Archive for the Battles Category

2011 NDT Octos: Loyolla EM vs Northwestern BK

Posted in Battles, College, elimination round, Ks on the Aff, Video with tags , , on April 20, 2011 by Scott Odekirk

This was a great debate between Jack Ewing and James Mollison from Loyolla and Layne Kirshon and Ryan Beiermeister from Northwestern. Don’t miss the order for the 1ac, by the way, it is 3 off! 3 off for the 1ac! Northwestern would go on to win this debate on a 3-2 decision.





The Non-Trad Showdown

Posted in Battles, camp, College, Ks on the Aff, lectures, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2010 by Scott Odekirk

Featuring ISU OD (Odekirk and Dunn), two debate coaches who learned their style at Idaho State, on the affirmative. Also featuring Fullerton NW (Nielson and Ward), two current debate coaches who developed their style while debating together at Cal State Fullerton. What happens when two non traditional K teams face eachother? This is the question asked by this showdown which has become a regular aspect of the Gonzaga Debate Institute curriculum. This showdown was moderated (quite well) by Professor Sam Mauer who is the Director at Emporia State University. Enjoy! Thanks to all the participants (many of which are authors on this site) and a special thanks to the GDI for making it all possible.

Part 1 

Part 2

NDT 2010: Octas: West Georgia BS vs Northwestern FS

Posted in Battles, elimination round, Ks on the Aff, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2010 by Scott Odekirk



Jim Shultz’s Last 2ar – Finally Found!

A Classic Debate: The 2002 CEDA Nationals Championship Round

Posted in A Classic Debate, Battles, elimination round, Final Round, Know Your History, Ks on the Aff, tactics, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2010 by Scott Odekirk

Thanks to professor snider (tuna) for producing this video in 2002 and posting it in such an easy and accessible way on his site. 

This debate features Michigan State CM (Austin Carson and Calum Matheson) on the negative vs. Fort Hays RR (Jason Regnier and Joe Ramsey) on the affirmative… 



 This debate was enormous for me. I was a sophomore and my two favorite teams to watch in outrounds were facing each other in the final debate of the season (CEDA came after the NDT that year).

On display were two very different teams with different styles, but I was drawn to both because of the qualities they shared. Both teams, Fort Hays Regnier/Ramsey and Michigan State Matheson/Carson, were fiercely competitive and that inspired me. Both were innovative and creative. The fort has been rightfully recognized and respected for the mind-blowing challenges they have made to conventional debate ways of thinking, but Calum also was a uniquely creative, prolific speaker, who was comfortable in any situation. Calum’s rhetorical skills alone pushed the envelope of what could be achieved in debates by wordsmithery alone. That year, on the “increase federal control throughout indian country” topic, MSU CM and FHSU RR had taken interesting approaches. At the Northwestern Tournament Calum made a run through the outrounds with a fascinating, almost genealogical, criticism about colonization and the pine ridge reservation that to this day I still think about (because it soundly beat me in a prelim that weekend). Calum was flexible enough to win every kind of debate and he initiated all kinds of strategies. The fort had really come into their own by the 2002 CEDA National Tournament as one of the most thought-provoking teams on the national circuit. Their whole way of being was different, it swerved. They ran their team by consensus (inspired by bill, the coach) and they debated differently, without the usual regard for the flow. On this night each team would display rhetorical grace and power, both would fight passionately for the win and in the end the fort would win the 2002 CEDA National Championship on a 5-4 decision. But there was something more than a debate present for many of us watching in the room. This was a major cultural experience (like many outrounds are in this little community) that challenged many of us to perceive debates differently. Though debates like this had been happening, even between these two teams before, this was an opportunity to really see it on stage and as the culmination of an entire season. The room was packed and the debate amazed the audience. None of us really knew who would win, we all had our opinions of course, and some were even angry, but none of us could predict what the outcome would be. This must undoubtedly be called A Classic Debate…

there is a lot to be learned from the affirmative in this debate…

Fort Hays is doing a lot of sound fundamental work on the question of what impacts matter the most in the 1ac. The whole “what we do here matters” set of arguments presented in the 1ac are a great example of how to make all K style impacts come 1st. A lot of what one sees here in the first speech are some of the best basic “critiquing assumptions is good” args I have seen in a debate in a long time. The description of debate becoming an apology for a bad joke is also a great example of how to use logic and linguistic characterization to provide evidence for an argument (ie. what we do here matters) without cards. The aff can be divided into 4 main parts: 1) what we do here matters, 2) regimented western assumptions in debate participate in real colonizing violence, 3) this can be countered by taking our assumptions into account and challenging them as a way to be more inclusive of other cultures, 4) the affirmative accomplishes this by challenging the very notion of what it means to affirm the topic.

The 2ac is a very good speech. It is important to recognize that though some teams might abandon the flow this does not mean they give up on techne. The tech for an “off-the-flow” team just shifts to different concerns. Time prioritization is still a major technical issue and in the case of Regnier’s 2ac here, the time management is impeccable. Regnier knows that the question of whether or not there is a compelling reason to affirm this resolution is the center of the debate so he spends 80% of his time there. I think the 2ac does a good job of establishing that their relationship to the resolution that deals with our whole manner of percieving who we are in relation to it as western/rational percieving and political beings locked in a system of colonization.

The 1ar is actually a quite effective speech after a very moving and rhetorically big block. I actually thing this is the most technical of all the speeches even though it drops a lot of stuff. Here Joe is doing a lot of work comparing different pieces of evidence and drawing out particular lines. This is actually one of the few times either side focuses on evidence comparison in the debate. I think this speech is good mix of reinforcing meta concepts from the 2ac and handling particular details brought up by the block. I think the 2ar is strong but it is largely positioned for success by the previous 3 aff speeches.

There is much to be learned from the negative in this debate…

When I talked to Calum on a recent podcast he told me that the strategy they went with was constructed during the middle of the 1ac, which they had never before encountered. Right away in this debate MSU CM demonstrates their flexibility and creativity. I didn’t really think there were many winners on the case debate in the 1nc but the discussion is successfully shifted by the negative to the question of federal control by the end of the debate. One of the strengths of the 1nc that gets carried into the 2nc but not into the 2nr is the emphasis on the failure of multicultural inclusion. I liked the negative interpretation of spanos throughout the debate and I think it should have gone further to indict the instances in which the affirmative, particularly in the 2ac and the 2ar, asserts the value synthesizing and including other cultures without really defending it. Instead the negative emphasizes the question of the acceptability of the resolution far more greatly than the problems with a benevolent inclusion move as a western way of relating to others. “Deloria says synthesis is good,” to me is not a warrant for a multicultural ethic. It makes sense to me that the negative, in the 1nc and the 2nc, used the spanos evidence, some characterizations of all of us as colonizer agents, and Deloria’s own arguments about the ” dangers of western ways of knowing” push against the forts claims to reckon with and include “all other cultures.” The negative strategy comes to full fruition in the 2nc in two main thrusts: 1) the acceptability of federal control, and 2) the risks associated with coming to know the oppressed other from this round’s privileged position. The question raised by the negative is: will the affirmative project, through its association with federal control and the west’s academic impulse to know the other, be rearticulated to serve the interests of colonization?

The 2nc was one of the best speeches I have ever seen…

This was an amazing display of what can be done with words. Just go back and watch it again. The final 15 seconds of the speech are the best close to a debate speech I have ever seen. Here Calum certainly focuses on the evils of federal control but he also pays attention to the inclusion/visibility problem. Our very perception of the oppressed other is the problem since we see with the eyes of the colonizer. This is great and I especially like how he ties together these two themes by describing the BIA officer with good intentions. By the end of the 2nc cx I think the panel has to be with Michigan State like 8-1 or 7-2. That. Speech. Was. Awesome.

So what happened?

By the end of the debate the 1ar successfully complicates the spanos issues and Calum gives a much more technical 2nr almost entirely on the need to totally refuse federal control. Michigan State frames the judge’s decision as a choice about desirability of federal control, good or bad, up or down. FHSU, now with an untested value multiculturalism, argues that a prior question to our own decision-making about the resolution is deciding whether or not our choice about the meaning of the resolution matters at all. The aff wins by the end of the debate that to truly relate well to other cultures we must drop our ethico-political view-point in favor of cultural perspectives in resistance to the west. This they say applies too to the question of federal control. The affirmative even begins to identify some positive uses of federal control (which seems a little strange) by the end of the debate. I think the negative focuses the debate too acutely on what fort hays affirms (federal control) and less on how they affirm it. A vote for FHSU by the end of the debate means simply to be open to the resolution, their reason for this becomes quite simply that what we think about it is secondary to what those of the indigenous oppressed might decide. They win offense against the negative because Michigan State’s insistence that we all decide on federal control as a definitive statement reconstitutes the western rational decision maker once again.  In the end, it is more important to fundamentally alter our ways of being and perceiving by challenging our own habituated notions of things like “affirm” “what the resolution is” than to decide on the meaning federal control, because those prior questions determine how we relate to the other (according to deloria). I do think that the negative should have made a PIC move more explicit. In other words, they should have said very clearly that “we endorse all of the affirmative except for the part about federal control,” they try to say this but I don’t think it is drawn out as a voting option at the end of the debate. I also think that if the negative had dug in on the dangers of multicultural inclusion more in the 2nr, as in the 2nc, then i also think a lot of this offense goes away. I don’t think that the fort is right, per se, but that they got on top of the issues more at the end of the debate.

Though I would have voted Neg then, Now I Vote Aff… 

It is important to close study debates. It is necessary for preparing complex strategic instincts in rounds. Watching great debaters, over and over, helps us habituate good patterns, but it is also important to be inspired by watching debates. The viewer ought to be inspired to create something that can also be viewed in such a way. All great and classic debates (and debaters) should humble us to pay attention to repeatable patterns and forms but they should also inspire innovation and creativity. I hope this debate resonates with you, in any way.

If you are in the mood for another debate, watch this one, hung up on this my sophomore year too…

Emory IW vs Texas CM, Quarters at the Harvard College Debate Tournament, October 2009

Posted in Battles, beating Ks with a traditional aff, elimination round, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by Scott Odekirk

3 parts:




a special thanks to all the participants!

Kritiking Reductions in Police and Military Presence

Posted in Battles, tactics with tags , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2010 by kevin kuswa

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially reduce its military and/or police presence in one or more of the following: South Korea, Japan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey.

You cannot do too much reading and thinking about the words in your topic and how those words relate to the positions you want to run.  Begin to link the way the words are defended and projected into an ideology that your authors are criticizing.  Let us go through some evidence and set up some arguments, remembering that you can win debates with a few solid cards—in fact you are more likely to win debates if you can explain a few pieces of crucial evidence as opposed to spewing through more blocks.

—-So, the affirmative is going to “reduce” military or police presence?  Really?  Reduce from where is order to augment where?  Reduce means to keep around with a lower profile—not eliminate.  We won’t really reduce our global military or police presence.  If we do, we’ll replace those troops with other troops and call them something else—peacekeepers, advisors, officials, non-military personnel etc.   It’s military presence (like turtles) all the way down.  You reduce “its” presence and someone else’s military or police will take its place.

Dochterman, Political Analyst, Writer for Aporia Journal, 2002 (Zen, An Anarchist Analysis of the Detention of Immigrants and War, post 9/11)

Policing instances of ill health, sordid living conditions, human rights violations, and “rogue states” become an affair of the American state, the U.N., and N.A.T.O. as well as the N.G.O.s that follow quickly after them. The civil wars that empire produces (as in the Phillipines), now often melded into the rubric of “terrorism”, thus provide more instances for America to go to war and regulate population flows and the material conditions of life, Westernizing what it can in the process. Agamben’s concern with the zoe (bare life) of the immigrant and refugee takes on a double significance. Empire’s wars and global capital will increasingly displace people and provide for violations of so-called “human rights“; however, it is such displacement that comes to be the concern of the war machine itself. This type of analysis helps to explain the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, which without a clear short-term economic benefit (who thought Iraq would be “manageable” within a few months?) have more to do with extending empire’s capacity for biopolitical control. When N.G.O.’s and humanitarian institutions step in to occupied countries, the biopolitical regulation of “births and mortality, the level of health and life expectancy” swings into full effect. Introducing such seemingly innocuous organizations can radically alter the bureaucratic and at times, the cultural constitution of a country, and must be seen as the first step in neo-colonialist projects by the West. This central fact illuminates the otherwise mysterious bombings of the U.N. buildings and attacks on health workers in Iraq. These attacks send the message that it is not a question of one master or another, however benign, but a total rejection of the system of global neo-colonialism in both its military and bureaucratic guises. Thus, sovereign force, manifest in the U.N., N.A.T.O., the American military and carried out by N.G.O.’s, humanitarian organizations and “peacekeeping” groups comes to have a direct relation to the bare life (zoe) of the people of other nations, their living standards and their health. This is a biological infection of the “outside” of Empire by Empire.

—-Reforms in the military are extension of Biopower—the ceding of genocidal power to the false hopes of liberalism.  Economic liberalism and individual sovereignty are not possible through such a system.  Indeed, their path makes possible the extension of total control. 

Dean, Department of Sociology at Macquarie University, 2000 (Mitchell, Always Look on the Dark Side of Life: Politics and the Meaning of Life)

This thesis overcomes the successionist view of forms of power connected with our first thesis, even if it tends to reproduce its bipolar structure. The problem with the latter however it that somehow the source and point of articulation of sovereign and bio-politics seems to escape intelligibility. Why should our societies become ‘really demonic’ when they combine within themselves the powers over life with rights of death, or Hebraic understandings of the duties of the shepherd towards his flock with the virile and agonistic relationships between free citizens found within the Greek polis, as Foucault maintained (1981)? Can one simply make a virtue out of an absence of intelligibility of the articulation – is it the very heterogeneity of these forms of power that accounts for their devilish potential? Can we democratise sovereignty and use notions of rights to check the totalitarian impulses of bio-politics? Can we redress such despotic potentialities by an appeal to an outside of the sphere of limited government? At times Foucault appears to endorse such possibilities. At others, he seems to suggest that liberalism and democracy are flawed means for this task and that we should not become complacent. Perhaps, in this case, sovereignty can always return to an atavistic form as in Nazism, or liberalism can reveal its horribly illiberal side. Perhaps, to try another suggestion, bio-politics simply puts incredible technological means (the atomic, the biological and the chemical weapons and the organization of the modern military, and the applications of bio-science and biomedicine) in the service of sovereign powers – a kind of biotechnological account of genocide. If but perhaps Foucault has identified a problem and a language to investigate the problem without identifying how and why these elements form the problem. Before moving to a new thesis, let us note that there is one problem with the view that liberalism can act to check totalitarian administration of life. Both of the means by which it hopes to do so refer principally to nothing but simple existence. On the one hand, the economic rationality that provides a limit to government refers before all else to the means of the sustenance of life. On the other, the sovereign individual has rights, especially in the era of international human rights, simply by virtue of merely living itself. ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’ reads the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If there is optimism in Foucault’s approach, it is one that cannot rely on a movement that checks the powers over life. The more liberalism and modern rights movements seek to defend us from the dangers of bio-powers, it would seem, the more they make possible its extension.

—-Working toward peace—a more secure world—is not about reducing the role of military force.  The practice of promoting peace has to take a certain form or it will be used to justify panoptic sovereignty and state control.  Attempts to operate within the current international system only serve to replicate the conflicts that result from it.  The norm of peace that develops from such actions results in humanitarian interventions in the name of the common good.  Their isolation of conflict and subsequent proclamation of a “new constraint on police action” is a giant performative contradiction.

Richmond, Department of International Relations at the University of St. Andrews, ’01 

[Oliver P., “A Genealogy of Peacemaking: the Creation and Re-Creation of Order,” Alternatives: Global, Local, Political Vol. 26 No. 3, p. AOF]

What has tended to occur since the end of the Cold War is that peace operations have aimed at the reconstitution of states and their frameworks. From Cambodia to Somalia and Yugoslavia, the official focus guiding peace operations was the creation and recreation of Westphalian states in order to democratize or solve humanitarian problems. In former-Yugoslavia and perhaps in Kosovo and in East Timor, the focus was on creating new states, but ones that were ultimately based on ethnic majoritarianism. This tendency emphasizes the fact that states underpin the international system, conceptually and physically, and the key organizations through which peace operations occur, and the end result is the replication of that system. As with previous approaches, third-generation approaches depend on containing violent conflict with a regime of truth in which it is claimed that the balance between management and resolution, order and justice, has shifted toward the resolution of conflict through human-security discourses. However, such approaches still tend to be acultural, give rise to the possibility of intervention without consent, based on Western models of neoliberal democratization and human rights as universally prescriptive. The hybridization of monodimensional approaches to ending conflict has raised several new and familiar debates. The first significant question relates to the type of order that hegemonic powers with sovereign claims to truth and knowledge use such approaches to ending conflict to reify. In the Westphalian system, such an approach was applied to preserve the statecentric order, territorial integrity, and very basic human rights. However, it was also applied to preserve a systemic balance of power that resulted in the positivist aspects of order taking precedence over the normative, state security taking precedence over human security-a negative peace. Have third-generation approaches moved beyond this-from the Westphalian into a post-Westphalian order? Francois Debrix has shown how the United Nations can be compared with a panopticon in which global observation and surveillance, not to mention intervention, occurs to endorse and simulate certain forms of order propagated by its dominant members and by the universal claims of the Charter within the context of their claims about forms of global governance and globalization. (53) These practices are aimed at normalizing the practices of sovereign states within the international system (and a latent international society) and their representations and the activities of the social groups located within these structures. Generally speaking, the different approaches to making peace are victims of a performative contradiction in that the assumptions that lie behind them may prove to exacerbate the issues that lie at the heart of the conflict.]

—-Finally, they appeal to the state to resolve a dilemma created by the state.  They are a mask, a perfectly benevolent mask on the state’s monopoly of power (“But,” they whine, “we reduce that power”).  No, they don’t—they make it less visible and harder to detect. The symbolic interaction between the appeal and the consequences is the ability to wage war—an ability that becomes a capability that becomes an inevitability.  They cannot solve and the case harms are replicated. 

M. Duffield, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Lancaster, ‘04 (Mark, Carry on Killing: Global Governance, Humanitarianism and Terror)

Bio-politics emerged with modernity to form the basis of state power.  It is concerned with validating, supporting and promoting the life of the nation (Foucault 1998).  For the purposes of this paper, bio-politics is the regulation of life at the aggregate level of population.  Bio-politics exists in the governmental technologies that both discover and act upon the varied biological, demographic, health, social and economic factors and mechanisms that constitute life as aggregated species-life.  Global governance, however, is a specific form of bio-power.  It is a power over the life of populations conceived as existing globally rather than nationally or territorially.  More specifically, it is a power over populations experienced as territorial or local illustrations of a particular global species-type.  This is how we know, for example, ‘refugees’, ‘economic migrants’, ‘internally displaced’ the ‘chronically poor’, and so on. In relation to global governance, those technologies and strategies that constitute ‘development’ are an essential expression of international bio-power. Bio-politics, however, contains an intrinsic and fateful duality.  As well as fostering and promoting life it also has the power to “…disallow it to the point of death” (Ibid: 138 orig. emph.).  In making this bio-political distinction, racism plays a formative role (Foucault 2003; Stoler 1995) FQUOTE “” .  This not only includes its nineteenth and early twentieth century biological forms, it also involves its contemporary cultural, value and civilisational re-inscriptions (Duffield 1984).  Race and its modern codings underpin the division between valid and invalid life and legitimates the measures deemed necessary to secure the former against the later.  In this sense, bio-politics is intrinsically connected with the security populations, including global ones.  This duality moreover underlies the paradox of bio-politics: as states have assumed responsibility for maintaining and developing life, wars have become increasingly more encompassing, devastating and genocidal for the populations concerned.  The awesome power to unleash limitless death presents itself as a cynical counterpart, …of a power that exerts a positive influence on life, that endeavours to administer, optimize, and multiply it, subjecting it to all precise controls and comprehensive regulations.  Wars are no longer waged in the name of a sovereign who must be defended; they are waged on behalf of the existence of everyone; entire populations are mobilised for the purpose of wholesale slaughter in the name of life necessity: massacres have become vital (Ibid: 136). As the managers of species-life, since the end of the nineteenth century states have been able to wage total wars that have pitched entire populations against each other in cataclysmic struggles to the death.  What is at stake in modern war is the existence of society itself.  Genocide consequently emerges as a strategy “…because power is situated and exercised at the level of life, the species, the race, and the large-scale phenomena of population” (Ibid: 137).  Although the ending of the Cold War raised hopes of a ‘peace dividend’, the diagrammatic form of bio-power was to be re-inscribed in the ‘new wars’ of the 1990s and confirmed with the declaration of war on terrorism.