Their focus on liberation requires re-affirmation of a distinction between “human” and “animal” – re-entrenches specieism
Kim, UC Irvine political science professor, 2009
(Claire, “Slaying the Beast: Reflections on Race, Culture, and Species”, http://aapf.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/kalfou.pdf)
KIM ‘9 - UC Irvine political science professor (Claire, “Slaying the Beast: Reflections on Race, Culture, and Species”, http://aapf.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/kalfou.pdf)
Dyson gives a perfunctory nod to the animal question and then turns to focus on the issue of true moral significance and urgency: racism. It is as if defending the humanity of Black people requires reaffirming the animality of animals, their categorical subordination. Similarly, feminist Sandra Kobin asks why Vick was treated more harshly than professional athletes who beat their wives and girlfriends, writing: “Beat a woman? Play on; Beat a dog? You’re gone” (Kobin 2007). Kobin does not critique dog fighting for its promotion of masculinist violence or show any appreciation of the fact that women and animals are both victims of male violence. Instead, she bristles at the idea that dogs might be valued more than women and insists that women are the victims that really matter. What is troubling about the racial persecution narrative advanced by Vick’s defenders is not that it is wrong per se but that it subsumes, deflects, and ultimately denies the other moral question being raised, the animal question. Its response to the interdependency of Blackness and animalness in the white imagination is not to deconstruct both notions but rather to vigorously affirm that Blacks are human and therefore deserving of better treatment than animals. It is a narrative that embraces an ideology of human supremacy in the name of fighting white supremacy and sees no contradiction in this position. It is as if Dyson and Kobin are saying that people of color and women have the most at stake in reinscribing the impassable line between humans and animals, whereas these groups may in fact have the most at stake in its erasure. Most humans are unaccustomed to thinking about how their politics reinscribe notions of human superiority over all other species, but the notion of species-free space is as improbable as that of race-free space. Categories of difference saturate our thinking, our discourse, our experience, and our actions.
Speciesism makes possible “systematic beastilization” which justifies non-criminal putting to death of the other—root cause of all oppression
Rossini, postdoctoral Fellow ASCA, 2006
(Manuela, “To the Dogs: Companion speciesism and the new feminist materialism”, text and image Volume 3, September, http://intertheory.org/rossini)
What is equally sobering, however, is the fact that the most radical metaposthumanists (and the humanities more broadly) do not quite manage to make an epistemological break with liberal humanism, insofar as their writing is also marked by an unquestioned “speciesism”; i.e., in the definition of ethicist Peter Singer who popularised the term three decades ago in his book Animal Liberation, “a prejudice or attitude of bias in favour of the interests of members of one’s own species and against those of members of other species.” Both postcolonial, feminist and queer theories and discussion of subjectivity, identity, and difference as well as the claims on the right to freedom by new social movements have recourse to an Enlightenment concept of the subject whose conditio sine qua non is the absolute control of that subject over the life of nonhuman others/objects. The rhetorical strategy of radically separating non-white, non-male and non-heterosexual human beings from animals in order to have the subject status of these members of the human species recognised was and is successful and also legitimate – given that the racist, sexist and homophobic discourse of animality or an animalistic „nature“ has hitherto served to exclude most individuals of those groups of people from many privileges – but the speciesist logic of the dominance of human animals over nonhuman animals has remained in place. If we fight racism and (hetero)sexism because we declare discrimination on the basis of specific and identifiable characteristics – such as “black“, “woman” or “lesbian“ to be wrong and unjust, then we should also vehemently oppose the exploitation, imprisoning, killing and eating of nonhuman animals on the basis of their species identity. Moreover, if our research and teaching as cultural critics endeavours to do justice to the diversity of human experience and life styles and feel responsible towards marginalised others, should we then not seriously think about Cary Wolfe’s question „how must our work itself change when the other to which it tries to do justice is no longer human?“ Wolfe is not making a claim for animal rights here – at least not primarily. This is also why his book puns on “rites/rights“: Animal Rites is the intervention of the anti-speciesist cultural critic who scrutinizes the rituals that human beings form around the figures of animals, including the literary and cinematic enactments of cannibalism, monstrosity and normativity. Wolfe subsumes all of these stagings under the heading the discourse of species, with “discourse“ understood in the sense of Michel Foucault as not only a rhetoric but above all as the condition for the production and ordering of meaning and knowledge in institutions like medicine, the law, the church, the family or universities. In addition, Wolfe wants to sharpen our awareness that a speciesist metaphysics has also a deadly impact on human animals, especially because speciesism is grounded in the juridical state apparatus: “the full transcendence of the ‘human‘ requires the sacrifice of the ‘animal‘ and the animalistic, which in turn makes possible a symbolic economy in which we engage in what Derrida [calls] a ‚non-criminal putting to death‘ of other humans as well by marking them as animal.“ The dog lies buried in the singular: “The animal – what a word!”, Derrida exclaims: “[t]he animal is a word, it is an appellation that men have instituted, a name they have given themselves the right and authority to give to another living creature [à l'autre vivant].” In order to problematise this naming, Derrida has created the neologism l'animot: I would like to have the plural of animals heard in the singular. […] We have to envisage the existence of ‘living creatures’ whose plurality cannot be assembled within the single figure of an animality that is simply opposed to humanity. […] The suffix mot in l’animot should bring us back to the word […]. It opens onto the referential experience of the thing as such, as what it is in its being, and therefore to the reference point by means of which one has always sought to draw the limit, the unique and indivisible limit held to separate man from animal. As I propose in what follows, this clearly defined caesura of the „anthropological machine”, which according to Giorgio Agamben was already set in motion by the old Greeks and the messianic thinkers and then accelerated by scientific taxonomies and the birth of anthropology, can be bridged with the help of a zoontological approach and companion speciesism. Posthumanist zoontologies The desperate cry of the historical person Joseph Carey Merrick (in the movie The Elephant Man of 1980), “I am not an animal! I am a human being! I...am...a man!” – for recognition of his human identity through which he claims his right to social integration and personal integrity, is very understandable and hurts. But his words nevertheless reflect the poverty of the humanist stance, insofar as traditional humanism can only secure the “proper” essence of humanitas via a rigid separation from animalitas. If one reads the reports by the victims and witnesses of the tortures in the military prison of Abu Ghraib, it seems to me that it is precisely the continued insistence and reinforcement of the animal-human boundary that legitimises the committed atrocities: Some of the things they did was make me sit down like a dog, … and … bark like a dog and they were laughing at me … One of the police was telling me to crawl … A few days before [this], … the guy who wears glasses, he put red woman's underwear over my head … pissing on me and laughing on me … he put a part of his stick … inside my ass … she was playing with my dick … And they were taking pictures of me during all these instances. … [Another prisoner] was forced to insert a finger into his anus and lick it. He was also forced to lick and chew a shoe. … He was then told to insert his finger in his nose during questioning … his other arm in the air. The Arab interpreter told him he looked like an elephant. [They were] given badges with the letter ‘C’ on it. The US soldiers reduce their prisoners to their corporeal being, to animal being, and then make fun of this “bare life“ Instead of accepting their own vulnerability and mortality that they share with their victims as well as with other living beings, the torturers use the “systematic bestialization“
of the prisoners to strengthen their own sense of freedom and autonomy and to concomitantly withdraw the right to protection guaranteed by the humanitarian rights of the Geneva Conventions; after all, as barking dogs, crawling insects and ‘elephant men’, these ‘creatures’ cannot respond to the name, the word, the interpellation “human.“ The implicit and explicit analogies between racism, sexism, homophobia that accompany the above description of the torture methods, confirm that the power of the “discourse of species” to affect human others depends on the prior acceptance of the institution “speciesism;” i.e. on taking for granted that the inflicting of pain and the killing of nonhuman animals by human animals does not constitute a criminal act but, on the contrary, is legal. This is why Derrida speaks of the “carnophallogocentrism“ of Western metaphysics. And here Wolfe’s argument comes full circle: [Since] the humanist discourse of species will always be available for use by some humans against other humans as well, to countenance violence against the social other of whatever species – or gender, or race, or class, or sexual difference. . . we need to understand that the ethical and philosophical urgency of confronting the institution of speciesism and crafting a posthumanist theory of the subject has nothing to do with whether you like animals. We all, human and nonhuman alike, have a stake in the discourse and institution of speciesism; it is by no means limited to its overwhelmingly direct and disproportionate effects on animals.
The alternative is to embrace the standpoint of the animal—this overcomes the humanist bias of the affirmative scholarship, connects the experiences of human and non-human animals and allows for total liberation by providing understanding of all oppression
Best, UT El Paso philosophy professor, 2009
(Steven, “The Rise of Critical Animal Studies: Putting Theory into Action and Animal Liberation into Higher Education “, Journal for Critical Animal Studies, Volume VII, Issue 1, 2009, http://www.criticalanimalstudies.org/JCAS/Journal_Articles_download/issue_9/JCAS%20VII%20Issue%201%20MAY%20ISSUE%20The%20Rise%20of%20Critical%20Animal%20Studies%20pgs%209-52.pdf)
Postmodern critiques have been hugely influential in many theoretical strains of animal studies, but theorists could not employ the insights of postmodernism without overcoming their limitations. This is crucial for two reasons. First, deconstructionists and social constructionists are typically speciesists and dogmatic humanists (even those who deconstruct “humanism”!) who rarely challenge the human/animal dichotomy and analyze how it is used to advance false views of all animal, human and nonhuman. Second, they fail to see that the human/animal opposition underpins oppositions between reason/emotions, thought/body, men/women, white/black, and Western/non-Western. Yet as noted by theorists (e.g., Keith Thomas, Jim Mason, and Charles Patterson)9 with broader optics and more inclusive theories than humanism, speciesism and animal domestication provided the conceptual template and social practice whereby humans begin to clearly distinguish between “human rationality” and “animal irrationality.”10 Animals – defined as “brute beasts” lacking “rationality” – thereby provided the moral basement into which one could eject women, people of color, and other humans deemed to be subhuman or deficient in (Western male) “humanity.” Whereas nearly all histories, even so-called “radical” narratives, have been written from the human standpoint, a growing number of theorists have broken free of the speciesist straightjacket to examine history and society from the standpoint of (nonhuman) animals. This approach, as I define it, considers the interaction between human and nonhuman animals – past, present, and future -- and the need for profound changes in the way humans define themselves and relate to other sentient species and to the natural world as a whole. What I call the “animal standpoint” examines the origins and development of societies through the dynamic, symbiotic interrelationship between human and nonhuman animals. It therefore interprets history not from an evolutionary position that reifies human agency as the autonomous actions of a Promethean species, but rather from a co-evolutionary perspective that sees nonhuman animals as inseparably embedded in human history and as dynamic agents in their own right.11 The animal standpoint seeks to illuminate the origins and development of dominator cultures, to preserve the wisdom and heritage of egalitarian values and social relations, and to discern what moral and social progress means in a far deeper sense than what is discernible through humanist historiography, anthropology, social theory, and philosophy. However “critical,” “subversive,” “groundbreaking,” or “radical” their probing of historical and social dynamics, very few theorists have managed to see beyond the humanist bias in order to adopt a proper analytical and moral relation to other animals; they have failed
, in other words, to grasp the importance of nonhuman animals in human life, the profound ways in which the domination of humans over other animals creates conflict and disequilibrium in human relations to one another and to the Earth as a whole. Thus, the animal standpoint seeks generally to illuminate human biological and social evolution in important new ways, such as reveal the origins, dynamics, and development of dominator cultures, social hierarchies, economic and political inequalities, and asymmetrical systems of power that are violent and destructive to everything they touch. Providing perspectives and insights unattainable through other historical approaches, the animal standpoint analyzes how the domination of humans over nonhuman animals is intimately linked to the domination of humans over one another, as it also brings to light the environmental impact of large-scale animal slaughter and exploitation. A key thesis of animal standpoint theory is that nonhuman animals have been key driving and shaping forces of human thought, psychology, moral and social life, and history overall, and that in fundamental ways, the oppression of human over human is rooted in the oppression of human over nonhuman animal. Animal standpoint theory thus leads us ineluctably to understanding the commonalities of oppression, and hence to alliance politics and the systemic revolutionary viewpoint of total liberation.12 It demonstrates – would that dogmatic Left, eco-humanists, and so-called “environmentalists” take note! -- the profound importance of veganism and the animal rights/liberation movement for human liberation, peace and justice, and ecological healing and balance.
Secrecy destroys your movement – no matter how hard you try institutions are centralized
Rana, ’11 [Aziz Rana received his A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard College and his J.D. from Yale Law School. He also earned a Ph.D. in political science at Harvard, where his dissertation was awarded the university's Charles Sumner Prize. He was an Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fellow in Law at Yale; “Who Decides on Security?”; 8/11/11; Cornell Law Library; http://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/clsops_papers/87/]
Despite such democratic concerns, a large part of what makes today’s dominant security concept so compelling are two purportedly objective sociological claims about the nature of modern threat. As these claims undergird the current security concept, by way of a conclusion I would like to assess them more directly and, in the process, indicate what they suggest about the prospects for any future reform. The first claim is that global interdependence means that the U.S. faces near continuous threats from abroad. Just as Pearl Harbor presented a physical attack on the homeland justifying a revised framework, the American position in the world since has been one of permanent insecurity in the face of new, equally objective dangers. Although today these threats no longer come from menacing totalitarian regimes like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, they nonetheless create of world of chaos and instability in which American domestic peace is imperiled by decentralized terrorists and aggressive rogue states. Second, and relatedly, the objective complexity of modern threats makes it impossible for ordinary citizens to comprehend fully the causes and likely consequences of existing dangers. Thus, the best response is the further entrenchment of Herring’s national security state, with the U.S. permanently mobilized militarily to gather intelligence and to combat enemies wherever they strike – at home or abroad. Accordingly, modern legal and political institutions that privilege executive authority and insulated decisionmaking are simply the necessary consequence of these externally generated crises. Regardless of these trade-offs, the security benefits of an empowered presidency (one armed with countless secret and public agencies as well as with a truly global military footprint)188 greatly outweigh the costs. Yet, although these sociological views have become commonplace, the conclusions that Americans should draw about security requirements are not nearly as clear cut as the conventional wisdom assumes. In particular, a closer examination of contemporary arguments about endemic danger suggests that such claims are not objective empirical judgments but rather are socially complex and politically infused interpretations. Indeed, the openness of existing circumstances to multiple interpretations of threat implies that the presumptive need for secrecy and centralization is not self-evident. And as underscored by high profile failures in expert assessment, claims to security expertise are themselves riddled with ideological presuppositions and subjective biases. All this indicates that the gulf between elite knowledge and lay incomprehension in matters of security may be far less extensive than is ordinarily thought. It also means that the question of who decides – and with it the issue of how democratic or insular our institutions should be – remains open as well. Clearly technological changes, from airpower to biological and chemical weapons, have shifted the nature of America’s position in the world and its potential vulnerability. As has been widely remarked for nearly a century, the oceans alone cannot guarantee our permanent safety. Yet, in truth they never fully ensured domestic tranquility. The nineteenth century was one of near continuous violence, especially with indigenous communities fighting to protect their territory from expansionist settlers. But even if technological shifts make doomsday scenarios more chilling than those faced by Hamilton, Jefferson, or Taney, the mere existence of these scenarios tells us little about their likelihood or how best to address them. Indeed, these latter security judgments are inevitably permeated with subjective political assessments, assessments that carry with them preexisting ideological points of view – such as regarding how much risk constitutional societies should accept or how interventionist states should be in foreign policy. In fact, from its emergence in the 1930s and 1940s, supporters of the modern security concept have – at times unwittingly – reaffirmed the political rather than purely objective nature of interpreting external threats. In particular, commentators have repeatedly noted the link between the idea of insecurity and America’s post-World War II position of global primacy, one which today has only expanded following the Cold War. In 1961, none other than Senator James William Fulbright declared, in terms reminiscent of Herring and Frankfurter, that security imperatives meant that “our basic constitutional machinery, admirably suited to the needs of a remote agrarian republic in the 18th century,” was no longer “adequate” for the “20th- century nation.” For Fulbright, the driving impetus behind the need to jettison antiquated constitutional practices was the importance of sustaining the country’s “preeminen[ce] in political and military power.” Fulbright held that greater executive action and war-making capacities were essential precisely because the United States found itself “burdened with all the enormous responsibilities that accompany such power.”192 According to Fulbright, the United States had both a right and a duty to suppress those forms of chaos and disorder that existed at the edges of American authority. Thus, rather than being purely objective, the American condition of permanent danger was itself deeply tied to political calculations about the importance of global primacy. What generated the condition of continual crisis was not only technological change, but also the belief that the United States’ own ‘national security’ rested on the successful projection of power into the internal affairs of foreign states. The key point is that regardless of whether one agrees with such an underlying project, the value of this project is ultimately an open political question. This suggests that whether distant crises should be viewed as generating insecurity at home is similarly as much an interpretative judgment as an empirically verifiable conclusion. To appreciate the open nature of security determinations, one need only look at the presentation of terrorism as a principal and overriding danger facing the country. According to the State Department’s Annual Country Reports on Terrorism, in 2009 “[t]here were just 25 U.S. noncombatant fatalities from terrorism worldwide” (sixteen abroad and nine at home).194 While the fear of a terrorist attack is a legitimate concern, these numbers – which have been consistent in recent years – place the gravity of the threat in perspective. Rather than a condition of endemic danger – requiring everincreasing secrecy and centralization – such facts are perfectly consistent with a reading that Americans do not face an existential crisis (one presumably comparable to Pearl Harbor) and actually enjoy relative security. Indeed, the disconnect between numbers and resources expended, especially in a time of profound economic insecurity, highlights the political choice of policymakers and citizens to persist in interpreting foreign events through a World War II and early Cold War lens of permanent threat. In fact, the continuous alteration of basic constitutional values to fit ‘national security’ aims highlights just how entrenched Herring’s old vision of security as pre-political and foundational has become, regardless of whether other interpretations of the present moment may be equally compelling. It also underscores a telling and often ignored point about the nature of modern security expertise, particularly as reproduced by the United States’ massive intelligence infrastructure. To the extent that political assumptions – like the centrality of global primacy or the view that instability abroad necessarily implicates security at home – shape the interpretative approach of executive officials, what passes as objective security expertise is itself intertwined with contested claims about how to view external actors and their motivations. This means that while modern conditions may well be complex, the conclusions of the presumed experts may not be systematically less liable to subjective bias than judgments made by ordinary citizens based on publicly available information. It further underscores that the question of who decides cannot be foreclosed in advance by simply asserting deference to elite knowledge. If anything, one can argue that the presumptive gulf between elite awareness and suspect mass opinion has generated its own very dramatic political and legal pathologies. In recent years, the country has witnessed a variety of security crises built on the basic failure of ‘expertise.’ 195 At present, part of what obscures this fact is the very culture of secret information sustained by the modern security concept. Today, it is commonplace for government officials to leak security material about terrorism or external threat to newspapers as a method of shaping the public debate. These ‘open’ secrets allow greater public access to elite information and embody a central and routine instrument for incorporating mass voice into state decision-making. But this mode of popular involvement comes at a key cost. Secret information is generally treated as worthy of a higher status than information already present in the public realm – the shared collective information through which ordinary citizens reach conclusions about emergency and defense. Yet, oftentimes, as with the lead up to the Iraq War in 2003, although the actual content of this secret information is flawed, its status as secret masks these problems and allows policymakers to cloak their positions in added authority. This reality highlights the importance of approaching security information with far greater collective skepticism; it also means that security judgments may be more ‘Hobbesian’ – marked fundamentally by epistemological uncertainty as opposed to verifiable fact – than policymakers admit. If both objective sociological claims at the center of the modern security concept are themselves profoundly contested, what does this mean for reform efforts that seek to recalibrate the r elationship between liberty and security? Above all, it indicates that the central problem with the procedural solutions offered by constitutional scholars – emphasizing new statutory frameworks or greater judicial assertiveness – is that they mistake a question of politics for one of law. In other words, such scholars ignore the extent to which governing practices are the product of background political judgments about threat, democratic knowledge, professional expertise, and the necessity for insulated decision-making. To the extent that Americans are convinced that they face continuous danger from hidden and potentially limitless assailants – danger too complex for the average citizen to comprehend independently – it is inevitable that institutions (regardless of legal reform initiatives) will operate to centralize power in those hands presumed to enjoy military and security expertise. Thus, any systematic effort to challenge the current framing of the relationship between security and liberty must begin by challenging the underlying assumptions about knowledge and security upon which legal and political arrangements rest. Without a sustained and public debate about the validity of security expertise, its supporting institutions, and the broader legitimacy of secret information, there can be no substantive shift in our constitutional politics. The p roblem at present, however, is that no popular base exists to raise these questions. Unless such a base emerges, we can expect our prevailing security arrangements to become ever more entrenched.
Movements absent the state have always failed because they do not call out a particular demand
Žižek 2007 (Slavoj, Professor of Philosophy at Institute of Social Sciences at University of Ljubljana “Resistance Is Surrender”) BW
Simon Critchley’s recent book, Infinitely Demanding, is an almost perfect embodiment of this position.[*] For Critchley, the liberal-democratic state is here to stay. Attempts to abolish the state failed miserably; consequently, the new politics has to be located at a distance from it: anti-war movements, ecological organisations, groups protesting against racist or sexist abuses, and other forms of local self-organisation. It must be a politics of resistance to the state, of bombarding the state with impossible demands, of denouncing the limitations of state mechanisms. The main argument for conducting the politics of resistance at a distance from the state hinges on the ethical dimension of the ‘infinitely demanding’ call for justice: no state can heed this call, since its ultimate goal is the ‘real-political’ one of ensuring its own reproduction (its economic growth, public safety, etc). ‘Of course,’ Critchley writes,
history is habitually written by the people with the guns and sticks and one cannot expect to defeat them with mocking satire and feather dusters. Yet, as the history of ultra-leftist active nihilism eloquently shows, one is lost the moment one picks up the guns and sticks. Anarchic political resistance should not seek to mimic and mirror the archic violent sovereignty it opposes.
So what should, say, the US Democrats do? Stop competing for state power and withdraw to the interstices of the state, leaving state power to the Republicans and start a campaign of anarchic resistance to it? And what would Critchley do if he were facing an adversary like Hitler? Surely in such a case one should ‘mimic and mirror the archic violent sovereignty’ one opposes? Shouldn’t the Left draw a distinction between the circumstances in which one would resort to violence in confronting the state, and those in which all one can and should do is use ‘mocking satire and feather dusters’? The ambiguity of Critchley’s position resides in a strange non sequitur: if the state is here to stay, if it is impossible to abolish it (or capitalism), why retreat from it? Why not act with(in) the state? Why not accept the basic premise of the Third Way? Why limit oneself to a politics which, as Critchley puts it, ‘calls the state into question and calls the established order to account, not in order to do away with the state, desirable though that might well be in some utopian sense, but in order to better it or attenuate its malicious effect’?
These words simply demonstrate that today’s liberal-democratic state and the dream of an ‘infinitely demanding’ anarchic politics exist in a relationship of mutual parasitism: anarchic agents do the ethical thinking, and the state does the work of running and regulating society. Critchley’s anarchic ethico-political agent acts like a superego, comfortably bombarding the state with demands; and the more the state tries to satisfy these demands, the more guilty it is seen to be. In compliance with this logic, the anarchic agents focus their protest not on open dictatorships, but on the hypocrisy of liberal democracies, who are accused of betraying their own professed principles.
The big demonstrations in London and Washington against the US attack on Iraq a few years ago offer an exemplary case of this strange symbiotic relationship between power and resistance. Their paradoxical outcome was that both sides were satisfied. The protesters saved their beautiful souls: they made it clear that they don’t agree with the government’s policy on Iraq. Those in power calmly accepted it, even profited from it: not only did the protests in no way prevent the already-made decision to attack Iraq; they also served to legitimise it. Thus George Bush’s reaction to mass demonstrations protesting his visit to London, in effect: ‘You see, this is what we are fighting for, so that what people are doing here – protesting against their government policy – will be possible also in Iraq!’
It is striking that the course on which Hugo Chávez has embarked since 2006 is the exact opposite of the one chosen by the postmodern Left: far from resisting state power, he grabbed it (first by an attempted coup, then democratically), ruthlessly using the Venezuelan state apparatuses to promote his goals. Furthermore, he is militarising the barrios, and organising the training of armed units there. And, the ultimate scare: now that he is feeling the economic effects of capital’s ‘resistance’ to his rule (temporary shortages of some goods in the state-subsidised supermarkets), he has announced plans to consolidate the 24 parties that support him into a single party. Even some of his allies are sceptical about this move: will it come at the expense of the popular movements that have given the Venezuelan revolution its élan? However, this choice, though risky, should be fully endorsed: the task is to make the new party function not as a typical state socialist (or Peronist) party, but as a vehicle for the mobilisation of new forms of politics (like the grass roots slum committees). What should we say to someone like Chávez? ‘No, do not grab state power, just withdraw, leave the state and the current situation in place’? Chávez is often dismissed as a clown – but wouldn’t such a withdrawal just reduce him to a version of Subcomandante Marcos, whom many Mexican leftists now refer to as ‘Subcomediante Marcos’? Today, it is the great capitalists – Bill Gates, corporate polluters, fox hunters – who ‘resist’ the state.
The lesson here is that the truly subversive thing is not to insist on ‘infinite’ demands we know those in power cannot fulfil. Since they know that we know it, such an ‘infinitely demanding’ attitude presents no problem for those in power: ‘So wonderful that, with your critical demands, you remind us what kind of world we would all like to live in. Unfortunately, we live in the real world, where we have to make do with what is possible.’ The thing to do is, on the contrary, to bombard those in power with strategically well-selected, precise, finite demands, which can’t be met with the same excuse.
Issues like detention are only solved by pragmatic government engagement
Jenks and Talbot-Jensen 11 (INDEFINITE DETENTION UNDER THE LAWS OF WAR Chris Jenks* & Eric Talbot Jensen** Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps. Presently serving as the Chief of the International Law Branch, Office of The Judge Advocate General, Washington D.C. The views expressed in this Article are those of the author and not The Judge Advocate General's Corps, the U.S. Army, or the Department of Defense. ** Visiting Assistant Professor, Fordham Law School. The authors wish to thank Sue Ann Johnson for her exceptional research and editing skills, and the organizers and attendees at both the 3rd Annual National Security Law Jtinior Faculty Workshop at the University of Texas School of Law, where we first discussed the ideas for this article, and the Stanford Law and Policy Review National Defense Symposium, where we first presented the finished product. STANFORD LAW & POLICY REVIEW [Vol. 22:1] Page Lexis)
Those who would deconstruct the law of war as applied to detention stemming from armed conflict with non state actors may achieve victory,
but in an academic, and, practically speaking, pyrrhic sense. Arguing that the Geneva Conventions for Prisoners and Civilians do not, on their face, apply to members of al-Qaeda or the Taliban may be correct, and in more than one way. But in so arguing, the deconstructionist approach removes a large portion of intemationally recognized and accepted provisions for regulating detention associated with armed conflict—^the Geneva Conventions—^while leaving the underlying question of how to govern detention unanswered. At some point, even the deconstmctionist must shift to positivism and propose an altemative, an altemative we submit would inevitably resemble that which is already extant in the law of war. Moreover, while there has been discussion about the strained application of the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols to states combating transnational terrorism, attempts at a new convention have gained little traction. Our approach is more an attempt at pragmatism than radicalism—there are individuals currently detained, purportedly indefinitely and under the law of war. Yet despite years of such detention, two administrations have provided little if any information on what exactly such detention means, how and by what it is govemed, and if and how it ends. Conflating aspects of intemationally recognized law of war conventions allows for a transparent process that could be promulgated now. Whether for the up to fifty or so individuals currently detained at Guantanamo or for those who may be detained in the future, we posit that the law of war provides a legitimate model for indefinite detention. And, as the Walsh Report recognized,^' the longer detainees are held, the more concern for their individual situations must be given. We therefore analyze the complete protections provided by the law of war and advocate that all of them, over time and to varying degrees, be applied to the detainees in Guantanamo. In this way, detention under the laws of war can provide a humane system of indefinite detention that strikes the right balance between the security of the nation and the rights of individuals