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Instructions: When provided an argument, attempt to generate a link to the argument. You can assume any scholarship you want to practice with. 

Argument 1

Topic: Resolved: A just government ought to recognize an unconditional right of workers to strike.

Type: Affirmative

“The right to strike is crucial to stop decline of labor unions. Labor unions are a vital part of combatting economic inequality.”

Pope et al. 17

(James Gray Pope Professor of Law and Sidney Reitman Scholar at Rutgers University.Ed Bruno is the former director of the United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America, Peter Kellman is past president of the Southern Maine Labor Council and is currently working with the Movement Building/Education Committee of the Maine AFL-CIO , 5-22)

In December 2005 more than 30,000 New York City transit workers walked out over economic issues despite the state of New York’s Taylor Law, which prohibits all public sector strikes. Not only did the workers face the loss of two days’ pay for each day on strike, but a court ordered that the union be fined $1 million per day. Union president Roger Toussaint held firm, likening the strikers to Rosa Parks. “There is a higher calling than the law,” he declared. “That is justice and equality.” The transit strike exemplified labor civil disobedience at its most effective. The workers were not staging a symbolic event; they brought the city’s transit system to a halt. They claimed their fundamental right to collective action despite a statute that outlawed it. For a precious moment, public attention was riveted on the drama of workers defying a draconian strike ban. How did national labor leaders react? AFL-CIO president John Sweeney issued a routine statement of support, while most others did nothing at all. To anybody watching the drama unfold, the message was clear: there is no right to strike, even in the House of Labor. About a decade earlier in 1996, Stephen Lerner, fresh from a successful campaign to organize Los Angeles janitors, had warned in Boston Review that private sector unions faced an existential crisis: density could soon drop from 10.3 percent to 5 percent if unions did not expand their activity beyond the limits imposed by American law. He called for unions to develop broad organizing strategies—industry-wide and regional—and to engage in civil disobedience. Few embraced these radical strategies. Today private sector union density is about 6.5 percent, not quite as low as Lerner predicted, but down from a high of over 30 percent in the mid-1950s. Union decline matters. For half a century, it has moved in lock step with the increase in income inequality. According to an International Monetary Fund study of twenty advanced economies, . In the heyday of American unionism, CEOs made about 25 times the annual compensation of the average worker; today, the multiple is more than 350. Meanwhile, as Thomas Edsell and others have warned for decades, the decline of unions has deprived the Democratic Party of its strongest link to white workers. The overwhelming majority of unions continue to endorse Democratic candidates (including Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election), but with ever-diminishing effect. Until two decades ago it was possible to blame union decline on backward labor leaders, such as George Meany, who were so steeped in business unionism that they could not see the need to organize broadly, much less to ally with other social movements across lines of race, gender, and immigration status. Since then, however, we have seen continued shrinkage under leaders who are, for the most part, well intentioned and savvy. The problem is structural. National union officials are not well positioned to lead a challenge to corporate power. Institutions with big treasuries and tit-for-tat relations with establishment politicians cannot be expected to undertake risky and polarizing actions. Although leaders might see the need to build working-class power, the immediate incentives all point toward the narrow needs of their particular union’s members. This constraint is rooted in the American system of exclusive representation, which divides workers into thousands of bargaining unit boxes, gives unions property interests in particular boxes, and penalizes unions for doing anything other than defending existing boxes and acquiring new ones. The prospects for union revival may seem bleaker than ever during the Trump administration, even as the triumph of right-wing populism makes more urgent what was already apparent: the need to build a labor movement that can fight for the interests of the working class in the face of corporate power. But prospects are not as grim as they appear. Over the past decade, there has been an undeniable shift toward class politics, most visibly evidenced by Occupy Wall Street, the Bernie Sanders campaign, the Fight for Fifteen, and the rise of a Black Lives Matter movement that supports economic justice demands, including the right to organize. Building the labor movement in this period of danger and opportunity will require not only heeding Lerner’s call for a strategic shift and extralegal action; labor must also reclaim the right to strike and confront the deep structural disabilities that impede unions from challenging corporate power.

Argument 2

Topic: Resolved: States ought to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.


Type: Affirmative

“Nuclear-armed submarines in Pakistan cause miscalculation—countries will misinterpret their presence and assume an attack. This will increase the chances of nuclear war which threatens us all with extinction.”

Mishra 18 Sylvia Mishra

[Sylvia Mishra is a Scoville Fellow and her research focuses on Southern Asian security issues and nuclear dynamics, India-US defense cooperation, and disruptive technologies. She is a former Visiting Fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Center for Strategic and International Studies PONI Nuclear Scholar, and an alumna of London School of Economics and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.], 4-9-2018, “Pakistan’s Naval Nuclear Ambitions: Concerns and Challenges—South Asian Voices,” South Asian Voices, //BD

On March 29, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) confirmed in a press release that Pakistan had conducted another test of the Babur-3 nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM), after the first test in January last year. The missile, with a range of 450 km, engaged its target with “precise accuracy” and was successful in “meeting all the flight parameters.” While the yield of the Babur-3 warhead is unknown, analysts estimate from the 47 seconds of flight-testing footage shared by Pakistan’s defense establishment that the SLCM was fired underwater horizontally from torpedo tubes. This test indicates Pakistan’s nuclear planners’ motivation to possess a credible second-strike capability, thereby “augmenting the existing deterrence regime.” Pakistan is seeking a second-strike capability to buttress its policy of full spectrum deterrence. However, it can be argued that the SLCM Babur-3 does not maximize Pakistan’s deterrence. Instead, it fails to reassure Pakistan of credible sea-based deterrence and the readiness of naval nuclear weapons at sea, and ultimately lowers the nuclear threshold in South Asia, thus making the security situation in the region more precarious. Pervaiz Asghar, retired Rear Admiral of the Pakistan Navy, has argued that for Pakistan to have a credible second-strike capability, their submarines need to be nuclear-powered and “able to carry a sufficient ballistic missile load.” Pakistan does not yet operate nuclear submarines but has plans to integrate the Babur-3 missiles with the Pakistan Navy’s Agosta 90B diesel-electric submarines.

This is destabilizing for three reasons:

First, this idea of commingling conventional and nuclear assets—placing nuclear-tipped missiles on conventional boats—is inherently destabilizing. The blurring of lines between conventional and nuclear forces injects ambiguity that raises the chances of miscalculation at sea. Though Pakistan prefers ambiguity to enhance its deterrence, this emphasis on commingling of assets will pose challenges of target determination and attribution for its adversary. For instance, in a crisis situation, Pakistan’s adversary may tail a conventional submarine, unaware that the sub is carrying strategic weapons, and such tailing might inadvertently lead to escalation. In addition, commingling would lead to the perception that every Pakistani sub, even if it is not carrying strategic weapons and only conducting surveillance and intelligence gathering, is antagonist and a potential nuclear threat. Such misperceptions may lead to unintended consequences. In Murky Waters: Naval Nuclear Dynamics in the Indian Ocean, Iskander Rehman writes that “in times of conflict [during the Cold War], Soviet and Western naval commanders would have no way of determining whether enemy vessels were armed with nuclear weapons or not.” Indeed, it took many years for Cold War defense planners to learn the lessons and fully comprehend the risks of uncontrollable escalation at sea. Therefore, in 1972, both the United States and the Soviet Union took steps to prevent accidents at sea by signing the Agreement on the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas. The lack of naval nuclear confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan is a point of concern and it would bode well for the security and stability of the region if they opened channels of communication.

Argument 3

Topic: Resolved: Public colleges and universities in the United States ought not restrict any constitutionally protected speech.


Type: Affirmative

“Benefactors will quit funding colleges if all speech is protected.”


G. Jeffrey MacDonald Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor. Donors: too much say on campus speech? ; Colleges feel more pressure from givers who want to help determine who’ll be speaking on campus. The Christian Science Monitor [Boston, Mass] 10 Feb 2005: 11.

According to Hamilton President Joan Hinde Stewart, angry benefactors threatened to quit giving if the Clinton, N.Y., college were to give a podium to the University of Colorado professor who had likened World Trade Center workers to Nazis in a 2001 essay. In doing so, they employed an increasingly popular tactic used at colleges in Utah, Nevada and Virginia with mixed degrees of success last fall in attempts to derail scheduled appearances by “Fahrenheit 9-11” filmmaker Michael Moore. Although demanding givers are nothing new, observers of higher education see in recent events signs of mounting clout for private interests to determine which ideas get a prominent platform on campus and which ones don’t. Faced with such pressures, administrators say they’re trying to resist manipulation. Mr. Hamilton canceled Mr. Churchill’s speech, Stewart said, only after a series of death threats pushed the situation “beyond our capacity to ensure the safety of our students and visitors.” Yet in an age when financiers increasingly want to set the terms for how their gifts are to be used, those responsible for the presentation of ideas and speakers seem to be approaching them much like other commodities on campus. “People are wanting their values portrayed and wanting institutions to do exactly what they want them to do,” said Dr. Wes Willmer, vice president of university advancement at Biola University in La Miranda, Calif., and a frequent writer on the topic of university fundraising. “They’re not giving for the common good. They’re giving because they want to accomplish something, and that plays out in the speaker realm as well.” Pressure to reshape the landscape of ideas is coming from various corners. At the University of Nevada, Reno, seven-figure donor Rick Reviglio threatened this fall to stop giving altogether unless the university, which had invited Mr. Moore, would instead arrange for the filmmaker to debate a prominent conservative. The university declined his $100,000 offer to stage the event. In California and Virginia, state lawmakers helped persuade presidents at California State University San Marcos and George Mason University, respectively, that upwards of $30,000 for Moore’s appearance would constitute an “inappropriate” use of state funds on the eve of an election. The San Marcos campus hosted the event anyway, however, after a student group raised its own money to sponsor it. In the case of Mr. Churchill, the controversy rages on. Since Hamilton’s decision, administrators have nixed Mr. Churchill’s scheduled appearances at Wheaton College (Mass.), Eastern Washington University and even his own institution, the University of Colorado at Boulder. Security concerns were officially to blame in each case, although activists who opposed Churchill’s message have offered another explanation. “Everything comes back down to money, and they were worried about funding at Hamilton College,” says Bill Doyle, outreach director for the World Trade Center United Families Group. He said survivors who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks had lobbied Hamilton’s four largest corporate donors to withhold future gifts if Churchill were allowed to speak. “You have all these rich corporations throughout the world and the country. Perhaps they’ll take a look at what they’re funding,” says Doyle, especially in terms of paid speakers who “promote hate.”

Potential Answers:

Argument 1: Labor unions are a tool of a capitalist government to force workers to take matters into their own hands. Governments hide behind providing rights to quiet down opposition. This only masks oppression and perpetuates more violence. (Cap K)

Argument 2: We fabricate threats in order to justify preemptive violence. This security logic creates more antagonisms that only lead to the same violence we wish to avoid. (Security K) 

Argument 3: Prioritizing the wealth of others over the feelings of black students shows the way that civil society is happy to use the black body as collateral. (Afropess K)