Open Dialogue on Resisting the Right After Trump | AUDIO

Tanqeed joins forces with Cambridge Critical Theory and Practice to bring you a series of talks and conversations on radical theory and how they bear on political practice.

Note from TQ Editors:

“Their world is collapsing. Ours is being built,” said Marie Le Pen in a chilling statement after Trump’s win. We kick off our collaboration with Cambridge Critical Theory and Practice in dark times. With upcoming elections in France, Austria and the Netherlands, and far-right governments in power in Erdogan’s Turkey, Modi’s India and Netanyahu’s Israel, the far right is on the rise. It’s time to riot.

This event was held at the University of Cambridge on Tuesday 15 November 2016 exactly one week after Donald J. Trump was elected into the most powerful political office in the world. The public dialogue, attended by more than 100 people, followed an opening statement by Dr. Ayça Çubukçu that is available hereHear the entire dialogue above, watch the live stream here, here and here or read what we found to be the most incisive comments below.

This will be the first of several posts Tanqeed will bring you reflecting on the rise of the right and how to fight it. If you’re interested in contributing to the conversation contact us on editors@tanqeed.org.

Our favorite comments from the open dialogue.

“Now it’s something of a cliché that Trudeau is a neoliberal, Clinton is a neoliberal, Cameron is a neoliberal. The left of Labor is fairly neoliberal as well. But I think it is really problematic to talk about anti-racism as identity politics. A.

B. I think the so-called institutional left and its allies has made a great mistake under-estimating the rupture of this moment. This moment is a rupture. Trudeau is problematic, Clinton is problematic, they have to be held to account. Who will disagree? But this idea that Trump is just a slightly worse version of Clinton or Trudeau. It is so horrifically insulting to the number of people who have been beaten, spat on, are going to be deported, are arrested, and are having swastikas painted on their walls. So I have to say one thing. I cannot be in a solidarity coalition with people who think that this moment is just continuity with business as usual and refuse to recognize that we are staring – we are staring – white supremacy fascism in the US in the face, Hindu majoritarianism in India in the face, in different parts of the world, absolutely staring at something that is a rupture. And if you do not understand that this is a rupture alongside continuity, I cannot be in any coalition with you.” Priyamvada Gopal

“Just to build upon what Priya was saying, when she was talking about the rupture, I think another way of thinking about this is that about 10 years ago neither Brexit nor Trump were imaginable. And they… Something happened, the strategic situation has changed or the political field has changed in such a way that both of them are not only plausible but have happened. And what this suggests is that what we are facing is radical contingency which on the one hand is very problematic and dangerous, but on the other hand, it opens up an opportunity, a field has opened up. And in this field, I fear no one more than precisely those people who say things like, “Love is going to win,” and that “We should all come together,” and so on and so forth. Because what they will do is carve out a middle ground for themselves between what they suppose are two radical groups and normalize a situation that Trump advocates and in the process they destroy the battlefield. We waited for too long for a battle to emerge, we waited for too long [to crawl out] from [under] this hegemony of the Bushs and the Clintons and don’t you guys fuck it up for us. Have no doubt, this is a fight now.” – Kusha Sefat

“I’m really curious about the solutionism after Trump’s election. In the sense that I logged onto Facebook after many, many months and it was awash with everybody’s thoughts and ideas about what to do, and pain. And what was astonishing to me was first the seeming incapacity to develop a politics of listening wherein everybody had an idea but was not seriously willing to listen or understand or absorb when anyone else was speaking. And I think that refracts back to how the left has behaved. For example, those who supported Brexit were warned by People of Color in this country about what would happen. And yet, it was dismissed. The surprise of White Americans about the racism amidst us was a result of what exactly? Right? It was a result of not listening to those who have been talking about the conditions all throughout the country. […]

On the politics of listening, I want to transition to one note. I think this kind of comparative suffering really needs to end. This idea that people don’t suffer in America or that it’s not comparable to suffering in other places. Let’s think about what that means when you’re an African-American in the United States. What it means to say that in the afterlife of slavery [that] the suffering in America is not comparable to elsewhere. What are the indices by which we are determining that? What is the politics in that? So I think we need to cut that out. I think it’s destructive. It creates a kind of… It’s a dead end. It’s a cul-de-sac.

But more importantly, here in Cambridge, I think there is this way in which the conversation is very often speech-making and limited to speech-making in the sense that your articulation of your politics becomes your politics. And so part of what I’m wondering is what does it mean to have a visible speech and an invisible political practice. And to start thinking about those people who have invisible speech and a lot of political practice. And where do we find them? The echo-chambers of Facebook and liking and friending people is just not enough because most of that work is not happening on Facebook. It’s happening on the ground. We actually have to re-articulate what political practice looks like. It may not be a rally in the market. It might be a solidarity cooperative amongst women trying to defend each other from domestic abuse. That is politics. We have to identify that. Call it what it is. And in that way maybe rearticulate what we can do in our own community and spaces.” – Mezna Qato

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