Tag Archives: Apartheid

The Failing Justice System

I know there has been a lot of talk about what happened at the Metropolitan King County Council meeting when they voted unanimously for the new Children and Family ‘Justice’ Center; the Jail, Prison, School-to-Prison Pipeline, factory, warehouse for our children. This is what really went down.

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The lid on Pandora’s Box has been torn off because our elected officials’ apathetic and unresponsive approach to our social ills is inadequate and inappropriate!

Although, they voted unanimously for the new supposed CFJC It is not built yet, and even if they waste the money to build it, we can still work to ensure that it is not used and that alternatives are employed to help our children, who are victims of the system, not criminals.

Recap:

Regan Dunn, Dave Upthegrove, Rod Demowski, Kathy Lambert, Larry Phillips, Petr von Reichbauer, Larry Gossett, Jane Hague, and Joe McDermott

These are the names of the people currently on the Metropolitan King County Council. Voting is right around the corner and we both want and need people in office who are going to be sensitive and responsive to our needs and concerns.

The Criminal Justice System is no longer,

if it ever has been in American,

about punishment and rehabilitation.

The philosophy grounding the criminal justice system suggests that society has a right to punish those who violate the laws. How the laws are devised is questionable at best, but the premise is that laws are rules that are less stringent than the actual moral code of a particular group of people, yet sufficient to ensure the stability and order of the society. In this regard, John Stuart Mill in the paper On Liberty (1859) phrased the justification as such: “the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” This is what is called the Harm Principle and is the primary principle by which of criminal justice system is justified. However, and in stark contrast to what the principle suggests and what the actual practices of the Department of Justice, with it many subsidiary police departments and courts, reveals is that it diverges dangerously far away from the grounding principle.

First, I do not think that we will find much argument, unless the person be a sociopath, that causing undue and unjust harm to another human being is wrong. People are naturally inclined to form or have desires; to form plans for their lives and to share special bonds or connections with those whom they care about. Furthermore, most people believe that insofar as those plans do not impede and infringe upon the plans of others, or horrendously violate some moral code, that all people should be permitted to express and exercise their desires, plans, and special connections. If this is disagreed with and the person be not a sociopath, then I do not think they have fully considered the implications of their argument because if it were the case that people did not have the liberty to do this, then the dissenter could not rightly voice their opinion in contention. For example, if this individual did not think that another should play baseball, let’s say, because the sport in their opinion is a useless endeavor,and this ruling was to hold even though no harm was done to anyone by the playing of the sport, then a new principle would be employed wherein no one is protected. Nothing would protect that individual’s expression from interference by others, and the result would be a system of arbitrary infringements based on whims. In other words, a devolving into lawless tyranny, (this is not to be confused with anarchy), wherein whoever could gain power would rightfully exercise that power over others at their choosing. This should make it clear that a principle needs to be in place, which permits the exercise and expression of one’s desires, given that they do not cause harm to others.

Second, the criminal justice system, as became clear with such recent events as the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Oscar Parez, John T. Williams and so forth, is causing undue and unjust harm to people. These cases by themselves should be enough to cast more than doubt on the Department of Justice, but actually usher in a reconstruction of the entire system. These are just the cases that have made national and international news, but are representative of a much more grave problem that exists within the United States concerning police brutality. The police have a dangerous task, there is no argument about that. If the Harm Principle is accepted, and the society chooses to attempt to limit or punish any harms that may occur to its citizens, then something like a police institution as an option becomes viable. For the sake of argument, assume that there are no socio-economic discriminatory conditions creating vital motivations to violate the laws in order to survive. In a society of millions it would be nearly impossible to ensure that undue and unjust harm was either not done, or that those who caused it were punished. This means that there would be a potential to escape punishment, and people tend not to enjoy punishment, so they do what they can to avoid it.This can create a dangerous situation for a police officer to walk into, given that their only intent is to prevent harm, or to assist in the punishing of those actually guilty of causing harm. Their own person is at risk of being harmed by performing this function that society deems as something necessary, and society does not think it’s guardians should be sacrificed or harmed, so it grants that these guardians can protect themselves against harm. This is all in accordance with the Harm Principle as stated earlier, “self-protection.” This line of reasoning also assumes that the guardians do not harbor biases against particular groups of individuals and act in an impartial manner with all people. This of course is an ideal world and is horrendously far from reality. As soon as we remove the things that we have assumed for the sake of argument, we will see that much that is considered crime is a response to socially imposed harms and that these groups suffering the socially imposed harms are also targeted by the supposed guardians of our society. Furthermore, because these guardians are granted the liberty to exert force to protect themselves and to execute their social function, they can justify unjust and undue harms as necessary to complete and fulfill the expectations of their roles. The result is the problem of police brutality and murder that we are now witnessing plague our country.

Third, punishment for acts considered to be crime in the United States tends to take the form penitentiary confinement. Aside from death, this is considered to be the ultimate restriction of liberty that an individual can experience and thus the harshest punishment. Again, in order to justify this system, it has to be assumed that  that the guardians do not harbor biases against particular groups of individuals and act in an impartial manner with all peopleHowever, the data shows that this is not the case. There is a disproportionate and disparaging representation of minorities and people of color in the penal system of the United States. Making matters worse, the US has 5% of the world’s population, but boasts 25% of the world’s prison population. In addition, the number of prisons are ballooning and so is the prison population, which reveals that the penitentiary system is not solving the problem. At best, it is like attempting to place a bandaid on a gushing wound. A more precise definition is that it is a treatment that is not suited to the cause because the cause of the problem is being ignored. This leaves us with one of two options; either the United States does not know or want to know what the real problem is, or the penitentiaries are not about punishment and rehabilitation.  If it is the former option, which I do not think is even possible given the mountainous research that has been conducted over the last few decades, then we need officials who are intelligent enough to perceive and understand that the problem is not that people are choosing to commit ‘crime,’ but the reason they do so. If it is the latter option, which I am more inclined to agree with, then we have to expose what the true reason for the prison system is to understand why it is failing at its purported reason for existing.

The Prison System relegates humans to slaves. Much of the argument that we hear from the public is couched in a colorblind language and an individualistic ideology that is characteristic of the United States, “they committed the crime, they deserve the time, and all that happens to them while they are serving that time.” The arguments further express that since these individuals are incarcerated and they are consuming state resources that they should work for their keep and pay their own way. Again, in principle this all makes sense, but for it to truly be justified the system must be fair and impartial both before prison and after the person is in the penal system. However, that is also not the case. I have already argued that the manner in which particular groups are targeted for prison is unjust and undue, and now I am fleshing out the reason why they are targeted for prison and exposing the unfair and undue treatment they receive while in the system.

The State of Washington has written into law that all municipal buildings must be furnished with products produced by prison labor. The corporation responsible for the fourth largest prison factory system in the United States, which is located here in Washington is Correction Industries Inc. This law guarantees C.I. a virtual monopoly on particular state purchases and guarantees a revenue stream. Most private prison companies, like Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group sign contracts with the states in which they operate guaranteeing a specific amount of inmates that is to increase over time so that they can continue to increase their profits from prison labor. Corporations are bound by law to increase their bottom lines to provide their stock holders with increased returns on their investments. Pulling all of this together in a rather blunt manner, as if it was not already apparent without my stating it explicitly, the motivation for the penal system, given all this, is not punishment and rehabilitation, but rather, profit.

Fourth, the School-to-Prison Pipeline is a serious concern because the data reveals that minorities, people of color, and those with mental disabilities are over 50% more likely to end up as a slave in the Penal System. Students from these groups are about 75% more likely to be punished (suspended or expelled) while in school. Of those who are punished they are 75% more likely to enter the Juvenile Detention System. And of those who enter the juvenile system, they are 80-95% more likely to enter the adult penitentiary system. These are very disparaging and upsetting statistics when just taken alone, but when included with the entire system of harm wrought against particular populations, what is revealed is a system constructed to to populate our prison system with slaves that is targeting our children.

The Criminal Justice System is not failing, it is functioning in precisely the manner that it was designed to function. The problem is that we are allowing it to continue to function in this manner. The problem is that we continue to permit this colorblind language and to accept the false justifications for this system that is failing us as a people. We are being lied to. We are being harmed. And we should not stand for this any more.

That is why the people, who after not being heard in the Metropolitan King County Council went off and occupied the court room. That is why we all testified against the creation of the supposed ‘Justice’ that they are proposing to build. Justice does not mean punishment for crime. What justice means is to provide for the flourishing of the human population. What the state is doing right now is not justice.

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Research Project in Greece this Summer

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This summer, I will be living in Athens doing research on immigration by performing interviews of people, observing their behavior and interacting with them in stores, parks, buses, schools, restaurants, cafes, hotels, etc., which are many of the principal places where culture or conflict emerges.

So, for the most part this will be qualitative research. However, to place this research into the proper context I will also be analyzing the historical and economic impacts that immigration has had on the people in Greece, so it will have a qualitative aspect to it as well.

But the overall project will be qualitative in nature.

The interviews will entail asking difficult, politically sensitive and emotional charged questions that get to the heart of the immigration issues people are confronting.

My studies into the ethics of aid, assistance, and social contracts have revealed that in order to be of any assistance to people who are suffering in other countries, or in this country for that matter, it is imperative for me to understand the factors that have helped to shape and continue to influence the development of their identities and circumstances.

My background with human rights and international justice issues will be highly useful because the forced migrations and forced segregation that people are subject to are complex moral and ethical issues that are fused with politics and conceptions of justice.

By ignoring such factors, there is a potential to do more harm than good.

The ethnographic research of the project will help us to discover what the people, which includes both the migrants to and the citizens of Greece themselves believe shape their identities, the composition of the circumstances they face, what they consider just, permissible and impermissible, and what obligations they believe humans they have to one another.

Given that all of these factors contribute to the outcomes of any complex situation, especially one as sensitive as immigration during economically challenging times, it then becomes necessary to consolidate political, economic, and historical data, as well as, the qualitative data collected from individuals to correctly ascertain the development and constraints of that situation.

This is what I hope to accomplish, or at least begin while studying abroad in Greece this summer.

 

 

For more information on Immigration, Diaspora and Apartheid you can follow the link below: 

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/

We Can Do It Together

I know you all have seen the lyrics and heard the song that I have been working on for this #Diaspora and #Apartheid research project. 

The purpose is two fold:


(1) To get the message out in a different medium than the tradition essays and articles &

(2) to draw attention to fundraiser so that I can afford this project.

I know that you all believe in and support me and the things that I am fighting for because I am fighting for all of us and for a better tomorrow. The truth though, is that I cannot do it alone and I need you help to make this possible.

I also know how it is, sometimes money is tight and if it is, then I certainly do not want you to hurt yourself and I am not asking you to. What you could do for me though is share the link to the fundraiser with you people and ask them for their support; that would go a long way in helping me.

On the other hand, if everyone I know chips in $10, then the research would be fully funded.

I potentially have some scholarships that I will be awarded, but as of yet I have not heard anything. The only way this research may be possible is with your help.

http://www.gofundme.com/Diaspora-and-Apartheid

 

The song I put together can be listened to and downloaded for #Free @:

https://soundcloud.com/renaissance-the-poet/do-i-doom-my-kids-to-poverty-1 

http://www.gofundme.com/Diaspora-and-Apartheid

Do I Doom My Kids To Poverty? ((SONG))

To Support Diaspora and Apartheid Research in Athens this Summer:

http://www.gofundme.com/Diaspora-and-Apartheid

This summer I will be participating in the JSIS/Hellenic Studies program hosted by the University of Washington in partnership with Harvard University in Greece, which is a research project that will analyze how #apartheid and#diaspora have and continue to impact the people in the Baltic region.

The situation that migrants face is plagued with injustice from beginning to end, from their reasons to migrate to their treatment after they migrate. However, in order to make the types of changes in policy and social behavior that will actually make a difference in regard to diaspora and apartheid we have to have accurate data about what the issues and concerns are from all the parties concerned. This is necessary if we are to make any arguments about the harms being done and further, to suggest plans of action to mitigate those harms. That is why we are traveling to Athens, we are on a social fact finding mission to ascertain the truth about the situation and are going to make recommendations based on the evidence we gather about how to address the problems our nations face. The results of the research will be evaluated and summarized in research papers and there will be a formal presentation of that material prior to leaving Greece before the parties that can make a difference in these people’s lives.

 

Lyrics

Verse #1

 

I have to find a way to make these ends meet

I’ve got myself, my wife and three kids to feed

Now this wouldn’t be a problem, if there was work to be done

But the Dictator, confiscated, at the point of a gun

The resources, that we need, to keep, our families fed

And we’re lacking Agriculture because the Markets are dead

Not because we can’t farm, but rather, because these Subsidized

U.S. Industries, have straight up neutralized us

But Irrigation, will only suffice, if and when there is Rain

But now, we’re dealing Droughts, as one of the effects, of Climate Change

And we can’t rely on aid because that mess is a curse

And The Coups and Civil Wars for power make matters worse

My baby’s crying, screaming cuz she needs something to eat

And I feel like half-a-man because I am living in defeat

I’ve got nothing to give because there is nothing to get

But, do I Doom my kids to Poverty, or risk Escaping it?

 

 

Verse #2

 

Immigrating, is easier said than done

Cuz it seems that everything is set to keep us where we’re from

Passports, Visas, Customs, and on and on

And everything costs the type of Money we ain’t got

Our options for a better life are limited and dangerous

Trudging Deserts, crammed in Ships, jumping barbed and guarded Fences

Risking life and Health, to get at better Chances

Suffering, is nothing new, but here ain’t got the answers

My daughter wants to go to School so she can learn to Read

Cuz she wants to be a Scientist to make sure all can eat

But, that will only happen, if we make it to the West

And as her father all I want is to give the best

But protected, their Feudal Privilege, keeping us at odds

Walls to Separate us, Segregated by the Laws

So, yes it’s Illegal, and it’s Dangerous

But, Doom my kids to Poverty, or risk Escaping it.

 

 

Verse #3

 

So say we make it, beat the odds, this is what we’re facin’

Aliens, like we’re not humans from this race and

We don’t bleed the same when beaten for tying

To take advantage of Opportunities you squander, while lying

Claiming that you care, but don’t want us sharing

Land, Food, Work, or Health Caring

And instead make departments like the I.C.E.

And Detention Camps to stop us from being free

Where we’re tortured, starved, deprived of Human Rights

Forced Free Labor and Deported at night

Shipped back from whence we came, like, that is more humane

As if to say, we deserve the cards laid

And my daughter deserves to not be educated

My son deserves to starve, and I to live depraved

But there is a small hope that we just might make it

So, do I Doom my kids to Poverty, or risk Escaping it?

 

 

 

To Help Me Fund My #Diaspora and #Apartheid Research, Please Follow the Link Below:

 

http://www.gofundme.com/Diaspora-and-Apartheid

 

 

For More Information on Diaspora and Apartheid, Please Follow the Links Below:

 

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/

 

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/help-me-pay-for-diaspora-and-apartheid-research-in-athens-this-summer/

Do I Doom My Kids To Poverty?

Verse #1

 

I have to find a way to make these ends meet

I’ve got myself, my wife and three kids to feed

Now this wouldn’t be a problem, if there was work to be done

But the Dictator, confiscated, at the point of a gun

The resources, that we need, to keep, our families fed

And we’re lacking Agriculture because the Markets are dead

Not because we can’t farm, but rather, because these Subsidized

U.S. Industries, have straight up neutralized us

But Irrigation, will only suffice, if and when there is Rain

But now, we’re dealing Droughts, as one of the effects, of Climate Change

And we can’t rely on aid because that mess is a curse

And The Coups and Civil Wars for power make matters worse

My baby’s crying, screaming cuz she needs something to eat

And I feel like half-a-man because I am living in defeat

I’ve got nothing to give because there is nothing to get

But, do I Doom my kids to Poverty, or risk Escaping it?

 

 

Verse #2

 

Immigrating, is easier said than done

Cuz it seems that everything is set to keep us where we’re from

Passports, Visas, Customs, and on and on

And everything costs the type of Money we ain’t got

Our options for a better life are limited and dangerous

Trudging Deserts, crammed in Ships, jumping barbed and guarded Fences

Risking life and Health, to get at better Chances

Suffering, is nothing new, but here ain’t got the answers

My daughter wants to go to School so she can learn to Read

Cuz she wants to be a Scientist to make sure all can eat

But, that will only happen, if we make it to the West

And as her father all I want is to give the best

But protected, their Feudal Privilege, keeping us at odds

Walls to Separate us, Segregated by the Laws

So, yes it’s Illegal, and it’s Dangerous

But, Doom my kids to Poverty, or risk Escaping it.

 

 

Verse #3

 

So say we make it, beat the odds, this is what we’re facin’

Alien status, like we’re not humans from this race and

We don’t bleed the same when beaten for tying

To take advantage of Opportunities you squander, while lying

Claiming that you care, but don’t want us sharing

Land, Food, Work, or Health Caring

And instead make departments like the I.C.E.

And Detention Camps to stop us from being free

Where we’re tortured, starved, deprived of Human Rights

Forced Free Labor and Deported at night

Shipped back from whence we came, like, that is more humane

As if to say, we deserve the cards laid

And my daughter deserves to not be educated

My son deserves to starve, and I to live depraved

But there is a small hope that we just might make it

So, do I Doom my kids to Poverty, or risk Escaping it?

 

 

 

To Help Me Fund My #Diaspora and #Apartheid Research, Please Follow the Link Below:

 

http://www.gofundme.com/Diaspora-and-Apartheid

 

 

For More Information on Diaspora and Apartheid, Please Follow the Links Below:

 

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/

 

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/help-me-pay-for-diaspora-and-apartheid-research-in-athens-this-summer/

I Need Your Assistance and Support, I Cannot Do It Without You

I Need Your Assistance and Support, I Cannot Do It Without You

Thanks to the several contributions thus far for my research project this summer, I am starting to pull close to the cost of the plane ticket. As you may be aware, the earlier that I can purchase the ticket the cheaper it will be and the better likelihood that there will actually be a seat when I need there to be a seat. Right now, depending on the negotiation that I can do with the airlines and booking agencies, the cost is approximately $1,500 for round-trip fare, but that will increase over time.

I need your help to get to Athens to perform my research on the impacts of immigration; #diaspora and #apartheid. So, please click the link below and give what you can:   

http://www.gofundme.com/Diaspora-and-Apartheid

Thank you so much for your love and support:

Carradin MichelDerek WhitneyJess SpearCarter CaseJanet Hoppe-Leonard,Luzviminda MarcotteCody LestelleSharran MoynihanSarra Tekola, and Roman Richards 

For more information about Diaspora and Apartheid please follow the link below:

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/

Feudal Privilege and Global Apartheid

“Citizens in Western liberal democracies is the modern equivalent of feudal privilege–an inherited status that greatly enhances one’s life chances. Like feudal birthright privileges, restrictive citizenship is hard to justify when one thinks about it closely.”

~Joseph Carens (Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders, 1987, p. 252)

There is a sharp divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots” and it is morally arbitrary, in that there is nothing that people do before they are born that entitles them to the life-chances that they have after they are born. Such as, education, employment, and access to fresh food and clean water.

Is it just to deny people access to these essential needs solely based on the consideration of where they were born, the caste they were born into (which is typically based on skin-color), or the class they were born into? I do not think it is just in any definition of the word.

However, that is precisely what is going on with this feudal privilege. What has essentially been created is a “city on a hill,” that is not only protected by walls, but a vast military institution that cuts down and shreds those who attempt to gain access to what we in America consider basic #needs and #rights. In effect, what this is, is #GlobalApartheid, the forced segregation of vast portions of our civilization, which is exacerbated by the treatment these people receive for attempting to improve their life-chances

These are precisely the types of issues that I will be confronting during my research this summer during my JSIS/Hellenic Studies program focused on #Diaspora and#Apartheid. Please share, and consider contributing whatever you believe that you can afford, so that together we can ensure that #HumanRights are being protected.

 

Current Conditions in Greece and Reasons for Research

Current Conditions in Greece and Reasons for Research

Reading and learning so much in all of my classes and especially in the JSIS Study Abroad Seminars about the social and political conditions that the people in Greece are struggling with and through.

Yesterday we learned that there is currently a 28% unemployment rate and of that 60% of the unemployed are under 24 years old. The government has also been downsized as one of the results of cutting back on austerity–government funding on public services, so with the university-aged unemployed there are professional-aged unemployed vying in the same economic market for a limited pool of jobs.

The economic crisis that we just experienced in the United States, wherein at the beginning we saw the Occupy Movement and the housing crisis with the government sponsored bail-out; our unemployment rate only reached approximately 10% or so. The closest that we have ever been to a 28% unemployment rate was during the Great Depression in the 1930’s with 1/4 of the country out of work. I am sure that most of us are all familiar with the images of both of those American crises. So, I am sure that it is not hard to imagine the economic pressure that the people in Greece are dealing with right now.

In addition to all of this is the very real concern of migration, which undoubtedly ads into the pool of those in competition for skilled-labor and service industry jobs. Just as I am sure that you are all aware, in the United States, immigration tends to become a major concern when we are faced with economically stringent times, the same is true elsewhere.

These are many of the types of conditions that I will be doing research on this summer.

 

Help Me Pay for Diaspora and Apartheid Research in Athens this Summer

 

To Help Me Make This Research Possible, Please Contribute to the Fund to Get Me to Athens @ http://www.gofundme.com/7wx9m0

 

This summer I will be participating in the JSIS/Hellenic Studies program hosted by theUniversity of Washington in partnership with Harvard University in Greece, which is a research project that will analyze how apartheid and diaspora have and continue to impact the people in the Baltic region.

The situation that migrants face is plagued with injustice from beginning to end, from their reasons to migrate to their treatment after they migrate. However, in order to make the types of changes in policy and social behavior that will actually make a difference in regard to diaspora and apartheid we have to have accurate data about what the issues and concerns are from all the parties concerned. This is necessary if we are to make any arguments about the harms being done and further, to suggest plans of action to mitigate those harms. That is why we are traveling to Athens, we are on a social fact finding mission to ascertain the truth about the situation and are going to make recommendations based on the evidence we gather about how to address the problems our nations face. The results of the research will be evaluated and summarized in research papers and there will be a formal presentation of that material prior to leaving Greece before the parties that can make a difference in these people’s lives.

The program is further designed to immerses students in the Greek language and culture. It is a twelve credit, five week program consisting of three University of Washington courses: JSIS 11–Introduction to Greek; JSIS 488–Tourism in Greece; JSIS 499–Independent Research on Global Apartheid. The program also provides the students with a sufficient understanding of the Greek language to survive and function in Greece as a non-resident.

For further information about diaspora and apartheid check out:

Diaspora and Apartheid: Study Abroad Research

 

The Benefits of the Program:

 

Participating in this program will benefit me by providing an opportunity to experience other cultures firsthand, engage in a practical research project and learn more about issues of global justice.

This opportunity is particularly important because not only am I a first generation college student, but I will also be the first in my family to travel outside of the United States since my grandfather was in the U.S. Air Force in the 1960s. My mother, who provides for my residence and food, is a house-keeper and can barely afford to help me through college. The rest of my family, if they can work, work in some aspect of the service industry and subsist on meager incomes, so they can also not contribute much but emotional and mental support for my education. Yet, even with all of their help the only reason I am able to afford the cost of tuition and books is because of financial aid and loans, but those resources do not cover much else. So, any contribution that you can make will help this opportunity, with all of its many benefits to myself, my family, my education and most importantly, to those suffering from diaspora and apartheid; to become reality.

For an example of the impacts of study abroad on both the individual and the community, please follow this link: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1108274

Life Goals:

 

My goal in life is to design a sustainable, environmentally sound and socially equitable system based on justice that transcends the stratification of nation-states, individuals and corporations, and takes into account the fact that we all share one pool of resources. This is an incredible goal, and perhaps even utopian, but I believe it is both achievable and practical and I have planned my education to prepare me for the task.

To accomplish this goal I have begun my journey by double-majoring in history and philosophy at the University of Washington, whereby I am learning about the strengths and weaknesses of previous civilizations and their socio-economic systems, as well as the ethical frameworks that sustained them. After earning a bachelor’s degree I plan to earn a law degree because the system I am going to help to design will require intense negotiation to derive a written law that will be internationally acceptable. Given the delicate nature of those negotiations and the networking that will be necessary to accomplish my goal, my plan is to work for, with and through the United Nations because it is the most reputable international institution in existence that shares my objectives and that will provide me with access to global decision makers.

 

This Program Will Help Me to Achieve these Goals By:

 

As a History major one of my objectives is the evaluation of how culture evolves over time. So, the Greece and Athens Global Apartheid program will have several highly beneficial impacts on my education at the University of Washington, as well as, long into my future career. One of the primary functions and most attractive characteristics of all study abroad programs is the opportunity to experience other cultures. However, I am from a family who is not well-off and I have neither traveled outside of the United States, nor have I had the opportunity to experience another culture. This program will provide me with this invaluable experience and since it has a basis of historical analysis it will allow me to apply what I am learning as well as bolstering my continued education of other cultures. Most importantly, it will help me to develop a perspective that is not solely American, which is vital in a globalizing world wherein, the interaction between people of different states and cultures is steadily increasing.

A further benefit the program will have is the research and analytic experience it will provide me. Not only will this benefit my education at the University of Washington as a history student, but also as I progress through my goals to work in the United Nations. The accurate writing of history sometimes entails performing interviews of people who have experienced some event, so having this experience will benefit my studies in this manner. I can also see the practical application of this after I begin working for the United Nations, when I will need accurate and contemporary, qualitative information to make informed decisions about actions and policy. The Greece and Athens Global Apartheid program is specifically designed to help me develop these skills.

I am interested in the definition, justification and implementation of justice, which is why I am double majoring in Philosophy. Immigration and a state’s right to regulate its borders are huge components of the philosophical discussion of global justice, which entails the rights of immigrants whether legal migrants or not. This program will put us up front and personal with the global justice issues of apartheid and diaspora in a region that at this pivotal point in my life and education, I would not otherwise be able to take part in. It will also thereby, allow me to participate in seeking solutions to these issues head on with and for the people most affected by them and to educate the people who can make a difference in their lives. It is one thing to read about issues in a history, sociology, or global justice course, and it is quite another to actually take part in the research that makes a positive impact in peoples’ lives, which is the reason that I am in school.

 

Expenses:

 

Program Fee                                                         $4,500
UW Study Abroad Insurance                        $     80
UW Study Abroad Fee:                                     $    300
Food                                                                           $1,500
Spending Cash                                                     $1,500
Roundtrip Airfare                                                $2,000

Total:                                                   $9,880

I have developed the budget after talking to the program director Dr. Lagos and the program advisor Katherine Kroeger. For a large portion of the program we will be staying in dorms at the Deree College, but for some of the program we will also be staying in hotels. The costs of the hotels and travel have been included into the line item Spending Cash, which is an amount that is recommended by the program. The program also estimates that the average daily cost of food, which is not included in the Program Fee is approximately $34/day and I have calculated an approximation of what that will cost for the entire program. I have also priced and cross-referenced round-trip airfare from Seattle to Greece, and the cost is approximately $1,700 if the ticket were to be purchased now. However, given the volatility of the market I have added $300 to that line item so that I can be prepared for an increase in price at the time of purchase.

I am confident that this trip will not only make a dramatic impact in my life but also an impact in the lives of all the people that I interact with in the future. And your help will make it possible for me to take part in the Greece and Athens Global Apartheid program.

 

To Help Me Make This Research Possible, Please Contribute to the Fund to Get Me to Athens @ http://www.gofundme.com/7wx9m0

Other Important Pages Related to this Project:

My Study Abroad Pages:

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/help-me-pay-for-diaspora-and-apartheid-research-in-athens-this-summer/

Discussion of the Issues with Diaspora and Apartheid:

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/

 

Other sources that I have applied to for funding of this Study Abroad Research:

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship:

http://gilmanprogram.wordpress.com/

The University of Washington History Department Scholarships:

http://depts.washington.edu/history/undergraduate-studies/fellowships-scholarships-and-prizes-undergraduate-history-majors

Diaspora and Apartheid: Study Abroad Research

“If we can prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing something of comparable moral importance, then we ought, morally to do it.”

-Peter Singer[1]

(http://todayinlaborhistory.wordpress.com/tag/apartheid/)
(http://todayinlaborhistory.wordpress.com/tag/apartheid/)

 

This summer I will be participating in the JSIS/Hellenic Studies program hosted by the University of Washington in partnership with Harvard University in Greece, which is a research project that will analyze how apartheid and diaspora have and continue to impact the people in the Baltic region.

Apartheid:

Any system or practice that separates people according to race, caste, etc.

Diaspora:

Any group that has been dispersed outside its traditional homeland, especially involuntarily, as Africans during the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

People may choose to migrate of their own accord for many reasons, such as, migrating for survival or to improve their life chances, and in other situations people may be forced to migrate by an individual, group, institution or regime that has more coercive power than their victims. Regardless of our feelings about the morality of legal and illegal migration, and whether migrants should be allowed access into other states, the fact remains that our planet is stratified in a hierarchical system of inequalities wherein certain citizens of different countries (and even between citizens within a given country, such as those with caste systems) have different levels of access to opportunities and life-chances. And if it is the case that we have the “right” to seek the improvement of our lives, then their choice to migrate is justified by that right. How much more so is there a need to uphold this right when people mass-migrate to avoid a national catastrophe, such as famine or genocide because without such a right, then these people would be doomed to tragic deaths? In regard to the latter situation of forced migration of many people, which is most often associated with diaspora, violates the “right to improve one’s life” because the imposed migration supersedes the individual’s choice not to migrate and to improve their lives in the way they see fit.

However, in either case, one of individual choice (whether legal or not), or one of forced migration, the citizens and/or the governments of the host nations may or not welcome the migrants. In such cases where migrants are not welcomed, the potential for forced segregation, or apartheid, becomes much more likely and with the prevalence of language barriers it is even more difficult for the migrants to seek protection and reparation for the harms done to them. Harm in this context is being defined as making something or someone worse off than before the act was carried out. Recently, the New York Times published an article titled, “Africans, Battered and Broke, Surge to Europe’s Door,” about the migration of Africans into Spain, many of who were fired upon by the border control while attempting cross the border, the remainder were living in shelters for immigrants or in immigration centers waiting to learn of their fates.[2] This report reveals two phenomena; first, that there is a difference between countries and some are more desirable than others to live in; second, that states attempt to control who migrates and when with borders are protected by military forces against foreigners; third, that if and when people do make it across the borders of protected countries that they are segregated and mal-treated; and fourth, that this is still a prevalent and troubling issue for many people.

The issues that migration, especially, when it involves diaspora and apartheid, reveal violations of human rights, listed in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR). Within the UNDHR, are such rights as the “right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state” (Article 13), the “right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution” (Article 14), the “right to life, liberty and security of person” (Article 3), and the “right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services” (Article 25).[3] The importance of the legal status of a migrant is undermined by the violations of their rights, which assume precedence. We have a moral obligation “not to harm” others, and I am sure that you will agree with me that being forced to leave your home by one power and then being forcefully segregated by another power in terms of nationality, country of origin, religion or race is a worse harm than their being in the county of another illegally.

Even if it can be shown that illegal immigration is somehow a harm to the citizens of the host-nation, say by appealing to an over-taxation of a nation’s resources, or even a violation of a citizen’s right to the “freedom of association,” two wrongs do not make a right, and that would not justify the harmful treatment that migrants are receiving. Responding to the former claim, Charles Beitz, in the article, Justice and International Relations, argues that the possession of resources is “morally arbitrarily,” and as such no one individual has a moral claim to any particular resource that is morally justifiable.[4] This only becomes important because of the concepts of scarcity and resource distribution, wherein there is a limited amount of resources and those resources are spread around the planet in an unequal distribution between the nations. What this means for people is that in the dependent on the places that they live, they have different levels of access to resources and thus, access to different resources that are positively correlated with life-chances. Responding to the second claim, Joseph Carens in, Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders, suggests that:

Citizenship in Western liberal democracies is the modern equivalent of feudal privilege – an inherited status that greatly enhances one’s life chances. Like feudal birthright privileges, restrictive citizenship is hard to justify when one thinks about it closely.[5]

In other words, this “right to freedom of association” is used as a means to sustain the hierarchical status quo of inequalities based on the morally arbitrary possession of resources. Both objections fail to establish the fact that illegal immigrants cause more harm and also fail a justification to project harm onto migrants, regardless of their legal status.

The concept that more harm is being done to migrants than to the citizens becomes exceedingly more apparent when we realize what Carens says about the average migrant, that they are seeking “an ordinary life,”[6] which includes working for a living, paying taxes, caring for their families, living in homes and peacefully interacting with their neighbors. In other words, being functional and contributing members to society and becoming part of the communities in which they live. Furthermore, when these migrants are discovered, if they have been able to achieve a measure of social stability like Carens suggests, they are then ripped from the homes they have made and extradited to their countries of origin, which is arguably more disruptive and harmful than granting them citizenship. There may be moral grounds to limit the migration of people, but once they have migrated, the obligation to treat migrants with dignity and integrity takes precedence to any previous claim to the right of freedom of association.

The situation that migrants face is plagued with injustice from beginning to end, from their reasons to migrate to their treatment after they migrate. However, in order to make the types of changes in policy and social behavior that will actually make a difference in regard to diaspora and apartheid we have to have accurate data about what the issues and concerns are from all the parties concerned. This is necessary if we are to make any arguments about the harms being done and further, to suggest plans of action to mitigate those harms. That is why we are traveling to Athens, we are on a social fact finding mission to ascertain the truth about the situation and are going to make recommendations based on the evidence we gather about how to address the problems our nations face. The results of the research will be evaluated and summarized in research papers and there will be a formal presentation of that material prior to leaving Greece before the parties that can make a difference in these people’s lives.

 

To Help Me Make This Research Possible, Please Contribute to the Fund to Get Me to Athens @ http://www.gofundme.com/7wx9m0

 

 

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/

 

[1] Singer, Peter. Famine, Affluence ,and Morality, p. 231

[2] New York Times, Africans, Battered and Broke, Surge to Europe’s Door, February 28, 2014.

[3] United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. http://www.ohchr.org/en/udhr/pages/introduction.aspx

[4] Beitz, Charles. Justice and International Relations, p. 367-370.

[5] Carens, Joseph. Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders, p. 252

[6] Carens, Joseph. The Case for Amnesty (Boston Review, May/June 2009)