Politicon 2017 is July 29-30, and Boing Boing (me, Xeni Jardin) will be in the mix

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/07/21/xeni-at-politicon.html


Wow I had never heard of Politicon. There’s a certain accelerationist bent to it that simultaneously horrifies me and rings absolutely true. Truly a convention for the Post-Trump Era!

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That strikes me as, shall we say, a peculiar variety of fun.


And a bit ethically questionable in the current context.


i kind of can’t believe someone as sane as xeni is going to be on a panel with someone as insane as ann coulter - meaning: i’m not sure if meaningful dialog can arise there because​ coulter is not seemingly interested in dialog.

coulter, and many of her ilk, seem mainly about publicity and the currency of controversy. but, many of them already have a platform - the president is evidence of that if nothing else - so it doesnt seem like this sort of event enables them. perhaps it’s more like trying to deal with their already established existence.

personally, i think it would be really cool to hear a conversation about pc culture and censorship with mainstream liberals and antifascists. because, i feel like it’s somewhere between those two points we should be heading.

but, attempting to deal with the reality of the current moment seems reasonable. i can only imagine how trippy the weekend will be.

( good luck, xeni! )

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Stop letting reactionaries define your language for you. Anti-fascism is a big tent ranging from liberal pacifists to the Swedish Antifa (who admit they do go looking for violence).

Try liberals and socialists. (and I do mean social liberals in this case)

Not to mention Proops (who has had some…interesting…things to say about Coulter on his entertaining podcast).

I do think a panel about censorship on campus might benefit from having a panelist from a campus. There has been a serious ongoing debate in higher education for over 50 years about how to handle speech rights on campus, it has been especially active the last 3-4 years in both the ‘popular’ academic media (the Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Education, Academe) and in professional societies and in the blogs of faculty in law, philosophy, political science, American studies, and many other fields. To me this feels like a bunch of people from down the street having a public debate about what color I should paint the interior walls of my house.


oh, i meant literal antifa. people who identify as such.

it’s simply not as interesting. both sides are kind of like: i see your point, lets keep talking and working on it. :smiley_cat:

i think antifa has some perspectives that are worth considering.

first: what is violence? for instance, why does mainstream society consider something like the broken windows of a bank to be violence, while the eviction of homeowner due to predatory lending is just “business as usual.”

second: is it wise to engage in dialogue with – for lack of a better term – nazis? ( and proto-nazis. ) is there really a chance for “dialog” with the far-right, or is it better to ignore them, drown them out, and/or punch them in the face?

( i’m really not trying to be flip. i think these are important questions that people should deal with. )

[ edit: to add… ]

and probably some of the students, too. the professors and the students are ultimately the ones most affected. it does often seems like campus culture is treated as another thing to spar about without actually listening to those who are there.


Even with that there are various opinions on what action to take (less likely to be pacifist but not impossible)

Same here

There are antifascist groups who do this. I don’t have a problem with them doing it (the more fascists who see the error of their ways, the better) but if you don’t appear to be to be white/cisgender/heterosexual then you will have a far harder time or could even be putting your life in danger.

It is not a realistic option for people like me. I tend more towards resistance, pacifist if possible but willing to defend myself and others if that won’t work.

Still it needs doing. The traditional response to fascism has been popular fronts, and I am concerned that there are deliberate attempts by the far right to stop that happening. Things like how antifa/black bloc/anarchist are seen as synonyms for violent people.

People are working hard to stop us unifying against them. We need to work harder to make them fail.


Yes, students should certainly have their perspectives represented, and in my experience in campus governance students can be valuable contributors, though they naturally tend to be ephemeral as members of committees or task forces, and there is a steepish learning curve about campus process that is considerable work for anyone, let alone someone who will be leaving in a year or two.

The moment that you agree to share a stage with them, you implicitly endorse their position as not beyond the pale. Once you start a debate, the Overton window inevitably shifts towards a “compromise” with fascism.

You don’t beat fascists with debate; you beat them with numbers. And, when necessary, artillery.


Giving $100 or more bucks into the pockets of Coulter and Stone is like making a donation to the Trump campaign or legal defense fund.

As they both tell us - money is speech - and that’s not what I want to say.

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Why not just go to an academic conference on politics? Better speakers, usually free, and doesn’t include racists.


It’s not just “people” working to stop us, it’s the state itself. The state would far prefer ascendant fascist popular movements over the development of autonomous anarchist networks for community defense.

They would rather we die at the hand of fascists than gain the power to defend ourselves on a mass scale, because it’s obvious who else we might defend ourselves against. This is why every struggle against fascists is inherently also a struggle against the police.

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