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Transnational social movements are social organisations and processes that reach across borders to unite social movements. They are a likely platform for civil resistance, understood as organised but non-violent resistance to injustice that steps outside the realm of accepted political discourse. This is highly contextual. The labour movement in the Global North, for example, does not regularly engage in civil resistance because it operates within liberal democratic norms, while in the Global South trade unionism often carries with it extreme risks.
Transnational social movements are potential sources of solidarity amongst the global poor. This because they generate solidarity amongst distant strangers. This is not solidarity derived from abstract political principles, but derived from the shared experience of oppression. This shared experience need not be uniform; it is necessarily diverse.
The chapter looks at two test cases, the labour movement and indigenous rights movement, as examples of just-seeking and injustice-evading resistance. It concludes by examining criticism that civil resistance does not capture the urgency of global poverty.
This chapter argues for the idea of collective rights with which a people endow themselves in the face of political crises, as opposed to the more popular concept of human rights which is to be given by (often hostile) states to individuals, at the urging of international organizations. Citing examples such as those of the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico and the people of Palestine, the author sheds light on the political rewards in the translation of the rights of the individual to collective rights. The latter kind has the advantage of having evolved from cultural specificities, as opposed to the more conventional idea of transcendent human rights. They are more in tune with material realities as well as unobligated to universal standards and forms.
This chapter gives an overview of the current debates regarding the way human rights has been defined and historicized. It argues that understanding these debates is crucial for an understanding of the ways in which human lights matter to literary study. Referencing the works of Johannes Morsink, Paul Gordon Lauren, Lynn Hunt, and Samuel Moyn, the author moves the through the varied points of origin and genealogies of human rights as we understand them today. The chapter shows that this present concept is by no means unambiguous, and argues that literature and its analysis provides us with one of the best ways to investigate the historical and political tensions that exist at its very foundations.
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