Human Rights and Capitalism

Human Rights and Capitalism

A Multidisciplinary Perspective on Globalisation

Corporations, Globalisation and the Law series

Edited by Janet Dine and Andrew Fagan

Human Rights and Capitalism brings together two important facets of the globalisation debate and examines the complex relationship between human rights, property rights and capitalist economies.

Chapter 4: Law in Movement: Paradoxontology, Law and Social Movements

Michael Blecher

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights


Michael Blecher* ‘All is possible and nothing can I change’ (N. Luhmann) ‘Also impossibilities are limited’ (R. Wiethölter) ‘You don’t have no chance, so utilize it” (H. Achternbusch, slogan of social movements in Germany in the early 1980s) 1. SUMMARY Law is in paradox movement. It organizes a continuous battle about normative standards, permanently deconstructing the restrictions of the global social system on democracy, common welfare and justice. The latter is presented as the continuous development of the potentials of autonomous personal and social spheres structured by temporary legal definitions of reciprocity. Accelerating the change of legal standards for political and economic organization means also pushing for the change of law’s own procedural and substantive parameters which were supposed to immunize the social system against uncontrolled transformations. While doing so, ‘law in movement’ acts ‘politically’ and in inevitable affinity to the social movements of today which struggle against social immunization beyond systemic borders and are in continuous self-transformation. The recognition of this affinity and the reconstruction of Ihering’s ‘battle for law’ as ‘battle of the movements’ are presented as necessary requisites for the continuation of postmodern critical legal thought. The chapter presents the consequences of this approach for the (re-)organization of the legal system and for legal education. 2. LIMITED IMPOSSIBILITIES In order to reproduce themselves, individuals and social entities (‘psychic and social systems’) use distinctions which define them as ‘this-and-(not)-that’. The human mind uses thoughts to construct it-’self’ with respect to...

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