Dangerous Nonsense: The Bludgeon of Human Rights

Introduction

The concept of ‘human rights,’ a bourgeois invention of Western modernity, is commonly used as a interventionist bludgeon by Euro-American countries against less powerful, peripheral states to justify economic and military suppression. And yet, it is undeniable that the human rights concept is also used to fight for real concessions for oppressed and marginalized groups around the world. In both cases, however, employing the language of human rights is ‘rhetorical nonsense,’ largely meant to either sanitize the actions of imperialist power-brokers and state actors, or appeal to them for aid. When the language of human rights is employed by powerful countries and groups against the less-powerful, this is almost always a demonstration of egregious hypocrisy and a colonial ‘civilizing’ narrative, and in the contemporary period, a Trojan Horse to spread capitalist exploitation and austerity through neo-liberal globalization. It is nonsense in the sense that the human rights concept is employed simply for propagandizing purposes, to gin up chauvinism against the ‘bad’ country or group accused of rights violations, when the reality is the ‘bad’ country or group is often targeted for nefarious ulterior reasons, and the ‘good’ country or group is the real exploiter/oppressor. When the language of human rights is employed by oppressed peoples, this merely reflects the tentacular proliferation of Western modernity’s jargon throughout the globe, rather than any true ideological commitment. Suffice to say, the concept itself possesses no unique liberatory potential. Time and time again, oppressed peoples have understood that attaining equality before the so-called ‘law’ means nothing if social norms and oppressive structures remain unchanged. Liberation for oppressed peoples will always require building power and solidarity between themselves and other oppressed groups, not appealing to the oppressor for violent intervention, or diversifying the oppressor’s ranks. And although the sentiment expressed here often then comes with the caveat of ‘imagining’ a new expression of human rights, in reality this is a needless, reformist endeavour. A far more simple solution would be for the oppressed to state their demands, and then struggle to have these demands met, as was done throughout pre-modern history. Employing human rights is merely one tool of many for the exploited class against the exploiters in modern times, and cannot be the ultimate means of liberation due to their fundamentally individualistic, free-market connotation.

This paper will begin by uncovering the unsavory beginnings of human rights and their unquestionably Eurocentric, bourgeois origin in the colonial period. Then, it will highlight the continuing legacy of human rights as a bludgeon against peripheral/marginalized countries and peoples in the Cold War and contemporary eras. Next, this paper will investigate the usage of human rights language by oppressed groups and the efficacy of these tactics in the contemporary era, keeping in mind this paper’s ‘nonsensical’ understanding of the concept. And finally, conclude with some thoughts on the solution to the human rights conundrum.

The Western-Bourgeois Origins of Human Rights

The birth of human rights in the Western world is historically framed as a civilizational achievement that brought European society into the next stage of political development, further cementing European norms as the ‘civilized’ ones. Gone was the rule of kings, the all powerful diktats of emperors, and the unfair dealings of the aristocratic class over the newly minted middle-class and upwardly-mobile proletarians. This paper is not particularly interested in the philosophical birth of human rights, no matter how ‘progressive’ this may have been at the time. However, it is still important to highlight what Mutua calls the “fundamentally Eurocentric” nature of the human rights corpus, as well as their bourgeois origins, as this will relate to later discussion.1 Mutua notes that “the corpus falls within the historical continuum of the Eurocentric colonial project, in which actors are cast into superior and subordinate positions,” creating a self-fulfilling dichotomy. Mutua continues, stating “precisely because of this cultural and historical context, the human rights movement’s basic claim of universality is undermined.”2 This is a conundrum with the human rights concept, and one of the many factors that make it ‘nonsense.’ By universalizing Western norms, the human right concept also particularizes non-Western norms. This is to say that as well as creating ‘humans,’ those protected by rights, it also creates non-humans, those who are ‘human rights abusers,’ and powerless victims, who are assumed voiceless, weak, and incapable of defending themselves. Of course, it also creates non-humans in a far more banal way, by simply not extending the protection of human rights to out-groups historically and contemporaneously, such as women, enslaved people, indigenous people, gay people, prisoners, and so forth. Sinha notes the Eurocentricity of the human rights concept as well, and lists three “basic tenets” that are “inherent” in modern human rights formulations. Sinha then explains how these contrast with several non-Western societies (Chinese, Japanese, African, Muslim, Hindu).3 Firstly, Sinha notes that within the present formulation of human rights, the “fundamental unity of society is the individual, not the family.” Secondly, he claims that the “primary basis for securing human existence in society is through rights, not duties,” and lastly, that “the primary method of securing these rights is through legalism whereunder rights are claimed and adjudicated upon, not reconciliation, repentance, or education.”4 While it is perhaps orientalizing in and of itself to paint cultures with such broad strokes, the point here is still salient: the universalist narrative of human rights is nothing of the sort. It is a very particular world view that is absent from both the folk and intellectual tradition of most of the world. Mutua comes to a similar conclusion: “As currently constituted and deployed, the human rights movement will ultimately fail because it is perceived as an alien ideology in non-Western societies.”5 This faux-universalism acts as a stand-in for the real ideological basis of human rights, which in truth is the ideology of the Western bourgeoisie.

The bourgeois origins of human rights are of paramount importance to this paper as this is relevant to their modern role in spreading neo-liberal globalization and neocolonialism; that is, acting as an imperialist force that promotes exploitation and the exact opposite of their intended outcome, i.e., equality. The bourgeois nature of human rights is most obvious in their celebration of property rights, ‘rights’ that the masses of the world will never enjoy as they own nothing, and ‘rights’ that actually encourage and protect exploitation. D’Souza notes how the early history of human rights was essential to the formation of capitalism as the dominant mode of production in Europe, namely with regards to property rights and the ‘ownership’ of land this entailed. D’Souza writes, “It transformed a relationship into a thing, a commodity. The transformation characterises capitalism as a distinct type of social system.”6 The transformation from land as a relationship to land as a commodity was the “essential condition” that allowed for capitalism to advance in “systemic ways.”7 D’Souza continues, claiming “The modern concept of rights owes it birth to that moment when land was transformed into a commodity and hundreds of thousands of people were evicted from the places they called their ‘homeland.”8 Property rights were not the only rights pushed during the initial conception of human rights discourse, but it is evident how they were one of the very first, and also one of the most impactful in the lives of human beings.

Marx goes beyond property rights, and critiques the bourgeois nature of human rights as a whole in France and the United States succinctly in his (unfortunately-named, unfairly cherry-picked, but regrettably bigoted) work “On the Jewish Question.” Marx writes:

None of the so-called rights of man, therefore, go beyond egoistic man, beyond man as a member of civil society – that is, an individual withdrawn into himself, into the confines of his private interests and private caprice, and separated from the community. In the rights of man, he is far from being conceived as a species-being; on the contrary, species-life itself, society, appears as a framework external to the individuals, as a restriction of their original independence. The sole bond holding them together is natural necessity, need and private interest, the preservation of their property and their egoistic selves.9

Marx’s critique reflects back to Sinha, who noted non-Western understandings of human existence as emerging from the community or the family rather than the individual. Marx derides this “egoistic” conception of social living in which private interest and property trumps the good of the entire community. Human rights thus become a tool of the powerful, wielded solely for the purpose of their own ends, and denied to the masses. Alternatively, given to masses on a case-by-case basis as a reformist tool of control. The Western-bourgeois origins of human rights further relate to their nonsensical nature as deployed in the contemporary period. Rather than a liberatory tool, human rights have always been a reactionary, individualist formulation that obscure the possibility of true liberation from oppression. As Stammers notes, human rights have “fulfilled an ideological role of buttressing prevailing relations of economic power.”10 When people speak of human rights in the contemporary world, the unsaid implication is that the upon gaining their ‘rights,’ the oppressed individual attains acceptance into the capitalist system, into bourgeois political life, and into the exploiter class. It is essentially an imperialist method of exclusion masquerading as one of inclusion. Radical author J. Sakai notes how oppressed people gaining access to political life is a knowing part of the imperialist strategy of the United States in the 21st century:

For one thing, the u.s. empire is the largest of the historic European settler-colonial societies, but it is rapidly (in historical terms) being de-settlerized by imperialism. That’s why in the right- wing reign of President “W” (for “White”) a Japanese-American general is head of the u.s. army, another Japanese-American is secretary of transportation, while African-Americans are secretary of state and “W”‘s national security advisor (did you ever think you’d see a Black woman as the presidential national security advisor?).11

While this quotation may seem like a non-sequitur, it perfectly mirrors Marx’s earlier argument. Japanese-Americans and African-Americans were formerly excluded from political life and not extended the protections of human rights; as soon as this changed, individuals from these groups could now join the (primarily white) oppressor class and achieve (albeit limited) access to the apparatus of control. Gaining human rights and acceptance into bourgeois political life does not mean liberation, but encapsulation, that is, capture. This is not to say oppressed people in the United States or elsewhere should not join the government, not have voting rights, et cetera, but rather that these rights will primarily benefit the bourgeois among these groups, and that gaining these rights is only small wrench in the toolkit for the true liberation of oppressed groups. While Condoleezza Rice held the position of National Security Advisor, African-Americans in the United States, especially the hyper-exploited poor among them, were murdered by other agents of the state. Rights attained by oppressed groups must then be used specifically for furthering the struggle against exploitation as a whole, and not as an end-all-be-all. This conclusion is similar to the one reached by Marx in “On the Jewish Question.”12

Tracing the Bludgeon of Human Rights Throughout History

The use of the word ‘bludgeon’ in this paper is not arbitrary. The term evokes both the weapon of heavy-handed police violence, as well as other means of forced submission. The beginning of the colonial period marked the start of the great bludgeoning of the non-European world into submission by the European powers. In the contemporary period, Western human rights NGOs set up shop in peripheral countries, acting as informants and police against the native populace. Furthermore, human rights are cited as the cause for bloody interventionist invasions, or economic attacks in the form of sanctions. In this way human rights discourse has long obscured the most heinous exploitation, colonial and imperialist expansion, capitalist economic domination, and other oppressive structures, primarily against racialized peoples living in the periphery. This is as Kapur calls it, the “dark side” of human rights, something that is “intrinsic to human rights, rather than something that is merely broken and can be glued back together.”13 This is to say that despite the narrative of progressiveness that even critical theorists reproduce when speaking of the birth of human rights, the language and ideology of human rights has since the beginning been used to justify Euro-American domination over the globe, bourgeois domination over workers, and with this, capitalist-imperialist expansion, resource extraction, et cetera. All of this begins in the colonial era with property rights and ‘civilizing’ colonial ventures, and continues into the 20th century with the Cold War, where human rights language was used as a front for anti-communism and neocolonialism. This ‘bludgeoning’ use of human rights then proliferates further into the contemporary period with neo-liberal globalization. It is important to highlight the initial shortcomings of the human rights concept in the colonial period, as the same narratives continue into the contemporary period. Just as the Spanish felt their mission in the so-called ‘New World’ was a civilizing one against ‘savages,’ the 21st century U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were framed similarly.14

The colonial period marks the beginning of this bludgeoning, with the narrative of European settlers and colonial armies bringing ‘civilization’ to the so-called ‘New World,’ India, Africa, and elsewhere; genocidal colonial ventures were framed as positive humanitarian missions in the 19th century. Bricmont details this, professing that:

British liberal imperialists discovered in the late nineteenth century that presenting foreign interventions as moral crusades was particularly effective in whipping up popular support in a parliamentary democracy with a press eager to denounce foreign villainy. King Leopold II of Belgium justified his conquest of the Congo by the fight against Arab slave dealers. His own treatment of the native Congolese scarcely stands as a monument to human rights.15

Kapur describes this further with respect to India, noting how native “assimilation” into colonial society required acceptance of the Western-bourgeois human rights ideology. Kapur explains, “assimilation took the form of learning how to imitate the colonial power. The ‘universal’ principles of liberty, equality and freedom were contingent on the native’s ability to conform or be trained into civilisation.”16 Kapur further notes how this narrative was employed specifically in the “colonial relationship” with regard to women, “where the treatment of women was used in part as a justification for colonial intervention and the civilising mission.”17 Thus one can see how human rights work to both humanize and dehumanize; those captured by the colonizing power through accepting the ideology are afforded their rights, while those who continue to live in the traditional manner are dehumanized and violently expunged. This is not to reproduce the reactionary critique of human rights wherein the implication is ‘traditional’ patriarchal norms are to be defended against liberal Western encroachment, but merely to point out how this situation becomes a violent one predicated on domination. Furthermore, the hypocrisy of this period is almost so obvious as to go unsaid, but the multitude of mass rapes, killings, enslavement, land theft, and so on committed by Western colonial powers against native peoples during the colonial era certainly devalues any of even the most beneficial of colonial reforms, as Bricmont related earlier.

It is now time to move forward and investigate the human rights bludgeon with respect to the the post-War/Cold War era. This era saw the growth of human rights ideology as the premier tool of Western diplomatic rhetoric, and as a counterweight to growing anti-capitalism and anti-imperialism in the periphery/Global South. While 1948 saw the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), this was the same year Jim Crow laws were legal in the United States, indigenous peoples were further genocided in the U.S. and Canada, and France and Britain continued their colonial ventures.18 Bloody interventions in Vietnam and Korea represent the largest body counts through conventional war, but perhaps more insidious were the numerous Western-backed coups, assassinations, and other means of subterfuge against non-Western aligned peripheral states. In order to bring these states into the imperial fold, the West propped up brutal dictators and murderous regimes, all while claiming these missions to be in the interest of liberalism and human rights. Bricmont quotes Harold Pinter to give a non-exhaustive ‘laundry list,’ specifically regarding the United States: “The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right-wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and of course, Chile… Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries.”19 At the same time these directly violent interventionist actions were occurring, the capitalist states in the West were simultaneously writing “free market individualism” into international law via treaties and other diplomatic means. Resistance to this, i.e., socialist states attempting to include economic rights into these treaties was denigrated as “socialism by treaty.”20 Capitalism, liberalism, and the expansion of the human rights regime by treaty (and by force) however, proliferated far and wide. It is likely impossible so sum up the Western interventions of this era in a neat package, certainly it is beyond the scope of this paper. Further beyond the scope of this paper are the non-Western on non-Western interventionist wars, such as the Vietnamese intervention in Cambodia in 1978, or India’s intervention in East Pakistan in 1971.21 This is not to ignore these interventions purely for polemicist reasons, but rather because they are of a regional character, and do not represent the same imperialist projection of force as say, the United States deposing a ‘dictator’ two continents away. But the Cold War period segues well into the contemporary era, where this paper is primarily concerned.

Human Rights in the Contemporary Struggle

The contemporary era is not so distinct from the Cold War era, except the planned destruction of communist, socialist, and other non-capitalist, or even simply not neo-liberal or not Western-aligned governments was largely complete after 1991. Most of those that continue to resist remain to this day to under crushing economic sanctions, such as those imposed on Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, and others. Thus what makes the contemporary era unique is the ascension of neo-liberal globalization, and that the danger of unfettered capitalism predicated on bourgeois human rights has become increasingly clear. O’Connell defines this neo-liberal globalization as “a consciously undertaken political project to privilege private economic power over public power, in the interests of global and local economic elites.”22 Sewpaul highlights further how under the neo-liberal consensus “gross human rights violations are condoned in the interests of global capital where organized international crime and multi-national corporations play huge roles.”23 The current neo-liberal project was formed in the preceding Cold War era, in which non-stop violence was waged upon anti-capitalist, anti-liberal, and anti-Western dissenters, all under the guise of humanitarianism and ‘freedom.’ In the interest of brevity, another ‘laundry list’ of contemporary interventions predicated on human rights shall be omitted, but the most notable examples are the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, the ongoing forever-war in Afghanistan, and Western involvement in the Syrian and Libyan Civil Wars. Instead, this paper now turns to two contemporary struggles waged by oppressed peoples, and their relationship to human rights language. But first, an interesting recent example of the human rights concept ‘turned-back’ on the Western world by the newly ascendant China shall be investigated, as it demonstrates the true emptiness of the concept in the contemporary period: another exercise in rhetorical nonsense.

The United States–China talks in Alaska, held in March of 2021, was the first sit-down diplomatic meeting between the People’s Republic of China and the United States under the Biden administration. These talks were notable in that they included a rather telling role reversal: the Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi condemning the United States for human rights abuses. Yang orated the following through a translator:

On human rights, we hope that the United States will do better on human rights. China has made steady progress in human rights and the fact is that there are many problems within the United States regarding human rights, which is admitted by the U.S. itself as well… And the challenges facing the United States in human rights are deep-seated. They did not just emerge over the past four years, such as Black Lives Matter. It did not come up only recently.24

This was in response to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken relaying the necessity of a “rules-based international order” and expressing “deep concern” over Chinese actions in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.25 One can therefore see the propagandising powers of the human rights narrative in action. Both diplomatic missions act like toddlers arguing at the cafeteria table: ‘you’re abusing rights,’ ‘no, you are,’ ‘nah-ah, it’s you!’ The purpose is simply to gin up chauvinism against the ‘Other’ in their respective countries, while obscuring the exploitation and heavy-handed quashing of dissent under their own purview. Hyperbole aside, this is the quality of human rights discourse at the highest levels of diplomatic activity, in the ‘real world.’ This is the crux of the matter, human rights are ‘just rhetoric.’

But what of truly liberatory movements and oppressed peoples that employ human rights language? As claimed earlier, this paper sees such activity as the result of Western modernity’s jargon spread throughout the globe, rather than true ideological committent. If the power-brokers of the world encourage the use of this language, of course so will those seeking to appeal to those in power for relief. In all honesty, it comes from a position of weakness rather than one of strength. Take for example the written statement on “Human Rights Violations in Okinawa, Japan,” submitted at the 31st session of the U.N. Human Rights Council. The statement spells out specific human rights violations committed against Okinawan/Ryukyuan people by the Japanese and U.S. governments, particularly in regards to the construction of a U.S. military base in Oura Bay, Henoko.26 This includes accusations of environmental degradation, noise pollution, violations against the right to self-determination, and attacks against freedom of expression and peaceful assembly by the Japanese riot police.27 While Okinawa makes up 0.6 percent of Japan’s landmass, it contains 70 percent of U.S. military bases.28 The statement further notes how existing laws, in theory in place to protect against environmental pollution, are actually “manipulated to secure the continuing presence of U.S. military bases rather than a safe and healthy environment for the Ryukyuan/Okinawan people.”29 Okinawa is essentially a doubly colonized area, under joint control of the U.S. and Japan. One wonders if since such laws are so easily misdirected in favor of the oppressor, if they are in fact a useful construction at all. This is an excellent example of why An-Na’im refers to such treaties and laws as “orphans,” as they are “born and abandoned in a hostile and reckless environment, attracting the attention of predators more than defenders.”30

Suffice to say the numerous statements given to the U.N., or professed against the Japanese and U.S. governments have done little to slow the construction of the Henoko base. What actually has had success is directly blocking construction with boats, bodies, and other means of peaceful direct action. Such actions have hampered the construction of the base considerably, and “the Defense Bureau can’t get dirt into the construction site without massive aid from the Riot Police at the gate and from the Coast Guard on the Bay, which adds wildly to the costs [of construction].”31 With construction ongoing, it is yet to be seen if this struggle will end with the completion of the base or not. But what is clear is that appealing to the U.N., U.S., and Japanese government with the language of human rights is so-far ineffective. The powerful uphold these rights for their own ends, not for the protection of those who could use them to challenge capitalist-imperialist hegemony. The critique to the argument presented here is that human rights language when wielded by the Okinawans, the oppressed, the ‘weak,’ is a progressive force. Stammers for example argues that one cannot view human rights so myopically, and that they “both challenge and sustain power, but in different degrees, in different ways, in different places, and at different times.”32 Yet this is only true insofar as human rights have power as a concept due to their proliferation under Western imperialism; as stated earlier, they are but a small wrench in the toolkit. The ultimate goal is constructing a world free from Western epistemic hegemony, bourgeois individualism, and the imperialist-capitalist power structure that elevates human rights discourse as the premier moralizing tool: where the wrench is no longer necessary. To borrow from feminist theory and Lorde, ultimately “the master’s tools cannot dismantle the master’s house.”33 The master’s tools can get things started, but they’ll never finish the job.

The next example this paper shall examine is the ongoing armed struggle against the authoritarian Duterte regime by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and their armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA). This represents a decisively more militant struggle by oppressed people that employs human rights discourse, while also recognizing the limited potential of human rights in much the same way the argument presented in this paper does. It is difficult to summarize just how central the armed struggle in the Philippines is to the liberal human rights movement there; non-communist Filipino human rights groups are routinely ‘red-tagged’ as communist, and therefore ‘terrorists,’ and thus murdered with impunity by the state.34 As such, the CPP and NPA has taken it upon themselves to act as an armed counterweight to these attacks on the Filipino populace, often responding in kind. But the CPP also highlights just how insidious the human rights concept can be in the hands of the imperialists and their bourgeois comprador-collaborators in the periphery. The CPP press release “On the 72nd Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” posted by their Chief Information Officer Marco L. Valbuena to Twitter in December, 2020 summarizes their position well. “International human rights stalwarts have condemned the Duterte regime for its widespread killings and rights abuses. However, instead of carrying out a decisive measure against Duterte’s reign of terror, it [sic] has connived with the regime in efforts to cover up its crimes in the name of ‘technical training,’” the statement reads.35 One is reminded of how calls to ‘Abolish/Defund the Police’ in the United States after the police murder of George Floyd were instead rerouted by the Biden administration (and even ‘progressive’ presidential candidate Bernie Sanders) as a call for more ‘training,’ and an increase in police budgets.36 37 The CPP’s statement is however not outwardly hostile to the UDHR, noting how it has been “used by peoples in their struggle against colonialism, authoritarianism, fascism, state terrorism.”38 They keyword here is used, harkening back to the metaphor of a temporarily employed tool.

The statement continues, “While the broad masses must hold to account reactionary governments for transgressions against human rights instruments, they must also be keen to the historic fact that these are, in the final analysis, merely adornments for bourgeois class dictatorship. Full democracy and freedom can never be truly enjoyed under the class rule of oppressors and exploiters.”39 The quite literal defenders of human rights in the Philippines recognize the limitations of human rights as “adornments of bourgeois class dictatorship” in the 21st century, in much the same way Marx did in 19th century Europe. Regrettably, not much has changed. There is one particularly noteworthy anecdote regarding the CPP/NPA: their performance of the first gay wedding in the Philippines. It was an armed one.40 This is the way forward for all oppressed peoples; rather than beg the state and NGOs for relief, organize and take action yourselves, and if someone tries to stop you, at least you are prepared to fight back. It is better than being a sitting duck, waiting for the door-knock of the death squad.

Conclusion

The solution to the human rights conundrum presented above can no doubt be criticized in much the same way Black Panther leader Fred Hampton criticized the white-led Weather Underground Organization as “opportunistic, adventuristic, and Custeristic” for their fetishization of violence.41 The Black Panthers of course were not pacifists, and Hampton himself was assassinated by the state. But there is always the danger of liberatory groups ‘jumping the gun’ so to speak and leading oppressed peoples into danger, rather than truly respecting their desire for safety and security. Fighting oppression need not be violent, such as the peaceful resistance in Okinawa. But it will be deemed violent by the state, and cracked down in much the same way. As such, the oppressed must always be ready for violence, and must understand that community self-defense is of a different character than the oppressive violence of the exploiter class. Human rights will not stop oppressive violence, they will only put a reformist veneer on structural oppression. As the child of Euro-modernity, colonialism, and bourgeois individualism, human rights lack liberatory potential beyond their limited use as a temporary tool; turning the enemy’s weapon back around. The arguments for opening up human rights discourse to the entire world and thus de-colonizing them is persuasive, but one wonders why it is necessary at all, rather than seeking completely new frameworks that are not so easily co-opted by the powerful. Frameworks that are rooted in the necessity of communal good, and that center the most marginalized rather than the ‘universal.’ Perhaps these are the same thing, but language is important, and preserving the language of Euro-modernity and capitalist-imperialism is as nonsensical as human rights themselves.

Endnotes:

1Mutua, “Savages, Victims, and Saviors,” 204.

2Mutua, “Savages, Victims, and Saviors,” 204.

3Sinha, “Human Rights,” 76.

4Sinha, “Human Rights,” 77.

5Mutua, “Savages, Victims, and Saviors,” 208.

6D’Souza, Social Movements, 5.

7D’Souza, Social Movements, 5.

8D’Souza, Social Movements, 5.

9Marx, “On the Jewish Question.”

10Stammers, “Human Rights and Power,” 75.

11Sakai, “The Shock of Recognition.”

12Macfarlane, “Marxist Theory and Human Rights,” 416.

13Kapur, “Human Rights in the 21st Century,” 674.

14Kapur, “Human Rights in the 21st Century,” 671-672.

15Jean Bricmont, Humanitarian Imperialism, chap. 3.

16Kapur, “Human Rights in the 21st Century,” 675-676.

17Kapur, “Human Rights in the 21st Century,” 678.

18Sewpaul, “The West and the Rest,” 34.

19Bricmont, Humanitarian Imperialism, chap. 2.

20Evans, “Universal Human Rights,” 175.

21Drayton, “Beyond Humanitarian Imperialism,” 222.

22O’Connell, “On Reconciling Irreconcilables,” 492.

23Sewpaul, “The West and the Rest,” 32.

24U.S. Department of State, Secretary Antony J. Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Director Yang And State Councilor Wang At the Top of Their Meeting.

25U.S. Department of State, Secretary Antony J. Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Director Yang And State Councilor Wang At the Top of Their Meeting.

26IMADR, “Human Rights Violations in Okinawa.”

27IMADR, “Human Rights Violations in Okinawa.”

28Lummis, “We’re Not So Good at Running,” 5.

29IMADR, “Human Rights Violations in Okinawa.”

30An-Na’im, “The Spirit of Laws,” 266.

31Lummis, “We’re Not So Good at Running,” 7.

32Stammers, “Social Movements,” 996.

33Lorde, “The Master’s Tools.”

34Aspinwall, “Philippines Celebrates Human Rights Day.”

35Valbuena, “CPP statement.”

36Joe Biden for President, “The Biden Plan”

37Leigh, “Sander’s opposes ‘defunding’ police.”

38Valbuena, “CPP statement.”

39Valbuena, “CPP statement.”

40Alburo, “Brothers, Lovers, and Revolution,” 27.

41Black, “To mobilize outrage.”

Works Cited:

Alburo, Kaira Zoe K. “Brothers, Lovers, and Revolution: Negotiating Military Masculinity and Homosexual Identity in a Revolutionary Movement in the Philippines.” Asia-Pacific Social Science Review 11, no. 2 (2011): 27-42. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235634575

An’Naim, Abdullahi Ahmed. “The Spirit of Laws is Not Universal: Alternatives to the Enforcement Paradigm for Human Rights.” Tilburg Law Review 21, no. 2 (October 2016): 255-274. https://doi.org/10.1163/22112596-02102008.

Aspinwall, Nick. “Philippines Celebrates Human Rights Day With Crackdown on Activists.” The Diplomat, December 14, 2020. https://thediplomat.com/2020/12/philippines-celebrates-human-rights-day-with-crackdown-on-activists/

Black, Curtis. “To mobilize outrage over George Floyd’s killing, look to lessons of social movements past.” Chicago Reporter, June 4, 2020. https://www.chicagoreporter.com/to-mobilize-outrage-over-george-floyds-killing-look-to-lessons-of-social-movements-past/

Bricmont, Jean. Humanitarian Imperialism: Using Human Rights to Sell War. Translated by Diana Johnstone. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2007. EPUB.

Drayton, Richard. “Beyond Humanitarian Imperialism: The Dubious Origins of ‘Humanitarian Intervention’ and Some Rules for its Future.” In The History and Practice of Humanitarian Intervention and Aid in Africa, edited by Bronwen Everill and Josiah Kaplan, 217-231. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

D’Souza, Radha. Social Movements, Law and Liberal Imaginations. London: Pluto Press, 2018. https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1zk0mmx.

Evans, Tony. “Universal human rights in the global political economy.” In Human Rights: The Hard Questions, edited by Cindy Holder and David Reidy, 174-192. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

IMADR. “Human Rights Violations in Okinawa, Japan.” Accessed April 1, 2021. https://imadr.org/human-rights-violations-okinawa-japan-hrc31-2016-joint-ws/.

Joe Biden for President. “The Biden Plan for Strengthening America’s Commitment to Justice.” Accessed April 2, 2021. https://joebiden.com/justice/

Kapur, Ratna. “Human Rights in the 21st Century: Taking a Walk on the Dark Side.” Sydney Law Review 28, no. 4 (2006): 665-687. https://ssrn.com/abstract=2281077.

Leigh, Genevieve. “Sanders opposes ‘defunding’ police, calls for increased pay for cops.” World Socialist Website, June 13, 2020. https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/06/13/sand-j13.html

Lorde, Audre. “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.” In Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Berkeley: Crossing Press, 2007. EPUB.

Lummis, C. Douglas. “We’re Not So Good at Running… But We Still Know How to Sit: On The Political Culture of Okinawa’s Anti-Base Sit-In.” The Asia-Pacific Journal 17, no. 23 (December 2019): 1-8. https://apjjf.org/2019/23/Lummis.html.

Macfarlane, L. J. “Marxist Theory and Human Rights.” Government and Opposition 17, no. 4 (Autumn 1982): 414-428. https://www.jstor.org/stable/44484442.

Marx, Karl. “On the Jewish Question.” Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, February, 1844. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/jewish-question/index.htm.

Mutua, Makau. “Savages, Victims, and Saviors: The Metaphor of Human Rights.” Harvard International Law Journal 44, no. 1 (2011): 201-245. https://ssrn.com/abstract=1525547.

O’Connell, Paul. “On Reconciling Irreconcilables: Neo-liberal Globalisation and Human Rights.” Human Rights Law Review 7, no. 3 (June 2007): 483-509. https://doi.org/10.1093/hrlr/ngm015.

Sakai, J. “The Shock of Recognition.” In Confronting Fascism: Discussion Documents for a Militant Movement, Montreal: Kersplebedeb Publishing, 2013. EPUB.

Sewpaul, Vishanthie. “The West and the Rest Divide: Human Rights, Culture and Social Work.” Journal of Human Rights and Social Work 1, no. 1 (2016): 30-39. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41134-016-0003-2.

Sinha, S. Prakash. “Human Rights: A Non-Western Viewpoint.” Archives for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy 67, no. 1 (1981): 76-91. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23679419.

Stammers, Neil. “Human Rights and Power.” Political Studies 41, no. 1 (March 1993): 70-82. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9248.1993.tb01638.x.

Stammers, Neil. “Social Movements and the Social Construction of Human Rights.” Human Rights Quarterly 21, no. 4 (November 1999): 980-1008. https://www.jstor.org/stable/762754.

U.S. Department of State. “Secretary Antony J. Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Director Yang And State Councilor Wang At the Top of Their Meeting.” Press release, March 18, 2021. https://www.state.gov/secretary-antony-j-blinken-national-security-advisor-jake-sullivan-chinese-director-of-the-office-of-the-central-commission-for-foreign-affairs-yang-jiechi-and-chinese-state-councilor-wang-yi-at-th/.

Valbuena, Marco L. “CPP statement on the 72nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” Twitter, December 10, 2020. https://twitter.com/marco_cpp/status/1336898461191593985.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s