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November 16, 2016

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anon

We all know how academics love to throw around jargon to sound impressive and deep.

The word "cognate" means related. SO, we have

"Social Movements Law as a [Related} to Law School Classes"

or, perhaps,

"Social Movements Law as a [of a similar nature] to Law School Classes"

Beyond the misuse of jargon, the whole notion that universities should be bastions of the Party is obnoxious, as is the obvious outpouring of sentiment for the Party emanating from academia.

This political lockstep and obliviousness is the danger, folks. Because, a "Dear Leader" will arise to the liking of this establishment, and then, democracy truly will be lost.

anon

Post

The notion that it is no "surprise to anyone that Donald Trump's recent election to the United States Presidency has spawned revolutionary and reactionary movements across the United States and abroad," in the one week following this election, is so absurd that it discredits everything that follows. This is the musing of a person in a bubble; the contours of which were clearly exposed one week ago.

Nick J. Sciullo

anon 5:43: Thanks for the comment. I'll grant you your definition and make a "we meet" argument. I do agree I argue social movements and the ways law affects social movements are related to law school classes. In the post I make multiple warrants for this claim. I'm not sure what Party you're referencing (probably one of the several communist or socialist parties in the United States), but I don't think the question of party politics is germane to the discussion. I don't argue that universities should be the bastion of any party. Bastion of course means, more or less, "a fortified place." Literally, this depends on the building in which one teaches. Some would make rather poor bastions of anything. Metaphorically, it doesn't seem that any party needs universities as bastions as the two party system seems to be getting along just fine, for better or worse. Now, third parties and more organic movements yet might need a bastion, but I'm at a loss of where that would be literally or metaphorically. Political lockstep is dangerous and important to consider, that's why we have protests and counter-protests about a number of things throughout history. Thanks for the thoughtful read.

Nick J. Sciullo

anon 5:46: Why is this claim absurd? The election was hotly contested, the "debates" were more contentious than they have been, both parties entered the caucuses and primaries in turmoil, and both candidates had fierce supporters and detractors. Ad hominems were at an all time high. Those all seem like reasons for a contentious after-election time period. To be sure, the last several presidential elections have been hotly contested, but I argue that for the reasons I have above that social upheaval seems reasonably expected. Thanks for the thoughtful read.

anon

Responding, in part.

"the two party system seems to be getting along just fine, for better or worse."

I think that this is hard to justify, given: your claim that, just one week after an election, the election has "spawned revolutionary and reactionary movements across the United States and abroad." Won't you at least agree that is an absurd statement, if only because it is empirically false that any "Revolutionary movement" was spawned after Nov. 8.

Second, please don't pretend that you don't recognize which "Party" academia is trying to defend. The problem is that you and like minded individuals refuse to simply get out of your bubble and contemplate the election results nationwide (36/50 governors, 900 lost legislative seats rendering the Party the minority in the vast majority of states, and the Senate and House, which in 2008 were held by the Party and have now changed hands, and, of course, the Presidency).

I would characterize your hyperbolic rhetoric ("spawned a revolution") as risible in light of this nationwide rejection of the Party that you seem to think represents all that is good and true and honorable in this country.

In fact, I would say that your refusal to accept the results of these elections, and focus your attention on the faults of the Party you so rigidly defend, is the cause of these results.

Instead of inventing "revolutions" in the bubble of a campus, why not turn that hyperbolic rhetoric of yours on your own Party, and start studying the reasons that the Party has been losing at such a historic rate everywhere in this country save New England, the West Coast and, until recently, the Upper Midwest?

No, sir, the two party system isn't working just fine. One party has demonstrated repeatedly that it is capable of rejecting the more extreme positions that some of its adherents espouse. The Party celebrates its extremism, and, in its historic rejection, calls for the study of "revolution." It is anti-intellectual and really something out of the totalitarian thinking that most in the Party purport to reject.

Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King

Ask Professor Melissa Click how that worked out for her. She is one of a thousand paper cuts why HRC lost.

Law Professors would do well to teach some basic skills: 1. How to collect 3 bills from an INNOCENT client. 2. How to get a driver's license restored. 3. How to get a client out of jail. 4. How to defend a DUI 5. Ethics (No stealing, sleeping with clients and civility.)

Until that happens, the above is nonsense. Ask Professor Click.

Nick J. Sciullo

anon 9:39: The Melissa Click scenario seems in many ways a red herring. The events surrounding her certainly aren't reasons to not teach about social movements, and they aren't even reasons to not be political. And, HRC's loss was surely the result of many things, but the Click case seems to be far down the list of what we might attribute that loss to,

The skills you address certainly are important, but let's also remember that not every lawyer will be practicing in situations where 1-4 will come up. Ethics and/or Professional Responsibility are still core parts of the curriculum. I suppose it may be the case that you feel these classes are insufficient in teaching what they purport to teach, but they seem a step in the right direction. Professional development classes also seem to address ethical concerns, although people can obviously chose what types of classes and opportunities they get their points from to maintain bar memberships. Then, there's the idea that not everyone who goes to law school wants to become a lawyer. That may be a small portion of the student population, but as we all know, many law school graduates go into nonprofit work, business, politics, etc. So, those folks might benefit from learning about social movements.

Thanks for the thoughtful engagement.

Nick J. Sciullo

anon 6:10: I cannot concede the argument for a number of reasons. Here are some of them in no particular order... 1) The two party system is horrible, but it is working along its own terms, 2) One needn't agree with a system to think it works, 3) There's nothing mutually exclusive about a two party system and revolutionary and reactionary movements, 4) There's nothing about revolutionary and reactionary movements that would indicate a system is failing if we don't assume that the system works, 5) If we decide that the two party system is failing, then revolutionary and reactionary movements seems a logical next step, 6) If we decide that the two party system works, then revolutionary and reactionary movements seem a normal response as they have been throughout history in this country and others, 7) We may have a disagreement about what the word "revolutionary" means, 8) We may have a disagreement about what the word "empirical" means, and 9) Empirics seem to go my way as liberal, conservative, and progressive news sources have used the terminology of revolution and reaction.

The capitalized "Party" has usually been used in reference to some version of a communist or socialist party. If I've made the mistake of basing my analysis on the word's socio-history, then the error is all mine. But, if you intend to conflate any version of communism of socialism with the Democratic Party in the United States, then we fundamentally disagree about communism, socialism, and the Democratic Party. I'm not disputing the results of the election, but that doesn't mean one has to be pleased with them. One of the great patterns in U.S. history is to be disappointed with elections. The bubble metaphor you describe can be applied to a number of people in a number of political positions in the United States. Neither Democrats nor Republicans, nor others seems to have monopolized the bubble.

Risible, or provoking laughter, is a lovely word. I did not write of a revolution only revolutionary and reactionary movements, as you quoted above. There clearly wasn't a nationwide rejection of I guess we're discussing the Democratic Party now. Winning an election doesn't rise to the level of a rejection of a party. For it to be true that the voting in the U.S. represented a nationwide rejection of a party, we'd probably have to agree on or discuss a few things: 1) Can voting in an election or a series of elections adequately represent national political leanings given low voter turnout and restrictions on voting?, 2) At what point does something become nationwide?, 3) What is the bright-line for rejection (X electoral votes, X percentage of the popular vote, X number of House seats, etc.), 4) What's the party?

I don't defend the Democratic Party. I'm actually one of its harshest critics. We should be critical of all political parties, that's an important part of politics.

I've already answered both of these next claims. I don't dispute the results of the election, and I don't defend the party. I don't think there's a place I've ever defended the Democratic Party. Being mad or organizing as a result of an election probably doesn't mean that one doesn't accept the election, in fact it probably means one is all the more cognizant of the results.

A lot of people do study those things and they're doing good work. I'm not particularly interested in defending the Democratic Party, so I won't be working on those questions, but I'm confident others will do a fine job. The campus movements and movements in cities and towns across the U.S. and abroad don't seem to be invented. And, again, their revolutionary intent seems clear, although we disagree about the nature of revolution.

It seems that both parties in the two party system have vacillated between extremes. That's the nature of political parties, they flow, just like people do with their political ideas. Extremism need not be anti-intellectual. In fact, leaders from all places of the political spectrum have engaged in extremism, and if one is a member of a party, then one is probably in a better place for the party having contemplated extreme positions.

Thanks for the thoughtful engagement.

anon

Nick

REading thru your response, one is reminded of the spokespersons for totalitarian regimes: nothing is truth, words have no meaning, everything is relative (what is a majority, what is a revolution, what does working mean, how does calling protests a revolution dispute the results?, etc.)Your response belongs in the library of the Ministry of Truth.

BUt, lurking in the mush is your position, quite clearly stated. Because, in the mushy response, you reveal that you don't really acknowledge your predetermined view of matters (if the election had been reversed, and T supporters were rioting in the streets, your post would have been differently framed (you wouldn't be so blithely stating that the election had "spawned a revolution"), and I think every objective reader will immediately recognize this quite obvious observation).

You really need to read 1984 and Animal Farm. The "Party" can be any party. In 1984 and Animal Farm, it was English Socialism. But, any Party that: is almost uniformly supported by a cheerleading media and academic establishment, and at the same time suffers major electoral defeats in almost every branch and at almost every level of government, begins to fit the bill. Any Party which, instead of introspection, adopts a stance that calls for or optimistically sees a "revolution" in any protest every time it loses an election, is on its way.
Any Party that divides up the electorate by race and gender, and stokes those divisions to stir up fear of the other and animosity among them for electoral gain, fits the bill. (Projection is rampant here, so, you likely won't understand to which party the last condition applies.)

anon

ONe easy demonstration of the mush:

"1) The two party system is horrible, but it is working along its own terms, ... 5) If we decide that the two party system is failing, then revolutionary and reactionary movements seems [sic] a logical next step ... It's [therefore] no surprise to anyone that Donald Trump's recent election to the United States Presidency has spawned revolutionary and reactionary movements across the United States and abroad. ... If we decide that the two party system works, then revolutionary and reactionary movements seem a normal response as they have been throughout history in this country and others."

Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King

Give Trump a chance already. Don't get your undies in a bunch. It can't be that bad. He called in Henry Kissinger as an advisor. Mr. Kissinger saved us several times from a drinking president and his incoherent nuclear inspired war. If worse comes to worse, we have our Judges, Article III and then if that doesn't hold up, we have thousands of local governments and entities. Remember DeToqueville's idea of "frangmentation?"

Nick J. Sciullo

anon 3:35: If this writing is mushy, we're in real trouble. I've actually made the opposite claim, namely that words have meanings and it's important to understand what meanings people are using. No one has made a relativity claim, so I don't need to answer that. My responses are questions that have been explored in media of all types and of course the academy. Definitions help us get at stasis points, which increase clash in arguments. Clash is fundamental to debate and argumentation, at least since Aristotle. Rather than engage in mushy argument, whatever that may mean, I'd prefer to think of my argument as a case of the classic either/or, or perhaps to put it in the context of law, pleading in the alternative.

We've perceived both supporters of Clinton and Trump, and Sanders, and others engage in various protesting activities. Of course I and any author would describe different events differently. Bias is a part of writing and reading critically. That's why we ask our students to not search for a mythical notion of objectivity, but instead to take into account the ways in which authors might be biased toward and away from different positions. I've never met an objective reader and I doubt I'll ever find one. I'm sure readers will read what I write in any forum, critically or not, recognize my biases and politics or not, and react accordingly or not.

1984 and Animal Farm are great books, thank you for reminding me of them. It seems though that these books aren't directly applicable to the instant situation. Orwell's work was not simply a rejection of totalitarianism, but was rather an advancement of democratic socialism, the political philosophy with which he associated himself. I was always a fan of Snowball. 1984 also advances a pro-social-democracy position. It seems though that you oppose this political philosophy. Perhaps your disagreement is with totalitarianism, although I can't find much evidence of totalitarianism in the U.S. Animal Farm wasn't about English socialism; it was an allegory about the Russian Revolution. 1984 isn't an argument against English socialism, it's an argument for a better English socialism. Both books address fundamental claims of the appropriateness of violence and the form of revolution.

The recent elections seem to not prove either book true although Orwell would likely conclude that both a Trump-, Republican-, Clinton-, or Democrat-led revolution has failed with respect to the election. Perhaps, the protesting going on now would be a welcome move for Orwell at least in the context of these two novels and his non-fiction writing.

Parties, pundits, politicians, and a lot of other folks often call for revolution or protest or action after elections don't go their way. We've gotten good examples of that in the last 20 or so years. People in the U.S. aren't great at introspection, so I'm unsure how one political party and not another or even no political parties would solve this.

Everyone has preconceived notions. Every newspaper, every teacher, every blog post. Writing style and inclusion and exclusion of material and sources all help to reveal these. Read any textbook, casebook, magazine, or take in a radio talk show or television news program. They all reveal biases. Rather than wish those away, let's encourage people to better evaluate media. Biases also don't make people wrong, their evidence bad, or their arguments faulty.

You're not using projection in the classic Freudian sense, so I'm unsure what you mean by projection. Political parties often appeal to voting groups, and those appeals are essentialist and deeply problematic. Authors and advertisers do it as well. Strategists for both major political parties have been clear about these practices, and it's unclear that one party is worse than another. Both parties have also stoked up identity based fears. Of course we'll disagree about what these fears are and what they might indicate about this country, other countries, or our political system.

Thanks again.

anon

Nick. I appreciate your response. There's a lot to address. But, my questions/observations have been fairly simple.

Something begins to seem amiss here. First, there are some fairly obvious self-contradictions in your responses. To wit:

""1) The two party system is horrible, but it is working along its own terms, ... 5) If we decide that the two party system is failing, then revolutionary and reactionary movements seems [sic] a logical next step ... It's [therefore] no surprise to anyone that Donald Trump's recent election to the United States Presidency has spawned revolutionary and reactionary movements across the United States and abroad. ... If we decide that the two party system works, then revolutionary and reactionary movements seem a normal response as they have been throughout history in this country and others."

This is what we used to call "double speak." You claim that “revolutionary and reactionary movements” are a “normal response” to the two party system working, and to the two party system failing. In sum, IMHO, this is not an argument in good faith.

As for Orwell, you really seem to have read a different book called “1984.” When you read about IngSoc in 1984, and considered “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” (which was the product of an Inner Party committee that included O'Brien) did you actually believe that Orwell was supporting the views expressed by these “fictional” actors and notions? Whatever Orwell may have thought, during the war, about how English Socialism could function differently, he brilliantly exposed the bullsh$t that the Party shoveled in order to obscure real debate, in both critiques.

Your constant shifting and redefinition of terms seem to me to obfuscate the notion of any truth. You say, "I've actually made the … claim … that words have meanings and it's important to understand what meanings people are using." Ok, fair enough.

But, when a writer uses ordinary words and then denies or questions the accepted meaning of those very words, or attributes shifting and suspect meanings to those words when challenged, then something begins to seem amiss. To wit:

“I don't think the question of party politics is germane to the discussion” (after contradictory references to the two party system noted above);

“Bastion of course means, more or less, "a fortified place." Literally, this depends on the building in which one teaches. … Metaphorically, it doesn't seem that any party needs universities as bastions as the two party system seems to be getting along just fine, for better or worse.” (see, above);

“We may have a disagreement about what the word "revolutionary" means,” (What do you now think it means?);

“ We may have a disagreement about what the word "empirical" means,” (Seriously, what relevance here?);

“Risible, or provoking laughter, is a lovely word. I did not write of a revolution only revolutionary and reactionary movements,” (see above);

“Can voting in an election or a series of elections adequately represent national political leanings[?],” (what importance do YOU attribute to the sporadic protests that you label "revolutionary movements spawned since last Tuesday"!);

“At what point does something become nationwide[?]” (oh, please);

“You're not using projection in the classic Freudian sense, so I'm unsure what you mean by projection.” (Yes, I am, and I think you know that, by attempting to deflect the implication!)

With all due respect, these are just some examples of obfuscating. There are many other examples above. It is impossible to communicate with someone who will not address the principal point. So, I'll resign from this dialogue with this request, for the last time: Please, instead of writing long essays about "what do you mean by meaning?" defend this statement:
“It's no surprise to anyone that Donald Trump's recent election to the United States Presidency has spawned revolutionary and reactionary movements across the United States and abroad.”

IMHO, that’s bunk.

If you just could have just conceded that small point, then we might have moved on to the credibility of the rest of your post (basically advocating that now is the time to teach students about “ the benefits (political efficacy, moral rightness, changing of minds, etc.) and dangers (walking out of class might mean you fail the day's assignments, verbal and physical violence, the potential of arrest, etc.) of protesting, the importance of media attention, and ways to best frame discussions given political differences about not only the election, but also race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religious, and other identities.”

This latter revelation makes very clear where you stand. Once again, I’ll refrain from further debate, but conclude with this: Had the election gone the other way, it seems clear to me that you never would be out there posting and advocating in this fashion, which is highly political and, in the view of some persons highly suspect.

Then again, these persons, who might look outside the bubble for some semblance of objectivity would remain disappointed by your approach. Apparently, that word has no meaning in your world.

anon

One addendum, from the new candidate for D. Minority Leader in the House:

"Ryan, 43, was undeterred, saying that the Democratic Party’s disappointing performance in last week’s election demanded new leadership.


“Over the last 18 years, Democrats have only been in the majority of the House of Representatives for two terms, and last week’s election results set us back even further," said Ryan, of Youngstown. “We have lost over 60 seats since 2010. We have the fewest Democrats in state and federal offices since Reconstruction.”

What is "Reconstruction"? What does "state and federal" mean? Can we even discuss this if we don't know the reason so many didn't vote for the last 100 plus years?

Isn't losing winning?

VoteTrump

Why is there so much soul searching? The fact is Trump won despite the odds and the legion of leftist extremists who are embedded in academia and the media. Trump won because at least half the country is against one or more of the following: safe spaces, trans bathrooms, time outs, PC politeness, feminism, hordes of immigrants destroying the tradtional values, gun control, unfair trade deals, etc. This is still our country. The demographics are not in our favor though.

terry malloy

. . . Vote Trump isn't entirely wrong.

to quote Sam Harris: “Millions of these people, along with real racists, told all you whinging social justice warriors to go [expletive] yourselves,” Harris said. “And can you really blame them? I mean, safe spaces. Trigger warnings. New gender pronouns. Getting Muslim student groups to deplatform [liberal] speakers….was that the cause of your generation? That’s the trench you were willing to die in.”

Nick J. Sciullo

anon 12:35:

1) Unfortunately for your argument that's not a contradiction. One can easily claim that a system is working according to the logic of that system and still think that system flawed. Also, if a system works, one need not accept it and not protest. The argument is fairly clear. For example, I think capitalism is working on its terms, but failing with respect to promoting the wellbeing of all and also failing as a reasonable economic system. Or a simpler, less controversial example: One might conclude that their favorite law television show is working in that it garners viewers, advertisers are eager to advertise with it, and celebrities are eager to guest star, but that the show fails as a realistic depiction of the legal system.

On Orwell: It seems we have deeply different understandings of the books. Orwell's genius was in his promotion of democratic socialism as he critiqued totalitarianism. There seems to be little question about Orwell's political proclivities.

I haven't shifted the definition of any term and I worry that this obfuscation claim only obfuscates more meaningful engagement. There's little room to understand my arguments as contradictory, and I've been pushing for more definitional clarity in this exchange. Words have complex and shifting meanings. Even the simplest words are open to interpretation. Law school teaches this a good bit in contracts or legislative drafting, etc., and we also learn it in a ton of undergraduate classes in many disciplines. We are in trouble if we don't ask definitional questions.

You've singled out great sentences that compose an argument with warrants and backing. I stand by each of those sentences. The only one I find most engaging is the question of empiricism. This is an argument you made, and I questioned what you meant by empirical. I am indicting your use of the term. Rather than address my question about your empirics, you now only suggest that we shouldn't question what empirics mean. The same is true with nationwide. We're in trouble here folks.

I've defended the statement in the original post this whole time. The links provide the theoretical and case study analysis needed to support my claim. Any Google News search of some combination of "Trump, reactionary, revolutionary, protest, etc." will provide you with all the material you need for specific examples of these actions. You'll need to defend your claims as well. But, it seems like we differ on what counts as defending or supporting one's argument. Alas, this seems like quite the problem.

I don't have to concede a point that is supported by numerous sources, some of which I included in the original post. I don't get the impression that your interest was in discussing the teaching of social movements and their role in the law school classroom. It seems a strange position to dig in about revolutionary and reactionary, never mind the evidence presented, if one really wants to discuss social movements as an area of study. That could be a most fruitful discussion, but one you seem unwilling to have.

I've published extensively about revolution and protest throughout the Obama presidency, so if history is our guide, the change in the winner probably wouldn't produce dramatically different results. But, as I indicated, different situations do demand different writing.

I'm glad to have people think the post fine, engaging, and probing as well as suspect. Objectivity has a meaning, it's just that this mean describes an untenable ideal.

Also, there's clearly Freudian projection going on here, and in some obvious ways.

Cheers.

anon

Can't resist:

"Any Google News search of some combination of "Trump, reactionary, revolutionary, protest, etc." will provide you with all the material you need for specific examples of these actions."

Google : space aliens white house

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