Monday, June 18, 2012

Internal constant critiquing on the academic left.

Internal constant critiquing on the academic left.
I came across this blog by Jodi Dean today, and I think it makes a good point:

"There is a certain left intellectual position that holds out critique as an unadulterated good.
Critique is superior, more knowing, more responsible than action. Indeed, it's held up against action, support, enthusiasm, as the more responsible and mature position. What are the presumptions at work in such a vision of critique?
1. That one's opponent is uncritical--as if the ideas expressed had not themselves been products of critical reflection.
2.  As if any and every space were the right space for critique because critique is always right.
The problems with such a view, particularly now, is that they neglect the characteristics of our setting:
1. Constant critique and cynicism.
2. The academy as industry.
3. The need for left mobilization, coalition, and hope."

I agree.  And the other thing we need to build is some on the same page at the same time thinking.  This is another problem with the academic critique being a constant mode of operation.  To me, there is no way you win without having people being able to roughly lock in on an idea and hold it in their heads--at least long enough to implement it--which will take time to both build support, then carry on a fight, then an implementation phase (winning), then a securing the legacy phase. 

The problem with this constant academic critiquing overall is that it fails to consider the end game of even its best ideas--and that's assuming that academics or the left have a desire to lock in their best plans and put them forward...a mighty big assumption to say the least.  Ultimately, the hard part about putting down the constant critique mindset is that it's asking thousands of thinking intellectuals to put aside much of their own thinking and variations on the same idea--in favor of whatever is:

1.  Best boiled down and understandable for a wide audience.
2.  Most effectively delivered by whatever communications vehicle comes out of this historical phase.
3.  Has the ability to be implemented at whatever political level can be reached through a mobilization and political battle, and be implemented in a timely manner.

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