What does it mean to be a citizen? Is it about being able to cast a vote? Or is it about more advanced forms of democratic participation—what Danielle Allen would term “co-creating ways of life”?
A new essay from Matthew Longo argues that this question is increasingly necessary, for we are living in a world where passports are no longer guarantees of the right to belong. “It does not matter if you are an American; if you are deemed risky, you will be stopped on arrival,” Longo writes. “An Arab American woman is more likely to be stopped than is a jet-setting Swiss banker, even though she is returning home.” Citizenship, he argues, is being eroded.
This week’s archival picks would agree. Delve into the ethics of citizenship-for-sale programs; how immigrants are pressured into supporting U.S. foreign policy to show that they “belong”; and W. E. B. Du Bois’s experience of having his citizenship revoked.