption of the Arabic language in


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countries of the Maghreb following their independence.78 Arabization, while being adopted to varying degrees and in distinct manners in Morocco and Algeria, was central to the reinvigoration of national identity in both countries. More precisely, Arabization presented both national identities as enshrined within the Arab world and as opposed to belonging with France or the West, making the policies an expression of pan-Arabism,79 which was at its peak during Morocco’s liberation. Additionally, a strong desire to resist Western influence and meddling was also present in the Ba’th Party,80 thus giving momentum to these Arabization policies, namely in Algeria.81 As a direct consequence of these policies, however, Amazigh languages in Morocco and Algeria were worse off, because the Amazigh movement as a whole was categorized as “hindrances to unifying the countries under the political power of the Arab rulers.”82

I. Morocco As a French protectorate, Morocco was subjected to francisation of its population and education system, but to a much lesser extent than that which occurred in Algeria. Indeed, as the protectorate was not attempting to foster des citoyens français, the colonial authorities were more accepting of Arabic and other Amazigh languages in education and other governmental spheres. This meant that in Morocco, “Arabic never disappeared as a language used for literacy by the elites.”83 As a consequence, a hierarchical educational system emerged, in which Europeans and Moroccan Jews were taught exclusively in French, Moroccan elites were taught the same curriculum with 10 hours of Arabic per week added, and middle-class Moroccans were taught in ‘private schools,’ paid by nationalist networks, where they were taught 20 hours of Arabic per week.84 While French francisation policies were not forcing Moroccan children to be educated in French, they were creating a deep cleavage between the French-speaking elites and the Arabic-speaking lower classes. Consequently, once independence came, the Arabization process was torn between the dissimilar interests of political actors in Morocco. On one hand, “Morocco’s first political party, Istiqlal, sought an immediate and complete Arabization of the educational system,” while, on the other hand, the Monarch defended more progressive linguistic policies.85 Ipso facto, Arabization policies have been implemented following ‘cycles,’ as described by anthropologist Gilbert Grandguillaume.86 As summarized by Strengholt, great efforts to Arabize education and the civil service were made between 1959 and 1966, at which point massive problems were endemic in all schools.87 Not only was the government not able to provide free education for all, but Arabization had been implemented without careful preparation and had resulted in underperformance.88 From then on, Arabization policies were halted, until the opposition organized and petitioned for radical action in 1973.89 The monarch, faced with these demands, complied, and thus continued the cycles of implementing and halting Arabization. These cycles were finally brought to an end in 1994, when 55 per cent of Moroccans were still illiterate.90 The monarch, eventually faced by the humble reality of the lacking education system as well as the discontent of the French and Amazigh speaking groups, decided to adopt a more progressive attitude toward Arabization, even calling for Amazigh educa-


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tion.91 Eventually, this translated into many ‘setbacks’ for Arabization; in 1997, literacy in Arabic and French was made mandatory for acceptance to university, and in 1999, a National Charter for Education and Training acknowledged the need for students to study foreign languages.92 In 2011, Amazigh was even finally recognized as an official language in the constitution.93 Overall, Arabization policies have proven relatively successful in Morocco, although their implementation has been slow and inconsistent. This can be explained partly by the more progressive, all-pleasing attitude of the monarch, who was restrained in implementing these policies.

II. Algeria Alternatively, Arabization policies have been more pervasive in Algeria, which has adopted an aggressive attitude toward their implementation. This difference in intensity can partly, once again, be attributed to more invasive French colonial rule and its persisting legacy, where the French language had become extremely widespread within government communication and education facilities.94 This can be seen as a direct result of centralized Jacobin practices, which could not tolerate the presence of another language acting in rivalry with the ‘great tradition.’95 Tangibly, colonial legislators even issued a decree declaring Classical Arabic as a ‘foreign language’ in March 1938,96 thereby denying the primacy of Arabic and its central role in Algerian history altogether. Symbolically, this colonial attitude equated to the denial of an Algerian polity before France’s arrival, as if to erase Algeria’s history and provide France a blank canvas with which to start. This can be seen as similar to the ‘discovery of the New World,’ wherein the indigenous populations were seen as savages roaming on land that awaited French occupation and utilization. In Algeria’s case, this repressive French imposition was met by equally aggressive regulations for Arabization after independence. Acting not only as a rejection of France’s legacy, Arabization was also pivotal in the formation of post-colonial Algeria. As explained by Mohamed Benrabah, Algerian elites have used Arabization as an ideological process to gain political legitimacy after independence.97 Through the top-down approach of Arabization, elites could use language simultaneously in the service of self-legitimation, nation building, and the creation of a “new Algeria.”98 In this sense, they aimed to emulate the assimilationist language policies the Chinese and Americans had implemented, in the belief that monolingualism would bring greater unity to the country. The elites’ promotion of monolingualism was implemented foremost through education — which was the first institution to be Arabized — when the religio-conservatives took control of the Ministry of Education in July, 1965.99 The importance of this change cannot go unnoted, as it is believed that “schools function as major socializing agents that can reflect and (re)produce the dominant social order or the order that the dominant group(s) aim(s) to set up.”100 Through the imposition of Arabic in education, officials believed they had not only found a way to get rid of French as a language of instruction, but also found a “solution to the problem of the Berber language.”101 An FLN party cadre even stated on the record that through a disassociation between child and family, by which children could not


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understand their parents and vice-versa, the strategy would eventually help eradicate Berber language(s).102 Such statements clearly demonstrate that Arabization in Algeria also created a diglossia, which Ferguson describes as a “social context in which two clearly distinguished languages coexist, one High and one Low.”103 Further evidence of this antagonism of Berber language(s) can also be noted, such as in 1996 when “the National Council of Transition prohibited the use of any language other than Arabic after 1998 in government, commerce, and civil organizations, and after 2000 in the higher education system.”104 Predictably, this decision was met by popular unrest and “drew strong protests in Kabylia, and among French speakers in general.”105 Hence, it can concluded that Arabization policies in Algeria not only failed to provide Algerian authorities legitimacy, but also added fuel to the already existing Berber insurrection by further denying its rights. The reluctant recognition of Tamazight as a national language in 2002 demonstrates the inability of the Algerian officials to effectively suppress their Amazigh constituents, while also serving as a clear sign of the policies’ failure.

CONCLUSIONS ON ARABIZATION POLICIES It is also important to note that, parallel to Arabization policies, reforms in school curricula have served to reinforce the idea of Arab primacy. For example, history books mention Arab Muslims by calling them the liberators of native inhabitants, and “children are also taught that Berbers completely lost their identity and fused into Islam.”106 As a whole, Arabization policies and curricula reforms have been implemented with more vehemence in Algeria than in Morocco, where the monarch has allowed for more multiculturalism as a direct consequence of his position depending on his popularity within the population. In contrast, the Algerian FLN has benefited from a rule consolidated by its alliance with the military (known as le pouvoir), resulting in their domination of political affairs that renders them less dependent on popular support than is the Moroccan king.107 DEMOGRAPHY AND REGIME TYPE Lastly, structural factors must also be considered in assessing why Berber identities are more salient in Algeria than in Morocco. Demographic factors will be studied through an analysis pursuant to that of Daniel Posner’s work on Chewas and Tumbukas in Zambia and Malawi, which can help explain the political salience of cultural difference. A brief analysis of both countries’ regime types will complement Posner’s approach. Posner’s work proposes a focus on the sizes of groups “relative to the size of the arena in which political competition is taking place.”108 As such, Posner identifies the necessity for groups to serve as “viable bases of political support”109 in order for their cultural cleavages to be mobilized and become politically relevant. Undoubtedly, there is an observable parallel between Posner’s study — where Chewas and Tumbukas are allies in Zambia and adversaries in Malawi110 — and Berber mobilization in Algeria and Morocco. Much like as with the Chewas and Tumbukas in Zambia, the Moroccan Berbers are formed by three distinct groups, making them multiple minorities in a situation where they cannot become dominant bases of political support


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on their own. Furthermore, the competitiveness of the political arena — a vital part of Posner’s condition — is quite decisive in allowing political mobilization of cultural difference. In Morocco, competitiveness is far from exemplary, as the importance of political parties is minimized under the monarchy’s dominance.111 As such, political demands are not given a proper channel from which to be voiced, unlike the Algerian case where the Socialist Forces Front and the Rally for Culture and Democracy fight for Berber rights and representation.112 Additionally, the Kingdom’s ruling style has long been characterized by co-optation and patronage, and some have argued that small concessions often aim at stalling greater advancements.113 That being said, Morocco’s regime type is a double-sided blade, as the king is also reliant on popular support. In practice, this translates into a more concessive style of ruling, where the king ‘listens’ to political demands in order to remain in power. As for Algeria, domination from le pouvoir paired with a highly fragmented political party system114 gives the impression of political competitiveness, while actually serving le pouvoir in solidifying and monopolizing power. As such, Amazigh demands are suppressed outright, which causes greater activism within Berber communities.

CONCLUSION Amazigh communities in Algeria and Morocco share the same fundamental demands for recognition as the original inhabitants of the Maghreb, protection and promotion of Tamazight, and reparations for the inequalities suffered by the Amazigh since colonial times. Nonetheless, national mobilizations of Amazigh movements have evolved in different ways, as mobilization in Algeria has played a more salient role in politics as compared with Morocco. This paper has shown that Amazigh mobilization emerged in Algeria as a direct result of disunity over national identity, a direct consequence of transformative colonial rule, and a lack of cohesiveness dating back to pre-Ottoman Algeria. In contrast, Morocco had enjoyed national unity as a political and cultural entity for over a thousand years, allowing it to present a strong identity before, during, and after French and Spanish colonial rule. This essential comparison between both countries as imagined communities illuminates the motivations of post-independence rulers. While Moroccan leaders rested on solid foundations for post-colonial reaffirmation of identity, Algerian leaders engaged in a (re)construction of Algerianness in the form of a ‘new Algerian man.’ This translated into policies of Arabization and reforms in education that were exclusive in Algeria, while Morocco’s post-independence policies have been implemented laxly and inconsistently, thus allowing more room for Berbers. Structural factors such as demography can also account for Amazigh political relevance being more salient in Algeria. Furthermore, regime type has allowed more liberty for Berbers in Morocco, while le pouvoir has made continuous efforts to maintain its strict views in Algeria. As of today, some progress has been made for Amazigh demands; the Algerian government officially recognized Tamazight in 2002, Tamazight was enshrined in Morocco’s constitution in 2011, and both countries have begun teaching Tamazight in schools. Nonetheless, the Amazigh fight for recognition and reparation is far from over, as groups within both Algeria and Morocco still suffer from inequalities.


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NOTES 1  Amin Kazak, “Amazigh Movement in Morocco,” Amazigh World, accessed November 7, 2019, http://www.amazighworld.org/news/amazighmovement/amazigh_movement_in_morocco.php. 2  Bruce Maddy-Weitzman, “Ethno-Politics and Globalisation in North Africa: The Berber Culture Movement,” The Journal of North African Studies 11, no. 1 (March 2006): 71, doi: https:// doi.org/10.1080/13629380500409917. 3  “The World Factbook: Algeria,” Central Intelligence Agency, February 1, 2018, https:// www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ag.html. 4  Jilali Saib, “The Berber (Amazigh) Manifesto,” Amazigh World, March 1, 2000, http:// www.amazighworld.org/human_rights/morocco/manifesto2000.php. 5  Michael Brett, “Berber,” Encyclopædia Britannica, March 20, 2019, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Berber. 6  Jilali Saib, “The Berber (Amazigh) Manifesto.” 7  Maddy-Weitzman, “Ethno-Politics and Globalisation in North Africa: The Berber Culture Movement,” 73. 8  Carl L. Brown, “The Many Faces of Colonial Rule in French North Africa,” Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée, no 13-14 (April 28, 2016): 188, https://www.persee. fr/doc/remmm_0035-1474_1973_num_13_1_1201. 9  Mohamed Chtatou, “The State of Amazigh Culture in Algeria and Morocco,” International Policy Digest, January 31, 2019, https://intpolicydigest.org/2019/01/31/the-state-of-amazigh-culture-in-algeria-and-morocco/. 10  Chtatou, “The State of Amazigh Culture in Algeria and Morocco.” 11  Chtatou. 12  Kazak, “Amazigh Movement in Morocco.” 13  Brown, “The Many Faces of Colonial Rule in French North Africa,” 173. 14  Brown, 188. 15  Will D. Swearingen and Susan Gilson Miller, “Decline of Traditional Government (1830– 1912),” Encyclopædia Britannica, June 28, 2019. https://www.britannica.com/place/Morocco/ Decline-of-traditional-government-1830-1912. 16  Swearingen and Miller, “Decline of Traditional Government (1830–1912).” 17  Brown, “The Many Faces of Colonial Rule in French North Africa,” 188. 18  Brown, 189 19  Swearingen and Miller, “Decline of Traditional Government (1830–1912).” 20  Swearingen and Miller. 21  Swearingen and Miller. 22  Swearingen and Miller. 23  Swearingen and Miller, “Decline of Traditional Government (1830–1912).” 24  Brown, “The Many Faces of Colonial Rule in French North Africa,” 190. 25  Brown, 175. 26  Brown,” 174. 27  Lacheraf, Mostefa. L’Algérie: Nation Et Société. Paris, 1965. 28  Brown, “The Many Faces of Colonial Rule in French North Africa,” 188. 29  Brown, 188. 30  Britannica Academic, “Algeria,” accessed November 6, 2019, https://academic-eb-com. proxy3.library.mcgill.ca/levels/collegiate/article/Algeria/110708. 31  Britannica Academic. 32  Brown, “The Many Faces of Colonial Rule in French North Africa,” 173. 33  Brown, 175. 34  Brown, 179. 35  Brown, 188. 36  Britannica Academic, “Algeria.” 37  Britannica Academic. 38  Britannica Academic. 39  Maddy-Weitzman, “Ethno-Politics and Globalisation in North Africa: The Berber Culture Movement,” 78. 40  Gilbert Meynier, “L’Algérie Et Les Algériens Sous Le Système Colonial. Approche Historico Historiographique,” Insaniyat, January 31, 2017. 41  Maddy-Weitzman, “Ethno-Politics and Globalisation in North Africa: The Berber Culture Movement,” 78. 42  Maddy-Weitzman, 72.


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43  Salah El Din El Zein El Tayeb, “The Europeanized Algerians and the Emancipation of Algeria,” Middle Eastern Studies 22, no 2 (April 1, 1986): 206. 44  Salah El Din El Zein El Tayeb, 207. 45  Salah El Din El Zein El Tayeb, “The Europeanized Algerians and the Emancipation of Algeria,” 208. 46  “La Diaspora Algérienne,” Algerian International Diaspora Association, accessed November 16, 2019, http://aida-association.org/diaspora/index.php?sr=6. 47  “La Diaspora Algérienne.” 48  Britannica Academic, “Algeria.” 49  Britannica Academic. 50  Britannica Academic. 51  Britannica Academic. 52  Britannica Academic. 53  Britannica Academic. 54  Francis Fukuyama, “Why National Identity Matters,” Journal of Democracy 29, no 4 (2018): 9-11. 55  Francis Fukuyama, 8. 56  Francis Fukuyama, 11. 57  Francis Fukuyama, 8. 58  Francis Fukuyama, 8. 59  Francis Fukuyama, 8. 60  Francis Fukuyama, 5. 61  “Amazigh Movement in Morocco.” Amazigh World. 62  “Morocco,” Britannica Academic, accessed November 10, 2019, https://academic-eb-com.proxy3.library.mcgill.ca/levels/collegiate/article/Morocco/110712#46581.toc. 63  “Morocco,” Freedom House, March 15, 2019, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2019/morocco. 64  Britannica Academic, “Morocco.” 65  Swearingen and Miller, “Decline of Traditional Government (1830–1912).” 66  “Morocco,” Britannica Academic. 67  Amazigh Movement in Morocco,” Amazigh World. 68  Britannica Academic, “Algeria.” 69  Britannica Academic. 70  Britannica Academic. 71  Paul Silverstein, “Martyrs and Patriots: Ethnic, National and Transnational Dimensions of Kabyle Politics,” The Journal of North African Studies 8, no 1 (March 29, 2007): 89. 72  Sevan Beukian, “Nationalism and Collective Trauma,” The State of Nationalism: An International Review, January 12, 2018, https://stateofnationalism.eu/article/nationalism-and-collective-trauma/. 73  Paul Silverstein, “Martyrs and Patriots: Ethnic, National and Transnational Dimensions of Kabyle Politics,” 89. 74  Paul Silverstein, 88-89. 75  Paul Silverstein, 88. 76  UNHCR, “Assessment for Berbers in Algeria,” Refworld, accessed November 12, 2019, https://www.refworld.org/docid/469f3a531c.html0. 77  Mohamed Benrabah, “Language And Politics In Algeria,” 63. 78  “Arabization Policies,” Encyclopedia.com October 21, 2019, https://www.encyclopedia. com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/arabization-policies. 79  Mohamed Benrabah, “Language And Politics In Algeria,” 65. 80  The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Baʿth Party,” Encyclopædia Britannica, September 2, 2015, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Bath-Party. 81  Mohamed Benrabah, “Language And Politics In Algeria,” 65. 82  Jos M. Strengholt, “Arabization Policies in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia,” strengholt.info, accessed November 10, 2019: 18, http://strengholt.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Arabization-Policies-in-Morocco-Algeria-and-Tunisia.pdf. 83  Jos M. Strengholt, 18. 84  Youssef Sourgo, “The Arabization Process in Morocco: A Linguistic Policy Torn between Dissimilar Interests,” Morocco World News, September 16, 2013, https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2013/09/104928/the-arabization-process-in-morocco-a-linguistic-policy-torn-between-dissimilar-interests/. 85  Youssef Sourgo.


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86  Gilbert Grandguillaume, Les Langues Au Maghreb: Des Corps En Peine De Voix. Vol. 10. Esprit, Immobilismes au Maghreb, 2004. 87  Jos M. Strengholt, “Arabization Policies in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia,” 16. 88  Jos M. Strengholt, 17. 89  Jos M. Strengholt, 18. 90  Jos M. Strengholt, 18. 91  Jos M. Strengholt, 18. 92  Jos M. Strengholt, 17. 93  Al Jazeera, “Morocco’s Amazigh Push for Official Recognition of Their New Year,” January 14, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/01/morocco-amazigh-push-official-recognition-year-190114075223681.html. 94  “Arabization Policies,” Encyclopedia.com. 95  Mohamed Benrabah, “Language And Politics In Algeria,” 63. 96  Mohamed Benrabah, 63. 97  Mohamed Benrabah, 59. 98  Mohamed Benrabah, 67. 99  Mohamed Benrabah, 66. 100  Mohamed Benrabah, 65-66. 101  Mohamed Benrabah, 68. 102  Mohamed Benrabah, 68. 103  Charles Ferguson, Diglossia, 15, 1959, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/0 0437956.1959.11659702. 104  “Arabization Policies,” Encyclopedia.com. 105  Maddy-Weitzman, “Ethno-Politics and Globalisation in North Africa: The Berber Culture Movement,” 81. 106  Mohamed Benrabah, “Language And Politics In Algeria,” 70. 107  “Algeria,” Freedom House, March 13, 2019, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2018/algeria. 108  Daniel N. Posner, “The Political Salience of Cultural Difference: Why Chewas and Tumbukas Are Allies in Zambia and Adversaries in Malawi,” American Political Science Review 98, no 4 (2004): 529. 109  Daniel N. Posner, 529. 110  Daniel N. Posner, 529. 111  Driss Maghraoui, “On the Relevance or Irrelevance of Political Parties in Morocco,” The Journal of North African Studies (August 29, 2019): 2. 112  UNHCR, “Assessment for Berbers in Algeria.” 113  Mohamed Chtatou, “The State of Amazigh Culture in Algeria and Morocco.” 114  “Algeria,” Freedom House.


The Failure of the Second Reconstruction: Black Deprivation in the Post-Civil Rights Era Leina Gabra

Edited by Kennedy McKee-Braide

If the true goal of the civil rights movement was to achieve collective advancement for all black people, then it can be concluded that the Second Reconstruction failed to meet its objective.


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ABSTRACT This paper explores the ways in which the United States’ civil rights movement failed to bring about lasting change for the majority of African Americans. This paper argues that while the outcomes of the movement removed legal barriers for individuals, this has mostly benefited upper-class black Americans rather than bringing about collective equality for all African Americans. Building on Crutchfield and Pettinicchio’s theory of cultural inequality and Gerschwender’s interpretation of relative deprivation theory, this paper explores why society grew hostile towards black advancement and thus restricted the majority of black Americans from achieving substantial progress. This hostility electorally incentivized politicians to make policy decisions and use political rhetoric that marginalizes African Americans. Through this analysis, this paper claims that compared to their white counterparts, black Americans have been unable to make substantial gains in wealth or social status, which continues to underscore black interests in the United States today. INTRODUCTION African American history in the United States is inextricably intertwined with the history of the nation itself. From the Civil War to the civil rights movement, there is no doubt that black civilians and their allies have fought long and hard for racial equality. Though official racial inequality was outlawed over fifty years ago with the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act, black Americans continue to be systematically marginalized and discriminated against through a multitude of political, economic, and social channels. The successes and publicity of the civil rights movement in the 1960s aggravated white Americans who felt neglected or even threatened by African American mobilization and political power. Subsequently, as the movement declined throughout the 1970s and on, many politicians and individuals embraced a colour-blind outlook on race, which treats race as though it is no longer a factor that restricts minorities’ opportunities and freedoms. The combination of factors prompted a conservative shift in American politics, which resulted in the contraction of federal efforts to ensure true racial equality. American political parties thus neglect the particular grievances and adversity faced by black people in favour of their broader white electorate, which tends to attribute these hardships to black individuals rather than the institutionalization of racism. This paper does not aim to undermine the progress of black Americans following the Second Reconstruction. It instead seeks to highlight that while the civil rights movement’s succeeded in granting full citizenship rights to African Americans, they continue to be disproportionately disadvantaged in the United States. Thus, this paper will argue that this is a result of white backlash to the civil rights movement resulting in policy decisions and political rhetoric that continues to marginalize African Americans in the post-Civil Rights era. LITERATURE REVIEW By evaluating theoretical approaches posited by several authors, this paper


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seeks to achieve a better understanding of the current state of racial inequality in the United States. For one, in assessing the success of the Second Reconstruction, one must identify what the goals of the movement were in the first place. William Chafe identifies two perspectives on the purpose of the civil rights movement: the attainment of individual liberties versus the achievement of collective equality.1 Most may consider the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act as the primary accomplishments of the movement in that they outlawed racial discrimination. If one were to view the civil rights movement as a fight for individuals’ ability “to secure personal gains previously denied on the basis of race,”2 then it can be considered a success. Conversely, Chafe emphasizes that the movement intended to do much more than this, as evidenced by the rhetoric of its leaders. Many prominent figures of the civil rights movement clearly stated their hope that all black Americans would have access to the same freedoms and opportunities as white Americans,3 rather than just the eradication of legal racial inequality. Notably, the goals of the civil rights movement can be interpreted differently based on varying normative theories of social movements. For those that believe that social movements should only seek to remove legal barriers for the individual, the notion of collective advancement may seem like an overextension. However, this paper aims to assess the longterm results of the Second Reconstruction based on the goals embraced by the leaders of the movement itself, rather than the normative beliefs of the public. If the true goal of the civil rights movement was to achieve collective advancement for all black people, then it can be concluded that the Second Reconstruction failed to meet its objective. There exists significant research in the field of modern American racial inequality, which demonstrates how African Americans remain disadvantaged as a result of political decision-making. In the United States’ two-party system, politicians have a strong incentive to create broad electoral coalitions for their party leaders to be elected into office. Paul Frymer expands on this to say that because of the electoral system, parties have an incentive to appeal to the “median voter,” or the ideologically moderate in the United States.4 This group consists of a mostly white electorate that is largely responsible for the backlash movement against the civil rights movement. Crutchfield and Pettinicchio hypothesize that this is a product of an entrenched culture of inequality in American society.5 The authors, therefore, argue that American society tends to place the blame for issues such as poverty, crime, and unemployment on individuals rather than structural inequality.67 James Geschwender’s affiliation between the impetus of the civil rights movement to the theory of relative deprivation helps to interpret the issues that persist for black Americans. His theory posits that the necessary conditions for political mobilization develop when individuals or groups perceive their circumstances to be worse than they are for others.8 He argues that although black people were able to make some gains in the pre-civil rights movement era, they were insufficient in relation to the progress of their white counterparts, leading to black mobilization. Although this hypothesis intends to explain the rise of a social movement, it can also apply to the post-Civil Rights era trajectory of black ad-


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vancement. In terms of absolute gains, African Americans have succeeded at an extraordinary rate in the last half-century. The number of registered black voters in the U.S. increased more than threefold between 1960 and 1980 and black enrolment in colleges grew from 83,000 in 1950 to 666,000 in 1975.9 However, this progress has not matched that of white Americans, especially in terms of economic growth. In fact, as King and Smith note, the wealth gap between white and black Americans has grown since the 1980s.10 They also present statistical evidence that African Americans continue to fare worse than whites in areas such as health, incarceration rates, and education. A combination of interconnected factors perpetuate the inequities that black Americans face today. Litwack notes how race-based disparities in income and residence impede access to education. In the 1970s, a “white exodus into the suburbs”11 eroded the integration of public schools, creating a new system of educational segregation as white Americans moved to homogeneously white neighbourhoods. For the most part, impoverished black people remained in cities, facing deteriorating conditions and limited access to resources. The decline of public schools in urban areas correlates with the acute downturn in ambitious students’ enrolment at HBCUs throughout the 1970s and 1980s.12 Public perception of black people has also had a significant impact on their ability to advance. Paul Frymer emphasizes that political parties can “shape people’s ideas about politics, their level of involvement, and the kinds of policies that are pursued in government”13 rather than acting only as catchall organizations for voters with fixed preferences. In this way, the rhetoric of political leaders since the civil rights movement have played a critical role in shaping societal views and policies that disregard black interests. Carter looks at this concept as well, emphasizing how criminal justice reform resulted in the disproportionate incarceration of minorities and a growing societal perception that “crime [is] synonymous with supposed black pathology.”14 Another example of growingly negative societal outlooks on black advancement has been the contraction of affirmative action and welfare policies. Lastly, a crucial outcome of the Second Reconstruction has been the creation of an intra-racial cleavage in the black community based on class. Keegan-Yamhatta Taylor explains that economically successful black Americans in positions of power do not experience racial inequity in the same way as poor and working-class black Americans.15 Thus, politically and economically powerful African Americans have perpetuated the legacy of white backlash by supporting harmful policies and adopting colour-blind rhetoric. The complex, but highly correlated, processes that undermined the civil rights movement are therefore expanded upon through the use of theoretical approaches and evidence explored by the aforementioned literature.

THE DECLINE OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT AND WHITE BACKLASH For many white and black Americans alike, the historic enactments of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 marked an end to the civil rights movement. However, black organizers sought to maintain the


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movement’s momentum. As leaders such as Stokely Carmichael and Ella Baker scrambled to keep the movement alive, they realized that “the profound problems which remained – institutional racism, unemployment, absence of capital – did not lend themselves to simple slogans or easy solutions”16 like in the first phase of the movement. Leaders of various organizations could not agree on a united message, method, or goal. For example, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) rejected nonviolence and interracialism, while the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) continued to use nonviolent tactics to advocate for policy changes.17 As several leaders of the civil rights movement grew disillusioned with Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of nonviolent mobilization following his assassination in 1968, the Black Power movement grew. Its militant, separatist ideology reinforced divides between the SNCC and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), contributing to groups’ lack of direction and coherence.18 White Americans failed to understand Black Power’s combative attitude. Per Chafe’s two perspectives on the movement, many white people had incorrectly viewed the movement as a demand for individual freedoms rather than collective uplift, leading them to believe that the end of Jim Crow should have been the end of black mobilization. When it continued and grew combatant, they began to resent the movement altogether, justifying their opposition through their support for Nixonian “traditional American values.”19 In fact, journalist Carl T. Rowan attributed the return of African Americans to “their most vulnerable, hopeless position in half a century”20 to black militancy for provoking the white backlash. This white backlash was, and continues to be, demonstrated in a variety of manners. White Americans began to feel increasingly threatened by the economic advancement and growing number of minorities, perceiving that African Americans’ upward mobility came at their expense.21 This sentiment is a revealing example of Crutchfield and Pettinicchio’s theory of culture of inequality. Accustomed to the retention of some level of inequality in American society, white Americans resented the notion that black people demanded more after the end of Jim Crow.22 The decades after the assassination of Reverend King exhibited that white support for civil rights had a limit. The desegregation of public spheres was within this realm of acceptance, but threats to “the sanctity of the neighbourhood school, the racial composition of the neighbourhood, or a competitive job that paid decent wages”23 were not. Thus, the pervasion of desegregation into all sectors of white neighbourhoods led to the aforementioned ‘white exodus’ from cities to suburbs, the repercussions of which were felt mostly by black people. As white Americans left urban areas, cities’ tax revenues began to decline. This process caused cities to lose “high-quality educational opportunities, good-paying jobs, and political attention,”24 disproportionately affecting impoverished African Americans living in these areas. Without opportunities in education or employment, relative black poverty continues to increase. King and Smith demonstrate this: between 1984 and 2007, white families’ wealth rose “from a median value of $22,000 to $100,000 in constant dollars, while the median wealth holdings of African American families went from $2,000 to roughly $5,000 — increasing the gap from $20,000 to $95,000.”25 In this way, the mechanisms of white backlash have perpetuated


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black poverty at an alarming rate, heightening relative deprivation. White resentment towards African American enrichment was also a critical influence in the changing face of American politics since the civil rights movement. The election of Richard Nixon in 1968, who won by appealing to disgruntled members of the white working-class, marked a change in the American social fabric that impaired the possibility of concerted efforts to address institutionalized inequality in the future.26 Once Nixon became president, black activists were largely shut out of national politics, exacerbating the decline of the movement as African Americans lost their voice in policymaking.27 The rhetoric of white activists relies solely on the sentiment of threat based on the American culture of inequality, but it has been a dangerously effective tool in the interference of black advancement. For example, proponents of this point of view have been instrumental in the contraction of affirmative action policy in the last few decades. However, King and Smith indicate that “affirmative action programs in employment and admissions often cause very little harm even to poorer whites,”28 illustrating the power of exploiting white fears even when the fear is based on fabricated threats.

ELECTORAL INCENTIVES AND POLICY DECISIONS As white backlash spread throughout the 1970s, political leaders adjusted their platforms and policymaking decisions to appeal to this sentiment. Frymer’s analysis of electoral incentives helps explain this process. Scholars such as Anthony Downs have argued that political parties have an incentive to appeal to the policy interests of marginalized groups to create broader electoral coalitions and win elections.29 Frymer argues that this is not the case; instead, party leaders often overlook and neglect potential black voters to be elected into office.30 Notably, Frymer states that “parties do not seek election to promote policies; they promote policies to win elections.”31 This proposition encompasses the policy decisions of political leaders in the post-civil rights movement era. This mechanism has been demonstrated by almost every American president since the 1968 elections, resulting in the systematic erosion of the successes of the movement. To win the presidency and retain support for a second presidential term in 1972, Nixon employed a tactic often referred to as the ‘Southern Strategy.’ This term refers to Nixon’s ability to appeal to the racial fears of working-class whites in the South. According to Chafe, Nixon “denounced busing, sought judicial appointments that would please conservative white southerners, and mobilized an electoral constituency based upon loyalty to traditional values of law and order”32 to do this, implicitly scapegoating black Americans for the loss of these ideals. Despite this, Nixon was a supporter of the Philadelphia Plan, an affirmative action program that would establish quotas of minority workers in federally funded construction projects.33 That said, throughout Nixon’s presidency, it was clear that white hostility towards black advancement was on the rise. The most pervasive effect of the Southern Strategy was its ability to bring about a reactionary shift in politics and society. Ronald Reagan employed the Southern Strategy to win two presidential elections in the 1980s, making policy


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decisions to retain white support for electoral purposes. Crutchfield and Pettinicchio credit Reagan with cementing a culture of inequality in modern American society.34 These values are reflected in Reagan’s policies. Unlike Nixon, Reagan vehemently opposed affirmative action, as evidenced by the 75 percent reduction in affirmative action enforcement between 1982 and 1986.35 Furthermore, Reagan resisted calls for him to reauthorize section five of the Voting Rights Act, which stipulates that state legislatures could not amend voting laws and procedures without getting approval from a federal judge beforehand.36 This position is a clear demonstration of conservative forces’ attempts to undercut the successes of the civil rights movement. The political attack on welfare originated through Reagan’s Southern Strategy, too. For many voters, welfare politics were implicitly racialized, and Reagan’s strong hostility towards such policies represents his and his supporters’ hostility towards poor African Americans by the 1980s. The contraction of the welfare system made upward social mobility increasingly difficult for low-income black people, perpetuating a harrowing cycle of poverty in black America. Electoral incentives also drove some Democrats to abandon black interests, proving that this backsliding was not divided among party lines. Democratic president Bill Clinton’s policymaking exhibits the strength of white backlash in its ability to push the entirety of American politics further to the right. In alignment with Frymer’s theory of policy support and electoral incentive, Carter notes that political leaders’ behaviour is often opportunistic.37 Clinton was able to win presidential elections by maintaining a careful balance between liberal ideals and elements of the Southern Strategy. An archetype of this method is Clinton’s 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Instead of identifying the roots of crime, such as poverty and a lack of opportunity, Clinton’s crime bill enacted harsher punishments and expanded the prison industry.38 This exacerbated many issues within the black community, including police brutality and the disproportionate incarceration of African Americans, both of which continue to plague the U.S. today. There is a significant body of research supporting this claim. Black people are incarcerated at a rate “about eight times that of the white race,”39 despite being a relatively small minority in the United States. Imprisonment reinforces poverty by severely limiting job prospects for felons, disproportionately affecting black men. The crime bill also perpetuated stereotypes of black criminality. According to Carter, cable television often portrays black people as criminals while depicting white people as their victims. However, criminal reports indicate higher rates of white crime than shown on TV. These portrayals have grievous implications; stereotypes of black criminality place African Americans in greater danger of police brutality, which in many instances has been fatal. Clinton’s crime bill was backed by both liberal and conservative individuals, allowing him to maintain the support of a broad coalition of voters. However, its ramifications have been disastrous for the working-class black community.

THE EFFECT OF POLITICAL RHETORIC Political leaders have historically and systematically endorsed policies and


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employed narratives that would ensure the support of majority electoral coalitions at the expense of minority interests. Generally speaking, political leaders’ rhetoric on race relations has ranged from apathy to hostility in the post-civil rights movement period. The three presidents discussed earlier – Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton – are useful in demonstrating this. Following the dismantling of Jim Crow segregation, politicians began to espouse colour-blind rhetoric to justify the abandonment of black interests. As mentioned previously, proponents of colour-blindness reject the notion that race continues to restrict individuals from certain opportunities and the ability to succeed in the United States. This belief stems from the nation’s commitment to the ‘American Dream,’ which is based on a system of meritocracy characterized by individuals’ ability to succeed based on their achievements and ambition rather than their class, wealth, or in this context, race. After the government broke down its racialized legal barriers, political and social discourse began to place “the onus […] on blacks to make the most out of the new ‘opportunities.’”40 Advocates against colour-blindness have accused its supporters of “[producing] a nation still marked by harsh, intractable racial inequalities in numerous arenas of American life”41 through their opposition to race-conscious policies. In many instances, colour-blindness is simply used as a facade to justify blatant racism. It has permeated the rhetoric of leaders in both political parties in the last five decades, which has, in turn, shaped social perceptions and political decisions that have negatively impacted African Americans. Richard Nixon’s rhetoric in the context of his Southern Strategy deepened American racial cleavages by manipulating and exacerbating white racial fears. During his 1968 campaign, Nixon promised voters that he would restore the status quo and decelerate the advancement of civil rights,42 a narrative that was so popular that it ultimately resulted in his election. In his 1972 campaign, Nixon called busing – federal spending used to transport children to certain schools to reduce educational segregation – “poisonous”43 and adamantly opposed the practice. Nixon “used the ethnic, working-class, and suburban anger”44 to fuel anti-government, pro-states’ rights sentiments, which he could then direct towards the opposition of federally funded affirmative action rather than explicitly endorse racism. As such, this may be considered one of the earliest instances of colour-blindness on such a large scale. Nixon’s political rhetoric introduced the phenomenon of widespread American acceptance of a culture of inequality by rejecting the notion that the federal government should facilitate black advancement, even after centuries of legal discrimination. Similarly, Ronald Reagan’s rhetoric throughout his presidency relied heavily on the exploitation of working-class white anger by steering it against black people and policies that would support them. Reagan “[linked] crime to blacks and blacks to Democrats through a campaign of at best thinly veiled racial symbolism”45 to garner support for crime policies that targeted impoverished black people. Reagan’s War on Drugs, which expanded the prison system and enacted harsher penalties for drug-related offences, reinforced stereotypes of black delinquency and served as a basis for his successors’ solutions to ‘urban’ crime. Reagan perpetuated more negative black stereotypes through his use and


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popularization of the term ‘welfare queens,’ which portrayed African American women as dishonest dependents of the welfare system.46 In reality, the chief recipients of the American welfare system are not low-income black people, but middle to upper-class whites.47 Reagan’s rhetoric further alienated black people politically and socially by normalizing damaging stereotypes and by justifying them with colour-blindness. Additionally, Reagan is often credited with universalizing political colour-blindness in conservative politics by harnessing the valid class-based worries of impoverished whites and converting them into racial anger. Reagan told his supporters that “if you happen to belong to an ethnic group not recognized by the federal government as entitled to special treatment […] you are the victim of reverse discrimination,”48 planting the perception in the minds of white Americans that when black people advanced, they became victims. This was despite the fact that black Americans were, and continue to be, significantly disadvantaged relative to whites on nearly every socioeconomic indicator, including income and wealth.49 Reagan made “colorblindness […] the order of the day”50 by painting the relative deprivation of African Americans as the failings of inferior individuals. Further, Bill Clinton sought to portray himself as a racial moderate and often relied on colour-blindness to do so. He did this by relying on economic issues as a uniting platform for all Americans, rather than addressing the growing conjunction between race and class.51 Clinton’s rhetoric differs from those of previously discussed presidents in a key way; for much of his presidency, Clinton simply remained silent on racial issues. Following several electoral losses, Democrats were able to elect a president by subtracting race from the political conversation altogether. After Reagan’s success, political leaders adhered to the assumption that the white electorate wanted the federal government to exercise as little power as possible, especially on racial issues.52 According to civil rights activist Derrick Vell, this was especially problematic as by the Clinton era, only a minority of black Americans “had survived the retrogression of civil rights protection” while the majority “were confined to former inner-city areas that had been divorced from their political boundaries.”53 By combining inaction with the occasional denunciation of black anger towards unjust systems, Clinton struck an adroit balance between Democratic liberalism and the neoconservative legacy of Nixon and Reagan. Clinton’s rhetoric on race, along with that of other liberal politicians, aligns closely with Frymer’s theory of electoral incentives. Clinton figured that “black voters would have nowhere else to go,”54 or in Frymer’s words were electorally captured by the Democratic Party by the 1990s. Frymer argues that because Democrats could rely on black votes, they could focus their attention on appealing to white voters just as Clinton did by portraying himself as a racial moderate.55 Bill Clinton’s political rhetoric further reinforced colour-blindness in American society by either refuting a need for black extremism or by saying nothing at all. Colour-blind rhetoric has also had a significant impact on relationships between African Americans in divergent economic positions. As examined earlier, the civil rights movement was mainly successful for black Americans with economic means and political clout to take advantage of new opportunities. These


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individuals were then invoked in the media or political arenas as examples of a colour-blind society where all could prosper regardless of race. This, however, is not representative of reality; the majority of black Americans remain trapped in a cycle of poverty perpetuated by inadequate education, housing, and healthcare. These factors tend to be further aggravated by discrimination and unjust policing.56 Often, politically and economically powerful African Americans prioritize their loyalty to their class above their race by detaching themselves from the greater black community and adopting colour-blind attitudes. For example, Litwack notes that although black politicians gained local influence following the Second Reconstruction, this did not do much to address black interests. Moreover, “well-educated blacks are more likely than blacks with less formal education to say that the ‘values gap’ within the black community has widened over the decade,”57 implying that impoverished African Americans are morally inferior to those with higher economic standing. Furthermore, in the 1990s, black officials who had embraced colour-blind values and separated themselves from black America were supporters of Clinton’s crime bill.58 This paper has already discussed the destructive effects that the bill had on low-income African Americans. Black Congressmen’s support of it in spite of this is evidence of how racial rhetoric has precipitated growing social and economic differences within the black community and disproportionately hurts the poor.

CONCLUSION The Second Reconstruction was undoubtedly one of the most momentous occurrences in the history of American race relations, and arguably, the history of the nation. However, its influence was undercut by the rise of white social conservatism characterized by a backlash based on the notion that the newly granted freedoms for African Americans came only at their expense. The Second Reconstruction’s goal of collective black advancement, therefore, began to lapse as political leaders enacted policies that further alienated the black lower-income classes. Political leaders’ racial rhetoric has reinforced these policies over the last half-century, which has largely portrayed poor, black Americans as a menace to white society through stereotypes and apathetic language. The persistence of black marginalization in the face of increasing social and political hostility has dangerous implications for the future of American race relations. Racial animus has been a primary force in the polarization of national politics; a microcosm of this has been the election of the far-right Donald Trump following the administration of Barack Obama, the first African American president of the United States. The Republican Party today continues to promote colour-blindness along with less federal spending on social services as black communities suffer poverty and unequal treatment in the criminal justice system. This has resulted in the recent resurgence of black activism in response to disproportionate police violence that has led to countless black Americans’ deaths. Race relations continue to deteriorate as Americans, both black and white, become increasingly enraged at the belief that they are victims of state injustice. Should this trend continue, the United States faces the possibility of further political radicalization and racial division at levels similar to that of a century ago.


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NOTES 1  William H. Chafe, “The End of One Struggle, the Beginning of Another,” in The Civil Rights Movement in America, ed. Charles W. Eagles (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1986), 146147. 2  Chafe, 146. 3  Chafe, 147. 4  Paul Frymer, Uneasy Alliances: Race and Party Competition in America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010), 18. 5  Robert D. Crutchfield and David Pettinicchio, “‘Cultures of Inequality’: Ethnicity, Immigration, Social Welfare, and Imprisonment,” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 623, no. 1 (May 2009): 135. 6  Crutchfield and Pettinicchio, 136. 7  Leon F. Litwack, “‘Fight the Power!’ The Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement,” The Journal of Southern History 75, no. 1 (February 2009): 15; Daryl A. Carter, Brother Bill: President Clinton and the Politics of Race and Class, (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2016): 57.  8  James A. Geschwender, “Social Structure and the Negro Revolt: An Examination of Some Hypotheses,” Social Forces 43, no. 2 (December 1964): 255. 9  Litwack, “‘Fight the Power!’,” 7; Walter R. Allen, and Joseph O. Jewell, “A Backward Glance Forward: Past, Present and Future Perspectives on Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” The Review of Higher Education 25, no. 3 (2002): 249. 10  Desmond S. King and Rogers M. Smith, Still a House Divided: Race and Politics in Obama’s America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011), 275. 11  Litwack, “‘Fight the Power!’,” 8-9. 12  Allen and Jewell, 254. 13  Frymer, Uneasy Alliances, 20. 14  Carter, Brother Bill, 98. 15  Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2016): 7. 16  Chafe, “The End of One Struggle, the Beginning of Another,” 138. 17  Nancy J. Weiss, “Creative Tensions in the Leadership of the Civil Rights Movement,” in The Civil Rights Movement in America, ed. Charles W. Eagles, (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1986), 47-48. 18  Chafe, “The End of One Struggle, the Beginning of Another,” 138. 19  Chafe, 137. 20  Christopher P. Lehman, Power, Politics, and the Decline of the Civil Rights Movement: a Fragile Coalition, 1967-1973, (Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2014): 272. 21  Allen and Jewell, “A Backward Glance Forward,” 252. 22  Crutchfield and Pettinicchio, “‘Cultures of Inequality’,” 137. 23  Litwack, “‘Fight the Power!’,” 8. 24  Carter, Brother Bill, 112. 25  King and Smith, Still a House Divided, 275. 26  Chafe, “The End of One Struggle, the Beginning of Another,” 137. 27  Lehman, Power, Politics, and the Decline of the Civil Rights Movement, 287. 28  King and Smith, Still a House Divided, 289. 29  Frymer, Uneasy Alliances, 18. 30  Frymer, 6. 31  Frymer, 17. 32  Chafe, “The End of One Struggle, the Beginning of Another,” 138. 33  Chafe, 137. 34  Crutchfield and Pettinicchio, “‘Cultures of Inequality’,” 136. 35  Chafe, “The End of One Struggle, the Beginning of Another,” 147. 36  Carter, Brother Bill, 53. 37  Carter, 2. 38  Litwack, “’Fight the Power!’,”18. 39  Litwack, 19. 40  Carter, Brother Bill, 57. 41  King and Smith, Still a House Divided, 269. 42  Mayer, Running on Race, 96. 43  Mayer, 99. 44  Carter, Brother Bill, 70. 45  Linda Faye Williams, The Constraint of Race: Legacies of White Skin Privilege in America, (Univer-


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sity Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004): 186. 46  Williams, The Constraint of Race, 187. 47  Williams, 343. 48  Ronald Reagan, A Time for Choosing: The Speeches of Ronald Reagan, 1961–1982, (Chicago: Regnery Gateway, 1983): 169. 49  Douglas S. Massey and Jonathan Tannen, “Segregation, Race, and the Social Worlds of Rich and Poor,” in The Dynamics of Opportunity in America: Evidence and Perspectives, ed. Irwin Kirsch and Henry Braun (Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2016), 15. 50  Carter, Brother Bill, 57. 51  Mayer, Running on Race, 251 52  Litwack, “’Fight the Power!’,” 15. 53  Carter, Brother Bill, 65. 54  Mayer, 251. 55  Frymer, Uneasy Alliances, 8. 56  Litwack, “’Fight the Power!’,” 18. 57  Taylor, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, 7. 58  Carter, Brother Bill, 107.


On the Artwork An important step in putting together this journal was curating images to represent each article and the issues they touch upon. Finding aesthetically pleasing images that represent the ideas brought forth by the writers can sometimes be challenging, especially in the field of political studies, where many of the topics touched upon are abstract, the issues discussed are very current, and images published about them are still under commercial license… Yet, with the help of both editors and authors, ideas were brainstormed and I am proud to present them as complements to the insightful articles published in this volume. The details for each piece are presented below. The Importance of Balancing Ideology with Strategy in Canadian Conservative Politics by Brooke Brimo The photograph that was chosen for this piece depicts the Provincial Legislature building in Edmonton, Alberta, since the article touches upon Alberta’s conservative politics (as well as federal-level conservative politics). The photo was usercontributed to Wikimedia Commons in 2008. Games of Thrones: The US and Russia’s Intervention in Syria’s Civil War From 2011-Present by Bo Peter Zhang The Russian and American flags are photographed here to represent the two countries’ involvement in the Syrian Civil War. The original photograph was taken after a meeting between president Barack Obama, US secretary of state John Kerry, president Vladimir Putin, and foreign minister Sergei Lavrov wherein the two countries discussed the situation in Syria. The image was contributed to Wikimedia Commons in 2015. Behind the Mask of “Progress”: Peru’s Forced Sterilization Program From 1996-1998 by Brianna Cheng This article focuses on Fujimori’s forced sterilization program in Peru in the late 1990s, and the themes presented in it remain very current in South America to this day, as thousands of women gathered to protest Fujimori’s pardoning in 2017, and further to protest his daughter’s bid for the presidency. These protests form one of many feminist movements all over Latin America that have formed in the last two decades, such as the #NiUnaMenos


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movement. The photo used for this piece depicts the uterusshaped belts that Fujimori protesters wore, on which the words ‘soy 10540’ are written. This translates to ‘I am [number] 10540’ in solidarity with the tens of thousands of women who were forcibly sterilized by the Fujimori policy. Usage rights for the photograph were granted by LATFEM, a feminist editorial website based in Argentina. Their website can be visited at www.latfem.org. The Evolution of A Resistance Movement: The Case of Hamas by Madelyn Evans The image chosen to represent this article shows a crowd gathered in support of the Hamas party in 2007. The image represents a large gathering people supporting Hamas’ milestone electoral victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. It was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons in 2007. An Analysis of the Current State and Prospects for Healthcare Reform in the United States by Sophia Dilworth For this article, a photo from a pro-healthcare reform protest in the Seattle was chosen. The simple messages on the signs people are carrying — ‘Healthcare for America NOW’ — illustrate the urgency with which healthcare reform has been demanded by Americans. The same message remains popular in American politics today, over a decade after this protest took place. This photograph was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Joe Mabel in 2009. Liberal Peacebuilding in Sierra Leone: The Role of the Judiciary, Natural Resource Sector, and Local Government in Consolidating Peace by Sophie Wirzba The author for this article wanted to represent Sierra Leone as a rich natural resource, while respecting Sierra Leonean dignity by ensuring not to represent images of suffering, or photos of people taken without their consent, which is unfortunately often the case when representing the Global South. I therefore decided to use a photo of an estuary on the coast of Sierra Leone, with Freetown on a peninsula in the lower portion of the image. The photograph was taken by the Sentinel-2A satellite in 2015 and was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons in 2016 by the European Space Agency. Displaced Without Advocates: Dissecting Efforts to Mainstream Internal Displacement Under Institutional Constraints by Husayn Jamal For this article, the author wanted to depict migrants in movement to represent the IDPs spoken about in the piece. The


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photo we settled on was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by photographer Mstyslav Chernov in 2015, in Budapest, and shows migrant children’s shoes during the refugee crisis. Lost shoes — though the ones in this image may belong to refugees and not IDPs — speak to the theme of those lost with no place to go, with no representation, who are most vulnerable to human rights violations. Arabization: Towards an Exclusive National Identity by Florence Harvey-Hudon The painting Les femmes d’Alger dans leur appartement (1834) by Eugène Delacroix was chosen by the author to represent this article. The painting depicts four women in a room, and inevitably plays into the concept of Orientalism — the colonial idyllic (mis)representation of “the East” by Westerners that was very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Yet, this piece distinguishes itself from other paintings made in the same era by French artists because it avoids romanticizing the women to the point of objectification or eroticism, and thus remains an important piece in Algerian history. In fact, it served as inspiration for Assia Djebar’s collection of short stories of the same name, Femmes d’Alger dans leur appartement (1980) in which women are illustrated as strong and dignified individuals. The Failure of the Second Reconstruction: Black Deprivation in the Post-Civil Rights Era by Leina Gabra The image chosen for this piece was one of the many photographs of the signing of the Civil Rights Act by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. This particular photo was retained because, unlike many of the more posed photos that were taken that day, this one exudes a more stressed, uncertain energy, with the President looking haggard and those surrounding him rather preoccupied. There are also no Black Americans in sight, whereas most photos show Martin Luther King Jr. front and centre, smiling and shaking hands with the President. This photo speaks to the theme of the article — that the signing of the Civil Rights Act didn’t succeed in improving Black lives in the United States as much as some may have hoped it would. Isabel Baltzan Graphic Designer


Profile for Abigail Pender

McGill Journal of Political Studies - Winter 2020  

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