[eDebate] Ans to jp

Andy Ellis andy.edebate
Sun Jan 14 15:46:59 CST 2007

JP Lacy Asks me to warrent this passage.

"Focusing the debate through the lens of the
offial topic, even if its to be in opposition to it, forces those working
for real world change through debate to channel their discussion toward
whatever it is that the dominant debate system they oppose thinks should be
the topic for the year. This at best constrains the possibility for true
liberation to the terms set by the status quo upholding system and at worst
strips liberation of any true political goals and makes it simply a per
formative nod to liberation."

The first part.
A debate about meaningful black participation in debate framed through a
metaphor to nato is innovative creative and could cause people to think
about things in a different way, however in this world the call for
increased meaningful black participation at least in part must be channeled
through a discussion of nato, allowing the metaphor to become a point of
attack for other teams and subjecting the political demands of the debaters
to the political framing of the topic. Similarly using the resolution as a
starting point for a discussion about choice or school segregation or
immigration or identity forces debaters to answer questions about their
relationship to the topic, and as good debaters they come up with reasons
but often in unpredictable and unessecary turns of micropolitcal theory.
Pretending to be affirmative and creating massive amounts of offense on the
framework is definitely a strategy these days. You may say see thats the
benefit of the current mono topicism  because you can tie them to some part
of the topic,  but once they have departed from a frame work for their
politics these affs often advocate  non action or non debatable ideas. I
will in a bit explain the term dominant debate system but for the purposes
of this post it describes something a variety of folks who resist it
describe it as, we may  even accept that it doesn't exist in material
reality but it does exist as symbol and i am speaking particuarly to and
about people who believe there is such a system.

The Second Part-the at best at worst-
A more liberatory politics can be attained by those teams attempting to
explicitly use debate for that purpose by not forcing themselves into the
dominant topic, some traditional standards of argumentative responsibility
and idea testing are quite valuble in policy debate, the problem is with
what is defined as politics and policy in the status quo, not per se the
structural components of the game. I believe a two part political test
should be applied to evaluate the effectiveness of advocacies. 1) Does the
advocacy recognize clear goals embodied in an analysis of the problems of
the current system and 2) does it have a concrete means to achieve those
goals. I think without these components much libertory politics within
debate risks simply being a glorification of other peoples liberation and an
decontextualized insertion of a particular political experience into another
setting in which it doesn't fit. I speak here about teams that use the
example of liberation movement as their advocacy. This performative nod to
liberation which does not teach studnets to re frame their political reality
in order to achieve their goals is not dissimilar from much radical chic
pervasive in pop culture.

I want debates about liberation of oppressed people to identify goals and
articulate means of achieving them, the "traditional""dominant""status
quoist" debaters have a method for doing this and its time project teams
started to as well, if debating the topic is bad for your education, so be
it but you can reframe the reality to be able to utilize the debate in order
to test your political strategies, just create a framework of political
anlyis and begin to convince people
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