Begin augustus werd het jaarlijkse Europese Kampioenschap debatteren voor studenten georganiseerd. Deze editie vond plaats in Novi Sad, in het Noorden van Servie. Bij het EK debatteren komen studenten uit heel Europa samen om te debatteren over allerlei onderwerpen. De studenten doen mee in teams van twee. Grote namen zoals de universiteiten van Oxford en Cambridge zijn vertegenwoordigd, maar ook veel Nederlandse universiteiten doen mee aan dit evenement.
Veel Nederlandse universiteiten waren dichtbij een plaats in de kwartfinale binnen de categorie ‘Engels als tweede taal’. Uiteindelijk waren er twee teams die een plaats veroverden. Bonaparte, de Amsterdamse studentendebatvereniging, bestaande uit Tom Pouw en Marike Breed, en de Leiden Debating Union, bestaande uit Romée Lind en Jeroen Wijnen. Het laatstgenoemde duo wist zelfs door te stoten naar de finale. Hier debatteerde zij tegen teams uit Zagreb, Moscow en Tel Aviv over het thema collectieve trauma na ernstige misdaden tegen de mensheid. Het team uit Tel Aviv won.
In 2019 wordt het Nederlands Kampioenschap Debatteren door ASDV Bonaparte georganiseerd in Amsterdam.
Op dit moment bestaat de organisatiecommissie uit vier mensen: Ezra Glasbergen (voorzitter), Jan-Pjotr Komen en Amber en Britt van Lochem. Zij zullen jullie op de hoogte houden van relevante vorderingen via hun website en de evenementenpagina op Facebook.
Written by Jelte Schievels
Over slechts twee dagen komen debaters uit heel Europa samen in het Servische Novi Sad voor het grootste studentenevenement van het continent: de European Universities Debating Championships (EUDC, ook vaak ‘Euros’ genoemd). Onder deze teams bevinden zich ook aardig wat Nederlanders dit jaar. Tijd voor SevenTwenty om de balans op te maken: wat is EUDC precies (handig voor vrienden en familie), wie zijn de Nederlandse teams, en wat kunnen jullie de rest van het toernooi van SevenTwenty verwachten?
Wat is EUDC?
Simpel gezegd is EUDC het EK studentendebatteren. Studenten van alle universiteiten in Europa, en sommige zelfs net buiten Europa, kunnen meedoen. Traditionele grootmachten zijn de Britse universiteiten zoals Oxford en Cambridge en het Schotse Glasgow. De laatste jaren behalen universiteiten uit lenen die niet Engels als voertaal hebben echter ook steeds meer finaleplaatsen. Het Israëlische Tel Aviv is al jaren erg succesvol, net als het Servische Belgrado en ons eigen Leiden.
Ongeveer 220 teams doen mee aan EUDC. Sommige universiteiten sturen één team, andere soms wel vijf. Het evenement telt in totaal vijf dagen. De eerste drie dagen bestaan uit negen inrounds, rondes waar iedereen aan meedoet. Na die negen rondes wordt de balans opgemaakt en kunnen teams breaken, oftewel doorgaan naar de outrounds (finalerondes). Dit kan in twee categorieën (volgt u het nog?): Open en English as Second Language (ESL). Klinkt allemaal weer heel ingewikkeld maar in principe is het erg simpel. Elk team doet mee aan Open, alleen teams met twee sprekers die allebei niet Engels als voertaal hebben doen mee als ESL (en de Nederlanders dus ook).
Wie zijn de Nederlanders?
Dit zijn de Nederlandse teams die meedoen:
Bonaparte Amsterdam A: Marike Breed en Tom Pouw
Bonaparte Amsterdam B: Lana Moss en Zeno Glastra van Loon
Bonaparte Amsterdam C: Britt van Lochem en Ezra Glasbergen
Cicero (Tilburg) A: Mike Weltevrede en Roel Schoenmakers
Erasmus Rotterdam A: Emma van der Horst en Fenna ten Haaf
Erasmus Rotterdam B: Dick van Tongeren en Bastiaan Mudde
GDS Kalliope A: Joris Graff en Linsey Keur
Leiden A: Jeroen Wijnen en Romée Lind
Leiden B: David Metz en Louis Honee
Leiden C: Jop Flameling en Rianne ’t Jong
Leiden D: Joas Bakker en Nastia Grishkova
Utrecht A: Jobke Visser en Stefan Gaillard
Utrecht B: Jelte Schievels en Pieter van der Veere
Utrecht C: Justin Seydouz en Friso Scheepstra
Maastricht A: Alwin Bakker en Katharina Jansen
Daan Welling, Daan Spackler, Davy Fung, Ellen Goltstein, Jan Pjotr Komen, Lena Martinovic, Lisa van Vliet, Lizzy Groenenberg, Maarten, Roel Becker, Simone Landman, Steven Glen, Ybo Buruma, Elvire Landsta, Lisa Eijgenhuijsen, Huyen Nguyen
Marthe Wijfjes (UCR)
Wat kunnen we verwachten?
Een hele lijst dus. Maar, SevenTwenty zou SevenTwenty niet zijn als we ook wat achtergrond informatie hebben over alle teams. We zijn wat teams en sprekers langs gegaan en hebben ze enkele vragen gesteld om er achter te komen wat er nu echt leeft in de Nederlandse delegatie.
Grappig genoeg zijn de Nederlanders over andere teams erg positief, maar proberen ze de verwachtingen over hun eigen team nog wat te temperen. Dit terwijl sommige Nederlandse teams echt wel serieuze kanshebbers zijn voor de ESL en Open break.
Leiden A bijvoorbeeld, door vele andere getipt als het sterkste team in de Nederlandse delegatie, bestaande uit de twee jonge debaters Jeroen en Romee. Maar laat leeftijd je niet bedriegen, want deze twee lopen al een tijdje rond in het debatteren. Zo gold Romee op haar 15e al als een van de gevaarlijkste debaters op het studentencircuit en won Jeroen anderhalf jaar geleden al het internationale toernooi Lund IV. Ook het laatste half jaar zijn deze twee goed bezig, met indrukwekkende prestaties op bijvoorbeeld Delft Open.
Erasmus Rotterdam A, bestaande uit Fenna en Emma, is nog een team wat door vele getipt wordt als sterk team. Ze hebben ook duidelijk voor zichzelf de ESL kwartfinale als doel gesteld, vertelt Emma: ‘Vorig jaar zijn Fenna en ik zonder verwachtingen of doelen naar EUDC gegaan en misten we op een haar na de ESL break. Inmiddels zijn we een jaar verder en zijn we veel gegroeid dus hopen we het beter te doen dan vorig jaar. Ons doel is dus om de ESL kwartfinale te bereiken. Toch willen we onszelf niet te veel druk opleggen. We zullen tevreden naar huis gaan als we het gevoel hebben dat we ons best hebben gedaan.’
Toch zijn het niet alleen deze twee teams die getipt worden. Vrijwel alle debaters en juryleden prijzen de hoge kwaliteit van alle Nederlandse teams, die bijna allemaal als outsiders voor de ESL break beschouwd kunnen worden. Alle andere Leiden teams, Maastricht A, Bonaparte A en GDS A zouden bijvoorbeeld niemand verbazen mochten zij de break halen. Linsey, debater voor GDS A, zegt over haar team bijvoorbeeld: ‘Joris en ik lijken denk ik niet altijd de meest waarschijnlijke combinatie voor een team omdat we vrij verschillende persoonlijkheden zijn. Desalniettemin werken we als team heel goed samen, zijn we goed op elkaar ingespeeld en allebei heel gemotiveerd er iets moois van te maken.’
Sommige teams houden zich wat minder bezig met de break. Zo zegt Pieter van het Utrechtse duo UDS B: ‘”In ons eerste jaar hebben we 14 punten gehaald, vorig jaar heb ik 15 punten gehaald, dus als we 16 punten pakken is dat mooi meegenomen. Gegeven dat we allebei weinig hebben gedebatteerd zijn we met minder tevreden.”
Hoewel we dus veel kunnen verwachten van de Nederlandse teams als het op debatteren aankomt, zullen de feestjes niet erg Oranje gekleurd zijn. Mike van Cicero A, normaal toch een ongekend feestbeest, geeft aan: ‘Tijdens de inrounds ga ik persoonlijk niet of weinig zodat ik goed ben uitgerust.’ Utrecht lijkt hierop de uitzondering. Stefan geeft aan er zin in te hebben: ‘De karaokeavond is op mijn verjaardag! Een bepaald roodharig debatbondbestuurslid (dat ben ik, red.) heeft mij beloofd om samen een nummer te zingen.’ Hij raadt de andere Nederlanders dan ook aan oordopjes mee te brengen.
Maar, niet alleen de debaters doen mee aan EUDC. Ook de juryleden zijn van de partij. Juryleden kunnen ook breaken, dat betekent dan dat zij één of meerdere finalerondes mogen jureren. Hoewel meer mensen debatteren te lijken prefereren, geven de juryleden aan dat debatten beoordelen ook lang zo gek nog niet is. Daan Spackler vertelt: ‘Jureren levert heel veel minder druk en stress voor me op. Daarnaast vind ik het leuker om anderen verder te helpen in de vorm van feedback dan om zelf zeven minuten te ratelen. Verder heb ik er nu gewoon wat minder voor geprept en iets meer genoten van mijn vakantie.’ Jan-Pjotr merkt daarnaast op dat ‘er ook gewoon meer ruimte is om naar de feestjes te gaan.’
Daarnaast zijn de juryleden natuurlijk ook erg betrokken bij de Nederlandse teams. Jan-Pjotr hoopt bijvoorbeeld dat er naast de Leidse teams, ook wat niet-Leidse verenigingen zullen zijn die de break halen dit jaar. En ook Lizzy geeft aan uit te kijken naar de prestaties van anderen: ‘Ik kijk het meeste uit naar alle Nederlandse teams die gaan breaken en dan hun blije reacties daarop. Ik weet dat ze allemaal hard gewerkt hebben en waarschijnlijk is iedereen dan knetterdronken, dus ik gun ze het plezier dat het harde werk ‘ergens goed voor was’ heel erg.’
Concluderend: we hebben er zin in! En ik hoop jullie na deze preview ook. Tijdens het toernooi zullen we jullie op verschillende manieren op de hoogte houden. Er zullen live-updates gegeven worden via de SevenTwenty-pagina op Facebook (link onderaan dit artikel) over de stellingen en uitslagen. Daarnaast proberen we elke dag een klein overzicht op het blog te zetten, die jullie kunnen vinden via debatbond.nl. De updates zullen voornamelijk in het Engels zijn!
Written by Huyen
The biggest tournament of the European Debating scene is coming up in just a few weeks: The European Debating Championships. And this year, the Netherlands is not only represented with its speakers and judges, but also on the Chief Adjudication (CA) team. Daan Welling and Gigi Gil will prepare motions that they have thought long and hard about to give you the best, and most fair, debating experience! Time for 720 reporter Huyen to ask Gigi some questions about debating, EUDC and fellow Dutchies.
You yourself have of course often performed superb at various major internationals and thus know what is necessary to break. What is your vision for Dutch debate squad this year at EUDC? Which are the teams to look out for?
Gigi: I think there are scary teams from many of the debating societies. I would be hesitant to name them because I haven’t been around in the Dutch debate competitions for a few months. I’d say definitely I’d be severely surprised if there wouldn’t be at least one non-Leiden team that breaks at Euros this year. I think the key now would be everyone needs to f*cking prep, let people know who they are, go to competitions, meet the judges that you’ll see them at Euros. And if they keep doing that, they should be at least improve their breaking chance.
Based on your experience, what advice would you give to the first-timers to EUDC?
Gigi: You should set goals that have nothing to do with the actual outcomes of the competition. I hear so many people that are out there to win, and the depressing thing about Euros is, only two teams will win. So there’s just no point in trying for that: things get random, people get nervous and stuff. I always set goals that are individual, so Emma and I always talk about things like: We both want to give at least one speech that we are really proud of, that when we sat down and was like “Yes, that’s what we wanted to do”. We want to have at least one round that we were like “Yes, we’ve watched the documentary in prep for this!”. So I’d say set personal goals and don’t tie them on other people.
The other thing I’d say, specifically for speakers, only Day 3 matters. I’ve had this three times at international competitions where my partner and I scored 9 or 10 points on the first two days and then we did break. And there are other situations where everyone in our community after Day 2 was like “Oh you’re definitely gonna break” at this point, and you might not. Everyone gets so nervous, so you are at a disadvantage where you get sucked into the nerves. You definitely need to talk with your partner about what makes and breaks you. But keep your cool, seriously, Day 3 is the only day that matters!
Many debaters experience stress while at EUDC. The competitive environment, the socials, the difficult motions, a new environment and being together with others practically 24/7 can take its toll on our energy levels and mental wellbeing. How did you deal with stress at EUDC?
Gigi: I smoked so much =.= I know some people that are very honest about being stressed, and I tried to be honest to myself about being nervous as well. I think debaters all want to be this person who does very well but doesn’t get nervous at all. Everyone gets nervous, everyone! There’s no one who gets excluded from this. Emma and I talked to one another about who we are going to talk to about this, I didn’t want to give her the feeling that I was telling everyone. So I’d talk to this one person, she’d talk to a different person, as long as you’re really honest about what you are doing. Same for like, deciding whether or not you are going to backtab or whether or not you’re probably gonna tell each other you’re probably lost, that really helps. Whatever you decide, deciding it together is the thing that matters. The bigger thing is, you will get nervous, and it’s really important to know that, everyone gets nervous.
Do you recommend going hard at the socials in Euros?
Gigi: To be honest, Emma and I had the most fun at the social right after we went out, when there was no pressure. Other people were so nervous, sometimes it’s like “Woo, there’s no responsibility”, you get to enjoy everything. I don’t think the last few years I’d ever really partied hard at any socials during Euros. I would always go and have a drink, I think we underestimate how much you can do just by sleeping, you need to relax after a day of intensity at Euros. So I usually would go, but never stay for really long, because then I’d get too psyched down and then like “I need sleep now!”
In order to qualify as DCA for EUDC you of course have to have lots of experience with speaking and judging. And you have CA’ed many many tournaments around the globe in preparation for EUDC. What was the most fun judging experience you had so far?
Gigi: I have many! One that was relatively recent is the Shanghai International Debate Open (SIDO) where I judged, it was so much fun! It’s so cool to see such a huge circuit in a continent I’ve never been to, how nice and welcoming everyone was, and how really amazing the teams were even though I’ve never heard or met them before. That was really fun and chilled! But generally, I genuinely enjoy judging outside the Netherlands. At some point, you just know everyone from your own circuit, but there’s like the exact version of you in any different countries, and you met a lot of people who are really nice that you could potentially hang out with. Especially when I wasn’t as experienced yet, because then I got to judge with people that were so good, and they taught me so much, and when I’d see debates I’d never got to speak with such speakers. I always encourage people to go judge before you get too good in speaking, because you won’t enjoy as much. It’s so much fun when you still had the shock and awe experience of seeing someone speaking an 84 and then losing a debate.
Across all CA-teams that you have served on, what is the best motion have you set so far?
Gigi: Wow that’s really difficult, I haven’t thought about that! I think I have the tendency to set motions about things that everyone feels but do not agree upon. For example, the “erotic capital” one was definitely a great debate, where people all understand this concept but there’s no clear agreement on what it is. I think one of my favorite is “THR the demonization of the rich”, same thing as, I think everyone understands that we look down on rich people sometimes but not the extent to which. Those were probably two that I really enjoyed!
Who is you favorite CA member? State your reason in three words.
Gigi: Oh that’s really difficult, I’m not sure I know! So I’d say this, I recently CA-ed for the first time with Ilja, and he is just, downright excellent human being. I’ll say, my three words are: HE WILL WORK. Like, he will work until it is perfect, and that’s what I really appreciated.
You have been one of the most active and established debaters in the Dutch debating community with lots of international experiences. What is the most drastic change that you have witnessed in the Dutch debate community so far?
Gigi: That’s a really good question. Recently, quite some people have been asking me this question, seeing that the Netherlands has had an influx of new competitions in the last few years. That’s amazing, but also I’m not sure if it’s working the exact way we wanted it to: competitions all of them tend to be a bit smaller than they used to be. That’s an interesting change: debaters are way more active, but there are not that many debaters who are willing to be active. My more favorable change is, two to three years ago, there was a huge vacuum of established people dropping out across all of different debate societies. And now, it’s changed in a way that there are good debaters in almost every separate institutions in the Netherlands. That means the more competitive debate get-togethers aren’t happening at one society in one evening, but we all meet at debate competitions where we all meet. I hope that keeps continuing, and that people keep going to international competitions with their own delegations. Meeting each other in top rooms, achieving Dutch success!
Which one is your favorite debate club in the Netherlands? State your reason in three words.
Gigi: Ouch… that’s edgy! I’d say…. Cicero, and the three words are: THEY HAVE RISEN. What happened to them in the last few years is just really impressive! They have a nice culture of being super inclusive, but also allowing people to be really competitive. I think they are really good example of how you can become really good as a debating society without being overly harsh or overly competitive. So I’d say Cicero definitely takes the crown for this one.
Written by Lena Martinović
As it is July, most societies are starting to plan their promotional strategies on how to attract more members to their society. There are multiple ways how to do so, and my best recommendation is to look into what your university offers and what you as a society can afford. In this article, I will highlight some tips and tricks that we as EDS think are useful for every society to know.
At EDS, our biggest event for attracting new members are the Beginner’s Workshops. The training event is organized over two evenings, during which participants are introduced first to public speaking, and then the following week, to British Parliamentary. This week is meant to introduce the society to students, so we also take participants out for drinks afterward. We also talk about the things we do as the society, such as members weekend, Christmas dinner, various socials, etc. At the end of the evening, you should sit by the exit and get people to sign up as members. People are more likely to become members if you hand them all the information, rather than let them find it themselves. When you organize the second week of the training, when you show what BP debating is all about, make sure to have a show debate! Showcase what debating is all about with a fun and accessible motion that everyone can enjoy.
But in order to get people to attend the Beginner’s Workshops and sign up, there is some work that needs to be done beforehand. Promotion of the event is done both in person and via the internet.
During Eurekaweek, Erasmus University’s annual introductory week for students, we have a stand where we talk to students and introduce the society to them. You don’t have to send your best debaters to this, because a personal approach, where people tell their anecdotes and stories on how debating has impacted them and what they can do. Mention that you get to explore different cities in Europe by maybe showing a map of where your society and its members had been in the past year. For many students, debating in English is a huge barrier, so tell students that their English will improve. What we do during the Eurekaweek, we also collect email addresses of interested people, in order to keep them informed. Use this list later, to remind people to come to the workshop. In the past, we have usually used a piece of paper where we had people write their name and email. I would recommend using a computer (it will save you time transcribing! ☺)
I would also suggest making flyers that you can give to students that come to visit your booth. I would also check with the board organizing the promotional week if you can add your flyers to the students’ bags, so that you can reach as many students as possible. Also, if your promotional budget allows it, you can also give gifts to participants. A little trinket or two, that students can remember your society.
Ok, so the in-person part of promoting the Beginner’s workshops is over. Don’t forget to also promote it online! Facebook has a really nice function where you can target advertise the event. What this means is that you can promote the event to certain groups or interests. So for example, you could target it to anyone from ages 17-24, that goes to Erasmus University Rotterdam and has liked BBC, The Economist or something similar. Another thing you can do is use your university’s online notice board. To avoid having the message buried with other news, I would recommend having it posted a few or so times. Make sure it is posted one or two days before the event.
Finally, make sure to update the facebook event with the information on the event. Posts on trainers with their picture, a schedule, plans for afterwards, etc are all useful to keep the engagement of the page going.
What I would also recommend is to contact the people booking the rooms for your practice evening. They are likely to know, or could point you in the direction of the promotional department of your university and you can see what is free or what has a low cost so that you can promote your society. At Erasmus University, you can hang up a poster on the notice board for free. We also hire hanging space in one of the buildings, where we display a larger poster. We usually book it during the weeks of beginner’s workshops, so that people are more incentivized to come, since it doesn’t require any background knowledge.
You can also organize another round of workshops in late January, early February for the second semester exchange students, or for those that would like to start debating, but could not do so earlier. The practice would be similar, however you are likely only going to be able to use the online promotional platforms, rather than the information stands. Even if your university offers an information stand, the cost likely would not justify it.
Written by Anna Wesdorp
Meeting someone and finding out that she will become a dear friend, is probably one of the best things that can ever happen to you. When I first met Linsey, I saw a lovely student with an amazing fashion taste. A connection between the two of us came rather quickly during Maastricht Open. I found out that there was more to her than just a student that had debating as a hobby/lifestyle. So, who is Linsey?
“I grew up in a small village named Woubrugge, which is close to Leiden. One of the clearest memories I have of my youth, is when I was around seven years old. A friend of mine and I made a drawing with chalk on the sidewalk. We were so proud of what we made, but my neighbor became angry and removed the drawing with water. I don’t know why, but this had quite the impact on the young me.” Linsey was born in 1997. She started debating in high school. The reason why was quite ironic. “Because of an injury, I wasn’t able to play football, which led to me having lots of spare time. When my teacher of subject Dutch asked me to join the debating team, I thought it was nice to try it out for once.” Little did she know that one debate would quickly turn into years filled with debates.
At the moment, Linsey studies history in Groningen at the university. She also works at the university in Groningen and sometimes spends her weekends debating. In Groningen, she debates at GDS Kalliope, where she is also the treasurer and vice-president. On top of that, she currently also fulfills these functions in the board of the ‘Nederlandse Debatbond’. “One moment I would love to experience again is the NK finale of 2018. When we broke to the finale, both Joris and I were surprised that we made it and it was a very lovely moment. I still feel very proud of that moment.”
Linsey isn’t one to give up quickly. She describes herself as a hard worker with a lot of things on her agenda, as stubborn and one who doesn’t give up very quickly. “Every day, I try to be a better version of myself. I don’t like to compare myself with others. I think I mainly got this attitude from my father, so in a way, he is an inspiration to me.” She tries to live by the rule: “Be better than you were yesterday.”
In the future, Linsey has set a few goals for herself. Within debating, she would love to break at a big international tournament as EUDC and WUDC. Outside of debating, she wants to keep reaching her goals considering losing weight, traveling a lot and getting her bachelor diploma.
For me, Linsey is this source of positivity and a lot of experiences. She is a very strong woman who definitely knows what she wants. Not only is she an amazing debater, but also an amazing person.
by Matt Hazell
Many motions in debating will have proper nouns in them, and examples are always useful in these cases. However, you can never win or lose in BP debating via example alone. The purpose of outside knowledge in debates is to illustrate the arguments you are making. Importantly this means that facts, without good logical analysis underpinning them, are of little merit. In this article we will look at one specific motion set at the Amsterdam Open 2018, and look at how to approach this seemingly technical debate without knowing much at all. The motion is as follows:
Structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) consist of loans provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to countries that experienced economic crises. The IMF requires borrowing countries to implement certain policies (e.g austerity measures, reducing trade tariffs etc) in order to receive these loans (or to lower interest rates on existing ones).
This House Believes that the IMF should pay reparations to countries that experienced severe economic hardship as a consequence of IMF restructuring programs
Firstly – don’t panic! Remember that in debating, teams do not win or lose on the “truth” of their arguments. It is impossible to determine, within the confines of a BP debate at least, what the specific effect of a motion will be. Rather your aim as a speaker is to persuade the judges that it is plausible that a certain thing will happen. Whether or not that is true in real life, in debating anything you can construct sensible reasons for can be weighed in the debate. The average reasonable voter does not have a PhD in economics! You can say things that will have economic theorists like Keynes turning in their graves and still get an 87.
When approaching a motion you aren’t sure you know much about, the first thing to remember is that you probably know more than you think. You probably know that the IMF is an organisation that provides loans to countries that are undergoing severe economic crises. Often these loans are tied to specific conditions (this fact is given in the info slide as well as examples of such conditions). You also probably know (or can infer) that it is primarily backed by western countries, because those countries are the wealthiest.
From these basics, and a general understanding of the world in general , we can construct relatively compelling prop and opp cases.
As either team in the debate, it is always useful to work out what both sides are likely to agree upon. Namely that the IMF is in general a useful institution and we would like to preserve its capacity to act in future economic crises. Given that, we can predict that the two broad areas of clash in this debate are likely to be:
1) Countries that have experienced economic hardship as a result of IMF policies:
2) Effect this has on future IMF policy
Importantly, these two themes of argumentation can work separately from each other. For example, prop could argue that the moral culpability of the IMF means that it does not matter if the organisation is bankrupted by this policy and unable to give loans in the future. Similarly, opp could agree that the IMF has harmed these countries but that its role as a stabilising influence on the world economy is too important to lose. If either side wants to win then they need to provide good reasons (i.e weighing) as to why we should care more about one set of arguments than the other. In reality, it is always a good tactic to engage in both areas of clash, as well as explaining why the one you are focussing on is the most important clash.
Now let’s look at what each individual team might want to argue, without using specialist knowledge.
If you are OG, you probably want to define the motion. If you know very little, it is better to be broader and vaguer than trying to be very specific and missing the point. In this case you need to define:
An independent panel of economic experts is probably best suited to decide which countries deserve reparations. Reparations in the form of direct cash transfers to either governments or individual citizens works well here. The second part is probably more contentious: who do you give the money to? Governments will give the advantage of you arguing this money will be used sensibly to develop the economy, e.g infrastructure projects etc; but are also at risk of corruption / vanity projects. Individual citizens may use the money in a manner that doesn’t help the economy, and could potentially lead to local inflation. In any case, you want this decided quickly so you can get on to arguments.
The first prop argument you will likely want to make is the principle of culpability. The IMF gave money to desperate countries and imposed specific economic conditions on them. As a result these countries experienced hardship. You can argue that A) the IMF did this with bad intentions, or without full diligence (e.g things like reduced tariffs were imposed to benefit the economies of the IMF’s international backers) or B) it doesn’t matter whether the IMF knew this would happen or not, because the end result is the same.
We might also want to argue that these conditions were imposed under pressure – the counties did not have a meaningful option to not accept these deals, due to their financial collapse. This means they did not fully consent to the conditions attached, and so were incapable of performing their own due diligence.
We may also want to argue that, if the countries had not taken IMF loans, they would be materially better than if they had done. This argument can be made to sound plausible even if you know nothing or that it is factually untrue in the real world. We can do this by claiming things like:
Reparations are a proportionate and fair recompense for this because they will make the country richer. Governments can use this money to directly reimburse those who lost out due to the IMF programs, or to grow the economy presently. We can also argue that one of the biggest harms of the IMF program was that it stripped the countries of their own autonomy in decision making – hence giving them money with no strings attached is the only fair solution.
On the second set of arguments, about the future of the IMF, we may want to say things like:
These arguments can all be made from first principles and very limited knowledge of the world, and cover many of the bases in this debate.
Opp have a tactical choice in what arguments they want to prioritise in this debate. I think a good approach is to think about which clashes are easier to win on, and prioritise them. For example, prop have reasonable fiat to exclude countries that were primarily harmed by other things (governmental policy, commodity price drops (e.g oil)). This means that it is probably true that the IMF definitely caused economic hardship to these countries. It will be hard to win on culpability.
However, this does not mean you should ignore this area of the debate. A good approach is to try and make parts of the debate you can’t win on sufficiently messy that the other side can’t win on them either. Hence, we want to claim things like:
Hence, even if the judge does not entirely believe you, there is sufficient doubt in their mind as to whether culpability is absolute and so they will be unlikely to award the debate on these grounds alone.
The next step in this analysis is to explain that, given you cannot definitively assign moral blame, the overriding concern should be the ability of the IMF to act in a useful capacity in the future. This is because, though harm was done in the past, the primary function of the IMF is to prevent future harms. If the IMF is unable to do this then a) more harm will accrue to more people as financial crashes spread more rapidly, or b) other worse actors will provide these loans.
Now it is incumbent on you to explain who these other actors are and why they are worse, and how exactly the IMF will lose the ability to fund things in future. For example:
Other arguments you could make are that these changes in the IMF (if the organisation continues to exist), are very damaging:
With this done, you have a solid two-pronged approach to the debate that will serve you well.
Of course examples and specific knowledge is useful in a debate, but their absence doesn’t mean you are automatically going to lose the debate! Most debates have a set of clashes that can be derived from logic alone, and the arguments can be made based on very limited information about the real world. A useful tactic against teams that know a lot is to claim the inverse of their arguments (with some analytic reasons as to why) and then side-step them by claiming their arguments are unimportant or less relevant than yours. The brunt of this work will be done not by factual arguments but by logical reasoning.
Some Case Studies
You might have got to the end of this and wondered, “that is all well and good but what if I do want some knowledge?” Well, here are some handy articles to get up to speed on the IMF and some of the examples that are most relevant to the debate:
The IMF in its own words:
Opinion piece/explainer on how Structural Adjustment Funds can cause poverty: http://www.globalissues.org/article/3/structural-adjustment-a-major-cause-of-poverty
Simple explainer of criticism of IMF loans:
Short article explaining some negative consequences of IMF Policy:
Article on the Asian Financial Crisis and how the IMF contributed to it:
Website dedicated to critiques of IMF (and WB)
Article on the evaluation of the IMF about the policies in 1990’s in Argentina:
Written by Jos
Today is the final day of the Dutch Debating League! Filled with excitement because… I don’t know, Groningen and Tilburg are battling for 6th place? I mean Leiden already won this thing right? Any way. On to the preview of the teams!
Cicero: David and Mike
Wait, is Mike still a member of Cicero? Didn’t he move to Leiden? And who is this David guy? Couldn’t Roel be bothered to show up? Any way. I’m sure they’ll do great. Mike did break at EUDC after all and has 11 years of debating experience. David did judge the finals of Dutch nationals. This is a team that’s going to kick some ass!
Bona: Marike and Tom
Would have sort of expected Marike to have made the move to LDU by now where she would be an organizational powerhouse instantly. Guessing this is prep for EUDC. Kind of expecting these two to do well at EUDC, they did so last year as well. Kind of surprised Tom is still this invested in debating tho, heard he’s doing well in fiscal law. I think the former love birds are going to fly away with it at this event!
Delft: Niels and Reeti
Man… Delft. I love Delft. Such a nicely organized debating society. We have Niels, former champion of BDT, and Reeti, engineer. Are any of them attending EUDC? I don’t know. Delft will take the 8th place. I think they nevertheless showed they belong at this stage. They only missed one event right? I bet UCU is going to be like “We want to join DDL!” at the next Bondsraad and then they are going to get some non-committal response “Yes. We will look into it.” And Delft is like “No, that’s our spot.” Except Delft probably won’t be present for the meeting, because, honestly, why would you show up to a Bondsraad?
GDS: Henk and Linsey
Is that GDS dino Henk? So many great tournaments in Tilburg every year and he shows up for this? And of course Linsey, finalist of Dutch nationals, showing up for her 4th debating event in Tilburg this year. Kalliope has shown a strong presence at DDL events, what they lack in new members they make up for in enthusiasm among existing ones. I’m pretty confident they’ll secure that 6th place finish on Linsey’s road to a possible EUDC break.
UDS: Jelte and Pieter
I think I can tell these two apart now. Only took me like three years. We have Pieter, future doctor and Jelte, future person-that-tells-corporations-what-they-want-to-hear-for-money-without-adding-any-real-value, or consultant as he likes to say. These two have been training hard together for years now and are in tip-top-shape. Jelte also stands out for being the person that made the Debatbond do something useful for once in my lifetime (as opposed to just draining time and energy) by starting the DDL, so shout-out to him for that. It doesn’t matter how they finish, the fact that this event is happening is a win for Jelte.
EDS: Emma and Fenna
These two average like 80’s at tournaments. And they were super-close to breaking at EUDC last year. Shout-out to Fenna for having a top notch board year, with EDS recruiting like 70 members. I’m sure they’ll do great and kick some ass. If EDS has a hall of fame it’s pretty much about time to start making room in it for Emma and Fenna!
LDU: Roel and Ybo
Son-of-a-philosophy-teacher turned philosophy student Roel and son-of-a-judge turned law student Ybo are continuing a lifelong streak of never leaving their comfort zone by showing up to a debate event where there’s nothing at stake for them. For the team that previously reached a EUDC and a Dutch nationals finals taking home anything below 8 points is considered a defeat. All in all, if we look at the narrative for next DDL LDU being dominating is pretty great as every story needs a villain. LDU racking up points is like Ivan Drago beating the crap out of Apollo Creed. Now all we need is a Rocky!