"Association, Reciprocity, and Emancipation. A Transnational Reading of the Politics of Global Justice," in Duncan Bell (ed.) Empire, Race, and Global Justice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) (go to pre-proof document)

In this chapter I put forward a transnational critique of the global justice literature. I argue that the transnational character of injustice and the transnational coalitions among those marginalized within Western societies and those in the non-West are two elements that are currently not considered by global justice theorists. This is the case despite the fact that their inclusion raises important normative questions. I support this critique by, first, pointing to the historical erasures of the global justice literature and, second, examining its sources in the Rawlsian genealogy of this scholarship. I note that the concept of association—which both sides on the global justice debate rely upon—must be considered in two further senses: (a) as the mechanism for the establishment of domination, and (b) as an instrument for countering domination and opening novel spaces of politics. Opening the concept in these two directions allows us to consider not only pockets of domination within the West that are indebted to the past of colonialism, settler colonialism, and slavery but also how these roots are a source of political commonalities among Western groups and anti-colonial/post-colonial activists outside of the West. I rely on the history of the coalition between the black civil rights movement and the anti-colonial movement and W. E. B. Du Bois’s writings to make three normative points: (a) that we should displace the elite Western subject from its privileged position as the agent working toward global justice; (b) that we should incorporate into our theorization the transnational spaces of politics inaugurated by the coalitions of the oppressed in the West and non-West, and (c) that we should reframe the conversation on global justice as political rather than moral.

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