There is a much-recycled and certainly apocryphal tale told of


Affirmative teams should instrumentally defend topical action --- their failure to do so is a voting issue



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Affirmative teams should instrumentally defend topical action --- their failure to do so is a voting issue

The word “resolved” before the colon means the plan must be enacted in a legislative forum, that’s a quote from the Army Officer School 04.


(5-12, “# 12, Punctuation – The Colon and Semicolon”, http://usawocc.army.mil/IMI/wg12.htm)
The colon introduces the following: a.  A list, but only after "as follows," "the following," or a noun for which the list is an appositive: Each scout will carry the following: (colon) meals for three days, a survival knife, and his sleeping bag. The company had four new officers: (colon) Bill Smith, Frank Tucker, Peter Fillmore, and Oliver Lewis. b.  A long quotation (one or more paragraphs): In The Killer Angels Michael Shaara wrote: (colon) You may find it a different story from the one you learned in school. There have been many versions of that battle [Gettysburg] and that war [the Civil War]. (The quote continues for two more paragraphs.) c.  A formal quotation or question: The President declared: (colon) "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." The question is: (colon) what can we do about it? d.  A second independent clause which explains the first: Potter's motive is clear: (colon) he wants the assignment. e.  After the introduction of a business letter: Dear Sirs: (colon) Dear Madam: (colon) f.  The details following an announcement For sale: (colon) large lakeside cabin with dock g.  A formal resolution, after the word "resolved:"Resolved: (colon) That this council petition the mayor

“United States federal government should” means any discussion of the plan should be about the consequences after the government enacts it, literally


Ericson, 03 (Jon M., Dean Emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts – California Polytechnic U., et al., The Debater’s Guide, Third Edition, p. 4)
The Proposition of Policy: Urging Future Action In policy propositions, each topic contains certain key elements, although they have slightly different functions from comparable elements of value-oriented propositions. 1. An agent doing the acting ---“The United States” in “The United States should adopt a policy of free trade.” Like the object of evaluation in a proposition of value, the agent is the subject of the sentence. 2. The verb shouldthe first part of a verb phrase that urges action. 3. An action verb to follow should in the should-verb combination. For example, should adopt here means to put a program or policy into action though governmental means. 4. A specification of directions or a limitation of the action desired. The phrase free trade, for example, gives direction and limits to the topic, which would, for example, eliminate consideration of increasing tariffs, discussing diplomatic recognition, or discussing interstate commerce. Propositions of policy deal with future action. Nothing has yet occurred. The entire debate is about whether something ought to occur. What you agree to do, then, when you accept the affirmative side in such a debate is to offer sufficient and compelling reasons for an audience to perform the future action that you propose.

Should indicates obligation or duty


Compact Oxford English Dictionary, 8 (“should”, 2008, http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/should?view=uk)

should

modal verb (3rd sing. should) 1 used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness. 2 used to indicate what is probable. 3 formal expressing the conditional mood. 4 used in a clause with ‘that’ after a main clause describing feelings. 5 used in a clause with ‘that’ expressing purpose. 6 (in the first person) expressing a polite request or acceptance. 7 (in the first person) expressing a conjecture or hope.



USAGE Strictly speaking should is used with I and we, as in I should be grateful if you would let me know, while would is used with you, he, she, it, and they, as in you didn’t say you would be late; in practice would is normally used instead of should in reported speech and conditional clauses, such as I said I would be late. In speech the distinction tends to be obscured, through the use of the contracted forms I’d, we’d, etc.
Federal Government” means the central government in Washington D.C.

Encarta ‘2K (Online Encyclopedia, http://encarta.msn.com)

The federal government of the United States is centered in Washington DC”


A. Violation – the affirmative does not remove the ability of the governemtn to indefinite detention – Indefinite detention means detaining without trial – US



US LEGAL 13 (http://definitions.uslegal.com/i/indefinite-detention/, “Indefinite Detention”)
Indefinite detention is the practice of detaining an arrested person by a national government or law enforcement agency without a trial. It may be made by the home country or by a foreign nation. Indefinite detention is a controversial practice, especially in situations where the detention is by a foreign nation. It is controversial because it seema to violate many national and international laws. It also violates human rights laws.

The War Power Authority clause means they must speak out against those detained on ENEMY WAR POWERS not domestic prisons



Hanes 11 (2011¶ Brigham Young University Law Review¶ 2011 B.Y.U.L. Rev. 2283¶ LENGTH: 16243 words COMMENT: Challenging the Executive: The Constitutionality of Congressional Regulation of the President's Wartime Detention Policies NAME: William M. Hains* BIO: * William M. Hains received his Juris Doctor from the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, in April 2011. He currently serves as a law clerk for the Honorable J. Frederic Voros Jr. on the Utah Court of Appeals. He would like to thank Professor Howard Nielson and Carla Crandall for their suggestions on an earlier draft of this paper and the BYU Law Review staff for their editorial assistance. He would also like to thank Chrisy for her support and patience. The views expressed in this Comment are his own.)
The authority to detain enemies in a time of war has long been viewed as an important war power of the government. n118 As a war power, presidential detention authority would derive from the Commander-in-Chief Clause if its source is constitutional. History suggests that Congress also has concurrent detention authority. During the 1798-1800 Quasi-War with France, for example, Congress passed several laws authorizing detention of French captives, setting conditions on detention, and authorizing the [*2306] exchange or release of prisoners. n119 The regulations passed in the Quasi-War demonstrate the understanding of Congress that it had authority to regulate detention, but this history does not clearly reveal the source of that authority. n120 Possible sources of congressional detention authority include the Captures Clause, the power of the purse, and the Law of Nations Clause. n121¶ 1. Commander-in-Chief Clause Wartime detention authority is rooted in the law of war, a branch of the law of nations, or, as it is known today, customary international law. "From the very beginning of its history [the Supreme] Court has recognized and applied the law of war as including that part of the law of nations which prescribes, for the conduct of war, the status, rights and duties of enemy nations as well as of enemy individuals." n122 In Ex parte Quirin, the Supreme Court identified detention authority as "an important incident to the conduct of war," founded in the law of war. n123 In a plurality decision, [*2307] the Court recently affirmed in the context of the war on terrorism that detention - for the duration of the conflict - and prosecution of enemy combatants is justified under the law of war to secure the battlefield and preserve the ability of the President to prosecute the war. n124¶ Yet the law of war defines rather than grants authority. There must be some constitutional or legislative provision that supplies the authority, such as the Commander-in-Chief Clause or a congressional authorization of war. n125 In Ex parte Quirin, the Court suggested that the President and Congress may have concurrent authority. The Court recognized that the President was acting pursuant to an act of Congress in creating military commissions during World War II to try detainees for offenses against the law of nations. n126 But the President was also acting under "such authority as the Constitution itself gives the Commander in Chief, to direct the performance of those functions which may constitutionally be performed by the military arm of the nation in time of war." n127 Similarly, the plurality in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld found congressional authorization for the executive detention of enemy combatants in the war on terrorism, and thus did not reach the President's claim of "plenary authority to detain pursuant to Article II of the Constitution." n128 More specific to the power to prosecute detainees, the Court suggested in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that the President's power derived solely from congressional authorization: "Congress cannot direct the conduct of campaigns, nor can the President, or any commander under him, without the sanction of Congress, institute tribunals for the trial and punishment of offences." n129 The [*2308] Court raised the possibility that the President may have independent power "in cases of a controlling necessity," but noted that the Court has never definitively resolved that issue and refused to do so in Hamdan as well. n130¶ Thus, the Court has suggested - but never squarely held - that when Congress authorizes the President's war powers, the Commander-in-Chief Clause grants the President powers incident to the conduct of war, including authority over wartime detainees.¶ 2. Captures Clause One common source cited for congressional detention authority is the Captures Clause. n131 As discussed above, n132 in setting forth a framework for analyzing limits on congressional power, the proper scope of each constitutional grant must be determined before deciding whether constitutional power over a particular matter is exclusive or concurrent. The Captures Clause appears on its face to grant Congress authority to regulate detention: Congress has power to "make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water." n133 Chief Justice John Marshall suggested as much in dicta in an 1814 case. n134 Yet Professor Ingrid Wuerth has argued recently - and quite persuasively - that the original meaning of the Captures Clause was in fact intended only as a source of authority over enemy property. n135 Wuerth argues that the Clause is best understood as granting power over "moveable property taken for adjudication as prize, but not persons," and "the power to authorize the making of captures and also to determine their legality."n136 The natural implication of Professor Wuerth's analysis is that the Captures Clause cannot serve as a solid basis for congressional limitation on the President's [*2309] detention authority. Congressional authority must be found in the power of the purse or the Law of Nations Clause.

Debate over a clear and specific controversial point of government action creates argumentative stasis – that’s a prerequisite to the negative’s ability to engage in the conversation — that’s critical to deliberation


Steinberg 8, lecturer of communication studies – University of Miami, and Freeley, Boston based attorney who focuses on criminal, personal injury and civil rights law, ‘8

(David L. and Austin J., Argumentation and Debate: Critical Thinking for Reasoned Decision Making p. 45)



Debate is a means of settling differences, so there must be a difference of opinion or a conflict of interest before there can be a debate. If everyone is in agreement on a tact or value or policy, there is no need for debate: the matter can be settled by unanimous consent. Thus, for example, it would be pointless to attempt to debate "Resolved: That two plus two equals four," because there is simply no controversy about this statement. (Controversy is an essential prerequisite of debate. Where there is no clash of ideas, proposals, interests, or expressed positions on issues, there is no debate. In addition, debate cannot produce effective decisions without clear identification of a question or questions to be answered. For example, general argument may occur about the broad topic of illegal immigration. How many illegal immigrants are in the United States? What is the impact of illegal immigration and immigrants on our economy? What is their impact on our communities? Do they commit crimes? Do they take jobs from American workers? Do they pay taxes? Do they require social services? Is it a problem that some do not speak English? Is it the responsibility of employers to discourage illegal immigration by not hiring undocumented workers? Should they have the opportunity- to gain citizenship? Docs illegal immigration pose a security threat to our country? Do illegal immigrants do work that American workers are unwilling to do? Are their rights as workers and as human beings at risk due to their status? Are they abused by employers, law enforcement, housing, and businesses? I low are their families impacted by their status? What is the moral and philosophical obligation of a nation state to maintain its borders? Should we build a wall on the Mexican border, establish a national identification can!, or enforce existing laws against employers? Should we invite immigrants to become U.S. citizens? Surely you can think of many more concerns to be addressed by a conversation about the topic area of illegal immigration. Participation in this "debate" is likely to be emotional and intense. However, it is not likely to be productive or useful without focus on a particular question and identification of a line demarcating sides in the controversy. To be discussed and resolved effectively, controversies must be stated clearly. Vague understanding results in unfocused deliberation and poor decisions, frustration, and emotional distress, as evidenced by the failure of the United States Congress to make progress on the immigration debate during the summer of 2007. Someone disturbed by the problem of the growing underclass of poorly educated, socially disenfranchised youths might observe, "Public schools are doing a terrible job! They are overcrowded, and many teachers are poorly qualified in their subject areas. Even the best teachers can do little more than struggle to maintain order in their classrooms." That same concerned citizen, facing a complex range of issues, might arrive at an unhelpful decision, such as "We ought to do something about this" or. worse. "It's too complicated a problem to deal with." Groups of concerned citizens worried about the state of public education could join together to express their frustrations, anger, disillusionment, and emotions regarding the schools, but without a focus for their discussions, they could easily agree about the sorry state of education without finding points of clarity or potential solutions. A gripe session would follow. But if a precise question is posed—such as "What can be done to improve public education?"—then a more profitable area of discussion is opened up simply by placing a focus on the search for a concrete solution step. One or more judgments can be phrased in the form of debate propositions, motions for parliamentary debate, or bills for legislative assemblies. The statements "Resolved: That the federal government should implement a program of charter schools in at-risk communities" and "Resolved: That the state of Florida should adopt a school voucher program" more clearly identify specific ways of dealing with educational problems in a manageable form, suitable for debate. They provide specific policies to be investigated and aid discussants in identifying points of difference. To have a productive debate, which facilitates effective decision making by directing and placing limits on the decision to be made, the basis for argument should be clearly defined. If we merely talk about "homelessness" or "abortion" or "crime'* or "global warming" we are likely to have an interesting discussion but not to establish profitable basis for argument. For example, the statement "Resolved: That the pen is mightier than the sword" is debatable, yet fails to provide much basis for clear argumentation. If we take this statement to mean that the written word is more effective than physical force for some purposes, we can identify a problem area: the comparative effectiveness of writing or physical force for a specific purpose. Although we now have a general subject, we have not yet stated a problem. It is still too broad, too loosely worded to promote well-organized argument. What sort of writing are we concerned with—poems, novels, government documents, website development, advertising, or what? What does "effectiveness" mean in this context? What kind of physical force is being compared—fists, dueling swords, bazookas, nuclear weapons, or what? A more specific question might be. "Would a mutual defense treaty or a visit by our fleet be more effective in assuring Liurania of our support in a certain crisis?" The basis for argument could be phrased in a debate proposition such as "Resolved: That the United States should enter into a mutual defense treatv with Laurania." Negative advocates might oppose this proposition by arguing that fleet maneuvers would be a better solution. This is not to say that debates should completely avoid creative interpretation of the controversy by advocates, or that good debates cannot occur over competing interpretations of the controversy; in fact, these sorts of debates may be very engaging. The point is that debate is best facilitated by the guidance provided by focus on a particular point of difference, which will be outlined in the following discussion.

The second impact is government knowledge – debate’s key to in-depth governmental knowledge


Zwarensteyn 12, Ellen, Thesis Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Masters of Science, “High School Policy Debate as an Enduring Pathway to Political Education: Evaluating Possibilities for Political Learning,” August, http://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1034&context=theses

The first trend to emerge concerns how debate fosters in-depth political knowledge. Immediately, every resolution calls for analysis of United States federal government action. Given that each debater may debate in over a hundred different unique rounds, there is a competitive incentive thoroughly research as many credible, viable, and in-depth strategies as possible. Moreover, the requirement to debate both affirmative and negative sides of the topic injects a creative necessity to defend viable arguments from a multitude of perspectives. As a result, the depth of knowledge spans questions not only of what, if anything, should be done in response to a policy question, but also questions of who, when, where, and why. This opens the door to evaluating intricacies of government branch, committee, agency, and even specific persons who may yield different cost-benefit outcomes to conducting policy action. Consider the following responses: I think debate helped me understand how Congress works and policies actually happen which is different than what government classes teach you. Process counterplans are huge - reading and understanding how delegation works means you understand that it is not just congress passes a bill and the president signs. You understand that policies can happen in different methods. Executive orders, congress, and courts counterplans have all helped me understand that policies don’t just happen the way we learn in government. There are huge chunks of processes that you don't learn about in government that you do learn about in debate. Similarly, Debate has certainly aided [my political knowledge]. The nature of policy-making requires you to be knowledgeable of the political process because process does effect the outcome. Solvency questions, agent counterplans, and politics are tied to process questions. When addressing the overall higher level of awareness of agency interaction and ability to identify pros and cons of various committee, agency, or branch activity, most respondents traced this knowledge to the politics research spanning from their affirmative cases, solvency debates, counterplan ideas, and political disadvantages. One of the recurring topics concerns congressional vs. executive vs. court action and how all of that works. To be good at debate you really do need to have a good grasp of that. There is really something to be said for high school debate - because without debate I wouldn’t have gone to the library to read a book about how the Supreme Court works, read it, and be interested in it. Maybe I would’ve been a lawyer anyway and I would’ve learned some of that but I can’t imagine at 16 or 17 I would’ve had that desire and have gone to the law library at a local campus to track down a law review that might be important for a case. That aspect of debate in unparalleled - the competitive drive pushes you to find new materials. Similarly, I think [my political knowledge] comes from the politics research that we have to do. You read a lot of names name-dropped in articles. You know who has influence in different parts of congress. You know how different leaders would feel about different policies and how much clout they have. This comes from links and internal links. Overall, competitive debaters must have a depth of political knowledge on hand to respond to and formulate numerous arguments. It appears debaters then internalize both the information itself and the motivation to learn more. This aids the PEP value of intellectual pluralism as debaters seek not only an oversimplified ‘both’ sides of an issue, but multiple angles of many arguments. Debaters uniquely approach arguments from a multitude of perspectives – often challenging traditional conventions of argument. With knowledge of multiple perspectives, debaters often acknowledge their relative dismay with television news and traditional outlets of news media as superficial outlets for information.


Failure to engage the state means the aff fails, coalitions break down, and hawks seize the political – only engagement solves


Mouffe 2009 (Chantal Mouffe is Professor of Political Theory at the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster, “The Importance of Engaging the State”, What is Radical Politics Today?, Edited by Jonathan Pugh, pp. 233-7)

In both Hardt and Negri, and Virno, there is therefore emphasis upon ‘critique as withdrawal’. They all call for the development of a non-state public sphere. They call for self-organisation, experimentation, non-representative and extra-parliamentary politics. They see forms of traditional representative politics as inherently oppressive. So they do not seek to engage with them, in order to challenge them. They seek to get rid of them altogether. This disengagement is, for such influential personalities in radical politics today, the key to every political position in the world. The Multitude must recognise imperial sovereignty itself as the enemy and discover adequate means of subverting its power. Whereas in the disciplinary era I spoke about earlier, sabotage was the fundamental form of political resistance, these authors claim that, today, it should be desertion. It is indeed through desertion, through the evacuation of the places of power, that they think that battles against Empire might be won. Desertion and exodus are, for these important thinkers, a powerful form of class struggle against imperial postmodernity. According to Hardt and Negri, and Virno, radical politics in the past was dominated by the notion of ‘the people’. This was, according to them, a unity, acting with one will. And this unity is linked to the existence of the state. The Multitude, on the contrary, shuns political unity. It is not representable because it is an active self-organising agent that can never achieve the status of a juridical personage. It can never converge in a general will, because the present globalisation of capital and workers’ struggles will not permit this. It is anti-state and anti-popular. Hardt and Negri claim that the Multitude cannot be conceived any more in terms of a sovereign authority that is representative of the people. They therefore argue that new forms of politics, which are non-representative, are needed. They advocate a withdrawal from existing institutions. This is something which characterises much of radical politics today. The emphasis is not upon challenging the state. Radical politics today is often characterised by a mood, a sense and a feeling, that the state itself is inherently the problem. Critique as engagement I will now turn to presenting the way I envisage the form of social criticism best suited to radical politics today. I agree with Hardt and Negri that it is important to understand the transition from Fordism to post-Fordism. But I consider that the dynamics of this transition is better apprehended within the framework of the approach outlined in the book Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics (Laclau and Mouffe, 2001). What I want to stress is that many factors have contributed to this transition from Fordism to post-Fordism, and that it is necessary to recognise its complex nature. My problem with Hardt and Negri’s view is that, by putting so much emphasis on the workers’ struggles, they tend to see this transition as if it was driven by one single logic: the workers’ resistance to the forces of capitalism in the post-Fordist era. They put too much emphasis upon immaterial labour. In their view, capitalism can only be reactive and they refuse to accept the creative role played both by capital and by labour. To put it another way, they deny the positive role of political struggle. In Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics we use the word ‘hegemony’ to describe the way in which meaning is given to institutions or practices: for example, the way in which a given institution or practice is defined as ‘oppressive to women’, ‘racist’ or ‘environmentally destructive’. We also point out that every hegemonic order is therefore susceptible to being challenged by counter-hegemonic practices – feminist, anti-racist, environmentalist, for example. This is illustrated by the plethora of new social movements which presently exist in radical politics today (Christian, anti-war, counter-globalisation, Muslim, and so on). Clearly not all of these are workers’ struggles. In their various ways they have nevertheless attempted to influence and have influenced a new hegemonic order. This means that when we talk about ‘the political’, we do not lose sight of the ever present possibility of heterogeneity and antagonism within society. There are many different ways of being antagonistic to a dominant order in a heterogeneous society – it need not only refer to the workers’ struggles. I submit that it is necessary to introduce this hegemonic dimension when one envisages the transition from Fordism to post-Fordism. This means abandoning the view that a single logic (workers’ struggles) is at work in the evolution of the work process; as well as acknowledging the pro-active role played by capital. In order to do this we can find interesting insights in the work of Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello who, in their book The New Spirit of Capitalism (2005), bring to light the way in which capitalists manage to use the demands for autonomy of the new movements that developed in the 1960s, harnessing them in the development of the post-Fordist networked economy and transforming them into new forms of control. They use the term ‘artistic critique’ to refer to how the strategies of the counter-culture (the search for authenticity, the ideal of selfmanagement and the anti-hierarchical exigency) were used to promote the conditions required by the new mode of capitalist regulation, replacing the disciplinary framework characteristic of the Fordist period. From my point of view, what is interesting in this approach is that it shows how an important dimension of the transition from Fordism to post- Fordism involves rearticulating existing discourses and practices in new ways. It allows us to visualise the transition from Fordism to post- Fordism in terms of a hegemonic intervention. To be sure, Boltanski and Chiapello never use this vocabulary, but their analysis is a clear example of what Gramsci called ‘hegemony through neutralisation’ or ‘passive revolution’. This refers to a situation where demands which challenge the hegemonic order are recuperated by the existing system, which is achieved by satisfying them in a way that neutralises their subversive potential. When we apprehend the transition from Fordism to post- Fordism within such a framework, we can understand it as a hegemonic move by capital to re-establish its leading role and restore its challenged legitimacy. We did not witness a revolution, in Marx’s sense of the term. Rather, there have been many different interventions, challenging dominant hegemonic practices. It is clear that, once we envisage social reality in terms of ‘hegemonic’ and ‘counter-hegemonic’ practices, radical politics is not about withdrawing completely from existing institutions. Rather, we have no other choice but to engage with hegemonic practices, in order to challenge them. This is crucial; otherwise we will be faced with a chaotic situation. Moreover, if we do not engage with and challenge the existing order, if we instead choose to simply escape the state completely, we leave the door open for others to take control of systems of authority and regulation. Indeed there are many historical (and not so historical) examples of this. When the Left shows little interest, Right-wing and authoritarian groups are only too happy to take over the state. The strategy of exodus could be seen as the reformulation of the idea of communism, as it was found in Marx. There are many points in common between the two perspectives. To be sure, for Hardt and Negri it is no longer the proletariat, but the Multitude which is the privileged political subject. But in both cases the state is seen as a monolithic apparatus of domination that cannot be transformed. It has to ‘wither away’ in order to leave room for a reconciled society beyond law, power and sovereignty. In reality, as I’ve already noted, others are often perfectly willing to take control. If my approach – supporting new social movements and counterhegemonic practices – has been called ‘post-Marxist’ by many, it is precisely because I have challenged the very possibility of such a reconciled society. To acknowledge the ever present possibility of antagonism to the existing order implies recognising that heterogeneity cannot be eliminated. As far as politics is concerned, this means the need to envisage it in terms of a hegemonic struggle between conflicting hegemonic projects attempting to incarnate the universal and to define the symbolic parameters of social life. A successful hegemony fixes the meaning of institutions and social practices and defines the ‘common sense’ through which a given conception of reality is established. However, such a result is always contingent, precarious and susceptible to being challenged by counter-hegemonic interventions. Politics always takes place in a field criss-crossed by antagonisms. A properly political intervention is always one that engages with a certain aspect of the existing hegemony. It can never be merely oppositional or conceived as desertion, because it aims to challenge the existing order, so that it may reidentify and feel more comfortable with that order. Another important aspect of a hegemonic politics lies in establishing linkages between various demands (such as environmentalists, feminists, anti-racist groups), so as to transform them into claims that will challenge the existing structure of power relations. This is a further reason why critique involves engagement, rather than disengagement. It is clear that the different demands that exist in our societies are often in conflict with each other. This is why they need to be articulated politically, which obviously involves the creation of a collective will, a ‘we’. This, in turn, requires the determination of a ‘them’. This obvious and simple point is missed by the various advocates of the Multitude. For they seem to believe that the Multitude possesses a natural unity which does not need political articulation. Hardt and Negri see ‘the People’ as homogeneous and expressed in a unitary general will, rather than divided by different political conflicts. Counter-hegemonic practices, by contrast, do not eliminate differences. Rather, they are what could be called an ‘ensemble of differences’, all coming together, only at a given moment, against a common adversary. Such as when different groups from many backgrounds come together to protest against a war perpetuated by a state, or when environmentalists, feminists, anti-racists and others come together to challenge dominant models of development and progress. In these cases, the adversary cannot be defined in broad general terms like ‘Empire’, or for that matter ‘Capitalism’. It is instead contingent upon the particular circumstances in question – the specific states, international institutions or governmental practices that are to be challenged. Put another way, the construction of political demands is dependent upon the specific relations of power that need to be targeted and transformed, in order to create the conditions for a new hegemony. This is clearly not an exodus from politics. It is not ‘critique as withdrawal’, but ‘critique as engagement’. It is a ‘war of position’ that needs to be launched, often across a range of sites, involving the coming together of a range of interests. This can only be done by establishing links between social movements, political parties and trade unions, for example. The aim is to create a common bond and collective will, engaging with a wide range of sites, and often institutions, with the aim of transforming them. This, in my view, is how we should conceive the nature of radical politics.


Switching sides allows for a dialogical change in perspectives that resolve the affs impacts and foster sympathy


Bohlin 8 - Dr. Phil. in theoretical philosophy (Stockholm University, 1997) ¶ Senior lecturer (docent) in philosophy, lecturer in history of ideas ¶ Member of the faculty board, chair of the faculty committee for teacher education and educational research (Henrik Bohlin Perspective-dependence and Critical Thinking EBSCO)shaw
Suppose that we are trying to understand and morally assess the customs of a people with a very different culture. In the case of some of their practices and beliefs, we find that the others react just the way we ourselves would find it reasonable to react in the same circumstances; they are hungry, and they eat; they are insulted, and they get angry, etc. Thus, we can make perfect sense of what they do and say from within our own perspective, or so it seems. (Such impressions can of course be deceptive if the others do what we would, but for quite incompatible reasons.) In other cases, however, we find that the others do and say things that seem clearly unjustified according to our norms of speech and behaviour. For example, we find that they have the custom of instructing their children to play war games where stones are thrown at the opponents, that children are occasionally killed in these games, and that the adults, although they mourn those killed in this way, continue to encourage the games. Here, it seems impossible to understand and agree with the others while remaining within the perspective of our own culture; given our moral standards and what we know of the circumstances, it seems that nothing can justify such a practice. To assess it, it seems, a critic must shift perspective, or at least somehow take the difference in perspectives into account. What can this mean?

First, it is conceivable that by learning more about the people we are trying to understand, we find that the particular circumstances under which they live in fact makes the practice justifiable, even according to our moral standards—say, because they inhabit an overpopulated area with constant wars over territory going on between rival tribes, where it is of crucial importance for the survival of each tribe that their young ones develop fearlessness and insensitivity to pain from an early age, and where the practice of encouraging realistic war games among children is, to everyone’s regret, the only means to achieve this. Seeing things from the other’s perspective in this case means taking time, place, and other relevant facts of the matter into account. This could be called conservative perspective shift, since it does not require us, as critics, to change or in any way abandon our own moral principles or standards of extra-moral rationality.

Suppose now instead that taking all relevant facts into account is not sufficient to make the custom we are trying to understand justifiable according to the moral standards of our own culture, but that the attempt to interpret the other culture and the careful weighing of arguments for and against it has the effect of making us question and revise some of our own general moral standards and factual beliefs that made the custom unacceptable to us. We thus recognise a genuine conflict between our own culture and that of the others, and admit that the others are right. Hence, we may say that we learn from the others. Let us call this dialogical change of perspective, since what happens resembles a conversation or dialogue where one of the parties, or both, revise their beliefs as a result of the dialogue. A genuine conflict is found to exist between the cultures of the interpreter and the other, and as a consequence, the critic changes his own perspective (in this case, his moral background assumptions). (It may be difficult to distinguish dialogical and conservative perspective shifts since the demarcation line between beliefs on particular facts on the one hand and more general and fundamental moral principles and factual beliefs on the other is not sharp.)




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