Dear Judge Swain...

Dear Judge Laura Taylor Swain,

laura taylor swain 3.jpg, Nov 2021Voter discrimination has historically been the bane of the African-American community in the U.S. South ever since the U.S. Civil War. Well known were the countless Jim Crow laws which severely limited certain citizen's rights. Even though these formally did not represent the same menace as slavery, they did in fact severely degrade the quality of countless African-American lives. Former Slave-holding Democrats did not want to yield power after the war, and even though the Federal government had the opportunity to radically overturn the unjust social schemas of the past, they were unable to do so due to particular circumstantial social dynamics of a former congressman who had been previously shunned by his own social class.

Voter discrimination stood at the very heart of an alleged "democratic republic" which did not want to extend the inherent rights and benefits of its Constitution to all citizens, and represented the typical abuse of power of a majority over a minority. By passively-aggressively inhibiting certain voters, rather than others, from expressing their 'God-given right' to vote through superficial bureaucratic requirements, the repressive and unjust social system where one group's wealth was based on the labor extraction from another remained in place. As a result, an African-American man's capacity to genuinely live a free life, with the ability to take care of his family and loved ones by having a reasonable income, was denied. (Still in the 20th century, more than one hundred years after the fact, the repercussions of this schema could still be seen in Texas: poor rural families living in the most squalid conditions not all-too different from the mountain-dwelling jibaros of the nineteenth century.)

In a similar fashion, voter discrimination lies at the very heart of PROMESA and why the adjustment plan (PDA) should not be accepted as it stands.



Opposing parties during the hearings have on numerous occasions testified as to how 'hard-ball tactics' (Hein) were used by the Junta de Supervision Fiscal to deny the minority their due day in court.  Others have shown how the voting process itself was so bureaucratically convoluted, that bondholders wishing to express their opposition to the plan were not only unable to do so, but their votes were incorrectly counted as having been in favor of the plan--when this was clearly not their expressed intention to do so. When one Twitter account expressed dismay at this fact, the only reply was that of a mocking clown face, as if to suggest that only those with power could establish the law.

Modern day repression does not manifest itself with physical chains but rather with the restrictions of the law. As Rousseau so insightfully expressed, the use of the law to sustain unjust social systems is one of the banes of civilization; the king, who was previously defined as representing God's will on earth, in fact represented a vested self interest who manipulated his position for his own benefit rather than that of the collective. In a civilization, as all were dependent on each other, their true selves and feelings were constantly hidden from view; and liberty, which so routinely manifested in all of nature's true forms, was thwarted in both expression and action.

How is it possible that the outcome of a procedure that is inherently political at its core--the voting of bondholders on the adjustment plan PDA--be accepted at face value when it so very clearly did not represent a true consensus? If all collective decisions so made are allowed to stand, it would make a mockery not only of the US political system, but of all such political systems around the globe. This is particularly frightening scenario when we consider the menaces humanity faces at the moment: technologically-induced climate change. For, if any collectivity's efforts to reasonably thwart genuine menaces to its existence are to be so brazenly inhibited by those who have a short-term economic interest in doing so, then the outcome of such political processes will have been predetermined at the outset.

Political procedures, as those which occurred between bondholders on the PDA for PROMESA, must be actively protected and defended to preserve their integrity. In this, they are no different from political procedures which occur in the US Supreme Court, so well recognized for the nobility of its proceedings. Rather than brazenly thwarting the minority, minority views and opinions are actively sought out by the majority.  As Justice Brandeis so eloquently noted, this very process is what made the US Supreme Court so unique: men (and women) were treated with dignity, allowing for a genuine dialogue and reconciliation between the parties involved.

This phenomenon has not occurred with PROMESA, and hence the PDA should not stand as it is.

Sincerely yours,

-Rodrigo Fernós

RE:

Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) Case No. 3:17-BK-3283 (LTS)
LINK: http://www.prd.uscourts.gov/PROMESA/case-no-317-bk-3283-lts
https://www.prd.uscourts.gov/promesa/

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