cc licensed Flickr user Tori Rector

Resisting the ‘law of greed’

In 2011 in a small court in Ecuador’s Amazon jungle, a judge ordered the American oil giant Chevron to pay US$9 billion dollars in damages for pollution in the region that was caused by drilling activities in the 1970s and 1980s. The company quickly denounced landmark ruling as illegitimate. More than a year before the final ruling had been issued, Chevron had already taken steps to initiate an investor-state dispute against the Government of Ecuador under the terms of a US-Ecuador bilateral investment treaty (BIT). The company seeks to avoid paying the US$9 billion by convincing an international tribunal that the courts of Ecuador are corrupt and that the government is ultimately responsible for any environmental damage and associated health issues experienced by local residents. Continue reading →

No One is Illegal

Negotiating Free Markets, Closed Borders, and Refugee Activism in the Neoliberal Era

Rethinking borders, the state, and human rights

There is a paradox at the heart of the state’s play with, and negotiation of, the meaning ascribed to human rights, border-control and the inflated importance of protection against ‘terrorism’, in the context of a globalised neoliberal world economy. There is a weakening of state authority over controls that enable a free and unencumbered transition of capital across nation-states and continents, across maritime borders, and across artificial custom, ‘border protection’ and quarantine lines. And yet, the borders which people traverse, whilst escaping persecution, torture, or murder have never been stronger, and have never been so intensely policed, surveilled, or encumbered as they are now. Continue reading →