What's Wrong with Rights?
A commentary

by Nicholas Hildyard

first published 28 February 2018

To what extent can – or should – social movements rely on the institutionalisation of rights to address issues of social injustice?

This presentation explored this question at the launch of What’s Wrong With Rights? Social Movements, Law and Liberal Imaginations, a February 2018 book written by lawyer and social justice activist Radha D'Souza.

Publishers Pluto Press describe the book as “A critique of liberal rights exposing the paradox between ‘good’ capitalism and the reality of its actions” while Nicholas Hildyard summarised it as being “about the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of organising around the current rights agenda as a means of challenging injustice in a world where transnational monopoly finance is increasingly the dominant social order”.

Struggles over rights, he pointed out, are always part of a wider political struggle – and a right that can open space in one context can dramatically close it in another, a recognition that points to the need for urgent discussion in many social justice movements.

Watch a video of the book launch and other presentations here.