Political vandalism as counter hate speech

When:11 Sep 2018, 12:30pm - 2pm
Venue:Room 310, Morven Brown Building, Kensington Campus
Who:Ten-Herng Lai, PhD Student at the Australian National University

Abstract: This paper has two aims. The first is to show that state sponsored political symbols, including statues, monuments, the naming of locations, etc., can do the objectionable things hate speech does, but more effectively. This happens through what I call “hateful pedestalling:” by paying tribute to individuals, groups, or ideologies that are extremely and unjustly hostile towards certain groups, the state subordinates, excludes, and assaults. The second is to argue that political vandalism—the unauthorized defacing, destroying, and removal of political symbols—is sometimes the appropriate response to hateful political symbols. I draw from a particular account of the responses to hate speech—counter-speech—and argue that political vandalism is at least sometimes the counter-speech fit for blocking and “undoing” the harms of hateful political symbols.

Bio: Ten-Herng Lai is a PhD Student at the Australian National University. His research interest is in civil disobedience, in particular on how theories of civil disobedience run the risk of imposing unreasonable constraints on those who engage in political struggle. His paper "Justifying uncivil disobedience" has been accepted and expected to be published in the Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy vol 5.

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