ON CASE – the aff is bad, several reasons
a. Autoethnography is unethical – consent often isn’t
gathered from those whose stories are collected and even
when it is, the narratives often cause pain to their authors
and subjects
Méndez 13
(M ariza, Ph.D., teaches TESOL at the U ni versity of Manc hes ter, England (2001) and is Tec hnical Secretari at of R es earch and Graduate St udi es i n the Di visi on of Politic al Scienc e and H umaniti es at U ni versity of Quintana Roo, Mexic o, “Autoethnography as a r esear c h method: Advantages , li mitations and criticis ms”, C olombi an Appli ed Li nguistics J our nal, vol. 15, no. 2, J ul y/D ec ember 2013, htt p://www.sciel o.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0123-46412013000200010)//J SL
One of the main features of
autoethnography is its emphasis on the self this specific feature entails the
problematic ethical considerations of the method
the problem of
obtaining or not obtaining consent to be included in the narrative has to be
considered autoethnography includes the description of
sensitive issues
with regard to the researcher and the people around him or her
formal consent does not help researchers deal with the feelings of guilt and harm
they may have when writing autoethnographic accounts
Megford felt hurt
when reading an autoethnographic account which erased her and made a part of
her life that had some value for her disappear.
Despi te the advantages of autoethnography as a method of r es earc h mentioned above, ther e are als o s ome limi tations which need to be borne i n mind. For exampl e, the feelings evoked in r eaders may be unpleas ant since the connec tions r eaders make to narrati ves cannot be predicted (Bochner and Elli s, 1996). Another li mitati on is the expos ure i t i mpli es of the r esearc her's i nner feelings and thoug hts , which r equire hones ty and willi ngness to self- disclose. T his li mitation also entails many ethic al ques tions whic h s ometimes may be ver y diffic ult for the res earc her to ans wer, making autoethnogr aphies a c omplic ated method to follow. Ethic al c onsiderations
and it is
(Ellis, 2007). As a personal narrati ve is developed, the c ontext and people inter acting wi th the subject s tart to emerge in the r eflexi ve pr actic e (Ellis and Boc hner, 2000). It is at this poi nt when
(Miller and Bell, 2002). Evocati ve
periods of r es earc hers' li ves that invol ve
(Wall, 2008). D ue to this, speci al c onsi der ati ons have to be taken into acc ount when r eferring to loved ones , s uch as famil y members, partners or cl ose friends. Evocati ve autoethnographi es may be written in the first or third person. For
some, using the third pers on gi ves a s ense of distanc e from the events and the people being r eferred to. As explai ned i n Ellis et al. ( 2007) in a statement by D enzin (1997), " I was j ust g oing to disguis e myself bec aus e I s till di dn't have the freedom to – I hadn't gi ven mysel f the freedom to – write that narrati ve i n the first pers on" ( p. 317). F or others, the first pers on s eems to be the onl y way to be c ompl etel y explicit about the events bei ng anal ysed. In a reflec tion on a narrati ve he wrote, Wyatt ( 2006) admits c hanging s ome parts of his narrati ve from first to thir d pers on bec ause i t gi ves hi m a certain dis tanc e. For autoethnographers , Wyatt says, the firs t ethic al princi ple should be, " cl ose we choos e to position our r eaders"(p. 814). T he s econd principl e is the one of c onsent. In describing critical periods of our lives it may be ver y diffic ult to as k the peopl e invol ved in thes e narrati ves to give c onsent to their public ati on. H owever, i t s eems that
(Ellis, 2007; Wall, 2008). Ellis ( 2007) adds a dimension to ethics in autoethnography: rel ational ethics, whic h r efers to the ethics i nvol ved in writings about personal experienc es wher e i nti mate others are i ncl uded. Should we as k cons ent fr om the people i nvol ved i n autoethnographic narrati ves ? It s eems that there ar e no
straightfor ward r es pons es to this or to other ethical q uestions that may aris e when engaged i n autoethnography. As Ellis (2007) puts it: T he bad news is that there ar e no defi niti ve rul es or uni versal principles that c an tell you pr ecis el y what to do in ever y situati on or r elati onshi p you may enc ounter, other than the vague and g eneric " do no har m" ( p. 6). This generic r ule of no har m was not clear enoug h i n its applic ati on for Wall ( 200 8), who, in spi te of havi ng c ons ent from her famil y to write about her experi ence as an adopti ve mother, was not free from fe elings of g uilt, as she express es: I had a persistent and sig nificant sens e of anxiety about the tension between proc eedi ng with an ac ademic pr ojec t and telling a s tor y about my life that was i nextricabl y i ntertwined with my son's (p. 49). Al ong the s ame lines,
She states : ...when writi ng autoethnographic ally, we are forc ed to hol d a critic al mirror to our li ves , an d s ometi mes looki ng in that mirror by c andlelight is more flattering than l ooking i nto the mirror in br oad daylight. (p. 859)
b. Settler colonial theory is, in fact, settler colonial. settler
colonialism simultaneously justifies Settler non-action and
erases Indigenous struggles and agency.
Macoun & Strakosch 13
(Alissa, R es earc her in the Sc hool of Political Sci ence and International Studi es at the U ni versi ty of Queenl and, Austr alia; Eliz abeth, Lectur er in Public Polic y and Politic s at the School of Politic al Scienc e and Inter national Studies a t the Uni ver sity of Queensl and, Austr alia “T he ethic al demands of s ettler c oloni al theor y” Settler C ol oni al Studies, pp. 435-437
Despi te thes e powerful c ontributi ons , we also identify s ome i mportant iss ues ass ociated with SCT i n Aus tralian ac ademic debates about the N T inter vention. The first is a direc t c onsequenc e of one of SCT’s vital c ontributions, arisi ng from the theor y’s pres ent tense iterati on of s ettl er c olonialis m. By emphasizi ng c ontinuities in col onial r elati onshi ps between the pas t and the pres ent, SCT can depic t c oloniz ation as struc tur all y i nevitable, and c an be depl oyed in ways that re‐i nscribe s ettler c oloni alism.
We sugges t that SCT’s s truggle to narrate its own ending can be countered by
approach the theory as settler
an acc ount of
which makes visibl e our own fr ames of refer ence. T his in turn exposes a range of possi bilities and politic al visi ons outsi de these frames. Suc h an appr oach is signific ant i n c ountering potentiall y pr obl ematic mis uses of SCT that erase its l ocation as a s ettler disc ours e. Suc h eras ures pr obl ematicall y empower ac ademics to speak with neutr al des cripti ve authority over both se ttler and Indigenous realities. Firstl y, by disturbi ng settl er col onialis m’s narr ati ves of progress, SCT attributes a pec uliar sus pended temporality to the s ettl er pr oject. This can portray settler col oni alis m as an inevitabl e s truc tur e li kel y to exist acr oss ti me – the fac t that the past persists i n the pres ent i mplies that this pas t will al so persist i n the future. F oundational sc holar Patric k Wolfe has been l abelled ‘ ver y muc h a str ucturalist stuc k in a posts tructuralis t world’.63 As we have outlined, this s truc tur alism is partic ul arly us eful i n identifyi ng the operati on of politic al hier archi es. However,
SCT’s analysis
can lead to a theoretical and
political impasse and result in colonial fatalism. Such fatalism can be deployed
to imply a moral equivalence between different forms of settler political
interaction with Indigenous people, and, to deny the legitimacy of Indigenous
This tendency is reinforced by
SCT’s capacity to identify significant commonalities in the objectives of
conservative and progressive policy approaches,
individuals are excused from anti‐colonial action in the present and
settlers are particularly attracted to SCT
this sort of analysis
leads scholars to position one sort of
Indigenous response as more valid and authentic than others,
is that it does not gi ve an acc ount of s uc h a tr ans for med future, or of the conditions for s ettl er c olonialis m’s d emise. T his
it can als o excuse us from human political ac tion i n the pr es ent by pres enting this ac tion as futile or already determi ned.64 T he rol e of political ac ti vists is to wait for the s tructurall y deter mined future, and at most to pr epare others for its arrival. T he partic ular challenge of
a kind of
at its worst,
Structuralist narrati ves are able to posi t radic al c hange, but onl y if this c hange is built into the s truc tur es they describe – for example bec ause thes e s truc tur es are subject to internal c ontradicti ons or ar e inherentl y unstabl e. Settl er c olonial structures, however, appear as highl y stabl e and ‘rel ati vel y i mper vi ous to r egime c hange’.65 T her efore, at the s ame moment s ettl er sc holars finall y s ee the depth and reac h of s ettler c oloni alism in the present they feel unable to fi nd ‘posts ettler col oni al pas sages’.66
as discussed above. It shows that tr aditi onal ‘ decol onizi ng’ pathways s uc h as tr eaty maki ng, rec onciliati on and for mal apol ogies may als o s er ve c olonial ends by abs orbi ng and exti nguis hing Aboriginal political differ enc e wi thout disturbi ng the foundati onal s truc tur es of settler dominance. As Austr alian anthr opol ogist D eborah Bird R os e notes , this makes it ‘difficult to offer a critique of the col onizi ng featur es without c alling into
questi on the whol e dec olonizi ng pr oject’ .67 If ever y s ettl er action is framed as al ways already col onizing, then
Indigenous peopl e are desti ned to be vic tims of an unstoppable
colonizing state.68 As bell hooks argues i n rel ati on to US rac e r elati ons, this is useful to thos e i n a position of dominance: ‘s o many White people ar e eager to believe racis m cannot be c hang ed bec aus e i nternalizing that ass umption downplays the iss ue of acc ountability. N o res ponsi bility need be taken for not c hanging s omethi ng if i t is perc ei ved as i mmutable.’69 Is it possibl e that
precis el y bec ause it gi ves us a s ense of bei ng intellec tuall y c ommitted to the end of col onialis m while simultaneousl y unabl e to ac t against our own
privil ege? As a recent articl e c oncluded about the prospects for dec oloniz ati on: I can onl y assess this with a degree of gloom. I am yet to be c onvinc ed that we c an pr event indigenous dis advantage r emai ning struc tur all y embedded in soci ety and through the state even after any ki nd of ‘transiti on’ or ‘ transformati on’. At the s ame ti me, I fear dec olonization. I am mys elf a s ettler, like several of my ancestors before me, and I have nowh ere els e to belong.70 SCT’s s truc tur alism may s er ve thes e c onflicted inter ests , in all owing us to feel we have done all we c an whil e facing the ‘r eality’ of an i nevitabl e s ettl er c olonial futur e. This structuralis m gi ves many withi n s ettler c oloni al studies a particul ar orientation towards Indigenous resis tanc e and scholars hi p. Australi an sc hol ar Ti m R owse argues that critic al settl er pers pec ti ves on col oni alism can ‘reproduc e that s orrowi ng for m of attention i n which defeat and marginality ar e highlighted a t the expense of understanding the natur e and li mits of the Indigenous ag enc y that circ umstances afforded’ .71 H e and others
suggest that
caricatures Indig enous responses , pres enting a fals e binar y between resistanc e/s overeignty and co‐ optation i n the c olonizing proc ess .72 T his, they suggest,
re‐perfor ming the authority settl ers have al ways cl aimed over defi nitions of Indigenous reality. Joanne Bar ker i dentifi es a ‘tr o ubl ed focus within settler col oni al s tudies on struc tur e to the eras ure of Indigenous experi enc es and perspec ti ves about
colonialis m even within anal yses of the “logic of eli minati on” that fuels col oni al proc ess es of social for mation.’ 73 SCT may be r evelator y to many s ettler s cholars , but Indig enous peopl e have been speaking for a l ong time about col oni al c ontinuiti es bas ed on their li ved experiences.74 Some SCTs have sought to c onnect with these disc ussi ons and to for egroun d Indigenous r esistance, s ur vi val and ag enc y.75 Others , however, s eem to us e SC T as a pathway to explai n the c oloni al enc ount er wit hout engagi ng with Indigenous peopl e and experi enc es – either on the grounds that this s truc tur al anal ysis already c onc eptuall y explai ns Indigenous experience, or bec aus e Indigenous r esistance is r ender ed invisi ble. In thes e c as es, the struc tur alis m of SCT theor y can be mobiliz ed to acti vel y rei nforce settl er col onial authority and to partic ipate i n the attempted er asur e of Indig enous i ndependenc e. We argue that Aus tralian schol ar Dirk Mos es 76 deploys SC T in his anal ysis of the NT inter vention i n ways that clearly demons trate this potential re‐ins cripti on of
colonial authority.77 M os es, perhaps more than s ome others, r ec ogniz es the radic al i mplic ations of s ettl er c olonial anal ysis. H e ac knowl edges that bec aus e ‘ Australi a remains a s ettl er c olonial entity,’ t he Indigenous ‘experience of disintegrati on is i ntens e … i n the fac e of a White settler c ol ony deter mined to assi milate the “ N ati ve” other. C ultural sur vi val is, then, a pressing iss ue for Indigenous l eaders and i ntell ectuals’.78 In his rec ent piec es on c ontemporar y Australi an Indigenous polic y, Mos es depl oys postcol oni al and SCT to evaluate the r esponses of Indigenous i ntellec tuals and political leaders, leveraging theory and his status as a settl er intellectual to pr ovide an account of Indigeneity. He seeks to both encompass Indigenous experi ences of c oloniz ation and offer an ass ess ment of appropriate Indigenous sur vi val s trategies . Ulti matel y, Moses uses SCT to argue that, for their own good, Indigenous peopl e must gi ve up the s truggle for s ur vi val in or der to rel eas e thems el ves fr om viol ence and fi nd freedom and polic y agenc y.
c. Narratives commodifies one’s identity and has limited
impact on the culture that one attempt’s to reform—the 1AC
subverts its own most radical intentions by becoming an
exemplar of the very culture under indictment—this turn
Coughlin 95
—Anne M . C oug hlin, Ass oci ate Pr ofess or of Law, Vander bilt Law Sc hool [Augus t, 1995, “R egul ating the Sel f: Autobiogr aphical Per for mances in Outsi der Sc hol arshi p,” Virgi nia Law R eview , 81 Va. L. Rev. 1229, Lexi s]
is a lucrative commodity.
academic presses have been eager to market
outsider narratives.
an autobiographical performance transforms that self into a
form of “property in a moneyed economy”
be skeptical of the assertion that
the outsiders' splendid record is itself sufficient evidence of the success of their
the transformation of outsider authors into
“success stories” subverts outsiders' radical intentions by constituting them
as exemplary participants within contemporary culture,
Although Williams is quic k to detec t insensiti vity and bigotr y i n r emar ks made by str ang ers, c olleagues, and fri ends, her taste for ir ony fails her when it c omes to r eflection on her r elati onshi p with her readers and the material benefits t hat her autobi ographic al perfor manc es have ear ned for her. n196 Perhaps Williams should be more i nclined to thank, r ather than reprimand, her editors for behavi ng as readers of autobiography invariabl y do. When we examine this liter ary faux pas - the inc ongruity between Williams's c ondemnati on of her editors and the professi onal benefits their public ation sec ured her - we detec t yet another c ontradiction between the outsiders' use of autobiography and their desire to tr ansform cul tur e radic ally. Lej eune's c har acterization of autobi ography as a “c ontract” remi nds us that
In our culture, members of the r eading public avi dl y c onsume personal stories, n197 whic h s urel y expl ains why first-rate law journals and
No matter how unrul y the self that it r ec ords,
n198 and into a val uabl e intel [* 1283] lectual ass et in an academy that r equires its members to publish. n199 Acc ordi ngl y, we must
n200 C ertai nl y, public ati on of a bes t s eller may transform its author's life, wi th the r es ulting c ommercial s ucc ess and academic renown. n201 As one critic of autobi ography puts it, “fail ures do not get published.” n202 Whil e writi ng a suc ces sful autobi ography may be mom entou s for th e individu al author, this s ucc ess has a limit ed imp act on c ulture. Indeed,
willing to mar ket even thems el ves to literar y and academic c ons umers. n203 What good does this transformati on do for outsi ders who are l ess fortunate and l ess artic ulate than middle-cl ass l aw profes sors ? n204 Although they s tyle
a. Violation – The affirmative presents an interrogation of
power relations without tying that interrogation to a
specific mechanism outside of the debate community. They
become the revolutionary hero who limits analysis to one
scenario instead of formulating strategy to turn theory into
action. They become armchair philosophers.
b. Vote Neg – the judge should only vote for political options
that can truly activate debaters agency
c. Reasons to prefer –Ground – We're here to engage on how
power relations interact with different political
methodologies. We lose not just our state links but links to
way teams turn their analysis into action. In the abstract
any analysis of power can be good. This is a call for the
affirmative to interact with material oppression – violent
revolution, the Undercommons, are examples of how the
Aff could have chosen a political strategy outside of a
topical plan, proving we provide a freedom within limits
that solves their framework offense.
d. Minority Participation – Adopting a view of power based on
philosophical abstraction turns their attempts to engage
politics because minorities need to have political analysis
that relates to the material conditions they face. They make
debate less relevant for people of color
e. The United States federal government should implement: 1)
a single permanent, non-expiring document denoting free
passage for all members of Native tribal nations whose
traditional territories are bisected by borders between the
U.S., Canada and Mexico. This document should not confer
eligibility based on any blood quantum mandated by U.S.
law; and 2) a single web site specifying the procedures for
obtaining the new document.
f. Restrictions on Native People’s immigration in North
America constitute an imminent threat to their cultural
Caron, ’17
[Fred, Mi nister of Indigenous and N orther n Affairs’ Special R epres entati ve on Border Cros sing Is sues; “Report on Firs t N ation border cr ossi ng issues;” August 31, 2017; https://www.aadnc-aandc .gc.c a/eng/1506622719017/1506622893512]
rights with respect to circulation
, derive from their inherent rights as
nations which existed prior to the arrival of Europeans and the imposition of
today's international borders. This,
. First Nations
therefore view the imposition of the Canada-US border, which literally divided
The fund am ental b elief of F ir st Natio ns is that th eir
withi n the territor y of North America, referred to by many as T urtl e Is land
in their vi ew, i ncluded rights to circul ate for a variety of pur poses incl udi ng tr ade, cultur al and s ubsistenc e directl y related to the types of acti viti es c onduc ted for c enturies prior to the ass erti on of s over eignty by non-Indigenous governments. It is this histor y that disti nguishes their rights res pecti ng border cr ossing from thos e of non-Indigenous C anadians
in some cases
their existing nations in two, as an unjustified and unlawful abridgement of their
inherent rights which have a direct relation to their cultural survival.
g. TVA SOLVES --- theorizing subversion of settler
technologies is historically successful and necessary for
decolonization --La
Paperson 17
, Pseudonym of K. Wayne Yang, As sociate Professor of Ethnic Studie s, UC Sa n Diego, P hD Social and Cult ural Studies, Berkeley, “A Third U niversity Is Possible ,” June 2017, https:// mani fol d.umn.e du/rea d/7 ba69a54 -71 31-4598 -9 fec-81 58907 25d91/se ction/e33 f977a -53 2b -4b8 7-b108 -f10633 7d9e 53
Even Whe n They Are Dangerous
Indigenous peoples’ resistance is the land’s resistance. Indigenous people
continue to subvert legal and capitalist technologies as part of that resistance.
Everywhere land resists and refuses —whale s that destroy shi ps, be es that refuse to work, bombed isla nds that re constitute thems elves. The land also resi sts in the form of peopl e;
And technologies a nd technol ogical bei ngs resist too. Patent law is patently desig ned to favor corporations, a legal technology whose colonizing functions are particularly evident whe n
considering how Monsanto a nd other GMO producing giants are patenting see ds and genes they “fi nd” thr oughout the worl d. Yet Indige nous communities are fighting thi s biopira cy by refusing the syste ms that per mit cor porations to patent life and that docume nt knowledg e for e xpr opriation in the fir st place, by creati ng digital libraries of traditional knowle dge s, and s ometimes by subverting pate nt law to claim rights to their own life w orlds and knowle dges. [35 ] Treaties are technologie s of col onial coercion and yet als o of I ndigen ous survivance. As S cott Lyon says, an x-mark that signs the treaty “is a sign of consent in a conte xt of coer cion. . . . A nd yet there is always the possibility of slippage, indetermi nacy, unforesee n conse que nces , or uni ntended results ; it is always possi ble, that is, that an x -mark coul d result in s omet hing good. W hy else, we must ask, woul d someone bother to make it?”[36 ] Since 194 8, the Oneida Indian Nation has purs ued restoration of sovereignty over hist orical reservation la nds via a comple x set of aven ues involving treaty law, U.S. courts, casi nos, a nd e xcis e taxes, re sulting in a land mark 13,0 04 acre s of la nd
taken into trust by the Depart ment of the Interior i n 2014. [37 ] Sometime s settlers return land to Indige nous tribes and natio ns. Hopefully, they/we mig ht do s o without conditions. As I write, the Ka shia Ba nd of Pomo India ns are getting back 68 8 acres of coastal lands in Cali fornia. [38 ] I am not saying w ealthy settlers who return land are de colonizing. I a m saying that some coloni zing technol ogy has bee n hotwire d; somethi ng scyborg is happening. T he truth is that any return of land is not just due to the good graces and be nevolen ce of wealthy settlers; it is a scyborg possibility foretol d by an x -mark. About Hollywood star Johnny Dep p’s purporte d promise to buy land for Coma nche, Sonny Skyhawk, a Sicangu Lakota act or and founder of Ameri can Indians i n Film and T elevision, sai d, “I f it’s from the heart, we accept it. If it’s not from the heart, we’ll accept it anyways.”[39 ] Developed as wea pons of surveillance and as sassinati on, dr ones are hard to imagi ne as de colonizing instruments; yet these machine s we hate may serve a function before we dis card the m. Originally a wind -powered devi ce si milar to the chil dhood wind toys of its A fghani
Figure out how
technologies operate. Technologies can be disrupted and reorganized— Rather than
thinking of ourselves as just subjects of those technologies, think about how
might operate on ourselves and other technologies and turn these gears into decolonizing
Attach a pacemaker to the heart of those machines you hate; make it
pump for your decolonizing enterprise; let it tick its own countdown.
Even when they
are dangerous.
creator Mass oud Ha ssani, the Mi ne Ka fon drone “ca n autonomously map, detect, and detonate land mines ” and could contribute to de militarizing mine -filled lands within a generation.[4 0] Dyna mite, whi ch le ft Alfred N obel rich and many dea d, and w hich a betted in U.S. we stward imperial expa nsion, blew up the Elwha and Glines Canyon da ms and re stored the Elwha River.[41] A giant, aut onomous artifi cial coastline could assi st the ocean to clea n hers elf of the great Paci fic Gar bage Patch.[4 2] Oysters ma de “plantable ” by far ming technol ogies detoxi fy the Hudson a nd s o become too poisonous to ea t, but beca use of the m, the fr ogs will return. [43 ] Wind -powered stra ndbe ests—originally devised to re store Dut ch bea che s—now roa m almost autonomous, almost free. [44 ] Toxic and explosive and wind -willed machine ani mals, you, scyborg, might rea d about and feel some odd se nse of recognition.
Use a wrench.
at least for a machine cy cle.
we are the drones, the e xpl osives, the toxi fied, the operative parts of those te chnologies —and ideally, how
If this sounds easy and obvious, then my writing has faile d you. Listen: you will need to re me mber this w hen you are accuse d of destruction.
Ask how, and how otherwise, of the col onizing mach ines.
Clownism K
a. Politics are boring as fuck—the separation of politics and
theory from everyday life makes it the realm of intellectuals
and turns politics into a new form of work.
Crimethinc no date
—anarchi st ex-worker’s collective (“Your Politics Are Boring As Fuck”, http://www.cri methinc. com/te xts/sele cted/a sfuck.php, dml )
Face it, your politics are boring as fuck.
Why has the oppressed not come to
its senses and joined you ?
your politics
a predictable part of the status quo. your jargon is a language of
systems of control.
You actually do us all a
real disservice with your tiresome, tedious politics. there is nothing more important than
Not the politics of any leader or ideology that demands that
you make sacrifices for "the cause." But the politics of our everyday lives .
When you make politics into a lifeless thing, a joyless thing, it
becomes just another weight upon people, rather than a means to lift weight from people.
you make politics a pointless game,
should consist
of acting directly to improve our lives in the immediate present.
. Never again shall we "sacrifice ourselves for the cause."
For we ourselves, happiness in our own lives and the lives of our fellows, must be our cause!
the foundation of our politics must be concrete: it must be
immediate, it must be obvious to everyone why it is worth the effort, it must be fun
Enjoy yourselves! There is never any excuse for being
You know it's true. Otherwise, w hy does everyone cring e when you say the word? Why has atten dance at your anarcho -communi st theory dis cus sion group meetings fallen to an all -time low?
in your fight for worl d liberation
Perha ps, after years of struggling to e ducate them a bout their victi mhood, you have come t o blame them for their condition. T hey must want to be ground under the heel of capitalist imperialis m; otherwis e, why do they show no interest in your political caus es? Why have n't they joined y ou yet in chai ning your self to mahogany fur niture, chanting sloga ns at care fully planned and orchestrated protests, and fre que nting anarchist bookshops? Why have n't they sat dow n and learned all the terminol ogy ne ces sary for a genuine understanding of the complexities of Marxist economic theory? The truth is ,
boring to the m be cause they really are irrelevant. They know that your antiquate d styles of protest—y our mar che s, ha nd held sig ns, a nd gat hering s—are now pow erless to e ffe ct real cha nge be cause they have become such
weapon capable of under mini ng
They know that
is off-putting because it really
mere academi c dis pute, not a
They know that your infighting, y our spli nter groups a nd en dless quarrels over e phe meral theorie s can never effect any real change in the world they e xperien ce from day to day. They know that no matter who is in office , what laws are on the books, w hat "is m"s the i ntellectuals march under, the content of their lives will remain th e s ame. T hey—w e—k now t hat our bored om is proof that these "politics" are not the key to any real trans for mation of life . For our lives are bori ng enough alr eady! And you know it too. For how many of y ou is politics a responsi bility? Something you engage in because you feel you should, whe n in your heart of hearts there are a million thi ngs you w ould rather be doi ng? Your volunteer w ork—i s it your most favorite pastime, or do you do it out of a se nse of obligati on? Why do you t hink it is s o har d to motivate ot her s to vol unteer a s you do?
Coul d it be t hat it is, above all, a feeli ng of guilt that driv es you to fulfill your "d uty" to be politi cally active? Perha ps you spice up your "work" by trying (cons ciously or not) to get in tr ouble with t he aut horities , to get arreste d: not be cause it will pra ctically serve your ca use, but to make t hings m ore exciting, to re capt ure a little of the r omance of turbule nt times now long past. Have you ever felt that you were participating in a ritual, a long -establis hed tradition of fringe protest, that really serves only to strengthen the position of the mainstream? Have you ever s ecretly longe d to esca pe fr om t he stagnation and boredom of your political "res ponsibilities"? It's no w onder that no one ha s joi ned y ou i n your politi cal endeav ors. Perha ps you tell yourself that it's tough, t hankl ess w ork, but some body's got to do it. T he answer is, well, NO.
For in fact,
NOT the politics of Ameri can "democra cy" and law, of who is electe d state legislator to sign the sa me bills and perpetuate the sa me syste m. N ot the politics of the "I got inv olved with the radical le ft because I e njoy quibbli ng over trivial details and writing rhetorically about an unrea cha ble utopia" anarchist.
Whe n you separate politics from the immediate, every day experi ences of individual men a nd w omen, it becomes complet ely irrelevant. I ndee d, it becomes the private domain of wealthy, comfortable intellectual s, who can trouble the mselves with
such dreary, theoretical thi ngs. W hen you involve yours elf in politics out of a s ense of obligation, and make political actio n into a dull responsibility rather than an e xciting ga me that is worthw hile for its ow n sake, you s care away people whose lives are already far too dull for any more tedium.
a dreadful responsibility,
And thus you rui n the idea of politics
for the pe ople to w hom it should be most i mportant. F or everyone has a stake in considering their lives, in asking the mselves what they want out of li fe and how they ca n get it. But
look to them like
miserable, sel f-re fere ntial,
not of merely dis cussi ng these questions, but
perpetuate tedi um, fatigue, and oppression in our lives
middle class /bohemian
a game with no relevance to the real lives they are living out. What should be political? W hether we e njoy what we do t o get food and shelt er. Whether w e feel like our daily int eracti ons wit h our friends, neig hbors, a nd cowork ers are fulfilling . Whet her we have the opport unity to live each day the way we desire t o. And
Acting in a way that is itself entertaining, exciting, joyous—beca use political action t hat is tedious, tiresome, and oppr essive ca n only
No more time should be wasted de bating over iss ues that will be irrelevant when we must go to w ork again the ne xt day. No more predicta ble ritual protests that the a uthorities know all too well how to deal with; no more boring ritual pr otests which will not sound like a thrilling way to spe nd a Saturday afternoon to pote ntial volunteers —clearly, those won't get us a nywhere
After we make
politics releva nt and exciting, t he rest will foll ow. But from a dr eary, merely the oretical a nd/ or ritualized politics, nothi ng valua ble ca n follow. This is not to say that we should s how no interest in the wel fare of humans, a nimals , or ecosyste ms that do not contact us directly in our day to day existe nce . But
in itself. How ca n we do positive things for others if we ourselves do not e njoy our own lives? To make this concrete
for a mome nt: an after noon of colle cting food from businesse s that w oul d have thr ow n it away and serving it to hungry pe ople a nd people w ho are tire d of worki ng to pay for food —that is g ood political a ction, but only if you enj oy it. If you do it with y our friends, if you meet new frie nds w hile y ou're doing it, if you fall in love or trade funny st ories or just feel proud to have hel pe d a woman by easi ng her fina nci al nee ds, t hat's good political action. On the other hand, if you spe nd the afternoon typing an a ngry letter to a n obscure leftist tabl oid obje cting to a col umnist' s use of the term "anarcho -syndicalist," that's not goi ng to accom plis h shit, a nd y ou know it. Per haps it is time for a new w ord for "politics," si nce you have made s uch a swear word out of the old one. For no one should be put off when we talk about a cting together to improve our lives. And s o we prese nt to you our de mands, which are non-negotiable, a nd must be met as s oon as pos sible —be cause we're not goi ng to live forever, ar e we? 1. Make politics relevant to our everyday experie nce of li fe again. The farther away the obj ect of our political concern, the
less it will mean to us, t he less real and pressi ng it will seem to us, and the more wearis ome politics will be. 2. All political a ctivity must be joy ous and exciting in itself. You ca nnot escape from dre arine ss with m ore dreari nes s. 3. T o accompl ish t hos e first two ste ps, entirely new political appr oaches and methods must be created . The ol d one s are outdate d, out moded. P erhaps they were NEVER a ny good, a nd that's why our world is the way it is now. 4 .
bored . . . or
boring! Join us in making the "revolution" a game; a game played for the highest stakes of all,
but a joyous, carefree game nonetheless!
b. This turns the case by submitting to the need to conform to
established ways of knowing they lose the opportunity to
be as sassy and sensual as the neg
Halberstam 11.
J . J. J udith H alberstam, pr ofessor of English at the Uni versity of Southern C aliforni a, T he Queer Art of Fail ure, pg. 5
Being taken seriously means missing out on the
chance to be frivolous, promiscuous, and irrelevant. The desire to be taken
seriously is precisely what compels people to follow the tried and true paths of
knowledge production
terms like serious and rigorous tend to be code
they signal a form of training and learning that confirms what is
already known according to approved methods of knowing,
instead the goal is to lose one’s way, and indeed to be prepared to lose
more than one’s way.
alternative realms
conjured by losers, failures,
dropouts, and refuseniks,
take this opportunity to rethink the project of learning and thinking altogether
refuse, resist, and renege on the demands of “rigor,”
“excellence,” and “productivity.”
to “see like a state” means to accept the
order of things and to internalize them; it means that we begin to deploy and
think with the logic of the superiority of orderliness
Illegibilit y, then, h as been and remains, a r eliab le sou rce for polit ical autono m y. —J ames C. Sc ott, Seei ng Li ke a State Any book that begi ns with a quote from SpongeBob SquarePants and is motored by wis dom gle aned fr om F antas tic Mr. F ox, Chic ken R un, and Fi nding Nemo, among other ani mated guides to life, runs the ris k of not bei ng t aken s eriousl y. Yet this is my goal.
around which I would li ke to map a few detours. Ind eed
in ac ademia as well as other c ontexts, for disci plinar y c orrec tness ;
but they do not allow for visionar y insights or flights of fanc y. Tr ain ing of an y kind, in f act , is a way of refu sing a kind of B enjam inian r elation to kno wing , a stroll do wn un chart ed str eet s in the “ wro ng” d irection (Benjamin 1996); it is precis el y about staying i n well- lit
territori es and about knowing exactl y whic h way to go befor e you s et out. Like m an y other s b efor e me, I pr opos e that
Losing, we m ay agree with Elizab eth B isho p, is an art, an d on e “th at is not too hard to master / T hough it m ay loo k like a d isaster” ( 2008: 166–167). In the scien ces, partic ularl y physics and mathematics, th er e ar e m an y examp les of rogu e int ellectual s, not al l of whom are r eclusi ve Unabomber types (although mor e than a few ar e j ust that), who wand er off into un charted t err itories and r efuse th e academ y bec ause the publis h- or- perish pr ess ure of ac ademic life keeps them tether ed to c onventi onal knowledge producti on and its well- tr avel ed byways. Popular mathematic s books, for example, revel i n s tori es about unconventional loners who are selfschooled an d who make their own way through the world of numbers . F or s ome kooky minds, disci plines
actuall y get i n the way of ans wers and theor ems precis el y becaus e they offer maps of thoug ht where i ntuition and bli nd fumbling might yi eld better r esul ts. In 2008, for example, T he New Yor ker featured a s tor y about an oddball physicis t who, li ke man y ambitious physicists and mathematici ans , was i n hot purs uit of a grand theor y, a “theor y of ever ything.” T his thi nker , Garr ett Lisi, had dr opped out of academic physic s bec ause string theor y domi nated the fi eld at that ti me and he thought the ans wers l ay els ewhere. As an outsi der to the disci pline, writes Benj amin Wallac e- Wells, Lisi “built his theor y as an o utsid er might , r elying on a gr ab b ag of co mpon ent p arts: a h and- bu ilt math em atical str uctur e, an unco nvention al way of describ ing g ravit y, and a m ysteriou s m ath em atical entit y kno wn as E8.” 1 In the end L isi’s “theo r y of ev er yth ing” fell s hort of expec tati ons, but it nonetheless yield ed a whole terrain of n ew qu estions and m ethods. Simil arl y the c omputer sci entists who pioneered new programs to pr oduc e c omputer-
generated i mag ery (CGI), as many ac counts of the ris e of Pi xar have c hronicl ed, wer e ac ademic r ejec ts or dr opouts who cr eated i ndependent i nsti tutes in order to
their dreams of ani mated worlds .2 Thes e
cultur al and ac ademic
often s er ve as the launchi ng pad for alter nati ves pr ecis el y when the uni versity cannot
, the areas beside ac ademia rather than withi n it, the intellectual worlds
This is not a bad ti me to experi ment with discipli nar y transfor mation on behal f of the proj ect of gener ating new for ms of knowing, sinc e the fiel ds that were as sembled ov er on e h undr ed year s ago to respond to new market econo mies and the dem and for nar ro w exp ertise, as F oucault d escrib ed th em, ar e now losi ng rel evanc e and failing to res pond either to real- world knowl edg e projects or s tudent inter ests . As the big disciplin es b egin to crumble like ban ks th at hav e inv est ed in bad securit ies we might ask mo re bro adly, D o we r eall y want to shore up the r agged boundari es of our shar ed i nteres ts
and i ntellectual c ommitments , or might we r ather
? Just as
the standardiz ed tests that the U.S. favors as a guide to intellec tual advanc ement in high schools tend to identify peopl e who ar e good at standardiz ed exams (as oppos ed to, say, i ntellec tual visi onaries), s o in uni versities grades, exams , and kn owledge of canons identify schol ars with an aptitude for maintai ning and conformi ng to the dictates of the disci pline. T his b ook, a str oll out of the c onfines of conventional knowl edge and into the unreg ulated territori es of fail ure, loss , and unbec o ming, must make a l ong detour around disci plines and or dinar y ways of thi nking. Let me explai n how uni versities (and by i mplic ati on high sc hools) squas h r ather than pr omote quir ky and original thought. Disciplinarit y, as defined by F ouc ault ( 1995), is a t echn ique of mo der n po wer: it d epen ds upon and d eplo ys no rm aliz ation , routines, con vention, tr adition, and regu larit y, and it produ ce s experts and ad ministr ative for ms of governan ce. Th e univer sit y stru cture that hou ses the disciplin es and j eal ousl y guards their boundaries no w st and s at a
cro ssr oad s, not of dis ciplinarity and inter discipli narity, pas t and future, national and tr ans national; the cr ossroads at wh ich the r apidly d isintegr ating band wagon of disciplin es, s ubfiel ds, and inter discipli nes h as ar rived offer a cho ice b et ween the universit y as corpor atio n and investm ent opportun it y and the u niver sit y as a new kind of public sph er e with a d iffer ent inv estm ent in kno wledg e, in i deas , and i n thought and politics. A r adic al take on dis ciplinarity and the uni versit y that presumes both the br eakdown of the discipli nes and the closing of gaps between fi elds conventionall y pr esumed to be s eparated c an be found in a manifesto published by Fr ed Moten and Stefano H arney i n 2004 i n Soci al T ext titled “T he Uni versity and the Undercommons: Seven T heses.” T heir ess ay is a searing critiq ue directed at the intellectual and the critical i ntellec tual, the profes sional schol ar and the “critical ac ademic pr ofessionals.” For Moten and Harney, the cr itical academic is not th e an swer to en cro aching p rofession aliz ation but an
ext ension of it, u sing the v er y same tools and legitimat ing strat egies to b eco me “an ally of p rofession al edu catio n.” Mot en and H arn ey pr efer to pit ch th eir tent with the “s ubversi ve intell ectuals,” a m aroon co mmun it y of outcast thin ker s who
T hey tell us to “s teal fr om the uni versity,” to “ steal the enlighten m ent for oth er s” (112), and to act against “ wh at Fou cau lt called th e Conq uest, th e un spo ken war th at found ed, and with the fo rce of law r efound s, so ciet y” (113). And what does the undercommons of the uni versity want(s) to be? It wants to con stitute an unpr ofessional force of fugiti ve knowers, wi th a set of i ntellectual pr ac tices not bound by exami nation s ystems and tes t sc ores. T he goal for this unpr ofessionalizati on is not to abolis h; i n fac t M oten and Har ney s et the fugiti ve intell ectual ag ains t the eli minati on or abolition of this , the founding or
refoundi ng of that: “Not so muc h the aboliti on of prisons but the abolition of a soci ety that c oul d have pris ons , that c ould have sl aver y, that c ould have the wag e, and therefor e not abolition as the eli minati on of anythi ng but aboliti on as the founding of a new s ociety” (113). N ot the eli minati on of anythi ng but the foundi ng of a new soci ety. And why not? Why not think in ter ms of a di fferent ki nd of s oci ety than the one that first cr eated and then abolished sl aver y? T he s ocial worlds we inhabit, after all, as s o many thinkers have remi nded us, are not inevitabl e; they were not al ways bound to tur n out this way, and what’s mor e, i n the proc ess of pr oduci ng this reality, many other realities, fi elds of knowledge, and ways of being have been disc arded and, to cite F ouc ault agai n, “ disqualified.” A few visi onar y books, produced al ongside di sciplinar y knowl edge, show us the paths not taken. F or example, in a bo ok that itself began as a detour, Seei ng Li ke a State: H ow C ertain Sc hemes to Improve the H uman C ondi tion H ave Fail ed (1999), James C . Scott details
the ways the modern state has run r oughshod over l oc al, c ustomar y, and undis ciplined for ms of knowledge in order to r ati onalize and si mplify s ocial , agricultur al, and political pr actic es that have profit as their pri mar y moti vati on. In the process , s ays Sc ott, certain ways of seein g the world are estab lished as n orm al or natur al, as obviou s and n ecessar y, ev en though they are often entirely count erintu itive and so cially engineer ed. Seei ng Li ke a State beg an as a study of “ why the state has always s eemed to be the enemy of ‘ peopl e who move around,’” but quickly b ecam e a stud y of the demand by the s tate for legibility thr ough the i mpositi on of methods of standardiz ati on and unifor mi ty ( 1). Whil e D ean Spade (2008) and other queer s cholars us e Sc ott’s book to thi nk about how we c ame to i nsist upon the documentati on of gender i dentity on all gover nmental doc umentation, I want to us e his monumental s tudy to pic k up s ome of the disc ard ed lo cal kno wledg es that ar e tr ampled underfoot in th e r ush to bureaucratize and r ation aliz e
an econ omic o rder that privileg es profit ov er all kind s of oth er motivation s for being and d oing. In plac e of the Ger manic or der ed fores t that Sc ott us es as a potent metaphor for the start of the modern i mpositi on of bur eaucratic order upon popul ations , we might go with the thic ket of subj ug ated knowl edg e that s prouts li ke weeds among the disci plinar y for ms of knowl edge, threatening al ways to overwhelm the cul ti va tion and pruning of the intellec t with mad pl ant life. For Sc ott,
and that we erase and indeed s acrific e other, mor e local pr actices of kno wledg e, p ractices moreover that may be less effici ent, may yi eld less mar ketabl e results, but m ay also, in th e long t erm , b e mo re su staining . What is at s take in argui ng for the trees and agai nst the forest? Scott id entifies “legib ilit y” as the favor ed t echn ique of hig h mod ern ism for sorti ng, organizing, and
profi ting f rom land and p eople and for ab str acting systems of kno wledg e from l ocal knowl edge pr actic es. He tal ks about the g arden and gardeners as repres entati ve of a new spirit of inter vention and or der favored wi thi n high modernis m, and he points to the mi ni malis m and simplicity of Le C orbusi er’s ur ban design as part of a new c ommitment to s ymmetr y and di visi on and pl anni ng that c ompl ements auth oritarian prefer ences for hi erarc hies and des pis es the c omplex and mes s y for ms of organic profusi on and i mpr ovis ed creati vity. “ L egibilit y,” writes Scott, “is a c onditi on of manipul ation” (1999: 183). H e f avors in stead, borrowing from European anarchis t thought, more pr actic al for ms of kno wledg e that he c alls metis and th at emph asize mutu alit y, co llectivit y, p lasticit y, div er sit y, and adapt abilit y. Ill egi bility may i n fact be one w ay of es caping the poli tical mani pulati on to w hich all university fi elds and discipli nes ar e s ubject . While Sc ott’s insight about illegibility has implic ations for all ki nds of s ubjec ts who ar e mani pul ated pr ecis el y when
they become l egible and visibl e to the s tate (undoc umented wor kers, visibl e queers, r acializ ed minorities) , it als o poi nts to an argument for antidisci plinarity i n the s ens e that kno wledg e pr actices that refu se both th e form and the co ntent of tr aditional canon s may lead to u nbounded form s of s pec ulati on, modes of thin king th at ally not with rigor and ord er but with in spir ation and unpr edictab ilit y. We may i n fact want to think about how to s ee unli ke a state; w e may w ant new rational es for k nowledge pr oducti on, different aesthetic s tandar ds for ordering or disor deri ng spac e, other modes of political engagement than thos e c onjur ed by the liberal i magi nation. We may, ulti matel y, want more undiscipli ned knowledge, mor e questi ons and fewer ans wers. Discipli nes qualify and disqualify, legiti mate and del egitimate, r eward and puni sh; most i mportant, they static all y reproduce thems el ves and i nhibit diss ent. As Fouc aul t writes, “Disci plines will define not a c ode of law, but a code of nor malization” (2003: 38). In a seri es of lectur es on knowl edge
produc tion gi ven at the Coll ege de Franc e and then published pos thumousl y as a coll ecti on titl ed Society M ust Be D efended, F ouc ault provi des a c ontext for his own anti discipli nar y thinki ng and decl ares the ag e of “ all- encompassing and global theori es” to be over, givi ng way to the “loc al c haracter of critique” or “s omethi ng res embli ng a sor t of autonomous and non- centr alized theor etic al produc tion, or i n other words a theoretical pr oducti on that does not need a vis a from s ome c ommon r eg ime to establish i ts validity” (6). Thes e lectures coi ncide wi th the writing of T he Histor y of Sexuality Volume 1, and we find the outline of his critique of repres si ve power in thes e pag es (F ouc ault, 1998). I will retur n to Fo ucault’s insights about the rev erse d iscour se i n T he Histor y of Sexuality l ater in the book, es peci all y to the plac es where he implicates sexu al mi-no rities in th e pr oduction of systems of classification, but i n Soci ety Mus t Be Defended his target is academic legi bility and l egitimati on, and he descri bes and anal yz es the functi on of the
academic in the circul ati on and reproduction of hegemonic str uctures . In place of the “all- enc ompassi ng and global theories” that the uni versi ty enc ourages, F oucault exhorts his s tudents to thi nk about and tur n to “s ubjugated knowledges ,” namel y those forms of knowl edge producti on that have been “buried or mas ked i n functi onal c oher ences or for mal s ys tematiz ati ons” (2003: 7). Thes e for ms of knowledge have not si mpl y been los t or forgotten; they have been disqualifi ed, render ed nonsensic al or nonconc eptual or “ins ufficientl y elaborated.” F oucault calls them “naïve knowledges , hierarc hic all y inferi or knowl edg es, knowledges that are below the r equired l evel of er udition or sci entifi city” ( 7)—this is what we mean by knowledge from below. In r elation to the i dentific ati on of “s ubj ugated knowl edges,” we might as k, How do we participate i n the pr oduc tion and circ ulation of “s ubjugated knowledge” ? How do we keep dis ciplinar y for ms of kno wl edg e at bay? How do we avoid precisel y the “s cientific” for ms of knowi ng that rel egate other modes of knowing
we should be looking to a new right that is both antidisciplinary and emancipated
resistance takes the form of investing in counterintuitive modes of
knowing such as failure read failure, as a refusal of mastery, a critique of the
intuitive connections within capitalism
Privilege the naïve or nonsensical
to the r edundant or irrelevant? H ow do we engage in and teac h antidis ciplinar y knowledge? F oucault propos es this ans wer: “Truth to tell, if we are to stru ggle against disci plines, or r ather ag ain st disciplinar y po wer, in our s earc h for a nondiscipli nar y power , we should not b e turning to th e old rig ht of sover eignt y;
from the principl e of sov er eignt y” (2003: 40). In some s ense we have to untrai n oursel ves s o that we can r ead the s truggles and debates bac k i nto ques tions that s eem settl ed and res ol ved . On behalf of such a proj ect, and i n the s pirit of the “Seven T hes es” proposed by M oten and H arney, this book j oins forces with their “s ubversi ve i ntellec tual” and agrees to s teal fr om the uni versity, to, as they say, “abus e its hos pitality” and to be “in but not of it” ( 101). M oten and H arney’s thes es exhort the subversi ve intellectual to, among other thi ngs, worry about the uni versity, refus e professi onaliz ation, forge a c ollec tivity, and retreat to the exter nal w orld bey ond the ivi ed walls of
the c ampus. I would add to their thes es the foll owing. First, R esist mas tery . H ere we might insist upon a critique of the “ all- enc ompassi ng and global theories” i dentifi ed by F ouc ault. In my book this
and stupidit y; we might
for exampl e,
between s ucc ess and pr ofit, and as a c ounterhegemonic disc ourse of losi ng. Stupi dity could refer not si mpl y to a l ac k of knowl edge but to the limi ts of certain forms of knowing and c ertain ways of i nhabiting s tructur es of knowing. Reall y i magi nati ve ethnographies , for example, depend upon an unknowi ng rel ation to the other. To begin an ethnographic pr ojec t with a goal, wi th an obj ect of res earch and a s et of pr esumpti ons , is already to stymie the pr oc ess of disc over y; it bl oc ks one’s ability to learn something that exceeds the fr amewor ks with whic h
one enters . F or example, in an ethnography to whic h I return later i n the book, a study of “the Isl amic revi val and the femi nist subject” in c ontempor ar y Egypt, Saba Mahmood explai ns how she had to gi ve up on mas ter y in order to engage certai n for ms of Islamis m. She writes: “it is thr ough this proces s of d wellin g in the mod es of r easonin g endemic to a tradition that I onc e j udged abhorrent, by i mmersing mys elf wi thi n the thic k textur e of i ts s ensibilities and attac hments, that I h ave b een able to d islocate the certitud e of m y o wn projection s and even begin to comprehend why Islam . . . exerts such a forc e i n people’s li ves” ( 2005: 199). She concl udes this thought as follows : “T his attempt at c omprehensi on offers the slim hope in the embattled and i mperious cli mate, one i n which femi nist politics r uns the ris k of being r e duc ed to a r hetoric al dis pl ay of the placar d of Islam’s abus es , that anal ysis as a mode of c onvers ati on, rather than mas ter y, c an yiel d a visi on of c o- exi stenc e that does not requir e making others lifeworlds extinct or provisi onal”
(stupi dity). H ere we might argue for the nons ensible or nonconc eptual over sens e- making s tructur es that are often embedded i n a c ommon notion of ethics . Th e n aïve or th e ignor ant m ay in fact lead to a different set of kno wledg e p ractices. It certai nl y req uires what s ome have called oppositi onal pedagogies . In pursuit of s uch pedag ogies we must realize that, as Eve
(199). C onvers ati on rather than master y i ndeed seems to offer one ver y c oncr ete way of being i n rel ati on to another for m of b ei ng and knowi ng without s eeking to meas ure that life modality by the standards that are exter nal to it. Second,
c. Our alternative is to become radical clowns, we’ll resist
every day with our, joy love, and silliness. Resistance starts
with the desperate need to live and enjoy life
Circa, no date
(“About the Army ”, http://www. clow bout/ ml)
welcome to the unparalleled, the unexpected, the perfectly paradoxical, the
grotesquely beautiful, the new-fangled world of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel
Clown Army
without real names, faces or noses, we show that our
words, dreams, and desires are more important than our biographies. Because
we reject the society of surveillance that watches, controls, spies upon, records
and checks our every move. Because by hiding our identity we recover the power
of our acts. Because with greasepaint we give resistance a funny face and
Roll up, roll up - ladies and gentl emen, boys and girls, friends and foes -
We are clandesti ne bec ause we refus e the s pectacle of c elebrity and we are ever yone. Bec aus e
become visible once again. We are insurgent
Because ideas can be ignored
but not suppressed and an insurrection of the imagination is irresistible. Because
whenever we fall over we rise up again and again and again, knowing that nothing
is lost for history, that nothing is final. Because history doesn't move in straight
lines but surges like water, dripping, flowing, flooding - always unknowable,
unexpected, uncertain. Because the key to insurgency is brilliant improvisation,
not perfect blueprints. We are rebels because we love life and happiness more
than 'revolution'. Because no revolution is ever complete and rebellions
continues forever. Because we will dismantle the ghost-machine of abstraction
with means that are indistinguishable from ends. Because we don't want to
change 'the' world, but 'our' world. Because we will always desert and disobey
those who abuse and accumulate power. Because rebels transform everything the way they live, create, love, eat, laugh, play, learn, trade, listen, think and most
of all the way they rebel. We are clowns because what else can one be in such a
stupid world. Because inside everyone is a lawless clown trying to escape.
Because nothing undermines authority like holding it up to ridicule. Because
since the beginning of time tricksters have embraced life's contradictions,
creating coherence through confusion. Because fools are both fearsome and
innocent, wise and stupid, entertainers and dissenters, healers and laughing
stocks, scapegoats and subversives. Because buffoons always succeed in
failing, always say yes, always hope and always feel things deeply. Because a
clown can survive everything and get away with anything.
bec ause we have risen up fr om nowher e and are ever ywher e.
someti mes swir ling , s ometimes
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