LCHP in Action

Read below for updates about the Luskin Center’s activities in informing present-day policy, educating the public, and advocating for historically-informed problem-solving.

LCHP Hosts Event on the History of Voting Rights in California

In preparation for last November’s election, LCHP released Reckoning With Our Rights: The Evolution of Voter Access in California, a report taking a historical view to understand why, in 2020, the electorate in California specifically remains so demographically and socioeconomically skewed.

This report was spearheaded by Alisa Belinkoff Katz, LCHP fellow and associate director of the Los Angeles Initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. The research team also included Zev Yaroslavsky, a senior fellow at the center, UCLA PhD candidate Izul de la Vega, undergraduate Saman Haddad, and recent graduate Jeanne Ramin.

Now U.S. Senator from California Alex Padilla joined, among others, Carla Pestana, Chair of the UCLA History Department, and Acting Director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA Lorrie Frasure to discuss the report and its implications for the future of voting in California in an episode of Why History Matters. The event with Senator Padilla can be found here, the full report here, and the UCLA Newsroom announcement here

Governor Michael Dukakis Speaks on “How the U.S Killed Iranian Democracy – and Dealing with the Consequences”

Governor Michael Dukakis Speaks on “How the U.S Killed Iranian Democracy – and Dealing with the Consequences”

On February 4th, the Luskin Center for History and Policy hosted a talk titled “How the US Killed Iranian Democracy: Dealing with the Consequences” presented by former Governor of Massachusetts and Democratic Nominee for US President, Michael Dukakis. Governor Dukakis began his lecture by pointing out the failures of the current U.S. administration in engaging Iran diplomatically – specifically highlighted by the failure of the Trump administration to comply with the nuclear agreement, JCPOA, reached under the Obama administration. Governor Dukakis argued that the deal represented “exactly how international diplomacy ought to work.”

Dukakis then began to delve into the meat of the discussion and the inspiration for the title, the CIA’s 1953 coup, or overthrow, of the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh. At the time, Mosaddegh wanted to nationalize Iran’s oil industry which would restrict Britain’s access to a significant amount of economic profit they were reaping from the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. Winston Churchill’s government applied pressure on the Eisenhower administration and warned of Communist threats coming out of Iran, and a potential alliance with the Soviet Union, at a time of heightened tensions internationally. Resultantly, through the leadership of then-CIA director Allen Dulles, the United States overthrew the Mosaddegh government.

The concluding question Dukakis posed to the audience was: What impact did this moment in history have on our relations with the Middle East to come? Is our interventionist role in the world really working? He argued again for a revisiting of successful diplomatic frameworks, ones that resemble the JCPOA, urging leaders to coordinate and collaborate with international institutions like the UN and include state actors like Russia and China in the conversation.

Event Information

LCHP research presented to City of LA Affordable Housing and Rent Adjustment Commissions

LCHP research presented to City of LA Affordable Housing and Rent Adjustment Commissions

LCHP researcher and UCLA Department of History Ph.D. candidate Marques Vestal presented LCHP research on the history of rent control to a joint meeting of the City of LA Affordable Housing and Rent Adjustment Commissions. The research explores policy responses to housing crises in Los Angeles from World War II through today, revising common and often incorrect perceptions of how rent control was used in Los Angeles and its effects on the housing market. The research was undertaken in response to the widespread affordable housing crisis that Los Angeles currently faces. To view the research report, click here.

“White Nationalism in Southern California” A Report from a LCHP Research Team

A Luskin Center for History and Policy team of undergraduate and graduate students spent the summer uncovering the little-known history of white nationalism in Southern California. Research team member Sarah Johnson (Ph.D Candidate, UCLA Department of History) noted about the research findings, “The report examines the history, ideology, geographic presence, and internet activity of white nationalism and white nationalist groups in Southern California and will also provide policy suggestions for addressing and preventing the rise and expansion of white nationalism in the region.”

Click below to watch the presentation

“Reparations for Slavery: History and Current Debate” Ana Lucia Araujo (Howard) Event Summary

Reparations in Context Series

“Reparations for Slavery: History and Current Debate”

Ana Lucia Araujo, Howard University

October 10, 2019

The Luskin Center for History and Policy kicked off its 2019-2020 “Reparations in Context” series with a lecture delivered by Ana Lucia Araujo, Professor of History at Howard University on October 10, 2019. The lecture was co-sponsored by the UCLA African Studies Center, the UCLA Latin American Institute, the UCLA Promise Institute for Human Rights, and the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. Professor Araujo’s talk was entitled “Reparations for Slavery: History and Current Debate.”

Professor Araujo is a social and cultural historian who specializes in history and public memory of the Atlantic slave trade. In 2017 she published Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative History.

Professor Araujo began her lecture with the observation that the demands for reparations for slavery emerged long before to the 20th and 21st centuries. Many governments, including the United States government, have – eventually – responded favorably to pressure urging them to offer symbolic reparation, in the form of museums, monuments, and commemorations. However, to date no governments in the Americas, in Europe, or in Africa have paid material or financial reparations to former slaves or their descendants.

In the first segment of her lecture, Professor Araujo presented evidence that demonstrates the long history of demands for symbolic, financial, and material reparations of different kinds. Already by the 18th century, argued Araujo, slaves and former slaves had conceptualized the idea of financial reparations. In one case, former slave Belinda Sutton successfully petitioned the Massachusetts General Court for financial restitution from her former enslaver in the late 18th century. By the 20th century, the question of reparations began to appear in debates about human rights and international law. Nevertheless, from the 18th to the early 20th century, across the globe the issue of reparations was superseded by the demand of former slave owners that they receive financial compensation after abolition.

The major change in the debate came at the end of the Second World War. Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and victim’s families were awarded reparations, which inspired renewed calls for financial and material reparations for slavery worldwide. These demands grew stronger in the 1960s. By the beginning of the new millennium, initiatives like CARICOM Reparations Commission Ten Point Action Plan proposed options for implementing reparations, though, Professor Araujo pointed out, even this plan focused largely on symbolic rather than financial reparations.

Since the earliest calls for reparations, demands and debates in different countries have been shaped by the way that individual slave societies were originally organized, how early demands for citizenship occurred, and by contemporary conditions. Despite broad differences in the way that these debates have evolved, one fact remains the same across Europe, the Americas, and Africa: no country has yet paid financial or material reparations to formers slaves or their descendants.

Questions about who ought to receive reparations, who should pay reparations, and how these reparations might be administered are complex and unresolved. Professor Araujo is adamant that the case in favor of reparations has been made, for centuries and in many different contexts. Whether these demands will be answered is a question for policymakers, activists, and societies worldwide.