Author archives

Martha Ackelsberg - William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Government, emerita, Smith College. I taught political science and women's studies at Smith College for over 40 years. My main fields were political philosophy (especially democratic theory), US urban politics, and social movements. I have also done extensive work on the anarchist movement in Spain, leading up to the Spanish Civil War and since. My book, Free Women of Spain: Anarchism and the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women, on the Spanish anarchist women's organization, Mujeres Libres, has been published in Spanish, French, Italian, and Greek; and translations are in process into Portuguese (in Brazil) and Russian.

Masks and mandates: How individual rights and government regulation are both necessary for a free society

Professor Martha Ackelsberg is political theorist – she studies how communities are organized, how power is exercised and how people relate to one another in and between communities. Through talking to friends, and thinking about the protests against COVID-19-related restrictions that have taken place around the country – she concluded that many people do not understand that individual rights and state power are not really opposites. The laws and policies that governments enact set the framework for the exercise of our rights. So, inaction on the part of government does not necessarily empower citizens. It can, effectively, take away our power, leaving us less able to act to address our needs.

Subjects: Civil Liberties, Constitutional Law, Healthcare, Legal Research, Legislative, United States Law