Through the experience of the Free Burma movement, Sociology Professor John G. Dale demonstrates how social movements create and appropriate legal mechanisms for generating new transnational political opportunities. He presents three corporate accountability campaigns waged by the Free Burma movement. The cases focus on the legislation of “Free Burma” laws in local governments throughout the United States; the effort to force the state of California to de-charter Unocal Oil Corporation for its flagrant abuse of human rights; and the first-ever use of the U.S. Alien Tort Claims Act to sue a corporation in a U.S. court for human rights abuses committed abroad. Dale’s work also raises the issue of how foreign policies of so-called constructive engagement actually pose a threat to the hope of Burma’s activists—and others worldwide—for more democratic economic development.
His book has been reviewed by Foreign Policy in Focus, and Simon Billenness at Amnesty International wrote:
John Dale deftly demonstrates how Free Burma activists built an unprecedented and sophisticated global movement to expose and change how democratic governments and multinational corporations supported Burma's military regime. This work is an invaluable case study on how people can not only support indigenous democracy movements but also establish civil society and human rights at the center of a new global order.
February 14, 2012