Berkeley Political Review Spring 2018

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Sean Vernon



Logan Goldberg

Christian Fong



Molly Kraus

Nick Friedlich



JJ Kim

Nikhil Dilip


Henry Tolchard

Zaki Alattar



Anthony Swaminathan

Sadhvi Mathur




Olivia Bowman

Liam Frรถlund

Isabella Chow




Pauline Hidalgo

Tushita Saraf

Preetham Gujjula

Anna Ho



Rachel Lin

Sebastian Miller

Rosemary Yin

Alyssa Plese

Dear Reader,


Countless political movements contend for our support right now, from #MeToo to the gun control activism undertaken by grieving students in Florida. At the same time, some have critiqued the ways in which identity arbitrates who gets to be heard. The Atlantic’s CityLab published an article, “When Teens Protest, Race Matters,” contrasting the attention paid to gun violence protests by African-American youth with those of their Parkland peers. Love it or hate it, identity matters. Some intellectuals, like Columbia professor Mark Lilla, argue that today’s college students are myopically obsessed with our own narrow identity quests. Basing movements on our clannish affiliations is bad political practice, he thinks; instead, we should focus on universal ideals. Other thinkers, like Brookings senior fellow Shadi Hamid, would point out that what we think of as “universal” concepts—the desirability of liberal democracy, for instance—are really European ones, and that we should be unsurprised when they fail to appeal to all societies. After all, many who spoke of liberty and justice by daylight exploited fellow humans by moonlight. In this historical context, it stands to reason that members of certain identities traditionally excluded by narratives of liberty, equality, and fraternity—the shackled man asking “Am I Not a Man and a Brother?” in the famous abolitionist image, for instance—would draw attention to their oppression in relation to their identity. The Combahee River Collective, a group of black feminist scholars and activists, stated in 1977, “We realize that the only people who care enough about us to work consistently for our liberation is us.” How true is this in 2018? Social media enables people to see and hear the stories of people in far-flung lands. But we also know that it enables individuals to retreat further into information bubbles. Are we subsequently becoming more or less empathetic towards our fellow humans? Everyone falls into certain buckets—race, gender, sexuality, ability, class, immigration status, political viewpoints—whether by our own volition or by the shrewd interpellation of outside forces extracting data for profit. To be identity-blind is to be unconscionably naïve. But I wonder if the age of big ideals that subsume many identities is necessarily over. Here’s one big, idealistic request: as you read this issue’s articles, bring a sense of self-interest to even those topics that seem most remote from your own life. Read these articles as stories of humans whose welfare is inextricably tied up with your own. Politics need not be a blood sport. By doing what you’re doing right now, reading and staying informed, politics can become our society’s most public practice of empathy. Warmest wishes,

Adora Svitak Editor-in-Chief Berkeley Political Review


Table of


Contents 5 ‘The Creeping Iron in the Soul’: Babri Masjid in 2018 Meher Wadhawan OPINION ................... 7 Why isn’t the United States Killing the Death Penalty? Madhumitha Krishnan OPINION ................... 9 Marriage Equality in the Trump Era: Looking Post-Obergefell, Looking Past-Obergefell Scout Turkel UNITED STATES ................... 15 The M Word Perla Shaheen WORLD ................... 18 Wanted: Young, White and Angry Lili Siri Spira UNITED STATES ................. 21 Housing Segregation in the Bay Lauren Glasby CALIFORNIA ................. 25 Turning the Golden State Green Dara Streit CALIFORNIA ................. 30 Playing Fair with Stadiums Colin Weld CALIFORNIA


33 America’s ‘Welfare State’ Isn’t Faring Well: Misconceptions Surrounding America’s Homeless Dhruv Mandal UNITED STATES ................. 36 How Much Does Feminism Cost? Maryam Khan ONLINE ................ 39 Yasukuni Shrine: More than Just Honoring the Dead Isaac Engelberg WORLD ............... 42 Be Careful What You Wish For: A Contentious Peace in Colombia Chance Boreczky WORLD ................. 45 By Any Other Name: Kazakhstan’s Alphabet Migration Anna Ho WORLD ................. 47 Barred from the Ballot Box: Felon Disenfranchisement in America Aidan Bassett UNITED STATES

49 United States Diplomatic Engagement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Eric Heidel, Hyungil Shim REJOINDER

ASUC sponsored. The content of this publication does not reflect the view of the University of California, Berkeley or the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC).


‘The Creeping Iron In The Soul’ Babri Masjid in 2018 BY MEHER WADHAWAN

1992: The Babri Masjid Demolition

In December 1992, India was shaken awake by the news of 150,000 Hindu nationalists ruthlessly tearing down a mosque built in the 16th Century— Babri Masjid (Babri Mosque)—in order to build a temple on the disputed land. Secular segments of the Indian population received a wake-up call. India still wasn’t free of religious antagonisms. The year 1992 ended with a reflection of India many hadn’t seen since 1947. The event proved that majoritarian politics, a negligence for the rule of law, and empowered religious fundamentalist groups were slowly thawing away at Indian democracy. Similar sentiments exist today, as religious intolerance and political tensions run high. This is greatly due to the Hindu nationalist tendencies of the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party—the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP). In March 2018, a Supreme Court case reopened the issue of the demolition and finally put to rest the epochal debate of who the disputed land belongs to. However, despite the decision, the case will trigger the further deterioration of secularism in India. Violence is bound to occur as communities



will be probed to act by manipulative politicians who have invoked national myths that divide them along religious lines.

1992: The Babri Masjid Demolition

But first, we must probe into the issue of the Babri Masjid as a lens for understanding the larger structural underpinnings of the religious acrimony unfolding across India. Babri Masjid was built in the holy town of Ayodhya in the state Uttar Pradesh (UP) in the 16th century by Muslim Emperor Babur of the Mughal dynasty. However, conspiracy theories arose amongst Hindus that the mosque was built on the birthplace (Ramjanmabhoomi) of the Hindu god Lord Rama. Hindu religious scholars believe that the Mughals looted and burnt down the temple and then erected the Babri Masjid. Parables about Lord Rama highlight the triumph of good over the forces of evil. However, in 1992, Hindu nationalists took this allegory and transformed it into an attack on Muslims and their history within India. The demolition was retribution for the supposed corruption and exploitation of Hindu culture by Muslim conquerors. A disagreement on whether a temple ever existed before the mosque and whether this was really the birthplace of Lord Rama took a political turn. It transformed through political mobilization and a zealous religious commitment into a full blown attack on Islam in South Asia. Then BJP leader L.K. Advani strategically mobilized his followers on a religious pilgrimage to the site to rally up support for rebuilding the temple. The scene changed from a police-controlled rally to an all-out display of Hindu rage towards this reminder of their historical subjugation. The demolition of the mosque by Hindu nationalist volunteers took place rapidly. People used their bare hands to tear down the controversial structure. What followed were months of fierce riots and agonizing violence across the country between Hindus and Muslims. This was yet another incarnation of South Asia’s long history of communal violence—one which traces back to the creation of India and Pakistan in 1947. Cities such as Mumbai—once a glimmer of progress and modernity— plunged into chaos as religious fervor overtook urban dwellers. An estimated 2,000 people lost their lives during these clashes.

Furthermore, the demolition of Babri Masjid exists in the broader context of saffronisation or recharacterization of Indian history through a Hindu lens. With seats, the BJP has brought an assault on the concepts of fact and truth. They have fueled conspiracies and even promised voters the demolition of UNESCO World Heritage site—the Taj Mahal.

Votes! Votes! Votes!

The demolition of the mosque in 1992 bolstered the Hindu chauvinist imagination and continues to do so today. The early 90s marked a period of high communal tensions that were instigated in part by the harmful rhetoric of revenge and justice for hundreds of years of Muslim rule in India. The BJP had included the demolition of the mosque as a part of their political agenda in 1989. The BJP’s success in the 1992 general elections can be credited greatly to their invocation of Hindutva, or Hindu hegemony. This link between elections and displays of Hindu nationalism is one we need to be vigilant of. If today the site were to be granted to the Hindu contenders, it will be a historic deliverance of a promise on behalf of the BJP. This will bolster the position of the BJP, which is facing dwindling support as they lead up to the 2019 general elections. This is true for even Modi’s home-state Gujarat, where recent elections showed a significant decrease in the support of the BJP among rural communities. We can expect Modi’s party to once again employ techniques to polarize Hindus and Muslims to get the votes they need. Recent communal riots in the Kasganj town of Uttar Pradesh are an example of this. The town had never experienced communal clashes except for the post-Babri Masjid wave of violence. Yet, on January 26th 2018, a riot broke out between Hindus and Muslims. Hindu nationalist activists interrupted a Muslim flag-hoisting ceremony for Indian Independence Day. A fight escalated to a full-scale riot. One Hindu man was killed. What is important about this case is how the BJP used the tense situation to further their political agenda. Elaborate speeches were made, the death was deemed a martyrdom and a promise of retribution was made. This was a clear attempt to

antagonize Muslims and unite Hindus to vote in favour of the BJP. Riots have become the hunting ground for BJP politicians. Moreover, the location of the disputed land is indicative of the precarious situation. The ancient city of Ayodhya lies in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state. Incidents of communal violence in U.P. have risen by 28% between 2014 and 2017. Conflict between the Hindu and Muslim communities of U.P. is a reflection of the diet of Hindu nationalist propaganda they are fed. The current Chief Minister of the state of U.P. is Yogi Adityanath, a Hindu monk turned politician. He has had 20,000 cases filed against him in the state relating to the incitement of anti-Muslim violence in his demonstrations. His open support for the illegal demolition in 1992 is alarming. What complicates matters more is the high incidence of police complicity in communal clashes in the state. If violence and destruction by nationalist volunteers were to ensue today, we best believe that the police and state government will not act effectively to ensure law and order, as they failed to do in 1992.

The Verdict?

The issue of faith-motivated violence is one that is deeply rooted in Indian

history, society, and politics. The future, despite the verdict, looks bleak. Considering that the original compromise to share the land was rejected by all parties, total possession of the land is the delusional goal. On one hand, if the Court were to give the land to the Muslim contenders, any rational observer would predict an eruption of a series of terribly violent communal clashes. Emboldened by Modi’s vision of India, a forceful retribution like that of 1992 is bound to occur. And similarly to 1992, law enforcement corrupted by powerful political influencers of the Hindutva movement will retreat and watch as communities are ravaged and burned to ruins. On the flip side, however, is an even bleaker image of what some are beginning to recognise as the true colours of India’s social fabric. If the land were to be given to the Hindu nationalist contenders, it will be a reversal of all the progress towards creating a secular Indian state. This will confirm the biases of the Indian government and judicial system towards majoritarian rule, acting in the interests of a dangerous nationalism embedded in hyper-masculinity and religious hatred. It will further the movement towards a Hindu state and diminish the little representation and power held by the Muslim minority. And what will be

next? A complete reconceptualization of history and the truth? Parables will be twisted into supernatural realities to invoke fear and compliance which will be used to serve the interests of the upper echelons of Hindu society.

“It is not madness, not lunacy. It is the creeping in the soul.” It has been 70 years since the brutal Partition of India and Pakistan and 25 years since the demolition of the Babri Masjid. The deep wounds of communal violence and distrust have been reopened for yet another generation to experience. In a time when development and modernity have inched India to where it stands today, a single recreation of one of the most painful displays of hatred can catapult India back into social catastrophe.



t 2:19 pm on February 14th, I was basking under the pleasant skies on Memorial Glade, a common pastime of any Berkeley student on a sunny day. At 2:19 pm on February 14th, Nikolas Cruz had entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with the intention of committing murder. The current discourse surrounding the Parkland high school mass shooting is engulfed by the status of gun rights in the U.S., and rightly so. But often missed and hidden in the crevice of this gun rights debate is the question of the death penalty. The prosecution, the party conducting legal proceedings against Cruz, is currently grappling with the dilemma of whether to charge Cruz with capital punishment. It is not the matter of whether he will get the death penalty or not, but rather why the option of death penalty is available. Aside from its evident uselessness, the state has a moral obligation to protect the right of life in all individuals, even those who have committed unspeakable crimes such as this.



The Right to Life

While the U.S. Declaration of Independence states that we are all granted the “inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” it is evident that there are limitations. The fifth amendment due process clause states that “the State shall not deprive an individual of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” It seems that these rights aren’t absolute. Each individual in a society surrenders some freedom for the collective good. For instance, there will be legal retribution if I decide to set houses on fire for the sake of free speech—an infringement on my liberty. Yet, there is something unsettling in the actual infringement on another person’s right to life. Life is defined in the narrowest sense as the ability to breath, live, experience, and most simply exist. Perhaps the distinction between life and liberty lies in that liberty has been socially constructed. The right to speech, or the right to privacy, were all created and defined by people. But life, by

definition, is inherent and natural to the person. A person, as a living being, would not be a person if not for life. As argued by Peter Riga in the University of Puget Sound Law Review, “life does not belong to society and it is for that very reason that the state cannot, in principle, take life.” Hence, the actual existence of a person is independent of the dimensions of society, and would exist even if society was absent. Our laws can be considered an aggregate of each person’s individual liberty that is given to society for the collective good. However, Enlightenment philosopher Cesar Beccaria argues that we do not give up the right to life as part of this “social contract.” No person hands to the government, or to fellow people, the ability to capture life on their terms. In his book “On Crimes and Punishment,” he states that the right of people “to cut the throats of fellow creatures” is not the right on which “sovereignty and laws are founded.” The reason as to why a hypothetical “contract” between the government and people was formed was to maintain social order. By preserving social order, the government would be able to preserve the basic rights of individuals, one being life. Why would people have assembled, and chosen to give up a few liberties, and chosen to create a government, if not for the greater good of securing certain essential liberties and rights? When there are other manners of restraining an individual and preserv-

“Why would people have assembled, and chosen to give up a few liberties, and chosen to create a government, if not for the greater good of securing certain essential liberties and rights?”

ing society, such as prison, it does not make sense for the government to take someone’s life. These certain rights and liberties that deserve the greatest of protections, as defined by a society, are contingent upon life. Thus, all life, regardless of what liberties society designates as being most important, deserves at least the same amount of protection as well. Even in a constitutional democracy that is ostensibly run by the “consent of the governed,” our lives should not be a leveraging tool which the government can use to maintain control. For the government to have the ability to take the life of its people is the greatest form of betrayal.

So, why do we still have the Death Penalty?

President Trump, on November 2, 2017, tweeted that Sayfullo Saipov, who drove a truck into crowds of people in New York City, “SHOULD GET THE DEATH PENALTY.” It is difficult to argue against capital punishment, especially when it regards serial rapists, murderers, terrorists, and child abusers. This fight for “justice” is enticing, but when “justice” involves the state murdering the murderer, it is also a bit hypocritical. Fundamentally, capital punishment is flawed and immoral. Since 1977, 140 people have been released from death row due to wrongful conviction while 1200 people have been executed. Amnesty International

WASHINGTON POST provides further information on how the death penalty is racially biased, how it does not deter crime, and how it does not serve justice. Most people realize the inefficiency of the death penalty. The United Nations condemns the practice, and the U.S. is the only western nation to continue its implementation. In fact, there was a gradual decrease in the usage of the death penalty till the 1980s, and from the 1970s-1980s there were nearly no executions. Then why is the institution of capital punishment still so entrenched in our society? The answer is almost too simple: politics. In 1971, Nixon declared the “War on Drugs.” This completely altered the perception of criminals. The rhetoric surrounding those who had broken the law portrayed them

to be inherently evil and incapable of change. Along with the call to maintain “law and order” came the resurgence of capital punishment. Politicians capitalized on people’s fears of crime, and the death penalty was an easy way to appear strong. The political nature of the death penalty is best illustrated with George H. W. Bush’s attack ad on Dukakis in the election of 1998. Dukakis, the Democratic candidate, opposed the death penalty. This ad, which criticized his position on capital punishment, is often regarded as the reason Dukakis lost.


Thomas Jefferson said that “laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.” There might have been a time when executions were the most successful method of curbing violence and unlawfulness or when it was unanimously considered to be necessary. However, in the modern day, we have developed other institutions, methods, and principles of governance that do a much better job of regulating society and don’t necessitate the killing of individuals. If the government is to maintain its integrity and if the United States is to champion human rights and democracy around the world, we must begin by demolishing one of our most unjust institutions: the death penalty.

THE INTERCEPT Nikki Haley voting against condemning the verdict of death penalty for LGBTQ+ individals at the United Nations.




Looking Post-Obergefell, Looking Past-Obergefell BY SCOUT TURKEL I was in Montana on June 26th of 2015. I had been pulling invasive weeds in Glacier National Park, enjoying summertime, being a tenth grader, and not worrying about politics, adulthood, or being queer. Well, okay, maybe that last thing wasn’t entirely worry-free,

but June of 2015 wasn’t a bad time to start pondering my adolescent sexuality. Even in the heart of solid red Montana, the mountain air felt celebratory that morning as every major news outlet announced their breaking headline of the day: love was now legal in all 50 states. Same-sex couples were entitled to the same right to marry as their heterosexual counterparts. Prior to that fateful day, thirteen states still prohibited same-sex couples from marrying, laws which were challenged in the case Obergefell v. Hodges, an investigation of the constitutionality of both state bans on same-sex marriage, as well as the refusal of states to recognize marriages of same-sex couples carried out in other jurisdictions where such unions were already legal. In a 5-4 decision, split down ideological lines, the Supreme Court found that the 14th Amendment provided protection for same-sex couples on both of these questions, striking down marriage prohibitions and ensuring couples’ recognition of their civil union as a fundamental liberty.

The Complicated Effects of Obergefell

In the decades leading up to Obergefell, ensuring same-sex couples the right to marry had occupied the center stage of gay rights advocates’ agendas. Denying homosexual couples the right to marry was an incredibly blatant manifestation of culturally and legally engrained homophobia, evidence of a nation committed to antiquated definitions of love and partnership. Since the Obergefell ruling, protecting the right to marry has been just as central to gay rights agendas as gaining this civil liberty was in the first place. With the arrival of the Trump Administration, the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, First Amendment-based challenges to Obergefell, and legislative responses on the state level, protecting this fundamental right seems to necessitate vigilance on all fronts. WIKIWAND

The possibility of Obergefell being threatened, or worse, overturned, in the face of conservative, originalist Supreme Court justices and an increasingly politically polarized nation is both valid and understandable. The fight for marriage was long and hard, a path paved by gay activists over the past century with immense labor through both the courts and the bodies of queer folks themselves, committed to creating a more inclusive civil society regardless of the costs. While there are many ways for the courts and legislature, both federal and state, to chip away at the guarantees of Obergefell, it is ultimately unlikely that the decision is in any real danger of being overturned. However, evaluating the status and effects of Obergefell three years later is still a salient task: this ruling has not necessarily been as simple, or as entirely positive (read: uncomplicated) as we tend to think. Thinking about LGBTQ+ rights in the Trump era asks us to also think about who has been left out of LGBTQ+ gains in the pre-Trump era, as well as what marriage equality really means, both conceptually and legally. Who is equal to who? Whose bodies are admitted entry into this space of supposed equality? What other issues are silenced or ignored when all of our collective, activist energy is spent protecting marriage?

Don’t Get Me Wrong, Obergefell has Done a Lot of Good

First thing first: this is not to say that Obergefell v. Hodges shouldn’t be hailed as a victory for same-sex couples. As of June, 2016, a year post-Obergefell, nearly half of all same-sex couples who live together are married, an 11% increase in just 12 months. Not only have couples been marrying in states which, in accordance with the ruling, newly grant same-sex couples marriage licenses, but marriage rates among same-sex couples generally increased across the nation, including states which had no prior prohibi-



tion. The general increase in marriage among same-sex couples can be seen as signaling an increased acceptance of homosexual unions post-Obergefell and is also linked to increased ability of same-sex couples to adopt children. As a couple, it is far easier to adopt a child once married, and greater ease in the ability of same-couples to adopt children, if they so desire, can be seen as a positive for same-sex couples in their capacity to start families. Not only is increased adoption a positive for homosexual couples looking for domestic equality alongside marriage equality, but a positive for children in need of homes: same-sex couples are 10 times more likely than married different-sex couples to adopt children. More married same-sex couples equals more adopted children. That seems like a holistic societal good to me. There is also a connection between same-sex marriage as the lawof-the-land and increased visibility, and thus destigmatization, of homosexual couples. Turning something into law means an increased awareness of an issue within the realm of public discourse. With more conversation surrounding non-traditional marriages as a result of Obergefell, alongside an increased rate of same-sex partnership, it is reasonable to conclude that the decision has normalized homosexual couples as fitting into the picture of American family life, heightening their visibility within the discourse of acceptable family constructions. With



such a historically and pervasively stigmatized demographic, any degree of normalization may help day-to-day life as a non-heterosexual pair become less difficult.

Gorsuch v. Gays

With all the positives of Obergefell in mind, it is not hard to see why protecting this decision would occupy a central role in legal activism in a good year, let alone a tough one. This past year, however, has been far from a good one. In turn, the need to protect Obergefell has increased in urgency, and rapidly. On April 7th of 2017, Neil Gorsuch—Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nomination to fill the seat of Antonin Scalia—was confirmed by the Senate. While this confirmation was riddled with controversy, Gorsuch’s ideology, with the drama of unified government aside, was enough to rile up liberals, and rightfully so. Even before Gorsuch’s inevitable confirmation, the new Justice’s statements and rulings in cases concerning LGBTQ+ rights were called out by liberal opponents of the Trump Administration as evidence of a greater effort to undermine civil rights, particularly those more recently acquired: the right of same-sex couples to marry. This topic, the threat of Gorsuch to same-sex marriage, seemed to dominate issue-specific fears regarding the new Justice’s ideology; nearly every major news source at least mentioned marriage equality as an area to which Gorsuch posed a threat.

While perhaps sensationalist in nature, such fears were not unfounded. The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law was one of many organizations to document and examine the LGBTQ+ rights record of Gorsuch during his confirmation process. Their findings, from an LGBTQ+ rights advocate’s perspective, were dismal. On the 10th Circuit, Gorsuch had repeatedly displayed a legal distaste for extending constitutional rights to transgender people, most prominently in the cases Druley v. Patton and Kastl v. Maricopa County Community College District. These past opinions, paired with his originalist ideology, set the tone for Neil Gorsuch, one which had LGBTQ+ and civil rights advocates on high alert. In the months since his confirmation, such fears have been, thus far, proven valid. In June of 2017, Gorsuch chose to dissent in Pavan v. Smith, a case evaluating the Arkansas Supreme Court’s ruling against the Pavan family. Terrah Pavan, partner of Marisa Pavan, gave birth to a child the Pavans intended to raise together, as partners and parents. The state of Arkansas, however, refused to list Marisa Pavan on the birth certificate as a legal guardian of the child due to her lack of “biological parentage.” While the SCOTUS reversed this decision due to the state’s “disparate treatment” of a same-sex couple, something explicitly prohibited under Obergefell, Gorsuch chose to dissent, an act which provided groundwork

for lower courts to challenge same-sex rights on the basis of biological justifications. This goes to show the power of an individual Justice, regardless of the decision reached by the court’s majority. Dissents can serve as powerful precedent to be referenced by judges nationwide, establishing new (or in this case, old) frameworks to evaluate civil issues. While Gorsuch himself cannot necessarily dismantle the promises of Obergefell, he has the ability to give language and validity to its opposition.

days before the Obergefell decision was issued. One of Donald Trump’s key campaign promises was to sign this act if passed, and it represents the linchpin of most anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in our country today. Businesses and states alike feel that the First Amendment is their ticket out of demonstrating equal treatment to all couples regardless of sexual orientation. Look no further than the recent Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case. While still pending a decision, the refusal of the Masterpiece


Backlash to Obergefell on the State Level

Conservative backlash never follows too far behind any liberal gain. One step forward, two steps back is a platitude which proves itself true time and time again. In the three years following Obergefell, even before the arrival of Gorsuch to the highest court in the land, such backlash had made itself apparent, complicating the effects of what is usually perceived as a net-positive civil rights gain. This is most aptly represented with the reintroduction of the First Amendment Defense Act (2015), brought before Congress just

Cakeshop in Colorado to provide service for same-sex marriages—in this case, that of Charlie Craig and David Mullins—embodies the state and individual level resistance to Obergefell. The extent of the First Amendment in protecting Speech and Free Exercise in accordance with religious beliefs will be tested with the Masterpiece decision, but even now, this argument represents the tension between federal protections and individual beliefs. The discretion of judges has also provided a form of backlash to the guar-



antees of Obergefell. Since the ruling, some judges have found ways to deny same-sex couples marriage licenses. In Oregon, a judge was accused of developing a system in which clerks investigated couples pursuing marriage licenses and were then instructed to tell any same-sex couples that the judge simply was not available to help them. Oregon is just one recent example of such a scheme but is certainly not the only state with courts involved in such transparent and homophobic forms of avoiding the law. Additionally, a post-Obergefell nation is one that has seen a proliferation of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation on the state level according to the GLAAD 2018 Accelerating Acceptance Report. This is tangible evidence that the opinion of Jack C. Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, is shared by the legislature at large. This cannot be overstated: since 2015, there has been an increase in overall experiences of LGBTQ+ discrimination, something which correlates with 2016 FBI data

demonstrating a five percent increase in hate crimes against LGBTQ+ populations between 2015 and 2016. When we read “since 2015,” we have no choice but to read “since Obergefell.” While it would be far-reaching to claim that the Obergefell decision directly and solely led to a proliferation of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and a rise in hate crimes against the queer community, it would be just as naïve to deny the power of the ruling. Obergefell touched something in the polity that has everything to do with values—supposedly American values—values which tangle themselves at the intersection of faith, patriotism, identity, tradition, and moral judgements. None of this is to say that Obergefell was a negative for the nation, nor that it should not have been ruled as it was, but rather to acknowledge the complicated impacts of liberal gains. When we focus on all the positives of marriage equality, and the positives alone, we allow ourselves to be placated. The 2018 GLAAD report also

included a startling study, one which outlined the shift in allies of LGBTQ+ rights to detached supporters of said rights from 2015 to the present. Samesex marriage was paraded as a panacea of discrimination, as if only a wedding ring stood between the LGBTQ+ community and full societal acceptance of queer forms of love. The pervading attitude of “well, we got marriage, now we can check LGBTQ+ rights off the list” is one which blinds us to these continuous discriminations: the rise in hate crimes, the harmful legislation, the healthcare access barriers placed in front of queer citizens, the targeting of LGBTQ+ communities by law enforcement, the high rates of LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, and all other ongoing obstacles and injustices faced by non-heterosexual individuals. When marriage, and furthermore the protection of the right to marry, becomes the end-all-be-all of queer rights, we miss things, and important things at that. Beyond the issues that find themselves omitted and overlooked by activists in


the wake of marriage equality, there are also bodies, queer bodies, which are left out of the rhetoric surrounding same-sex unions. Thinking critically about marriage equality entails two key questions: who are the beneficiaries of this right, and who is left out? To answer these questions, we first must unpack the phrase itself. Marriage equality comes with its own set of connotations and limitations, the first of which becomes apparent quite quickly. The word equality necessitates a baseline: something is being made equal to something else. In the case of marriage, we can presume that samesex couples, those historically barred from the institution of marriage, are being brought up to the baseline represented by heterosexual couples, those for whom marriage was constructed and established to support. Once we accept this premise, the notion of marriage equality problematizes itself. To be made equal to is, on some level, to be made the same as, or at least to adequately mimic. This brings us back to the normalizing effect of same-sex marriage. While such normalization makes visible same-sex couples, it only makes visible certain types of samesex couples: those who can perform straight, fitting into the heterosexually-developed institution of marriage. For those who desire it, marriage is certainly a fundamental right. How-

ever, to act as though marriage is the “solution for the problems that most queer people face” ignores the diversity and multiplicity of queerness. Lisa Duggan, in her article “Beyond Marriage,” argues that “marriage does not provide full equality… or expansively reimagined forms of kinship that reflect our actual lives.” When we think of the marriage equality campaign slogan LOVE IS LOVE, such a comment feels contextually apt. To say LOVE IS LOVE is a way to communicate to queer couples, even if subtly, that their love is acceptable only if it looks as much like the love of their heterosexual counterparts as possible. If their kinship includes a house, monogamy, a desire to raise children, and a regular income, perhaps it can be considered tolerable. What about queer couples and individuals, communities and friends, love interests and chosen families, who are, by the quality of their queerness, operating outside of these normalizing forces? Has a focus on marriage really made us all more equal by emphasizing the similarities between types of love, or rather, has it simply made clear the lack of acceptable types of love in the first place? If you cannot fit into the upper middle class and marriageable form of intimacy deemed socially acceptable, you don’t have a place in this new age of equality. If you are uncomfortable, or even unable—due to class, race, ability, gender, or specific sexual preferences—to perform within this heterosexual framework, equality has no space for your body.

A New Gay Agenda

With all of this in mind, the future of LGBTQ+ rights seems relatively clear. Complicated and extensive, sure, but also clear. Protecting Obergefell from the likes of Neil Gorsuch and the Trump Administration’s crusade against civil rights is a noble task, but it cannot be one which takes precedence over addressing the problems of the queer community at large. Homeless

queer kids live in our streets; transgender people are denied healthcare; hate crime rates continue to rise. All counterarguments to this issue hinge upon the notion that what we have now is as good as it gets: asking for anything beyond marriage, beyond equality, beyond sameness, would be greedy (read: would make us uncomfortable). The suggestion that hate crimes are natural, or that discrimination is inevitable, or that de jure legal gains are all we can really hope for, are ways to placate ourselves, to avoid doing the labor of imagining, and working to manifest, futures beyond our status quo. We need to look, as Lisa Duggan implores us to, beyond marriage. This starts with enforcing mandatory hate crime reporting in all states, creating queer inclusive (and positive!) sex education in schools, fighting back against legislation and court cases—at the state level—which aim to undermine queer gains, and acknowledging the intersection of queer rights with that of undocumented peoples, people of color, disabled people, and all other non-normative bodies seeking space and voice within our society. Marriage is a right we are entitled to, and Obergefell reminds us of that. To settle for marriage as the end-game, as the finish line for queer equity, however, is a disservice to our community. Equal is not enough, nor is it synonymous with tolerance, respect, or more potently, celebration: we should be aiming for a society which celebrates and exalts difference, one which protects its diversity as a pillar of progress and culture, not one which aims to render everyone the same without critically thinking about who is left out of the conversation. A Note on Language: When discussing the implications and remedies of Obergefell v. Hodges directly, I use the word “gay” in reference to original text of the Obergefell opinion, which refers to “gay and lesbian rights”. I use “LGBTQ+” and “queer” interchangeably, referring to wider implications for the community as a whole rather than referencing an individual identity.








acedonia, Greece, or the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia? Depending on the name you choose, you’ll be taking sides in an ongoing debate that began in 1991. Since Macedonia declared its independence, its neighbor Greece has refused to recognize its constitutional name. Who would have known that countries have identity crises just like us?

ing towards negotiation in February 2018, hundreds of thousands of people assembled in Athens, carrying Greek flags and chanting “Hands off Macedonia, Macedonia is Greece.” This was the follow-up of a rally just two weeks before, in which around 90,000 demonstrators protested in Thessaloniki, the capital of the Macedonia region of Greece.

Greece alleges that the name “Macedonia” implies that the country holds control over the northernmost province of Greece, which is also named Macedonia. Greeks see the constitutional name as a ploy to lay claim to Greece’s northern territory and national heritage.

“Here are the borders,” said protester Rania Mainou, from Xanthi in northern Greece. “This is Macedonia. Here, these are Slavs, they are not Macedonians, we are Macedonians. Macedonia is Greek, no one can take this name, no one can use it.”

Despite decades of deeply rooted conflict over the “m-word,” recent talks between officials from the two countries have led to optimism that a solution might finally be within reach.

How the Greeks See It

Just as the two countries began mov-



These words come from the fear that Macedonians could one day lay claim to Greek territory through a simple name controversy. Greece alleges that: 1. Macedonians have been of Greek nationality since 2000 BC. 2. Four thousand years ago, the peo-

ple that call themselves Macedonians spoke only Greek and still continue to do so. 3. Macedonia has always been and remains a region in Greece, so no other territory holds the right to be named accordingly. This especially applies to a territory that shares a border with Greek Macedonia.

“These words come from the fear that Macedonians could one day lay claim to Greek territory through a simple name controversy.”

How the Macedonians see it

The name “Macedonia” is the oldest surviving name of a country in Europe. It comes from the ancient Macedonian kingdom which thrived as a distinct nation from 808-146 BC. The ancient Macedonians were distinct ethnically, linguistically, and culturally from their neighbors.


Fast-forward to recent history, specifically after the Balkan Wars, when the Bucharest Peace Treaty was signed on August 10th, 1913. Through this treaty, all of the Balkan states expanded their territories and Macedonia was partitioned and divided among its neighboring states. Notably, Greece seized the biggest part, Southern Macedonia.

their native tongue was Macedonian, not Greek. 3. Macedonia was never a region of Greece. If today a portion of Macedonia belongs to Greece, it is only because of the illegal partition in 1913 and the resulting Greek occupation of a part of Macedonia.

few historians, architects, and politicians took on a project to remind the country and the global community of their nation’s proud past. This project is known as Skopje 2014, and its goal was to completely transform the capital of Macedonia into a reflection of its history.

The Macedonians initially entered the Balkan Wars to fight for autonomy, but in the end, neighboring states forcefully partitioned their lands. This event caused many Macedonians to look back in anger at the division of their territory. After finally gaining independence in 1991, the idea of changing their name seemed ludicrous because it would further separate them from their land and identity.

It’s Just a Name, Right?

To show their disapproval, Greece blocked Macedonia’s accession to NATO in 2008—and will also veto its membership application to the European Union if it continues in refusing to alter its name.

When put into action, the project renamed airports, motorways, and sports stadiums in honor of Alexander the Great and his father Philip—Ancient Macedonian heroes. Around thirty statues representing significant Macedonian figures in music, literature, and visual arts were placed throughout the city. This project had two benefits in the eyes of Macedonia: it reincarnated national identity and history in a way that made its people proud and jabbed at the angered Greeks who could do nothing but disagree.

Thus, in opposition, the Macedonians affirm that: 1. The ancient Macedonians were a distinct population and still maintain that distinctness today. 2. The ancient Macedonians looked to the ancient Greeks as neighbors, recognizably separate from themselves. The Greeks even treated the Macedonians as barbarians because

Macedonia circumnavigated Greece’s anger and got into the United Nations by agreeing to be called The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Problem solved? Not in the least. This was intended as a temporary solution to prevent further isolation, and therefore only created a new set of difficulties. To add to the tension, Macedonia went on the offensive in response to Greece’s incessant protests. As Macedonia scrambled for an identity in the wake of Yugoslavia’s disintegration, a

The Man Behind the Name

Since 1999, Matthew Nimetz has had one major task as the personal envoy of the UN secretary-general: to end this bothersome name-game. He has already given various suggestions. Which sounds best? Well, how BERKELEY POLITICAL REVIEW



does a country choose from the long list of New Macedonia, Nova Makedonija, Slavo-Macedonia, the Republic of Skopje, the Upper Republic of Macedonia, or the Republic of Upper Macedonia?

burned bridges with Greece. He has announced that Skopje’s airport will no longer bear the name Alexander the Great. In the same vein, the motorway leading to Greece will now be known as “Friendship Highway.”

“Some people think it’s me just sitting there thinking of adjectives to put in front of the name Macedonia,” Nimetz said. “But this issue has historical importance… importance in terms of nation-building.”

“My wish and ambition, as well as of each of us that are involved in this process, is to reach a solution for the name dispute by the end of March,” said Zaev in an interview with Balkan Insight. “It will not help us if we delay it because there are always antagonistic forces that are against a solution.”

Seeing the new leadership in Macedonia, Nimetz is optimistic that the timing is finally right. The Social Democrat Zoran Zaev became prime minister this year, breaking a long-standing political deadlock. Zaev is evidently attempting to rebuild the


Under this new government, Macedonia has indicated a willingness to compromise on the issue of its name, mainly to make moves towards its goal of joining NATO and the EU. This has

resulted in talks between the countries’ foreign ministers and a meeting between Zaev and Greece PM, Alexis Tsipras in January of 2018. Nimetz thinks the first step is for people to stop seeing this dispute as a question of national identity. “One ordinary citizen in Skopje once said to me: ‘When I get up in the morning and I’m shaving, I look in the mirror and say, I’m a Macedonian. Well, tomorrow, when I’m shaving, do you expect me to say, I’m a New Macedonian or I’m an Upper Macedonian?’” His love for these questions is probably the reason he has been able to work on a dispute about just one word for the past two decades.



Wanted: Young, White Angry


y friend was killed by a neo-Nazi. It’s a strange thing to type out, but it’s true. Even stranger, though, are the details: killed by a former classmate of ours. He picked my friend up in his car, drove to a local park, and then stabbed him. This is a boy who was once my friend but held very socially conservative views despite attending an arts school. As I remember my friend I can’t help but ask myself: why did our classmate do it? Because, in his own words, my friend was a “faggot,” not to mention a Jew. This instance, however personally traumatizing it was, is nowhere near an isolated incident. It’s part of the recent surge of hate groups that have been taking advantage of the resentment of young white men and channeling it towards a self described goal: making America great again. When I use President Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, I am not mincing my words. No matter what the slogan signifies to the president or some of his supporters, it has ultimately been co-opted by white supremacist, neo-Nazi, and neo-fascist groups. “While Trump wants to make America great again, we have to ask ourselves, ‘What made America great in the first place?’” The Crusader, a publication closely associated with the Klu Klux Klan, begged and answered. “America was founded as a White Christian Republic. And as a White Christian Republic it became great.” However President Trump feels about hate groups, their numbers have spiked since 2014, when his campaign began. Since the 2016 election, we’ve also seen a rise in hate crimes with 17.7 percent resulting from sexual-orientation bias and 21.0 percent prompted by religious bias. As my friend was gay and Jewish the odds were certainly stacked against him. The odds continue to stack against many of my friends and family as hate groups and their influence continues to grow. But why are these groups growing now? Adaptation.


Neo-Nazi, neo-fascist, and white supremacist communities, like snakes, have shed their old skin, trading it out for another. The alt-right, a term which is now all too familiar in the U.S., is, by definition, all of these groups. The AP is, in fact, discouraging reporters from using the term alt-right without a clear



definition, as “the term may exist primarily as a public-relations device to make its supporters’ actual beliefs less clear and more acceptable to a broader audience.” Let me propose my clear definition:

mothers opted to work instead of staying at home. Upcoming generations will not even know a time without gay marriage.

Usually, though, when there is progress for many, there is resentment Alt-right [awlt-rahyt]: noun, a loose from some. As Steven M. Gillon, a conglomerate of white supremacist, Professor of History at the University neo-fascist, and neo-Nazi groups/inof Oklahoma, says: “Until the 1960s, dividuals. It’s an umbrella term like white men sat unchallenged atop the saying conservative or liberal. United States’ cultural and economic pyramid... They not only ruled the workplace, they dominat“In order to recruit them, ed American politics and exgroups have used the most ercised virtually unchallenged important part of every young power at home.” Time went and various groups—AfAmerican’s life: the Internet.” by rican-Americans, the LGBT community, and women— The alt-right’s popularity has surged fought for equality; activists slowly underneath the rhetoric of Stephen dismantled the previous hierarchy that Miller and Steve Bannon—both of put straight white men on top. Orgawhom served under the Trump adnizations started practicing affirmative ministration. Miller has denied the action in order to balance out the soidea that the alt-right is a hate group, cio-economic inequality set at birth. stating that the movement does not Wherever you land on the affirmative come from the hatred of others but action debate, this and many other rather the love of white people and practices that were created with good culture. He says they’re white nationintentions have created resentment alists (wanting to develop a white within the white male population. nation) not white supremacists (who As others gain something, they canthink that the white race is superior). not help feel as though they’re losing However, former members of white something. supremacist groups like Christian Picciolini make my same claim: the altEven so, some young people need right and white nationalism is simply more persuasion, require more tactwhite supremacy re-branded. ful measures to ensure recruitment. In order to recruit them, groups have This rebranding may explain how the used the most important part of every alt-right and, in conjunction, white young American’s life: the Internet. supremacy groups have see recent recruitment success. It makes their A key tool in the recruitment and radideologies seem more innocent, more icalization of primarily young white understandable. men is Reddit. For instance, there’s the main Reddit page alternative_right Their particular target, though, has and then several subreddits within required more than just a change of this topic such as Three African Men name. Many younger millennials and Arrested for Cannibalism in Paris Generation Z-ers have grown up in a Suburb (a post from world in which discrimination such as White supremacist and alt-right Redracism was extremely discouraged, a dit pages are so popular that one was world in which there was a black man even featured as the Subreddit of the in the white house and many of their day.


These posts are meant to do two things: question reality as presented in mainstream media and then get people to invest in an alternative, more-engrossing reality that confirms pre-existing biases. The more engrossed in this alternative reality the individual becomes, the more these biases are reinforced and taken to the extreme. It’s the echo chamber effect. While all online groups develop an echo chamber to a certain extent, it becomes dangerous when dealing with violent peoples and extremist ideology such as white supremacy. While the alt-right is certainly not a cult, this technique is one frequently used by cults. There are YouTube channels and Facebook pages dedicated to these groups. One of these is Atomwaffen Division, an alt-right, specifically Neo-nazi, group that has been linked to several murders this year. Their YouTube channel was recently removed, but they continue to recruit through their website and even online gaming. Additionally, these groups have taken advantage of meme culture in order to make themselves more attractive and innocent to young people. For instance, the pepe meme has been co-opted by the alt-right movement and is now almost synonymous with the alt-right (despite protest from the meme’s original creator). The other benefit to using meme culture is that its message is typically lost on parents and members of older generations, making it more difficult for them to intervene in the process of radicalization. But the Internet facilitates a free exchange of ideas where users have access to Mother Jones and Fox News, and a diverse set of groups use YouTube and Facebook, so it should be fine. However, as I’ve said, this movement lives through adaptation. If you thought that Facebook had a problem with only sharing content you

like, it has nothing on these resources. While both of these were failures, they still show just how far the alt-right will go in order to recruit and maintain its members. The alt-right is also very active on college campuses. They were extremely present on my own, UC Berkeley, over the past year as Milo Yiannopoulos came to visit. This is because college campuses represent the future, they represent socially progressive ideas that will eventually become the mainstream. They’re a threat to the altright’s dream. Some people think this dream is relatively harmless, especially as people like Yiannopoulos have not actually committed any crimes. Even when we don’t act on our prejudices, though, are we facilitating an environment in which people feel like they can? Like they should? Moreover, just the aforementioned resentment people feel towards progress can be harmful. It can affect our daily actions and the way we treat and see others. It can also manifest itself in us physically harming others like in the case of the Charleston Church shooting. The alt-right also has means of inflicting harm without sending a shooter in. The more “subdued” and “casual” members of the alt-right participate in violence by doxxing. Doxxing is the practice of spreading someone’s personal information on the Internet. For instance, when Milo Yiannopoulos came to my campus last year, he gave his followers names of two members of our student body government who were protesting his upcoming speech on campus, giving them them the essential go-ahead to doxx them. These two students then received a strew of hate messages and death threats. This may not be shooting someone with a gun, but I contend that it is violent and immoral nonetheless.

NYThe visible alt-right might appear to be all bark and no bite, but that’s not all there is of the alt-right. It’s a culture, and within that culture are extremely dangerous groups—once you’re in the culture, it’s fairly easy to slide from extremist language to extremist actions. One can quickly go from the alt-right Reddit to the Atomwaffen website. Views and beliefs aren’t inherently dangerous, but anything in the extreme that threatens someone else’s existence is dangerous. Whether we realize it or not, our ideas almost always directly correlate with our actions. That’s part of the reason why some alt-righters have begun the alt-lite movement. However, many, including the Anti Defamation League, question whether they really have different ideas or whether this is the alt-right trying to morph again, trying to become more pleasing for further recruitment and acceptance in mainstream society.

the alt-right or the tide of the Donald Trump era. Maybe he still would have done it without being recruited into the alt-right. Maybe this was always going to happen. But I like to think of an alternative universe where it didn’t, a universe where the alt-right never existed. One where I hadn’t stopped talking to my friend after graduation. One where he was still here where I could reach out to him. One where I didn’t write this article. I’m not in that universe, though, I’m in this one. This universe is the only one I have. All I can hope is by revealing the nature and practices of these groups that nobody else will die. If only we would hold onto the ones we love (and could love) as hard as we hold onto our beliefs.

Let’s get back to the question, though: why did my classmate kill my friend? I still don’t know. Maybe he still would have done it without the popularity of BERKELEY POLITICAL REVIEW


Housing Segregation in the Bay BY LAUREN GLASBY


hildren born in East Oakland, California have a life expectancy 12 years lower than those born in Piedmont, California. Oakland Unified School District reports about 1,600 homeless students, whereas Piedmont High reports zero. Residents of Oakland have a median household income of $51,000. In Piedmont, it is over $130,000. Yet less than two miles separates these cities. How can two areas so close together have such stark disparities? On the surface, Alameda County, home to both Oakland and Piedmont, seems like one of the most prosperous counties in the country. When you dig deeper, some-

thing more sinister emerges. African American and Latino people make up about 28 and 25 percent of Oakland’s population, respectively, while 34 percent of the population is white. On the other hand, white people in Piedmont comprise over 74 percent of the population. Less than six percent of Piedmont’s residents are black or Latino. Similar disparities exist all across the Bay Area, not just in Alameda County. A history of discriminatory policies and attitudes has resulted in severe segregation in the Bay Area, trapping African Americans and other racial minorities in cycles of poverty that are almost impossible to escape from.

The Bay Area is full of long-haired hippies smoking their newly-legalized weed, so many assume segregation could not a problem in such a liberal place. Well, not quite. The San Francisco Bay Area, along with the rest of the country, has a long history of discriminatory housing policies. In Richard Rothstein’s book, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, he notes, the Bay Area experienced a huge influx of shipyard and industrial war workers, many of whom were African American, during World War II. This massive wave of migration increased the Black population of Richmond from 270 to 14,000 peo-





ple. However, Rothstein also stresses that housing development in the area failed to keep pace with population growth. The federal government attempted to provide assistance with public housing, but really just worsened the situation. Clear disparities in the amount and quality of housing existed along racial lines. African Americans received poorly constructed buildings near the water and railroad tracks, while white workers resided in structurally sound houses in white neighborhoods. To make matters worse, the government actually encouraged private groups to segregate the Bay Area. Local governments encouraged bankers to offer loans to the middle- and upper-class, but not to those buying in poor, nonwhite neighborhoods. Additionally, the Federal Housing Administration would not insure loans for construction costs if the developments were intended for African Americans or for whites moving into African American neighborhoods, according to Rothstein. Essentially, government policy did whites a solid and prevented African Americans and other minorities from “infiltrating” their precious neighborhoods. And neither public nor private groups even

attempted to hide the blatant racism. In fact, they inflamed the fear of a “Negro invasion,” which furthered their goals of segregation. Government policies and private attitudes concentrated African Americans in certain cities and neighborhoods across the Bay Area. These divisions persist today and continue to disadvantage the Black population in more ways than merely access to housing. Segregation and entrenched racism plague the Bay Area. This forges a cycle of poverty for the people of color living in and migrating to the region. The people forced into these cities and neighborhoods face higher un-

employment and greater economic distress. Additionally, their children receive poorer quality educations. These factors combined perpetuate a vicious cycle and contribute to segregation itself. This map of Oakland and Berkeley (left) reveals distinct areas of distress and segregation. Strikingly, the zip codes facing the most economic anguish align closely with those that were deemed “hazardous” or “definitely declining” through redlining processes in the 1930s and 40s (if it was not clear, “hazardous” and “definitely declining” meant high or increasing numbers of minority residents). San Francisco rests comfortably among the top 10 most prosperous cities in the United States. On the other hand, Oakland and a handful of other Bay Area cities struggle to keep their heads above water as a result of historical and continued patterns of segregation. These divisions have permeated beyond housing guidelines to areas such as education. Wealthier, whiter people have entrenched segregation and the cycle of poverty by encouraging policies that ensure their children go to schools with greater resources and larger percentages of white students. In the United States, residents pay housing taxes to help fund K-12 education in their school district. In turn, school districts with a higher percentage of low-income families receive less resources to provide an education for

Segregation and entrenched racism plague the Bay Area. This forges a cycle of poverty for the people of color living in, and migrating to, the region.



their children than those in wealthier school districts. The low-income districts just so happen to be those with larger African American and Latino populations, as people of color are disproportionately poor. This map (right) draws attention to the stark segregation that exists among school districts (the darker the purple, the higher the percentage of Black or Hispanic students). Again, these divisions do not stray much from those of housing discrimination in the mid-20th century or from the areas suffering greater economic distress today. And this is not an accident. Those with political clout, or the whiter, wealthier residents of the Bay Area, have pushed policies that benefit themselves and their children but hurt low-income and minority communities. The school districts with larger African American and Latino populations obtain less resources to educate their students. Thus, people of color graduate at lower rates than their white counterparts. Further demonstrating the divisions, merely 64.9 percent of students in Oakland, which has a higher percentage of students of color, graduated in 2017. So, not only are these disparities constructed by discriminatinatory policies, but they contribute to the perpetuation of segregation in the Bay Area, as well. Funneling people of color into this cycle of poverty also reduces their chances of receiving a college degree. Wealthier people receive much greater access to higher education. For example, 17.5 percent of Stanford’s student population comes from the top 1 percent of income earners, whereas only 18.6 percent comes from the bottom 60. And while many colleges have rendered their universities affordable, especially elite private schools as they can offer generous financial aid, they fail to meaningfully increase access to low-income students. Even if higher education suddenly becomes affordable, lower-income, and thus minority, students do not receive offers as frequently as richer students. And a fancy financial aid packages is not worth much if not one can take advantage of it. Additionally, even when lower-income students are just as high-achieving as richer students, they are less likely to apply



Those with political clout, or the whiter, wealthier residents of the Bay Area, have pushed policies that benefit themselves and their children, but hurt low-income and minority communities.

to selective colleges. As a result, less than half of the bottom fifth of American families attend any university at all, thereby perpetuating segregation and continuing the cycle of poverty. A college degree can create a world of opportunities for upward mobility. However, African American and Latino students do not receive equal access to universities, thereby diminishing their chances of breaking free of the cycle. As a result, most students who grow up poor remain poor, and those who grew up wealthy remain wealthy. Thus, segregation in the United States, and the Bay Area, trickles from housing discrimination, into K-12 education, and all the way up to higher education. Those with a college degree often migrate to denser cities, like those in the Bay Area, once they graduate, thereby contributing to segregation. Less than one percent of people with less than a high school diploma, and just over 1 percent of those with solely a high school diploma, leave their communities. On the other hand, individuals who receive a higher education migrate twice as often as those who do not. Thus, wealthier, whiter individuals migrate at a much higher rate. The Bay Area attracts this top talent, as it offers an array of high-paying jobs and an exciting culture. In turn, the region had a positive net migration rate of young college graduates between 2000 and 2015. In fact, over 40 percent of the population in most Bay Area counties now have Bachelor’s degrees. Yet when these young, educated people move to the Bay Area, they often do not choose to live in the areas with the highest poverty rates or the worst crime. And when they do, those neighborhoods quickly become gentrified, thereby forcing the low-income residents into even more distressed areas.

17.5 percent of Stanford’s student population comes from the top 1 percent of income earners, whereas only 18.6 percent comes from the bottom 60.

The Bay Area, along with the rest of the nation, struggles with severe segregation. African Americans, and other minorities, clearly suffer disproportionately. But so does the rest of the Bay Area.




California’s Reputation as an Environmental Savior BY DARA STREIT In the wake of an environmentally-hostile federal administration, California has all but been crowned the sustainable savior of the United States, largely due to its long history of climate change policy and strong rhetoric of the state’s leaders at present. The state has been set up as something of a resistance leader, meant to guide other like-minded states and localities throughout our nation toward a greener future, but how deserving are we of this reputation, and how prepared are we to take on this daunting mantle? California has earned this status thus far through pushing ambitious policies that have set the standard for others. Most prominent among them has been AB 32, which mandated that the state revert back to 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. The legislation garnered national attention when it was passed in 2006 for putting into effect the largest cap and trade system in the nation and was recently extended through 2030 via AB 398, which passed through the legislature this past year with the vehement support of Gov. Brown. This recent bill even went as far to acknowledge California’s reputation as a harbinger for progressive environmental policy, declaring that the state “has long been a national and international leader on energy conservation and environmental stewardship efforts,” and revealing that California’s current body of policymakers see themselves as at the forefront of the movement.

This is not a new trend in the state’s policymaking priorities, however. California has been making political waves for quite some time by advocating for stronger internal environmental regulations than those mandated by the federal government. One notable example was the exemption given to the state under the 1970s Clean Air Act, which allowed California to substitute its own stricter standards in place of those set forth at the national level. The Act itself is meant to regulate the overall fuel efficiency of car manufacturers’ entire fleets, as the entire body of cars sold by the manufacturer at any given time must meet these standards. Further, California’s more stringent standards for fuel efficiency have been adopted by 15 other states, making the policy something of a pioneer in the field. Even before the fight for an exemption to the 1970s Clean Air Act, leaders in the state were prioritizing the environment within their actions. The predecessor to the California Environmental Protection Agency was first established in 1961 by Gov. Edmund Gerald Brown Sr. (D), although the agency would not come into its current form until 1991 under Gov. Pete Wilson (R). The agency houses vital attempts within the state to combat climate change through programs like the California Air Resources Board, which now oversees the cap and trade program instituted by AB 32, and thus monitors the state’s emission levels. A good example of the important sustainable work that has earned California its reputation as the environmentally-conscious darling of the United States is this formative work of Gov. Jerry Brown. His personal agency initiatives, alongside measures from the legislature that he has signed into law, show a staunch dedica-


“CALIFORNIA HAS ALL BUT BEEN CROWNED THE SUSTAINABLE SAVIOR OF THE UNITED STATES” tion to the environment throughout his storied political career that his successor must be sure to emulate. The initiative of Gov. Brown to push California’s environmental policies further than any of his predecessors has been emblematic of the state’s approach to combating climate change. Brown is perhaps most notable for his adamant enforcement of AB 32 and additionally expanded his sustainability efforts through multiple executive orders. These tackled pressing environmental topics, ranging from emission standards to energy efficiency. Although California might not be formally empowered to act as an entirely separate body from the United States in terms of setting a national policy agenda, it holds enough soft power to essentially get away with acting as an independent entity from national



goals in a meaningful way. If any state is in a position to act during this time of environmental and political tumult, it would be California; it has been positioned as this savior of sorts due to its long history of sustainable policy initiatives. Further, the state has enough importance and impact to be taken seriously, both as a formidable force within the United States and abroad. Following the decision of the Trump Administration to have the United States exit the Paris Agreement, California, under Gov. Brown, led the charge among states and cities to commit to the standards set forth by the agreement. Alongside governors from 15 other states, including fellow CoChairs Gov. Cuomo of New York (D) and Gov. Inslee of Washington (D), Gov. Brown formed the bipartisan United States Climate Alliance. This may seem like only a moderate showing of participation, but the power of this group should not be underestimated. With California’s con-

siderable economic power, combined with economic activity of the other states, territories, and cities that have committed to the Alliance, the membership constituted 41% of America’s GDP as of September 2017. Since that time, New Jersey and Maryland have both joined the Alliance, bringing the membership’s contributions up to 46%. Just as important are their emission contributions, which account for over a fourth of the nation’s total. In the Alliance’s 2017 Report, the member states declared their commitment to reduce their emissions to meet the parameters set forth by the Paris Agreement for the entire United States. California’s contributions to this cannot be denied, as it accounts for a considerable amount of the group’s GDP and emissions; further, the leadership of Gov. Brown on this initiative and others is undeniable. He has also done much to put the state in the international spotlight as a leader. In addition to the commitments of the U.S. Climate Alliance to supplement emissions reductions on behalf of the nation, the Governor has taken the initiative to meet with policymakers in China to help them develop a cap and trade program of their own. While these policies have been instrumental strides toward more sustainable policies overall, the Brown administration has faced criticism for its environmental blind spots. Concerns like these reveal the flaws in Gov. Brown’s approach that prevent the state from truly living up to its reputation. The cap and trade aspects of AB 32 have significantly concentrated emissions, which has proved particularly damaging for marginalized communities that are subject to exposure and has raised concerns about the equity of the policy. Cap and trade often unintentionally targets low-income communities and concentrates emissions within them, creating increased air pollution in those areas and subjecting its residents to negative health effects. It is all well and good for Gov. Brown to tout

BPR DESIGN, RACHEL LIN the undeniable success that California has had as a pioneer of the policy in the country, but that does not mean he should be held up as an unquestioned bastion of sustainable success for the nation. Similarly, the work he has done for the U.S. Climate Alliance is only impressive insofar as it comes to fruition; however, because it is a nonbinding Alliance between states without any proposed accountability measures, only time will tell how truly successful the initiative will be. Gov. Brown is also notorious for his reluctance to come face to face with the harsh realities of the continued activities of the fracking industry in California and has been harshly critiqued by environmental activists and policymakers alike. Despite the better environmental reputation of natu-

ral gas compared to other fossil fuels like coal, fracking poses a number of environmental concerns; these range from chemical pollution, like methane leakage and water contamination, to environmental and land degradation, like the earthquakes caused by the instability created through the practice’s wastewater injections that threaten an already vulnerable California. Furthermore, 59% of California voters oppose offshore drilling. The practice similarly jeopardizes the health of many low-income Californians, as it endangers their water supply and puts it at risk of being contaminated with lead and other harmful chemicals. In a state infamous for its severe droughts and a primary water source that is expected to shrink up to 40% by 2050, it is vital that more policies be put in place to ensure access to clean water.

If California is truly going to continue paving the way in this field, it must do so in a way that does not jeopardize the safety of its most vulnerable communities, and further holds itself accountable to address all strata of environmental issues, not just those that are convenient to its image as a climate leader and economic development. Rhetoric and past legislation alone may not be satisfactory to leave California equipped to address the pressing issue of climate change in a manner that compensates for the federal government’s willful ignorance on the issue. Although California might be painted as the nation’s last hope in combating an environmentally devastating future wrought by harmful national policies and purposeful climate inaction, doing so effectively will require a much stronger commitment from our leaders than what has been put forth at present. Flashy initiatives and politicized speech might have our policymakers polling well, but the state needs truly substantive policies that hold ourselves and the industry we house accountable while protecting all who reside here. To their credit, many forthcoming leaders in California politics have made attempts to capitalize on this green fever through a mix of vibrant campaign rhetoric and policy proposals. Both frontrunners to succeed Gov. Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa, have laid out their environmental policy goals for the upcoming gubernatorial election later this year. Newsom has outlined ambitious commitments for the state in his electoral platform, espousing 100% renewable energy within the state, expansion of public transit efficiency, and zero diesel pollution by 2030, with overarching goals of equity and accountability. However, his plans for achieving these goals are



Villaraigosa has also put forth an environmental platform in preparation for the election—although it is considerably more scaled back—and prioritizes the interests of businesses through initiatives like updating CEQA standards to expand construction opportunities. He has waxed poetic about his sustainability efforts as Mayor of Los Angeles, and not without cause—his tenure saw a significant rise in renewable energy within the city, and in 2007 he put forth a detailed policy plan entitled Green L.A., meant to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, he has also shown interest in reducing the environmental review processes that businesses are subjected to and has taken money from energy and oil giants like Chevron and PG&E for his campaign. His efforts certainly should not be discarded entirely, but the susceptibility of his policy proposals to corporate interests hinder their potential effectiveness.


If ever there was a time for California’s leaders to step up to the metaphorical plate, it is now. Current rhetoric and proposals surrounding climate change policy are steps in the right direction, but ultimately very few proposals do enough to push California to take on a larger role in sustainable development and lead the fight against climate change within the United States. A majority of voters are on board to be the next leaders of environmental progress, and in turn, are expecting more from their elected representatives. If politicians want to live up to the climate-change rhetoric they so readily espouse to appeal to these sustainable instincts the state has, they would be more than validated by their constituents. Unless our policymakers ramp up their efforts considerably, we are undeserving of our reputation as an environmental resistance leader and are letting the people of California down. Climate policy that really gets at the heart of our environmental problems is not always the most enticing— it may come at a cost to our industry and development in the short term— but it is absolutely vital if the Golden State will ever truly go green.


varied in their depth and feasibility. Additionally, Newsom has expressed his desire to increase regulations on fracking but has yet to outright condemn the practice in spite of his apparent support of renewable energy.

Playing Fair with



ast July, Inglewood residents received flyers in the mail from an organization known as IRATE Inglewood—Inglewood Residents Against Takings and Evictions. These mailings, as one might guess, were opposed to a new neighborhood development—the potential construction of a new basketball arena. It was decidedly doom-andgloom. People would lose their homes to this stadium, the flyer claimed, and the rest of the city would be next if this injustice remained unopposed. These circumstances are typical of residents of places like Inglewood, specifically this particular area, which is largely abandoned and unused since it sits directly under the LAX flight path, and is hence ripe for large-scale building projects and revitalization. For developers, including sports teams trying to build stadiums, areas like this are virgin land, potential untapped, value yet unachieved. And for the Los Angeles Clippers, this is a golden opportunity. Depending on your point of view, the Clippers are either a second-rate superfluous basketball team, the blacksheep little brother of the Lakers, or an unfairly maligned franchise that’s been stuck in a rut for literally its entire existence. However, regardless of your point of view, the Clippers clearly

aren’t very successful, lack any semblance of a genuine, organic fanbase, and don’t even have their own arena. A new arena in Inglewood is their holy grail—a new lease on life and a chance to redo the past. The Oakland Athletics, at least right now, are in a similar position—they’ve lost fans to the San Francisco Giants, and play in the same concrete monstrosity as the Oakland Raiders. Previous efforts to move have been thwarted by Giants’ refusal to cede territorial rights in San Jose. The franchise is running out of options; a storied history isn’t particularly helpful when your team doesn’t have any money. Of course, the Clippers and the A’s are not the only sports franchises that have ever walked down this road. A new stadium is tempting even for franchises that are doing well—it provides an opportunity for a revamped image, which can help any team out, and it generates excitement among existing fans and can spark renewed interest in the team. It’s a tried and tested idea that often results in success. In California, the San Francisco Giants are the poster child for a new stadium. Their old stadium, Candlestick Park, was south of San Francisco, inaccessible via public transportation, and was doused CALIFORNIA


“EVERY FRANCHISE WITH THE HOPES AND DREAMS OF THE CLIPPERS AND THE A’S IS RELYING IMPLICITLY ON THE CITY THEY ARE BUILDING IN” in heavy fog nearly every hour of every day of every month. Although not as bad as the tiny, localized patches of weather that force Dodger fans to leave home games by the seventh inning, the biting cold winds and freezing fog of Candlestick dented attendance, especially in down years for the team, and relegated presence at home games to an activity only the most hardcore Giants fans could hope to participate in. The construction of AT&T (then Pacific Bell) Park began in 1997, in an industrial area by the waterfront, south of Market, and opened in 2000. Since then, the surrounding area has gentrified rapidly; current construction projects in the Mission Bay area, directly south of the stadium, total over 4 billion dollars. Crucially, this was the first MLB ballpark built without public funds since Dodger Stadium in 1962. The success of AT&T Park in catapulting team attendance and national profile upwards, stimulating local development in a formerly down-and-out industrial area, and raising team profits serves as the evidence for owners of sports franchises in CA that a new stadium is a smart decision. The only sticking point might be the private financing; owners across the country, including Oakland’s very own Raiders, ask for public money for new sta-


diums, justifying these demands with promises of new development and neighborhood revitalization. However, research shows that this rarely bears fruit. The Brookings Institute claims that “the economic benefits of sports facilities are de minimus.” But the final card that teams can pull is to threaten to move to somewhere that will fund their stadium, if their current city is being uncooperative. The Raiders, for instance, did exactly this—when Oakland denied them public funding despite repeated threats to move, they packed their bags and ran away to Las Vegas, whose government agreed to fund a new stadium. Note, however, that cities sometimes lose even if they offer public funds; the Rams recently moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles even though they would have received funds from St. Louis but not from Los Angeles. In general, most franchises seem to value the market size and reach of a location much more than whether or not they are staring hungrily at the carrot that is a publicly funded stadium. But many other franchises, including the A’s and the Clippers, as well as the Rams and the Golden State Warriors, are willing to take the trade. Just over a year ago, ground was broken for Chase Center, the Warriors’ new arena in San Francisco, built less than a mile from AT&T Park, clearly an attempt to capitalize on the current

success of the Warriors by imitating the Giants franchise. The A’s and the Clippers are doing the same. And their choices mimic the choices made by the Giants 20 years earlier—both are attempting to build in relatively inactive industrial areas, for example. Why would they not? Of course, every franchise with the hopes and dreams of the Clippers and the A’s is relying implicitly on the city they are building in—to let them build, to welcome and support the team, but perhaps most importantly, to encourage development around the new stadium and actively work to revitalize the typically industrial area where the new stadium will be located. Not all cities are willing partners in this endeavor. There is a tangible cost to allowing a franchise to build a new stadium and developing around it, although it may be hidden behind positive, feel-good words like “development” and “revitalization.” The reality is that no sports facility has ever appeared to be self-financing. The returns promised for the city may not materialize. For citizens, however, this is hardly a new issue, and it certainly isn’t unique to stadium-building. The circumstances Inglewood residents are facing are typical of citizens living in an area targeted by any kind of developer—the political machinations,

local resistance, threats of eminent domain, and concerns about a changing neighborhood exist in both circumstances. The opposition is similar in both cases; for every new construction project, there is a group similar to IRATE Inglewood opposing it. Even the tangible effects of the projects are similar, as both involve a similar shortterm effect in living conditions and a long-term threat of gentrification but also a promise of improvement. However, despite the apparent similarities between stadium-building and other kinds of local development, they are not treated the same. Sports teams are coveted and receive arguably undeserved public funding for stadiums, but even when arenas and stadiums are privately funded, they still receive outsized support from some communities, businesses, and politicians. Cities like Inglewood rush through unanimous pro-stadium decisions, and state politicians have been willing to waive environmental laws (specifically the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires developers to examine and disclose the environmental impact of their projects) to benefit new stadiums, including a state bill to ease construction of new transportation to the Clippers’ and Rams’ new stadiums, and previously, a special exemption for the Sacramento Kings’ new basketball arena. Often, franchises can also capitalize on reasonably large amounts of public support, enough to streamline their approval process by getting it passed via initiative instead of the slow bureaucratic trudge that most new projects

must go through. Selling a new sports stadium is often quite easy—everyone wants their local teams to succeed, diehard fans are often outspoken, and the economic benefits are easily spun as inevitably positive. Stadium proposals and battles also receive disproportionate amounts of national attention for what are essentially local issues, reducing the power of local anti-gentrification organizations, and groups like IRATE Inglewood. Yet the main benefits that stadiums offer local residents are completely intangible. By far the most opposition to stadium projects, especially the A’s and the Clippers’, are by powerful local businesses, which hold far more sway. For instance, in Inglewood, the Forum, an older basketball arena now used mostly for concerts, has strongly opposed the Clippers’ new arena, largely due to fear of competition. And in Oakland, the A’s effort to build a new stadium has been temporarily thwarted by Laney College, the local community college. This particular brand of opposition exists in stark contrast to the kind of opposition housing projects face, for instance—city council meetings taken over by activists, stalled projects, even arson. There isn’t much to justify such a drastic difference between the treatment of stadium projects and any other local construction projects. Franchises pitch their stadiums and arenas as if they encourage development, and their tangible economic effects are similar. However, it’s difficult to quantify cultural importance. Sports teams have a tremendous amount of local sway be-

cause they are embedded in collective cultural consciousness. When teams want to build a new stadium, they attempt to capitalize on their local appeal, whether implicitly or explicitly. And teams without a lot of local support, like the Clippers, can still appeal to Inglewood’s desire for national prestige, attention, history, and sports culture. In this case, the model to look to is Boston, and the legendary fanatical support the Celtics, Patriots, and Red Sox enjoy from local fans. However, none of these teams have built a new stadium in a new location since the 1970s; the Red Sox play in the oldest baseball stadium in the MLB. It is unclear that any team that moves cities, or even locations, can achieve a similar degree and type of support. Inglewood and the Clippers, plus Oakland and the A’s, are thus at a crossroads. The Clippers seem determined to continue down the same road that many teams before them have followed—promises of community revitalization and a search for a strong and vibrant local fanbase, without huge probabilities of success either way. There is a possibility that neither Inglewood or the Clippers come out as winners. The A’s, however, have a choice to make. They do not know, at this point, where they might build, and Oakland does not know if they will stay. It is still possible for them to take a new path—avoid pursuing a developer-driven vision, avoid capitalizing on unnecessarily high local support, and build a new stadium in genuine cooperation with the city and its residents. It remains to be seen whether or not they will.



America’s ‘Welfare State’


Isn’t Faring Well:

Misconceptions Surrounding America’s Homeless BY DHRUV MANDAL


s the clock struck 7:00 pm, the homeless shelter on Dwight Way was thrown into the full swing of Tuesday night Womxn’s Clinic. Student volunteers from UC Berkeley’s Suitcase Clinic funneled in, followed, of course, by the ladies of the occasion, homeless females from every corner of the city. I stood waiting in front of the foot washing station as ladies took their seats in a row of chairs; most were regular faces and a couple were individuals I saw sporadically every few weeks or so. While I readied myself, a lady stumbled through the corridor and sat in the last seat—the Womxn’s Clinic director looked at me and remarked, “Dhruv, take care of her.” I placed a



tub of water at her feet, and promptly started to scrub her calluses. A few minutes in, I looked up at her as she sat mute and asked, “So, how have you been?”

Lips still trembling, she answered, “You’re the first person who’s actually cared to ask me how I’ve been in three months.”

one’s existence, seemed so alien to me. I mean, how could I relate? I’m a college student of upper middle-class socioeconomic status with a decent social life: life’s been great to me. Whether I’d like to admit it or not, I was a mere reflection of the bounty of my surroundings; the same can’t be said for the homeless. How often have you walked by an individual panhandling on the street? How often have you made eye contact with them? This aforementioned feeling of disenfranchisement isn’t alien; it’s reflective of the outdated legislation and societal stigmas that treat homeless people as complete outcasts.

That response still gives me goosebumps. That feeling of invisibility, constantly questioning the point of

There are distinct challenges to tackling the homeless issue though; simply tabulating them poses concerns. How

When she began to tear up, I panicked. What did you just do? I thought. Oh no, I must’ve made her so uncomfortable. My internal dialogue aside, the only words I could get out were, “I’m sorry, is everything okay?”

do you count all the individuals staying in shelters, huddling under overpasses, or even living out of cars? Is it even possible to adjust for that level of vagrancy? Not only that, but does the number of people without a place to live adequately portray homelessness in America? There are thousands of individuals living near the poverty line such that a bad paycheck or an increase in expense could throw them into financial insolvency. How do you account for that? Regardless of our best arguments of which metric works better than others, the simple fact is that 2016 data estimates by the National Alliance to End Homelessness reveal that more than 83,000 individuals nationwide are chronically homeless, doomed to suffer the burdens of economic disadvantage with no clear way out in sight. Be that as it may, it would be willfully ignorant to forget that the society of today is heavily dependent on the policies of old. While homelessness has been persistent in American society for decades, the 1980s were especially tough on Americans below the poverty line. Post-war prosperity had long since stagnated, with the U.S. economy becoming entrenched in a period of deindustrialization, where wages were lowered across all fields, according to a 2007 report by the Inter-University Consortium Against Homelessness. With over 15% of Americans below the poverty line and a sharp increase in the number of homeless nationally, Congress introduced the first major piece of federal legislation addressed towards the issue of homelessness, the McKinney-Vento Act of 1987, passing it with bipartisan support. The act was one of the first of its kind, striving to provide funds to reorganize and provide funds to the U.S. Department of Housing and Development for emergency shelters, housing, job training, healthcare, drug rehabilitation, educational programs, and other related services.

Another development was the creation of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) in July of 1987. Since its inception, it has been tasked with coming up with sustainable strategies to combat the growth of chronic homelessness, promising to create a partnership at every level of government in the U.S. These policies and organizations became the bedrock of the U.S. government’s attempt to combat homelessness, specifically from an educational standpoint. With the passage of McKinney-Vento in 1987, the numerous potential benefits for homeless youth to receive an education and subsidized living were lauded by the public. Laurene Heybach, an attorney who argued an Illinois-state case to enforce the act, put it best when she remarked, “Each of our great civil rights struggles began at the schoolhouse door—race, disabilities, immigration, LGBTQ. Homelessness would be no different. [Finally] the structure, funding, teacher and staff buy-in, legislative commitment and research [had] grown.” Almost as influential was the introduction of the assistance approach “Housing First” in 1988, as it became the main priority of both USICH and many similar advocacy organizations, such as the National Coalition for the Homelessness. The approach centered upon prioritizing permanent housing for homeless individuals over anything else considered less immediate, such as education and jobs searches. Housing First initially showed improvement, mainly benefiting individuals with mental disorders and substance abusers. In fact, New York, California, and Pennsylvania all soon adopted programs with the hopes of significantly reducing their homeless populations; one program in Utah, now defunct, managed to house 2,000 individuals who were formerly chronically homeless. But not all was as it seemed. Following

the institution of the McKinney-Vento Act, systemic issues surrounding the homeless and affordability arose. Growth of modern for-profit real estate complicated the search for affordable housing for individuals at the poverty line, leaving them without shelter. To make it worse, many cities have all but shut down shelter funding and construction, with cities like Los Angeles and New York City allowing 67% and 30%, respectively, of their homeless populations to fend for themselves on the streets while more and more shelters continue to be shut down, as of August 2016. To compensate, the Department of Housing and Urban Development attempted to construct cheap housing projects in areas of low-socioeconomic status, mainly neighborhoods in New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, only for them to be torn down as soon as they were built, leaving many individuals homeless. City officials cite crime as the main culprit, attempting to sweeten the deal with false promises of newer developments with safer neighborhoods where the poor and middle class can coexist. USICH, too, fell by the wayside, failing to sustain cooperation between most states on possible measures to end homelessness in America. Much of USICH’s failure came down to its lack of discretionary policy when it came to allocating funding and the disorganized spectrum of issues it was tasked with over the years, with its Opening Doors initiative (2010) expanding its range of efforts to healthcare management and crisis response systems. This combination of misdirection and reduction in federal funding, specifically a staggering 85% funding cut, has weakened USICH’s impact, so much so that the Trump administration plans to terminate the program altogether. With these challenges seeming insurmountable, lawmakers attempted to depoliticize the homeless issue, BERKELEY POLITICAL REVIEW


keeping it out of sight and mind. The formulation of the 10-Year Plan in 2000 by the National Alliance to End Homelessness placed numerous burdens on the process of aid application while under the guise of direct action. This involved the alliance, in many instances, denying the actual state of homelessness by mandating homeless counts take place during winter months when most homeless take shelter indoors. Another tactic lawmakers took was to decrease the accessibility of special services previously mentioned in the McKinney-Vento Act by including a high degree of client compliance within the process to receive aid. The need for regional agents to certify residence and employment status contrasted with the “frequent flyer” or vagrant mentality of many homeless individuals which exacerbated the issue further. One predominant issue that made older legislation so unsuccessful was the many statutes put into place governing the homeless lifestyle, rather than attempting to integrate these disenfranchised individuals back into regular society. The institution of homeless job hiring quotas for businesses unfairly pitted the socially-underprivileged against the economically-disadvantaged, people considered out of circumstance versus people who seemingly had to fight to earn a living. This artificially-bred competition slowly eroded away any lasting sympathy for the homeless population by work-

“With these challenges seeming insurmountable, lawmakers attempted to depoliticize the homeless issue, keeping it out of sight and mind.“ ing-class Americans and employers alike. Recent reports by the National Coalition for the Homeless reveal that 70.4% of homeless respondents to annual surveys believe that they had


been discriminated against by private businesses based on housing status. Adding insult to injury, the construction of low-income housing in middle-class neighborhoods alienated the same individuals that voted for homeless policy reform; as hard as it is to believe, statistics show that a majority of Americans, around 60%, agree the homeless require aid as well as should have further restrictions placed on their activities. The facts don’t lie. Many Americans nowadays still don’t recognize the systemic challenges that homeless individuals face, believing that they are either on welfare or should still be able to one day achieve financial solvency. Studies coordinated by the Los Angeles Times showed that 44% of white Americans believed that the homeless were content with living on welfare, while the reality is that most families can’t afford most cities’ rising rents. In addition, most federal assistance programs haven’t supported the demand for aid simply because there is no mandate in place to all those facing financial insolvency; according to U.S. policy, housing is not an entitlement like, say, food stamps. Consequently, most government housing subsidies favor homeowners rather than renters, which, yet again, favors those at slightly higher income brackets. While it’s important to identify faults in past policies, it’s important to build upon the responses to homelessness that have in fact worked. Federal housing programs such as the Housing Choice Voucher Program (2008) help individuals rent rather than buy, favoring flexible financial situations by providing qualifying families with assistance in paying rental fees for residential homes and apartments, not just in subsidized housing projects. In fact, states and cities can learn from Washington D.C.’s “Home for the Holidays” initiative, which is committed to countering soaring house prices that have con-

tributed to a recent homeless crisis. By compiling and subsidizing housing in its “rapid rehousing” program, D.C. has managed to provide shortterm rental assistance and services to homeless citizens, with the goals of helping people obtain housing quickly, increase self- sufficiency, and stay housed without draconian preconditions (such as employment, income, etc.) Overall, D.C. has managed to direct more immediate care to its homeless population more effectively than other cities. However, many high-cost cities implementing rapid rehousing have found that rents are not economically feasible for low-wage earners and may be impossible to financially support for much of the homeless population, especially the unemployed and disabled. If anything, case studies in Seattle and other high-cost cities have shown that older methods of transitional housing may possibly outshine rapid rehousing, with one study boasting a 73% success rate in residence sustainability in Seattle communities using the transitional method. Regardless of the downsides, it would be foolish to underestimate the efficacy of rapid rehousing projects as potential solutions. After my services were complete, the lady hurried out the door without another word; it was at that point I realized I never caught her name. And I still think about that now, all the possible connections that we could’ve made now lost because I didn’t take the time to show her I recognized her, that I saw her. The importance of federal policy and societal stigma aside, simply the recognition of an issue might be the biggest step of all. So the next time you walk by someone sitting on the street, earning their keep, look at them. Acknowledge them. It’s a start: sometimes, the best way to help the homeless is to remind them they exist.




heathed in black cloth and armed with badges pinned to lapels, they marched across a battlefield rolled out in red. The seasoned and the newly inducted alike faced off against swarming barrels of cameras and brandished microphones. Shoulder to shoulder they descended on a different kind of battlefield: the Golden Globes. It is not often that the images of celebrity and soldier are conflated, but the #TimesUp blackout at the award show calls to mind images of war and revolution. For designer Prabal Gurung, however, an all black palette isn’t fashion’s only available response to the movement. According to his vision, a strong woman need not do away with traditionally feminine fashion. Quite the contrary, he claims. Gurang’s most recent collection was inspired by the Gulabi Gang, a remarkable group of Indian women that work together as vigilantes to fight sexual predators and domestic abusers. His New York Fashion Week show was a cacophony of purples and pinks, of feminine ribbons and diaphanous lace and of twisted silhouettes clutching white roses. The Hadid sisters closed the show with their arms interlinked in a show of support that emblematized a kinship between all women and that extends beyond familial relation.

Gurung is not the first designer to pay homage to feminism, nor will he be the last. Sociopolitical controversy and fashion have always been inextricably intertwined. In March last year Dior debuted a white T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase ‘we should all be feminists’ available to the public for an astronomical $710. In its product description, the brand makes vague promises to donate an unspecified ‘percentage’ of proceeds from sales to Rihanna’s non-profit. The hundreds of dupes available online for prices as low as $14 don’t bother with even partial donation.

“Feminist has, for better and for worse, become a buzzword.” It is perhaps the token descriptor of our time. Feminism has emancipated from its clearly political and economic origins. A feminist is no longer a bra-burning radical who spouts Marxist ideals and pushes for specific socioeconomic and political change. Instead, feminism has been rebranded for the general public’s consumption. It is now an institution that is trendy and current. It is a movement led by Emma Watson and her ilk that speaks in a younger,

whiter voice and says, “Yes queen!” Its name is often reduced to the stomachable ‘girl power.’ Its vague new mission of self-empowerment and its glamorous new face in the form of Beyoncé has been seized upon by marketing teams and design teams in the fashion industry. In 2007, Dolce and Gabbana’s campaign advertisement featured the eroticization of violence against women. Today, however, the tone is different: advertisements depict powerful images of plus-size models staring resolutely into a camera, donned in graphic t-shirts that make direct reference to feminist theory. Brands cannot capitalize on the male gaze without backlash or threats of boycott. Sexism no longer has the same selling power. Unfortunately, it has been replaced by feminism. Is the capitalization of feminist ideals and feminism surprising? Not quite. At first glance, feminism and capitalism are incompatible systems. Leftist ideology emphasizes that capitalism exacerbates inequalities by arguing that capitalism, in its essence, requires that some people possess more economic power than others, and this translates to further ONLINE


stead remains rooted in the inherently flawed idea that shopping can replace political action.

High fashion and the commercialization of #MeToo disparities in social and political capital as well. On the other hand, feminism seeks to abolish sexist oppression and establish equity between all people, whether they be male, female, or non-binary. In practice, however, the two intersect more than one would expect. The #MeToo and the Time's Up movements serve to shed light on serious issues of sexual harassment and assault both in the workplace and outside of it. In response to the prominence of the movement and the hashtag, Etsy and other online stores have been flooded with #MeToo merchandise, from travel mugs to badges to sweatshirts. GirlPowerPendants sells a necklace with the hashtag adorned across it in neon pink in an ironic echo of Gurung’s sentiments. Most of these sellers do not mention any charitable funneling of their proceeds. Their feminism extends not to political action or economic involvement, but in-

Feminist fashion doesn’t deserve a complete dismissal. Fashion serves as an art form and as an essential form of personal expression for many people—and its amalgamation with feminism is hardly unwelcome. The world of style serves to empower people and helps them express their creativity and often their culture and identity. It can also act as a tool to establish a career in the increasingly viable and lucrative industry of Instagram and other social media influence. When public figures like Rihanna and Natalie Portman appear on social media in Dior’s T-shirt, the feminist movement is bolstered and, to their fan base, legitimized. If it weren’t for the personal stories of the women in Hollywood who came forward in support for Time's Up, the movement would not have gained so much traction. Their experiences helped shed light on the unaddressed culture of sexual abuse and harassment in Hollywood. It was these women, consciously clad in pink hats and expensive-

“Is the capitalization of feminist ideals and feminism surprising? Not quite.” SLATE


“The well-intentioned movement of #MeToo and feminism is exploited by the very system it strives to dismantle.”


ly disheveled designer t-shirts, that brought issues of inequality and harassment to a jarring forefront. And in doing so whilst clad in their high fashion merchandise, they unwittingly supported the systems that perpetuate the problem. According to the Fashion Transparency Index by Fashion Revolution, Dior scored 0 out of 250 possible points for their disclosed policies in 2017. The index takes into account five categories, including policy and commitments, governance, traceability, response to backlash, and spotlight issues. Dior’s parent company is LMVH, which also includes brands Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, and other prominent designers. LMVH has no explicit code of conduct to protect its workers from harassment at production factories

where they pick and process raw materials. The company hides behind its insistence that its products are made in Europe in an attempt to counteract images of sweltering sweatshops in developing nations like Bangladesh, but its factories in Eastern European nations and Turkey show similar dismal conditions, made worse by the hours of unpaid work and crackdown on unionization. The company refused to offer comments after its long term collaborator, stylist Karl Templer, was accused of sexual harassment by more than dozen models. Dior continues to collaborate with Mario Testino after fifteen male models came forward with their own allegations against the famed photographer. The company’s silence sends an obvious message—their feminism will be restrained to t-shirts that cost more

than the wages of an entire sweatshop of women who make them. The well-intentioned movement of #MeToo and feminism is exploited by the very system it strives to dismantle. A brand’s feminism cannot exist in a vacuum. Its support for the cause will never be intersectional until it alters the system it thrives in—and pushes for true activism, not a hollow idea of it. Brands pledge their support yet do little in the way of true reform through policy and management. Movements like #MeToo cannot succeed if they fail to acknowledge their inherent limitations. If feminism is packaged in a lace Dior gown, why should we be surprised when it sells?



Yasukuni Shrine:

More Than Just Honoring the Dead BY ISAAC ENGELBERG


he Yasukuni Shrine is tucked away off a bustling Tokyo street, a stone’s throw away from the Imperial Palace at the center of the city. In the grounds around its palatial Shinto-style architecture lie a series of shrines commemorating the millions of people who died in the internal struggles that created modern Japan as we know it today. Passive visitors of the Shrine can easily miss its significance. From an outside perspective, the shrine is simply a symbol of the intersection between Japan’s military prowess and its traditional values. But with an understanding of Japan’s history during World War II, the shrine takes on a more nefarious undertone. On a typically chilly Tokyo day in December of last year, the Yasukuni Shrine was atypically busy. Sixty members of the Japanese parliament, all of whom were members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP), sat below rows of cherry blossom trees sending prayers to those enshrined at the memorial. Some sat beside the statue of Ōmura Masujirō, the ‘Father of the Japanese Imperial Army,’ while others looked on at a recent addition to the grounds: a statue immortalizing the sacrifices of the Kamikaze Pilot. Cameras tracked the members, watching their every move. Any time an official visits the shrine, the geopolitical climate in the Northeast Asian region becomes even more heightened. The Yasukuni Shrine, in this way, is seen as a symbol of the revisionist narrative of wartime memory that plagues the Japanese psyche to this day. Since World War II, the Shrine has been coopted by the Japanese government to memorialize the soldiers of the Pacific War, including fourteen class A war-criminals as well as the internationally-condemned wartime Prime Minister Hideki Tojo. For decades, the shrine has been a hotbed for criticism by countries that


suffered under Japanese imperialism during the first half of the 20th century. Painting these war criminals as ‘victims,’ as the Yasukuni Shrine explicitly does, speaks directly to the revisionist narrative that the ruling LDP government has propagated, denying Korean and Chinese narratives so integral to their national identities. Divergent narratives in this way explain why wartime memories remain a catalyst for conflict in the region, where political leaders use history to mobilize nationalist sentiment. These social constructions of post-war narratives, created by the ruling party in Japan, are entrenched in a search for authority based on hegemonic strength and uncontrollable nationalism that explicitly provoke hostility from Korea and China. Japan’s interactions with its neighbors, its attitudes toward conflicts in other regions of the world, and symbols of Japanese nationhood are all, in some form, linked to and shaped by memories and interpretations of Japan’s wartime past. Japan’s war narrative was not originally constructed this way. America, in presiding over Japan’s reconstruction, pushed a pacifist narrative of history, explicitly etching it into Japan’s constitution through Article 9, which called for the complete renunciation of Japan’s military. In this view of history, war itself was the aggressor, and Imperial Japan, corrupted by a desire for imperialism equal to its Western counterparts, was a product of a destructive military complex. In this narrative, Japan was but a passive victim of its circumstances. This pacifist narrative led to the pardoning of many of Japan’s most heinous wartime officials by the United States, which saw them as necessary for the nation’s speedy reconstruction. Among these were the scientists behind the infamous Unit 731 human testing facility, who were acquitted in exchange for their gruesome research findings.



In its effort to hasten the reconstruction of Japanese society and squash potential Communist movements, America illicitly provided aid until the 70s (only revealed to the public in the 1990s by the New York Times) to back a conservative government—the LDP—which held an unapologetic wartime view, justifying Japan’s actions as heroism and self-defense. With this decision, America chose stability over its own values. In this view of the war, Japan’s annexation of Korea and its subsequent exploitation of some 200,000 Korean “Comfort Women”—a corps of forced prostitutes mandated by the Imperial Army of Japan—freed the country of Chinese influence. Even Japan’s defeat, as it is chronicled in at the Yasukuni-affiliated Yushukan museum, freed “obedient servants of their [Western] colonizers.” Preoccupied with modernization and democratization, Japan has justified its actions as the Robin Hood to imperialist powers. The picking-and-choosing of Japan’s wartime memory thus allows the LDP to avoid its fraught past and placate the unapologetic hard-right, helping to preserve legitimacy and create a national identity that asserts Japan as the ‘liberator’ of East Asia. The LDP, since its creation in 1955, has formed all but two of Japan’s parliamentary governments, and as such, their ideology has had a stranglehold on Japanese mainstream society since the party’s beginning. Much like anger over the Yasukuni Shrine, angers in East Asia have recently flared up with Japanese nationalists’ efforts to whitewash war aggression in textbooks. In 2015, the Education Ministry released the outcome of its review of middle school textbooks for the first time since Abe took power in 2012. Nineteen of the history book’s 357 pages dealt with events between 1931 and 1945. Only one line, in a footnote, was written about the massacre that took place when Japanese forces invaded Nanking, China, slaughtering some 300,000 civilians in an event known to


the rest of the world as the Rape of Nanking. “The Japanese Army murdered a large number of Chinese troops and civilians”—was allowed into print. The second half—“and engaged in raping, looting and arson”—was not. In the development of relations with China and Taiwan, where memories of atrocities committed against both peoples are used as political tools, this lack of acknowledgment rightfully angers both Chinese governments. Only one line, again in a footnote, was allowed on “comfort women.” Much in the same vein, the undermining of Korean wartime history impedes the development of an amicable relationship between South Korea and Japan, two otherwise similar countries. More than just a de facto effort to control history, the revisionist narrative has been explicitly legitimized by Japan’s national government. In August 2015, Prime Minister Abe and his cabinet approved an official statement elevating this ideology to policy: “The peace we enjoy today exists only upon such precious sacrifices. And therein lies the origin of postwar Japan.” This is the revisionist mentality: that all the violence during World War II was worthwhile because it set the basis for the prosperity enjoyed in contemporary East Asia. Abe inextricably links the peace enjoyed today to Japanese aggression in the 1930s and 40s, and thereby endows legitimacy on his nation’s past actions. If this revisionist history ruffles the feathers of Japan’s neighbors, why is this narrative propagated in such a way? The manipulation of national memory as constructed by the ruling party provides an orthodoxy of national memory imperative for gaining support for the rewriting—or at least reinterpretation—of Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution, historically used to suppress militarization of the nation. In light of the disputed Senkaku/ Diaoyudao Islands (the Japanese and Chinese names, respectively), this re-

“Justification of the war by the Japanese government is not necessary to honor their war dead, nor is it responsible when attempting to overcome a fraught and fractured past.” visionist history provides clear geopolitical implications. In July of 2014, the Japanese government approved a reinterpretation of this amendment which gave more powers to the Japan Self-Defense Forces. Since then, Japan has announced intentions to develop a surface-to-ship missile by 2023. When deployed from the Ryukyu island chain, the missile will be well within range of the disputed islands between China and Japan, which were the first to be claimed by Imperial Japan. Justification of the war by the Japanese government is not necessary to honor their war dead, nor is it responsible when attempting to overcome a fraught and fractured past. Turning this aggression into a foundational event of contemporary Japanese history is a deplorable move by Prime Minister Abe and the LDP party. Japanese revisionism prevents Japan from being a leader in Asian international governance and from further developing diplomatic ties with like-minded, democratic, market-oriented Asian countries such as South Korea and Taiwan. As long as the Yasukuni Shrine continues to be patronized by those in the government, an underlying tension between these states will continue to exist, impeding progress in a rapidly-changing and ever-unstable region of the world.


BY CHANCE BORECZKY In October of 2016, the Colombian government put forward a national referendum. Voters were asked to approve a new peace deal with the FARC rebels, ending decades of civil war— but they rejected it. This was a major setback, but the legislature ratified a revised peace agreement two months later. Since then, the government has worked to integrate former members of FARC into normal life and even into politics. If the agreement holds, Colombia will be well on the way to


recovery, but the country will continue to feel the repercussions of the long and brutal conflict.

Half a Century at War

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC hereafter) formed as a distinct organization in 1964, in response to an intense government counterinsurgency campaign against Communist guerrilla groups. Throughout its existence, FARC resisted government control of rural ar-

eas of Colombia, promoted socialism and indigenous rights, and employed terrorism, kidnapping, and narcotics trafficking to fund and further its goals. The government responded with intensely violent and repressive policies; in particular, the establishment of paramilitary death squads with an open mandate to use any means necessary to combat the rebels. Both previous negotiation periods—1984 to 1987 and 1998 to 2001— ended in failure to reach a substantive agreement, followed by viciously renewed warfare. These incidents prompted resentment; when talks broke down in 1987, the government hunted down FARC members who had entered mainstream politics or participated in negotiations and often used extrajudicial means to punish them. Voter frustration with these repeated impasses eventually came to a head. Álvaro Uribe won the 2002 presidential election on a retributive platform. There would be no further negotiation; instead, he planned an all-out effort to eliminate FARC completely. This pol-



icy was not without results: FARC’s numbers dropped by half and the government regained territory. Yet, it was clear that achieving victory through these methods would be an interminable process. FARC was not cowed, and its popular support was buoyed by the government’s tactics.

An Agreement is Reached

Juan Manuel Santos was elected in 2010 with a pledge to continue the policies that he had pioneered as Uribe’s minister of defense. He did so, but only long enough to consolidate his support. In 2012, he announced plans to pursue peace with FARC. Four years of comprehensive and wide-ranging discussions followed. The government acceded to a greatly expanded rural economic program early on, and a hard-fought agreement on disarmament plans, resolution of war crime allegations, and FARC’s political legitimization followed. That deal was the subject of the 2016 referendum, and it failed partly due to staunch opposition by Uribe. The former president felt that the deal was too forgiving and that it allow FARC members to escape justice. The sheer length and brutality of the war spurred voters to seek change but also cemented opposition to FARC among conservatives, and Uribe was greatly successful in exploiting this sentiment. After receiving a Nobel Peace Prize for the rejected peace agreement, Santos returned to the table to produce a revised deal, and successfully pressured the Colombian legislature to ratify it.

Swords to Plowshares

The disarmament process laid out in the revised agreement was straightforward and notably successful. FARC fighters gathered in designated areas, turned in their weapons, and began to receive government assistance to enter civilian life. The UN mission supervising the transition process certified the completion of the dis-


armament process in June 2017. The weapons will be scrapped and used to construct a series of commemorative monuments. Hopefully the UN is not celebrating too soon. The ELN, another rebel group, recently resumed terrorist attacks on government targets after a ceasefire expired, and FARC has spawned dozens of smaller splinter groups that largely reject the peace agreement. Incorporating these groups into the agreement would take years, if successful at all. Other aspects of the peace deal will take far longer to deliver results. The most important of these provisions is the integration of former rebels (and their ideology) into national politics. FARC’s successor party, the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (also FARC), has been granted automatic representation in each chamber of Congress and a temporary exemption from certain regulations on political parties. Rodrigo Londono, a popular guerrilla leader, has declared his candidacy in the 2018 Presidential election and has already put forward elements of a political platform.

The Next Decade

In principle, the Colombian government has a detailed plan for the future. Now that it has achieved “peace with honor,” it can prevent a resurgence of fighting by addressing the socioeconomic concerns that motivated FARC supporters and by giving those supporters a voice in political life. This method has seen success in other civil conflicts. But it will require a sustained commitment from both sides. If FARC becomes disillusioned with parliamentary politics and returns to violence, the government will assuredly answer in kind. Similarly, if the populace begins to resent the lenient treatment accorded to the rebels, and elects leaders who will renege on the power-sharing agreement, FARC will abandon the deal as well. Neither side as a whole wants to see a return

to fighting—but it is difficult to fight a fifty-year civil war without creating deep-seated mistrust and hatred. Regardless of their fortunes in the political arena, FARC has managed to win policy concessions as part of the peace deal itself. The rebels made rural development a core part of their platform throughout their history, and the terms of the peace agreement acknowledge the government’s neglect of this part of the country. The deal includes a substantial budgetary commitment to agricultural and economic development; this is a major concession, but the government surely aims to placate rural Colombians and to prevent them from supporting other rebels. Keeping to this commitment will require careful fiscal management, and if the government returns to repressive tactics to combat FARC splinter groups, the money will likely do little to improve public opinion. The third critical part of the government’s long-term plan will be its fight against coca production and organized crime. The country grows more than 50% of the world’s supply of coca, the plant from which cocaine is refined, and FARC, at their height, controlled 70% of that production. As FARC dissolves, control of coca operations has become central to organized crime, and preventing criminal groups from taking over FARC’s financial empire will be critical. The government has a plan in place to substitute coca with other crops and eradicate cultivation, but coca production has in fact increased in recent years—the crop supports the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of farmers. Substitution with legal crops will take decades and may severely worsen poverty, even if government efforts meet with success. FARC’s control of coca also allowed it to accumulate hundreds of billions of dollars in assets, and the government has plans to seize these assets to fund reparations. FARC is not making that

SPUTNIKNEWS task easy; a list of assets recently submitted to authorities included boots, coffeemakers, and juicers, but not critical information on land titles.

Keeping the Deal on Track

The battle for the moral and ethical high ground throughout Colombia’s civil war was just as fierce as the fighting on the ground. But with the peace agreement, the government can no longer pin the blame for its various failings on FARC’s intractability. It will have to maintain a careful balance between demonstrating its good faith to former rebels, meeting its other obligations as a government, and placating those Colombians who opposed peace from the beginning. Meeting the various obligations of the peace deal will be indispensable, but not easy. Given the timeframe of certain provisions, there may be multiple changes of government before plans are completed—and these new governments may not be so conciliatory. Resisting the urge to renege on the agreement or negotiate a more favorable one will be critical to maintaining

the stability of the transition process. FARC was never a centralized organization and any perception that the government is acting in bad faith will cause many former rebels to disengage from the peace process and, potentially, to rearm. By the same token, the government will have to maintain public support without giving into demands to punish FARC and its members more stringently. Public sentiment against FARC remains strong, sometimes violently so. Stringent enforcement of disarmament, a successful reparations program, and a harsh stance on any intransigence from FARC will be necessary. The government must also be prepared to take action against the smaller guerrilla groups that are taking over in the wake of FARC, and to vigorously suppress organized crime, in order to placate voters concerned about law and order. Finally and perhaps most importantly, the government must follow through on its new commitments to agricultural improvement, rural develop-

ment, and poverty reduction. If these issues are left to fester and FARC is not able to gain enough power in the government to address them, another rebel movement will almost inevitably arise. Accompanying other measures in rural areas, the government will have to address coca production more thoroughly, considering that it forms the financial base for almost all organized crime in Colombia. Current crop substitution efforts are not seeing results, but the more militarized programs pursued in the 80s and 90s with U.S. support were no more effective and far less popular. Better economic conditions for farmers growing legitimate crops will ease the problem, but no easy solution will be forthcoming. All told, the Colombian government is stuck between three rocks and a hard place. It must balance its popular support between conservatives, liberals, and the new political FARC, while dealing with unenviable economic and social conditions. This is not an ideal position, and the fact that it is being hailed as an improvement truly shows how dire the years of civil war were. BERKELEY POLITICAL REVIEW


By Any Other Name Kazakhstan’s Alphabet Migration

BY ANNA HO Kazakhstan is no stranger to changes in the national language. In the country’s history, the written script has changed four times while the language in question, Kazakh, has remained the same. Migrating from its original runic scripts, Kazakh adapted adopted Arabic script under the influence of Islamic traders in the 8th century, modified it slightly in 1924, changed it entirely to Latin-based letters in 1929 under the direction of the nascent USSR and converted it once more to Cyrillic in 1940 following Stalinist policy changes. The latest announcement from President Nursultan Nazarbayev to turn (or rather, to return) to the Latin alphabet by 2025 with the help of many, many apostrophes to make-



up for the shortage of letters, therefore, is not greeted with rancor so much as ridicule and resignation. Social media users responded to the news with mocking new spellings of their names. One user pointed out that the Kazakh word for carrot, as it was spelled in its new Latin form, would resemble the romanization of a common expletive in Russian. Even the country’s own name, Kazakhstan, would be changed to Qazaqstan.

Expletive and Stick

Despite the mixed public reaction, the President staunchly defends his decision, citing “many reasons,” some of which are “specifical[ly] political.” In a nation in which language so often

reflects its political leanings and allegiances, the move is being hailed by pundits as a sign of Kazakhstan’s rejection of Russian influence. Russian media, in turn, decried the move as the first step toward the marginalization of ethnic Russians living in the former USSR satellite. In a dramatic article published by British tabloid Daily Mail, the sensationalist headline reads: “Kazakhstan’s President snubs Russia!” However, the move in its nuances does not, in fact, signify true repudiation of the country’s biggest trading partner, with whom Kazakhstan shares its longest border. Many former USSR-satellites, including Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, have already switched to the Latin alphabet.

If anything, Kazakhstan has been more cautious in distancing itself from its northern neighbor. Moreover, the status of Russian within the country will not change—it will remain as one of its official languages, as it is currently spoken by 85% of Kazakhs. This particular change is more reflective of the nation’s desire to modernize through Westernization by adopting a form of writing closer to that of the commercially-produced computer keyboard and the language of global trade while developing its national identity. Whether the change is truly effective remains to be seen.

Tomorrow, the World

In the days following the announcement, perhaps to counterweight the amount of cyber scorn, the media network Kazakh TV, formerly owned by the President’s daughter, published an article quoting the positive reactions of various academics to the change at a conference in Istanbul: “...the steps of President of Kazakhstan are welcomed regarding the opportunity to historically join the Turkic world,” commented Mikhail Rodin, a Latvian professor. “On the other hand, in my opinion, the transition to the global zone of English won’t be a big and serious problem.” The “Turkic world” apparently sees Kazakhstan’s change as an attempt at conformity with its Turkic-language neighbors, all of whom now employ the Latin alphabet in their written forms. The appeal (and congratulatory back-patting) of forming a unified Eurasian identity in employing the same syllabary is the same rhetoric which, along with Turkish donations of many Latin-language typewriters, convinced post-Soviet Azerbaijan to replace Cyrillic with the ABC’s it utilizes today. The transition, however, was far from painless. Disagreements on which symbols to use and how abounded, as scholars were caught in the dilemma of creating a script that both conforms to and is distinguishable from other Latin-alphabet languages in the region. The debate over

whether an “eh” sound in the language would be written as “e” or “ä” raged for months. Ultimately, the debate became more about distinguishing Azerbaijan as a nation with its own unique symbols in writing that any sort of neighborly rapprochement or camaraderie. Another case for switching alphabets, interspersed liberally with free-market economics, argued that a shared alphabet with the West at large would make for more better economic ties with such powerhouses as the U.S., UK, and the European Union. Turkmenistan, which had also transitioned as part of the movement known as “new alphabet disease,” perhaps in a hurry to declare its willingness to break into Western markets, almost designated its letter for the “ssh” sound as “$” in upper case and “¢” in lowercase. But a difference in alphabets has rarely, if ever, influenced the direction of trade and trade deals—if they had, nations such as China or Japan might have gone bankrupt with no other country to invest in their unique written forms. Moreover, all evidence suggests that younger generations are already gravitating toward the study of English, becoming fluent in the lingua franca as well as Kazakh and Russian. With only 62% of the population speaking Kazakh, more changes to the language seem not only impractical but unnecessary for what imagined trade benefits the modifications might bring. Once again, the issue seems to point to an intent to stir up national pride: part of the President’s strategy, Kazakhstan-2050, called for “a spiritual pivot” and an emphasis on the “state language” in the midst of “societal trilingualism.” A shift in Kazakh, so goes the theory, would make the language easier to learn and therefore more attractive to future speakers due to its increasing similarity to English. The only caveat, of course, is the irony of replacing an alphabet signifying foreign intervention and influence with an alphabet signifying nothing but

global influence, all in the name of maintaining national integrity.

Apostrophe to the Apostrophe

Already, Kazakhstan looks poised to encounter the same problems Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan faced with their new scripts. The government decision to employ its own form of Latin alphabet rather than utilize Turkey’s resulted in mass ridicule of the proposed “apostrophe letters” such as a’ and p’, representing sounds not present in the original 26 letters provided. The Economist, for one, complained that the new script is “far from elegant.” Concerns involving execution also surfaced. Unlike pre-transition Turkey, for whom 90% of the population was illiterate and would be taught in the new alphabet, Kazakhstan boasts of a 99.7% literacy rate. If, as the President decreed, the country were to have a new Latin codification of all Kazakh-Cyrillic spellings by the end of the year and a smooth transition within eight short years, officials would need to account for overhauls in the education system and teacher training along with the recreation of countless government documents, including forms, laws, money, archival material, passports. Professional jargon must also be taken into account, along with decades of archival material that would need to be dug up and converted. Back in 2007, a feasibility study conducted by the Ministry of Education and Science at the behest of the President outlined a six-step Latin-alphabet plan that would take at least 12-15 years and $300 million to implement. This time around, the government has announced no plan, has issued no budget, and has given it a time cap of eight years. With so much work ahead, perhaps the one bright side is that the intended letters of conversion happen to match the most commercially-available keyboard in the world. Too bad the symbols debate, for all its economic and labor costs, is merely symbolic.



Barred from the Ballot Box:

Felon Disenfranchisement in America BY AIDAN BASSET Six million American adults are legally ineligible to vote, members of a group whose ranks have roughly quintupled over the past 40 years. In Kentucky and Tennessee, this group now comprises more than a fifth of the African American population; in Florida, this group composes more than 10 percent of the adult population. But these states merely dramatize a larger phenomenon: nationwide, 48 states prevent certain citizens from voting. Why? They have felony convictions.


ately, rulings and ballot measures—including Florida’s upcoming Amendment 4, which would constitutionally restore the franchise for life to hundreds of thousands of felons—reflect the growing consensus the states’ felon disenfranchisement laws have gone too far: according to the Prison Policy Initiative, “the U.S. justice system controls more than 7 million people,” most of whom are on probation. In states where the franchise can be restored by the governor’s personal pardon, the New York Times reports that “in the last few years, Terry McAuliffe, as Virginia’s governor, restored voting rights to more than 168,000 people, and the governors in Kentucky and Iowa granted roughly 9 in 10 of the restoration requests they received in the first half of the



decade.” These executive actions reflect a growing movement to correct the overreach of our criminal justice system. Felon disenfranchisement is old news in America – laws barring some felons from the polls have existed for 150 years. Historically, challenges to state felon disenfranchisement laws have foundered in the Supreme Court, but the legal basis for the fight is unusually ambiguous because the constitutional basis for felon disenfranchisement, Section II of 14th Amendment, performs an odd legal trick: for the purposes of Congressional representation, Section II says that anyone denied the right to vote based on “participation in rebellion, or other crime” shall be nonetheless counted. So the Consti-

tution implicitly condones felon disenfranchisement without explicitly legislating anything. The “constitutional” defense of felon disenfranchisement laws is certainly clear given the technical, precedent-oriented nature of jurisprudence. But even if such technicalities suffice in a legal sense, the real question is not about what the Constitution establishes, for the Constitution can be amended (indeed, felon disenfranchisement appears to be an afterthought in one such amendment). The real question is whether America should exclude any of its citizens from the democratic process; the quandary is moral, not technical. And felon disenfranchisement laws have only gotten worse in recent years, with increasingly profound consequences for certain populations; indeed, some felons can vote, but those who cannot are disproportionately people of color and the poor. And that’s no accident. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, after the Civil War, “two interconnected trends combined to make disenfranchisement a major obstacle for newly enfranchised black voters. First, lawmakers—especially in the South—implemented a slew of criminal laws designed to target black citizens. And nearly simultaneously, many states enacted broad disenfranchisement laws that revoked voting rights from anyone convicted of any felony.” As the documentary The 13th and efforts like The Sentencing Project observe, targeting felony convictions as a proxy for race gives political cover to politicians seeking to disenfranchise Latinos or African Americans. The racial implications of felon disenfranchisement have obvious political overtones: people of color lopsidedly favor Democrats, and many states who limit felons’ voting rights are in deep-red Appalachia and the Deep South. But the issue isn’t neatly partisan. Massachusetts voters (not famed for conservatism) amended the state constitution in 2000 to disenfranchise incarcerated felons, and in 1997, then-Texas Governor George W. Bush signed a law “eliminating the two-year waiting period after completion of sentence before individuals can regain their right to vote.” But partisan or not, the issue is absolutely political—politicians across the country and on both sides of the aisle have for decades campaigned to appear “tough on crime,” although the issue has certainly waned as crime has plummeted from its peak in the mid-1990s. We are, however, witnessing a resurgence of anti-crime posturing, albeit with vintage language: the president campaigned during the 2016 cycle about restoring “law and order”—a perhaps unwitting use of rhetoric favored by Richard Nixon in the late 1960s—rather than regurgitating the Reagan/Clinton era lexicon. Much of the impetus for felon disenfranchisement policies has involved political calculations that being “tough on crime” had good optics, and disenfranchising felons offered politicians a way

to appear grave and resolute about punishing criminals without escalating the already draconian mandatory minimums and exceptionally long sentences increasingly being enacted. Irrespective of politics, however, states’ handling of felon voting rights is, from a legal perspective, exceptionally arbitrary and somewhat constitutionally dubious. Alabama, for instance, includes sodomy and possession of marijuana under its definition of “moral turpitude” for which felons are disenfranchised. But it also includes murder, manslaughter and rape. Implicitly, Alabama law conflates the severity of minor drug convictions with first-degree murder, an absurd equivalency which highlights pervasive arbitrariness in such laws. In contemporary debate, defenders of felon disenfranchisement laws will note that in some states (albeit mostly those with the smallest black populations), the felon population largely comprises older white men—a largely conservative demographic. They argue that if some states are disenfranchising likely Republican voters—and moreover, predominantly white voters—that the system cannot possibly be racist or biased against Democrats. By contrast, liberals respond that voters of color are nonetheless disproportionately incarcerated, even if they represent a minority of disenfranchised voters. And progressives also contend that in addition to being anti-Democratic, felon disenfranchisement is also deeply anti-democratic.

“In short, they will be at the mercy of a merciless nation—one which favors punishment over restrainted where the “justice” system has reinvented justive” Perhaps some convicted of felonies—those guilty of extreme violent crimes, for instance—have truly gone beyond the pale. But most of those people will walk free again. They will hope to lead normal lives. They will hope to atone and be forgiven. And they will want to be part of a society that now appears to want no part of them. In short, they will be at the mercy of a merciless nation—one which favors punishment over restraint, where the “justice” system has reinvented injustice. If America is to remain the land of the free—the birthplace of modern democracy—it behooves us to choose rehabilitation rather than retribution. If they have served their time, people deserve to participate. If they have not harmed others, former felons should regain the franchise. Certain crimes— murder, terrorism, treason—may trespass too severely on our morals. But most Americans who are locked up should not be locked out of democracy—especially not its most profound and precious civic duty.




The United States should increase its diplomatic engagement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. NEGATIVE: ERIC HEIDEL


espite Mr. Trump’s recent decision to participate in diplomatic engagements with Mr. Kim, the current de facto leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea, the United States should refrain as doing so jeopardizes the U.S. position in the Asia-Pacific region. Mr. Trump is not the first U.S. leader to propose diplomatic actions, although his attempt to travel to North Korea would constitute a first. Yet, none of the diplomatic engagements thus far attempted were successful. Indeed the Agreed Framework of 1994, under then President Bill Clinton, froze the DPRK’s nuclear program in exchange for light water reactors. However, by 2003 the deal had failed, with the U.S. forced to build an ABM site in Alaska in 2002 as a result of North Korean noncompliance. In response, we violated START II, antagonizing and threatening our relationship with Russia. In our attempt to pursue diplomatic engagements with the DPRK, we exacerbated diplomatic struggles with other nations, thus putting our nation at risk. In addition to prior failed diplomatic actions, under current U.S. foreign policy, the U.S. is slowly losing its legitimacy to act in the Asia-Pacific region, with China posing a significant threat to our hegemonic power in the region.



It is imperative that the United States prove its ability to defend its allies in the region. The U.S. must therefore assert its authority in the region by demonstrating a hard power response to both China and the North. Our current passivity, combined with diplomatic engagement from a position of weakness in the region, will invite Mr. Kim to attempt to force inconceivable concessions from U.S., such as a withdrawal of our forces in South Korea or Japan. However, a significant issue must be addressed with respect to South Korea. The growing wedge between the South Koreans and the United States threatens our ability to operate effectively in the region. The impeachment of President Park Geun-hye in March of last year ended a period of strong pro-U.S. governmental cooperation,

as evidenced by the installation of THAAD. Unfortunately, current President Moon Jae-In’s does not share Ms. Park’s pro-U.S. stance, and his desire for negotiations with the North has seriously undermined U.S. operations in the region. Therefore, it is imperative that the U.S. restore relations with the South either through economic incentives or other means without negotiating with the North for the reasons ascribed above. Finally, this piece will not argue for the use of actual military power. A war with North Korea is unsustainable, and detrimental; yet acquiescing to their demands is not only foolish, but dangerous. Therefore, hard military power, additional pressure on China, and rebuilding the bridge with the South are essential for U.S. foreign policy in the region.




ince the election of President Donald Trump, relations between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have been tested to say the least. The backand-forth playground insults from both leaders, North Korea’s continued missile and nuclear tests, and classified military exercises by the U.S. military have revived international worries of an impending war not seen since 2010, when North Korean artillery attacks killed two South Korean marines. The Winter Olympics, during which the two Koreas celebrated under a unified flag and gave rise to diplomatic talks, seem to have relieved tensions for now. Although the future of North Korea is unclear, there is one thing to keep in mind as the U.S. and South Korea continue to tackle the hermit kingdom’s nuclear program: diplomacy is the only viable solution. As a brief aside, it must be establishd that despite Trump’s rhetoric, Kim Jong Un is a rational leader. Like all dictators, he must “keep some people

To VIiew the Full Debate, Please Visit bpr.berkeley. edu/category/rejoinder. happy” to maintain his authoritarian power and ensure the continued existence of his regime, as contended by an article written by FiveThirtyEight. Let’s throw out all pretensions that Kim and his regime will irrationally blow up the world and thus must be eliminated immediately; even egomaniac dictators need a world to rule. U.S. efforts in the past few decades have been to stop the North Korean nuclear program, only to be met with coy compliances that resulted in North Korea giving up a tiny bit and gaining much more. The Agreed Framework of 1994 is a great example: North Korea froze its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon, only to covertly continue its nuclear technology efforts and eat up the $400 million to be used in energy assistance programs provided by the U.S. If history has shown us anything, North Korea will never give up its nuclear arsenal. Continued efforts to denuclearize North Korea and international ignorance of North Korea as a nuclear state has only frustrated both sides and


must come to a stop for the time being. Denuclearization should always be the long-term goal; but for now, diplomatic talks only need to de-escalate tensions and ensure temporary peace because those are the only realistic goals. Ensuring even a short period of peaceful talks is a win for diplomacy. Increased diplomatic engagement spearheaded by the U.S. would also curb Russian efforts to establish itself as peacemaker in Asia in order to undermine U.S. global influence. In recent months, the Kremlin has supported peaceful talks between the U.S. and North Korea by backing China’s “dual freeze proposal” as well as reaching out to U.S. allies to convince the Trump Administration to agree to the proposal. Russian-led negotiations would undermine the influence of the United States as a world power and compromise its legitimacy as a global champion for peace. The U.S. as a hegemon cannot proclaim and enforce world peace while also bullying any state that refuses to cooperate under its guidelines; it disincentivizes states from engaging diplomatically if they assume the United States will only resort to unilateral economic pressure or military action. This attack on U.S. legitimacy in turn asserts Russia as a more favorable side to turn to. And if the conflicts in Syria or Ukraine have shown anything, it is that Russia is more willing to resort to military action to protect its interests. Thus, the U.S. must increase its diplomatic engagements with North Korea to not only ensure peace today, but also to secure peace in the future. BERKELEY POLITICAL REVIEW



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