Author: erincarter1

DO ALL CITIZENS HAVE RIGHTS?

Citizenship is a contract between the individual and the state where both hold rights and responsibilities towards each other. The government implements rights that include for example, the right to freedom of speech, freedom from persecution, religious pluralism and so on. But does every citizen, universally, have access to and hold the same rights?

According to Marshall (1992), “Citizenship is based on the relationship between states and individuals”. Marshall’s view on citizenship is an idealistic one and is based upon three types of rights. These rights include civil rights, social rights and political rights.  Civil rights are based on the protection of individual freedoms. These include for example, the right to freedom of speech, the right to own property, the right to justice and so on. Political rights allow participation in becoming a member of a political party or body or as an elector of a member of a body. Social rights include that of the right to share in economic welfare and security for example unemployment benefits, student benefits, health care benefits and so on.

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Figure 1: The top civil rights issues and the percentage of respondents

Source: [Image] (n.d.). Retrieved 25 May, 2014, from http://civilrightsproject.wordpress.com/at-a-glance/

Marshall’s theory is invalid in some parts as it fails to provide focus on political struggle. He does not focus on how in fact citizens had earned their rights in the past and the struggle that had taken place for these rights to be gained.  Marshall bases his theory on British ideology and fails to take into account the rest of the world. Different countries around the world are at different stages of the development of the rights of their citizens and in some places cannot be accessed as easily as they are in others. Countries around the world still withhold rights from many for example from women and the right to vote or the right to freedom.

Do all citizens have rights? Or are some rights withheld from citizens by the state? When considering Marshall’s theory it can be noted that not everyone can be covered by the three rights that he mentions. These rights may be withheld as one may not be a citizen or because their rights have been removed from them for example if one is sent to prison or sent to a hospital or mental health institution, or if someone does not have access to institutions like education, health care services and so on. Those in society, who may have received limited education or are homeless for example, may not have access to the same rights as others do especially in considering money and wealth.  Many social problems like unemployment, low education levels and drug and alcohol abuse come as a result of the gap between the low socio-economic class and the high socio-economic class (Pickett & Wilkinson, 2010). Where socio-economic class division affects the income and wealth of citizens, these citizens are left with limited access to their rights. Those citizens of a low socio-economic status are left unemployed, with little money and are sometimes left to live in poverty. Marshall (1992) believes that a just society is an equal society without class division. Some ideas he has on citizenship can include Citizenship based on displacement and dispossession, a ‘Fair go’, challenging the egalitarian myth and inequality and federation.

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Figure 2: Civil rights protest

Source:[Image] (n.d.). Retrieve 24 May 2014, from http://www.fasttrackteaching.com/burns/Unit_13_Civil_Rights/U13_Civil_Rights_1960s.html

 

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Figure 3: Rights protest for equality

Source: Crowds of people marched in San Francisco to protest the passage of Proposition 8 (Josh On | SW) [Image] (2013, March 29). Retrieved May 26, 2014, from http://socialistworker.org/2013/03/29/raising-our-voices-for-equal-marriage

 

REFERENCES:

[Image] (n.d.). Retrieved 25 May, 2014, from http://civilrightsproject.wordpress.com/at-a glance/

[Image] (n.d.). Retrieve 24 May 2014, from http://www.fasttrackteaching.com/burns/Unit_13_Civil_Rights/U13_Civil_Rights_1960s.html

Crowds of people marched in San Francisco to protest the passage of Proposition 8 (Josh On | SW) [Image] (2013, March 29). Retrieved May 26, 2014, from http://socialistworker.org/2013/03/29/raising-our-voices-for-equal-marriage

Marshall, T.H. (1992). Citizenship and social class. London : Pluto Press

Pickett, K., & Wilkinson R.G. (2010). The spirit level : why greater equality makes societies stronger. New York: Bloomsbury Press

 

NEOLIBERALISM: GOOD OR BAD?

Neoliberalism, an ideological apparatus characterised by David Harvey as a ‘creative destruction’, is an economic system and set of policies, principles and practices that are developed so as to ‘supposedly’ benefit a country’s people and its economy. This system has developed in the last 25 years or so (Garcia & Martinez). But how beneficial is neoliberalism to a country and its economy? I agree with Harvey in ‘Neoliberalism as a creative destruction’ (2006) as he successfully portrays the idea that neoliberalism is not an effective system and in fact results in increased economic inequality leaving the poor to become poorer and the rich to grow richer. According to Harvey (2006), neoliberalism holds a poor record of stimulating the economy yet still remains the dominant system used today in most countries across the globe. The majority of people in contemporary society are adamant that the system of neoliberalism is the only economic system that will work and therefore many, including those who do not directly benefit from neoliberalism themselves and who in fact loose out as a result, vote for this particular system. Harvey (2006) thoroughly portrays these ideas and a great amount of people in today’s society agree with his views on the subject, that is, that the poor are becoming poorer and the rich, richer.

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Figure 1: Protest against neoliberalism and division of class

Source: Popular revolt against neoliberalism [Image] (2011, October 31). Retrieved May 22, 2014 from http://vastminority.blogspot.com.au/2011_10_01_archive.html

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Figure 2: Protest against Neoliberalism

Source: [Image] (2014, April 11). Retrieved May 23, 2014, from http://plantothrive.net.au/2014/04/neoliberalism-energy-deficit/

David Harvey has a valid point when he discusses that neoliberalism is more about the redistribution off money and wealth to those of a higher socio-economic class, otherwise known as the elites, than it is about creating overall wealth and stimulating the economy to create a better society for ‘all’, regardless of economic status. It can therefore be noted that the system of neoliberalism causes a greater division of class and broadens the socio-economic gap. Neoliberalists aim to create money and wealth by what is referred to as the ‘trickle-down effect’. The Trickle down affect is a process where the elites, or the ‘ruling class’, gain greater income and wealth and thus they become richer than the rest of society. These elites then need those of a low-socio economic status to for example, work for them therefore generating income and wealth for these people as a result (Macdonald, 2009). But is this measure really beneficial to and in the best interest of society as a whole?

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Figure 3 : “The Trickle-down effect”

Source: [Image] (2012, February 20). Retrieved May 23, 2014, from http://okieblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/milton-friedman-on-neoliberalism-it-never-occurred-to-me-that/

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Figure 4: “The trickle-down effect”

SourceNeoliberalism’s trickle down effect [Image] (2013, August 11). Retrieved May 23, 2014, from http://blog.greenhearted.org/2013/08/making-invisible-backdrop-of.htm

The system of neoliberalism incorporates many measures with the primary aim to benefit ‘all’ of society. The system encompasses accumulation by dispossession which is made up of four main focus areas including; Privatization, deregulation, State Redistributions and the management and manipulation of crises. Accumulation by dispossession is explained by Harvey as a redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich. Privatisation is where the ownership of once state owned services including gas, water, health care and so on is transferred to private companies. This method has resulted in people now having to pay higher prices including what used to be free goods and a loss of livelihood. Deregulation of the financial system is where the state no longer oversees the system “allowing it to act without balances and checks”. This results in higher prices for the public, debt incumbency, higher tax and a no public services. State redistribution involves the redistribution of income and wealth from the rich to the poor as a result of deregulation and limits in public spending. The management and manipulation of crises is state decisions and creation of economic crises that leave the poor with less and wealthy with more e.g. rise in interest rates.

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Figure 5: Rally against Privatisation of schools

Source: [Image] (2010, January 1).  Retrieved May 22, 2014, from http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/privatizing-education-neoliberal-project-re-imagine-america-them-not-us

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Figure 6: Protests against privatization of the health care system

Source: [Image] (2013, October 28). Retrieved May 22, 2014, from http://www.popularresistance.org/neoliberalism-government-in-the-service-of-corporations-not-people/

 

REFERENCES:

[Image] (2012, February 20). Retrieved May 23, 2014, from http://okieblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/milton-friedman-on-neoliberalism-it-never-occurred-to-me-that/

[Image] (2014, April 11). Retrieved May 23, 2014, from http://plantothrive.net.au/2014/04/neoliberalism-energy-deficit/

[Image] (2013, October 28). Retrieved May 22, 2014, from http://www.popularresistance.org/neoliberalism-government-in-the-service-of-corporations-not-people/ – Neoliberalism: Government In The Service Of Corporations, Not People

[Image] (2010, January 1).  Retrieved May 22, 2014, from http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/privatizing-education-neoliberal-project-re-imagine-america-them-not-us

Popular revolt against neoliberalism [Image] (2011, October 31). Retrieved May 22, 2014 from http://vastminority.blogspot.com.au/2011_10_01_archive.html

Neoliberalism’s trickle down effect [Image] (2013, August 11). Retrieved May 23, 2014, from http://blog.greenhearted.org/2013/08/making-invisible-backdrop-of.html

Garcia, A.,& Martinez, M. (n.d.). What is Neoliberalism? A Brief Definition for Activists. Corp Watch. Retrieved from http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=376

Harvey, D. (2006). Neoliberalism as creative destruction. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 610: 22-44.

Macdonald, T.H. (2009). Removing the Barriers to Global Health Equity. Oxford, New York: Radcliffe

GENDER INEQUALITY IN OUR CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY

Does inequality based on one’s gender and sexuality still exist in contemporary society? Many people today believe that gender inequality and sexual prejudice is no longer present in society especially in developed nations like Australia. This is a common misconception about feminism across the globe. Wright (2009) successfully discusses that sexual prejudice and gender inequality has come a long way as a result of changing cultural norms, social norms and political and social rights, but the answer is yes, gender inequality does still exist throughout the everyday life of a woman along with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people around the world. Presently, women are generally no longer stereotypically seen by the majority as ‘the weaker sex’ or as subordinate to males. The views of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have also changed in that they are no longer seen as abnormal and disadvantaged in society like they have been in the past. Everyone in contemporary society, despite one’s gender or sexual preference are now seen by the ‘majority’ of society as ‘equal’ especially in comparison to those views of the past. Despite its progression, there is still a small minority of people who still believe that men possess power over women which is reflected in statistics. These statistics convey that woman still experience inequality in regards to income, family, housework, careers, and so on. It can also be noted that same-sex marriage endorsement is on the rise but still has not reached its desired acceptance in society.

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Figure 1: Hours per week that mothers and fathers participate in housework
Source: Source: Wright, E. O. (2009). Gender Inequality. Contemporary American Society. Retrieved from http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/ContemporaryAmericanSociety/

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Figure 2: Hours spent looking after children
Source: Wright, E. O. (2009). Gender Inequality. Contemporary American Society. Retrieved from http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/ContemporaryAmericanSociety/

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Figure 3: Trends in public support for gay marriage
Source: Source: Wright, E. O. (2009). Gender Inequality. Contemporary American Society. Retrieved from http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/ContemporaryAmericanSociety/

The feminist movement was formed so as to limit the prevalence of gender inequality. The feminist movement has evolved over many years in stages so as to reach and progress to where it has today. There are three main stages that feminists have focused on, rallied and protested for and have thus successfully gained most of their desired results. Firstly, feminists focused on the right to vote and in most countries were successful in obtaining this right, New Zealand being the first. The next stage was civil rights and anti-war movement and the last stage was feminism by women of colour. Despite the results that feminism activists have gained, feminism is still evident in contemporary society.

In today’s society, women are now reluctant to call themselves feminists due to the stereotypes that have been placed upon them. Society holds many misconceptions about feminists. Feminists can be seen as man-hating, manly, and hairy, some are tied to being gay and they are said to draw criticisms of not performing gender roles in society yet still actively participate in gender roles. These common misconceptions lead feminism activists to be undervalued and again treated as ‘unequal’ in society.

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Figure 4: A quote by Kate Nash about the misconceptions of feminists.
Source: [Image] (October 3, 2013). Retrieved May 24,2014, from http://mediasavvygirls.com/do-they-know-what-feminism-really is/#sthash.zd4a4mgP.dpbs

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Figure 5: Feminism activists protesting against women’s struggles for justice in areas such as education, the environment, and race and class
Source: [Image] (2009, September 16). Retrieved May 24, 2014 from http://bcrw.barnard.edu/event/new-feminist-activism/

Although women hold citizenship, do they really hold the rights of which the states have given them? I agree with Ruth Lister (2003) who portrays two important issues concerning the role of women in citizenship. The first is rights and obligations, where Lister explains that women who are discriminated against find it hard to actively participate in regards to their rights and that what is seen as the common good is not universally shared. Women should be considered equals when deciding what rights and obligations should exist in contemporary society. The second is individuals and political issues where Ruth Lister argues that “A feminist approach to citizenship should be based on a synthesis of individual and political rights” in contemporary society (Lister, 2003).

Figure 6: ‘We should all be feminists’ spoken by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Source: [Video file] (2013, April 12). We should all be feminists: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at TEDxEuston
Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg3umXU_qWc

REFERENCES:

[Image] (2013, October 3). Retrieved May 24, 2014, from http://mediasavvygirls.com/do-they-know-what-feminism-really-is/#sthash.zd4a4mgP.dpbs
[Image] (2009, September 16). Retrieved May 24, 2014 from http://bcrw.barnard.edu/event/new-feminist-activism/

[Video file] (2013, April 12). We should all be feminists: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at TEDxEuston. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg3umXU_qWc

Lister, R. (2003). Citizenship: Feminist perspectives. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wright, E. O. (2009). Gender Inequality. Contemporary American Society. Retrieved
from http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/ContemporaryAmericanSociety/