Paper $28.00 ISBN: 9780745335414 Published February 2018 For Sale in All Americas and the Caribbean except Canada
Cloth $99.00 ISBN: 9780745335407 Published April 2018 For Sale in All Americas and the Caribbean except Canada

What’s Wrong with Rights?

Social Movements, Law and Liberal Imaginations

Radha D'Souza

What’s Wrong with Rights?

Radha D'Souza

Distributed for Pluto Press

272 pages | 5 1/3 x 8 1/2 | © 2008
Paper $28.00 ISBN: 9780745335414 Published February 2018 For Sale in All Americas and the Caribbean except Canada
Cloth $99.00 ISBN: 9780745335407 Published April 2018 For Sale in All Americas and the Caribbean except Canada
Rights occupy a strange position in global politics. On the one hand, they’re used by business and governments as a justification for globalization—if the spread of corporate capitalism also helps lead to improvements in human rights, then globalization must be good, right? At the same time, though, even those on the left who are skeptical of that discourse tend to hew to a belief in rights themselves, like the right to food, medicine, housing, free speech, assembly, and religion.
            How can these conflicting attitudes towards rights be reconciled? Radha D’Souza lays out the problem and the solution in this book, applying legal thought to human rights to bridge the gap between rights in the abstract and their institutional context. Through close looks at real struggles, D’Souza shows how the left around the world can develop new strategies and tactics to achieve the goals embodied by rights discourse without giving cover to globalization.
Contents
Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
Preface
 
Part I The Rights Resurgence
1. Social Movements, Law and Liberal Imaginations
2. What’s Wrong With Rights?
3. Rights in the ‘Epoch of Imperialism’
 
Part II Re-scripting Rights
4. International Election Monitoring: From ‘Will of the People’ to the ‘Right to Free and Fair Elections’
5. The Rights of Victims: From Authorisation to Accountability
6. Intangible Property Rights: The IMF as Underwriters
7. Rights in International Neoliberal Risk-governance Regime
 
Part III Concluding Reflections
8. Rights and Social Movements in the ‘Epoch of Imperialism’
Postscript
 
Notes
Index
 
Review Quotes
Sunera Thobani, University of British Columbia
“This book is a brilliant interrogation of the powerful hold the concept of rights has over social movements. Contrasting the ubiquity of claims about rights with their actual treatment in courts, politics and philosophy, D'Souza skilfully shows just how far removed contemporary ideas about rights are from their origin in early capitalism. An absolute must read for everybody concerned with rights as a means for realizing justice.”
Aziz Choudry, McGill University
“The book many of us have been waiting for—brilliant, radical, and essential thinking for our times. Challenging us to rethink the ideas and politics of justice and rights and the uses to which they are put, this is anti-colonial scholarship at its finest. It should be read by anyone who is concerned about our future on this planet, wondering how we got here, and what is to be done. A major contribution to critical theorizing and activist knowledge for struggles against capitalist exploitation, imperialism and fascism today.”
 
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