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WHEN do we do ANYTHING?!?! (was: Marcellus Wallace.)
I really don't want to get into this discussion. I don't. But I'm
starting to get mad, and frustrated, and confused. So I'll stand up for
my friend Dave Wolynski. I've clipped the parts that don't worry me... or
that are "less" worrisome than the others...
I don't even remember if Dave and Sean cross-posted their messages to
CEDA-L, so some may be quite in the dark.
> > is Dave
> is Sean
and this is me. Off we go...
On Sat, 3 May 1997, Sean Upton wrote:
> Oh, I don't disagree. I've never said "US worse," though. I've said only
> that to say that "their" attrocites are worse in eithere quality or
> quantity is so somehow obscure the power relations that construct those
> "material" situations. I just wish we could say "this whole situation is
> fucked - oppression exists all over the world" and address THE THINGS THAT
> CREATE OPPRESSION BOTH MATERIALLY AND CULTURALLY WITHOUT PROPPING UP A
> _HIERARCHY_ of which oppression is MORE IMPORTANT. This has been a
> pitfall of BOTH conventional and radical reasoning (uh, Marx, Bookchin,
> white feminism, black nationalism). Not to sound trite, but the
> introduction to Val Plumwood's _Feminism and the Mastery of Nature_
> addresses this fairly well. Oppression is interlocking, and to label them
> in order of importance is only to legitimize the very structures that lead
> to oppression.
Ah, so out of curiosity, what would Mr. Plumwood (or yourself, for that
matter) have us do? We can do ten things at one-tenth effort, basically
accomplishing nothing, for the symbolic value of not creating an "other."
OR we can commit ourselves wholeheartedly to abating one problem (while
still acknowledging that there are many others) and hope to SOLVE
We HAVE to prioritize, because we are finite (something for me to keep in
mind when giving a 1AR). Choosing something to act on does not need to
involve "othering," it is a humble acknowledgment of our OWN limitations.
It should be humbling, not something to get all cocky about, thinking we
have all "our" problems solved. (I'm tired of putting everything in
quotes, so I'm not going to play that word game anymore. A disclaimer
that I don't intend to "other" anybody will have to suffice, since
language is ALSO finite.) We should respond as Schindler did, wishing we
could have done more.
> >Ideological violence as you define it happens there too. As for me, what
> >is more scary is this- in *addition* to suffering ideological
> >violence, I also face the real possibility of randomly get dragged out of
> >my house and shot.
> One thing to consider is that these sort of scattered violent acts,
> whether it be burnings in Indonesia or caning in Singapore or riots in
> Los Angeles, only can perpetuate themselves so much. Repressive
> mechanisms tend to generate backlash. Ideological violence is a violence
> that litterally "murders" the "other" without killing their body -- but's
> got an evil genius to it: we don't see it. To say that the repressive
> violence of "their countries" is somehow "worse" or a higher "priority"
> is to obscure and ignore the realities of oppression as an interlocking
> system that we continually reconstruct from language, and also to masks
> the fact that its ALL OR NONE in addressing oppression. We can't just
> say "feminist" concerns must wait until AFTER we address class, or race,
> or anything else. So address one without analyzing the way it
> interrelates with the others is only to make the problem worse, and
> perhaps more violent.
Uh, no. It's not "ALL OR NONE" for each individual person; it should be
all or nothing for society and for activism IN GENERAL. We should
acknowledge oppression in its various forms, but should also devote our
energies to where we are most capable. Each of us will be BETTER at
solving certain issues than others... heritage, genetics, upbringing;
whatever causes these different abilities, they exist and should be
UTILIZED. If I'm not effective at resolving racism, I should shut up and
try to solve gender discrimination, or something else.
And I REALLY don't understand what the limited perpetuation of violence
should say to us. That soon, everyone with a bias will be dead, so the
problem will go away? I've got to be missing something here.
> >True. Finally, someone grants my no zero sum game argument. As to
> >oppression being "prior" I don't understand what you're getting at.
> Don't make a list of what is a bigger priority and don't say that one is
> worse that another. You put a valuation to certain people's lives - some
> people's pains are somehow more authentic than others. I'll call
> bullshit on that one. All I'm saying is that we shouldn't construct the
> "they" as barbaric and "us" as "less so" to justify a topic. Regardless
> of the success of that argument in bolstering the SEAsia topic, it
> nonetheless creates a harmful material reality -- an obscured lens that
> can see ONLY through self/other constucts.
I agree that this probably isn't a useful discussion for deciding a topic
area, AS A COMMUNITY. But I wildly disagree that we shouldn't prioritize
or make lists, for activism or for topic selection. Unless we do these
things, our activism will be ineffective and/or misdirected, and maybe
even non-existent, since we refuse to start ANYWHERE.
But since debate seems to have some expectation of education and
mobilization, each voter should consider where they want that activism to
begin. Each voter will also need to employ SOME form of moral calculus to
arrive at their decision; these computations will take a variety of forms.
At that point, you step into another kritik altogether. :)
U.S. Naval Academy
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (email@example.com)
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