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The USFG is the government in Washington D.C.

Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2000 [http://encarta.msn.com]


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

Grounding your movement within the law is key to


effectuate change and ensure reform.
Goldstein 2013 (Lee D. Goldstein, Unbound, Vol. 8: 133, 2012-2013,
Legal Left, http://www.legalleft.org/wpcontent/uploads/2013/09/Goldstein.pdf)
Left lawyers and legal workers should operate in the interstices of all areas
of social life where law affects people. Because of our own special relation to the

state, left lawyers and legal workers most frequently operate on behalf of those who have direct
contact with legal institutions such as courts, government agencies and police. However the practice of
law in the broadest sense can be located in a context beyond such direct contact. As discussed within
Thesis III supra, most people have little contact with law. Legitimation is effected through indirect
images. Direct contact with legal apparatuses provides people with their most vivid and important
experiences with law. The more immediate the contact, the less belief in the equality and rationality of
the law. The eroding of the image of laws evenhandedness brings into play its coercive aspect, which
realization may lead to active opposition and resistance among those dominated by its form. Thus,
unmasking the law can occur before one has direct contact with state legal institutions. The practice of
unmasking in whatever context realizes the contradiction within law between the illusion of fairness and
its reality. This illusion is not only maintained by images disseminated from without, but by the law itself.
To maintain the illusion of fairness, within the given mode of production people must believe that
individual outcomes of cases result in just results. Thus a perceived correspondence emerges
between outcomes and notions of fairness. While recognizing that formal equality is a mask for class
domination and though there exists an enormous disparity between the norm of equality in the abstract
and its particular application, some results must accord with the laws unarticulated norm. Therein lies
the fundamental contradiction of the legal system. The utilization of this fundamental contradiction is
highly dependent on the particular nature of class struggle at a specific moment. As Lenin noted:

Revolutionaries who are unable to combine illegal forms of struggle


with every form of legal struggle are poor revolutionaries indeed.
It is not difficult to be a revolutionary when revolution has already
broken out and is at its height. . . It is far more difficult and of far greater
valueto be a revolutionary when the conditions for direct, open ,
really mass and really revolutionary struggle do not yet exist to be
able to champion the interests of the revolution . . . in nonrevolutionary bodies and often enough in downright reactionary
bodies . . . .69 Revolutionary transformation is not an event, not the storming
of the Winter Palace. Rather it is a process. In parliamentary periods of bourgeois liberal

democracy where ideological hegemony prevails over state force as a mechanism for social control, the
contradiction between the illusion and reality of fairness provides a guide to the concrete tasks of the left
lawyer and legal worker. On the one hand,

outside legal institutions we should

strive to de-legitimate law by pointing out both its failure to fulfill


its ideals as well as the paucity of those ideals.

De-legitimation encompasses

a revelation (both to ourselves and others) of the class, racial and sexual domination masked by the law.
Along with such de-legitimation we should simultaneously proffer a vision of the less alienated forms of
social life. On the other hand, within legal institutions we must defend and legitimate the ideal of
liberal democracy against more repressive forms of state coercion in order to protect left political

While attempting to legitimate those ideals, we must also


expand them within law, push them as far as they can go. Within
legal forums, we must seek to establish those legal ideas whose
effect is to guarantee the maximum amount of freedom to organize,
activity.70

expand and operate for progressive groups and their members (see Thesis V infra). Thus in a defensive
posture,

law provides a buffer or breathing space for individuals

and groups, functions to check future repression, furnishes time to


organize, keeps people out of jail, and neutralizes the class enemy. In
the rare case of a well-publicized political trial71 it can guarantee a forum for the dissemination of left

law as part of an overall political strategy


can give strength to individuals and organizations by providing a
measure of transformation in peoples lives. Even within the legal forum,
political ideas. In its affirmative face,

affirmative litigation can force ones opponent to respond to issues as articulated and defined by left and
progressive forces. While changes within legal doctrine72 may be related to and have impact outside
legal institutions, legal ideas themselves have little direct influence. Only in their representation as
images of law do they affect the prevailing mechanisms of ideological hegemony. Further, the outcome
of a decision, independent of the stated reasoning, is also an important influence on the social world.
Legal arguments advanced in distinctly legal forums are primarily made to obtain a desired result, not to
themselves articulate an alternate vision (not as an ideological device to, in Gramscis vocabulary,
establish counter-hegemony.)73 It is often suggested that a lawyer or legal worker speaks two different
languages; one inside the courtroom, one outside. I believe it is more accurate to characterize the
lawyer and legal workers predicament as speaking both languages at the same time. Im sure any legal
person has had the experience described by Philadelphia lawyer Holly McGuigan in her talk about the
role of the radical lawyer at a meeting of the Boston National Lawyers Guild chapter in October, 1980.
We get in an argument with a friend, spouse or lover and at some time are accused of being an
asshole because youre trying to cross-examine me and you sound just like a lawyer. We immediately
realize a distinction between talking and acting like a person (realspeak) and as a lawyer (lawspeak.) 74
Within legal institutions, with an understanding of the laws contradictions and with a view to obtaining
favorable results and legitimating the laws unstated goals, we should also try to efface the
distinction between lawspeak and realspeak. However, we should also be aware that unless we are
engaged in a political trial or are addressing non-legal persons such as members of a jury, such
effacement is directed primarily to legal elites, those with a special relation to the state.75

And, a limited point of stasis is necessary to provide


equitable ground to both sides this does not exclude
their content but does require them to be topical
ODonnell 2004, Timothy M. ODonnell, Professor of Communication and UMW Associate
Provost for Academic Engagement and Student Success, University of Mary Washington, 2004, And the
Twain Shall Meet: Affirmative Framework Choice and the Future of Debate, DOC,
http://groups.wfu.edu/debate/MiscSites/DRGArticles/DRGArtiarticlesIndex.htm

advocates on all sides have dug in their heels, it does not


take much to imagine that if the current situation continues to persist,
the debate community will eventually splinter along ideological
Given that

lines with break out groups forming their own organizations


designed to safeguard their own sacrosanct approaches to debate .
It has happened before . Yet, while debate has witnessed such crises
in the past, the present era of discontent seemingly threatens the
very existence of the activity as both a coherent, competitive
enterprise and a rewarding, educational co-curricular activity . The
origins of the present crisis have many contributing causes , including the
advent of mutual preference judging, the postmodern, performative, and activist turns
in scholarly circles, the dawn of the information revolution and its attendant technologies, as well as a

There appears to be no
mutually agreeable solution. Simply put, there is little consensus about
what ought to be the focus of debate, or even what constitutes good
debate. Moreover, there appears to be no agreement about what question the judge ought to be
growing resource disparity between large and small debate programs.

answering at the end of the debate. In the present milieu, these questions and many more are literally up
for grabs. The product of this disagreement has been a veritable boon for the negative. We need to look no
further than the caselist from the 2004 National Debate Tournament (NDT) to witness the wide variety of
strategic tools that the negative now has in its arsenal. In one or more debates at this tournament, the
negative team attempted to alter the ground for evaluating the debate by criticizing: the use of problem-

solution thinking (or the lack thereof), the will to control present in the affirmatives opening speech act,
the reliance on and use of the state, the illusory belief in fiat, the affirmatives relationship to the other,

embracing or eschewing of policymaking, the ethics of the affirmative, the


rhetoric of the affirmative, the representations of the affirmative, the
debate community as a whole, the debate communitys practices,
the affirmatives style of debate, the type of evidence the affirmative used (including an
over or under reliance on experts), the affirmatives failure to focus on the body, the
revolutionary or anti-revolutionary nature of the affirmative, the
the

piecemeal (or lack there of) nature of change advocated by the affirmative, the desires emanating from

the identify formation


instantiated by the affirmative, the metaphors inspired by the
affirmative, and the very act of voting affirmative. And this is only a
the affirmative debaters and/or their opening speech act,

partial list. To make the point another way, it is quite likely that an affirmative
team on the 2003-2004 college topic who advocated that the United States should cede political control
over reconstruction in Iraq to the United Nations certainly one of the most pressing issues of the day

could have made it through whole tournaments, indeed large


portions of the whole season, without ever discussing the merits of
U.S. policy in Iraq after the opening affirmative speech. Such a situation seems
problematic at best. That the negatives strategic arsenal has grown so large that negative
teams are tempted to eschew consideration of the important issues of the day
(in the case of Iraq, an issue with geopolitical repercussions that will echo for the rest of our lives) for

is downright tragic. What is


so tragic about all of this is that a debater could go through an
entire debate career with very little effort to go beyond metaargument or arguments about argument (i.e. debate theory). The sad fact is that,
competitive reasons seems more than problematic. In fact, it

more often than not, the outcome of any given debate today hinges less on the substantive issues
introduced by the affirmatives first speech, than it does on the resolution of these meta-arguments.

These so-called framework debates about what the question of


the debate ought to be, while somewhat interesting, have little
practical application to the circumstances of our times and in my
judgment, at least, are less intellectually rewarding than their
counterparts. In fact, in a situation where the merits of the public
policy issues staked out by the years resolution along with the
critical issues that those policies raise are no longer the focus of
the debate because the negative can shift the question why have a resolution at all? The
disastrous implications of this trend in academic debate are
appearing at the very moment that the academy is being urged to
take seriously the goal of educating citizens. In a world where proponents for any
one of the varied questions are equally strident in staking out their views about what the debate ought to

To be sure, there is value in each of


these views. Public policy is important. The political consequences of
policies are important. The language used in constructing policies is important. The
be about, agreement seems to be impossible.

presentational aspects of policy are important. The epistemological, ontological, and ethical underpinnings
of policies are important. And so on. What are we to do then in situations where advocates on all sides

As an educator, I am interested in
having the students that I work with ask and answer all of these
questions at one time or another. As a coach, I am interested in
having them have a predictable set of arguments to prepare for. Thus,
the question for me is, how can we have a game in which they have
such an opportunity? The argument of this essay seeks to chart a partial answer to this
question. It involves staking out a compromise position that recognizes
make more or less equally compelling claims?

that there is value in a wide variety of perspectives and that all deserve an
equal opportunity to be represented in competitive debates. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a
framework consists of a set of standards, beliefs, or assumptions that govern behavior. When we speak
of frameworks in competitive academic debate we are talking about the set of standards, beliefs, or

Given
that there is no agreement among participants about which
standards, beliefs, or assumptions ought to be universally accepted,
it seems that we will never be able to arrive at an agreeable
normative assumption about what the question ought to be. So the
issue before us is how we preserve community while agreeing to
disagree about the question in a way that recognizes that there is
richness in answering many different questions that would not
otherwise exist if we all adhered to a rule which stated that there
is one and only one question to be answered. More importantly, how
do we stop talking past each other so that we can have a genuine
conversation about the substantive merits of any one question? The
answer, I believe, resides deep in the rhetorical tradition in the often overlooked notion of stasis.
assumptions that generate the question that the judge ought to answer at the end of the debate.

Although the concept can be traced to Aristotles Rhetoric, it was later expanded by Hermagoras whose

Stasis is a
Greek word meaning to stand still. It has generally been
considered by argumentation scholars to be the point of clash
thinking has come down to us through the Roman rhetoricians Cicero and Quintillian.

where two opposing sides meet in argument . Stasis recognizes the


fact that interlocutors engaged in a conversation, discussion, or
debate need to have some level of expectation regarding what the
focus of their encounter ought to be . To reach stasis, participants
need to arrive at a decision about what the issue is prior to the
start of their conversation . Put another way, they need to mutually
acknowledge the point about which they disagree. What happens when
participants fail to reach agreement about what it is that they are
arguing about? They talk past each other with little or no awareness
of what the other is saying . The oft used clich of two ships passing in the
night, where both are in the dark about what the other is doing and
neither stands still long enough to call out to the other, is the image most
commonly used to describe what happens when participants in an argument fail to achieve stasis . In
such situations, genuine engagement is not possible because
participants have not reached agreement about what is in dispute.
For example, when one advocate says that the United States should increase international involvement in
the reconstruction of Iraq and their opponent replies that the United States should abandon its policy of

When such a situation


prevails, it is hard to see how a productive conversation can ensue.
preemptive military engagement, they are talking past each other.

I
do not mean to suggest that dialogic engagement always unfolds along an ideal plain where participants
always can or even ought to agree on a mutual starting point. The reality is that many do not. In fact,
refusing to acknowledge an adversarys starting point is itself a powerful strategic move. However, it must
be acknowledged that when such situations arise, and participants cannot agree on the issue about which
they disagree, the chances that their exchange will result in a productive outcome are diminished
significantly. In an enterprise like academic debate, where the goals of the encounter are cast along both
educational and competitive lines, the need to reach accommodation on the starting point is urgent. This is
especially the case when time is limited and there is no possibility of extending the clock. The sooner such
agreement is achieved, the better. Stasis helps us understand that we stand to lose a great deal when we

How can stasis inform the issue before us


regarding contemporary debate practice? Whether we recognize it or not, it already
refuse a genuine starting point.

the affirmative begins the debate by using the resolution


as a starting point for their opening speech act is nearly universally
accepted by all members of the debate community . This is born out by the fact
has. The idea that

that affirmative teams that have ignored the resolution altogether have not gotten very far. Even teams
that use the resolution as a metaphorical condensation or that affirm the resolution as such use the

Despite the
numerous differences about what types of arguments ought to have
a place in competitive debate we all seemingly agree on at least one
point the vital necessity of a starting point . This common starting
point, or topic, is what separates debate from other forms of
communication and gives the exchange a directed focus .
resolution as their starting point. The significance of this insight warrants repeating.

Our past transgressions have shifted presumption against


saving the activity. The communities actions have put us
on the brink of obsolescence. Previous buffers that used
to protect debate are rapidly eroding. Politics, academia,
and the public are giving up on debate as a revolutionary
activity for activists, radicals, and pragmatically minded
thinkers.
Hester, 2013 [Michael, PhD, University of West Georgia, Letter from a

Maryland Comfort Inn, CEDA Policy Debate Forums (username: Hester),


November 22,
http://www.cedadebate.org/forum/index.php/topic,5407.msg11974.html#msg
11974, BJM]
To whom it may concern, CEDA-NDT Debate is a hot mess right now.
There are so many things wrong, it can sometimes seem like they're all
related. Maybe they are (reference Homer Simpson's "one big ball of lies"
explanation to Marge), but a delineation may still provide some guidance as
to what we can change, what we may have to accept, and where (if
anywhere) we may go from here... The foundation We no longer have
one, and haven't for more than two decades. Fewer and fewer
debate coaches are communication scholars, which is fine because
Communication Departments don't consider us anything more than the
bastard cousins who show up at the family reunion piss-drunk and demanding
more potato salad. Our activity long ago (40 years?) lost any
resemblance to a public speaking event attracting outside
audiences. The problem is we vacated that academic space without
being able to find a home anywhere else . Despite the pious
assumptions of some with "policy" in mind, we are not a legitimate
"research" community of scholars . The "portable skills " we
currently engrain in our students via practice are: all sources are
equivalent, no need for qualifications; "quoting" a source simply means
underlining ANY words found ANYWHERE in the document, context and
intent are irrelevant; and we are the only group outside of Faux News
that believes one's argument is improved by taking every point of
logic to its most absurd extreme. Simply put, 99.9% of the speech
docs produced in debates would receive no better than a C (more

likely F) in any upper division undergraduate research-based class.


Comically, we are the public speaking research activity that is
atrocious at oral persuasion and woefully in violation of any
standard research practices. But this letter is not intended to bury
Debate, even though it's hard to praise it in its current state. Before any
peace treaty ending the Paradigm Wars can be signed and ratified, an
honest appraisal of where Debate fits in the Academy is necessary .
Battle lines drawn in sinking sands This letter will not include a call for unity.
It's not clear that such a "coming together" is either possible or even
beneficial. But it is necessary to take a moment to publicly correct those who
believe there defecation products are odorless. First, we all should feel
ashamed for running Gary Larson off. Yes, all of us. If you think you're not
responsible, and it's those other people who are to blame, you are wrong.
Honestly, we don't deserve a person of Gary's talents and integrity right now.
If we manage to improve our activity to the point where one day, we do
deserve such a person, hopefully that person will be around to be the kind of
positive force Gary has been. Every single one of us owes him a debt of
gratitude. Second, contrary to what your friends may have told you in your
secret meeting or special Facebook page, there is no faction which has
avoided doing and saying stupid things in this craptastrophe. Devolving our
disagreements into a "but they did it first" shows just how low we have sunk
in terms of bad arguments. Hateful and ignorant statements have been made
by nearly everyone who has felt the need to express themselves, especially
in the heat of competition (which includes not just the rounds themselves,
but more likely the times before and after rounds). This is not to say that
feelings should always be spared. When issues of discrimination and
structural inequality are in play, discomfort isn't just inevitable, it is
frequently required in order to make the needed changes. Sadly, because we
are imperfect, we have used our rightful indignation to rationalize behavior
that is counterproductive if we are interested in resolving conflicts and
hypocritical if we are claiming to advocate for social justice. Ultimately,
everyone has to ask themselves this: are you interested in being a
part of a functioning community of scholarship with people who are
different than you (however defined)? If the answer is 'no', then it makes
no sense to stick around throwing stink bombs - you don't have to go home,
but you oughta leave the place you call hell. If the answer is 'yes', then it
makes no sense to stick around throwing stink bombs - advocate
solutions that can attract enough support to become actionable
reforms . A growing To-Do List We have a lot that needs fixing. Here's an
incomplete list, in no particular order: - Our debates are incoherent .
There were at least four instances of card-clipping at Wake. And an honest
assessment of our practices would likely reveal more. If we could actually
understand what debaters were saying. Reading regularly unqualified sources
at incomprehensible speeds is hardly the foundation upon which to build any
academic co-curricular activity, let alone one that couches its own credentials
in public policy deliberation. If we want to be taken seriously as
contributing to public discourse over public policy, we have to come
to grips with how bad we have become at oral presentation of

argument and scholarly presentation of quality research. - our


debates are too shallow and stale given the time commitment we make.
Debating Heg every round every topic doesn't further our understanding of
the resolution any more, nor is it any less intellectually lazy, than turning
fights about the latest Facebook conspiracy theories into a 1AC. Debaters
have wrongly conflated winning ballots with confirmation that their
arguments make any sense . MPJ has allowed us to "preach to the choir"
so often, we have wrongly concluded that we're cute when we're preachy. Our community has a current imbalance between the diversity of its
student body and the makeup of its coaching/judging pool. Current
efforts to increase minority representation in judge placement are seriously
limited by the lack of numbers in underrepresented demographic categories.
Until we have more people of color in the grad assistant and director ranks,
these efforts will have very low ceilings of accomplishment. But in order to
increase those numbers, those who have refused to acknowledge the
connection between HOW we debate WHAT we debate and WHO
wants to debate (and judge/coach) will have to put down their "but some
of my best friends who like plan-focus debates are black" rationalization and
be prepared to compromise more than they've been willing to so far.
- We lack the trust required for voluntary goodwill and a foundation of
"best practices" required to have a "code of conduct" that makes any
sense. When an allegation of card-clipping can be refuted by saying "that
wasn't clipping, it was just incomprehensible spreading" it's time to
acknowledge our standards have sunk too low. When incompetence is the
alibi to deny cheating, you have forfeited any moral high ground upon which
to tell others they are playing the game wrong. Likewise, if you believe
students and coaches of a particular program have committed "racist" or
"sexist" acts, then contact the appropriate authorities and file a lawsuit.
Otherwise, stop alleging things that should trigger such responses. If our
debaters don't know the rhetorical difference between claiming "our
opponent has made a sexist argument that warrants a voting issue" and "our
opponents are irredeemably sexist", then we have failed as communication
scholars to educate them and need to do a better job. This is not a denial of
some messed up shit having occurred in our interactions, but the folks who
are employed at universities need to wake up and smell the liability - we
should either be bringing people before the appropriate authorities or toning
down our venom. Otherwise, the notion that allegations are being thrown
around just to win debates begins to gain credence, and any real chance to
improve the activity is reduced as real problems are trivialized as competitive
tactics. And it's this last point that precludes any demand to "come
together." Debate is extra-curricular and we all work for and/or
attend different institutions. We have no obligation to "get along ." If
some of us truly believe others of us are evil or incapable of being
peers, then we should leave, go our own ways and find a group of
people /institutions with which we can commune in mutual respect.
Because the nerves are so raw right now, it may seem that mutual respect is
impossible. It will certainly require a willingness on all sides to stop
acting like victims of wrongdoing (even where such feelings are
warranted). Because that seems impossible at this time, it is not the focus of

this letter. Rather, what has been laid out is an outline of some of the
main questions we must confront. What defines our activity as a
worthwhile endeavor deserving of university support? What
parameters of how we best practice "debate" help reinforce those
definitional criteria? What responsibilities do each of us have as
members of our activity to maintain and nurture the activity itself?
What obligations do we have to the other members of this activity, and to
those who - if given the chance - would like to be a member? The
paradigmatic disruptions occurring have given us a crisi-trinity to
address these questions with deep self-reflection and
comprehensive conversation. It would behoove all of us to remember
that none of us - either individually or as a group - is so important as to
be "too big to fail." Debate does not need us, not any of us . What we
have to determine is whether we need debate, and if so, how do we
keep it going in the ways that fulfill those needs.

Their politics worsen the situation by directing attention


away from structural and material conditions for action
that divorces a discussion of means/ends for
accomplishing institutional change which results in
backlash and further entrenches the status quo
Pineda 14 Erin, doctoral candidate in political theory @ Yale, Enacting

democracy: Deliberation, agonism, and the empty place of political action,


http://wpsa.research.pdx.edu/papers/docs/Pineda_Enacting
%20democracy_Mar2014.pdf
For one thing, as many critics have noted, the focus on the clash of identities seems to
run the risk of reifying and entrenching group divisions, rather than
productively challenging them and rendering the bounds of the
demos more fluid. It also obscures the process through which diverse
individuals and groups who make up various social movements come
to see their needs and desires in collective and shared terms, and the
process whereby they appeal and agitate for the broader publics to
do something about it. 68 Just as the invocation of King by Rawls or Gutmann and Thompson
runs the risk of making him, and in particular his written texts, the stand-in for a complex, varied, diverse,
and often divided movement of movements, so does the agonist ontology leave to a strange, unexplored
alchemy the union and alliance of diverse groups and individuals that is actually made possible by
considerable organizing efforts and broad-based organizations which bridge more narrowly-construed

If the deliberative democrats insistence on communication


obscures strategy, the agonists recourse to identity has much the
same effect. It directs attention away from the structural and
interests.69

material conditions of contentious political action the concrete


threat to particular interests, the concerted attempt to provoke
targeted structural (not just identity) crises, the operation both
within and against particular institutional arrangements, the
forging and breaking of alliances and coalitions , and the

mobilization of resources (money, manpower, creativity, leadership, and so


on) that both open and close particular horizons of possibility.
The discursive move to see the relevant dimension of social and
political conflict in terms of identity\difference (shared by many agonists)
may have been timely with respect to new social movements, but
one wonders if it doesnt take the identity in identity politics
too much at face value, leaving little room for the diverse amalgam
of means and ends pursued by social movements which include not
just Connollys politics of enactment in which new ways of being and
new modes of identity are lived, defined, and defended, but also the framing of
unmet needs , the articulation of policy and legislative demands,
the reconsideration and reinterpretation of constitutional, legal, or
community principle,
new institutions.

the critique of existing structures and

the envisioning of

The gay rights movement, in Connollys work, operates to destabilize the

majoritys sense of itself, to remind us of the contingency of our own constructed selves, and thus to

without a more detailed description, this


destabilization seems as likely as not to provoke a politics of
backlash, fear , entrenchment , and separatism than a reflective ,
provoke collective redefinition. But

critical renegotiation of identity and difference . In fact, Connolly seems aware


of just this possibility when he worries that identities born of exclusion, inequality, and discrimination are
least likely to instigate the kind of positive politics he envisions but it is these movements, these
identities, that are most democratically urgent. The politics of difference thus threatens to collapses into
a politics of identity, without discussion of what beyond an ethos might make this more or less
likely.70

As a result the new right fills in


Orly Lobel, University of San Diego Assistant Professor of Law, 2007, The

Paradox of Extralegal Activism: Critical Legal Consciousness and


Transformative Politics, 120 HARV. L. REV. 937,
http://www.harvardlawreview.org/media/pdf/lobel.pdf
Both the practical failures and the fallacy of rigid boundaries generated by
extralegal activism rhetoric permit us to broaden our inquiry to the underlying
assumptions of current proposals regarding transformative politics that is, attempts to
produce meaningful changes in the political and socioeconomic landscapes. The suggested
alternatives produce a new image of social and political action. This vision rejects a shared theory of
social reform, rejects formal programmatic agendas, and embraces a multiplicity of forms
and practices. Thus, it is described in such terms as a plan of no plan,211 a project of
projects,212 anti-theory theory,213 politics rather than goals,214 presence rather than power,215
practice over theory,216 and chaos and openness over order and formality. As a result, the
contemporary message rarely includes a comprehensive vision of common social claims, but rather
engages in the description of fragmented efforts. As Professor Joel Handler argues, the commonality of
struggle and social vision that existed during the civil rights movement has disappeared.217 There is no
unifying discourse or set of values, but rather an aversion to any metanarrative and a resignation from
theory. Professor Handler warns that this move away from grand narratives is self-defeating precisely

[T]he
opposition is not playing that game . . . . [E]veryone else is operating as if
there were Grand Narratives . . . .218 Intertwined with the resignation from law and
policy, the new bromide of neither left nor right has become axiomatic only
for some.219 The contemporary critical legal consciousness informs the scholarship of those who are
because only certain parts of the political spectrum have accepted this new stance:

interested in progressive social activism, but less so that of those who are interested, for example, in a

more competitive securities market. Indeed, an interesting recent development has been the rise of
conservative public interest lawyer[ing].220 Although public interest law was originally associated

conservative advocacy groups


have rapidly grown both in number and in their vigorous use of traditional legal
strategies to promote their causes.221 This growth in conservative advocacy is
particularly salient in juxtaposition to the decline of traditional progressive
advocacy. Most recently, some thinkers have even suggested that there may be something inherent in
the lefts conception of social change focused as it is on participation and
empowerment that produces a unique distrust of legal expertise.222 Once
again, this conclusion reveals flaws parallel to the original disenchantment with
legal reform. Although the new extralegal frames present themselves as apt alternatives to legal
reform models and as capable of producing significant changes to the social map, in practice they
generate very limited improvement in existing social arrangements. Most strikingly, the
exclusively with liberal projects, in the past three decades

cooptation effect here can be explained in terms of the most profound risk of the typology that of
legitimation. The

common pattern of extralegal scholarship is to describe an


inherent instability in dominant structures by pointing, for example, to grassroots
strategies,223 and then to assume that specific instances of counterhegemonic
activities translate into a more complete transformation. This celebration of
multiple micro-resistances seems to rely on an aggregate approach an idea that the
multiplication of practices will evolve into something substantial. In fact, the
myth of engagement obscures the actual lack of change being produced,
while the broader pattern of equating extralegal activism with social reform
produces a false belief in the potential of change. There are few instances of meaningful

reordering of social and economic arrangements and macro-redistribution. Scholars write about decoding
what is really happening, as though the scholarly narrative has the power to unpack more than the actual
conventional experience will admit.224 Unrelated efforts become related and part of a whole through mere
reframing. At the same time, the elephant in the room the rising level of economic inequality is left
unaddressed and comes to be understood as natural and inevitable.225 This is precisely the problematic
process that critical theorists decry as losers self-mystification, through which marginalized groups come
to see systemic losses as the product of their own actions and thereby begin to focus on minor
achievements as representing the boundaries of their willed reality.

The explorations of

micro-

instances of activism are often fundamentally performative, obscuring the distance


between the descriptive and the prescriptive. The manifestations of extralegal activism the law
and organizing model; the proliferation of informal, soft norms and norm-generating actors; and the

produce a fantasy that change


can be brought about through small-scale, decentralized transformation . The
emphasis is local, but the locality is described as a microcosm of the whole
celebrated, separate nongovernmental sphere of action all

and the audience is national and global. In the context of the humanities, Professor Carol Greenhouse
poses a comparable challenge to ethnographic studies from the 1990s, which utilized the genres of
narrative and community studies, the latter including works on American cities and neighborhoods in
trouble.226 The aspiration of these genres was that each individual story could translate into a time of
the nation body of knowledge and motivation.227 In contemporary legal thought, a corresponding gap
opens between the local scale and the larger, translocal one. In reality, although there has been a recent
proliferation of associations and grassroots groups, few new local-statenational federations have emerged
in the United States since the 1960s and 1970s, and many of the existing voluntary federations that
flourished in the mid-twentieth century are in decline.228 There is, therefore, an absence of links between
the local and the national, an absent intermediate public sphere, which has been termed the missing

social movements have for the most part failed


in sustaining coalitions or producing significant institutional change through
grassroots activism. Professor Handler concludes that this failure is due in part to the
ideas of contingency, pluralism, and localism that are so embedded in current
activism.230 Is the focus on small-scale dynamics simply an evasion of the need to engage in broader
substantive debate? It is important for next-generation progressive legal scholars ,
while maintaining a critical legal consciousness , to recognize that not all
extralegal associational life is transformative. We must differentiate, for example,
between inward-looking groups, which tend to be self-regarding and
middle by Professor Theda Skocpol.229 New

depoliticized, and social movements that participate in political activities ,


engage the public debate, and aim to challenge and reform existing
realities.231 We must differentiate between professional associations and more inclusive forms of
institutions that act as trustees for larger segments of the community.232 As described above,

extralegal activism tends to operate on a more divided and hence a smaller scale
than earlier social movements, which had national reform agendas .
Consequently, within critical discourse there is a need to recognize the limited
capacity of small-scale action. We should question the narrative that imagines consciousness-

raising as directly translating into action and action as directly translating into change. Certainly not every
cultural description is political. Indeed, it is questionable whether forms of activism that are opposed to
programmatic reconstruction of a social agenda should even be understood as social movements. In fact,

groups are situated in opposition to any form of institutionalized power,


they may be simply mirroring what they are fighting against and merely
producing moot activism that settles for what seems possible within the
narrow space that is left in a rising convergence of ideologies . The original
vision is consequently coopted, and contemporary discontent is legitimated
through a process of self-mystification.
when

Instead we offer an alternative Debate as legislative


theater. This process best promotes our strategic
cognitive ability, preserves community, and creates a safe
space for debaters to have a relationship to a legal
system that we had once given up hope on
Majaury, 2013 [Heather, MA Theater Studies, University of Guelph, Plays
That Make Policy A Debwewin Journey Through Legislative Theatre, Thesis,
https://dspace.lib.uoguelph.ca/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10214/7515/Majaury_H
eather_201308_Ma.pdf?sequence=1, BJM]
In 1992, Augusto Boal created a complex theatre devising system in Rio de
Janeiro that built upon his well-known and well-used Theatre of the Oppressed method for creating

This system developed new theatrical tools using the


Forum theatre anti-model in conjunction with specifically
parliamentary applications (Legislative Theatre 5). This new system was
named Legislative Theatre because it generated discourse through
theatrical means, which proposed and created municipal law. Early in Boals
interactive plays.

theoretical discussions of the Theatre of the Oppressed we can see the germination of his ideas about
theatrical practice intervening directly in the legislative process. He discusses the legislators virtue as
being the ability to make perfect laws. He proclaims that the highest good is the political one, and the
political good is justice!(Theatre of the Oppressed 21). This thesis answers Boal's call for further
explorations of Legislative Theatre. It asks how Canadian Legislative projects have contributed to our
understanding of the use of theatre as politics over and above the original Rio mandate from 1992 to
1996. I also explore questions around practice through my own experiments as a Joker as part of my
research methodology. A Joker is an artist that provides a specific hybrid function, when creating a forum
anti-model. This function includes dramaturgy, direction, and forum facilitation between stage and
audience. My reflections communicate a specifically Anishinaabe way of knowing described as the
Debwewin Journey which I will explain further when I describe the methodology used to shape and inform
my investigations. In these experiments I have attempted to understand how creating the Forum itself
facilitates empowered knowledge sharing and more truthful dialogue. I discuss the theatre as embodying a
holistic approach to data gathering that innovates the law-making process. I then ask what can be done
from here. For a brief time, the Rio experiment using theatre as politics flourished, in a large
Brazilian metropolitan centre as a creative response to the need for more effective and democratic

It 2 promoted the concept of transitive or


practiced/performed democracy by devising Forum antimodels
within several different neighbourhoods. The Forum anti-model is a specific play
structure that represents a social problem where the protagonist of
the play falters and fails to reach his/her goal. Audience members ,
governance.

take the stage to replace the role of the protagonist .


They then improvise other strategies for potential success. The
Forums, in conjunction with law-crafting sessions called Chamber in the Square, facilitated
citizens to draft laws. The Chamber in the Square is a specific form of
consultation tied to the Legislative Forum where new laws are drafted and can be as
Boal describes, a way to resolve local problems (Legislative Theatre 92). Boal states that
who feel compelled,

these sessions can happen anywhere at anytime and it is that process that creates a synthesis for
recommendation (9294). These sessions were advertised and supported by an information dissemination
system called the Interactive Mailing List. This list enabled more inclusive democratic participation of the
general citizenry. These lists are easily facilitated today through various applications of email and social

THEATRE cannot be imprisoned inside theatrical


buildings, just as religion cannot be imprisoned inside churches; the language of theatre and its forms
media. Boal exclaims,

of expression cannot be the private property of actors, just as religious practice cannot be appropriated by

this thesis
affirms that the LEGISLATURE should not be imprisoned inside
municipal or government buildings either. Its procedures should not
be hidden behind closed doors. Access or understanding, by the general
public, should not be obfuscated by the practices or jargon of experts .
Think tanks that inform legislatures are not balanced in their advice if they only
consider and disseminate the musings and speculations of exclusive
round tables with no platform created for dialogue or contact with
the wisdom of lived experience, especially experience 3 shared by
those living and working at the point of impact of any law or policy.
priests and theirs alone! (Legislative Theatre 19). To further extend Boals hyperbole,

All forms of communication have their limitations. The written form does not always express emotions. I
can tell you something has impacted me in a negative way but if I show you how it has done so there is a
higher opportunity for mutual understanding. If you are given an opportunity to actually physically embody
what I have shown you, your sensitivity to the impact of my circumstances is increased significantly
because you are now sharing a sensory experience of a specific location in social and physical space.

There is a popular Native American proverb that speaks to the ethics of


experiential knowing. It warns Walk a mile in another mans moccasins before
you criticize him (Krznaric). This kind of understanding is crucial to
building a more empathetic and humble society capable of greater
inclusion when conducting its law-making rituals . Forum theatre
allows the body to speak, as much as the word or the written report .
It does not replace these other ways of communicating: it simply augments them. Thus challenging their
superiority as the only valid source information illuminating decision-making. The presence of the physical
body, carrying emotional weight and energetic drive, can sometimes provide crystal clarity about cause,
impact, and location that is simply lost in either oral or written forms of the same information. When
considering how we all learn and retain knowledge, whether we are street cleaners or board CEOs,
consider the wisdom of Confucius: I hear I forget, I see I remember, I do I understand (Brainy Quote). The
Forum takes knowledge gathering into the realm of doing. therefore increasing our mutual capacity for
better understanding across difference. The body holds knowledge not easily articulated by the word
alone, which is just as revealing and just as important. Coming into play, as a function of a democratized

Legislative Theatre seeks to


intervene directly into the designing of our agreements that
structure our relationships. The assumption underlying this impetus is that obeying the rule
of law is more likely if those ruled by it have created it. The Theatre of the Oppressed,
therefore, transforms itself from functioning as only a rehearsal for
revolution2 to becoming an actual technology of transformation. The
Legislative Theatre is concerned with engaging citizenry in lawmaking, and/or legal reform, through using aesthetic space and theatrical language to
transmit perceptions of injustice, messages of impact, and assertions of desire. The Legislative
Theatre is not just informing lawmakers of a communitys desires: it elevates citizens to
experiential experts crucial to the process of researching and
making laws . Attending or creating a Legislative Theatre session is
social structure, is the concept of the rule of 4 law.1

explicitly about learning the laws and systems that oppress us. A
Legislative Theatre project takes this process further by suggesting
that we each hold the power to reform or create the law itself . What we
must discover is how to do that successfully and in tandem with others. Legal change is rarely
the outcome of one individuals efforts. The goal for such a process can be one of
achieving justice where justice does not yet exist. Or it can simply be to achieve standards of social
regulation that are deemed fair, constructive, and are therefore not punitive but restorative in their goals.
This stems from a moral belief that law should be made and grounded in the realities of those most
effected. The law should not be a dehumanizing force in governance but a means by which our humanity is
protected and realized. Legislative Theatre is a humanizing force in the pursuit of that ideal. Understanding
the impact of a crime, unjust law, or a negligent system on its victim and discovering what a law could
have done to prevent dehumanization 5 is important fiscally as well as morally. The economic liabilities

The
rule of law and the systems that enforce it are insufficient when they
fail to protect the most vulnerable members of the society being
regulated from abuse or exploitation. Quite often laws are created by those who have
that are the result of dehumanizing vulnerable people often exceed the costs of humane treatment.

been empowered to make them and not necessarily in adequate or respectful consultation with those who
must live with their outcomes. Such outcomes include social exclusion with harsh penalties for non-

Therefore, the rule of law itself can become a system of


oppression for some groups while for others it provides a means to
achieve further privileges. Moreover, the legal system runs a real risk of
perpetuating an unjust social order that violates fundamental human
rights. Any groups, including municipal corporations, can create unjust circumstances when they create
compliance.

by-laws, policies, and procedures that lack adequate and thorough consultation. This is often the case

Therefore, Legislative
Theatre may be employed as a means to assist in the on-going
process of decolonization, cultural restoration, and the realization of
self-determination. Facilitated embodied learning and expression should be an operating
where social orders have been formed through colonial contexts.

principal of democratized social design and decisionmaking. After Boal's four-year experiment in Rio de
Janeiro, other Legislative Theatre projects, with the caveat distinction without the legislature, emerged in
other Brazilian communities, as well as in Europe and Canada. I have focused my research and analysis on
specifically Canadian contexts. These Canadian projects do not replicate the original Rio experiment. The
original experiment is distinguished because it employed Jokers and deployed them as cultural animators
throughout the city of Rio de Janeiro. This to my knowledge has never occurred within a Canadian
municipality. Although Canada does not experience the same widespread violence and abject poverty to
the same scale as Brazil, generally there can still be found situations of inequity that reveal an unjust
society. Lib 6 Spry supports this by articulating her view of Canadian power structures. All the power
structures that allow the third-world reality to be maintained so that the first world may enjoy its standard
of living can be found in our society. The isms abound in Canada; sexism, racism, chauvinism,
heterosexism, ageism, classism; they all exist in our daily relationships. While most of us can and do
exercise some choice in our lives, we are all part of power relationships that allow dominating and
exploitative structures to maintain the status quo (173). Therefore, Theatre of the Oppressed is as valid a
liberation research technology within Canadian borders as it is within Latin America or other countries that

Legislative Theatre project embedded within a Canadian Municipality


could prove very fruitful in transforming the way we expect and
desire laws to be created in our own communities. As is demonstrated by
sciences Chaos theory, a small change in initial conditions can result in vast
differences in final outcomes. There is no way to predict the outcome of any Legislative
are deemed Third World. A

Theatre project but that does not mean it is not worth doing. The possibility for participation to inspire
active citizen engagement that confronts chronic apathy is justification enough. The Canadian projects I
am including in this thesis approach goals and outcomes related in some way to Boals original objectives.
However, they do not achieve the same structures that were woven directly into wider municipal
management. My personal ability to conduct comprehensive community outreach was very limited.
However, by simply inviting participants to workshops via email, various doors began to open and my
expectations were exceeded. The project did however predictably not maintain enough stamina to create
an adapted version of the Chamber in the Square compatible with the deadlines for this thesis. The
assembled group overcame several obstacles and are still committed to completion of the project beyond
the scope of this research. This will to continue indicates the power of the work to constitute and develop
community. 7 The original Rio mandate deployed Jokers as government sanctioned cultural workers. All of
the projects I include in this thesis are the result of Jokers acting independently with associated theatre

companies often drawing their financial support from cultural funding schemes and their own
entrepreneurial tenacity. One project I have included actually pre-dates the Brazilian experiment so it is
technically not a Legislative Theatre project proper. The name had not been coined yet so it was not
adequately theorized into existence. This early show in Canada demonstrates that independent Jokers
were making the necessary and logical links between the power of the Forum and its relationship to law
making. Two of the theatre production companies cultivated relationships of cooperation with large
metropolitan government. Both of these cities are comparable to Rio de Janeiro as large urban centres but
they did not achieve multiple nuclei. Nor was support for either project embraced as their city councils
mandates. Thus they remained characterized as primarily alternative theatre anomalies rather than
instituted social planning innovations. The final case study included in this thesis discusses a mentoring
project with First Nations that utilized drama to train and encourage youth leadership. These performances
fostered a direct communication between citizenry and elected officials but these interventions were not
consciously or structurally Forums: however, the process did set up dialogue for change with some
tangible results because it asked participants to communicate to reserve leadership what change they
wanted to see in their communities. The participants were empowered through performance training to
express their heartfelt desires to both their band councils and service agencies in their communities. They
were themselves constructed, through the act of performance, as live proposals. As part of my research I
created my own micro-inquiries by conducting laboratories in the community where I live. I also accepted
invitations to work with other groups on two different occasions. Not all of these experiments were
Legislative in focus but they elucidated questions of process and politics within the devising process of
Forum theatre and how it relates to the more 8 complex Legislative form. From these experiments I was
able to ask what would need to occur for any of these projects to become Legislative. The projects ranged
from organizational and educational to a strictly grass roots workshop exploration. The first project used
Theatre of the Oppressed techniques to build scenes for a fundraising event that brought the staff and
residents of an independent living complex together to raise money for a mobility van. This project
contained certain scenes that could have been transformed into, and performed and facilitated, as Forum
anti-models. Through discussions linked to these scenes casual observations about policy constraints and
contradictions did happen. These casual conversations suggested that the scenes were one step away
from being effective Forums. I then worked on a commissioned educational project that used Forums to
explore teen sexting/bullying. While the project achieved a Forum anti-model that was very successful in
its ability to incite intervention it did not make law. I did see the potential for a full legislative project if
teachers, principals, and enough practical resources could support taking this project one step further into
a legislative context. I could vision a cross-curriculum design linking dramatic arts, social studies, and law
classes together where a Forum could be presented in a school-wide Chamber in the Square session
prepped in advance by creating and maintaining an interactive mailing list that could easily be set up with

The purpose of the Theatre of the


Oppressed is to take what we learn through role-play into our real
lives. During my work on this thesis I was confronted with a legal hearing concerning my familys
blogging software to prepare students for the session.

enrolment in a land claim where we were required to defend our place on the voters list. Through my
continuing understanding of the power of live performance we defended our familys oral tradition as a
legitimate way of knowing. Inside this legal proceeding I was able to put my Jokering and performance

Through performance
and other devising techniques we successfully defended our claim and called into question
prevailing legal 9 biases that have historically obfuscated our legal
Indigenous identity in Canada. Kelly Britt Howe, when referring to the Legislative Forum, suggests
each production differently constructs performance as a think tank
epistemology an embodied way of building and transferring knowledge about legislation (x). This
skills to use in the service of my family. This I found to be very satisfying.

occurred during this hearing subtly and implicitly. Our family prepared our materials and our testimonials in
the same way you would prepare for a Forum. I took on the role of presenter and called family members to
speak and share relevant oral history. The presentation was dynamic enough that it encouraged others to
also speak on our behalf. There was a spirit of intervention in the room that resulted in a successful
outcome for us. But much larger questions remain regarding comprehensive land claims and how that
process needs to be democratized in a manner that is truly respectful to all Algonquin people. Finally, I
culminated this study with a once a week laboratory called The Housing Project where I assembled
community volunteers to create a Forum play that would make a policy using the specific elements that
constitute Legislative theatre. These included the creation of a Forum that was intended to evolve into a
community-based equivalent of a Chamber in the Square session. The goal was to invite an audience
through our collective networks and support their participation using an interactive mailing list. This was
not achieved but the group agreed to continue beyond the first six sessions, which was their official
obligation, to see how far we could get. We were able to construct a Forum anti-model from those sessions
that set up several possible focuses on various laws at three levels of government. Where the project
ended is also its possible beginning. I did build relationships with discipline experts that are curious to
experience a Chamber in the Square session. I remain hopeful that we will get there. My experiments
attempted to answer the following questions. Can individual curiosity, or a feeling of urgency, be enough
to activate theatrical inquiry? Can such inquiry lead to a legislative project that will make a difference and

be taken seriously beyond the single nucleus that is formed and the specific nature of one Forum
presentation? 10 How does a Joker ensure that a project makes a difference? Is that even a Jokers
responsibility? How do we define success? What does making a difference mean? Augusto Boal, quoted by
scholar Britt Howe warns, the

subjunctive will only take political organizing


so far. Believing that changes in law can happen is important, yet so is

figuring out how to turn potential into reality (195). Must there always be an invitation that brings the
Joker in or can the Joker be a project initiator inviting others? How do you keep the work generating
possibilities beyond the confines of Canadas professionalized theatre community while asserting that
Theatre of the Oppressed is a legitimate theatre practice as well as a ground-breaking innovation in think
tank methodology? Is Legislative Theatre for the Oppressed or of the Oppressed? It is possible that the
practice itself holds both locations simultaneously like a subatomic particle inhabiting two locations inside
its quantum universe. Boal himself clarified that his theatre has been inaccurately named and if he had the
opportunity he would have renamed it the Theatre of Liberation (qtd. in Playing Boal Spry 174). This
active principal of liberation is a much preferred framing. This framing releases it from the confines of
superficial identity politics, which is important to consider if the practice is to be taken seriously outside of
its own disciplinary confines. Otherwise, the practice itself is stigmatized before you even start. As Boal

Legislative
Theatre, sometimes the oppression is actually rooted within the law. In the
latter case, to bring about the desired change would require a
transformation or redrafting of the law: legislation (10). Ergo, the
Legislative Theatre takes the impetus toward changing practical
reality and through the collective drafting of laws redrafts the
boundary of the performance beyond the performance. Devising
Forum theatre can help any group identify oppression that is
manifesting systemically through the legal regimes of practice that
uphold hegemonic ideological state apparatuses as first described by Louis
Althusser, and find the gaps in policy that might make a difference .
aptly states when explaining the history of Theatre of the Oppressed in his book

Althusser describes the need for such social orders or systems to reproduce submission to the rules of the

Forum Theatre identifies specific people operating


as antagonists or oppressors in our social relationships and helps us
to identify those who may become potential allies to our cause . These
11 established order (88).

people themselves do not function outside of the structures of ideological state apparatuses but are
themselves agents of these operating systems of social control. These apparatuses function inside a larger
organic system of human relationships that enact the living organism metaphor associated with systems
theory and well described in David Diamonds Theatre for Living, where he talks about the patterns of

Boal also challenges the authority of the


law-maker by stating that the legislator should not be the person
who makes the law, but the person through whom the law is made (by
relationships that creates the structures (46).

the citizens, of course!) (Legslative Theatre10). Augusto encouraged the Forum theatre spectactor to
exercise his/her theatrical citizenship (10). Therefore my inquiries ask how does Legislative Theatre
function without the legislature and how do we perform theatrical citizenship? Should it function without
the legislature? What do we mean by the legislature? What is a theatrical citizen? According to the Theatre
and Citizenship scholar David Wiles, citizenship addresses the fundamental problem of cohabitation (2).
What is considered democratic? Wiles states in a world of media manipulation and personality politics
there is no space for any serious public engagement with moral issues (2). It is therefore left to each
citizen or citizen group to create that space and assert such dialogue.

Legislative Theatre is

one way to take back public space as a space for engagement of


deliberate self-governance . And to what extent could practicing Legislative Theatre
transform ideological state apparatuses? How does Legislative Theatre tap into political power and use it?

And, debate as legislative theater sustains a new form of


deliberative engagement that will re-energize students
and programs to form a better sense of community that
can challenge structures of power internally and
externally making for a better tomorrow than we have
today
Carcasson, 7/1/13 [Martin, PhD., Colorado State University, Rethinking
Civic Engagement on Campus: The Overarching Potential of Deliberative
Practice, Kettering Foundation Project #35.13.00,
http://thedemocracycommitment.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/3carcasson-civic-eng-paper.pdf, BJM]
Both adversarial and expert forms of engagement have strengths and
weaknesses. Unfortunately, their weaknesses are particularly
exposed and consequential when dealing with wicked problems. The
zero-sum, winner-take-all nature of adversarial tactics tends to
incentivize problematic communication patterns that cause
polarization, misunderstanding, and cynicism, making already wicked
problems much more wicked. Rather than help communities uncover and work through the
competing values that underlie wicked problems, issues are often framed strategically to narrow the issue
to one dominant value, supporting the assumption that those that disagree must reject strongly held
values, rather than recognizing they likely support alternative values that are in tension. With adversarial
engagement, most messages are designed to either mobilize the like-minded (the choir or the base) or
entice the undecided, meaning productive communication between perspectives is oddly rare. Adversaries
seek to make one side sound 10 flawless and the other depraved, while opposing advocates make the
same argument, leading to dominant communication patterns of opposing sides completely talking past
each other in what political scientists have termed noncontradictory argumentation( Baumgartner and
Jones, 1993). Communications that recognize the value of and provide respect for opposing perspectives
are actually seen as weak and ineffective, rather than prudent. Admitting to tradeoffs is simply poor

adversarial engagement results in patterns of


communication where people that disagreean inherent aspect of a diverse
democracy and wicked problemshave little incentive to interact or understand
each other genuinely. When combined with the natural egoistic
tendency of humans to function as selective listeners that prefer to
surround themselves with people that agree and avoid those that
disagree, adversarial engagement creates situations were groups
see issues through very different lenses, making the collaboration,
coordination, and innovation so important to addressing wicked
problems particularly difficult. As a result, the level of conflict becomes
severely exaggerated, and those groups never genuinely discuss (or
work through) their true differences because they are blinded by the
false polarization caused by poor communication. In sum, the natural
strategy. Said differently,

marketplace of ideas breaks down . The best arguments are often


punished, and the demand for low quality products is high . Expert
dominated engagement struggles with wicked problems primarily
due to the privileging of particular forms of knowledge . As scholars such as
Yankelovich and Boyte have argued, experts support a technocratic view of decision-making that overly
focuses on empirical data and being value free, meaning they are adept at examining what is or what

Experts are trained to focus on specific aspects


of problems, which works well with tame problems but is far too
narrow for wicked problems. Wicked problems require 11 significant
could be but not what should be.

engagement with both facts and values, and experts tend to only deliver on half of
that equation. Both adversarial and experts forms are also limiting because
they typically support very narrow roles for citizens , which clearly
impedes the need for adaptive changes that are so important to
tackling wicked problems. Adversarial engagement often leads to
citizens serving primarily as spectators or voters (in many ways, primarily as objects
of manipulation), whereas experts tend to shut the public out altogether, or attempt to dictate appropriate
behavior from one high, which rarely works. Whereas advocates focus primarily on interaction and
persuasion to the detriment of genuine inquiry, experts focus primarily on inquiry and fall short on the
genuine inclusion and interaction. The nature of wicked problems requires both genuine inquiry and
significant public engagement, including broad inquiry and engagement in defining the problem,
developing approaches to address the problem, considering the various consequences to those

Addressing
wicked problems calls for cooperation, shared understanding and
ownership, and, ultimately, action from a broad range of stakeholders ;
therefore citizens must take up the role of (and have the skills to be)
engaged and collaborative problem solvers , a role neither
adversarial or expert forms of engagement encourages or equips
citizens to play. An alternative to adversarial and expert engagement that is slowly gaining
more and more traction is deliberative engagement. A broad review will not be repeated
approaches, and finally managing the changes necessary to implementing any actions.

here (see Gastil & Levine, 2005; Mathews, 1999; McIvor, Barker, and McAfee, 2012 for examples), but

deliberative engagement relies on citizens, not just experts or politicians,


to be deeply involved in public decision making . Ideally, citizens come together

briefly

and consider relevant facts and values from multiple points of view, listen to one another in order to think
critically about the various 12 options before them, and discover and work through the underlying tensions

participants are open to


refining their opinions as they consider their personal interests and the interests of fellow
community members and the broader community, identify the common ground that may exist, and
ultimately come to some conclusion for various forms of action in
the form of a reasoned public judgment. Most importantly for tackling wicked
problems, deliberative engagement focuses on the tough choices and
paradoxes inherent to public problems and the need for publics to
interact with each other and work through issues across
perspectives (Yankelovich & Friedman, 2010). In doing so, it tends to foster mutual
understanding across perspectives, which then fuels greater
potential for collaboration and innovation. Freed from the simplistic onesided views and wishful thinking of advocacy and the narrow perspectives of the expert model,
ideally participants confronted with the true wickedness of the issue
work together to imagine a broad range of potential actions to
negotiating the tensions. Here is yet another major advantage of deliberative engagement:
its potential to open up the conversation to innovation regarding
multiple mechanisms of action, which connects to developing
notions of democratic or collaborative governance (Boyte, 2005). Addressing
and tough choices inherent to wicked problems. In this process,

wicked problems at the local level must in particular go beyond a focus on governmental policy or
individual behavior, and also consider potential actions from groups, non-profits, educational institutions,
and private industry. With adversarial and expert engagement, possible actions are typically much more
narrowly construed, and in the case of adversarial, when a particular campaign is successful, it may only
work to mobilize the opposition even more strongly to oppose it, as we have seen with Obamacare.
Deliberative engagement therefore not only supports broader and more innovative ways of thinking about
13 change, but the processes themselves tend to build long term support and legitimacy for those actions.
Deliberative engagement, however, takes significant time and effort. It is, again, an ideal to strive for
which will never fully be reached. The primary problem with deliberative engagement, therefore, is how to
build capacity and support for it, and ultimately make it a habit in our communities (Carcasson, 2009). In
order to support all the various process points deliberative engagement requiresi.e. broad and inclusive
research, identifying and negotiating both tensions and common ground, issue framing, nurturing genuine

engagement across perspectives, and supporting the move to collaborative actiondeliberative practice
generally requires the assistance of individuals or organizations that take an impartial perspective on
issues and focus primarily on improving the quality of communication in order to hopefully improve the
quality of the decisions made. Such resources increase community capacity by fulfilling a broad range of
critical roles, such as conveners, process designers, facilitators, reporters, and impartial researchers that
name and frame issues to support deliberation. Elsewhere I have termed those that take on these roles as
key resources of passionate impartiality (Carcasson, 2010; Carcasson & Sprain, 2010). They represent
people who are passionate about their community, about democracy, and about solving problems but
nonetheless realize that serving as impartial resources focused on building capacity for deliberative
democracy will fill a unique, critical void in their community. Here again is why expanding the deliberative
nature of campus civic engagement programs can have a critical dual effect, both increasing the ability of
future generations to address wicked problems, but also to serve their communities as critical capacity for
deliberative work at that time. Deliberative practice requires dedicated, smart, and passionate people to
serve critical impartial roles to support the process, 14 and clearly such individuals are rare, and becoming
more and more rare by the minute in our polarized political culture. College students, with instruction and
support from professors and staff, however, have enormous potential to fill this role in their local
communities, as they have with the Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation model
(Carcasson, 2011). The key is getting to the college students early, so they serve as antidotes to the
polarization rather than either join the fray or avoid politics altogether.

The Japanese American Redress and Reparations movement proves


topical action is possible.
Kang 1993, Kang, Robert S. is a Professor of Law and an Associate Dean for
Research and Faculty Development, He also serves on the advisory board of Berkeleys
Asian American Law Journal. Toward an Asian American Legal Scholarship: Critical
Race Theory, Post-Structuralism, and Narrative Space, 81 Cal. L. Rev. 13141316
The Commission released its findings in 1982, 33 1 concluding that " Executive Order
9066 and the internment that it sanctioned resulted from 'race prejudice, war
hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.' "332 The Commission further
presented five recommended remedies. 3 3 These included a recommendation that an
official apology be issued and that each surviving internee be given $20,000.11' The
Commission's report and recommendations as well as the work of Japanese
American congressmen 335 paved the way for the redress bill, which was
passed by the House in September 1987 and by the Senate in April 1988.336 The
government began making payments on October 9, 1990. 337 Professor Chan
comments that "[t] he redress movement has been a prime example of how Asian
American elected officials have worked hand in hand with community activists
toward a common end ., 33' Bu t this "end" did not come about until the "model
minority" broke its silence, demonstrating the power of narrative through
testimony about the injustice of the internment camps.

Localization DA Fetishization of the local and the fugitive does not make it
possible to theorize the relations between local issues as relations between parts
to a whole. We need a new paradigm, not simply a scattered guerrilla war.

Alcoff 12, Professor of Philosophy at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center, (Linda M.,
Enrique Dussels Transmodernism, TRANSMODERNITY: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the
Luso-Hispanic World, http://escholarship.org/uc/item/58k9k17t)

For this sort of reason, I suspect some of Dussels critics cannot follow him to a new metanarrative but would prefer the piecemeal, local interventions that aim for a smaller scale. This difficulty
gets at the key problem for the revisionary shift at the meta-level that Dussel wants to make: how do we move to a decentralized, pluriversal (rather than universal) approach that avoids
relativism? How do we avoid losing the ability for critique, and especially for macro-level critiques that will be adequate to the macro-level epistemic structures of the coloniality of power? How
do we construct a pluriversal epistemology in a politically meaningful way? Any overarching normative criterion for inclusion in the pluriversal is contradictory to the idea of pluriversality. Jurgen
Habermass attempts to produce overarching norms come under the understandable criticism that these work again to be exclusionary of those who cannot or dont want to be discursively
engaged, who cannot or refuse to accept the terms of engagement, and this would include some indigenous groups, for example, who want disengagement and autonomy more than anything
else. Yet without an overarching criterion of inclusion or evaluation, Dussel is right that pluriversality has no clear relation to liberation. Dussels worries with Foucault are based precisely in this

if we stay only at the level of the local, we cannot


develop a macroaccount of hegemonic power. He asks: how can
Foucaults local critiques work without challenging the metanarratives, and macro-practices, that subordinate local knowledges?
One must recognize that power is mutually and relationally
constituted between social subjects, but that, in any case, the
power of the state or the power of the hegemonic nation (such
as the United States) continues to exist (Dussel, Philosophy
339). Local praxis does not make it possible to theorize the
relations between local issues as relations between parts to a
whole , and to understand local problems and challenges as
often connected to larger, non-local processes. Dussel rightfully
argues that we need a new paradigm, not simply a scattered
guerrilla war . The concept of the transmodern is meant, in part,
to allow for a broad, even global relationality among elements,
so none are irreducibly local. When we make cultures or
knowledge systems irreducibly local, we truly risk ahistorical
reifications. We risk losing sight of how our representations of
local practices or knowledges may be constituted through
imperial sign systems, or, in other words, mistaking the local
as a solipsistic spontaneous emergence, rather than
implicated---at least in its representations and how it is
understood---within a larger colonial semiosis. Thus we must
avoid fetishizing the local . The potential relativism of pluriversality is avoided,
concern: he suggests that

then, not by imposing a uniform, universal standard or method or set of norms, but by
developing provisional meta-narratives of global history that can illuminate local conditions and
relations. What provides the normative criterion within pluriversality is just this meta-narrative of
an interconnected history. This is not a transcendental criterion of rationality, a la Habermas, but
a more dynamic and decentered notion of the developments of reason in relationality. Dussels
macro-frame of the metanarrative, and in particular his metanarrative of the transmodern,
operates to keep the colonial context ever-present in the analytical process, while
decentralizing the idea of the modern and removing its vanguard global status. There is a
coherent historical narrative that Dussel gives here to be suremodernity phase one and
modernity phase twobut there is no uniquely privileged site where the emergence of rationality
occurs, or the development of a reflexive critical consciousness that begins to assess ones
conventions of belief and practice. Reflective consciousness is an equal opportunity
phenomenon, as is blind dogmatism and willful ignorance. Meta-narratives of history have
explanatory value; they are offered as explanations for progression, development, or relations.

The concept of the transmodern is a concept with much greater

explanatory value than the myth of Eurocentric modernity, and,


because of its pluri- and trans-versal character, it avoids the
exclusionary, hierarchical effects of totalizing systems. Although it
provides a check on the potential relativism that can occur when we reject centralized models,
the concept of the transmodern is meant to provide an overarching criterion of evaluation for
the philosophy of liberation, despite the fact that it is Dussels main alternative meta-narrative to
the meta-narratives of Eurocentrism. It is motivated by its descriptive project, to produce a
better ideational representation of history and social formations in the colonial era. In more
recent work, Dussel has suggested that it is out of this historical re-description that we can map
the productive sites for the most critical, irruptive work. The transmodern metanarrative
suggests a recipe for moving forward not through universalist procedures justified via a
transcendental arguments outside of cultural or historical specificity, but via an analysis of
how and where cultural dialogues can occur most productively given the way in which
the current global discursive regimes have been affected by colonialism. Radical critiques
respond, he argues, from another place or location, positioned as the exterior to those
designated universal cultures of European Modernity. These other places have been
characterized as dead, or epistemically barren, yet they are alive with a distinct difference barely

It is from here that new paths for future


development and dialogue will emerge toward pluriversality as
a universal project. (Mignolo 243). Dussel clarifies this proposal as a positive
legible to the center.

alternative to the rational reconstructive projects of European modernity, but without sacrificing
or conceding the terrain of the rational. Critical thought is sparked by intercultural dialogue
through an immanent process that ignites local participants to rethink the terms of local
cultures, not through recourse to mandated universals but as a response to the
stimulation of a dialogue that is what Dussel calls transversal, meaning that it does not
presuppose a formal symmetry between cultures, nor does it operate only between elites.
It thus occurs outside of the domain of legitimated epistemic interaction by the standards of
European rationalist modernity, and it does this in several ways. First, the location of participants
is key in assessing the legitimacy and efficacy of their critique, rather than ideas separated
from context. Second, we must begin to recognize, and incorporate within utopian revisions, the
simple fact that non-elites contribute to the production, development, and dissemination of
critical thought, and that, in many cases, the best radical ideas of authoritative discourses are
expressions of the intellectual ferment sowed from below, in the subjugated spaces of the
culture. And third, that the ongoing effect of colonial legacies on cultural interactions must cause
us to recognize that the necessity of defending cultural autonomy must still be recognized as a
powerful force even when we acknowledge the unstoppable flows of ideas and influence. In
Dussels account, critical

rationality occurs within localized spaces


but is instigated at times by larger intercultural dialogues. This
is truly a new map, a map of a transmodern world. If we recall the three
meta-theoretical hurdles for Dussels work that I enumerated at the beginning of this essay, we
can see how his notion of the transmodern addresses each one: through the re-articulation of
certain identities as privileged epistemic locations, and through a re-grounding of knowledge via
the transmodern cosmology. The postmodernist critics of Dussel as well as of Walter Mignolo
are making the mistake of incorporating their ideas under the domain of the Same, as if their
revisions of meta-language replicate the formal characteristics of Eurocentric, decontextualized,
de-culturated universalisms (see e.g. Michaelson and Cutler Shershow). But here are the
differences: Dussel places his foundation in a politically conscious perspectivalism, rejecting
neutrality or objectivity; he and Mignolo geographically and historically locate their ideas, thus
forestalling claims of absoluteness or infallibility and inviting future transformation; gnoseology
and transmodernity are both approaches that exemplify pluriversality that

is, a
decentered epistemology that emphasizes dialogue as the

route to adjudicate difference rather than an individual


procedure of judgment. To be sure, both offer meta-languages

and
in some senses, intellectual and political maps with aspirations to cover a wide territory,
geographically and historically. But postmodernists do the same Jean-Franois Lyotards
paralogies, proposed in place of paradigms, and Gilles Deleuzes thousand plateaus are
similarly broad in scope and ambitious in coverage, even setting out normative criterion for
determining what kind of moves can be supported (inventiveness, productiveness, difference).
(So one could argue that Dussel and Mignolo are postmodern in this sense if Lyotard and
Deleuze are, and yet there is a difference. Lyotard and Deleuze are not as upfront about the
normative aims of their meta-ambitions.) But the main point here is that Dussel is right to charge
his critics with formalism: as if all meta-narrative forms are the same. They are not.

Their Affirmative Fails- Attempting to tear down the


system and build something completely new is little
more than abstract and apolitical moralism and idealism.
The best way to change the world is via transformation of
existing democratic institutions.
Dussel, Argentine-Mexican writer and post-occidental/Decoloniality
philosopher, 2008 (Enrique, Twenty Theses on Politics)
The question of whether or not it is possible to change the world
without taking power has from the outset been posed incorrectly .
Power is not taken'' as though it were a thing, an object at hand, or
a well-bound package. Power is a faculty belonging to the political
community ( 2 ], to the people [ 12]. The power that appears to be
taken" is merely the mediations or institutions of the delegated
exercise ( 3] of this fundamental power. If the delegated exercise of power takes
the form of obedience [ 4 ], this power qua service is just, adequate, and necessary. If one were to
take" control of already corrupted institutions, or structures of fetishized power [ 5], this exercise
would not operate to the benefit of the community, the people. As a result, one cannot change the
world" through such a corrupted exercise, as should be obvious by now. The subject, then, has been
posed in a confusing manner. To simplify, we could say that it is the position of Bakunin, of anarchism,
that all institutions are repressive [ 7]. [201. 2 ] When an honest representative of the political
community, the people, is delegated for the exercise of institutional power, they must in the first place
not merely fulfill the already institutionally defined and structured func- tions of power (potestas) [ 3 ].

It remains always necessary to consider whether or not these


given institutions truly serve to satisfy the demands of the
community, the people, and social movements. If they do not
serve these demands, they need to be transformed. Chavez
changed the Constitution at the outset of his delegated exercise of
power, as did Evo Morales. That is, the package of State
institutions (potestas) needs to be untied and changed as a whole
by conserving what is sustainable and eliminating what is
unjust-thereby creating the new. Power ( as potestas ) is not
"taken" en bloc It is reconstituted and exercised critically in
view of the material satisfaction of needs, in fulfillment of the
normative demands of democratic legitimacy, and within
empirical political possibility. But, to be clear, without the

obediential exercise of delegated institutional power the


world cannot feasibly be changed . To attempt to do so is little
more than abstract and apolitical 'moralism and idealism, which
clearly results from practical and theoretical confusions. However, these quasi-anarchists do in-
deed remind us that institutions become fetishized and always need to be transformed, as Marx points
out. [20.1.3] On the level of strategic feasibility, in order to change the world one needs to rely on
an extraordinarily healthy political postulate: that of the 'dissolution of the State." This

We must operate in such a


way as to tend toward the (empirically impossible)
identity of representation with the represented, in
such a way that State institutions become always
increasingly transparent, effective, simplified, etc.
Such a condition would not, however, be a "minimal
State"-in either the Right-wing version of Nozick or
the left-wing version of Bakunin-but rather a
"subjectified State," in which the institutions become
diminished due to the increasingly shared
responsibility by all citizens ("We are all the State!").132 This would need to
postulate can be put approximately as follows:

proceed alongside the application of the electronic revolution in order to reduce almost to zero the time
and space required for citizen par, ticipation, 133 in terms of collecting the opinion of the citizenry to
constitute a consensus or carry out bureaucratic procedures. This would be a virtual State with
decentralized offices, managed by Web sites, and the State of the future would be so different from that
of the present that many of its most bureau, cratic, opaque, and bloated institutions would have
disappeared . . . It would appear that the State no longer exists, but it will be more present than ever as
the normative responsibility of each citizen toward the others. This is the criterion of orientation
that follows from the postulate of the 'dissolution of the State."