Chomsky: We Must Not Let Masters Of Capital Define The Post-COVID World

Noam Chomsky

The global outbreak of COVID-19 has many thinking that a new economic and political order is inevitably under way. But is that so? In the U.S., the moneyed class, which has thrived under Donald Trump, won’t go down without pulling all stops to make sure that popular pressures for radical reforms will be blocked, says world-renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky. Chomsky also reminds us that overt racism has intensified under Trump, and that police violence is a symptom of the underlying white supremacy that plagues U.S. society. Meanwhile, Trump’s anti-environmental policies and his trashing of arms control treaties are bringing the world ever closer to an environmental and nuclear holocaust.

C.J. Polychroniou: It’s been argued by many, from various quarters, that COVID-19 has been a game changer. Do you concur with this view, or are we talking of a temporary situation, with a return to the “business as usual” approach being the most likely scenario once this health crisis is over?

Noam Chomsky: There is no way to predict. Those who have primary responsibility for the multiple crises that imperil us today are hard at work, relentlessly, to ensure that the system they created, and from which they have greatly benefited, will endure — and in an even harsher form, with more intense surveillance and other means of coercion and control. Popular forces are mobilizing to counter these malign developments. They seek to dismantle the destructive policies that have led us to this uniquely perilous moment of human history, and to move toward a world system that gives priority to human rights and needs, not the prerogatives of concentrated capital.

We should take a few moments to clarify to ourselves the stakes in the bitter class war that is taking shape as the post-pandemic world is being forged. The stakes are immense. All are rooted in the suicidal logic of unregulated capitalism, and at a deeper level in its very nature, all becoming more apparent during the neoliberal plague of the past 40 years. The crises have been exacerbated by malignancies that have surfaced as these destructive tendencies took their course. The most ominous are appearing in the most powerful state in human history — not a good omen for a world in crisis.

The stakes were spelled out in the setting of the Doomsday Clock last January. Each year of Trump’s presidency, the minute hand has been moved closer to midnight. Two years ago, it reached the closest it has been since the Clock was first set after the atomic bombings. This past January, the analysts abandoned minutes altogether and moved to seconds: 100 seconds to midnight. They reiterated the prime concerns: nuclear war, environmental destruction and deterioration of democracy, the last of these because the only hope of dealing with the two existential crises is vibrant democracy in which an informed population is directly engaged in determining the fate of the world.

Since January, Trump has escalated each of these threats to survival. He has continued his project of dismantling the arms control regime that has provided some protection against nuclear disaster. So far this year, he has terminated the Open Skies Treaty, proposed by Eisenhower, and imposed frivolous conditions to block the re-negotiation of New Start, the last pillar of the system. He is now considering ending the moratorium on nuclear tests, “an invitation for other nuclear-armed countries to follow suit,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

The military industry can scarcely control its euphoria over the flood of gifts from the public to develop new weapons to destroy us all, encouraging adversaries to do likewise so that down the road, new grants will flow to try to counter the new threats to survival. A hopeless task, as virtually every specialist knows, but that is not pertinent; what matters is that public largesse should flow into the right pockets.

Trump also has continued his dedicated campaign to destroy the environment that sustains human life. His FY 2020 budget proposal, issued while the pandemic was raging, called for further defunding of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health-related components for government, compensated by increased support for the fossil fuel industries that are destroying the prospects for survival. And, as usual, more funding for the military and for the [border] wall that is a central part of his electoral strategy. The corporate leaders Trump has installed to supervise environmental destruction are quietly eliminating regulations that somewhat constrain the damage and that protect the population from poisoning water supplies and the air they breathe. The latter reveals sharply the malevolence of the Trump phenomenon. In the midst of an unprecedented respiratory pandemic, Trump’s minions are seeking to increase air pollution, which makes COVID-19 more deadly, endangering tens of thousands of Americans. But it doesn’t much matter. Most have no choice but to live near the polluting plants — [those] who are poor and Black, and who vote the “wrong” way.

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Please do not disturb

“Slaap je hier iedere dag?”
Dat kan toch niet de eerste vraag zijn die je aan iemand stelt. Maar dit is Mumbai en hier heeft niemand de tijd om een gesprek met een wijdlopige inleiding te beginnen. Daarom kan in Mumbai elke willekeurige vraag een eerste vraag zijn. En ook een laatste.
In ieder geval, Rohini – die zo’n beetje languit op de rode sofa in de hoek van de receptie van de studio lag – sloot haar ogen zonder op antwoord te wachten. Rohit wist niet wat hij moest zeggen.
Hij kon niet eens de leeftijd van Rohini, die een strakke spijkerbroek en een topje met wijde mouwen droeg, schatten. Ze kon vijfendertig zijn, maar net zo goed vijfentwintig. Tussen leeftijd en kleding bestaat geen verband. In feite bestaat er geen enkel verband tussen leeftijd en uiterlijk, karakter, gedrag.
Zulke halfbakken gedachten komen nu bij Rohit naar boven, sinds hij in Mumbai woont.
Z’n baas had Rohit aangeraden om nachtdiensten te draaien, met de belofte dat hij dan dinsdag en woensdag vrij zou zijn. De belofte van z’n baas om hem die vrije dagen te geven is net zo gevaarlijk als de belofte van een minnaar. Als ze niet wordt nagekomen, heb je een probleem, als ze wel wordt nagekomen, is het je ondergang.
Kortom, de baas zou zich niet aan z’n belofte houden en voor Rohit was dat niet rampzalig. Hij grijpt elke kans aan om in de studio te zijn. Ten eerste heeft hij daar geen last van de vochtige hitte van juli en ten tweede moet hij toch aan de nachtdienst wennen. Hij wil binnen twee jaar assistant-editor worden en binnen vijf jaar editor. Dat zou niet mogelijk zijn zonder dag en nacht in de studio te werken.

“Ben je nog altijd wakker?” Rohini had haar ogen weer geopend. “Mijn editor is gaan slapen. Ik heb niks te doen. Kom op, laten we een pakje sigaretten gaan kopen bij Lokhandwala Crossing.”
Rohit keek als vanzelf naar de vierkante klok die verderop aan de muur tikte.
“Ben je hier soms nieuw? Weet je niet dat je hier geen nacht hebt? Als je bang bent, dan ga ik alleen. Blijf maar hier, angsthaas. Als m’n editor wakker wordt, zeg hem dan dat ik er in een kwartiertje weer ben.”
“Nee mevrouw, ik ga wel met u mee. U kunt toch niet in uw eentje gaan.”
“Denk je soms dat je Salman Khan bent in Bodyguard?”
“Nee mevrouw, ik wil alleen maar …”
“Heb je iets gegeten of hang je hier maar wat rond? Het is half drie. Als je honger hebt, dan kun je beneden bada-pav halen.”
“Ik heb gegeten, mevrouw.”
“Ga dan naar boven en zeg tegen die sukkel dat we in tien minuten terug zijn. Het is nergens voor nodig dat we hier de hele nacht maar zitten. Er is absoluut niets te doen en ik kan ook niet slapen, fuck.”
“Ja mevrouw.”
“Ben jij soms regelrecht uit dat bekakte Lucknow gekomen? Als je zo spreekt, dan maken ze hier gehakt van je, stoppen je in de vrieskist en nemen af en toe een lekker hapje van je. Schiet op, ga’t ’m boven even zeggen. Dan kunnen we er even uit.” Rohini had zich weer op de sofa opgerold.
Terwijl hij de trap op liep, keek hij nog eens steels naar Rohini: gaat ze echt zo laat de deur nog uit?

Boven in de editor’s suite lag de editor innig tevreden te slapen. Hij snurkte zo hard dat je hem buiten de sound-proof room kon horen. De timeline van Final Cut Pro liep nog heel traag door, alsof hij wel een oppeppertje kon gebruiken. Of misschien eerder Autodesk Smoke.
Deze film zou nog met Smoke bewerkt worden, zoals de baas gisteren zei. Dat is wel nodig ook. Het eerste shot is zo vlak. Rohit herinnerde zich opeens dat de held in de eerste opname de kamer uit kwam gerend. Niets nieuws, niet in het shot, niet in de editing.
Rohit liet de timeline lopen. Er waren na gisteren nog vier scènes die niet gemonteerd waren.
Waarom moeten ze eigenlijk ’s nachts doorwerken? Kost het zoveel tijd om een scène te editen?
Toen hij de ongeordende shots zag, probeerde hij een tijdje ze te rangschikken maar hij herinnerde zich de instructie van de baas om zich niet met andermans werk te bemoeien. Hij hield ermee op en ging weer staan.
Ook nadat hij een tijd had gestaan, kon hij niet besluiten of hij de editor wakker zou maken of teruggaan. Een andere mogelijkheid was de sleutel van de studio te pakken en deze van buitenaf op slot doen. Als de editor toch wakker zou worden, dan zou hij vast Rohini bellen. Maar omdat hij diep in slaap was, leek het er niet op dat hij de komende twee uur iets anders zou doen dan hard snurken.
Zelfs de koning van het dodenrijk zou van schrik maken dat hij weg kwam.

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The Kingdom Of The Netherlands In The Caribbean: 1954-2004. What Next?

KingdomContents

– Preface (see below)
Ernst M.H. Hirsch Ballin ~ Introduction
Lammert de Jong ~ Repairing a not so united Kingdom. Can it be done?
Denicio Brison ~ The Kingdom’s Charter (Het Statuut): Fifty years in the wilderness
Francio Guadeloupe ~ The Politics of Autochthony and Economic Globalization: seamy sides of the same coin
Denicio Brison – In reaction to Francio Guadeloupe
Francio Guadeloupe ~ The need for a critical imagination. In reaction to comments by Denicio Brison
Mito Croes ~ De ‘reinvention’ van het Koninkrijk
Douwe Boersema ~ 50 jaar Statuut en verder
Steven Hillebrink ~ Constitutional In-Betweenity: Reforming the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean
Dirk Kruijt & Wim Hoogbergen ~ Suriname 1954-2004. Kroniek van een illusie
About the authors

Preface
This book contains a selection of treatises on the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean, 1954-2004. The Netherlands Antilles and Aruba are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The constitution of the Kingdom, Het Statuut (the Kingdom Charter), was formalized in 1954.
In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Charter for the Kingdom on 15th December 2004, a conference, workshops and a series of lectures were held in the Netherlands Antilles. On Sint Maarten, the Island government initiated a conference (22 October 2004), which also included representatives of neighboring islands (St. Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla, French St. Martin), to be followed, the next day, by workshops organized by the University of St. Martin. On Curaçao, the University of the Netherlands Antilles arranged a series of lectures for the general public in November and December 2005.
Most of the book is in English, part is in Dutch. This is a reflection of the language practice in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On Sint Maarten the lingua franca is English. On Curaçao, a Dutch speaking national may lecture in Dutch, though a presentation in Papiamento would certainly add to the speaker’s standing. Notwithstanding, all lectures on Curaçao were in Dutch. The chapter on Suriname has been included in order to present a more complete picture of the Charter’s 50 years history.
The authors present a medley of interests in the Kingdom of the Netherlands: young scholars, seasoned academics, a former Aruban minister-plenipotentiary in the Netherlands and a former Dutch resident- representative in the Netherlands Antilles. The book’s Introduction is by Ernst M.H. Hirsch Ballin, a former minister of Kingdom Affairs and presently a member of the Council of State of the Kingdom. For many years he has maintained a deep-rooted and well documented interest in the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean.

The book’s cover shows a picture of a statue of a black Caribbean woman wrapped in the colors of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.[i] We had some doubts about this choice of cover. Could it be labeled as frivolous, irreverent or missing the point? One of the authors convinced us that this statue reflects:
(…) that the Kingdom has been multi-ethnic for centuries; that people of all color have been part of Orange; and that this awareness is growing. This statue is gender sensitive by indicating the role women in colonial dress and head wrap have played in critically translating the Netherlands dominance so that Antilleans and Arubans while being victimized, did not see themselves as victims of history.
The statue symbolizes a new concept of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and at the same time it explicates that since colonial times the borders of the Kingdom extend far beyond the North Sea. (Francio Guadeloupe)

With vigor and pleasure we have put this book together. Most of us knew each other in cyberspace only; some met for the first time in ‘hard copy’ on Curaçao and Sint Maarten. Very likely new bonds of scholarship have been fastened for the days to come. This book would not have seen the light without the 50-year Charter initiatives of the Island government of Sint Maarten (Sarah Wescot-Williams, Dennis Pantophlet, Dorothy Lake), the University of St. Martin (Josianna Fleming-Artsen, Maria van Enckevort) and the University of the Netherlands Antilles (Miguel Goede and Douwe Boersema). We and our readers owe them much appreciation. Only insiders know how hard it was to find the money to realize these initiatives. Auke van der Berg, Rozenberg Publishers, agreed to run the press again by stating: the future of the Kingdom is our niche.” So be it.

Lammert de Jong
Amsterdam, April 2005

NOOT
i. This statue was a complimentary present to friendly relations of a political party (C 93) on Curaçao that aimed to integrate the Netherlands Antilles as part of the Netherlands. Many years ago I had to honor to be invited on a Sunday morning on Curaçao to speak about various options of Kingdom relations and have since treasured this statue on one of the Caribbean bookshelves in my study. This party did not achieve this goal and the gist of this book does not deal with this option.

Rozenberg Publishers ~ ISBN 978 90 5170 195 1 – 2005

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The Initiative For Fair Open Access Publishing In South Asian Studies ~ The 2020 Manifesto

The 2020 Manifesto for Fair Open Access Publishing in South Asian Studies

Profiteering and restricted access have led to a crisis in academic publishing. The Fair Open Access movement is best promoted by mobilizing individual disciplines. With this manifesto, we, an open group of scholars of classical and modern South Asian Studies, declare our support for Fair Open Access publishing.

§1  As is well known, the impact of publications is very often contingent on factors independent of the quality of the research or the competence of the authors. This includes that the research is published in a renowned journal (or other publication medium), by a renowned editor, or – and this has become a major problem – by a prestigious publishing house.

§2  Most of the prestigious publication media are nowadays controlled by a small number of profiteering international publishers. These companies often sell their products at unjustifiably high prices. Much of the editorial work, on the other hand, is outsourced to researchers (or their co-workers, assistants, employees, secretaries etc.). Because they depend on the prestige capitalized on by the publishers, they generally do this without payment. This situation has led to a real crisis in academic publishing.

§3  The Open Access (OA) movement is a reaction to this development: the advance of digitization has made it easy to make the results of research freely available on the internet. OA publishing offers free access to research, regardless of an individual’s financial means or affiliation with a subscribing institution. In the OA model, the individual reader does not pay (except, of course, in the case of printed works). Instead, the publication costs are borne by universities, libraries, scholarly societies, professional associations or other scholarly institutions. While in the wake of this development a number of institutions have founded in-house publishing projects, some commercial publishers have started to offer OA as well.

§4  In order to compensate for the revenue losses resulting from the free availability of OA publications, however, some profiteering publishers have begun to calculate special fees – imposed on the authors or their institutions. Most often, these fees are unjustifiably high and overcompensate for the production costs. As a growing number of academic institutions nowadays demand that the publications of their employees be OA, they are willing to pay these fees. They even regularly schedule a special budget to finance the publishers.

§5  Ultimately, however, it is the tax payers who have to pay, often several times: funding for research and researchers, library budgets for subscription fees, acquisition of overpriced books, processing costs charged by the publishers for OA publications etc. The only reason this system functions is that researchers and their institutions are dependent on the prestige that profiteering publishers have capitalized on for commercial benefit.

Go to (incl. List of Publishers & Journals): https://foasas.org

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James Baldwin Debates William F. Buckley (1965)

 

The legendary debate that laid down US political lines on race, justice and history

In 1965 at the University of Cambridge, two of the foremost American intellectuals were challenged with the question: ‘Has the American Dream been achieved at the expense of the American Negro?’ From William F Buckley’s highly stylised posturing and pointing, to James Baldwin’s melodious rhetorical flourishes and memorable scowls, what’s become known as the ‘Baldwin-Buckley Debate’ now stands as one of the archetypal articulations of the dividing line between US progressives and conservatives on questions of race, justice and history. Baldwin, the famed African-American writer, whose reputation as a progressive social critic and visionary Civil Rights activist has only risen in the intervening decades, argues that the very foundation of US society is built on the dehumanisation of its African-American population. Meanwhile, Buckley, the leading US conservative intellectual of the period, argues that African Americans would be best served by exploiting their country’s many freedoms and opportunities, rather than pointing a collective finger at discriminatory structures and institutions. In both cases, their positions presage contemporary divisive debates in the US, though one wonders whether such an event could happen in today’s political environment.

While usually reduced to short clips, the full hour-long debate – presented here in its entirety – is a remarkable historical document in its own right. Conducted in front of a large, almost entirely white and predominantly male audience at the Cambridge Union, the encounter offers a sense of campus intellectual life in the mid-1960s through the atmosphere in the room, the things that made people laugh, and the particular references made by the debaters. After the always eloquent Baldwin evokes his personal experience to describe a perpetually disorienting and demeaning existence for African Americans, Buckley responds with facts and figures – as well as an ad hominem shot at Baldwin’s speaking voice – to argue that there’s an American Dream available to all those who would pursue it. In the end, Baldwin prevailed, earning an ardent standing ovation and a landslide victory in the Union’s vote on the motion raised.

From: https://aeon.co/the-legendary-debate-that-laid-down-us-political-lines-on-race-justice-and-history

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De Berchrede fan it Flakke Lân

Fryslân DOK
De Berchrede fan it Flakke Lân.

Tinkers formulearje in perspektyf foar de maatskippij nei de Coronacrisis. Hokker ynsjoggen kinne wy meinimme nei de takomst?

Sjoch bygelyks: De Berchrede fan Theunis Piersma:
https://www.demoanne.nl/de-berchrede-fan-theunis-piersma/

“Sa lang’t ik biolooch bin, al wer 40 jier, libje ik mei it besef dat ús wrâld ekologysk nei de barrebysjes giet. Ik wie my tige bewust dat, lang om let, ek de minsken út rike lannen dat fiele soene. Ik frege my ôf, wat sil ik der sels noch fan meimeitsje? Ik haw my de ôfrûne 20 jier geregeldwei yn ’t fel knypt en my fernuvere dat it eins sa goed giet, dat wy allegearre sa blier en blynwei trochlibje. Fansels, de ‘wanden’ hongen grôtfol mei ‘tekens’, mar wat gie it de measten fan ús dochs goed, wat koene wy lekker en goedkeap de wrâld oer reizgje om sa, nei in ritsje Schiphol en in dei of wat ‘langparkeren’, geregeldwei te ûntsnappen nei plakken mei mear romte en mear lânskip as thús.

No is it dan safier. In krisis as dy fan corona is al withoefaak troch firologen oankundige, mar ynienen komt er ús oer it mad en ynienen liket dat ‘it nei de bliksem gean’ him yn fleanende faasje ûntjout. Soks giet dus net stadich, soks rôlet oer jin hinne! Soks is as de see dy’t nei in dyktrochbraak it doarp ynienen yn it klotsende wetter set.

Ik sit thús, en folgje mei ynhâlden siken it nijs. Ik strún it ynternet ôf op syk nei ferstannich praat. It reint moaie, djippe bespegelingen. Want yn in krisis is neitinke en nij tinken nedich, en it moaie is dat sok frij tinken dan ynienen mei! Miskien wol oanmoedige wurdt. Kin ik dan einliks sizze wat ik op myn hert haw? En soe der no wol lústere wurde?”

Of De berchrede fan Oeds Westerhof:
https://www.demoanne.nl/de-berchrede-fan-oeds-westerhof/

“De flinter is in flearmûs wurden. As in orkaan fljocht it coronafirus oer de wrâld. Wa’t sûn is wurdt siik, wa’t swak is ferstjert. Dat jildt foar minsken en likegoed ek foar bedriuwen. It binne ûnwisse tiden foar elk, behalve dan foar ûnheilsprofeten, wûnderdokters, predikers fan het eind der tijden, synisy, utopisten en oare selskroane keningen fan de wissichheid.

Ik wit net wat dizze coronakrisis foar ús betsjutte sil. Ik ha in krisis fan dizze omfang nea meimakke. Myn gefoel komt it tichtst by de tiid fan Tsjernobyl en de útbraak fan aids. Dat wiene ek fan dy ûnsichtbere meunsters. De ynternasjonale spanning liket wat mear op dy fan 9-11, wylst de ekonomyske panyk wat mear oan de bankekrisis tinken docht. Eins komme al dy dingen gear yn de coronakrisis. Hoe’t it komt, dat witte we net, mar we binne yn gefaar.”

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Philip Roth ~ The Plot Against America

About The Plot Against America
Set in Newark, New Jersey, in the early 1940s, The Plot Against America tells the story of what it was like for the Roth family and Jews across the country when the isolationist aviation hero Charles Lindbergh was elected president of the United States. Roth’s richly imagined novel begins in 1940, with the landslide election of Lindbergh, who blamed the Jews for pushing America toward war with Nazi Germany. Lindbergh’s admiration of Hitler and his openly anti-Semitic speeches cause increasing turmoil in the Roth household, and in nine-year-old Philip, as political events at home and abroad overtake their daily lives. Alvin, the orphaned nephew the family has taken in, runs away to Canada to fight the Nazis. Sandy, Philip’s older brother, ascribes his parents’ fears to paranoia and embraces Lindbergh’s Just Folks program, which sends him and other Jewish children to live in the “heartland” for a summer. Philip’s mother, Bess, wants the family to flee to Canada before it is too late to escape. But his fiercely idealistic father, Herman, refuses to abandon the country where he was born and raised as an American. Overwhelmed by the tensions around him, Philip tries to run away. “I wanted nothing to do with history,” he says. “I wanted to be a boy on the smallest scale possible. I wanted to be an orphan.” But history will not let go, and as America is whipped into a deadly frenzy by demagogues, the Roths and Jews everywhere begin to expect the worst. In The Plot Against America Philip Roth writes with a historical sweep and lyrical intimacy that have rarely been so skillfully combined. As the novel explores the convulsive collision of history and family, readers take a chilling look at devastating events that could have occurred in America–and consider the many possible histories existing beneath the one that actually happened.

About Philip Roth
In 1997 Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral. In 1998 he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House, and in 2002 received the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction, previously awarded to John Dos Passos, William Faulkner, and Saul Bellow, among others. He has twice won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2005 Philip Roth has become the third living American writer to have his work published in a comprehensive, definitive edition by the Library of America.

Source: http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/

The Plot Against America – PDF-format: https://m.reddit.com/theplotagainstamericabyphiliproth/

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Walking Stories

Cover 'Walking Stories'Lisa, a fragile Indonesian woman, walked along the paths of Saint Anthony’s park. Saint Anthony is a mental hospital. Lisa was dressed in red, yellow and blue; I was looking at a painting of Mondriaan, of which the colours could cheer someone up on a grey Dutch day. She had put on all her clothes and she carried the rest of her belongings in a grey garbagebag. She looked like she was being hunted, mumbling formulas to avert the evil or the devils. I could not understand her words, but she repeated them with the rustling of her garbage bag on the pebbles of the path.

When she arrived at an intersection of two paths where low rose hips were blossoming, she stopped and went into the bushes. She lifted all her skirts and urinated; standing as a colourful flower amidst the green of the bushes and staring into the sky. A passer-by from the village where Saint Anthony’s has its headquarters would probably have pretended not to see her, knowing that Lisa was one of the ‘chronic mental patients’ of the wards. Or, urinating so openly in the park may be experienced as a ‘situational improperty’, but as many villagers told me: ‘They do odd things, but they cannot help it.’ The passer-by would not have known that Lisa was a ‘walking story’, that she had ritualised her walks in order to control the powers that lie beyond her control. Lisa was diagnosed with ‘schizophrenia’ and she suffered from delusions. When she had an acute psychosis, she needed medication to relieve her anxiety. Her personal story was considered as a symptom of her illness. That was, in a nutshell, the story of the psychiatrists of the mental hospital. Her own story was different. Lisa was the queen of the Indies and she had to have offspring to ensure that her dynasty would be preserved. She believed at that day that she was pregnant and that the magicians would come and would take away her unborn baby with a needle. To prevent the abortion, she had to take refuge in the park and carry all her belongings with her.

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Analysis Of Logical Fallacies In Debates Regarding Gender Issues In The 16th Lok Sabha

Abstract
The 543 members of the Lok Sabha are supposed to replicate the voice of 133 crore Indians. The unparalleled importance of the Lok Sabha makes it important for us to scrutinize the nature and form of arguments presented in it. This paper uses the concept of logical fallacies to do the same. It picks up the debates on four different bills, spread across five days of Lok Sabha sittings. The debates on the chosen bills – the Maternity benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2018, the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2018 and the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill 2014, mark out the most important Lok Sabha discussions on gender and gender related issues in the first five years of Sri Narendra Modi’s Prime Ministership. The paper points out the logical fallacies committed in them, tries to understand why they were committed and explores what those fallacious arguments indicate with regard to the beliefs and ideologies of the parliamentarians. It shows how the chains of logic in the representatives’ arguments break down as a result of their preconceived notions and biases, lack of information and most importantly- deep seated patriarchy.

Key Words: logical fallacy, gender, parliament, debate, women, transgenders, society

Introduction
During discussions on bills, members speak for a bill, against a bill, or a take a position which is somewhere in between the two. Whichever the case, the members attempt to justify their positions using arguments. These arguments mostly contain valid reasonings or follow a proper logical chain where the premises lead to the conclusions. Sometimes however, the arguments are invalid- the premises in them might not logically lead to the conclusions, they might involve improper assumptions, or they might try to divert the attention from the point of concern. When there are such problems in the reasoning in an argument, the argument is called logically fallacious. Work in the field of pointing of out logically fallacious arguments and classifying them started with Aristotle [i] , and the field has expanded and developed since. “A fallacious argument, as almost every account from Aristotle onwards tells you, is one that seems to be valid but is not so” (Hamblin 1970: 12). In these arguments, the premises don’t lead to the conclusions and there is a mistake in reasoning (Copi, et. al. 2014: 109-110). These arguments have been classified into types considering their individual natures and scopes [ii]. A most common type for example, often found in political arguments is the Ad Hominem fallacy . Here the argument is aimed against the people holding the differing opinion and not the opinion in itself, although “the character of an adversary is logically irrelevant to the truth or falsity of what that person asserts, or to the correctness of the reasoning employed” (Cohen and Nagel 1998: 107).

It is mostly manifested in the form of personal attacks, or as it is called in the political arena-‘mudslinging’. Parliamentarian Shri Tathagata Satpathy for example, in the debate on the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016, dated 9th March 2017 says, “We have been kind of overburdened, bored and sick of this Government just throwing these economy-related Bills on the House and on all of us: the torture of making business easy for a few handful people, who will make money to be paid to political parties, and we are bearing the brunt of passing all those laws which will help a handful of Indians, not the large number of Indians” (130). Regardless of the truth or falsity of his claims, the kind of economic policies pursued by the government has no bearing on the merits/demerits of the bill at hand. The parliamentarian, by saying the above is trying to discredit the character of the supporters of the bill but provides no arguments for or against the bill in itself. Again, during the debate on the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2018 dated 30 July 2018, Professor Saugata Roy said, “I thought for one day, whether what they were saying is right, whether we are proving ourselves to be blood thirsty, thirsty by asking for death penalty for rapists. Then, my conscience told me, no. Those who rape children of 16 or 12 years, do not deserve any mercy. Let them die, if it is proved. That is why, I support this bill. This is not being blood thirsty. This is being just” (244). There might be good enough reasons for supporting capital punishment for serious crimes but here Prof. Roy relies solely on his feelings and what he thinks his ‘conscience’ told him. Such arguments appeal to the hearer’s emotions more than their reasoning, and commit the fallacy called ‘appeal to emotion’ (Wrisley 2018: 98-101). While emotions might be important parts of arguments, an argument solely resting on the waves of emotions and lacking any concrete base of logical reasoning is deemed to be fallacious.
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