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 CSR Issue Series  The Result of

Universal Declaration of the Rights of Corporate Power

To be serious about human rights implies radicalising democracy, building collective socio-economic projects, strengthening processes of social self-organisation from the grassroots and reconfiguring new spaces of counter-power at the local and global level.

Juan Hern√°ndez Zubizarreta / Pedro Ramiro

Limits cannot be placed on private property and wealth accumulation because the legal security of contracts must be guaranteed. Still, the Spanish government has announced the seizure of a yacht from a Russian oligarch, and the German government has announced the expropriation of the Gazprom subsidiary. It has been said for two months that the energy market must be intervened. It took only a few hours to change the budget to be able to send arms for the war. It is impossible to judge Repsol in Spain for the ecological disaster caused by its oil spill in Peru. Still, the company was able to sue the Argentinean state in international courts when its subsidiary in the country was nationalised a decade ago.

The manager of the textile workshop in Tangiers, where 28 women workers died a year ago, has been convicted by a Moroccan court. However, the sentence makes no mention of Inditex or Mango, the companies for which the garments were made. Ukraine has every right to defend its national sovereignty against the invasion of Russian troops. In contrast, Western Sahara has to become a province of Morocco because it is the only realistic solution. Large property owners obtain golden visas unchecked and cheaply on the official market, while millions of people are subjected to migration bureaucracies and trapped in hellish legal limbo. 

At the institutional level, the debates focus on the discussion of laws and norms. But in this legal dispute, all that is at stake is a question of political will; in classical terms, of power relations. Normative asymmetry, not in vain, has been the basis of neoliberal globalisation: in the face of the strength of the legal armour built to shield the "rights" of large corporations, the extreme fragility of the mechanisms for controlling their obligations. In other words, while transnational private business is continually re-regulated, the deregulation of the protection of fundamental rights continues to advance.

None of this would have been possible without the formation of a great public-private alliance between central states and transnational corporations. And the collapse of global capitalism alone will not change this state of affairs. On the contrary, the flight forward in search of lost profitability will only deepen the logic of expulsion, dispossession, violence, confinement and necropolitics. With all its cataract of global pacts and agreements in defence of human rights, international law has become a meaningless piece of paper in the face of the war unleashed by the major economic powers to try to secure their share of the spoils in the midst of the perfect storm.

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