Bijeenkomst: Jordan Peterson, symptom of a system in crisis

Op 31 oktober organiseert Bezorgde Amsterdammers een eigen bijeenkomst als tegenwicht tegen de komst van Jordan Peterson naar Room for Discussion op diezelfde dag. De bijeenkomst wordt gehouden om 19:00 in zaal 3.12 van CREA, op de Roeterseiland-campus van de UvA.

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On the 31st of October the intellectual fraud Jordan Peterson is invited to talk at the UvA by the Room for Discussion platform. As stated in our open letter, we (a number of students, researchers, and concerned citizens) believe this to be a problem, considering that Jordan Peterson’s views serve as a gateway to alt-right ideas.

The response by RfD to our letter is rather disappointing, as we describe in our recent statement. Not only does it not address any of the points of critique raised, the response put out by RfD is also indicative of the further normalization of far right ideas. Which is to say, Peterson’s anti-scientific and conspiratorial views on society are not just one of the many “diverse viewpoints” – as RfD claims. On the contrary, these climate change denialist, anti-feminist, essentialist and, most strikingly, social darwinist views are fundamentally at odds with the democratic debate envisioned by RfD. That is, at odds with the ideal of a democratic society which promises to all of those involved a sustainable future – in both understandings of the term. It is in this sense that we must challenge these ideas whenever they resurface in our public spheres in the form of scapegoat politics; a tolerant society cannot tolerate the intolerant if it is to flourish as a whole.

We are therefore organizing an alternative meeting on the 31st of October, from 19.00h. until 21.00h. at CREA, Roeterseiland. We aim to have a real discussion of the ideas and issues which have been grossly misrepresented by Peterson and other right wing pseudo-intellectuals such as Ben Shapiro, Dennis Prager and Dinesh D’Souza. Two issues have been of particular interest to Peterson: 1) free speech and ‘politically correct’ culture, and 2) the politics of gender, sexuality, race, and class. Our meeting will therefore focus on these two topics in order to serve as a counterpoint to the historically alarming conspiracy theory of “post-modern neo-Marxism” or “cultural Marxism” as propagated by Peterson and other (far-) right wing figures.

Our meeting offers a podium to demonstrate that Peterson and his cohorts are actually not addressing the emancipatory politics of the left, or even the theories proposed by post-colonial, gender, or more broadly cultural studies. They are, in fact, straw manning. This tendency by Peterson et al. to use false argumentation is very alarming, and is clearly connected to the societal shift towards the far-right side of the political spectrum. Taking a cue from the title of the Room for Discussion event, “A Society in Crisis”, our meeting will address the actual crisis taking place in our society. There is no doubt that contemporary society is moving rapidly towards a critical point in a socioeconomic, political, and ecological sense. But, instead of seeing this as a “degeneration” of so-called Western civilization, as Peterson does, we want to offer a different analysis. Namely, that it is the global economic system and its social order which is currently in crisis.

Join us this Wednesday for an evening of engaging talks and critical debate with our speakers Marjon van Royen, Sarah Bracke and Miriyam Aouragh. Marjon van Royen is a journalist specialized in Latin-America. Sarah Bracke is an associate professor of Sociology of Gender and Sexuality at the University of Amsterdam. Miriyam Aouragh is an anthropologist specialized in grassroots activism and holds a senior lectureship at the University of Westminster. In coming together, we hope to have moment where we can have meaningful discussions with our speakers and other attendees. Discussions, in which we not only take stock of a system in crisis but also take our first steps towards standing together in solidarity, fighting intolerance and the capitalist system which lies at its root.

For background: two articles on Jordan Peterson:
– https://longreads.com/2018/07/12/petersons-complaint/
– https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/03/the-intellectual-we-deserve

Watch for the kind of conspiracies that he is peddling:
– https://youtu.be/LquIQisaZFU