Dystopianism is an impact turn – the constant return and demand for a happy ending leads to the sublimation of our message – that’s Murphy – it’s a question of a utopian process – topical version would recreate telic traditional politics This is offense for us – their framework is repressive tolerance – a tactical move that fosters global violence. Our refusal is key.
Kahn 10 (Richard Kahn, Assistant Professor of Educational Foundations and Research at the University of North Dakota, Critical Pedagogy, Ecoliteracy, & Planetary Crisis: The Ecopedagogy Movement, 2010, pp. 132-134)
Herbert Marcuse wrote an important essay, “Repressive Tolerance” (1965), in which he examined this process by which the liberal State and its corporate members assert that they are fit models of democratic tolerance, as they insist that radical activists are subversive of the very ideals on which our society is based. In this essay, Marcuse notes that the claim that democratic tolerance requires activists to restrict their protests to legal street demonstrations and intra-governmental attempts to change policy is highly spurious. Tolerance, he says, arose as a political concept to protect the oppressed and minority viewpoints from being met with repressive violence from the ruling classes. However, when the call for tolerance is accordingly used by the ruling classes to protect themselves from interventions that seek to limit global violence and suppression, fear, and misery, it amounts to a perversion of tolerance that works to repress instead of liberate. Thusly, Marcuse thought such tolerance deserves to be met, without compromise, by acts of revolutionary resistance because capitalistic societies such as the United States manage to distort the very meanings of peace and truth by claiming that tolerance must be extended throughout the society by the weak to the violence and falsity produced by the strong.
Many have criticized Marcuse for advocating violence against the system in order to quash the system’s inherent violence (Kellner, 1984, p. 283), however, the critique of repressive tolerance is key to understanding why revolutionary violence would remain – if not ethical – a non-contradictory and legitimate mode of political challenge towards effecting “qualitative change” (Marcuse, 1968, p. 177).12 For a tolerance that defends life must be committed to opposing the overwhelming violence wrought by the military, corporations, and the State as the manifestation of their power, and it is, by definition, to fail to work for their overthrow when one actively or passively tolerates them. Therefore, Marcuse felt that revolutionary violence may in fact be necessary to move beyond political acts that either consciously or unconsciously side with, and thereby strengthen, the social agenda of the ruling classes. Further, he noted that the tremendous amount of concern (even amongst the Left) evoked as to whether revolutionary violence is a just tactic fails to correlate to how often it is actually applied and practiced. Meanwhile, systemic violence constantly goes on everywhere either unnoticed and unchecked or celebrated outright. This goes to show, Marcuse felt, how hard it is to even think beyond the parameters set by repressive tolerance in a society such as our own and this serves as yet another reason why such tolerance must, by any means necessary, be met with social intolerance.
Yet, Marcuse also recognized a wide-range of tactics, such as marching long-term through the institutions,13 grabbing positions of power wherever possible, and – in terms of ecological politics – “working within the capitalist framework” in order to stop “the physical pollution practiced by the system…here and now” (Marcuse, 1972a, p. 61) if they were undertaken with a revolutionary thrust towards a more ecologically-sound, peaceful, and free planet.14 On the other hand, Marcuse’s key tactic has to be his concept of the “Great Refusal” that designated “a political practice of methodical disengagement from and refusal of the Establishment, aiming at a radical transvaluation of values” (Marcuse, 1968, p. 6). By rejecting death principle culture and imagining an alternative reality principle based on reconciliatory life instincts capable of integrating humanity with its animal nature, Marcuse saw the Great Refusal from the first in ecological terms.15 This idea gripped the counterculture of the 1960s, who set out to create a plethora of new cultural forms and institutions (such as the environmental movement) across the whole spectrum of society.