Rising Together for Economic Hope, Power and Justice
West Virginia University College of Law & ClassCrits
Morgantown, West Virginia
November 2-3, 2018
Morgantown, West Virginia
November 2-3, 2018
As of Nov. 2017, ClassCrits has a new website, www.classcrits.org with newly expanded capacity to support our annual conference and network of scholars, students and activists interested in critical analysis of economic inequality and law.
For information on our conferences, news, and members, please check out the new website. We encourage you to sign on as a member to be on our contact list and to include your profile to build our network and to share your work and interests. Basic membership is free, but members who elect to pay dues will receive conference discounts and to will be voting members of ClassCrits, Inc.
ClassCrits at Ten: Mobilizing for Resistance, Solidarity and Justice
Call For Papers and Participation
Sponsored by the Tulane University School of Law
New Orleans, LA
November 10 & 11, 2017
Ten years ago, a group of scholar-activists organized a series of conversations about law and economic class. Building on “outsider” jurisprudence that has moved inequalities of race, gender, and sexuality from the margins to the center of law, the group proposed a jurisprudence of economic inequality. To foreground economic justice, the group sought to critique mainstream law and economics and to focus on the lives of poor and working class people.
Rejecting the neoliberal ideology of scarcity, and reclaiming the possibilities presented by the commons and by collective action, ClassCrits was born. Our name “ClassCrits” reflects our ties to critical legal analysis and our goal of addressing economic class in the multiple intersecting forms of subordination. We confront the roots of economic inequality in divisions such as race and gender and in legal and economic systems destructive to the well-being of humanity and the planet.
Alternative visions and solutions have become even more essential in the contemporary moment. In the United States, 2017 has begun with historic dangers, global protests, and major constitutional litigation against the new federal administration. The 2016 presidential election has exposed deep rifts in the foundations of law, economy, and society, reflecting a broad and deep discontent with neoliberal globalization. Decades of bipartisan policies have focused on privatization and de-regulation of economic power. Perceptions that established systems of law and economy are “rigged” against ordinary people have led to demands for change. Some blame liberal “identity” politics for giving short shrift to those harmed by economic disruption. Others rationalize increased inequality and insecurity as the inevitable results of innovation and potential growth that necessarily skews rewards to a privileged few.
What we cannot deny is the reality we are facing: A counter-democratic revolution. In response to this discontent, the prevailing response has been to take the neoliberal vision further. In place of principles and practices of law, democracy, and public service, this vision idealizes unaccountable authority aimed at unequal private gain. Policy proposals include selling off public lands, privatizing the already fragile public education system with vouchers, and permitting private interests to foul the air and water held in common as fundamental to health and life on earth. Promises to “Make America Great Again” seem to entail a rollback of civil rights protections for people of color, women, immigrants, religious minorities, and LGBTQ persons, along with an increase in militarization and an expanding carceral state, in the name of never ending foreign threats and geared toward hands of private profiteers.
The new dangers of oligarchy and authoritarianism risk fostering hopelessness and cynicism. Many of us grope around silences to find reasoned words of persuasion. Many struggle to find strategies for scholarship, teaching and advocacy sufficient to address emerging threats.
At the same time, this moment has sparked new voices and energy. Whether it is attending town hall meetings, calling or writing democratically elected representatives, engaging in numerous strikes and protests, or filing lawsuits, a resurgence of public dissent and collective action suggests the possibility of alternative solutions. Protests by indigenous persons at Standing Rock, by diverse groups of women marching in cities all over the world, by workers of color in the “Fight for Fifteen,” and by immigrants speaking out against the rising xenophobia and racism have inspired support and action challenging established boundaries of identity, interest, and policy.
During this exciting moment of possibility and struggle, we invite participants to submit applications to present at the 10th Annual ClassCrits conference, held at Tulane University Law School. We invite panel proposals, roundtable discussion proposals, paper presentations, poetry and fiction reading, and art that speak to this year’s theme, as well as to general ClassCrits themes. We are also interested in receiving proposals from law clinicians who engage in activist lawyering as a core part of their curriculum design. See the following page for details.
Finally, we extend a special invitation to junior scholars (i.e., graduate students and non-tenured faculty members) to submit proposals for works in progress. At least one senior scholar, as well as other ClassCrits scholars, will provide feedback and detailed commentary upon each work in progress in a small, supportive working session at this year’s workshop
The general themes of ClassCrits, include:
Proposal Submission Procedure and Deadline
Please submit your proposal by email to email@example.com by June 1, 2017. Proposals should include the author’s name, institutional affiliation and contact information, the title of the paper to be presented, and an abstract of the paper to be presented of no more than 750 words. Junior scholar submissions for works in progress should be clearly marked as “JUNIOR SCHOLAR WORK IN PROGRESS PROPOSAL.”
The venue for the gathering is Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans, LA. The workshop will begin with continental breakfast on Friday, November 10 and continue through the afternoon of Saturday, November 11. Arrangements are being made for conference hotels. Please check this for further updates.
The registration fee is $210.00 for all conference attendees who are full-time faculty members from the Global North. Registration is free for students and activists. Participants who do not fit into these categories, and/or who for individual reasons cannot afford the registration fee, should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Workshop attendees are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses.
As we move into the challenges of 2017, we’re looking forward gathering for a fabulous 10th Anniversary conference in New Orleans Nov. 10-11. Mark your calendars now, and check back in February for the call for papers (and other forms of participation!). The event will be hosted by Tulane Law Professor Saru Matambandzo . Among the highlights will be a keynote address by renowned social justice lawyer, teacher, and scholar William P. Quigley of Loyola University of New Orleans College of Law.
Kudos to Professor Steven Ramirez and Loyola University Chicago School of Law for hosting our recent event, The New Corporatocracy and Election 2016. Loyola Chicago Law’s social justice mission made it an inspiring venue for our discussions, and we appreciate the support of Dean Michael Kaufman and Associate Dean Spencer Weber Waller. Thanks also to Loyola Chicago Law Professors Emily Benfer, Sam Brunson, and Allyson Gold, as well as Steve Ramirez, for their conference presentations, and to the Loyola public health law clinical students whose groundbreaking work was featured by Professors Benfer and Gold.
June 19, 2016
A group of law faculty and economists is organizing faculty signatures on a letter opposing the inclusion of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The provisions in the TPP text made public in late 2015 show that as many feared, the final text not only fails to address the problems of previous ISDS treaty provisions but indeed would vastly expand the U.S. government’s potential liability under the ISDS system. That raises concerns that ISDS will be used to undermine or discourage a broad range of regulatory protections of the environment, consumers, and health, exacerbating global inequality and anti-democratic elite political power.
Here is the link to the full letter if you would like to sign on: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1aPbS_jfsYHnvT0SPso4d9qatWKY7ezdr5A0yrpuU2jM/viewform
We invite panel proposals, roundtable discussion proposals, and paper presentations that speak to this year’s theme, as well as to general ClassCrits themes. Proposal due: May 16, 2016. (Download a PDF of this page)
As the U.S. presidential election approaches, our 2016 conference will explore the role of corporate power in a political and economic system challenged by inequality and distrust as well as by new energy for transformative reform.
In January 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Citizens United v. FEC, redesigned the functioning of our constitutional democracy. By giving corporations a fundamental right to bankroll elections, the Court effectively shifted power to a new economic ‘royalty’ that sits atop the most massive capital aggregations in history. Further, other government officials, influenced by elite lobbying and theory, have diminished longstanding rules and systems of corporate accountability (including criminal liability for financial crimes and basic norms of corporate disclosure) on the premise that some corporations and institutional forces are too big or important to fail or control. The result is that, along with other billionaires, these corporate and financial elites now may hold more influence in our political system than ever before.
The heightened power of monied interests has loomed over the 2016 election, provoking a groundswell of populist anger and resistance. Even as elites have selected, shaped, and mediated candidates and campaigns, traditionally marginalized groups have also flexed new electoral muscle. For example, #Blacklivesmatter and Fight for 15 have turned new energy toward visions of power based on values other than quantifiable individualized material gain. Yet this emerging and democratic populism has also confronted new restrictions on voting and newly limited protections for voting rights that strike at the heart of the public’s ability to enact meaningful democratic reform.
If the election has brought new mainstream attention to problems of inequality and insecurity, it has also exposed deep popular skepticism toward existing political and economic systems and whether they will provide adequate answers to these problems. Out of this sense of human powerlessness, some populist calls seek security and control not only through invigorated social and political engagement, but also through messages of exclusion, fear and hate, as well as violence. Against this backdrop, many social movements increasingly target corporate power and corporate citizenship rights, particularly the Citizens United ruling, as a source of numerous social, political, economic and environmental ills.
How might a sharper understanding of corporate power shed light on the current context of inequality and distrust? How have legal changes in corporate rights and regulation reshaped political and social as well as economic activity? Does the contemporary corporation simply empower individual human interests, as the Supreme Court suggested in the recent Hobby Lobby decision, or do the legal rights of corporations operate to narrow, distribute, and distort human rights and interests and citizenship? What kind of person is the contemporary corporation and what does this mean for society, government, and law? What is missing from the prevailing legal theory of the corporation as a nexus of contracts reflecting individualized economic transactions? How does the contemporary legal understanding of the corporation help enforce and excuse inequality and instability? What structures of race, gender, and class have been advanced or obscured by the corporatocracy? And finally, what law reforms might best reshape the corporation? What alternative forms of business organization might offer better opportunities for more inclusive and responsible economic coordination? And, how might insights from other disciplines, including studies on religion and mindfulness, inform and inspire alternative visions and practices of law, democracy and political economy that promote human and (planetary) thriving?
We seek to explore these and other questions by focusing on a range of legal subject areas. Possibilities include:
ClassCrits IX also seeks to engage activists who help organize communities to action. The conference solicits the participation of activists who believe their work should be informed by a deep understanding of the limitations of current legal and institutional structures, as academics and activists alike strive to energize and mobilize our many communities for a more equal and just society.
Finally, we extend a special invitation to junior scholars (i.e., graduate students and non-tenured faculty members) to submit proposals for works in progress. At least one senior scholar, as well as other ClassCrits scholars, will provide feedback and detailed commentary upon each work in progress in a small, supportive working session at this year’s workshop.
Proposal Submission Procedure and Deadline
Please submit your proposal by email to email@example.com by May 16, 2016. Proposals should include the author’s name, institutional affiliation and contact information, the title of the paper to be presented, and an abstract of the paper to be presented of no more than 750 words. The Conference also welcomes panel proposals. Junior scholar submissions for works in progress should be clearly marked as “JUNIOR SCHOLAR WORK IN PROGRESS PROPOSAL.”
The venue for the gathering is Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Chicago IL, October 21-22, 2016. The workshop will begin with continental breakfast on Friday, October 21, and continue through the afternoon of Saturday, October 22. Arrangements are being made for conference hotels. Please check our website, http://www.classcrits.org, for further updates. The registration fee is $150.00 for all conference attendees who are full-time faculty members.
Registration is free for students and activists. Participants who do not fit into these categories, and/or who for individual reasons cannot afford the registration fee, should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Workshop attendees are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses.
Conference Organizing Committee