You can tell someone has fundamentally liberal & idealist premises when they criticize a state for violating ‘international law’ or its own laws, as though these have any meaning outside the context of states & power.
This is barring the obvious exception of people asserting juridical defenses against the state in which they live or by which they are oppressed, such as when the American free speech movement asserted anti censorship the way it did
But anyway, you see it a lot. In fact, id reckon all of us communists or anarchists or leftists or whatever have used said arguments in the past. Notice how many people invoke the constitution to make political arguments.
The fetishism for proceduralism we are among institutional/party liberals & their adherents is only a hop, skip & jump from the legalism on the ~*left*~ specifically its milquetoast professional factions—the NGOs, Lawyers, journalists, academics, pundits & professional activists
For many lefty types this ends up posing a contradiction—for example, asserting that the international political sphere is decided by power & imperialism, but then recording to international law, ICC, The Hague, the UN, Geneva, domestic constitutional protections etc
Or similarly, one will see widespread recognition that law is an instrument of power, that it is a legacy of settler colonialism, capitalism & so on, but then call for legalistic solutions.
I’ve seen this exact combination among pundits like Angela Davis, Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, Wendy Brown, much of the 60s left & student movements, & very commonly among leftish media like Democracy Now, or The Intercept.
Or one calls for ‘nonviolence’, but their preferred recourse is state policy, regulation, law, civil & criminal punishments for bad actors, sanctions, UN & other international interventions & other said contradictions.
Those remind me of similar procedural & statist fetishisms—those of democracy, nonviolence, freeze peach, ‘human rights’, attestation, awareness & ‘speaking truth to power’—but ill get to that later.
Many recognize these contradictions. B Bhandar author of Colonial Lives of Property’ discusses the tension between law & property as settler colonial institutions, discourses, & technologies, on 1 hand, & indigenous & ‘native’ assertions of rights within settler law, on the other
S Hartman (as well as C Mills, & C Rosenthal) discusses among other things the racial nature of law & basis of the American state in slavery & dispossession, & the tensions between assertions of juridical recognition.
Eric Stanley & Nat Smith, Dean Spade, & Ryan Conrad fashion similar critiques about the relation of the carceral state, law & military respectively to LGBTQI+ projects, their limits & the contradictions thereof.
As I said above, & as is discussed by many of these authors, critiquing their limits & contradictions is not critiquing their per se use in social movements & assertions against the state & capital within their frameworks.
In a practical sense, much of the critiques stem from the recognition of potential necessity of use being forced upon people but recognizing their limits, aporias, tendencies to be recuperated & cautioning against over relying on them or legitimating their use as tools of power.
No one faults a person for defending themselves legally within a specific context. As long as the state & law exist, we need to defend ourselves from & within them. So notably what i am saying in this thread is not a critique of *lawyers* but of the legalism.
This relates to another critique & history I discussed recently—my very simplistic heuristic account between the old Left & New Left, between the absolutist social justice types & the more ‘ruthless critique of all that exists’ types
Indeed, the contradictions of the absolutist social justice moralist types & the use of the law as instrument of social justice is one of the places these dynamics are most obvious & in tension.
Several examples become immediately obvious:
1. The juridical framing of human rights & gender rights in both domestic & international context used to justify statist & interventionist policies—carceral feminism, liberal feminist interventionism etc
2. A very related overlapping issue, where laws meant to protect marginalized people &/or punish elites, backfiring and being used to punish & exclude people who they were meant to protect or other marginalized peoples for example
2. Cont.
—Some examples in a list, plus a few more examples with qualifications—
▪️ in the Möbius strip that is the carceral & legal system, it is also the case, however, that attempts to combat fascism, or protect survivors, that attacks on the legal basis of free speech & due process can often backfire
▪️all the myriad cases of conflict such as when the labor movement opposed the ERA, Gender & racial protections. The ACLU & Back radical orgs opposed feminist legal proposals. The way queer anti carceral groups oppose the sex offender registry.
3/4. Laws & policies that are necessarily enforced unequally for both intrinsic & extrinsic reasons.
5. As mentioned above, the hyper focus on non-violence as an end in and of itself & protests/demonstrations as ways of changing minds & making ones ‘voice heard’ but then supporting legal, Policy, administrative, IR & electoral politics that are intrinsically violent.
6. The fact that it is inescapable that:
7. Like it or not all nations, ethnicities, races, traditions, nationalisms, citizenships, rights, laws, territories & so on are socially, discursively, culturally, technologically, epistemically, & materially constructed — there is no authentic pre existing thing to reference
The conjunction of 5, 6 & 7, results in absurdities. Precedence, legitimacy, authenticity, morality, special cases & so on are adjudicated after one has already made their political & moral judgments & alliances.

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More from @yungneocon

17 Oct
A lot of people think that Germany made good on the Nazis by paying reparations for all their damages. In truth, for example, in the Jewish case they only paid out roughly a fifth of the book value of all property, labor etc expropriated, & just for German Jews.
So they didn’t pay for the destruction, devastation, extra taxation, forced unemployment, enslavement, dispossession, emotional damages, traumas, deaths, injuries, imprisonments, seizures, transfers, replacements, tortures & terrors.
The USSR, US, UK & France got back a substantial portion of their losses—though definitely not even close to all of them in the Soviet case, & a plurality in the French case, the cost to life excluded for both, using expropriation, seizure, taxation & forced labor Image
Read 59 tweets
17 Oct
Watching a mockumentary called ‘No Men Beyond this Point’ where asexual reproduction thru parthenogenesis becomes the norm & it’s funny but it Unsettling Bc it shows how many people who are otherwise feminist hold a sex deterministic view of gender ideology
They unify the governments of the world, replace all religions with an ecofeminist cults, put most of the men on reservations, while those that remain are forced to work menial jobs & cant hang out in more than groups of 2.
Also they imply that because women are less war like, they slash all the military & related budgets so there’s no internet or space program or other technologies that depended on it.
Read 9 tweets
17 Oct
There is NOT ONE ‘democracy’ in history that has not defined itself by the structural exclusion of some group of people, both ideologically & in actual concrete humans. Not one. Name it
and don’t pull semantic games lol
There is not one state in history that has not followed the basic logic of international affairs, neo realism & geopolitics. And i promise any pseudo exception you name is one predicted by the theory re: the substantive limits of the immanent dynamics of state power
Read 6 tweets
16 Oct
Super thread of threads on the impotence of liberalism & it’s unfortunate influence on leftism.
A thread I just did on legalism & so on. It’s relatively lengthy, but if you don’t need examples the first few tweets should suffice
I link to this thread in the other one. I discuss how legitimate concepts in settler colonial studies end up bowdlerized by liberalism & a certain kind of leftist
Read 15 tweets
16 Oct
The Indian Ocean, North African & Eurasian African Slave trade recorded some 9-14 million slaves sold—an underestimate due to deaths & given that the trade continued into the 20th century—over at least 800 years (but up to 1.5 that, hence the calculation issues).
The Atlantic slave trade represented some 12 million people kidnapped from Africa in a 400 year span. Again, under represented because of deaths & record keeping.
This doesn’t account for the 2 million European & 1 million North African slaves captured by both sides between 1500-1800. Jews & black Africans were especially targeted by both sides.
Read 5 tweets
16 Oct
There’s a bunch of books on this website I want to force people to read before they talk about some topics. So this is a thread dedicated to those about you know where (left twitters second main sacred evil.)
The problem is that very few people on left twitter understand either the history of the region, or of the left, or of settler colonialism, or of any of the other issues involved. Which is embarrassing because this information isn’t exactly hard to find.
I’m reticent to even send this list—even though literally every author is a scholar & a ‘leftist’ (except one i think) in the broad ecuwomenical sense—because all y’all are unable to read anything other than memes before sounding off your settler colonial apologia
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