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Upendra Baxi

Addressing the ‘silver jubilee’ of the Bhopal catastrophe, this article interrogates a set of serial corporate and juridical failures to bring redress for the profound suffering and violation experienced by those ravaged by the Bhopal event. Presenting the catastrophe as a series of interlinked catastrophes, including the failure to deliver retributive justice for the Bhopal-violated, the author suggests the inadequacy of some existing narrative strategies concerning Bhopal to respond to the ‘geographies of injustice’ intimated by the lived actuality of human, social and environmental suffering produced by mass disasters. Identifying a politics of naming fully complicit in the discursive diminution of the incomprehensible levels of human and nonhuman sentient suffering caused by the failures of the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), the author engages ‘the practice of suffering thought’, locating his discussion in critical notions of biopower and recent Marxian insights. Lamenting the radical failure of response to the fundamental violation enacted (and now globally symbolized) by Bhopal and the corporate impunity of the UCC, the author celebrates the rise of new social movement solidarity in the face of Bhopal – global subaltern movement affinities now inaugurating a ‘new jurisprudence of human solidarity’ and alternate possible futures lying beyond the contemporary global corporate colonization of human rights discourse.

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Upendra Baxi

Approaches to justice are an infrequent phenomenon in the analysis of global change policies pursued by states and international organizations but are writ large in global civil society protests and advocacy. I hope to initiate, through this paper, a different conversation concerning theories of climate justice (TCJ) in the offing and ask questions about how different TCJs may be from theories about global justice (TGJ) and environmental justice (TEJ). These approaches are all related of course – but the questions that interest me pertain to the distinctions and differences between them. Although TEJs remain tethered to domestic and regional social orderings, they generally come closer to TCJs than TGJs do. I argue here that another important difference between TEJs and TCJs concerns the notion of ‘generations’ in TCJs. This goes beyond the three generations (past, present and future) in most accounts of TGJ to encompass infinite generations. In addition, I examine the notion that there is a human right to do harm and the ways in which TCJ may address harm prevention as the cornerstone of a new planetary approach to justice.