The University of Toronto’s Undergraduate Journal of Political Science
POLIS | OPENING REMARKS
TABLE OF CONTENTS | POLIS
The University of Toronto’s Undergraduate Journal of Political Science
The University of Toronto’s Undergraduate Journal of Political Science
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
IN THIS ISSUE An Explanation: “Pinch me I must be Dreaming”
The challenges we have collectively endured over the past year have brought obstacles many thought we would never in our lives face. The country wide lockdown also surfaced a multitude of injustices, that for years have hovered beneath the gaze of those who chose not to look. While many endure the challenges of solitude, no longer do we as a people live in isolation or obscurity. The elevation of social consciousness, activism, and the willingness to get into “good trouble” has opened a new chapter in our society. Boldly
A VISION OF REVOLUTION The Role of Diaspora in Revolution
The Judiciary: An Agent of Change
Towards Intersectional Representation
Pinch me I must be Dreaming part 1
injustices that for too long have been left unresolved. The theme of this issue of POLIS, “Modern Day Revolution,” tries to encapsulate the changing spirit of today’s world. This editorial team was given the unique task of capturing the current conversations amongst the political science student body in a time when challenges to authority are rising everywhere, and what once felt like solid footing now feels like shaky ground. In this moment of uncertainty, voices have risen in declaration of rights and freedoms; as well as questions posed to interrogate the injustices that have been perpetuated in the name of status quo for years. An act of revolution can take the form of weapons or words; and may represent as much a literal change as a metaphorical one. Not only does this moment in history seek to demand change in our institutions, but also within our relationship to the world and to others. As we continue to learn and progress, no institutions, norms, or paradigms may go unquestioned. It is from a place of modern revolution that we can lend a true voice to the change that once only hung quietly from the edge of our lips.
THE THEORY OF CHANGE
I must thank the amazing editorial team of POLIS, along with the highly talented The articles in these pages speak about the theory of revolution, examine the new world we now live in, and question the structures that exist around us. The articles are interlaced with a poem, titled “Pinch Me I Must be Dreaming” that is told in three movements throughout the journal. None of this would be possible without managing editor Erica, the editorial staff Kate, Debasmita, Louis, Nour, and Drishti, our design editor Danielle, and of course president of the APSS Maddie. I would like to end this preface with two quotes, spoken nearly a century apart, yet both of which speak volumes to our lives today. “There are years that ask questions, and years that answer” - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes were Watching God, 1937 “The norms and notions of what just is, isn’t always justice” - Amanda Gorman, The Hill We Climb, 2021 Sincerely, Samuel Lorinc Editor-in-Chief, POLIS
Human Rights: Intention vs. Implementation
The Pen and the Sword
Islam and Constitutionalism
Pinch me I must be Dreaming part 2
EXAMINING THE WORLD WE LIVE IN MASTHEAD
Editor-in-Chief Samuel Lorinc Managing Editor Erica Liu Design Editor Danielle Zhuo Associate Editors Debasmita Bhattacharya Drishti Jalan Kate Schneider Louis Butt Nour Elassiuty
Fantasties and Politics of Infrastructure
Op-ed: Covid-19 and Voting Habits
The Rise and Fall of Trump’s Grassroots
Pinch me I must be Dreaming part 3
POLIS | OPENING REMARKS The University of Toronto’s Undergraduate Journal of Political Science
A General Explanation of “Pinch Me I Must Be Dreaming” “Pinch Me I Must be Dreaming” is structured in the format of three different prose poems and written in a cadence that offers itself to spoken word. Each of the prose poems is connected to a broad idea that relates to a reoccurring motif that is evident in the title. The three different poems also represent different time periods which begin on the West Coast of Africa
More Information about Each Poem on the West Coast before the Europeans capfrom Cullen’s skillful use of imagery in his description of Africa in “Heritage” to illustrate my own version of Africa. A version that was one of beauty and tranquility and then later, upon the arrival of the Europeans much like Cullen I used more aggressive word choices to illustrate the change in mood and a sudden shift in the description of Africa. The peaceful mood then shifts and with it the lens of natation to a more European view of the continent as being one that was barbaric and inhospitable. From there, the narrative follows the narrator onto a slave ship where it slowly becomes obvious that the narrator has been captured. For a more accurate depiction of what this voyage would have been like, I turned to Equiano for inspiration as he vividly describes the inhumane conditions that people suffered aboard, and especially in the hull of slave ships. From his account of his own experience, I chose to focus on the idea of “closeness” as the lack of free space in the hulls of these ships was the main cause of the extreme discomfort on these voyages as well as the spread of sickness.
to the present day and address issues that we face now. These three prose poems are connected through the speaker who is observing these events through a foggy dream-like lens and, as many dreams do, rightfully confuses the dream with reality. This dream sequence ends with the narrator “waking up” and concluding their dream which they have been dictating to their Mother. However, in doing from their dream, they are falling into a new form of rest, from which they will never truly wake up because they have been shot and are dying. The fear is evident in the last few lines attempting to communicate a fraction of what we black people, unfortunately, feel daily and in a variety of social situations.
“Pinch Me I Must Be Dreaming” consequently is a commentary on racial inequalities that continues to exist in both the United States and Canada. The poem’s structural transition from past to present communicates the heart-wrenching reality that we really have not left the past behind. The three poems appear in order throughout the course of this journal.
reaching the shore and the narrator thinking that they see someone beckoning them, but it is hard to know for sure. Only later do they realize that the gesture is actually the person warning them of what is to come and telling them to turn away. This introduction to America was done intentionally to establish an ominous and vague tone for the rest of the poem which takes place on the cotton plantations
and the 40 acres which is a reference to the reparations “40 acres and a mule” that would attempt to right the wrongs that took place on these plantations. The focus then shifts to the role of women on the plantations. In this instance, I drew inspiration from “Killing the Black Body” by Dorothy E. Roberts and more
ence to where Till’s body was found and lastly the open casket which his mother insisted on so that the world could see what was done to who was shot an incomprehensible 16 times after they received a call that he was trying to break into a car. After these examples, the narrative shifts to the narrator’s own experience of dreaming and the narrative becomes more personal to the narrator and their situation in the present day. After consulting “Race and Social Problems” by Ralph Bangs and Larry E, I decided that police brutality was the current issue that I wanted to focus on. From there I drew inspiration from “Don’t call Us Dead” by Danez Smith which is a collection of poems about what it means to be a gay, African American, male in today’s society. Smith’s touching descriptions of his friends dying as a result of police shootings propelled the mood of the last part of the poem. I also found his idea of the narration of these boy’s lives extending beyond the event of their death to the point that they were awake somewhere new, quite interesting. I tried to channel that in the last few lines of the poem where the speaker realizes that they are neither here nor there after they have died.
many women were subjected to because the masters of the plantation wanted to maintain slavery through the augmentation of their slave population. I also referred to “Venus in Two Acts” by Saidiya Hartman with reference to my decision of what the response of my female character would be. After reading “Venus in Two Acts’’ I decided on silence as I felt that, like Hartman, the silence was the best representation of the female struggle at this time as so many other women who endured the same thing were never able to tell their stories. The action of rape is implied but not explicit to portray this inner turmoil bubbling in the background of all of the accounts given during this time, to illustrate that even if it isn’t said explicitly it is still happening. The child that comes out of this physical encounter addresses another issue that became more prevalent later which was the lynching’s described in the line about “strange fruit.” The one-drop rule was also implied in the aftermath of the lynching’s with the line “one drop then two” in its description of blood falling onto the ground.
Maeve Redmond is a fourth-year student at the University of Toronto. She will graduate this semester, with a major in history and a double minor in political science and philosophy. In her ing over her plant, and keeping up with current events. She is extremely passionate about just treatment and equal rights as well as supporting and promoting causes that she cares about. She hopes to pursue a career in international development to see concrete change
es to African American’s that have been killed for reasons directly related to their race. The line “I can’t breathe” refers to suffocation beon his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. The next example given is of Emmett Till and supported by information from “The Face of Emmett Till” by Mamie Till-Mobley and David Barr III. The poem makes reference to him through the description of whistles which are a nod to the allegations that lead to his death which were that he had whistled at a white woman. The consequence of this being that he was lynched and killed. The river is a refer-
sincerely hopes that you enjoy her “spoken” word poems.
POLIS | A VISION OF REVOLUTION The University of Toronto’s Undergraduate Journal of Political Science
the role of diaspora in
year 2020 was the sheer number of demonstrations that were sparked across the globe. Through the frameworks brought about by globalization and the continued innovation of communication technologies, these revolutionary demonstrations, and the messages behind them, were easily spread across the globe. Social media played a critical role in facilitating this transmission, as protesters shared information across borders from the pro-democracy movement in Thailand,1 the women’s strike for abortion rights in Poland,2 to the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States.3 tion has educated international audiences, and often led to foreign demonstrations, aimed at showing solidarity or to pressure other governments into supporting these revolutions abroad. However, much of the conversation about “international activism” is placed in an ‘outsider’ framework, and not from a diasporan one. Diasporas are a transScribner, C. (2020, December 16). The Internet as Battleground in Thailand’s COVID-19 Tinderbox Moment. The Diplomat. James Pach. https://thediplomat.com/2020/12/ the-internet-as-battleground-in-thailands-covid-19-tinderbox-moment/. 2 Gessen, M. (2020, November 17). The Abortion Protests in Poland Are Starting to Feel Like a Revolution. The New Yorker. https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/ the-abortion-protests-in-poland-are-starting-to-feel-like-arevolution. 3 Maqbool, A. (2020, July 10). Black Lives Matter: From social media post to global movement. BBC News. https:// www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53273381. 1
revolution 18 6
POLIS | A VISION OF REVOLUTION The University of Toronto’s Undergraduate Journal of Political Science
national population, which makes the voices of diasporan activists an essential medium for international activism and for those that want to have agency while being physically distant. Authoritarian regimes such as China pose a difstrations. China is a unique case, as the nation is a part of the United Nations Security Council, holds great geopolitical control beyond the 4 and has an economy that could potentially surpass that of the United States.5 While the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has always been under international scrutiny for repressive methods of controlling their citizens, international criticism against the CCP have emboldened once more with the rise of the Hong Kong protests in 20196 ings of forced labor camps in the provinces of Tibet and Xinjiang. 7 The circumstances surrounding Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang are different; the protests in Hong Kong originated from a decades-long growing distrust of the CCP encroaching on the city’s promised autonomy, and eventually culminated into mass protests against an extradition bill.8 Conversely, Tibet9 and Xinjiang
are facing ethnic and cultural cleansing of their minority populations.10 While the problems of these three regions might be different, one thing remains the same: the repressive actions of the CCP. The Chinese government (and in extension the Hong Kong Police Force) has retaliated against the Hong Kong protests with relentless brutality – using excessive tear gas, grievous bodily harm, shooting rubber bullets, and so forth.11 Evidence of ethnic and cultural cleansing in Xinjiang have been exposed by primary testimonies from whistleblowers and victims,12 aerial photography of the re-education or labor camps,13 and even through graphic photos of poor treatment towards ethnic minorities inside these camps.14 Recent developments have shown that the CCP has started building similar camps in Tibet as well. 15 Tibet has a history of bloodshed with the Chinese government, with the most recognized incident being the annexation of Tibet by China.16 Retrieved from https://tibetpolicy.net/wp-content/ uploads/2017/10/Tibetocide.pdf 10 Ibrahim, A. (2019, December 3). China Must Answer for Cultural Genocide in Court. https:// foreignpolicy.com/2019/12/03/uighurs-xinjiang-china-cultural-genocide-international-criminal-court/. 11 Amnesty International. (2019, June 21). . Amnesty International. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/
Shullman, D. O. (2019, October 4). Protect the Party: Chi. Brookings. https://www.brookings.edu/articles/protect-the-party-chi4
Chen, J. (2021, February 4). China’s Economic Strength to . Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/chinas-economic-strength-to-continue-into-2021-5100844. 6 Editorial Board. (2019, November 4). The Hong Kong Protests: The International Response. University of Colorado Boulder. https://www. colorado.edu/polisci/2019/11/04/hong-kong-protests-international-response. 7 Cadell, C. (2020, September 21). Exclusive: China sharply expands mass labor program in Tibet. (J. McBride, Ed.) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-rights-tibet-exclusive/exclusive-china-sharply-expands-mass-labor-program-in-tibet-idUSKCN26D0GT. 8 Amnesty International. (2019, September). Hong Kong’s protests explained. Amnesty International. https://www. amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/09/hong-kong-protestsexplained/. 9 Tibet Policy Institute. (2017). (rep.).
Ramzy, A. (2019, February 17). ‘Show Me That My Father Is Alive.’ China Faces Torrent of Online Pleas. New York https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/17/world/asia/ uighurs-china-internment-camps.html. 13 Wamsley, L. (2020, September 24). -
NPR. https://www.npr.org/2020/09/24/916665128/ report-satellite-images-reveal-suspected-detention-sites-in-chinas-xinjiang-regi. 14 Youtube. (2019). Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGYoeJ5U7cQ. 15 Cadell, C. (2020, September 21). Exclusive: China sharply expands mass labor program in Tibet. (J. McBride, Ed.) . https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-rights-tibet-exclusive/exclusive-china-sharply-expands-mass-labor-program-in-tibet-idUSKCN26D0GT. 16 University of Central Arkansas. ent). University of Central Arkansas. https://uca.edu/
ings have brought outrage from international actors, with many people outside of China criticizing the CCP.17 Much of the publicized backlash against the CCP is coming from outside Chinese borders, since the CCP can easily silence demonstrators within. This makes diasporan activists – including recent political refu-
overseas Chinese diasporans acting in solidarity with activists in China has reached transnational levels, with many globally prominent nations being pressured to take action against the Chinese government. In Canada, the Parliament passed a motion that labeled China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang as a genocide.21 Sympathetic activists who do not have personal connection like diasporas do, need to uplift and promote the voices of diasporas. They should support organizations created by diaspora activists and contact local politicians to pressure their governments to pursue activism in their foreign policies. International activism allows people who have been directly affected by oppression to take agency when they are unable to in their homeern nation like the United States, Canada, or Britain, they tend to harness their privilege to advocate for justice in their ancestral homes. These activists connect movements abroad to their countries of settlement. Many activists desire to harness their privilege to uplift people in their countries of origin. Citizens of these states are capable of using their voting power to pressurize their governments to support revolutions abroad. It is also that same privilege that often allows members to obligate their lives to campaign for peace and prosperity in their homelands.
more essential to international activism. The Chinese diaspora have long campaigned against the Chinese government for human rights violations even before the recent developments in Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang. Many overseas Chinese diaspora members realize that activists from Mainland China are easily suppressed by the CCP, and often have to nese activists work together to spread videos and infographics online to websites beyond the Chinese citizen Qiushi Chen who posted footage of video journals of the early COVID-19 outbreak and Hong Kong protests for both the Mainland Chinese and international audiences to see.18 Law19 and Rushan Abbas20 have continued their activism for Hong Kong and Xinjiang respectively outside of China. This network of bet-1950-present/. 17 Human Rights Watch. (2021, January 13). World Report Human Rights Watch. https:// www.hrw.org/world-report/2021/country-chapters/china-and-tibet. 18 Lam, O. (2020, April 1). Global Voices. https://globalvoices.org/2020/02/06/chen-quishi-acitizen-journalist-on-the-frontline-of-the-wuhan-coronavirusoutbreak/. 19 Harrison, E. G. (2020, December 5). The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/05/nathanlaw-faces-2020-hong-kong-protests. 20 Abbas, R. (2021, January 25).
Phoebe is a second year student majoring in health studies and political science. References (contd. page 60): Abbas, R. (2021, January 25). Opinion | China 21
The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/ opinions/2021/01/25/china-seized-my-sister-biden-must-
Scherer, S. (2021, February 22). Canada’s parliament pass-
POLIS | A VISION OF REVOLUTION The University of Toronto’s Undergraduate Journal of Political Science
The Judiciary: An Agent of Change or a Chained Antique? BY: DARYA RAHBAR
Whether it be France in the 1790s or Iran in the 1970s, revolutions involve people taking to the streets and voicing their expectations and demands of their representatives. As such, the role of the judiciary in enacting radical change has been largely neglected in favour of the executive and legislative. Although, Courts are rarely at the forefront of change until it comes to landmark decisions. At the Supreme Court level, cases such as (1988), or the American equivalent, (1973), stir up fervent debates decades after they were decided — and for good reason. In such landmark rights. Hence, the judiciary’s interperatory powers beg the question: how effective are courts in enacting social change? In “The Hollow Hope,” Rosenberg proposes two differing understandings of the role of the Court: the constrained view and the dynamic view.1 The constrained view suggests that Courts are ineffective in prescribing and enforcing substantive rights, while the dynamic view suggests that Court rulings are essential in signaling new constitutional expectations to policymakers.2 institutional restraints on Courts: (1) limited rights, by nature, which minimizes constitutionally acceptable modes of social reform; (2) judicial independence ensures that Court decisions can be overturned by the legislative and executive branch; and (3) in lacking both the sword and the purse as enforcement mechanisms, the Court cannot will or force social change.3 Conversely, the dynamic view suggests that Supreme Court decisions can legitimize substantive rights concerns, which functions as an indication of social change to representatives.4
“Court rulings are less susceptible to change given the independent nature of court, making it an untapped source for activists and movements.”
However, data is not as clear cut as theory. There was a considerable surge in induced abortions three years before the Roe ruling was issued.5 Alternatively in Canada, three years after , the number of induced abortions increased by 32%.6 However, to consider the American Supreme Court constrained and the Canadian Supreme Court dynamic would be premature. It is the underlying notion of access that better illuminates the nature of the dialogue between the judiciary and the legislative. Both and Roe emphasize the autonomy of women and the interests of subnational actors. Rosenberg, G. (2008). Transforming Women’s Lives? The Courts and Abortion. University of Chicago, 73. 2 Ibid, 11-12, 15-16. 3 Ibid, 228. 4 Ibid, 179. 5 Ibid, 180. 6 Statistics Canada. Table 13-10-0167-01 Pregnancy outcomes (live births, induced abortions, and fetal loss). 1
Safeguards, whether that be referral systems in or trimesters in Roe, were put in place with the intention of striking an appropriate balance between the two aforementioned parties.7 However, these safeguards are often controlled by subnational actors looking to further their own interests at the expense of women’s autonomy rights. In Canada, these actors are in Maritime provinces such as PEI, working to limit women’s access to information online.8 In the United States these actors are in southern states such as Mississippi, and they focus on shutting down clinics with the help of arbitrary building codes.9 Thus, access to abortion varies within subnational contexts and this demonstrates the legislature’s willingness to push the bounds of judicial rulings. tion, same-sex marriage, or euthanasia, judicial activism is not as rare as is often suggested. In fact, Courts are willing to align their rulings with societal shifts. Consequently, legal literacy and accessibility become increasingly important, as it is the responsibility of constituents to hold their representatives accountable to such interpretations. The Court lacks the sword and purse, but the populace does not. Relatedly, courts have immense institutional legitimacy. Surveys from both North America and Europe suggest that the public is often supportive of the judiciary because their decisions have the weight of the law behind them.10 Court rulings are also less susceptible to change given the independent nature of court, making it an untapped source for activists and movements. Landmark cases, more often than not, serve as an extra tool in the kit of those propelling progressive causes, and promoting legal literacy ensures better access to the power of such decisions. Overall, Courts are an unfortunately overlooked avenue for societal change. Even if they are restricted by accountability mechanisms, literacy and greater public access to legal decisions mitigates such restraints. Darya Rahbar is a third-year student specializing in Political Science at Victoria College.
Brown, L., Ehrlich, S., & MacQuarrie, C. (2017). Subverting the Constitution: Anti-Abortion Policies and Activism in the United States and Canada. : UBC Press, 242; 252. 8 Ibid, 255. 9 Ibid, 247. 10 Gibson, J., Caldeira, G., & Baird, V. (1998). On the Legitimacy of National High Courts. , 92( 2), 347; 351-352. 7
Canada is among those countries that have yet to reach the target. In the previous 2015 federal election, Canadians elected a Parliament that comprised 27% female Members of Parliament (MPs).7 This disparity is greatly concerning—especially for a country whose governing party claims to be committed to gender equality.8 This is partly due to the ineffectiveness of soft quotas, which are voluntary quotas that political parties internally regulate and do not sanction for noncompliance.9
SOLUTIONS TO THE DEFICIENCY OF INTERSECTIONAL FEMALE REPRESENTATION:
A Comparative Analysis of the Tanzanian Strategy of Reserved Seat Quotas and Canada’s Ineffective Voluntary Quotas By: Ana Brinkerhoff In an effort to create global norms regarding gender representation in legislative bodies, many international organizations have put forth recommendations for policy solutions. The United Nations has held conferences for furthering women’s rights globally for the past three decades. The most sig1995 United Nations Fourth Conference on Women. The “Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action” advanced at the conference encouraged states to commit to comprising their legislative bodies of a minimum of 30% female 1 a threshold that is most likely to encourage women coalitions and leadership.2 There were 189 countries that unaniThe United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women. (1995). 2 From “From a Small to a Large Minority: Women in Scandinavian Politics,” by D. Dahlerup, 1988, 11, p. 275-297. Copyright 1988 by Copyright Holder. Reprinted with permission. 1
mously adopted this plan.3 By the early 2000s, over 100 countries had implemented quotas involving women in legislative roles.4 Nevertheless, little progress has been made towards substantive gender equality within legislatures worldwide. According to the Inter-parliamentary Union (IU), before the proliferation of gender quotas inspired by the Beijing Conference, women made up 12% of all lower houses.5 Almost 25 years later, women only make up 23.1% of all lower houses.6 These statistics are far from the minimum 30% threshold that 189 countries committed to almost three decades ago. The United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women. (1995). 4 From 3
Worldwide, by M. L. Krook, 2009, New York: Oxford University Press. 5 Women in national parliaments. (1997). 6
Women in national parliaments. (2019).
Because voluntary quotas and other supplementary methods have been in place for decades and have not yielded their desired outcome of gender equality in the House of Commons, the Canadian government should consider other strategies to increase female political representation. One successful example is the Tanzanian strategy of reserved seat the election of a National Assembly that was 37% od of indirectly electing candidates to seats, which disrupts a negative phenomenon of quotas known as “quota women.” The Tanzanian example poses some limitations to addressing all the factors that contribute to a woman’s electability and would need to be adjusted to account for the institutional differences between Canada and Tanzania. However, the Tanzanian strategy would be a useful initial step for Canada to increase female representation within the House of Commons and could be used to further intersectional representation. The federal government has not passed concrete the underrepresentation of women in politics, even after committing to it at the 1995 Beijing Conference. Instead, while there are many mechanisms to increase women in political leadership throughout the electoral process, the softer quotas and civil society solutions remain ineffective in Canada. As this paper will examine in more detail, Canada already implements numerous programs and incentives to assist women in politics. In addition, a common strategy to increase female representation in legislatures is the use of voluntary party quotas. Both the Liberal and the New Democratic Party use these 7
Women in national parliaments. (2019).
Forward. (2020). From “The Use of Gender Quotas in America: Are Voluntary Party Quotas the Way to Go?” by A. A. Somani, 2013, William , 54, p. 1454-1488. 8
quotas; however, the quotas have done little to create gender parity.10 Female representation can only of seats are occupied by parties who employ these voluntary quotas.11 A solution to the problem of the underrepresentation of female politicians must conform to the problem’s scope. Female underrepresentation in legislatures corresponds to institutional constraints, or a lack thereof. Pierson describes an institutional scope to a policy problem as taking into account “rules of as] the allocation of economic and political resourcvelopments.”12 Because the lack of female representatives occurs within a legislative body, a formal organization responsible for passing policy, the response to this problem must be an institutional one. Thus, the formal legislation of hard gender quotas in the House of Commons would institutionally shape the governing body of Canada. Additionally, this institutional response is appropriate due to the ineffectiveness of softer mechanisms, such as grassroots initiatives, which are not institutionally grounded. Hence, the Canadian government must turn to other single-member plurality nations for guidance. The federal government of Tanzania, which uses single-member plurality system, has also struggled with increasing its representation of women in its lower house. In 1995, before the Beijing Conference, Tanzania legislated that 15% of all seats in the National Assembly be reserved for women elected 13 In 1997, Tanzanians elected 17.5% female MPs.14 This was only 0.5% less than the percentage of women that were represented in the 1997 Canadian House of Commons. This commonality across the two nations demonstrates the similar degree to which both countries faced the challenge of female political representation.15 However, in 2005, the Tan10
Gender Quotas Database. (2020). I
Quotas Database. (2020).
From “When Effect Becomes Cause: Policy Feedback and Political Change,” by P. Pierson, 1993, World Politics, 45, p. 596. 13 Quotas Database. (2020). 12
Women in national parliaments. (1997).
Women in national parliaments. (1997).
zanian government amended its constitution to include a minimum of 30% of seats in the National Assembly to be reserved for women, and, currently, women make up 37% of the Tanzanian National Assembly because of the adoption of reserved seat quotas.16 17 In addition, the use of voluntary party gender quotas is present amongst Tanzanian political parties. For example, the Chama Cha Mapinduzi parresentation of women and men (50-50) in all elective public bodies.”18 Existing Literature Surveying the literature, arguments, and feasibility of existing policies to combat female underrepresentation will help to understand the strategies that nations employ to adhere to the global norms of increasing female political representation. The presented scholarship also emphasizes the importance of differentiating between equality feminism and difference feminism. Equality feminism focuses on the ways that “women ought to be equal to men,” while difference feminism emphasizes approaches that recognize the “similarities from men as a group.”19 Both of these schools of feminism support and advocate for different mechanisms to achieve female political representation. For example, hard gender quotas 16
Quotas Database. (2020).
Women in national parliaments. (2020).
From “Political Parties in Africa through a Gender Lens,” by R. Kandawasvika-Nhundu, 2013. Strömsborg: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. 19 From .“Comparative perspectives on concepts of gender, ethnicity, and race,” by A. M. Tripp, 2016, , 4, p. 307. 18
are employed more often in countries that acknowledge the differences between men and women and their roles in society.20 Many that are also relevant to the Tanzanian strategy of reserved seat quotas. In general, according to some scholars,21 22 a it serves as this may “motivate previously underrepresented groups to engage in the political process.”23 The literature on mechanisms for female representation in general—and on different strategies. One school of thought argues that the most effective way to increase female political representation is through the use of gender quotas. Amongst these quotas are three types: reserved seat quotas, legal candidate quotas, and voluntary party quotas.24 Another school of thought asserts that a successful strategy to increase female representation is through less explicit measures such as training programs, conferences, and From .“Comparative perspectives on concepts of gender, ethnicity, and race,” by A. M. Tripp, 2016, , 4, p. 309. 21 From “Race, Sociopolitical Participation, and Black Empowerment,” by L. Bobo and F. D. Gilliam, Jr., 1990, The , 84, p. 377-393. 22 From “An Integrated Model of Women’s Representation,” by L. A. Schwindt-Bayer and W. Mishler, 2005, 67, p. 407-428. 23 From “Women’s Political Engagement Under Quota-Mandated Female Representation: Evidence From a Randomized Policy Experiment,” by A. Clayton, 2015, , 48, p. 333-369. 24 From “The Use of Gender Quotas in America: Are Voluntary Party Quotas the Way to Go?” by A. A. Somani, 2013, , 54, p. 1454-1488.
other grassroots methods.25 A country’s electoral system and government determines the feasibility of these mechanisms.26 27 Both camps present compelling cases when their strategies are paired with the suitable electoral system to maximize effectiveness. or legislated quotas, which are political-institutional responses to the problem of female political underrepresentation. Within this category exists reserved seat quotas and legal number of seats be set aside in the legislature for women,” while the latter legislates the number of women a party must nominate.28 Both of these quotas require the amendment of a country’s constitution or electoral laws to incorporate the mandates for quotas. Hard more gender-diverse legislature, especially in countries where women representatives are severely under-elected. In addition, such parties are likely to prioritize social justice is-
From “Beyond Quotas: Strategies to Promote Gender
2014, , 62, p. 2-20. 26 From “Recruitment mechanisms for reserved seats for women in parliament and switches to non-quota seats: a comparative study of Tanzania and Uganda,” by V. Wang and M. Y. Yoon, 2018, , 56, p. 299-324. 27 From “Why Gender Quotas Don’t Work in Brazil? The Role of the Electoral System and Political Finance,” by T. Sacchet, 2018, , 95, p. 25-54. 28 From “The Use of Gender Quotas in America: Are Voluntary Party Quotas the Way to Go?” by A. A. Somani, 2013, , 54, p. 1455.
sues,29 healthcare,30 and education.31 Furthermore, reserved seat quotas are an incentive for parties to “put forward female candidates in order to maximize their seat allotment.”32 tation of hard quotas since the “Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action” in 1995. One critique of a quota approach is that, unless the pipeline problem continues, and quotas do not function as effectively for all women. The pipeline problem is the lack of marginalized women within the political realm who are 33 The pipeline problem can be explained by Crenshaw’s theory of intersectionality,34 or how race, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status intersect to explain unique experiences of women who face multiple forms of oppression. An intersectional approach to increasing women in politics is important to consider when examining the different rates at which more marginalized women are elected comFrom “Quotas and Party Priorities: Direct and Indirect Effects of Quota Laws,” by A. C. Weeks, 2019, Political 72, p. 849-862. 30 From “Quota Shocks: Electoral Gender Quotas and Government Spending Priorities Worldwide,” by A. Clayton and P. Zetterberg, 2018, , 80. 31 From “How Do Electoral Gender Quotas Impact Government Spending?” by G. Riou, 2019, Chicago Policy (Online). 32 From “Beyond Quotas: Strategies to Promote Gender 29
2014, s, 62, p. 7. Copyright 2014 by Copyright Holder. Reprinted with permission. 33 From “Women of color candidates: examining emergence and success in state legislative elections,” by P. Shah, J. Scott, and E. G. Juenke, 2018, , 7, p. 429-443. 34 From “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color,” by K. Crenshaw, 1991, , 43, p. 1241-1299.
pared to their less-marginalized counterparts. For example, a female candidate that faces multiple levels of oppression, such as lower socioeconomic status or being a woman of colour, may be less likely to become elected, even if given an opportunity to via a gender quota.35 It is important to consider the intersectional ensure all women are included in gender quotas. Reserved seat quotas also pose their unique challenges. One challenge they face is their effectiveness within differing societal approaches to feminism, and their respective strategies to achieve gender equality. Difference feminism approaches tend to support gender quotas more than equality feminism because difference feminism acknowledges the diversity between men and women and their roles. Gender quotas require the separation of men’s experiences and women’s experiences in politics.36 In addition, equality feminist of a group due to the overemphasis on individual freedoms.37 However, in contrast, other authors discuss the measures are highly regarded. Usually, the public recognizes structural barriers to a group’s representation, appropriate.38 The effectiveness of reserved seat quotas can vary across countries depending on its prominent type of feminism.
enon of labelling women candidates as “quota women.” The concept refers to the risk of implementing hard quotas where male representatives will perceive than other representatives who were elected through the traditional electoral process.39 Consequences can range from male representatives not collaborating with “quota women” to men preventing women from speaking in legislatures.40 This evidence demonstrates that hard quotas can, in certain contexts, be less popular mechanisms for women to be represented in legislatures. However, research by Clayton indicates that the “quota women” phenomenon does not occur in countries in which the public believes that women truly action measures.41 In addition, contrary to previous research, “quota women” are just as, and sometimes
Therefore, hard quotas may have a different effect on the public’s opinions if the public recognizes the history of discrimination of women in legislatures.43 The other category of quotas is a voluntary party, or soft quota. Many scholars who reject the feasibility of hard quotas argue that soft quotas are more effective in increasing female representation across legislatures. stipulate the percentage of women that parties nomi-
From “Women of color candidates: examining emergence and success in state legislative elections,” by P. Shah, J. Scott, and E. G. Juenke, 2018, , 7, p. 429-443. 36 From .“Comparative perspectives on concepts of gender, ethnicity, and race,” by A. M. Tripp, 2016, s, 4, p. 307-324. 37 From .“Comparative perspectives on concepts of gender, ethnicity, and race,” by A. M.i Tripp, 2016, , 4, p. 318. 38 From “Women’s Political Engagement Under Quota-Mandated Female Representation: Evidence From a Randomized Policy Experiment,” by A. Clayton, 2015, 48, p. 333-369. 35
Yet, the favouring of soft quotas over hard quotas is not an outright rejection of hard quotas; because legislation does not mandate soft quotas, and therefore, sanctions for party noncompliance do not exist, soft quotas can also be ineffective. Somani argues for the adoption of voluntary party quotas in the United States Congress.47 However, particular parties, for example, the Republican Party, may not view party-wide quotas by impeding a voter’s right to choose.48 In contrast, Krook and Norris argue that a person’s right to choose their candidate has been infringed upon because “excluding women therefore undermines democracy by restricting the options available to voters.”49 AdditionFrom “The Use of Gender Quotas in America: Are Voluntary Party Quotas the Way to Go?” by A. A. Somani, 2013, , 54, p. 1455. 45 From “Legislating a Woman’s Seat on the Board: Institutional Factors Driving Gender Quotas for Boards of Directors,” by S. Terjesen, R. V. Aguilera and R. Lorenz, 2015, 128, p. 233-251. 46 From “The Use of Gender Quotas in America: Are Voluntary Party Quotas the Way to Go?” by A. A. Somani, 2013, , 54, p. 1455-1488. 47 From “The Use of Gender Quotas in America: Are Voluntary Party Quotas the Way to Go?” by A. A. Somani, 2013, William and Mary Law Review, 54, p. 1455-1488. 48 From “The Use of Gender Quotas in America: Are Voluntary Party Quotas the Way to Go?” by A. A. Somani, 2013, , 54, p. 1455-1488. 49 From “Beyond Quotas: Strategies to Promote Gender Equality in 44
From“Second Among Unequals? A Study of Whether France’s “Quota Women” are Up to the Job,” by R. Murray, 2010, Gender & Politics, 6, p. 93-118. 40 From “Quotas and Party Priorities: Direct and Indirect Effects of Quota Laws,” by A. C. Weeks, 2019, P , 72, p. 849-862. 41 From “Women’s Political Engagement Under Quota-Mandated Female Representation: Evidence From a Randomized Policy Experiment,” by A.Clayton, 2015, 48, p. 333-369. 42 From “Introduction: Gender Quotas and Women’s Representation—New Directions in Research,” by M. L. Krook and P. Zetterberg, 2014, Representation, 50, p. 287-294. 43 From .“Comparative perspectives on concepts of gender, ethnicity, and race,” by A. M. Tripp, 2016, , 4, p. 320. 39
Furthermore, hard quotas may result in the phenom-
44 In other words, soft quotas are not enforced by electoral legislation or a constitution. In theory, voluntary party quotas are a feasible way to encourage political parties to nominate more women to electoral districts, and because the law does not mandate compliance, less public backlash is created. Scholars argue that soft quotas are a successful way to create female representation in circumstances in which a government does not pass hard quota legislation.45 46 If a country has little power to enforce hard quotas, voluntary party quotas may somewhat increase female representation.
ally, many countries employ soft quotas that do not yield results.50 If it is left up to political parties to implement, right-leaning and libertarian parties may not commit to quotas. the use of grassroots policies that do not shape in any way the required number of women represented, but instead address the structural barriers that inhibit womstrategies exist as an alternative to legislative solutions to increase female representation. Scholars argue that nancing support, and educating the public on systemic scale in favour of encouraging the election of women.51 The most attractive feature of civil society mechanisms is that the government does not legislate formal quota regulations. Rather, it is the work of advocacy groups that create social change. tas; however, they remain ineffective on their own. Krook and Norris52 argue that these strategies are alternatives to quotas as much scholarship advocates for the sole effective measure of quotas. Nevertheless, it is questionable to assume that pressures from domesvoting attitudes without the help of formal legislation. Because this essay is concerned with an institutional problem, the solution to this problem must also evaluate the most effective measures for its problem, including scope. Some of the suggestions Krook and Norris53 62, p. 8. 50 From “Do ‘soft law’ board gender quotas work? Evidence from a natural experiment,” by R. M. de Cabo et al., 2019, , 37, p. 611-624. 51 From , by J. Lovenduski, 2005, Cambridge: Polity Press. 52 From “Beyond Quotas: Strategies to Promote Gender Equality in 62, p. 2-20. 53 From “Beyond Quotas: Strategies to Promote Gender Equality in
advise, such as awareness-raising campaigns, are not strong agents of change and do not account for institutional disadvantages that women face. Their article does not include a scope, and while these mechanisms tional, electoral reworking, many countries still contain thermore, many countries already employ these soft methods, such as Canada, and do not see nearly the results that Krook and Norris claim.54 With these arguments in mind, this essay will now evaluate the Tanzanian example of reserved seat quotas, which would make a suitable model for Canada. Larserud and Taphorn (2007)55 state that it is important to take into account a nation’s electoral system when determining the type of gender quota that is best suited to that particular nation because gender quotas are complementary to electoral systems. In addition, research strongly suggests that reserved seat quotas are most effectively employed in FPTP systems56 and are the most common quota in plurality systems.57 Both Tanzania and Canada use a FPTP system and have similar-sized parliaments, with 393 seats and 338 seats, respectively.58 The Tanzanian National Assembly employs a 30% reserved seat quota that encourages the election of 37% female representatives, with 30% of women elected to ,
62, p. 2-20. 54 Gender Quotas Database. (2020).
quota seats and 7% of women elected to traditional constituency seats.59 The government legislated this quota by amending its constitution. However, before the legislation of hard quotas, political parties committed to voluntary quotas. Party constitutions, as previously mentioned, declare the importance of advocating for gender equality within the National Assembly.60 These were in place for decades before Tanzania’s electoral reform of reserved seat quotas, yet they did not drastically increase female representation. Soft quotas comply, they are often useless. Tanzania’s soft quotas are still in place, but female representation only increased once the government legislated hard quotas to the National Assembly.61 is important to note that the political parties create lists of suitable candidates, after which the seats are “proportionally distributed among the political parties that meet a 5% threshold of popular votes in the parliamentary election.”62 Candidates are elected indirectly to parties submit a list of preferred candidates to the National Electoral Committee, the body that distributes the quota seats accordingly.63 Internally, parties use mechanisms such as delegates to vote for candidate nominees.64 In addition, because female candidates are chosen indirectly, there is less risk of a woman los59
From , S. Larserud and R. Taphorn, 2007, Stockholm: International IDEA. 56 From , (p. 12), S. Larserud and R. Taphorn, 2007, Stockholm: International IDEA. 57 From “Gender quotas, democracy, and women’s representation in Africa: Some insights from democratic Botswana and autocratic Rwanda,” by G. Bauer and J. E. Burnet, 2013, , 41, p.103-112. 58 Gender Quotas Database. (2020). 55
Gender Quotas Database. (2020).
From “Political Parties in Africa through a Gender Lens,” by R. Kandawasvika-Nhundu, 2013. Strömsborg: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. 61 Women in national parliaments. (2019). 62 From “Recruitment mechanisms for reserved seats for women in parliament and switches to non-quota seats: a comparative study of Tanzania and Uganda,” by V. Wang and M. Y. Yoon, 2018, , 56, p. 300. 63 From “Special Seats for Women in the National Legislature: The Case of Tanzania,” by M. Y. Yoon. 2008, , 55, p. 61-86. 64 From “Special Seats for Women in the National Legislature: The Case of Tanzania,” by M. Y. Yoon. 2008, , 55, p. 61-86. 60
ing directly to a man. One challenge to reserved seat quotas is the perception of the “quota-women” by voters and male representatives. This phenomenon is due to the gendered assumptions of female candidates in general.65 However, Tanzania’s method of indirectly electing candidates to reserved seats lessens the “quota women” phenomenon when the mechanism is compared to other countries that use reserved seat quotas. This disparity across methods occurs because Tanzanian’s indithat constituency seats are for men and quota seats are for women.”66 candidates to quota seats, but rather internal councils elect the women to quota seats. Therefore, women in quota seats do not compete against men for constituency seats, which may appear that they are taking a “man’s seat.”67 Another challenge to a reserved seat quota model is seats to constituency seats; however, the Tanzanian strategy encourages the election of women to constituency seats.68 When compared to other nations with shift seats.69 Tanzania’s system is more effective at encouraging switches as it does not inhibit the election of From “Special Seats for Women in the National Legislature: The Case of Tanzania,” by M. Y. Yoon. 2008, , 55, p. 61-86. 66 From “Recruitment mechanisms for reserved seats for women in parliament and switches to non-quota seats: a comparative study of Tanzania and Uganda,” by V. Wang and M. Y. Yoon, 2018, , 56, p. 301. 67 From “Recruitment mechanisms for reserved seats for women in parliament and switches to non-quota seats: a comparative study of Tanzania and Uganda,” by V. Wang and M. Y. Yoon, 2018, , 56, p. 299-324. 68 From “Beyond quota seats for women in the Tanzanian legislature,” by M. Y. Yoon, 2016, 50, p. 191-210. 69 From “Recruitment mechanisms for reserved seats for women in parliament and switches to non-quota seats: a comparative study of Tanzania and Uganda,” by V. Wang and M. Y. Yoon, 2018, , 56, p. 299-324. 65
women who switch seats.70 strategy does not enforce the stereotype that constituency seats are for men, which in other methods, can inhibit female quota- and non-quota candidates from being elected to constituency seats.71 In addition, the Tanzanian government directly encourages quota candidates to run in constituency districts.72 Because Tanzania places a two-term limit on a representative’s seat, a female incumbent must switch to running in constituency districts for regular seats.73 The indirect method of selecting women representatives allows for quota seat candidates to run in districts—against men and non-quota women candidates—in later terms without labelling them as “quota women.” One aspect of female political representation in both countries is the gender-based discrimination faced by women MPs. Research shows that, on top of under-represented female MPs in the Canadian House of Commons, the few that are elected face severe gender discrimination.74 Combatting biases and prejudice is important because discrimination can deter female MPs from working with male colleagues, which hinders party cooperation.75 Many anti-discrimination strateFrom “Recruitment mechanisms for reserved seats for women in parliament and switches to non-quota seats: a comparative study of Tanzania and Uganda,” by V. Wang and M. Y. Yoon, 2018, , 56, p. 301. 71 From “Recruitment mechanisms for reserved seats for women in parliament and switches to non-quota seats: a comparative study of Tanzania and Uganda,” by V. Wang and M. Y. Yoon, 2018, , 56, p. 299-324. 72 From “Recruitment mechanisms for reserved seats for women in parliament and switches to non-quota seats: a comparative study of Tanzania and Uganda,” by V. Wang and M. Y. Yoon, 2018, , 56, p. 317. 73 From “Recruitment mechanisms for reserved seats for women in parliament and switches to non-quota seats: a comparative study of Tanzania and Uganda,” by V. Wang and M. Y. Yoon, 2018, , 56, p. 299-324. 74 From “Unsettling the Gendered Power Paradigm: Discomfort, Dissonance and Dissention among Women in Local Government,” by C. McGregor and D. Clover, 2011, n, 34, p. 248-281. 75 From “Improving gender representation in Canadian federal politics and parliament,” by J. Galandy and D. S. Tavcer. 2019, Canadian 70
gies employ both civil society measures and ernment supports grassroots and civil society initiatives such as Daughters of the Vote and Women in House, which educate women on the political process and facilitate discussions of gender and racial discrimination.76 77 There are also government grants for funding women candidate’s political campaigns,78 as campaign funds are a barrier that prevent many 79
Furthermore, both the New Democratic Party and the Liberal Party of Canada employ internal party quotas of 50% and 25%, respectively.80 81 However, even despite the voluntary party quotas and soft measures, many female MPs still face multiple forms of discrimination. These soft measures and quotas have done very little to accomplish female representation in the House of Commons. As women only make up approximately one-quarter of seats, and more-marginalized women are even less represented, soft measures and voluntary party quotas are not effective.82 An obvious solution is reserved seat quotas, following the , 42, p. 14. Daughter of the Vote. (2020). 77 Women in House. (2020). 78 Government of Canada funding of $282,000 will increase women’s participation in politics and public life. (2020). 79 From “Beyond Quotas: Strategies to Promote Gender 76
Gender Quotas Database. (2020).
The Canadian government must amend its Elections Act to include a mandatory quota of 30% reserved seats for women. In addition, the Tanzanian strategy of indirectly electing women to seats poses less public backlash.84 Furthermore, because the Tanzanian strategy liamentary size, electoral system, and history of female representation, implementing reserved seat quotas in Canada may come with fewer challenges than anticipated. However, one difference between Tanzania’s strategy and Canada’s implementation of it would involve the method of legislation. The Tanzanian reserved seat quota law exists as an amendment to its Constitution. However, the Canada Elections Act, an Act of Parliament, outlines all Canadian electoral laws. A revision to an Act of Parliament is far easier than a constitutional amendment as it follows the normal course of a standard bill passing through the House and the Senate and would require a majority of seats to legislate it.85 While the Tanzanian strategy presents an initial model for Canada to emulate, such as with the indirect method of electing candidates, institutional differences between the two countries must be taken into account. Another challenge to a reserved seat quo83
2014, , 62, p. 2-20. 80 From “Awaiting the Watershed: Women in Canada’s Parliament,” by M. Godwin, 2010, Canadian Parliamenta, 33, p. 32-37. 81 Gender Quotas Database. (2020). 82
Tanzanian strategy. Canada is a FPTP system
Gender Quotas Database. (2020).
From “Recruitment mechanisms for reserved seats for women in parliament and switches to non-quota seats: a comparative study of Tanzania and Uganda,” by V. Wang and M. Y. Yoon, 2018, , 56, p. 300. 85 Amending Bills at Committee and Report Stages. (2020). 84
tive action measures, especially hard gender quotas, in an equality feminist society such as Canada.86 However, this challenge can be measures exists within the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.87 tion 15.2 allows for the equality of all groups programs.88 In addition, because some hard quota models do not include intersectionaction may already be skeptical of one group receiving preferential treatment, and by inent, or less-educated women, the public may view this approach as preferential treatment.89 However, in the Canadian context, by using the Tanzanian method of indirectly choosing candidates, more intersectional criteria should be added to the reserved seat quotas to encourage the representation of marginalized women. While this policy approach, and hard quotas in general, do not solve the pipeline problem, the Tanzanian method of indirectly electing women to quota seats would allow for the House of Commons to include more diversity among women candidates and would incentivize their election to constituency seats From .“Comparative perspectives on concepts of gender, ethnicity, and race,” by A. M. Tripp, 2016, , 4, p. 318. 87 Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982. (2020). 86
Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982. (2020).
From “Public Discourse versus Public Policy: Latinas/os,
M. C. Ledesma, 2015, , 9, p. 57-72.
against non-marginalized counterparts after their quota term ends. The implementation of reserved seat quotas would greatly reduce the underrepresentation of women in the House of Commons. Women have long been underserved, especially in roles of leadership, with the drastic underrepresentation of women of colour and LGBTQ2S women due to intersectional structural barriers. The challenges of diversifying the House of Commons are reduced greatly when considering the Tanzanian method of reserved seat quotas. While implementation of the Tanzanian model does not address every factor that contributes to a woman’s electability and does not address the pipeline problem, it is begin Canada’s concrete commitment to increasing intersectional female political representation in its House of Commons. Ana Brinkerhoff is a third year Political Science and Sociology student at University College. References (contd. page 61) Amending Bills at Committee and Report Stages. (2020). . Retrieved from https://www.ourcommons.ca/About/ Guides/AmendingBills-e.html. Bauer, G., & Burnet, J. E. (2013). Gender quotas, democracy, and women’s representation in Africa: Some insights from democratic Botswana and autocratic Rwanda. Women’s , 41, 103-112. doi. org/10/1016/j.wsif.2013.05.012.
POLIS | A VISION OF REVOLUTION
The University of Toronto’s Undergraduate Journal of Political Science
I emerged out from beneath the shade of a leaf you see, to a place unlike that which I have ever seen. Where the forest never sleeps, and crickets keep the sumed with slumber. And the warmth of the wind rocked me into a state similar to that of the world around me. The new day will wake us up. Up up up with the sun sticks along a river that stretches far out into the sea. The
Pinch me I must be dreaming [PART 1]
Where am I? What year is this? What day? The vision blurs but the memory is here to stay, for now that is. Quick before I forget Mother, let me tell you the story that sleep has sent.
my skin as life screams into existence. With it the screams of others who like me, are unable to avoid the sun’s rays. And the shadows seem to shrink as the sun grows and more and more are torn from the shade. The only refuge from the skin scorching slashes, refuge at sea. Not the cool cool waters but rather something new to me. A haven of sorts away from the wild and searing and me, and then we and then it’s like a game of sardines. Packed so tightly that no one dare breath or can breathe. en to betray our hiding place to the seeker, we are gasping for air just to continue to be. And when it seems, that some no longer breathe, they are released, from our tin can to swim free.
POLIS | THE THEORY OF CHANGE The University of Toronto’s Undergraduate Journal of Political Science
“The implementation of the human rights agenda must interrogate the integrity of those tasked with its management, while grappling with the existence of bad-faith actors who take advantage of the system.”
Matters of Intention vs. Implementation in Constructing a Global Human Rights Agenda By: Anvesh Jain
The above quote suggests an interesting relationship between political action, morality, and power. Morality without power is effete. Power without morality is tyrannical. Political action without either is hardly actionable at all. Finally, then, we are left with the Carrian corollary of political action, modeled by the proper arrangement of both moral force and real applications of power. Constructed in piecemeal fashion, today’s global human rights system that attempts “to apply the rule of law to humanity,” demonstrates the requisite elements of Carr’s proposed synthesis.1 The intention of the international family of nations to “[adopt] a vision of human rights that [applies] to all human beings,” is certainly Sam McFarland, “The Slow Creation of Humanity,” Political Psychology Vol. 32 No. 1 (Feb. 2011): 12. 1
a noble one, borne of the great tragedies of the nineteenth and twentieth century.2 The Cold War gave strength to the proponents of the human rights agenda, as human rights became a tool of critique, accountability, and vulnerability between the Eastern and Western blocs. Morality had at last been wedded to political power, with the kind of revolutionary zeal that such a radical breakthrough in norms naturally invites. Yet, this particular idea of human rights ought to be carefully approached and qualwell. Intention vs. Implementation Establishing a higher normative standard among states on the quest McFarland, “The Slow Creation of Humanity,” 10. 2
for the dignity of man is a worthwhile endeavour. As an idea, human rights has facilitated better economic outcomes, less wanton and needless deaths, and the attempted elimination of corrosive social elements such as forced labour and discrimination.3 Still, a wider assessment of the global human rights regime is complicated by its failures and the potential for the abuse and manipulation of its mechanisms. The implementation of the human rights agenda must interrogate the integrity of those tasked with its management, while grappling with the existence of bad-faith actors who take advantage of the system. The language of human rights has often been used to excuse violations of sovereignties, as demonstrated by the grand colonial experiment manifest in the ‘civilizing mission’.4 Psychological studies show that frequent virtuous victim signalers are more likely to accentuate claims in order to receive restitution in an organizational context where a norm violation has been alleged.5 In scenarios of anti-state “Across the nineteenth century, slavery as a legal institution was virtually eliminated.” Ibid., 6. 4 Alice Conklin, “Colonialism and Human Rights, A Contradiction in Terms? The Case of France and West Africa, 19851914,” Vol. 103, No. 2 (April 1998): 420. 5 Ekin Ok, Yi Qian, Brendan Strejcek & Karl Aquino, “Signaling Virtuous Victimhood as Indicators of Dark Triad Personalities,” 3
militancy, false hopes of human rights interventionism may induce inadvertently exacerbating conditions of violence against civilian populations in the process.6 It is evident, then, that there is a deeper or dual nature of the tension between the ideation and intentions of a global human rights structure versus its realization. If the human rights agenda is ‘good’, it may be so because humans in their basic habitus are kind, benevolent, andjust. If that same agenda is also plicitous and manipulative nature of humans. An improved conceptualization of human rights necessitates an acknowledgement of the potential pitfalls in its application. Human Rights: A Good Idea The global human rights system has eventuated thanks to what Sam McFarland has deemed “the slow creation of humanity”.7 He argues species-consciousness has been many centuries in the making. This creased] expression in international law through the ending of slavery, ogy (May 2020): 23. 6 Alan Kuperman “Darfur: Strategic Victimhood Strikes Again?” Vol. 4 No. 3 (2009): 10. 7 McFarland, “The Slow Creation of Humanity,” 1.
the creation of ‘crimes against humanity,’ and the advancement of human rights”.8 He recognizes six luminaries (Bartolomé de Las Casas, Granville Sharp, Edmund Dene Morel, H. G. Wells, and Eleanor Roosevelt) who exhibited traits conAll Humanity’ metric, suggesting a greater capacity to bridge in-group out-group divides.9 In McFarland’s view, the writing of the and the enactment of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine represent triumphs in the struggle to expand 10
Human rights is a good idea, a much needed one, with a place in the anarchic states-system, as we are better off with some conception of humanitarian grace than without. Through extensive human rights networks and discourses, the revolutionary embrace of one another and belief in an equitable entitlement to a fundamental level of decency and freedom from oppression has been diffused around the world. The transformative potential and effective normative functions of a global human rights schema slavery and the end of as acceptable customary practices. Believing in and enforcing human rights can coexist with the power 8 9
Ibid. Ibid., 13. Ibid., 10; 12.
POLIS | THE THEORY OF CHANGE The University of Toronto’s Undergraduate Journal of Political Science
politics of the states-system. Chaim Kaufmann and Robert Pape show that 19th century British imperial efforts to suppress the international slave trade through tariffs, bans, and military engagements often -
cieties make victimhood potentially advantageous”.14 sonality types can effectively garner sympathy and claim organizational restitution, shielded by the moral immunity of professing victimization.15 False claims of rights abuses by groups engaged in strategic manipulation of the system could critically misdirect limited resources away from those who require them most, and who in turn struggle to signal their own victim status. This ensures that truly destitute rights-seekers remain neglected by the same system that purports to deliver their salvation.
an average nearly 2 percent of national income annually for sixty years”.11 This ‘costly international moral action’ can be explained by the institutionalization of anti-slavery initiatives in Parliament, thanks to the political coalition of domestic religious abolitionists who viewed slavery as abhorrent and immoral.12 The slow creation of humanity meant that “once Britons recognized Africans as fellow human beings, their dignity could not be completely denied”.13 The same can be said of large scale human rights movements.
Concerns regarding the impacts of strategic victimhood are not unfounded. Rebel groups engaged in anti-state armed resistance movements have learned from the expansion of human rights dialogues in the 1990s (see: Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda) to solicit intervention from the international community. The behaviour of rebel leadership in the case of the Darfur War from 2003 onwards lends credence to this supposition. Darfur’s militants “had no reason to expect victory in the absence of humanitarian intervention,” yet chose to prolong rebellion against the government of Sudan despite massive retaliation against the civilian population of the region.16 Attempts in 2006
Evidently, the combination of power and morality under a human rights framework is a force for righteousness in global politics. However, as colonial entities made advances on the basis of the liberty of man in one sphere, they concurrently weaponized this logic to infringe and violate principles of sovereignty elsewhere in the exogeny. Shortcomings and Pitfalls Numerous aspects of the global human rights regime fall short of their stated aims, demanding a re-examination of the methods of their implementation and a frank assessment of wider systemic inadequacies.
itarian assistance,” even when presented with favourable surrender terms by diplomats from the African Union, Sudan, and the United States.17
Social psychologists Ok, Qian, Strejcek, and Aquino argue that “contemporary Western democracies have become particularly hospitable environments for victim signalers to execute a strategy of nonreciprocal resource extraction,” because “features of these soChaim Kaufmann & Robert Pape, “Explaining Costly International Moral Action: Britain’s Sixty-Year Campaign Against the Atlantic Slave Trade,” Vol. 53 No. 4 (Autumn 1999): 631. 12 “Britain responded to successive setbacks by progressively escalating its anti-slavery effort, including slave emancipation, aggressive naval efforts against slave ships, and a decades-long effort to bribe, cajole, and coerce all the other slave-trading nations. Although costs in money, lives, and international resentment continually escalated, Britain never wavered.” Kaufmann & Pape, “Explaining Costly International Moral Action,” 659. 13 Ibid., 644.
The conclusions are sobering. Prospects of humaniProtect doctrine “unintentionally exacerbated civilian suffering in Darfur” due to the false expectations of local militia groups.18 The human rights agenda inadvertently invites such suicidal interpretations resulting from applicatory inconsistencies vis-à-vis norms of international humanitarian intervention. When the criteria for intervention is left to the imagination, rational
Ok, Qian, Strejcek & Aquino, “Signaling Virtuous Victimhood,” 2. 15 Ibid., 14; 2. 16 Kuperman, “Darfur: Strategic Victimhood Strikes Again?”, 291. 17 Ibid., 293. 18 Ibid., 295. 14
actors can be induced to pursue the system’s internal logic to its worst possible eventuality: genocide.
ment. Considerations of human rights have become statecraft in regimes of varying states of democracy and autocracy. Human rights questions motivate civil bodies into awareness and action and place popular pressure on national governments. In spite of these enviable successes, the human rights agenda has fallen short of its own lofty goals. Practitioners and activists in the global network of human rights must exhibit sensitivity to the implementation of their ideas, ensuring their efforts bear perpetual fruit to the cause of all humanity. Societies deserve the opportunity to develop on their own terms, and to at times even fail in the process of that development. Yet, good need not be the enemy of perfect as striving to be even marginally better than our historical standards is a worthwhile mission indeed.
Proponents of rights discourses have been blinded by their zeal to uplift the conditions of others, through violent means if need be. The most insidious manifestation being European colonialism in the age of empires. Moral principles invigilated freedom of action in the cause of the “civilizing mission,” to emancipate colonial populations from their own ‘backwards’ traditions. Notions of democracy and human rights were employed in the service of the French Empire in West Africa. Guided by the ideals of the French revolution, colonial administrators sought to “liberate Africans from moral and material want”, positing that “the Third Republic had a special obligation to ination.”19 Of course, such language was used to justify European forms of domination, to lesser chagrin in the metropole. European imperialism subjugated non-Western populations to foreign norms and mores under the guise of implementing human rights. The French intervened actively to break down social relations, and “Africans paid a particularly high price”.20 Even if these impositions could be construed as ostensibly ‘good’, in the eradication of forced bondage or the education of younger subjects, the Europeans violated their autonomy in the process. Today’s system of era hegemonized by Western philosophies. It similarly runs the risk of falling into the dated orientalist posture of implying that Western governments and activists know what is best for other cultural systems, vindicating actions including sanctions, trade embargoes, campaigns, and even coordinated military interdiction.
Anvesh Jain is a fourth year International Relations student at the University of Toronto - St. George, with a focus in Canadian Foreign and Security Relations.
Conclusion Taken in the wider perspective of human social relations, the enactment of a global system of norms, obligations, and legal expectations designed to uphold the universal dignity of man is a welcome developConklin, “Colonialism and Human Rights, A Contradiction in Terms?,” 420; 423. 20 Ibid., 428; 440.
Bibliography (contd. on page 63) Conklin, Alice. “Colonialism and Human Rights, A Contradiction in Terms? The Case of France and West Africa, 1985-1914.” American Historical Review Vol. 103, No. 2 (April 1998) pp. 419-442. Kaufmann, Chaim, & Robert Pape. “Explaining Costly
POLIS | THE THEORY OF CHANGE The University of Toronto’s Undergraduate Journal of Political Science
II. RESPECTIVE METHODS AND AIMS teleological comparison of their works. Though Kant framed his critical project in light of enlightenment (namely in Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment?), and Marx in light of capitalism (namely in the Communist Manifesto, Das Kapital, The German Ideology and others), their projects share fundamentally parallel meta-structural methods and aims. In regard to the former, both Kant and Marx
The Pen and the Sword: Comparing Kantian and Marxist views on Social Progress By: J. Radeesh Ameresekere I. INTRODUCTION The global socio-political landscape has grown increasingly and concerningly turbulent. In light of this, the ‘social progress question’ has become a remarkably pertinent one to political philosophy. Recent decades have seen a stark increase in political uprising, institutional upheaval, forceful transfer of power, and drastic reconstitutions of entire social frameworks. The Arab Spring; the Spanish, Iranian, and Hong Kong protests; American racial unrest; and the Indian Farmers movement, are merely a few examples that grace recent memory. Consequently, the very possibility and means of achieving desired social ends have become daunting questions for everyone from philosophers to public policy specialists. In light of this perplexity, it becomes essential to evaluate and scrutinize distinct perspectives on the actualizable possibility and practical means of social progress. Two of the most substantial among
these perspectives belong to German intellectuals Immanuel Kant and Karl Marx. Though both furthered extensive critical projects on the possibility of social or political progress within the human condition, Kant and Marx presented two vastly different socio-political critiques. Nevertheless, there still subsists some deep intellectual resonances within their projects at large. In this essay, I will compare their projects of social critique in three stages. Firstly, I will account for their critiques as methodologically and teleologically similar. Then, I will juxtapose the logocentric idealism of Kant’s critique to the historical materialism of Marx’s, and consequently, I will evaluate the operational emphasis of the individual by Kant in comparison to the emphasis of the collective by Marx.
of ‘critique’. Kant is often cited as the proverbial ‘godfather’ of critical theory, and Marx catapulted the critical school into the rapidly industrializing 19th century. Though Kant and Marx established radically divergent frameworks for their respective critiques (as I will explain in proceeding sections), both made efforts to deconstruct the particular subjects of their analysis — whether say Enlightenment, Capitalism, and/or the institutions contained within these phenomena — to their most rudimentary levels. Both thinkers were occupied with all of the gears at work within their respective social machines, examining not only the sum but the parts which compose the sum. Differing in regard to their particular objects of observation — Kant’s central focuses were the clergy and the state1, whereas Marx’s were socio-economic class2 and political economies— nevertheless their projects are entirely critical, occupied with scrutinizing the objects and conditions of social existence, and evaluating their explicit impact on human life. Even within these objects in particular, they examined everything from the individual psyche to social class, the prevailing institutions to cultural climates, and the metaphysical conditions (though I use the term sparingly in reference to Marx) to examine their respective Europes. Philosophers are so often preoccupied with those massive concepts of kosmos and polis, that the components within these monoliths are lost in haste. Kant and Marx, however, are diligent to rectify this habit through their extensively rigorous critical approaches. In regard to the latter, what makes their projects most reminiscent of one another are their largely positive (or perhaps normative) conclusions. There is a unique teleological dimension to their approaches, where the ends of ‘social progress’ are contained within the projects themselves as a natural consequence of the critical approach. It seems Kant and Marx implicitly acknowledge that social progress is possible, for the very purpose of these critiques is to derive the means 1 2
Kant, Political Writings, 56-59. Marx, Selected Writings, 159.
to achieving such. This telos of social progress is presupposed by their projects, as it is precisely what motivates their projects. Kant would posit that social progress would occur when individuals begin to shed the proverbial ‘shackles’ of ideological possession and begin to critically reason through the institutional norms of society as autonomous, rational agents3. Marx would suggest his famed proletarian revolution to reconstitute society’s balance of power in favour of the masses4. While I will further expand on these conclusions in light of their particular frameworks, it is saw the critical method as the precursor to making normative derivations about social progress. Both explicitly asserted that substantial progress could indeed occur. In light of my opening commentary on the tumultuous state of global affairs then, this conclusion is rather reassuring. III. FRAMEWORK AND PRAXIS Regardless of their methodological and teleological resonances, Kant and Marx would deviate at a fundamental level: the systems of thought which would act as the explanatory frameworks for their critiques. Kant largely operates in light of his formal (transcendental) idealism, and makes reason the central driver of human activity. Though such is largely beyond the scope of my work here, to understand Kant’s position is to understand his overarching thesis in The Critique of Pure Reason. An early project, Kant’s speaking, the faculties of reason construct one’s knowledge of reality, based on sense impressions from categories (i.e., universal concepts) imposed on them. As Kant wrote, “Thus all human cognition begins with intuitions, goes from there to concepts and ends with 5
Hegelian sense, what I want to emphasize is that from the use of reason as the central instrument in Kant’s epistemological phenomenology, it would inevitably become the central instrument in his political writings. Thus, the project of social Enlightenment would utilise reason (albeit in a far more tangible sense than in The Critique) to achieve the desired end. Yet, the question of how one uses that reason in light of enlightenment still remains. To understand the relationship between reason and enlightenment, one must understand what reason Kant, Political Writings, 54-55. Marx, Selected Writings, 168, 175, 186. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, A703/B73I. Translations differ between “reason” and “ideas”. 3 4 5
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as “man’s emergence from his self incurred state of immaturity.”6 Kant’s use of the term “immaturity” here is rather unique, wholly outside of the usual convention of the word’s use; Kantian “immaturity” is intellectual heteronomy, wherein one’s thought is dictated by the collective/institutions. In other words, immaturity is the inability to exceed the ideological limitations imposed on oneself by prevailing social institutions.7 The goal of “enlightenment” is therefore to reclaim ideological autonomy.8 His essay speaks to a social power imbalance, with those arbitrary adjudicators of social norms retaining an ideological grasp over those immature subjects. The clergy and the state, in Kant’s case, so often dictate the social, legal, cultural, and political norms which hold ideological possession over their subjects. To rectify this imbalance, one must reason through these norms autonomously, for only then do they supersede their intellectual immaturity. Given the centrality of reason in his epistemological framework, this immaturity stems not from a lack of understanding, but from a lack of resolution and courage to use that understanding in light of habitual immaturity. Sapere aude, or “dare to be wise”9 as Kant wrote, is the encapsulation of his entire praxis. This renders Kant’s praxis as something entirely logocentric and ideologically driven. It is an exercise of public reason (i.e., reason which pertains to matters of public interest), in efforts to emerge from immaturity, which would then catalyze meaningful social progress. This ideological autonomy
who is more than a machine, in a manner appropriate to his dignity.”10 The rational autonomy championed in his epistemology would consequently remain central to Kantian political philosophy, becoming the key to the Kant, Political Writings, 54. Ibid, 54-56. Ibid, 55. 9 Ibid, 54. 10 Ibid, 59-60. 6
shackles of groupthink. Marx on the other hand, would be materialism. Marx saw history (and thus the very roots of social progress) as something driven by the class dichotomies prevalent in human history – he saw human existence as a history of class struggles. In his famed Communist Manifesto, Marx proposed “Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other — Proletariat and Bourgeoisie.”11 The former are the majority, lower-middle class labourers, and the latter are the minority, ultra-rich capitalists who own the means-of-production. Simply put, Marx saw society as the masses and the elite, and contextualized these abstract distinctions in economic terms. I want to emphasize that these are not merely arbitrary characteristics of the distinctions that Marx observed,
Considering this materialist framework, Marx’s practical analysis is far clearer. Given the nuances of Marxist political economies, not only would this exploitation produce (i) the need for social progress, but also (ii) the necessary class antagonism (i.e., a Nietzsche-esque ressentiment) to fuel a material revolution. Marx states “Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes.”14 What was intellectual immaturity to Kant’s social project, is economic exploitation to Marx’s. This economic exploitation creates both the social need and social motivation for the famed “proletarian revolution”15 to seize the means of production and rebalance power in favour of the masses. The disdain produced by economic exploitation, inherent to Marxist conceptions of capitalist political economies, would catalyze the masses to revolt, forcefully reconstituting social structure. Considering his emphasis on the socio-economic conditions (i.e., non transcendental conditions) being at the core of social existence, Marx largely stays faithful to his historical materialism. In this regard, Marx is not only somewhat more pragmatic, but also far more drastic in his approach. Marx saw the path to progress as something far less idealistic than Kant’s proposition, relying not on the exercise of reason, but the material revolution catalyzed by a class struggle, seeing a physical reconstitution of society. While history, through the Chinese and Russian revolutions respectively, has displayed the (albeit mixed long
distinction deeply intertwined with inherent consequences of capitalist social organization. This material condition of bourgeoise possessing the only means of production (i.e., Marxist private property) is precisely what allows them to exploit the proletariat, who are forced to sell their labour for meagre economic sustenance.12 That exploitation of labour is essential to the imbalance of power in Marx’s conception of socioeconomic organization. Thus, Marx’s entire critique of capitalism is rooted in the proletariat being forced to sell their labour, barely making a living wage as a product of capitalist mass production, or as Marx so poetically wrote: worth into exchange value, and in place of numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, it has set up that single, unconscionable freedom -- free trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.”13
“Marx saw the path to progress as something far less idealistic than Kant’s proposition, relying not on the exercise of reason, but the material revolution catalyzed by a class struggle, seeing a physical reconstitution of society.”
Marx, Selected Writings, 159. Ibid, 62, 133. 13 Ibid, 162.
Ibid, 168. 15 Ibid, 168, 175, 186.
rebalancing power, one simply cannot ignore its ability to reconstitute social order. IV. INDIVIDUALISM COLLECTIVISM
Thus far, I have taken care to examine the method, framework, and praxis which exist as the backdrop for both projects. However, to fully understand the breadth of the projects, it is essential to examine agential importance. Consequent of these two frameworks, it is clear that the Kantian approach emphasizes the role of the individual, whereas the Marxist approach necessitates collective participation. This notion of individualism versus collectivism has long plagued political theory. While both of these critiques project of modernity in the West, the succinct difference in agential importance would seemingly leave Kantianism and Marxism at odds with one another. Kant emphasized immaturity as selfincurred, resulting from an individual’s lack of resolve to think autonomously. I do not want to suggest that Kant is institutions on individual thought; his notion is that one must “dare to be wise” in light of that aforementioned institutional authority, and yet still exercise the public reason to examine not the Kantian call to delude oneself to examine them in their own right as an autonomous, rational agent.
Nevertheless, the onus to rectify this stagnancy is on the individual. Though the institutions such as state and clergy have been allowed to arbitrate what ‘ought’ to be true, it is the individual’s immaturity (and their fear to overcome it) which allows for this ideological stronghold to remain unbroken. This notion of autonomy is derivative of Kant’s larger deontological moral project in Groundwork to the Metaphysics of Morals and Metaphysics of Morals, which emphasizes the agent and the rational will as the centre of activity.16 The recurring notion of agential autonomy deeply permeates all aspects of the Kantian philosophical anthology, and his political writings are by no means exempt. Marx, however, associated this social stagnation (if not altogether oppression) with the systemic consequences of capitalist organization. Recall that the desperation of the proletariat imbalance of power contained within capitalist socio-economic structures and class dichotomies. Considering that the exploitation is not the product of misplaced individual intellect, but a consequence of the structural framework of society in its entirety, social stagnation (if not oppression moreover) is not the result of individual inaction, but rather state organization. Furthermore, given that these material conditions impact individuals in collective terms (again considering Marx’s class dichotomies), it is only the collective that has the potential to reform those conditions by capitalizing on deep class antagonisms and revolting. Thusly, Marx sees social 16
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progress as something altogether more revolutionary, demanding a physical transference of power from the elite to the masses – something which can only occur at the hands of those masses. V. CONCLUDING REFLECTIONS some interesting observations. In one sense, Kant’s and Marx’s projects each differ on numerous fronts, taking effectively incompatible approaches to social progress. They diverge when considering even the most rudimentary axioms that inform their critiques. In another sense, Marx is a product of Kant, as his entire body of work can be considered an example of the exact practice of public reason which Kant insisted to be the precursor of social progress – albeit social progress in the shape of the famed Communist revolutions,17 instead of more moderate Kantian reforms. Considering the complementary nature of their projects , the dichotomy I establish may be too divisive; the respective projects of each thinker may not necessarily be at odds with one another, but Marx’s method may be a natural conclusion of Kant’s method. In a Hegelian sense, these processes of social critique are incomplete in their own right, and only move us closer to the notion of ‘complete’ human thought. The dismal state of global affairs supports the Beyond the realm of theoretical frameworks, it be said that those revolutionary outcomes Marx anticipates would have occurred regardless of his commentary on the matter as a causal consequence, not of his work as a catalyst, but as a result of the natural sequence of existence. 17
thesis that these projects are indeed incomplete in their own right, and only move us closer to some abstract idea of ‘progress’. However, that hardly detracts from their value. Kant and Marx revolutionized modern thought with their critical approach to human existence. Though both saw social progress as something altogether possible, carefully and rigorously examining the conditions of human existence and social organization to further entirely positive critiques, they differed on fundamental levels. Considering their explanatory frameworks, Kant would make his critique in light of his transcendental idealism, and Marx in light of his historical materialism. This succinct difference provides rather irreconcilable idiosyncrasies to the particulars of their work, namely in their agential emphasis. In light of his system at large, Kant would place the onus on the individual, emphasizing agential autonomy and freedom – central concepts to Kantian morality. Marx, however, was more of a product of his times, examining the particular consequence of his capitalist Europe, forcing him to call upon the collective to see substantial social change. Therefore, whether through reason or revolution, pen or sword, Kantianism or Marxism, social progress exists as a demanding end which confronts all of our inadequacies as political animals. J. Radheesh Ameresekere is a second year Philosophy Specialist, Trinity College
References Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason. Ed. Paul Guyer and A.W. Wood. Trans. Trans. Paul Guyer and A.W. Wood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1998. Kant, Immanuel. Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. Trans. Mary Gregor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1998. Kant, Immanuel. Political Writings. Ed. Hans Reiss. Trans. H.B. Nisbet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1991. Marx, Karl. Selected Writings. Ed. Lawrence H. Simon. Hackett Publishing Company. 1994.
POLIS | THE THEORY OF CHANGE The University of Toronto’s Undergraduate Journal of Political Science
Democracy, Constitutionalism, and Islam: Shaykh Mohammad Hussain Gharawi Naini’s Treatise By: Zoheir Asnaashary
Unlike Western Europe, where ideas of modern state-nation, democracy, and constitution were native, Iran and many other polities did not have a share in the intellectual project of modernity. These concepts were all the results of the Western intellect and were imported either by force through colonialism, or willfully to avoid falling behind from the swiftly advancing West. That these Western political ideals were not rooted in the native intellectual superstructure of non-Western civilizations made the “modernity vs. tradition” struggle an attrition warfare between the two. In Iran, some traditionalists resisted the new modern system, while some attempted to comprehend it through their own sources of knowledge and understanding. The intellectual realm was shared between Western-educated intellectuals and traditional clerics of the Shia Sect of Islam during the 1900s
“Constitutional Revolution”. The Ulama (The Clergy) were, however, not united in rejecting the idea of modernity: some believed that democracy and constitutionalism are compatible with the political theory of Shi’i Islam. One Mujtahid that is well known for defending the constitutional movement was Shaykh Mohammad Hussain Gharawi Naini, also known as “Mirza-ye Naini” (1860-1936). In his treatise To Warn the Ummah (Muslim Community) and to Purify the Nation, he argues for the legitimacy of constitutionalism from the Shi’i Theological perspective. Endorsed by prominent constitutionalist mujtahids – such as Mohammad Kazem “Akhund Khurasani” and Abdullah Mazandarani – the book sets the groundwork for future pro-constitutionalist Shia scholars such as Sayyad Mahmud Taleqani, who edited and re-
published the book in 1956, and other chy rhetoric of 1960s and 1970s. In other words, this treatise sets a beginning for discussion on modern social subjects such as statecraft and law among the Shia Muslim clergy of Iran and Iraq; a discussion that leads to action like the 1979 revolution of Iran. Although slightly ignored in current discourses in and out of Iran, this book provides a great insight into alternative and non-Eurocentric opinions with regards to modernism. This paper provides research and argument that Mirza-ye Naini’s treatise presents a modern democratic state-nation not as the ideal system from a Shi’i perspective, yet the lesser evil compared to absolute monarchy since it limits tyranny. Consequently, Naini sets the theoretical groundwork of a democratic republic in which administration is in accordance with the Sharia. The Nature of the State (Saltanat) Tanbih begins with describing the necessity of a state. It might be unrealistic to assume that Naini had read about Hobbes, yet he takes a Hobbesian approach to introducing the idea of a state: “know that all Muslim communities and all the wise of the world are united in asserting that the endurance of the order of the world and the life of the the state1, be it based on an individual or a group of individuals, and be it righteous or wrong, and be it by force, or hereditary, or by election”2. As such, he asserts that the primary role of a state is to enable civilized life by providing security – both internal 1 Naini uses the word Saltanat ( ) to describe the concept of the state, which in Arabic means “dominion”. Contemporarily, it is commonly known to mean “monarchy”, yet it was used to describe the state as its original meaning suggests the same connotation that the word “state” does in English. 2 Davoud Feirahi, The Verge of Reform, 98.
and external. Hence, the state is in charge of protecting citizens from each other, and from other states. With that in mind, the nature of the state is divided into two. Tanbih calls “possession-based”3 (Tamlikiyah). In this system, the relationship between the state and the nation is that of the owner and the owned. The state behaves like it has an absolute right over its subjects. Ultimately, ownership of the creation belongs to God, and in essence, prerogative rights are exclusive to God, and claiming absolute authority is to set oneself equal to God, and consequently engage in Shirk (the sin of idolatry or polytheism). The second type does not stand above the people, but is limited to its primary role, and Naini calls it “Guardianship”4 (Velayatiyah). It appears that Niani believes that the nature of the state is centred around its primary duty5. The difference between an absolutist and a Mashruteh (conditional) system is not simply in its method of administration, but in its fundamental shape. Moreover, the conditional system, as Nouraie paraphrases, is legitimate from the Islamic perspective, only if it is a guardian of the people, rather than its owner, and the absolutist possession-based system is “doomed to decay and destruction”6. The Essentials of a Guardianship State, and the Ideal If the state exists merely to provide individuals with security, it must do so by protecting freedom, equality, and participation. The purpose of the state is to provide security 3 Ibid., 111 4 Davoud Feirahi, The Verge of Reform, 120. 5 Ibid., 121. 6 Fereshte M. Nouraie, “The Constitutional Ideas of a Shi’ite Mujtahid: Muhammad Husayn Na’ini”, 239.
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and sustain life by ensuring that the citizens are free and equal. However, the ideal system, according to Shi’ism, is not the limited state that is promoted here. According to Naini, the perfect nity would be to have a perfect leader, and this is the essence of the principle of ate in Shi’ism. The Imam, as an infallible individual, can ensure the absolute protection of freedom and equality among the society, exactly because of his infallibility7. Yet in the absence of the Imam and therefore the impossibility of creating this Utopia, the state must still be held responsible for its primary duties, even though it is not perfectly legitimate. on two categories: legitimacy, and justice. 8 depends on whether the system is established by the Imam or not, and accordingly, any state that is not ruled by the infallible Imam is illegitimate. The second category is what Naini mentioned earlier, distinguishing possession-based and guardianship states. Naini’s core argument, with regards to politics in the age of the Imam’s absence, is that although the state is illegitimate, it must still be held accountable to be just. This is what Naini calls “limiting the dominance of tyranny” (Tahdid-e Estial-ye Jowr)9. Democracy, Supervision, and Constitutionalism The idea of having a national assembly to represent the people was among the main requests of constitutionalists, and Naini argues that not only it is one of the tools for 7 Ibid., 216, 217. 8 Ibid., 220, 221. 9 Ibid., 229.
limiting the state, but it is also in accordance with the tradition of Islam. This interpretation responds to those who argue that democracy does not necessarily result in the best decisions and might therefore not be legitimate according to the religion. Moreover, since the infallible Imam is not present to ensure that the system is on its course, external supervision serves as an alternative. This is aligned with the idea of a national assembly, except that it further emphasizes the importance of representativeness and public participation. Lastly, a constitution is necessary for organizing the state and its relationship with the nation. “Just like how organizing the actions possible without having a Risala (collection of Islamic decrees)10 in hand to align their day-to-day actions with, organizing and supervising the actions of politicians is impossible without a constitution”11 . Naini legitimizes a constitutional system and obligates obedience to the constitutional law for any member of the society, such that it is mandatory for any Muslim to the Sharia. The very idea, however, would be challenged by anti-constitutionalists such as Nuri. Discussions surrounding Constitutionalism The age of the constitutional revolution, while being the age of uprisings and sieges and assassinations and depositions, was also the age of dialogues, and sometimes hostile words. Nevertheless, it was the age of internal discussions such as that of Nuri and Naini. Shaykh Fazl Allah Nuri (1842-1909) was the 10 Risala: a book consisted of Fatwas of a Mujtahid which serves the Shia Muslim as an instruction based on the Sharia. 11 Davoud Feirahi, The Verge of Reform, 270.
portant opponent of constitutionalism. Nevertheless, he did not oppose the movement from the beginning. After the establishment pectations, and he issued a against constitutionalism. Naini deemed it necessary to respond to Nuri and hence allocated an entire chapter of Tanbih addressing Nuri’s arguments against constitutionalism. To assess the compatibility of new concepts without losing the light of native reasoning was a legacy that faded away. The discussion of alternative modernity had lost the spotlight it once deserved; even the older discussions of Naini were not mass-published in Farsi until recently since the 1960s. Academic discussion over such texts have been so minimal that Naini’s treatise – once modernity in Iran – has not even been translated to English. was written in a time of crisis, ambiguity, and political consciousness. The progress and prosperity that modern reformists promised was appealing to the Iranian society, a country that was held back by the corrupt and dysfunctional establishment of the Qajar, and the colonial interventions of Europe for years. Modernization was inevitable; it was taking over the world either by force or by concession. At the same time, both the clerics of Shi’ism, and the society itself, found themselves challenged with the new and strange concept of modernity that was not even the result of native intellectual projects, but evidently imported from the West. The confusion led many, such as Shaykh Nuri, to total rejection and strong adherence to the old system, even if it meant submitting to the tyrannical and dysfunctional administra-
tion of the Qajar. On the other hand, Naini becomes the who assists other pro-constitutionalists such as Khurasani in their public relations, and more importantly, he engages in intellectual and theological arguments in support of constitutionalism. Naini appeals to the religious section of the society, because “his only motive for writing on the idea of constitutionalism was religion”12. Naini argues that tyranny is not the tradition of Islam, rather, justice and the responsibility of the state before the people is. Accordingly, the constitutional movement, as an attempt to modernize the political superstructure of Iran is legitimate according to Shi’ism. Naini emphasizes that the modern state-nation is not the ideal, but it is at least an achievable good. In other words, his arguments pave the way for the establishment of democracy and constitutional administration in the Islamic world, in a way that it could be compatible with Islamic tradition, the same way that European modernity is the fruit of European tradition.13 Zoheir is a 3rd year Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies student at University College, with a focus on Islamic Political Theology. References (contd. on page 64) 12 Abdul-Hadi Hairi, “Shi’ism and Constitutionalism: A Study of the Life and Views of Mirza Muhammad Husayn Na’ini, a Shia Mujtahid of Iran”, Order No. NK18233, (Canada: McGill University, 1973), 183. 13 At the end of this paper, I would like to acknowledge the great efforts of Dr. Davoud Feirahi (19642020), Professor of Political Science at the University of Tehran, in re-establishing academic conversation over Naini and study of modernity through Islamic theology. In 2016, Dr. Feirahi edited and republished Naini’s Treatise under the new name of “The Verge of Reform” after decades of it not being published in a mass scale. as he passed away in November 2020 due to Covid-19.
The soil was a welcome sight stretching miles upon miles and please understand mother that this part is kind of foggy but I’m waving. Waving so frantically that I had to checked to make sure that the person they were waving at was me. It was at me, they made that clear as they put a hand to their ear. When I did the same, I heard my name and then “you are not welcome here.” As I was dragged onto the shore, “you are not welcome here”, as I was shackled and sold and taken down a long long road. home,” that I realized that the person waving, though appearing to beckon, was really telling me to swim away, to go. That “feels like” 40-degree heat, 40-acres to cover or be beat, sweet smell of sugar cane. Does the soil have a name? A lovely name as our toils on it deserve praise but are meet instead with distain and scorn and lashes. Mother it was so real those lashes, though all a dream, I convinced myself that I felt the lashes. It hurt so I lash out at the ground. I cursed the bounty it bore that soft white center that we did all of this for. And then from the soil appeared a girl, skin as dark as clay and hair as wild and unruly as the earth. The frequent visits she’d say, left her sore. Initially meet with scorn until the light in her eyes twinkled no more. When I asked what had happened, she wouldn’t tell me, when she wept, I wouldn’t ask, until the saltwater sea retreated and none of what she was, was left. A few months later the light returned in the birth of a baby girl. A beautiful baby girl who I owed the world to and who, in place of her mother, I watched as she grew. Watched as she too grew away The abundant nectar of this strange fruit.
Pinch me I must be dreaming [PART 2]
POLIS | EXAMINING THE WORLD WE LIVE IN The University of Toronto’s Undergraduate Journal of Political Science
Fantasies and Technologies: Infrastructural Politics in Jerusalem and Mumbai By: Nooralhuda Al Qayem In the past century, urbanization has become a major trend which has transformed our world on both an individual and a societal scale.1 Urban infrastructures are indispensable objects and processes, without which our urbanized society could not function. They provide services and create networks for movement, communication, and exchange.2 Modern liberal cities would not exist without the “highly developed systems which underlie them, ensuring that electricity, gas, heating, clean water and so on are moved from provider to user, and that waste is removed”.3 Unsurprisingly, this has led to infrastructure investment skyrocketing, Koppenjan, Joop F.M., & Enserik B. (2009). Public-Private Partnerships in Urban Infrastructures: Reconciling Private Sector Participation and Sustainability. , 284-296. 2 Allen, S. (1999). Infrastructural Urbanism. Points + Lines, 46-89. 3 Moss, T., Guy, S., & Medd, W. (2011). 1
of Urban Infrastructures: An Introduction. cal Networks, 1-30.
though it does not always equal success.4 It is therefore crucial to look at urban infrastructures through a critical lens and analyze their function in society, as well as their power structures. Due to their essential role in our lives, the management and control of infrastructures is necessarily political. They are extremely multi-faceted networks that encompass a vast array of sectors and can therefore be theorized in numerous ways. Brian Larkin, a major theorist of urban infrastructures claims that “studies of infrastructure tend to privilege the technological”, that is the mechanical logistics of how they function.5 This mode of thinking is critical to understanding the politics of them, but there is another equally important power structure: that of fantasies and desires. I will demonstrate, using the examples of the Jerusalem test: why the worst infrastructure gets built - and what we can do about it. , 344-367. 5 Larkin, B. (2013). The Politics and Poetrics of Infrastructure. pology, 327-343. 4
Light Rail and Mumbai’s water infrastructure, how these two ways of thinking about infrastructural politics, the technical and the fantastical, shape the lives of a city’s residents. Urban infrastructure in Jerusalem has taken on a political role in the case of the Jerusalem Light Rail (JLR) by allowing the state to take control over both the technical functioning of public transit and the imagination and desires of Jerusalem’s society. Jerusalem has a 3000-year history that is imbued with millennia of various ethno-national and religious continue into the present, earning it the status of a divided city. It is beyond the scope of this paper to outline the entirety of Jerusalem’s history and the Israeli-Palestinian some necessary background information as it pertains to urban infrastructure and the JLR. Since it is the epicentre of the
three largest monotheistic religions in the world, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the international community attempted to establish Jerusalem as an international city in 1947, an effort that failed due to Arab-Jewish clashes and the 1948 war which resulted in Israel declaring its independence and Jerusalem being split into an East (Jordan) and West (Israel). In the war of 1967, Israel expanded its portion of Jerusalem, occupying the East, and in 1980, the Israeli state annexed East Jerusalem in an effort to reunify the city, though the United Nations Security Council declared this annexation as illegal as it violated international laws. As of 2013, the city’s population is made up of 816,000 people, 63% Jewish and 37% Palestinian, made up of 96.6% Muslims and 3.4% Christians. The city is segregated, with the Jewish population living in the West and the Palestinian population living in the East. Though Palestinian Jerusalemites have been given the status of permanent residents and enjoy more rights than Palestinians living in the West Bank (they can vote in municipal elections, live and work in Israel, travel to and from the West Bank, and collect some
Consistent with this segregation, before the JLR was opened in 2011, there were two separate public bus networks, one servicing the Palestinian neighborhoods, and one servicing the Jewish neighborhoods, with very
into “the city’s self-understanding as a Jewish city,”.
coverage on the Eastern side. The JLR network bridges these divided communities, connecting both of their peripheral neighborhoods with “central commercial and transport hubs”. The JLR is 14km in length, has 23 stations (announced in Hebrew, Arabic, and English) and is used regularly by city’s population. Although it is thought of as heightening the status of Jerusalem to that of a modern cosmopolitan metropolis, theorists largely agree that the JLR connotes a much more controversial meaning on the ground, revealing the politics of infrastructure through both an authoritative approach of controlling and surveying movement, as well as a ing the imagination and desires of the city, which results in the enforcement of a “Jewish Israeli hegemony over the entirety of Jerusalem”.6 Urban infrastructures need to be thought of as having the potential Nolte, A., & Yacobi, H. (2014). Politics, infrastructure, and representation: The case of Jerusalem’s Light Rail. Cities 28-36.
POLIS | EXAMINING THE WORLD WE LIVE IN The University of Toronto’s Undergraduate Journal of Political Science
to be sites of state control and oppression, and we can see the JLR reaching this potential in Jerusalem. By connecting East and West Jerusalem in an easily accessible public transportation network, the Israeli state “makes both Palestinian urban space and movements legible in order to normalize this part of the city and its residents”.7 In this way, by connecting East and West Jerusalem, the state seeks to assimilate the Palestinian population into Greater Jerusalem, further enforcing Israeli hegemony in the city. Israel has been building settlements within Palestinian territory and East Jerusalem and supporters of these settlements have noted an increased presence of Jewish people in East Jerusalem after the establishment of the JLR.8 Moreover, the inclusion of Palestinians in this public transport network also represents state control and therefore surveillance of the population’s movement through the city. Therefore, connecting these neighborhoods should be seen not as an innocent attempt at reconciliation, bringing the Jewish and Palestinian populations into peaceful relationship with each other, but rather an at-
tempt to use infrastructure as a means to assert more control and surveillance over the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem, and normalize the occupation as a result.
Rokem, J., Vaughan, L. (2018). Segregration, mobility, and encounters in Jerusalem: The role of public transport infrastructure in the ‘divided city’. , 3454-3473. 8 Bauman, H. (2018). The Violence of Infrastructural Connectivity: Jerusalem’s Light Rail as a Means of Normalisation. , 30-38.
railways are not just technical objects then but also operate on the level of fantasy and desire. They encode the dreams of individuals and societies and are the vehi-
However, infrastructural politics function not only as a method of state control and the surveillance of the movement of people and objects, they also function as dictations and representations of the city’s aspirational self-identity. In describing the role of dreams in a city, Calvino wrote: “With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else”.9 We can see this function of dreams in Jerusalem’s infrastructure through the JLR as a manifestation of the Israeli state fantasy to see Jerusalem as a modern city.
Calvino, I. (1997). Vintage Books. 9
cles whereby those fantasies are transmitted and made emotionalcomprises an important part of infrastructure’s political address – the way technologies come to represent the possibility of being modern”.10 Oren Shlomo follows this logic, viewing urban infrastructure in Jerusalem “as a key site in which the state penetrates society,” as opposed to “seeing UIS (urban infrastructures and services) as a mere technical or administrative system designated to distribute mobility, services, and public goods”.11 In the case of the JLR, the infrastructure symbolizes a sense of modernity and progress for Jerusalem.12 Amina Nolte and Haim Yacobi argue that the representation of the JLR as a symbol of modernity is indicative of the state trying to construct an image of Jerusalem as a metropolis, an “embodiment of a modern, European and well planned capital” (Nolte and Yacobi 2014). This is in line with the discourse and values of Zionism that seek to make Jerusalem a modern city, in this case through Larkin, B. (2013). The Politics and Poetrics of Infrastructure. 327-343. 11 Shlomo, O. (2016). The governmentalities of infrastructure and services amid 10
Oslo era. 224-236. 12 Bauman, H. (2018). The Violence of Infrastructural Connectivity: Jerusalem’s Light Rail as a Means of Normalisation. , 30-38.
the implementation of seemingly progressive and modern infrastructure. With the project being resentation. The JLR can thus be understood as contributing to the especially in the way it excludes the Palestinian population from its imagination. While Palestinians are permitted and encouraged to use the JLR, as this works to assimilate and connect East Jerusalem with the West, Palestinians are erased from the fantasy and desire of Jerusalem as a modern sentation and writing on the JLR portray the infrastructure as emblematic of a modernized, united metropolis, which “can be seen as an attempt to stress the western and modern development of Jerusalem under Israeli control, emphasizing its centrality to Jewish and Israeli life and therefore reinforcing its claim to the entire city”.13 modernized, western Jewish city ignores any Palestinian national claim to the land, equating modernity with the west and contrasting it with an apparent lack of progress in the global South. This fantasy of the Israeli state for a modern Jerusalem makes clear the colonial implications of the Nolte, A., & Yacobi, H. (2014). Politics, infrastructure, and representation: The case of Jerusalem’s Light Rail. Cities 28-36. 13
JLR. We can see this colonial impact in the ways the municipal government formalized the existing informal structures in the East Jerusalem bus network. Before, the East Jerusalem public transit system was operated 84% by informal drivers. The formal companies refused to service areas in which informal paratransit was already taking place. This led the Israeli Ministry of Transport to formalize the operations by incorporating which in turn were reconciled the planners, this represented a public transit network while, for the company-owners and informal operators, this meant a loss of autonomy. Informal structures can be seen as directly opposed to the formality of modern western society. Lisa Bjorkman argues that informal structures come out of traditions native to the Global South, and these alternative forms of infrastructure should be understood as “what urban modernity looks like in the non-Western world”.14 Members of the existing informal structure resisted the formalization of infrastructure, trying to maintain a sense of self-governance, which “should be understood as a form of counter-govBjorkman, L. (2015). Introduction: Embedded Infrastructures. In 14
POLIS | EXAMINING THE WORLD WE LIVE IN The University of Toronto’s Undergraduate Journal of Political Science
Infrastructural politics function not only as a method of state control and the surveillance of the movement of people and objects, they also function as dictations and representations of the city’s aspirational self-identity ernmentality that means not only the rejection of the ruling apparatus but also the governmentalities embodies in UIS”.15 This shows the way in which infrastructure, which is often thought of as a top-down project, is also shaped in a bottom-up way through the “practices and performances of everyday urban infrastructural lives as well as in highly visible forms of remonstration, contestation, and disorder”.16 Another example of contestation and disorder that shaped how the JLR is being used and thought of is the violent outbreaks that happened on its site in the summer of 2014. The murder of a teenage boy in an East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat was the catalyst for a series of violent clashes. The JLR, thought of as a symbol of the Jerusalem municipal government and therefore, the occupaShlomo, O. (2016). The governmentalities of infrastructure and services amid 15
Oslo era. Political Geography, 224-236. 16 Rutherford, J. (2019). IntroductionL Redeploying Urban Infrastructure. Rede, 1-44.
tion, became a main target for the violence.17 Today, service on the JLR is often disrupted for special forces to enter trains and handle suspicious objects.18 Violence, or the threat of it, has become a normality for the JLR due to the actions of some of Jerusalem’s residents, showing how bottom-up Through the example of Jerusalem’s Light Rail, I have shown how infrastructure takes on a political role both through the control and surveillance of the population’s movements and neighborhoods as well as control over the fantasies and desires of Jerusalem as a modern metropolis which excludes the Palestinian population. I have also shown how infrastructures may be shaped by a city’s inhabitants in addition to the topdown approach by the state. In describing a city named FeBauman, H. (2018). The Violence of Infrastructural Connectivity: Jerusalem’s Light Rail as a Means of Normalisation. , 30-38. 18 Nolte, A., & Yacobi, H. (2014). Politics, infrastructure, and representation: The case of Jerusalem’s Light Rail. Cities 28-36. 17
dora in his book, , Italo Calvino writes: “In every age someone, looking at Fedora as it was, imagined a way of making it the ideal city, but while he constructed his miniature model, Fedora was already no longer the same as before, and what had been until yesterday a possible future became only a toy in a glass globe”.19 Cities are constantly being changed and improved upon, but often these changes fail to take into account the entirety of a city’s complexity and may leave out crucial details. This can be seen in the case of Mumbai’s water infrastructure, in which modernization efforts have into modernity, as it continues to neglect the underlying infrastrucbe unreliable and frequently disrupted. Similar to the JLR, we can break down the power structures controlling this infrastructure into the fantasies and desires associated with it and the technical power of controlling how, when, where, Calvino, I. (1997). don: Vintage Books. 19
understand why water does not
In 1991, Mumbai underwent a series of reforms to transform the
Although the answer to this question is complex, the state as well as citizens understand that “when water comes, it’s because of politics, and when water doesn’t come, it’s because of politics”.20
centre modeled on Singapore,” letting the market do the bulk of the work. Since then, Mumbai has gone through an extraordinary amount of development. Previous working-class neighborhoods have been torn down to make buildings, luxury residential complexes, and shopping malls, while low-income housing has moved to the outskirts of the city. Despite the fantasy of Mumbai as a “world-class city”, the reality on the ground is far from the dazzling metropolis imagined by the state through modernization efforts. Mumbai’s water infrastructure has paid the price for the city’s modernity. To use Bjorkman’s words, the market “is remaking the face of Mumbai without consulting the pipes”. In other words, the modernization of the city grossly underestimated water demand, and all the construction, demolition, and development have “wreaked havoc on the city’s water pipes”. This is not to say that the city’s modernization efforts have been a failure, on the contrary, Mumbai accounts for 6% of India’s GDP, 40% of its foreign trade, and over a third of its income tax revenue. Having no shortage of resources,
In response to the unreliable pipes and the government’s inability to manage them, many of Mumbai’s residents have informal tactics to 21
They hire plumbers working outside the formal structures of the municipal water infrastructure to redirect water and at least temwater problems. However, this further disrupts the infrastructure derstood and controlled through technology. Formalized structures can be thought of as disrupting already existing informal systems and vice versa. In other words, in order for any system to function, it must be either completely formal or completely informal. Mumbai’s fantasy and desire of being a modern world-class city is at odds with the reality of the infrastrucBjorkman, L. (2015). Introduction: Embedded Infrastructures. In 20
, 1-19. Bjorkman, L. (2015). If Water Comes It’s Because of Politics” Power Authority, and Hydraulic Spectacle. 21
ture on the ground that is void of a formal water infrastructure system. These need to be reconciled in the imagination of the municipality and its residents in order to begin to see technical change in the city’s pipes. Of course, the function of infrastructure also lives outside people’s imagination as concrete objects and networks that provide essential resources to a city’s residents. Residents of Mumbai understand that water is about politics, and that whether or not they have it depends on their relationship with the state. Nikhil Anand terms this relationship as “hydraulic citizenship,” which he to be recognized by city agencies through legitimate water services.” Theorizing infrastructure in this way reveals not the mechaniby the relationship of residents to the state. Understanding this shows how the issue of dry faucets in Mumbai is a larger issue than simple mechanics and engineering. The technical side of the city is volatile because it is leaking through the pipes. However, no one knows how much is leaking or how to stop it. Thus, the issue of water infrastructure is often beyond the control of any institutional power.22 However, 22
Anand, N. (2015). Leaky States: Water
preted by Mumbai’s residents as an indication of a leader’s political power. This puts politicians in to solve all of Mumbai’s water issues are far beyond their power – a critical issue for the city’s residents. The literature on Mumbai’s water infrastructure makes it seem as though the pipes are a living organism with a mind of their own that cannot be controlled by state power.23 This is not far from the truth, as the infrastructure network encompasses many actors, including engineers, institutional powers, politicians, and informal workers. This has resulted in Mumbai’s water being a tangled mess that no one knows how to solve. However, if it is up to anyone to deal with this issue, it is the state. By failing to distribute water to its residents reliably and consistently, the city is not holding up its side of the bargain in providing basic security. As Bjorkman notes, elections are won and lost in Mumbai based on the politicians’ ability to perform “hydraulic spectacle”.24 Audits, Ignorance, and the Politics of Infrastructure. , 305-330. 23 Larkin, B. (2013). The Politics and Poetrics of Infrastructure. , 327-343. 24 Bjorkman, L. (2015). If Water Comes It’s Because of Politics” Power Authority, and Hydraulic Spectacle. , 198-226.
Whether or not the state has any real power over the water in the city, the issue of infrastructure is irreversibly tied up with political power. Through the example of Mumbai’s water infrastructure, I have shown how the politics of infrastructure can be broken down into the power over the fantasies and desires of a society, and the technical power needed to make Infrastructure is largely about the technical power that has (or is thought to have) control over it creates for the functioning of a modern liberal society. In Jerusalem, this power is manifested through the state’s ability to monitor the movements of the Palestinian population through a new rail system were enhanced. Also, connecting previously isolated neighborhoods in East and West Jerusalem function to assimilate Palestinians living in the city and thus work to normalize the occupation of East Jerusalem. In Mumbai, technical control over infrastructure can be extremely complicated, with the water infrastructure being affected by multi-faceted networks that are infrastructure is more than just a technology and its power. It can
represent the fantasies and desires of a society and exert control over this imaginary is arguably more powerful than technical control. In other words, infrastructures operate on a deeper level than their mechanical functions, they inject an ideology into a city, having the ability to shape a society’s self-imagination. Therefore, whoever is able to control that narrative has an immense amount of power, capable of morphing a city in line with their fantasies and desires. I showed how this has been happening in Jerusalem through the case of the JLR, in which the new public transit system, representing a modern, metropolitan version of the city works to consolidate Jerusalem as a Jewish city, excluding the Palestinian population from this narrative of modernity. In Mumbai I showed how a similar image of the Indian capital as a central, modern, world-class city affected the water infrastructure in a negative way. In both of these cases, we saw how informal structures persisted and resisted against this implementation of modernity and how that informality further shaped the infrastructure and the ways people think about it. Thus, the fantasies and desires are not simply dictated by a top-down power
but shaped through the interactions of institutional powers and people on the ground. In this essay I have shown how we can see infrastructural politics as dualistic, being made up of power over the technical functioning of the infrastructure, as well as power over the fantasies and desires the infrastructure can represent. Nooralhuda Al Qayem is a fourth year Political Science and Architectural Studies student References Allen, S. (1999). Infrastructural Urbanism. In Points + Lines, by Stan Allen, 46-89. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Anand, N. (2017). Introduction: Water Works. , by Nikhil Anand, 1-24. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. Anand, N. 2015. Leaky States: Water Audits, Ignorance, and the Politics of Infrastructure. , 305-330. Bauman, H. (2018). The Violence of Infrastructural Connectivity: Jerusalem’s Light Rail as a Means of Normalisation. , 30-38. Bjorkman, L. (2015). “If Water Comes It’s Because of Politics” Power Authority, and Hydraulic
, 198226. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. Bjorkman, L. (2015). Introduction: Embedded Infrastructures. Pipe , 1-19. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. Calvino, I. (1997). . London: Vintage Books. Flyvbjerg, B. (2009). Survival of structure gets built - and what we can do about it. Economic Policy 344-367. Koppenjan, J. F.M., and Enserink, B. (2009). Public-Private Partnerships in Urban Infrastructures: Reconciling Private Sector Participation and Sustainability. , 284-296. Larkin, B. (2013). The Politics and Poetrics of Infrastructure. , 327343. Moss, T, Guy, S., Marvin, S. & Medd. W. (2011). Intermediaries Infrastructures: An Introduction. , 1-30. New York: Earthscan. Nolte, A., & Yacobi, H. (2014). Politics, infrastructure, and repre-
sentation: The case of Jerusalem’s Light Rail. Cities, 28-36. Rokem, J., Vaughan, L. (2018). Segregation, mobility, and encounters in Jerusalem: The role of public transport infrastructure in the ‘divided city’. , 3454-3473. Rutherford, J. (2019). IntroductionL Redeploying , 1-44. Shlomo, O. (2016). The governmentalities of infrastructure and Jerusalem in the post Oslo era. Political Geography, 224-236.
A Critical Review: Environmental Justice Perspectives By: Keerthi Chintapalli
This paper will examine key debates and research questions around environmental justice and the uneven distribution of environmental risk by race and class. It will explore theories of environmental justice, as well as how issues of environmental injustice in global environmental politics can be understood and improved upon in the context of sustainability and consumerism. This paper will argue that environmental justice (EJ) initiatives are a necessary component of addressing global environmental problems. For progress to be made in the realm of sustainability, consumption, and justice, the social factors underlying environmental issues need to be addressed. Environmental movements and solutions have been suspicious to some communities for several
reasons. Mainstream environmental movements and organizations have historically ignored equity and social justice issues.1 These movements have largely been “white-spaces” that are dominated by middle- and upper-class white people.2 There is little consensus about whether environmentalists should be focusing on these deeply embedded social issues or trying to campaign for issues that are perceived to be more ‘achievable’. Indigenous persons, people of color, and lowincome communities face higher environmental From “The Rise of the Environmental Justice Paradigm: Injustice Framing and the Social Construction of Environmental Discourses,” by D. Taylor, 2000, al Scientist, 43(4). 2 From “Rethinking Justice: Struggles For Environmental Commons and the Notion of Socio-Ecological Justice,” by Ö. Yaka, 2019, , 51(1), p. 355. 1
exposure from air, water, and soil pollution due to industrialization and consumer practices.3 Since the 1980s, scholars have produced extensive research on the dimensionality of environmental risks on the basis of socioeconomic class positions and race.4 Racial groups have been integral to the development of EJ as a theoretical framework and the way in which it has been put into practice. For example, many people of color have fought against anti-waste and antidumping campaigns, desecration of sacred sites, and 5 Early EJ activists – who were primarily people of color and individuals from low-income backgrounds – were not members of mainstream environmental organizations or movements. One scholar, Taylor, writes about the connection between EJ paradigms and the civil rights movements and how EJ became fundamental to a civil rights identity.6 Similarly, another scholar, Yaka,
grassroots organizations and civil rights rhetoric which is distinctly out of the mainstream. As such, there is an emphasis on the intrinsic relationship between social and ecological phenomena.7 He argues that EJ actions are fundamental ones that should challenge the status quo and that they call for rethinking “sociality” and “social justice” in the light of a relational ontology of human and environmental worlds.8 The relational existence of human and non-human ecologies is then framed as a matter of justice. Ecological and environmental initiatives that have aimed to raise awareness about sustainability and consumption can be sources of further inequality. Many scholars have argued that addressing these environmental problems is not possible without also addressing and acknowledging the underlying social problems that accompany them.9 Consumption is one such individual and societal conditions that can enable environmental initiatives while also examining the social, structural, and political dynamics that drive over-consumption. For example, writing in
From “Breaking Free from Siloes: Intersectionality as a Collective Action Frame to Address Toxic Exposures and Reproductive Health,” by R. Mendell et al., 2019, , 18(3). 4 From “Breaking Free from Siloes: Intersectionality as a Collective Action Frame to Address Toxic Exposures and Reproductive Health,” by R. Mendell et al., 2019, , 18(3). 5 From “The Rise of the Environmental Justice Paradigm: Injustice Framing and the Social Construction of Environmental Discourses,” by D. Taylor, 2000, ioral Scientist, 43(4). 6 From “The Rise of the Environmental Justice Paradigm: Injustice Framing and the Social Construction of Environmental Discourses,” by D. Taylor, 2000, ioral Scientist, 43(4), p. 509. 3
From “Rethinking Justice: Struggles For Environmental Commons and the Notion of Socio-Ecological Justice,” by Ö. Yaka, 2019, , 51(1), p. 357. 8 From “Rethinking Justice: Struggles For Environmental Commons and the Notion of Socio-Ecological Justice,” by Ö. Yaka, 2019, , 51(1), p. 356. 9 From “Equity in Sustainable Development: Community 7
and T. Schusler, 2020, International Journal of Social Welfare, 29(4); from From “Rethinking Justice: Struggles For Environmental Commons and the Notion of Socio-Ecological Justice,” by Ö. Yaka, 2019, , 51(1).
POLIS | EXAMINING THE WORLD WE LIVE IN
The University of Toronto’s Undergraduate Journal of Political Science
the context of India, Anantharaman examines the rhetoric of sustainable consumption and how seemingly good or correct practices can further cement the unequal dynamics of power.10 She argues that, while the rise of sustainable practices in Indian households is commendable, the work is primarily done by servants whose agency is embedded in legacies of racism, sexism, and colonization.11 In this sense, questioning our patterns of consumption is equivalent to questioning the dominant economic, social, and political systems in which they are embedded. Other authors are also critical about the byproducts of environmental change, where certain people are seen as collateral in the quest for evergrowing sustainability. In this regard, what appears to be a success for ecological and environmental considerations in fact perpetuates injustice. One
as the phenomenon where improvements to environmental quality increase real estate prices which, in turn, contribute to the displacement of vulnerable populations.12 To explain this phenomenon, scholars have pointed to the rise of sustainable development mandates embedded in neoliberal ideologies. These mandates continue to neglect social and economic equity in favor of capitalistic development.13 Krings and Schulser suggest that, to alleviate this problem, vulnerable citizens need to be empowered as a collective From “Critical sustainable consumption: a research agenda,” by M. Anantharaman, 2018, and Sciences, 8. 11 From “Critical sustainable consumption: a research agenda,” by M. Anantharaman, 2018, and Sciences, 8, p. 557. 12 From “Equity in Sustainable Development: Community 10
and T. Schusler, 2020, , 29(4), p. 325. 13 From “Equity in Sustainable Development: Community and T. Schusler, 2020, , 29(4), p.321.
and that social issues need to be at the forefront of consideration when creating new initiatives.14 Social and environmental issues experienced by marginalized groups from their points of view also create unique forms of knowledge that can lead to greater insight and understanding of ecology and environmentalism. Many scholars have noted that perception and subjectivity are integral to the notion of EJ.15 A person’s perception of what constitutes an environmental injustice or social problem is a result of the greater systems of racism, patriarchy, class, etc. in which they are embedded. Hence, it is essential that the knowledge held by those outside the mainstream or status quo be integrated into larger discussions of environmental justice and equity on their own terms. Environmentalists have begun to turn their attention to the importance of different kinds of knowledge in the creation of environmental justice initiatives. For example, some scholars have found that what even counts as an “environmental” issue is different depending on one’s race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status (SES).16 In a study that examined SES and racial minority groups in the United States, Song and colleagues found that non-White and low-SES respondents tend to consider pressing social issues, such as poverty, racism, and unequal access to food security, as environmental issues.17 Furthermore, the need for 14
new forms of knowledge can be seen with the push for Indigenous knowledge to be included when addressing Indigenous environmental issues and injustices. McGregor, Whitaker, and Srithanaran suggest that to address the challenges of ecological crises faced by Indigenous peoples, there needs to be direct incorporation and formulation of Indigenous Environmental Justice (IEJ).18 The notion of environmental justice
categorization and identity such that they create overlapping or interdependent systems of disadvantage. The term was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in the 1980s and is rooted in Black feminist scholarship and the context of African-American oppression.20 Mandell and
ontologies, and epistemologies of Indigenous peoples.19 This argument could suggest that, to
centrality to that movement.21 Analyzing the issue of environmental reproductive health,
their unique knowledge, and cultural history needs to be the primary source of knowledge when creating policy for these groups.
frame in the context of EJ, advocates construct a powerful narrative that stresses the interrelated nature of social and environmental problems and the need for solutions that address them simultaneously.22 In a similar vein, Chiro examines
Intersectionality has also emerged into the purview of environmental justice initiatives. It Socioeconomic Status,” by H. Song et al., 2020, , 68 18 From “Indigenous environmental justice and sustainability,” by D. McGregor et al., 2020, , 43. 19 From “Indigenous environmental justice and sustainability,” by D. McGregor et al., 2020, , 43 p. 35.
intersectionality were integral to understanding
From “Breaking Free from Siloes: Intersectionality as a Collective Action Frame to Address Toxic Exposures and Reproductive Health,” by R. Mendell et al., 2019, , 18(3); From “Living Environmentalisms: Coalition Politics, Social Reproduction, and Environmental Justice,” by G. Chiro, 2008, 17(2). 21 From “Breaking Free from Siloes: Intersectionality as a Collective Action Frame to Address Toxic Exposures and Reproductive Health,” by R. Mendell et al., 2019, , 18(3), p. 350. 22 From “Breaking Free from Siloes: Intersectionality as a 20
From “Equity in Sustainable Development: Community
and T. Schusler, 2020, , 29(4), p. 322. 15 From “Unseen suffering: slow violence and the phenomenological structure of social problems,” by T. Skotnicki, 2019, Theory and Society, 48; From “What Counts as an ‘Environmental’ Issue? Differences in Issue Conceptualization by Race, Ethnicity, and Socioeconomic Status,” by H. Song et al., 2020, , 68. 16 From “What Counts as an ‘Environmental’ Issue? Differences in Issue Conceptualization by Race, Ethnicity, and Socioeconomic Status,” by H. Song et al., 2020, Journal of Environmental Psychology, 68, p. 4. 17 From “What Counts as an ‘Environmental’ Issue? Differences in Issue Conceptualization by Race, Ethnicity, and
the intersectional nature of environmental justice and women’s rights.23 Using the Marxistfeminist theory of “social reproduction,” Chiro argues that neoliberal policies of privatization and deregulation have eroded the assurance of a liveable wage, affordable healthcare, decent education, breathable air, and clean water.24 Intersectionality blurs the line between social problems and environmental ones. Another issue that complicates the early history of the environmental movement was that there was little regard given to the underlying histories of colonialism, racism, and class that drove differential exposure to pollution and rates of consumption.25 They did not include perspectives from people of color and the working classes when creating solutions for these problems. As Krings and Schulser argue, they were primarily places for white environmental activism.26 Environmental justice initiatives have attempted to correct this wrong by addressing the conceptual challenges associated with environmental degradation and legacies of imperialism. Many scholars have turned their attention to the legacies of slow violence and the invisible forms form of violence that occurs gradually, out of sight, and is conventionally not viewed as violence at Collective Action Frame to Address Toxic Exposures and Reproductive Health,” by R. Mendell et al., 2019, , 18(3), p. 358. 23 From “Living Environmentalisms: Coalition Politics, Social Reproduction, and Environmental Justice,” by G. Chiro, 2008, , 17(2). 24 From “Living Environmentalisms: Coalition Politics, Social Reproduction, and Environmental Justice,” by G. Chiro, 2008, , 17(2), p. 360. 25 From “The Rise of the Environmental Justice Paradigm: Injustice Framing and the Social Construction of Environmental Discourses,” by D. Taylor, 2000, al Scientist, 43(4). 26 From “Equity in Sustainable Development: Community and T. Schusler, 2020, , 29(4).
all.27 Skotnicki examines this spatial and temporal question about environmental degradation in the context of two cases: environmental justice advocacy in the wake of the Union Carbide disaster in India and consumer activism in the United States.28 In his study, he suggests that both cases represent the fundamental challenges associated with slow violence and EJ.29 Environmental justice activists, who are primarily people from marginalized communities, have the while simultaneously suffering disproportionately under systems of degradation.30 Another scholar, Davies, characterizes slow violence as a form of structural violence.31 violence wherein a social structure, institution, or system may harm people by preventing them from meeting their basic needs. Davies argues that, due to the similarity between structural and slow forms of harm, structural inequality can mutate and change into noxious instances of slow violence.32 He concludes his piece by arguing against the common claim that slow violence is invisible or out of sight. Instead, Davies states that we should ask the question: “out of sight to whom?”33 The analysis put forth by both scholars From Poor, (p. 2), by R. Nixon, 2011, Cambridge, Massachusetts; London, England: Harvard University Press. 28 From “Unseen suffering: slow violence and the phenomenological structure of social problems,” by T. Skotnicki, 2019, Theory and Society, 48, pp. 300-302. 29 From “Unseen suffering: slow violence and the phenomenological structure of social problems,” by T. Skotnicki, 2019, Theory and Society, 48, p. 311. 30 From “Unseen suffering: slow violence and the phenomenological structure of social problems,” by T. Skotnicki, 2019, Theory and Society, 48, p. 309. 31 From “Slow Violence and Toxic Geographies: ‘Out of Sight’ to Whom?” by T. Davies, 2019, 27
From “Slow Violence and Toxic Geographies: ‘Out of Sight’ to Whom?” by T. Davies, 2019, , p. 5. 33 From “Slow Violence and Toxic Geographies: ‘Out of Sight’ to Whom?” by T. Davies, 2019, 32
suggests that issues of slow violence are a big obstacle to environmental justice claims. It also suggests that addressing environmental harms will require a larger critical view of our political, social, and economic structures. Through an analysis of all of the issues mentioned above, it can be argued that social problems and inequalities are intrinsically tied to environmental ones.34 Conceptually and practically, to address one is to address the other. It suggests that EJ goals and initiatives are vital to future progress in environmental and ecological matters. By taking concepts and theories from EJ, a larger framework can be developed for the goal of addressing inequalities in current environmental movements and enterprises. From the work of several scholars, it can be suggested that specifying the temporal, spatial, and experiential dimensions of social and environmental problems are vital to dismantling larger political, economic, and social systems.35 Furthermore, the incorporation of alternative knowledge from ethnic, racial, and lower-income foundations in grassroots organizations and civil rights movements that challenge the normative understandings of justice and equality. In conclusion, this paper examined some of , p. 6. From “Breaking Free from Siloes: Intersectionality as a Collective Action Frame to Address Toxic Exposures and Reproductive Health,” by R. Mendell et al., 2019, , 18(3); From “The Rise of the Environmental Justice Paradigm: Injustice Framing and the Social Construction of Environmental Discourses,” by D. Taylor, 2000, , 43(4); from from From “Rethinking Justice: Struggles For Environmental Commons and the Notion of Socio-Ecological Justice,” by Ö. Yaka, 2019, , 51(1). 35 From “Living Environmentalisms: Coalition Politics, Social Reproduction, and Environmental Justice,” by G. Chiro, 2008, , 17(2); from “Slow Violence and Toxic Geographies: ‘Out of Sight’ to Whom?” by T. Davies, 2019,
environmental justice (EJ). Environmental justice as a paradigm suggests that social issues are integral to understanding environmental degradation and climate change. The history of EJ in civil rights movements and non-mainstream organizations represents an important facet of its goals and aims. In this regard, EJ is a challenge to the economic, political, and social systems that comprise our status quo and the environmental challenges that accompany it. The theory of intersectionality has been vital to the development of EJ as it poses avenues of understanding for groups who face environmental violence at the intersection of systems of racism, patriarchy, and classism. Lastly, there was a discussion of the ways in which these concepts can be tied together to remove some of the obstacles seen in the discourse about EJ. As environmental issues prove to be at the forefront of concern in the world going forward, it is imperative we remember EJ is not a singular issue, but rather an intricate network which brings together numerous social issues that cannot be ignored.
Keerthi Chintapalli is a fourth year Political Science and Criminology student at Woodsworth College References (contd. page 64)
Anantharaman, M. (2018). Critical sustainable consumption: a research agenda. , 8, 553–561. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13412-0180487-4 Chiro, G. (2008). Living Environmentalisms: Coalition Politics, Social Reproduction, and Environmental Justice. , 17(2), 276–98. doi:10.1080/09644010801936230 Davies, T. (2019). Slow Violence and Toxic
the United States Elections Project led by Michael McDonald of Florida State University, 65,642,049 mail-in ballots were submitted, among an approximate total of 156 million votes cast.3
Op-ed: How COVID-19 Revolutionized American Voting Habits The COVID-19 pandemic has taught the United States of America many lessons, including the implications of delayed government response, and how health precautions like social distancing and mask-wearing can become partisan topics. The widespread loss of employment and the closure of local businesses are among the pandemic-inspired changes concerning Americans. The lackluster response from political representatives to alleviate economic and health-related burdens has roused deep disgruntlement among the American populace. What the Democratic party has done effectively, however, is to increase the democratic means by which voters’ demands for change can be heard: voting. The dual interests of protecting public health and access to the polls were at the heart of the Democratic Par-
ty’s legal efforts to expand access to mail-in voting. Among the 175 suits reviewed by NBC were questions such as whether postage must be prepaid on absentee ballots and how ballots can be legally transported from voters’ hands to 1 Owing in part to the increased access of absentee voting and the mobilization of voters frustrated by government response to the pandemic, the 2020 election saw the highest voter turnout in US history, with Biden accruing more than any candidate has ever recorded.2 According to Jane C. Timm. “An All-out War over Mail Voting Has Erupted in Courts across the Country. Here’s What’s at Stake.” NBC News, August 15, 2020. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/all-outwar-over-mail-voting-has-erupted-courtsacross-n1235216. 2 Shayanne Gal, Madison Hall. “How the 2020 Election Results Compare to 2016, in 9 Maps and Charts.” Business Insider, November 18, 2020. https://www.businessinsider.com/2016-2020-electoral-maps-exit-polls-compared-2020-11. 1
The infrastructure enabling the success of mail-in voting relies as much on legal procedures as it does on effective political communication. Widespread exhortaback voters’ absentee ballots as early as possible were accompanied by news coverage on how the U.S. Postal Service became a political football.4 This sport is played at the expense of voter trust: parties have seized snail mail, which is usually a non partisan matter, into a hotly contested political topic to brew partisan support. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major donor to the GOP and President Trump, was alleged for trying to slow mail delivery to interfere with absentee voting.5 Whether mail-in voting disproportionately supports Democratic candidates remains hotly contestMichael McDonald. “2020 General Election Early Vote Statistics.” US Elections Project. Accessed February 28, 2021. https://electproject.github.io/Early-Vote2020G/index.html. 3
Became A Political Football | FiveThirtyEight.” FiveThirtyEight, September 21, football/. 5
Became A Political Football | FiveThirtyEight.” FiveThirtyEight, September 21, football/.
ed. Science Magazine cites two independent studies suggesting there is little historical evidence to support the possibility of mailin voting granting Democrats an edge in the November elections.6 Previously, mail-in ballots were evenly requested among voters of both parties in the state of Florida.7 However, the 2020 election saw a sharp divergence from historical trends, with 2,687,604 ballots requested by registered Democrats in Florida, compared to 1,875,245 ballots requested by their Republican counterpart.8 Despite accusations of granting an unfair advantage to the Democrats, many states proactively changed their election policies to encourage and protect mail-in ballots. Multiple states have extended mail-in ballot deadlines; for example, ballots in California must be postmarked on or before November 3 and returned no later than November 20.9 6
Warren Cornwall. “Do Republicans or
Turns out, Neither | Science | AAAS.” Science Magazine, August 26, 2020. https:// www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/08/doing-it-turns-out-neither. 7 Warren Cornwall. “Do Republicans or Turns out, Neither | Science | AAAS.” Science Magazine, August 26, 2020. https:// www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/08/doing-it-turns-out-neither. 8 US Elections Project. “Florida Early Voting Statistics.” Accessed February 28, 2021. https://electproject.github.io/EarlyVote-2020G/FL.html. 9 McKenzie Sadeghi. “Fact Check: Some Mail-in Ballots Arriving Post-Election Day Will Count.” USA Today, October 30, 2020. https://www.usatoday.com/story/ news/factcheck/2020/10/30/fact-checksome-mail-ballots-arriving-post-electionday-count/6075311002/.
Another measure imposed by states in support of mail-in voting is the increase in ballot drop boxes, which tend to be placed in convenient locations near libraries, civic buildings and assisted living facilities.10 For instance, the in which Connecticut employed drop boxes, a precedent Secretary of the State Denise Merrill defended in an op-ed, citing the drop boxes as secure means to minimize the risk of infection from COVID-19.11 More states also opted to use USPS Intelligent Mail barcodes on ballot envelopes to ensure ballots were tracked and processed in a timely manner. In June 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order cials to use these barcodes on all ballot envelopes.12 The seamless adoption of such barcodes, when paired with voter usage of ballot tracking systems, signals the effectiveness of this measure to other states considering adoption Nathaniel Rakich. “More States Are Using Ballot Drop Boxes. Why Are They So Controversial? | FiveThirtyEight,” October tures/more-states-are-using-ballot-dropboxes-why-are-they-so-controversial/. 11 Mary E. O’Leary. “There’s a New Drop Box in Town; Find out Why You’ll See Them All over CT.” New Haven Register, July 21, 2020. https://www.nhregister.com/ news/article/There-s-a-new-drop-box-in10
Jenny Blessing, McCoy Patino, Julian Gomez, Tran Nguyen. “Voting by Mail Is More Secure than the President Says. How to Make It Even Safer | Fortune.” Fortune Magazine, September 13, 2020. https:// fortune.com/2020/09/13/vote-by-mailfraud-prevention-2020-election-trumpbiden/. 12
for future elections. Ballot curing, which allows ballots with errors such as mismatched signatures to be corrected by voters, was already in practice in select states prior to the 2020 election. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states already have standing contact voters if their mail ballot has an error.13 Outside of those states, voters may check their ballot statuses online, and campaigns in all states receive noti14
This election cycle, the Nevada GOP sent postcards and made cure calls to voters, and Democratic canvassers had been prosince a few days after early voting began.15 Widespread efforts to Kendall Karson. “What Does It Mean to ‘cure’ Your Ballot? Quirky Rules That Allow Voters to Make Sure Their Vote Is Counted - ABC News.” ABC News, November 5, 2020. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/ cure-ballot-quirky-rules-voters-make-votecounted/story?id=74042891. 14 Laura Bliss. “Ballot Curing: An Election Protection Tool for 2020.” Bloomberg. Com, November 4, 2020. https://www. bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-05/ ballot-curing-an-election-protection-toolfor-2020. 15 Laura Bliss. “Ballot Curing: An Election 13
alert voters of faulty ballots and to help them correct their votes has lowered the share of rejected ballots in comparison with past elections.16
share of ballots cast for both Biden and Trump this election cycle, and it is a practice that dates back to the Civil War.17 The rise in absentee voting America has
The fears of COVID-19 have turned millions of American voters away from in-person voting and toward absentee voting instead. The rise in mail-in voting consequently inspired state governments to adopt measures to boost the security and accessibility of delivering an absentee ballot. Though the Trump administration’s mismanagement of the pandemic may have played a role in setting the record number of votes cast in any American election, this record would not have been achieved in the midst of a pandemic without the aforementioned measures to support mailin voting. Mail-in voting in America accounted for an enormous
start of a revolution changing how Americans will vote in future election cycles.
Protection Tool for 2020.” Bloomberg. Com, November 4, 2020. https://www. bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-05/ ballot-curing-an-election-protection-toolfor-2020. 16 Michael Wines. “Fewer Ballots Rejected New York Times.” New York Times. November 2, 2020. https://www.nytimes. com/2020/11/02/us/election-ballots-rejections.html.
In response to the success of mailin voting, 35 of the 41 states with new election bills following the 2020 election have introduced expansive policies in support of mail-in voting.18 Twenty-seven bills in eleven states, if passed, would permit all voters to vote by mail in all elections, making temporary measures to facilitate mail voting access during the pandemic permanent.19 As well, thirteen bills in eight states would Olivia B. Waxman. “A Brief History of Voting by Mail.” Time, September 28, 2020. https://time.com/5892357/voting-by-mail-history/. 18 Brennan Center. “Voting Laws Roundup: January 2021 | Brennan Center for Justice,” January 26, 2021. https://www. brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/voting-laws-roundup-january-2021. 19 Brennan Center. “Voting Laws Roundup: January 2021 | Brennan Center for Justice,” January 26, 2021. https://www. brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/voting-laws-roundup-january-2021. 17
to provide mail ballot drop boxes.20 But not all states are celebrating the rise in mail-in voting. South Carolina and Pennsylvania have suffered from rulings requiring more burdensome signature matching requirements.21 Additionally, legislators in Alaska, Kansas, Kentucky, and Maryland have proposed bills that strictly limit who can aid in helping a voter return their mail-in ballot. The record share of absentee ballots, when paired with bills in support of and in opposition to
sausages” by voting stations,22 there is little reason for why Americans would not support a safer and more accessible means of voting: by mail. Cheryl Cheung is a third year Political Science and American Studies student who is currently studying at American University as Fulbright Killam Fellow. Hilary Whiteman. “In Australia, Sausages Are a Symbol of Election Day. Here’s Why CNN.” CNN. Accessed February 28, 2021. https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/17/australia/australia-sausage-sizzle-election-intl/ index.html. 22
of a revolution in American voting habits. This revolution has been long-awaited, for it is one that will increase democratic participation and safeguard the electoral process against unforeseen complications with in-person voting. Unless America follows Australia’s example of selling “democracy Brennan Center. “Voting Laws Roundup: January 2021 | Brennan Center for Justice,” January 26, 2021. https://www. brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/voting-laws-roundup-january-2021. 21 Brennan Center. “Voting Laws Roundup: January 2021 | Brennan Center for Justice,” January 26, 2021. https://www. brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/voting-laws-roundup-january-2021. 20
Op-ed: The Rise and Fall of Trump’s Grassroots Fundraising Machine By: Kaitlyn Min
On July 15, 1997, we heard The Notorious B.I.G. utter the phrase “Mo Money Mo Problems”. On November 3rd (and 4th and 5th and 6th and 7th) of 2020, the phrase would become startlingly true for Donald Trump, as he ran—and lost—to the tune of $1.96 billion in the most expensive presidential campaign in history (McMinn et al, 2020).
over half of the total fundraising was from donations of $200 or less (Eggen, 2012). It was not idential campaign that a candidate rejected Super PACs altogether and relied almost solely on small individual contributions with an average contribution of $28 (Bump, 2016). That same
his then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and an airplane. Trump entered the 2016 Republican primary as one of the dozens of candidates, many political backing and emerged the winner—all on a shoe-string budget. Trump had no rapid-response team, no fundraising team, no Super PAC, no digital team, and no pollsters (Sarlin, Tur & Vitali, 2016; Sarlin, 2015; Stahl, 2017; Lee & Narayanswamy, 2019). Instead, he harnessed the power of going ‘viral’ to bring in waves of small-dollar donors. After winning the primary, in the face of being outspent 2-1 (Pramuk, 2016), his campaign was forced to run an off-the-cuff, DIY, digital-focused campaign that would do whatever it took to win.
a candidate that could harness the power of grassroots: Donald Trump (Goldmacher, 2016). His victory in 2016 were in no small part fueled by these grassroots online contributions. However, his 2020 campaign was in for a rude awakening as Democrats managed to replicate their online strategy even more successfully exposing the Trump campaign’s extravagant spending of online grassroots fundrais- that their fundraising could no ing during his 2008 presidential longer sustain. campaign (Luo, 2008) and again During the summer of 2016 folduring his 2012 campaign where It all began in 2015 with Trump, The proliferation of the internet brought about a revolution in campaign fundraising as it became not only increasingly viable but also appealing to cultivate small-dollar donors. In the past two decades, reaching large amounts of potential supporters has become easier and cheaper than ever. Barack
tion at the RNC, the campaign invested heavily in direct-to-donate ads and social media micro-targeting to build a large online donor network (Sticka, 2016; Vogel & Samuelsohn, 2016). This proved to be a great asset to Trump’s campaign as they capitalized off of groundbreaking—and sometimes controversial—technology to target voters while Clinton remained dedicated to running a traditional presidential campaign which only cemented her reputation as part of the ‘establishment’. For 2020, it would be completely different. The Trump campaign was committed to running the largest and most expensive presidential campaign in history (Schwartz, 2020). In terms of both infrastructure and money, the 2020 Trump campaign dwarfed his 2016 one. This proved to be Trump’s undoing, as the campaign tripped over its own complexity and scale. Following their defeat in 2016, Democrats built out their small-dollar donor base at a rapid clip to overwhelm Trump. In 2016, two-thirds of Trump’s by small-dollar donors primarily through online and email fundraising which generated a record $239 million. (Elkind & Burke, 2019). , Beginning in the 2018 midterms, and ramping up in 2020, Democrats began donation processor for Democratic campaigns, which processed donations from millions of small-dollar donors to the tune of $1.5 billion (Schneider, 2020; Marchesani, 2020). While Republicans created their own
platform in 2019 called WinRed to compete, Trump was increasingly outmatched on what was once his strongest fundraising asset as Democrats heavily invested in digital infrastructure. By October 2020, over 4.9 million individuals had donated to Biden’s campaign compared to Trump’s 2.7 million donors (Goldmacher, Koeze, Shorey & Gamio, 2020).
race (Goldmacher & Haberman, 2020). Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager for most of the race, inexplicably predicted a 200% increase in October fundraising which didn’t materialize, resulting in a $200 million shortfall forcing them to cut TV ad spending at the most critical point in the election (LoBianco, 2020; Gomez, 2020). The result was that while Trump entered the spring with a $200 Trump’s digital program—a million fundraising advantage powerful fundraising tool—be- over Biden, he was overtaken by came inadequate to sustain a Biden’s campaign in a few short campaign that had spent lav- months (Mucha, 2020). ishly for over four years. Trump A leaky ship may be able to of his Inauguration meaning that he had four years to raise mon- even, but eventually it will sink. ey, but also four more years to All of this points to a fast-apwaste it. Between January 2019 proaching reckoning with Reto July 2020, the Trump cam- publican’s fundraising strategy paign raised $1.1 billion while as the party is faced with a fuDemocrats were still engaged ture without Trump. If long-term in a heated and divisive prima- trends hold true, presidential ry (Graham, 2020). However, campaigns will only be getting during that same time period, more and more expensive from the campaign had spent $800 here. Republicans may have million (Graham, 2020). Ex- thought their grassroots woes amples of wasteful spending were solved with Trump’s canincluded a $10 million Super- didacy but even his campaign bowl ad in response to Mike proved unable to match DemoBloomberg’s similar ad buy (Co- crat’s . Like The Notorious B.I.G. rasaniti, 2020), $1 million in TV famously said, “Mo Money Mo ads in the Washington, D.C. Problems”. media market (Goldmacher & Haberman, 2020) which is argu- Kaitlyn Min, 2nd year, Major ably the most Democratic region in Political Science and Histoin the country, and $60 million ry, Minor in American Studies, to pay Trump’s legal bills (Gra- University College. ham, 2020). However, the Trump campaign acted as if it was not References (contd. page 64): leaking money like a sieve by overextending itself. The cam- Bump, P. (2019, April 29). Bernie paign launched a $100 million Sanders keeps saying his average TV ad blitz before July, histori- donation is $27, but his own numcally when most of the elector- bers contradict that. Retrieved from ate starts paying attention to the
The river’s what brought me back from this dream mother, the same one that called to me, woke me up when I found that “I can’t breathe”, “I can’t breathe”, “I can’t breathe”. Family and friends that he will never again see because only
Pinch me I must be dreaming [PART 3]
there’s more. Get ready, because to whistle is to breath. But still there are other places that you could be. Other than the bottom of this route to sea. Like perhaps a casket. An open casket please; leave it open please? Maybe not Sixteen? We’ll be here a while if we count up to sixteen. I might decide to leave Then there is a vision of a younger version of me, sitting before me patiently. What do you say when you know you are listening, when your advice is a matter of life and death? Hold on tight little one, you’re in for a bumpy ride, heed my advice but after that you have to do the rest. And you will want to hide, but don’t! Let’s make you over and set you up for success. As you age you won’t look the same, the innocence of youth gives way to guilty through and through no matter what you do. You can’t act in a way that will make them think that you are all playing the same games. Even though you don’t all look the same and you have your own names. And you will want to settle into the statistics and become another number, but don’t! You will want to boast that you’re not the same as the rest, but that doesn’t change the target on your chest! Start off simple by making sure to keep your hands out of your hoodie, your hoodie undone, anything could be a gun. When you’re done, follow your parent’s advice to be home before the streetlights. This will guaranty that you make it home. And Mother, that’s when I woke up, I felt like I’d done and seen enough. And was content as I knew, that my younger self was prepared and aware of what they needed to do. Isn’t it funny Mother, that these ideas ring so true? They seemed so true. Dreams expose more of the world than we think them able to. So, tell me Mother what do you think? Mom? Hey Mom, why does it feel like I’m teetering on the brink? Mother should my limbs be so hard to lift? I feel sick? Mother I feel sick. And what is this? Not a stomach-ache but blood Mother it’s too dark I can’t see you. Mother all I want is to be near you. Please reach out your hand to me so that I know that I’m not alone. I’m not, alone, right? I can’t tell there Is no light. Mom don’t let me die yet. Please don’t let me
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The University of Toronto’s Undergraduate Journal of Political Science