justice wrote

Reply to comment by _deleted in Don't engage with fascists by JoeMemo

Well, as I believe you might readily acknowledge, I think the left-right spectrum is a dramatic oversimplification of the complex field of political/moral/philosophical viewpoints that have existed, that could exist, and that people currently hold. It has its uses, as there are schools of thought (or schools of anti-thought as the case may be) that are related to or have developed out of one another. But in general, it’s necessarily an imperfect depiction of the “placement” or categorization of ideas. To that extent and on those grounds, I too reject the left-right dichotomy as illegitimate and in many circumstances useless or meaningless.

But then it depends on who you’re asking. Because on the other hand, and at the risk of contradicting myself by now using an oversimplification, so-called leftist movements have in theory aimed always to remove forms of oppression. What those individual movements recognize as oppressive might differ, but I would agree, from my under-informed standpoint, that this rough definition of the Left is reasonable. Under that definition, I don’t see how anarchist thought could not be considered leftist.

So I suppose I mean that I’m a little confused by your comment. Basically, sure, if we could somehow know that none of our potential audience or opposition in a debate could ever be persuaded by the argument that the state is illegitimate, then why debate them? But how can we guarantee that no one will be persuaded? You were persuaded yourself, after all. I guess I’m not sure why we should decide not to engage in a debate with anyone at all, if that is what you’re suggesting.


justice wrote

My only hesitation with this is that any kind of formal debate acts to some degree as a legitimizing platform for the different viewpoints presented; the debate frames the window of acceptable and valid discourse. When one party does not intend to debate with any sense of intellectual honesty, when their goals would in fact ultimately include the removal of public discourse of this nature, including them in the debate is in the first place a political decision with political consequences. It is already ceding ground to the fascist.


justice wrote (edited )

Ah, sorry. Did not mean to speak for you (and incorrectly at that).

That’s an extremely important point, of course. And I will have to admit that at the moment I remain ignorant as to much of contemporary history (that’s my embarrassment; I’m in the middle of some intensive self-education), but are there literally no examples of this? What about the Zapatista?


justice wrote

I am “Justice”, which feels ridiculous to type. I’m less committed to pacifism in all situations on a personal level than I am persuaded by the argument that any true revolution would not use the same means as the establishment which it seeks to overthrow. The state rules and legitimizes its rule through violence. Capitalism is violence. I believe any truly and completely free society must necessarily be free of violence.