Theses on the relationship between rights and social struggle

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Dimitrios Kivotidis


rights, social struggle, inequality, social justice, Marxism


This article examines the relationship between rights and social struggle. This topic is revisited in light of the phenomenon of rising inequality in the aftermath of the last capitalist crisis, which reignited the debate on the role of rights in processes of social mobilisation. In this context, this paper examines three very recent contributions to this debate, namely Samuel Moyn’s Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World, Radha D’Souza’s What’s Wrong with Rights, and Paul O’Connell’s work on a critique of the displacement thesis. In critically discussing these contributions it introduces and elaborates on six theses which describe the relationship between rights and social struggle. The argument focuses on the important role of rights in the struggle between different social forces, as well as their limitations in promoting a critique of the structural roots of social inequality. 

Abstract 271 | NILQ 70.4.2 Kivotidis Downloads 205