Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Farnia, "Imperialism and Black Dissent"

Stanford Law Review has published "Imperialism and Black Dissent," by Nina Farnia (Albany Law School). The abstract:

As U.S. imperialism expanded during the twentieth century, the modern national security state came into being and became a major force in the suppression of Black dissent. This Article reexamines the modern history of civil liberties law and policy and contends that Black Americans have historically had uneven access to the right to freedom of speech in the United States. Through archival research and legal analysis, I conduct four case studies that are representative of key trends in Black dissent after World War II: Black Communism, the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power movement, and the Movement for Black Lives. These case studies illustrate how the modern national security state has affected the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and managed Black dissent in the United States, particularly when such speech is anti-imperialist or anticapitalist.

I argue that the modern national security state is one of the power structures undergirding free-speech jurisprudence. It operates in concert with free-speech colorblindness, a phenomenon I track in the final Part of this Article, to suppress domestic dissent by subordinated racial groups. The case studies suggest that the practical consequence of free-speech colorblindness is the narrowing of speech rights for Black dissenters and the overall containment of Black dissent.

Read on here

Readers interested in this topic may also wish to read Farnia's "Imperialism in the Making of U.S. Law," which we missed when it came out in 2022.

-- Karen Tani