Unsettled Citizens | Economic Citizenship || Radcliffe Institute

Unsettled Citizens | Economic Citizenship || Radcliffe Institute


– Good morning, everyone. I’m Tomiko Brown-Nagin,
the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. And I’m so pleased to
welcome you all here today for this important convening
on unsettled citizens. Citizenship rights,
or the lack thereof, affect individuals,
families, and communities in very concrete ways. Citizenship also
shapes our sense of identity and
belonging, so much so that many people tend
to think of citizenship as immutable, or at the
very least, as settled. And yet, as we’ll explore
today, many individuals find that their citizenship
is quite unsettled. Consider, for example,
the US territories. Later today, we’ll hear from
Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto of San Juan, Puerto Rico. And as we hear from her,
we should bear in mind that people born in her city,
like nearly four million others across Puerto Rico,
Guam, the US Virgin Islands, and the northern
Mariana Islands, formerly lack full protection
under the US constitution despite birthright
American citizenship. And American Samoans
as US nationals enjoy neither full
citizenship rights nor full constitutional rights. These facts aren’t
well understood. In the fall of 2017,
after Hurricane Maria, the New York Times ran an
article under the headline “Nearly Half of Americans Don’t
Know Puerto Ricans Are Fellow Citizens.” What’s more, the federal
government’s response to Maria did not fully
reflect the reality that the hurricane caused a
domestic humanitarian crisis. Just 13 days after the
hurricane made landfall, President Trump visited
Puerto Rico and said, “I hate to tell
you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget
a little out of whack.” [LAUGHTER] Language that seemingly
defined Puerto Ricans as other, not a part of us. Later, in an interview,
he lamented– and I’ll quote him again– “Instead of getting in thank
you, we got bad publicity,” as if fulfilling the nation’s
obligations to Puerto Rico merited special gratitude
from the islanders. Now, it’s a century
old legal doctrine that underlines why the US
territories enjoy only limited constitutional protections. And this doctrine emerged
when law and official policy were steeped in the
ideologies of white supremacy and colonialism. Just five years after
the US Supreme Court upheld racial segregation
in the 1896 case of Plessy versus Ferguson,
the court started to issue decisions
that differentiated between incorporated territories
that would officially get statehood like
Arizona and New Mexico and unincorporated
territories like Puerto Rico that would not. This doctrine, which
is still in place, holds that territories acquired
in and following the Spanish American War belong
to but aren’t a part of the United States. This entirely constructed
difference help explains why Americans
in the territories can, for instance,
serve in the military but can’t vote in
national elections. American citizenship is
then decidedly unsettled. As immutable as it
may sometimes seem, citizenship is constructed. And it’s often directly
linked to histories of colonialism, discrimination,
and class distinction. This conference will wrestle
with several examples of unsettled citizens and
unsettled citizenship. It is a crucial, and it is an
urgent conversation, especially now. A conference like this isn’t
possible without the efforts of many, many people. I’m grateful to all of our
conference participants for sharing their time
and expertise with us. Thanks as well to Rebecca
Wassarman, Executive Director of Academic Ventures; to
Jessica Viklund, Director of Events here at Radcliffe;
and their excellent teams. And let me also acknowledge
the members of our Radcliffe Institute Leadership Society
and all our annual donors who support the institute’s work. Thank you. Finally, thanks to my
colleague, Dan Carpenter, for chairing the Conference
Planning Committee and to all of the planning
committee members. Dan is the Faculty Director
of Social Sciences here at Radcliffe as well
as the Allie S. Freed Professor of Government. And it is my pleasure
now to turn things over to Professor Carpenter. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] – Thank you, Tomiko. [CLEARS THROAT] In the presence
of so many of Harvard’s indigenous sisters
and brothers, I want to begin by acknowledging
the indigenous Massachusetts homeland on which
we gather today. And recognizing Harvard as
an organ of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, itself
endowed by a charter that commits this university
to the inclusion and education of
indigenous peoples, I want also acknowledge the
Nipmuc and Wampanoag peoples on whose traditional homelands
the Commonwealth sits. People at Radcliffe,
not least the thousands of women who experienced
a form of citizenship at once both limited and
enabled here in Cambridge, Massachusetts over
many, many decades, have been thinking about
citizenship for a long time, but especially in
the past two years, as the nation begins to
examine the centenary of the 19th Amendment
and the 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment,
which established different kinds of citizenship. These initiatives are
many, and they are outside of this conference,
including last year’s gender and citizenship conference
entitled “Who Belongs: Global Citizenship and
Gender in the 21st Century.” They also include the long
19th Amendment initiative at the Schlesinger
Library; the institute’s emerging work on incarceration;
research projects on lobbying and the financial
services industry; our November conference on
disability and citizenship and another in December on
the meaning of the midterms; and not least, the
digital archive of Native American
petitions in Massachusetts, which Radcliffe has generally
generously supported. When it came time to
plan this conference, the Academic Ventures
Group at Harvard, led by Becky Wassarman, put
together an amazing committee of faculty from the University. I’m proud and honored
to have worked with them and to have chaired them. They are, in alphabetical order
of last name, Philip Deloria, Professor of History
at Harvard and Chair of the Committee on
Degrees in History and Literature; Ju
Yon Kim, Professor of English at Harvard;
and Gabriela Soto Leveaga, Professor of the
History of Science at Harvard. Our word “citizen” in English
and its equivalent in other European languages derives
from the Latin “civitas,” “the city,” or more
properly, “city-state.” It is that city-state
and that community which defines and
regulates citizenship, and citizenship which in
turn composes, reconstitutes, and reforms the city. We start with a panel on
economics citizenship. The communities that defined
and awards citizenship are also engines of social
and material wealth creation. And the relationship of
community belonging to wealth has always raised important
and sometimes troubling dimensions of conflict. Do the duties and rights
attendant to citizenship require a minimal level
of material wealth in order for their realization? If so, how much wealth? What variety of goods? Do concentrations of wealth
properly acquire citizenship? If so, should that citizenship
be limited or fully free? The Supreme Court case,
as many of you know, that endowed corporations
with free speech rights sufficient to strike down
a set of federal contribution limits and campaigns
was entitled, in all of its delicious
and disturbing irony, Citizens United versus the
Federal Election Commission. But corporations are far more
than concentrations of capital. Harvard is a corporation. And this corporation lobbies. And as we’re pleased to hear
from our wonderful guest from Alaska momentarily,
Rosita Worl, Alaska native corporations
are corporations. And so these are often
more complicated issues than they might seem. We next move to a
panel on citizenship and its gatekeepers. Citizenship does not descend
like manna from heaven but is made on earth. It is a human construct,
humanly fashioned. The community determines
the rules of citizenship and how they are applied. So how do indigenous
nations, for instance, regulate belonging based on
aspects of race, genetics, and the calculus
of blood quantum? How do modern states
such as France shape citizenship based
upon language, race, and cultural belonging? And what happens when
nations grant citizenship to those previously considered
external to its community, but who have been
let in at some level because they provided an
alliance or some service? The case of the Hmong
in the United States provides a window
into these questions. After lunch, we’ll hear
from Mayor Cruz of San Juan. And she’ll offer
our keynote address. I met the mayor last night. And let me just tell
you what an honor it is to have her join us. I cannot do justice
here– and I won’t– to the commitment, the
humanity, and passion with which she speaks. But I will say this. Won’t take too long
getting your lunch. [LAUGHTER] And the afternoon panel
is entitled citizenship on the move. It speaks to the
fluidity of citizenship, it’s unruliness in a world
of rule, if you will. It talks about citizenship
in our ever more mobile world where the migrant
and the refugee challenge the notions of
citizenship governed by nation states and call
upon us to rethink the geography of community. We’ll consider
citizenship in communities that pre-date colonial
and settler state borders and even the
categories of citizenship fashioned by those societies. And we’ll hear how
white Americans consider their own identity under
threat and how some of them are redefining that identity
and a form of citizenship in increasingly racialized
and eugenic ways. There are, of course,
themes, many of them that we could’ve
included or interrogated more profoundly today. What is global
citizenship, for instance? That is, for what
it’s worth, a question that we addressed directly
at last year’s gender and citizenship conference. It figures not as explicitly
in today’s discussions, but it’s always there. How has war and
military service, or how have they
defined citizenship? What is the proper balance
between rights and duties in thinking about citizenship? And what is the
role of education in attaining or promoting the
flourishing of citizenship, the optimal balance in that way? One could also talk
about other areas of our planet such as
India and its caste system regulating citizenship
for millennia and the way that those kinds of systems
have powerful legacies today. Our discussions
today are necessarily constrained by the
address of time and space and in the aperture
of political regime. We have but eight
hours before us. But as with all
such conversations at Radcliffe under its
capable leadership, they will lead to still other
conversations not so commonly webcast among students,
scholars, and yes, citizens for days, weeks,
months, and years to come. And with that, I want to ask
our first panel to come up on economic citizenship. It is chaired by my fantastic
colleague at the University, Professor Kenneth Mack. He is the inaugural Lawrence
Biele Professor of Law and Affiliate Professor
of History at Harvard. You can find other
information about him in the conference program. Professor Mack and panelists. [APPLAUSE] – Well, thank you
all for coming. Thank you, Dan, for that
wonderful and capacious introduction to what we’re
going to talk about today. The title of our panel is
“Economic Citizenship,” which is obviously a
timely issue at present. There’s been a
revival of interest in issues of
economic citizenship over the last decade. Commonly cited causes include
the global financial crisis and the still unresolved
question of accountability for that crisis; the
emergence of new forms of economic populism both
within the United States and around the world,
both on the left and on the right; questioning
the relationship of membership in the nation state
to social provision within and across the
boundaries of nation states; the emergence of
questions prompted by new forms of knowledge– scholarly knowledge–
most famously, the research of Piketty
and Saez on the history of economic inequality. But there’s been an
outpouring of scholarship in many, many fields
on the question of economics citizenship
over the last decade. And then law, my own field. As Professor carpenter
noted, there’s been a sustained debate in
light of the Citizens United decision over the ability of
corporations and the wealthy to mold the contours of
citizenship to their liking. Economic citizenship obviously
is also an old question. It’s been debated over
and over across the world ever since the advent of
the transition to the system that we now call capitalism. And ever since the emergence
of modern nation states that made questions of
citizenship and membership of all kinds paramount. Now, today’s panel
is uniquely qualified to probe questions of
economic citizenship that have emerged
in our own time in light of the long
history of such questions being raised, and
also equally qualified to question the conventional
contours of the debate about economic
citizenship, including the conventional
markers that I’ve outlined in this introduction. I’m going to introduce them
just by title and the names of their most prominent works. You can find greater
biographical summaries of their accomplishments,
which are many, in the program. Our first speaker is
going to be K. Sabeel Rahman, who’s Associate
Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School. He’s the author of Democracy
Against Domination, Oxford University Press 2017 and
the forthcoming Civic Power from Cambridge University Press. Following Professor Rahman
will be Rosita Kaaháni Worl, who is the President of the
Sealaska Heritage Institute, who is the author of many,
many writings and publications, among them Indigenous Value:
Strengthening Resiliency in Arctic and Rural Communities
and Alaska’s Conflicting Objectives. Third, we’re going to hear
from Zephyr Teachout, who’s an Associate Professor of
Law at the Fordham University School of Law, who’s the
author of many publications, including Corruption in America:
from Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United,
Harvard University Press 2014. I’m going to take
them, and they will present in the order I’ve
announced them beginning with Professor Rahman. – Great. [CLEARS THROAT] [APPLAUSE] Thank you so much, Ken, and
Dean Brown-Nagin, and Radcliffe, and to our panelists. Really excited for this
day and this discussion. So as Professor Mack was
saying, I mean, this really is such a timely moment to be
thinking about these questions. And coming into this
panel this morning, I was thinking about
the real live fights over economic
citizenship playing out in so many parts of the country
and around the world, fights over the water crisis in
Flint, or over the burning of gentrification in cities
like New York or San Francisco or Boston even,
the Fight for $15, and the changing nature of
war, just to name a few. And I name that at
the beginning to say that what we’re talking
about here is real life. And it’s not just about kind of
abstract notions of inequality and membership. But these are
political fights that are playing out on many
different terrains of context. And so for my
remarks here, I want to sketch out three things. One is just to unpack a little
bit the different dimensions of economic citizenship. So we’re used to thinking about
economic inequality, wages and income. But there’s really
much more going on underneath the surface. And want to kind
of lay that out. Second is to make the claim
that economic citizenship or citizenship more
broadly is not just a legal category and
an on/off switch. But I think really all of
us are, in different ways, understanding citizenship
as a functional concept, that it’s really a spectrum. There are all these
different ways in which law and policy
and politics construct different levels of membership. Who gets to be a full member
with full and equal dignity and standing in this society
is a topic of contestation. And then the third, to say
a little bit about the how. So what are the combinations of
ideas, institutional changes, movement politics that are
needed to change our scope and understandings of
economic citizenship? So let me start at the top. So Professor Mack
mentioned the new research on inequality, the work of
Piketty and Saez and others. And I think that’s
absolutely been central to the opening up of
the academic conversation. But if we think back through
the political contestation over academic citizenship
now and in the course of American history, I’d argue
that the central concept is not just inequality, but
really the problem of power and domination. So if you flashback, say, 100
years, the late 19th century, the populist parties
gathering in Kansas in 1892. And they issue their
party platform, and it’s styled as a second
Declaration of Independence. Modeled on Jefferson’s,
but where in place of the sovereign– the sovereign
monarch against which democracy has to rise up– here, the framing is liberation
from the concentrated economic power of the new
corporate titans of then the first Gilded Age. So this is the era of J. P.
Morgan, the man, not the firm. But still just as terrifying
then as it perhaps is now. And Vanderbilt and the
railroads and all of the rest. But the argument here
was that as citizens, as economic citizens,
people could not be free when they live under
the effective subjugation of private power, private firms
that can essentially govern the economy for
their own interest and in their own profit
without the kinds of checks and balances that we expect of
any form of sovereign power. And so there is a broadening
of the idea of democracy and citizenship and
membership to take on the problem of private power. Let me give another example,
more contemporary one. If we think about the
fights over urban inequality in recent years, Matt
Desmond’s work on eviction, fights over the rise of housing
prices in New York and Boston, San Francisco, part of
what’s going on here I think is about economic power
and economic membership, but in a more subtle way. Research shows that the
neighborhood that you’re born in has intergenerational
effects on your wealth, your well-being, your health. And the rules that govern
where construction happens, how cities are zoned,
who lives where, where transportation
infrastructure lies, it’s all very kind
of behind the scenes. But we have effectively
constructed– or rather reconstructed an
even more egregious form of segregation through
our urban policies than what we had in
the era of Jim Crow and prior to Brown v. Board. So there’s another dimension. If the populace were focused on
the problem of corporate power, this is something more subtle. It’s sort of the accumulation
of background rules of the game that changed
the way the city functions or changed the way
markets function, that restrict well-being
and opportunity to some and create levels of economic
membership for others. A third example, and then
step back for a moment. The Flint water crisis in
Michigan, which actually is not just about Flint. They’re actually
hundreds of cities that face a similar
configuration of lead poisoning,
decaying infrastructure, with disproportionate impacts
on communities of color and low income communities. If you think about
what’s going on there, here you have a basic
necessity, water– the most basic thing
that we need to live– that is actually
governed by a mix of failing government
actors and increasingly privatized control. Many of the water
systems in our country have been privatized
and financialized and are actually
under the ownership of different private equity
firms around the country. And you have a
basic good that we should be relying on for
basic human well-being that has actually been converted into
a form of resource extraction for the owners of
the water systems, with devastating
impacts on communities. And so this is a third
way in which we play out the dimensions of
economic citizenship over who gets to access
those most basic goods that make humans and
communities flourish. You can tell the same story
about education, the same story about health care. These are those basic public
goods that don’t just appear. They’re governed and
provided by a mix of private and public actors. And the communities that
are able to access them fully and freely are a
product of those policies and decisions. So to pull all of that together,
what I think this sketches out is three dimensions of
economic citizenship. The first is are we free with
respect to concentrated forms of private power? So think the monopolies
and the trusts, which Professor Teachout might
talk about more in a moment. The second is are we free in
context of those background rules of the game? How we structure our city,
how we structure our markets, how we structure our
firms, who is able to access opportunity and
wealth and well-being. And the third is how
we govern our access to basic public goods. Health care, education, water. All three of these
things I think are dimensions of
economic membership. And all three of them are
products of law and policy. And so what that
means then to me is that the fight for
economic citizenship is really a fight over
power and governance. Who controls these economic
decisions on what terms and to what ends. So then if that’s
the case, then I think that gives us a much
broader view of citizenship as not just a binary on/off. I think what that shows us
is that then citizenship can actually be tiered
out as a spectrum. So you may be formerly
a legal member of the polity, a legal citizen. But if you functionally can’t
access economic opportunity and well-being– if you
functionally have poisoned water, if you functionally are
segregated from the centers of the city– you’re not really in effect
a full member of the polity. So the next the next
thing here though then is if you think about
citizenship as being tiered, this also is not just
a state of being. There is a politics here and
a set of deliberate interests going on here. So when you think about
why these policies exist the way they do,
part of what we see is the weaponization
of economic policy in order to restrict who
gets to be a full citizen. So the re-segregation
of our cities is in part the result of a
fusion of private interests of corporations,
zoning interests, coming from New York, the
Citizens United reference. Real estate and lobbying
and democracy in New York are sort of a pretty
central configuration of battles that we’re fighting
in New York at the moment. But so you have a combination
of corporate power, corporate interests, and
ideologies of racial hierarchy. There are ways in
which we start to use these hidden forms of
economic rules and membership to reassert those types of
economic and racial hierarchy. So to give another
example, after Brown, schools are formally
desegregated. But what happens
is then you have a series of efforts where
municipalities, suburban cities secede from the central core. So now the schools are
still technically public, but they’re only serving the
public that you want to serve. You have the privatization
movement kicks into high gear, again, pulling resources out
from the formal public schools. These are all ways of
manipulating economic rules to reassert a tiered notion
of who gets to have access. So what then you have is a fight
for citizenship and membership and inclusion that is at once
about law and policy and a kind of technical policy
questions, but also really about those most fundamental
issues of who belongs and who gets to be
part of the polity. So let me move to the
last set of topics and about how we think
about fighting these fights. And I think there are
really three aspects here. And I think of it as ideas,
institutions, and interests. So on all three of
these dimensions, there’s a battle to be waged
for economic citizenship. On the ideas front, I
think the first point here is that we need to understand
economic membership in these broader terms
of power and inclusion, and not just in sort of narrow
terms of wages and income. And that connects us to these
long standing traditions over economic freedom
and domination that go back really
to the founding and American political thought,
but in global thought as well. On the institution side,
these different dimensions of policy making
really I think show that we’re talking
about a much wider set of structural debates. It’s not just enough to talk
about wages or job training or skills building. Economic citizenship really has
to be tackling those underlying concentrations of corporate
power, those background rules of the game, the
way in which we structure our access to public goods. And then on the
interest side– so this is where I think things
get really sticky. Because in a lot of ways,
what we’re facing now– and Dean Brown-Nagin
started with a reference to the hurricane in Puerto Rico. In some ways, it’s
remarkably clarifying to see the way in which the
fusion of racial hierarchy, corporate power,
and anti-democracy drive a political coalition that
results in the kinds of highly unequal forms of citizenship
that we’re experiencing in American politics right now. And so that’s a particular
set of political interests or ideological interests that
are driving and sustaining these types of unequal policies. But I’m really
interested in think about what are the
kinds of coalitions and fusions of
interest and movements that can advance a
more inclusive vision of economic citizenship? So here, I think about moments– brief moments, perhaps–
but really important moments of multiracial inclusive– a different kind
of populism maybe where you think about that
moment of reconstruction after the Civil
War where you had the aspirations for
racial inclusion and a transformative
vision of the economy that came with that
before it was often violently put down in
the switch to Jim Crow. Or you think about the ways
in which the civil rights movement encompassed
an expansive vision of economic citizenship as well. So the welfare rights
movement following after the civil rights movement. That’s where you start to
see some of the early debates around things like basic income
as wages for citizenship. But it’s coming from a
movement led by women of color and not Silicon Valley folks. It’s a very different
approach to the issue. So we have these moments of
multiracial inclusive populist movements. And I think I would argue
we’re in the beginnings of one such moment now. And so where I’ll close is
maybe a question for all of us to ponder. In this moment of unsettledness
for economic citizenship, what are the kinds
of openings that we see for new coalitions,
new social movements that are advancing this more
transformative, inclusive, and structural vision for
economic reform that gets us to a more settled, but
also more inclusive understanding of
economic citizenship? So I’ll close there. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] – Next, we’ll have Rosita Worl. – [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] –most noble people of
the Harvard community. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] In our culture,
we have a protocol of introducing ourselves. And if I may, I would
like to do that. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] My Tlingit name is Yeidiklasókw. It’s an ancient name. The meaning has
been lost in time. My ceremonial name is Kaaháni. It means “woman who stands
in the place of a man.” [LAUGHTER] I reminded that to
the board members that I served on in Sealaska
Corporation for 30 years. [LAUGHTER] I am an Eagle, and I am from the
Thunderbird clan and the House Lowered from the Sun. And I am very proud to be
a Child of the Shangukeidí, the Sockeye clan. I am entitled to wear the Eagle,
Thunderbird, and Sun clan crest and the White Bear, Killer
Whale, and Shark Spirit designs. In addition, our clan claims
ownership and use rights to the US Naval military uniform
and to the name “Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka” because
Lieutenant Fred Schwatka failed to pay a debt to my
great-great-grandfather. The Thunderbirds are entitled
to wear Naval uniforms or semblances of them. Alaska Natives maintain
dual citizenship as American citizens and
of their respective tribes. They are similar to other
Native Americans who are members of federally
recognized tribes, but they differ in
one dramatic way. They are also members of Alaska
Native tribal corporations. Alaska Natives settle their
aboriginal land claims through the Alaska Native
Claims Settlement Act of 1971. And ANCSA created 13
regional corporations and 200 plus village
native corporations to implement the
claims, thus making Alaska native shareholders
in these corporations. Alaska Natives sought full
control over their lands rather than allowing the
federal government to have oversight over their lands. They rejected the
reservation systems that are held in trust
by the federal government for federally recognized
tribes and instead supported conveyance of lands held
under fee-simple title by corporations. ANCSA corporations differ
from other profit making corporations in many respects. They are federally
recognized tribes for special statutory
purposes in over 100 federal legislative acts. They do not, however,
have sovereign immunity or governance authorities that
are prerogatives of tribes. They also have social
and cultural dimensions and responsibilities as well
as the profit making objective. In addition, they also
have a unique form of corporate socialism in that
regional agencies are required to share 70% of their profits
from subsurface and timber development among themselves. To date, more than
$300 million has been shared among the regional ANCs. Native American tribes
outside of Alaska have full responsibilities for
the welfare of their members. In Alaska, governmental
responsibilities, services, and benefits are dispersed
among tribes, ANCs, and several other institutions. We have 10 regional non-profit
tribal organizations and two regionally
federally recognized tribes that provide a range of
governmental services. We have one statewide and 12
regional health organizations. And we have 12 regional
housing authorities. These organizations and tribes
are dependent on federal funds to provide the
governmental services. And as such, they are
required to comply with government
eligibility requirements to receive benefits. Recipients must demonstrate
that they are enrolled members of tribes and have a
certificate of degree of Indian blood demonstrating
that they meet the blood quantum eligibility
requirements that is most often set at the one
fourth native blood quantum. While discussions of the rights
and responsibilities of tribes and ANCs are worthy,
this discussion here provides a
historical review of native membership
and citizenships, which are not synonymous. In our own traditional society,
we have clans and family units, and we have tribes and nations. And in these entities, we
have perpetual memberships in our tribes and in our clans. In 1867, we had the
Treaty of Session, under which Alaska was sold
by Russia to United States. And Alaska Natives
were classified as uncivilized tribes. Then we have the
General Allotment Act that applied to both Native
Americans and Alaska Natives. And we have the blood quantum
system that was introduced. This act supposedly
was to civilize Indians by introducing them
to private property. Tribal lands were
divided into 160 acres, and surplus lands
totalling 90 million acres were transferred into the
public, leaving Indian hands. The other interesting
thing about it was that the Bureau
of Indian Affairs introduced a
competency, or what I think is an assimilationist
measurement. Those Native Americans who
were less than 50% native blood didn’t have to have
any BIA supervision. They were viewed as assimilated. Those who were 50%
or more native blood had to have BIA supervision. It was possible to
obtain citizenship if they severed tribal
relations and adopted habits of civilizations. Not too many became citizens. In Alaska, we adopted a
Territorial Act of 1915. And under this, Alaska natives
could achieve citizenship if they could pass a test
demonstrating qualifications to exercise the
obligations of a voter. They also had to
abandon tribal customs and sever tribal relations. They also had to adopt the
habits of civilizations. And they had to be certified
by five white citizens. And then after all
of that, they had to solemnly swear to forever
renounce all tribal customs and relationships. Again, we had very few
that became citizens. Except for one,
Charlie Jones, who was a clan leader
from Wrangell area. And he had been voting
for a number years and then went to the
polls to vote in 1922. And he was not allowed to vote. He called on his
niece, who called on her father, William L.
Paul, the first Tlingit lawyer in Alaska. They litigated it, and Charlie
Jones got the right to vote, thereby giving de facto
citizenship to Alaska natives. In 1924, we have
the Citizenship Act that gives citizenships to all
Native Americans and Alaska Natives. We have then the Indian
Reorganization Act of 1934 that authorizes native
governments and constitutions, but it didn’t extend to Alaska. So we went to Congress
to amend the IRA in 1936 to extend to Alaska. We now have 229 federally
recognized tribes, but they are sovereigns
without a territorial reach. And you also have to be
one fourth native blood quantum to be a tribal member. In 1971, we enacted the Alaska
Native Claims Settlement Act. And under this act, our
aboriginal land claims were settled. The act established 13
regional corporations and 200 plus village corporations. Our land– we received
44 million acres under fee-simple title. We were given $1 billion
for the extinguishment of our aboriginal title
to 330 million acres. $1 billion for
330 million acres. A very resource rich land. But the act also established
that one fourth native blood quantum for memberships. But the act also did
something very different here in it created a new ethnic
group called Alaska Natives. Under this, we were able to
pull our blood quantum from all of the different cultural
groups, the Iñupiat, Yupik, Aleut, Athabaskan, Tlingit,
Haida, and Tsimshians. I just wanted to introduce
you to the Marine Mammal Act. This act provides an exemption
to hunt marine mammals for Alaska Natives who could
prove that they are one fourth native blood quantum. In the 1980s, we
began to realize that there were some
restrictions in ANCSA itself that conflicted with
our cultural values. So we went to Congress
to seek an amendment. And one of those
amendments allowed us to enroll natives who
were born after 1971. The original act
allowed only for those who were alive in 1971
to become shareholders. We realized that our lands
were owned by our children– it was their right
to own our lands. And so we wanted to make
sure that we could do that. We had a big debate in Congress. Our secretary of interior
didn’t want us to do that. He wanted to assimilate us. And we prevailed and
got the authorization. But we wanted the act to
give automatic enrollment to all of our children. But the compromise was that
we had to have a shareholder resolution, and it required
a super majority shareholder vote. That means you had
to have 50% plus one of all outstanding
shares to vote in favor of enrolling new members. To date, we have six
regional corporations that have voted to allow
the enrollment of children who are born after 1971. We have four corporations that
adopted the one fourth blood quantum; Ahtna, Doyon,
NANA, and Sealaska. I chaired the committee that
oversaw that enrollment. And I will tell
you, I did surveys, I did look at the
demographics, projections. And I also did focus groups. And it was really clear
to me that it was possible that we would not be able
to pass that resolution if I went with anything
less than one eighth. So we went with the one eighth. And as the vote was coming
in, I was really terrified because the inspector
of elections called me late at night and
said, Rosita, we’re losing. And I was just devastated. And then he called me back
about a couple hours later and said that he
had made a mistake and that we were winning. [LAUGHTER] So we have another corporation. The Arctic Slope has
two types of stock. And one type goes to
those who are one fourth, and then the other is to those
who have the less than one fourth native blood. Only Calista, the
corporation that has probably still
the most native blood, but went with
lineal descendants. So we make a distinction
between membership rights and citizenship rights. Our membership rights are
based on the descendancy from an enrolled tribal member
or shareholder and blood quantum criteria as defined
in tribal constitutions or corporate bylaws. It establishes our eligibility
for benefits, dividends, health care, housing, scholarships. And then we have citizenship,
tribal citizenship. Tribal citizens’ rights
and responsibilities are related to the exercise
of tribal sovereign rights and are similar to
that of US citizens. Memberships in ANCs does not
confer tribal citizenship rights, although shareholders
do have the right to serve and elect leaders
of a board of directors. And they have the right to vote
for other businesses that may come before the corporation. I wanted you to take a
look at the blood quantum as it exists right now. I don’t have any data on Alaska
Natives who are less than one fourth the total number. But what I thought I
would do is take a look at native people who applied for
their CDIB, their certificate of Indian blood, in a 10 year
period from 2006 to 2016. We see that Cook Inlet, 59.3%
of them who are enrolled were less than one fourth. And it goes down. The highest are those in the
southern coastal regions. And you see my region at 32%. Even though we were
introduced to Western society and had contact
with Western society much earlier than others,
we still are at the 32%. It’s still problematic for
us, discouraging for us. And then you see
Calista at the bottom, and they’re in
southwestern Alaska. And 7.5% of them were
less than the one fourth when they enrolled
in that 10 year period. This table does not reflect the
total number of Alaska Natives within each region who are less
than one fourth native blood quantum. We don’t have any
current data that exists of the percentages
of Alaska Natives who are less than the one
fourth native blood quantum. However, a recent study by
Sealaska Heritage Institutes demonstrates from
both qualitative and quantitative data that an
increasing number of Alaska Natives are less than the
one fourth native blood, and particularly those in
the southern coastal regions. Tribes and ANCs in
Alaska allow natives to combine their native
blood from parents who may be from different
tribes, cultural groups, or ANCs to meet the one
fourth native blood quantum eligibility requirement. The ability to combine
blood quantum offsets the dilemma faced by some Native
Americans whose parents are members of different tribes. The offspring may be full
blooded Native American, but not meet the blood
quantum requirement of either of their parents tribes. And thus, are not eligible
for tribal membership in either parents’ tribes. The ability to combine blood
quantum of different Alaska Native cultural groups
and corporations may delay an overall
decreasing native blood quantum for an undetermined period. But we know it’s coming. The issue of blood
quantum has also become quite controversial. I mentioned to you
the Marine Mammal Act. The Marine Mammal Act allows for
an exemption for Alaska Natives to hunt marine mammals. We’ve been hunting them for
over 1,000 years or more. And we use the byproducts for
traditional arts and crafts, which are really
important for us in our economically
depressed rural communities. Unfortunately, it has the
one fourth blood quantum requirement. And it’s in those
southern coastal regions that are affected the
most by this requirement. We have been trying
to amend this, but we can’t come
to an agreement in the native
community as of yet. A continued relationship
to the ancestral lands continues to be a
significant cultural value for Alaska Natives. Native tribes do not
have a land base. Instead, it’s the
native corporations that own our ancestral lands. Thus, membership in ANCs
and continued land ownership are significant
for Alaska Natives. The blood quantum system is
a major Alaska native issue since it defines membership in
tribes and native corporations as well as eligibility
for federal services. Most all of Alaska natives
were organized under the IRA and use the one fourth
native blood quantum criteria for membership. All ANCs with the exception
of one regional corporation uses the one fourth native
blood quantum criteria to determine
membership eligibility. The existing data suggests
that if the blood quantum system continues to be utilized
to determine membership, tribes may well be on
a path to extinction. An increasing number
of Alaska natives who are one fourth
and less native blood means that native
corporations will be owned by
shareholders who will be predominantly less than
the one fourth native blood. The greater fear is
that these shareholders may not have the same cultural
values of land ownership and may be more
than likely inclined to lift the restrictions
on the sale of land. In fact, some of our CEOs have
called our land wasting assets. I might note that those
are non-native CEOs. I wanted to show you my
grandfather’s citizenship certificate. My grandfather, John M. Tlunaut. He was required to renounce
his tribal relations. He had to swear that he
wasn’t going to affiliate with his tribal relatives. And he had to go before
five teachers who approved his knowledge that
he knew about citizenship and all the responsibilities
of citizenship. And then he had to have
five white people sign that he was, indeed, a
civilized Alaska Native. He was later pressured– I thought this was interesting. He was later pressured
by missionaries to change his name from Marx. It used to be M-A-R-X. He was
persuaded to change it to Mark when this name became
unpopular in the United States. [LAUGHTER] Ironically, I,
his granddaughter, now serve as president of the
Sealaska Heritage Institute, whose mission is to perpetuate
and enhance the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures
of Southeast Alaska. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [APPLAUSE] – Next, we have Zephyr Teachout. – Thank you. That was fascinating. Great presentations. Well, you just heard
about how governments can be corporations. I want to talk about
the ways in which– following up on a previous
conversation– corporations can play a governmental role. And I think one of things
we’re all suggesting is that we have to shed our
formal understanding of what government and citizenship is
and look at the deep functions of what’s happening. I’m going to spend some time
talking about contract farming. Hopefully terrify
you into seeing that that’s the future
of work and that radically changes the
relationship of people to power. But first, I just want to
use one of the oldest or one of the more terrifying
examples of corporations by access to a choke point
playing a governing rule. And this is the
credit monopolies in the late 19th century. So late 19th century,
credit monopolies in regions controlled all access to credit. So that meant that freed slaves
looking for credit with which to be able to rent
land had to go to a local store owner, who also
had the only access to credit. And the local store owner
charged totally usurious rates. And it’s quite clear they
charged more than they should. So we might stop there and say
this is on its face unfair. But it was more than the rates. It was actually a governing
relationship because the credit monopolist would
say, I’m only going to lend to you if
you shop at my store because I also provide
all the dry goods. That effectively shut
out any competitors who might come in and
land at a lower level. Because if they
came in, nobody was going to shop at their
store because you’d lose the excess to credit. But they also said you can
only plant cotton, even in cases where cotton was
not the most profitable crop. Because cotton was not a product
that the farmers could then use to build
self-sufficiency and get out of their relationship
with a credit monopolist. It had to be shipped north. They couldn’t basically
cultivate the land in ways to escape this
governing relationship. So farming is often– and in fact, without the boll
weevil and other changes, it might have gone
on for even longer. But this was an
effective central role in the suppression
of citizenship for African-Americans
for over 40 years is the choke point of
the credit monopolists. So farming is often both
an example in itself terrifying, but also
an example of what else is happening in a society. So I think we should always
look to farming to see– look at the nature of work. So I’m going to spend
a few minutes talking about contract farming. If you are a chicken
farmer, you basically have to find a way to get
your chicken to market, right? So right now, in the United
States, 95% of chicken farmers are basically stuck
in a system where the only way they can get
their chicken to market is they go through Perdue,
Pilgrims, or Tyson. And if they don’t go
through those three, they just can’t get
their chickens to market. So this sounds OK, right? But these choke points– Tyson, Perdue, Pilgrims– play
this governing relationship to the chicken farmer. They don’t just extract
value saying basically you have to pay these high fees
to get your chickens to market. They also say to
the chicken farmer, well, if you want us to
distribute your chickens, you are going to have to use the
hatched eggs that we provide. You are going to have to
use the exact specification of the chicken houses
that we tell you. You are going to have
to use our advisors. You are going to have to
use our watering system. You are going to have to
use our dimming system. You are going to
have to use our feed. And if you don’t, that’s fine. You are free. We just won’t take your
chickens to market. Now, the chicken farmers have
taken out a loan typically around $1 million. And so if those chickens
don’t go to market, they’re totally bankrupt. So you can see
how, first of all, this allows for the
distributor to extract enormous amount of value. And you may see both Bernie
Sanders and Elizabeth Warren talking about how farmers get
$0.20 per dollar or less now than they did 30 years ago
for all the food that goes to market. But it’s not just that. They also sign
contracts that say they can’t talk
to their neighbors about how much Tyson
is paying them. So embedded in the
contract, there is isolation, social isolation. You can’t even talk to
the farmer you hate. So when you think of social,
it’s not just about solidarity. It’s about the entire
complicated community that comes along with economic life. You can’t tell how much
you have been paid. And if suddenly your chicken
production goes way down, you don’t know whether
it’s because Tyson is experimenting on you or not. Essentially, they’ve created
a panopticon-like arrangement. You may be familiar with
Bentham’s panopticon. The jailer sits in
the center and can see all the behaviors
of the different people, but they can’t see each other. So Tyson can choose. Well, let’s just
experiment on some feed. We’ll try these five
farmers with some new feed because they are
forced to take the feed and they are forced not to
know what else is happening. So think about what this
does to you as a person. Don’t forget the wage effect. But think about the
kind of paranoia that arises when you
are subject to the whims and experimentation
of this choke point upon whom you depend. It also brings this
extraordinary amount of fear– political fear– and pockets
where the free speech rights that you may be given by
the Constitution don’t exist. In 2010, when there were a
series of hearings on chicken farmers, several people reported
that the chicken farmers weren’t showing up
for the hearings because they’re not stupid. Perdue can cut them off
and make them go bankrupt if they speak up, and they
won’t know whether or not it’s because they
spoke up or not. So essentially, this
contract farming, which is what it’s
called, or chickenization, has cut out the farmers tongues. This isn’t just chicken farming. Think about Uber drivers. What we see now is in the
realm that we call technology, a lot of sort of distraction
around the shiny nature of calling various things
technology, which are basically just introducing the chicken
farming contract farming model to the nature of work. So who owns the information in
an Uber kind of relationship? Theoretically, the
drivers are free. This is the whole sort of story
about the gig economy, which is described as
technologically determined as opposed to the nature
of market organization. But the Uber driver can get
cut off without a reason. I talked to some
organizers who– I’m hopefully going
to meet him soon– but were talking to
an Uber driver who was cut off because a
passenger attacked him. So because he was engaged
in an altercation, Uber said, we don’t want
to be anywhere near that. But there’s no appeal to Uber. There’s no way to appeal
because Uber is just providing this service, this platform. It’s just in the
private realm, right? But like the Tyson
relationship to the farmer, there’s a fundamental
surveillance panopticon relationship happening where
Uber can see all the drivers, can choose to
experiment, can choose to send them to go
one way or choose to experiment in all kinds
of different economic forms. They can experiment well or
they can experiment badly. By the way, we have to
get rid of this idea that just because people
are dominant in the market means they’re smart. World history is littered
with armies marching in the wrong direction. [LAUGHTER] So power does not
mean intelligence, but it does being an incredible
new relationship of the worker to these choke points. Seamless, which
also owns Grubhub, they are chickenizing
restaurants. Imagine if you go to
Seamless and look for pizza. They can disappear
your local restaurant by just choosing not
to have them there and charge high fees. The full scope of that
may not be happening. But when we look at
the future, by owning what we call the platform,
they have incredible power. And they change the relationship
of whether it’s the restaurant owner or the Uber driver
or the chicken farmer not just to their work,
but to their entire life, because you are
put in a position of informational isolation. You’re typically contracted
out of the ability to sue. Required to go to private courts
called in this gentle language, arbitration, alternative
conflict resolution, which is basically a form
of privatizing and isolating people’s legal disputes
from the public. So you have isolated,
paranoid, dependent workers. And this is the direction
that work is taking. More and more, work
is contracted out. We can look at it in sort
of gross economic terms. And I use “gross” in
both senses of the word. [LAUGHTER] That more and more
people are moving into outsourcing
the liabilities. Basically, the Uber driver
takes on the risk of the car. The chicken farmer takes on
the risk of the chicken house. The restaurant takes on
the risk of all the loans and what we call these
platforms, distributors, don’t take on any of that risk. And that’s gross in that sense. But it’s also gross in what
it does to us as people. It turns us from a
citizens into denizens. Now, what I’ve been
talking about so far are just the minor lords
of our current system. The major lords are Amazon,
Google, Facebook, Monsanto, Walmart. Again, we kind of get
the categories wrong. We tend to think about things
in terms of tech or not tech. But tech doesn’t describe
what is going on. First of all, these
are conglomerates. Google about a company
a week in 2011. Facebook bought Instagram. Amazon is a conglomerate of
the Cloud and a platform. They’re neither
natural nor platforms. Even the language of “platform”
and “tech,” both of them make us think it’s
about technology. And it’s essentially neutral,
but maybe with a little stuff at the margins. They’re not platforms. They’re choke points. And they’re not tech. They’re new business model. So if Uber chickenizes
drivers, Amazon chickenizes consumer goods. Imagine you are Bounty. Not that I have any
great love for Bounty. They already monopolized or
quasi-monopolized the paper towel market. They already are a problem. So it’s not like
we want to go back to the good old days of Bounty. But Amazon’s product
can treat Bounty the way that Tyson treats
chicken farmer. Spy on it, survey
it, learn from it, experiment on it, shift
it around in your answers to the question what
paper towels should I buy? Squeeze it. Demand that Bounty pay its
workers less because they know all the information
about Bounty’s business model, and therefore can say, we’re
going to set the price here. Because if you want to get
your paper towels to market, this is the way they’re coming
because you’re consumer goods and we’re Amazon. Right? But it can also then
study and say, well, we want to actually– now we’ve
studied Bounty well enough. We actually think there’s a
pretty decent profit margin there. We’re just going to imitate
Bounty and make our own paper towels and sell our
own paper towels. So using the producers
of consumer goods across the country as
subjects in experiments. We talk about citizenship. And the opposite of
citizenship is denizenship and being subjected. So that turns these formerly
free business owners into unfree business owners. Now, some of them are
terrible business owners. But if we do not have
the space for freedom in our economic sphere,
there’s a real cost there. So I want to end with– first of all, clearly, we need
a pretty significant revolution not only to stop
this growing contract farming of the nature of work. By the way,
journalists, publishers. Who are they
contract farmers for? Facebook and Google. Facebook can and did
change the algorithm, and the Cleveland Plain
Dealer goes out of business. It could change it back,
and a news organization could come back into business. They are essential choke points
that can not only squeeze value out of news organizations,
but decide whether or not they live or die. And by the way, they are trying
to ingratiate ourselves with us for recognizing some
degree of their role in the murder of journalism by
funding non-profit journalism. This is like the tyrant
saying, don’t worry. I’m putting out my
own publications. [LAUGHTER] So instead of cheering
them for taking control over more of journalism,
we should make sure that our central
communications network doesn’t have this choke
point kind of relationship. OK. So we clearly need a
radical reformation. One of the things
then in this moment– which I hope is a
revolutionary moment because when [INAUDIBLE]
talks about solidarity, I think about the
suicides of taxi drivers and the suicides of
farmers, both of whom are living in
situations of despair. And then if we can
start to as a society see that they are both
chickenized in similar ways, there’s opportunities
for solidarity to take on these choke
points that will hopefully help this revolution happen. One of the things
that I hope that we aim for in this
revolution is something that the Dalai Lama
tweeted this morning. [LAUGHS] He said, “Any idea
that concern for others, though a quality, is a
matter for our private lives only is short-sighted. Compassion belongs to every
sphere of activity, including, of course, the workplace.” Now, this seems like this might
be an uncontroversial topic, conceit even on the left. But in my last few
minutes, I just want to plant the seed that the
idea that the economic sphere is a sphere of freedom
and moral development is actually a fairly
controversial on both the left and right right now. You’ve seen a
transformation on the left from Hayek, who saw
the economic sphere as a place for essential
moral development to the modern
neoliberals like Gautier, who say that basically moral
development should happen outside the economic sphere. We should be radically
profit maximizing so that we can maximize
efficiencies and then go be moral elsewhere. Be moral in our church
lives, in our community life, in our private lives. Morality belongs to
the private sphere. But you actually see a
mirror image in many thinkers on the left who have
basically given up the market as an irredeemable space. They fundamentally
associate the language of markets, the
fact of a market, the fact of a kind
of private exchange with a radical
corruption of morality. And we see this in basically
Sandel fighting with Sandel. I say that because
I’m at Harvard, for those of you who know him. There’s an old
Sandel who believed in the redeemability
of markets, and there’s a new Sandel who in 2012 wrote
a book about the corruption that markets have in
our private sphere, assuming that market logic
was necessarily immoral, or at best, amoral logic. And I think what we have
to do is as we reconstruct a new economy, reconstruct
meaningful freedom, including moral freedom, embedded so
that we can just be paid well, but be compassionate and
loving in our private and our economic life. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] – So all of our panelists
have in some ways complicated the
conventional narrative of economics citizenship that
I introduced the panel with. I’d like to do two things. I think we want to have
some limited discussion among the panel. I’d like to get all three of
you talking to one another. And then after that, we’re
going to take questions from the audience. And four questions came to mind
as I listened to your remarks. And you don’t have to
respond to my question. You can respond to each other. It doesn’t matter. But here’s four quick questions. There’s a tension in your
presentations between critiques of dominant discourses
of economic citizenship, be they discourses
grounded in notions of US citizenship, which is
sort of imposed from above; economic citizenship
imposed by corporations; and citizenship from
the perspective of those who are dominated. How do we sort of get
both on the table? Related to this,
particular, Rosita Worl reminds us that there are many
forms of economic citizenship which have been used
by the subalterns to mobilize alternative
frameworks for citizenship. I mean, this complicated,
complex question of native citizenship in Alaska,
the corporation of the tribes, the clans. Of course, the Alaska
Native Claims Settlement Act is a congressional statute. Of course, it’s in some measure
imposed from above all those. But yeah, it’s complicated. It was a compromise. But subaltern groups
are using this thing to construct their own
forms of citizenship. There are questions of plural
citizenship within the nation state. “Membership” means
so many things. Being an Uber driver,
being a farmer, being a member of an
Alaska Native corporation. What is citizenship? Has it lost its analytic
power when we apply the term to so many things? And finally, is formal
citizenship just blasé? We don’t really talk
in our discussion today about the thing that’s
been on lots of people’s mind. 10 years ago, it was a
pathway to citizenship for the undocumented. And now we’re talking
about all these sort of sublevels of citizenship. Formal citizenship, is it blasé? Is it passé? Does it belong in
this discussion? But you guys can take
any of that or anything that comes to mind. Let’s do quick responses to
the panel to one another. – Well, great questions. I don’t think it’s blasé at all,
[LAUGHS] to answer your lesson question. And the thing that
comes to mind to me is the extraordinary organizing
of Driscoll farm workers in the last few
years, who have been organizing in Washington state,
many of whom are undocumented. And so they’re playing at a
sort of double subjugation role, both being political
members of the larger political community
while being undocumented. I talked about
certain forms of fear, but there’s a double
fear that comes along with the (LAUGHING)
fear of deportation and a terrifying
fear of deportation. And so I think we sort of
have to combine both and see a real failure in
formal citizenship. This wasn’t a conversation
about formal citizenship. But there is a renal failure
in formal citizenship when it doesn’t
recognize those who are essential parts of
our community as citizens. And a lot of what
I talked about were sort of the former quote,
unquote, “middle class” Driscoll workers. Sorry. I’m sort of winding back
to monopoly [LAUGHS] because I always end up there. But Driscoll farm
workers are protesting– what they did is
they recognized they didn’t need to just protest
against their local supplier. It was actually Driscoll
who was the key. So that they are
subject to Driscoll, but lacking the full scope
of rights in the formal realm necessarily has a chilling
impact on their ability to exercise their rights in
the private realm as well. So I don’t think it’s
irrelevant at all. – Any of these questions
or other questions. Doesn’t matter. [LAUGHS] – You know, we fought
really hard for citizenship because we wanted to control
the institutions that were controlling our lives. And if we didn’t have
the right to vote, then we couldn’t
become legislators, we couldn’t become
teachers, what not, controlling those institutions. But yet, what happened
was that in order to become citizens and
have the right to vote, it meant that we had to start
losing some of the things that we had as
indigenous people. And we had these examples
where our people would practice learning English. And they have these sessions,
and they’d all say, spell cat. C-A-T. C-A-T. C-A-T. Then
they would have a test. Who can spell cat? Somebody would raise their
hand and says, I can. A-C-T. A-C-T. A-C-T. So in going for
something that we thought was going to be
beneficial to us, we found out that we
were losing things. The same thing in the
native corporations. We wanted to have control over
our land and our resources. And we did not want
to have the government say that this is what you
can do with your lands. We found out from our
brothers and sisters in the lower 48 that
had reservations. Our vets would come back
home, and they would find out that the Bureau
of Indian Affairs had leased out their lands
to ranchers and farmers. And so we said we
don’t want to do that. And so we went for
a fee-simple title, and we went for corporations. We didn’t know what
corporations were. But we knew that under
corporations, you could hold land under
fee-simple title. But then we found out
that, well, that means you have to develop your land. And we didn’t want
to develop our land. But yet, we were supposed to
be profit making corporations. And so we found out
that a lot of times, we had a lot of
internal conflicts. And so we went to
Congress, and we said, OK, let’s create
land banks so that we could put our land into land
banks so we wouldn’t have to develop the land so
that they wouldn’t be taxable. So what happened was that we
were looking for a benefit, but then we’d find
out that it was offset by something, some requirement. In our area, we have trees. We live in a
beautiful rain forest. And so we started
harvesting trees. And we didn’t feel
good about it either. Let me tell you. We shouldn’t feel
good, but we knew it was our duty to be making
some money for our people and giving them dividends,
providing them jobs. And we would do these
tree ceremonies. And here we are thanking
the spirit of the trees for allowing us to use them. But then when we
saw that we almost cut down all of our old growth,
we said something’s wrong here. So we actually went on a
retreat and said, what do we do? We’re conflicting with our
own core cultural values. So it was about 15
years ago that we really did a reassessment of where
we’re going as native people with these native corporations. And we also found out we weren’t
getting rid of poverty either. We still are very
impoverished people. And so we said, OK, how
do we harvest our trees without cutting them down? How do we make money
without cutting them down? So we started searching
forest certification. We started studying
mitigation banks. We started studying
carbon sequestration. And I tell you, I
was so proud when we got into carbon sequestration. But then my granddaughter
comes home and says, look at what you’re
doing to this earth. Look at what you’re
doing to this earth. I thought we were
doing something good with carbon sequestration. So for us, it’s been
this whole dilemma of trying to figure out how
do we live in this world? And we brought our core
cultural balance values back to the forefront. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]
means “our land.” It means we have this spiritual
relationship to the land. But it also means
we utilize the land. So we found out
you know that are our traditional religious
practices were not going to mitigate the negative
impacts on our environment. So we ended up hiring
teams of scientists to try to help us figure out. Anyway, we’re right
in the midst all of this trying to figure
out how do we maintain our core cultural values? How do we make sure that
our land is protected for future generations
and in accordance with one of our other
core cultural values? I think we have a
lot of dilemmas. But what I think is that we’re
fortunate in that we still have measure of
control where we’re trying to figure out things. But one of the
things we learned is we need to have our
children educated. And so we’re sending our kids
off to school and saying, we need to figure out how do
we live in this New World? And I want to thank
Harvard for educating a lot of our tribal members
from southeast Alaska. But it’s a journey
that we’re on. I don’t have all of the answers. But I do know that we have
core cultural values that have sustained us in our
homeland for 10,000 years. We know that conclusively
and scientifically. So we’re trying
to figure it out. But we don’t have
all the answers. – That’s great. Just to pick up on a
couple of those themes, I mean, I think this idea
of citizenship and control and the way in which that
control then is further conditioned or restricted is
really powerful and a through line for all of us. I think in some
ways what we’re all touching upon is that for
citizenship to be real, to have real meaning and force,
that democratic control has to spread well beyond the
kind of formal political realm to respond to these other
types of conditioning or restricting of voice
and accountability. And so even if we think about– in some ways, the
exclusion of membership has this hydraulics to it. You can gain control and
membership in one domain, but then have the rug
pulled out from under you in another domain. Gain political
voice, but then you don’t have economic voice,
or vise versa, right? And so that kind of
sense of whack-a-mole is I think part of what we’re
all trying to trying to get at. I think maybe the last
thing I’ll add here is that I think the unmasking of
those hidden forms of control, whether it’s through the
conditions attached to property claims or the kind of private
governance of the platforms that Zephyr was talking about. We need different models
of democratic institutions and of collective
action that can create the types of
inclusive empowerment that respond to these
other types of control. And so it’s this constant
experimentation, if you will, about different vehicles
for collective action that aren’t just the
formal voting franchise, but extend to other
domains as well. – OK. All right. So that’s great. I think it’s time for
a conversation that extends to all of us. So we’re going to have
questions from the audience. I will remind everyone
of four things. We have a microphone
at the center aisle. Please come to the
microphone to ask a question. This panel is being recorded. It’d be great if your question
can be on the recording. Second, identify yourself. Who are you? Maybe your name. [LAUGHTER] Third, ask a question– [LAUGHTER] –rather than just
offering a comment. And fourth, don’t
repeat questions. Everybody, just come
up with something that somebody before
them didn’t ask. – I’m short, so I’m
putting this down. [LAUGHS] Thank you
very much for all that you’ve said
and shown to us. My name is Elise Forbes Tripp. And I happened to
have been involved in a film that included North
Carolina and North Carolina’s voter suppression. And one thing you’ve
done for me today– we’re just finishing the film– is show that probably
the powers that be aren’t just trying to suppress
African-American vote. It’s poor, poverty that
they are suppressing, hearing from people who are
not in the economic forefront. I wonder how you
respond to that, the question of the
economic reasons for suppressing the vote? – Are we collecting questions? – No. I think we’ll do
them one by one. And either one or
all can respond. – Great. So just a quick thought on that. Thank you for the question. I mean, I think it’s
very closely related. I mean, it’s very
much about reasserting a kind of racial hierarchy, but
also a political and economic one. Voter suppression is
a really good example of how one of those front lines
for suppressing citizenship. You formally have
the right to vote, but then there are all
these hidden mechanisms that can be exploited,
weaponized to restrict who actually is able to vote. And that has kind of racial and
economic kind of focus, right? It’s not just neutral
across the board. So I think it’s a
really good example of some of the dimensions
we’re talking about. – And even more
explicitly, the funders at the time of the initial
Thom Tillis pushed voter suppression bill
in North Carolina– the bill was based
on a model bill created by ALEC, which many
of you may be familiar with. The American Legislative
Exchange Council. At the time, ALEC was funded
by AT&T, Google, Amazon, all of these
different characters. One of the more successful
anti corporate efforts in recent years was an effort to
get many of those corporations to stop funding ALEC. But the truth is they
did in the first place. And it took a lot of– eventually actually left
ALEC largely because of ALEC’s funding of stand
your ground gun laws. But we’re relatively
comfortable funding ALEC, saying it was because
of other reasons while ALEC was involved in
aggressively pushing the most draconian explicitly race
based voter suppression law in the country. And I think it’s important
because we sometimes will look at a place like– well, anywhere– but
like North Carolina and hold up the lawmakers
who are pushing it as the primary drivers. But we have to
understand that one of the key drivers inflaming
racial hatred and division in North Carolina was AT&T,
Google, and the other funders in this case. And meanwhile, AT&T is
also funding the NAACP. So it’s kind of a double– making sure the fingers
are in every pot. What they’ll say
is well, we just want to make sure that
nobody can sue anybody. I mean, a lot of
the reasons people fund ALEC is because of their– they want put it like that–
but [LAUGHS] a lot of reasons the big corporations fund ALEC
is to gut access to the courts. And it’s just detritus. It’s just sort of a
side effect that we were suppressing the vote. But I think that’s
not acceptable. [LAUGHS] – My question go– first of
all, my name is Julia Carpenter. And communication–
and I don’t know if you’ve heard the Ted
Talk about “the other” where we can’t seem
to talk to each other. It’s not just a matter of not
being able to see the person. It’s like when you see them,
there’s no communication. Nobody listens. Everybody’s talking. How do we communicate? For instance, PBS,
NPR, all of that– the funding of that, you don’t
know where that’s coming from. You don’t know the
influences behind the screen. How do you keep up
to date or how do you communicate to get
people to come together and to act together? [INTERPOSING VOICES] – Only that. [LAUGHTER] Well, for starters, this is not
a complete answer, but it is, I think, a partial,
essential answer. Too, we have essential
communications infrastructure in our country. Telephone company, the mail. Imagine if the American
mail service started out as a surveillance model that
basically the way that mail carriers were
going to make money is by reading
everybody’s mail and then pitching them whatever goods
was the best way to pitch them. We would find that
kind of problematic. It’s necessarily
going to distort the flow of mail and
shape what happens in that essential
communications infrastructure. Well, right now, we have
Google and Facebook, two essential communications
infrastructure, whose entire business
model is based on surveillance and sales. So it’s almost like if you had
an essential transportation infrastructure– I think maybe the easier
model for me was the bus. If our buses made
money off surveillance, they would, first of all, keep
us in the bus a lot longer, right? So you have to stay
in the bus as long as possible because then
they can overhear our conversations more and be
focused on selling you stuff. Well, right now, we have
Facebook and Google, whose incentive is
to make us addicted and to surveil us and
make money off us. We do not have to have
essential communications infrastructure
that is distorting our information in this way. We don’t have to. We didn’t have to have
a mail service that way. We didn’t have to have a
phone service that way. And we can say that essential
communications infrastructure cannot be surveillance based. You cannot have a digital
ad based surveillance infrastructure. We can do that. It’s not a complete answer, but
it sure would help as a start. – Anybody else? Communication? – Well, you would
think this is something I would know and could master. Because in Alaska, we have
our native versus non-native. We have our rural versus urban. And the lack of
communication has been a great problem for us. And for my own
little organization, we said that we
adopted a mission to promote cross-cultural
understanding and support cultural diversity. And we had to
spend a lot of time educating non-native
people about who we are. And I actually have to pay
teachers to come in and take courses from us to learn,
because we pay them, and they can get their credit. And they’re really important
because they’re the ones that teach our children. And so in Alaska,
we’ve spent tons of money trying to
reach out to the other, to educate them about– like our hunting
and fishing rights. We still are dependent
on hunting and fishing for our survival, plus
a cultural attachment to the land. But we have commercial
hunters and fishers, and we have sports people
that control everything. We take only 2% of hunting
and fishing resources for our subsistence purposes. But yet people want to–
they talk about equality, this whole issue of equality
and say we have to be all equal. And I said, well,
OK, I like that. How about if we have one
third of all the fisheries and resources? Because right now,
we’re only getting 2%? But I don’t know. It’s just something
that we live and breathe with all of the time,
trying to reach out. How do we get to
communicate with people? And I was thinking about the
other question that was asked. For the last three
or four censuses, when we do a
reapportionment, I’ve sat on that reapportionment
board for about four times trying to make sure that we
could have our votes protected, our rights to vote, and
making our votes count. And to me, it feels like
I’m always in a battle. I’m always in a battle
trying to maintain my rights as a citizen. And I don’t have
all the answers, but we just keep trying. And we keep trying
to talk to people. I don’t know the answers. – Good morning. My name is Ned Bacon. Three of four of you are
active participants and deeply invested in higher education. Higher education
particularly in our country is a major choke point
to economic citizenship. And I’d be very interested in
your three personal thoughts about that as well as maybe
some policy solutions that would get our country to a more
public good aspect of education the way you see it in places
like Norway and other developed economies. – Anybody? – Well, again, this is
something that we live and breathe is education
and higher education. And we’ve attacked it
on different realms. Number one, by providing
a lot of scholarships from our native corporations. And so all of our corporations
have scholarship programs, but that’s not enough. We know that we have a lot
of academic deficiencies. And so we spend a lot of our
time teaching– like math. I found out that our native kids
weren’t making it into college because they couldn’t pass. They got into Cal College,
but couldn’t pass Math 106. So we started math
programs all over, teaching, but using
our cultural base. So we would teach
math in a basket. We would teach around our
own kinds of technology. We would teach math around
the environment, things that our children saw and lived. We would make it relevant
to their experiences. But then we also
found out you know that we have to take over
the university system. So [LAUGHS] we started
putting our people on the board of regions. And I mean, you have to be
able to control those systems to make it work for you. Otherwise, if you don’t,
you’re going to have– well, some of you might like
charter schools and things like that. I found out that it only goes
for those who have the means to go to charter schools. When we were working
on our education, our native teachers
came and said– I said, should we start
our own charter school? They said, nope. You have to work to make
education good for all of our children. And so you have to attack it
at multiple levels for higher education. This is not only
scholarships, but it’s also seeing what is preventing our
children from moving forward. If it’s reintroducing
and changing the curricula at the high
school and even earlier. We have a Baby
Raven Reads project where we’re teaching our
children how to read. But the other part of it is
also teaching our parents how to be good parents. A lot of our people were taken
and put into boarding schools. And so they never learned
how to be parents. So the school was
something that was– parenting was kind
of alien to them. And I just can’t believe
that for us as native people, how we love and
cherish families. But we didn’t have
the basic mechanics. So, again, it’s
at multiple levels that you have to attack
issue of higher education. – I’ll just add really quickly,
the defunding of our higher education– so the defunding of
the system of higher education the last few decades
has coincided with– and it’s not a coincidence–
with the moment at which the cohort of students
attending higher education is the most racially
diverse cohort in the history of the country. And so what you
are actually facing is this is one of
those front lines for that kind of unequal
membership, I think, that we are all talking about. What we actually
have now is a system of higher education
that is highly tiered by race and by class. When you think about
the ways in which, say, for profit
colleges are subbing in for a defunded public
higher education system and how extractive those for
profit college mechanisms are. And then when you think about
the way in which by design, public policy, especially
the last few years, has tried to further defund
the public education system and unleash that type of
predatory higher education policies. And so in terms of
solution, I mean, I think there’s a lot
of– in the same way that there’s a big debate
right now about health care and universal access to
health care, debt free college, and tuition free college,
and different ways, I think, are a key part of
that policy fight. There’s a good argument
that the focus really should be on debt free rather
than just tuition free. Because when you add up all
the different ways in which the financialized
higher education system can create decade’s worth
of economic suppression for people, especially low
income students and students of color who have to bear
the burden of student debt for the rest of their lives. We’re in a student debt
crisis in this country. And that’s part of what
needs to be solved. – OK. – [CLEARS THROAT] Hi. My name’s Heather Hoffman. And I’m here to ask for help
in getting my fellow residents of this gorgeous city to believe
that not only is democracy not a spectator sport, but
that they should take part. Not just here, but
across the country, we’re turning government
over to private corporations in so many ways. You can think of things
like athletic stadiums where we take people’s land so
the government can turn it over to a private corporation
that has enough money to pay people millions and
millions of dollars a year to play. Locally, we have things like a
toxic courthouse that is toxic not just because of
the toxics in it, but toxic because
it’s gigantic compared to the neighborhood around it. And the only way the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the city of
Cambridge can figure out how to deal with it
is to turn it over to a private corporation. And then because
that’s not enough, have to turn over
more public property to a private corporation. And what I see of my fellow
citizens is a whole lot of what can we do about it? So what are ways
to convince people that we deserve to
be treated better and that we can demand it? – Yeah. That’s a great question. Two things I’d say. I mean, one is that cycle that
you’re describing actually even starts even further
back with the defunding of the kind of public
arena more broadly, right? Cut taxes, then there’s less
revenue at the city and state level, then that forces
a kind of austerity for state and local
policies, which then seems to require the
privatization [CLEARS THROAT] of those things that we think
are central to a public. Public schools, public
goods of all kinds. And so there’s a resource
question at the very back. But the wealth is there. It’s just now locked away
and hoarded in other pockets, right? And so if you add up all the
resources available to us as a country, it’s just
not being channeled into public investments. So there’s a policy answer
in terms of how to get there. I mean, I’d actually argue
that it’s less about people being apathetic and
not being interested in the issue and
more that people don’t believe that
we’re actually going to be able to win, right? And that I think
just means zeroing in on the kinds of puppet
masters behind the scenes that Zephyr was talking about. There are deliberate
class interests and corporate interests
at play that benefit from a defunded public sector. And often, lurking behind
many layers of shell companies and kind of– you have to kind of trace
it all the way back. So I think part of
it is identifying who the villains are in the story. All right? And then making the
case not just that this ought to be
something that we do, but that it’s
actually achievable. And part of what’s
potentially exciting I think about the debate
we’re having right now is that there’s
a degree of boldness and an unabashed ambition
about economic policy ideas right now, which I
think is pretty unusual and really has to
be leaned into. – OK. We’re unfortunately at time. So in the interest
of time, I think that’s going to have to
be the last question. But this is a
conversation that’s going to continue the rest
of the day at the conference. And it’s going to continue
outside this conference. So please feel free
to continue it. I want to do two things. My colleague,
Daniel Carpenter, is going to talk and say a few
words about what comes next. But I also want to thank
our wonderful panelists. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC PLAYING]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *