Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Treaty of Lisbon and E.U. Constitutionalism: Valery Giscard d'Estaing Makes a Good Point About Rule of Law and the Treaty of Lisbon

One has to admire the English press in general, and the BBC, in particular. They have never lost the culture of aggressive objectivity in the service of a cause that was their hallmark from the Second World War. It is a shame that it is more difficult to get consensus on an enemies list in this conflicted age. Nevertheless, when all else fails, there is always the French, or the European Union.

It must then have provided the editorial staff at the BBC some satisfaction to retell a story that scores against both: E.U. Treaty Same as Constitution, BBC News Online, Oct. 30, 2007, which it harvested from a story published earlier in the Independent. Ben Russell, EU Treaty is a Constitution Says Giscard d'Estaing, The Independent, Oct. 30, 2007. Both of these "reports" purported to describe comments published by Valery Giscard d'Estaing in the Independent, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, Commentary: The EU Treaty is te Same as the Constitution, The Independent, Oct. 30, 2007 on the proposed Treaty of Lisbon which is meant to substitute for the failed Constitutional Treaty.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Multinational Corporations as Objects and Sources of Transnational Regulation

It was my great pleasure to participate in the 2007 International Law Weekend organized in New York City by the American Branch of the International Law Association and held at the House of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York on October 25-27, 2007. My presentation, entitled "Multinational Corporations as Sources of Soft Transnational Regulation" was part of the panel "International Law Making and Non-State Actors: Toward New Paradigms?" I am grateful to my co-panelists, Lillian Aponte Miranda (FIU), Janet Levit (Interim Dean, University of Tulsa College of Law) and Heather Hughes (American), for their reactions and the insights their own work has provided to mine.

As described in the program notes for the conference, the panel addressed the impact of non-state actors on international law-making as well as the regulation of non-state actors under international institutional frameworks. It explored questions regarding the capacity of the supranational framework to account for the activities of non-state actors, particularly where alternate avenues for imposing responsibility and accountability on non-state actors may exist at the national and sub-national level. What follows is a summary of my presentation. There are no footnotes. A brief bibliography and reference list of the earlier work from which much of this talk is drawn and sources for the case note section of the work follows.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hard Soft International Law: Indigenous People and their Treaties, Multinational Corporations and their Contracts

While academic lawyers worldwide continue to spend a lot of time engaging the great self referential questions of the day--does transnational law exist as a field, what makes comparative law distinctive, does international law include particular people or entities as objects or subjects, etc., the rest of the world moves on, without a bit of respect for the finely drawn lines academics spend a lifetime constructing.

So it is with the nature and value of treaties and contracts. Once understood as confined, respectively, to recognized and (and perhaps international) actors or to private and non governmental activities, both of these instruments have increasingly served as the basis for the construction of webs of binding and formal transnational relations among important actors, without so much as a nod to academic (and state sponsored) typological discourse.

These thoughts coalesced recently as I was listening to Frank Ettawageshik, Chairman of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. Chairman Ettawageshik described an interconnected world of tribal governance. That world bowed, as necessary, to the formally constituted world of state sovereigns. But it also assumed that such sovereigns are passing affairs, leaving only the land and those peoples with a connection to it. Consequently, tribal governance institutions ought to be free, amongst themselves, to negotiate and bind themselves, to the extent possible given the realities of the world, by treaties formalizing the nature of their relations and obligations.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

From Hatuey to Che: Indigenous Cuba Without Indians and the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

On October 19-20, 2007, Michigan State University College of Law was fortunate to host the 4th Annual Indigenous Law Conference. This year, the theme was American Indian Law and Literature. My thanks to Matthew Fletcher and Wenona Singel for an excellent conference. My own contribution to that event focused on my work in Latin America, and specifically Latin American engagement in international law and national self constitution. What follows is an abstract and then an extended version of my presentation at the Conference. Comments and reactions, as always, are most welcome.

ABSTRACT: Indigenous peoples have been quite useful to political elites in Latin America almost since the time of the conquests by Spanish and Portuguese adventurers in the 15th and 16th centuries. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, indigenous people supplied the foundations for a trope, both literary and political, essential for the construction of cultural, ethnic, racial and political identities distinct from the traditional colonial masters of emerging Latin American states, as well as from that great power to the North. This paper looks at one aspect of this rich development by focusing on the “noble savage” and the construction of Caribbean (and principally Cuban) political identity and the formation of governance ideals. The heart of the paper examines essays of José Martí in the broader context of Latin indigenismo.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Castro on Che

It was with some interest that I read the extremely muted reverie posted by Fidel Castro Ruz on his old comrade in arms, the Argentine-Cuban Che Guevara. Fidel Castro Ruz, Reflections by the Commander in Chief, Che (October 7, 2007) English version. Spanish version. 

Some thoughts follow.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Gendering the President Male: Narrowing Rule of Law Constitutionalism in the American Context

What follows is a summary of a presentation made at the 12th Annual Meeting of LatCrit, held at Miami Beach on October 6, 2007. I want to thank all of the folks who met with us out in the Terrace for an informative panel.

Comments are welcome: