The Rotterdam Open 2015: impressions and motion analysis

doorMascha Bloemer

The Rotterdam Open 2015: impressions and motion analysis

Srdjan Miletic provides us with a report and motion analysis of the Rotterdam Open 2015. This is different from other tournament impressions, but we hope it will help debaters at future tournaments.

By Srdjan Miletic

The Rotterdam Open 2015 is one of the best run tournaments I’ve ever been to. Six rounds in one day, a public transport failure, late teams and still everything ran on time. The motions were balanced and varied, the dinner was tasty and there was even a free city tour. In fact, except for rumors of bubbling in the tab, which are just rumors, I can’t personally pick out anything that didn’t go smoothly. Rotterdam was also the first tournament win for both me and my partner and it was largely down to luck. The final included two teams with close to five more average speaks than us. What saved us in the end was that the finals motion was one we had debated and prepped the week before. Seeing as success in debating often comes down to knowing what arguments will or should come up in a debate, below is a fairly basic analysis of the motions in the tournament and how we (myself and Evelyn Svingen) saw them playing out from both sides. I hope this helps any of you who are just starting out and best of luck to everyone at future tournaments.

1. THW ban religious and ideological schools
a. Note: This debate is a double burden debate, making it somewhat tough on prop. Prop has to prove that both religious and ideological schools should be banned

b. Prop
I. Religious schools are bad
1. encourage intolerance
a. homogeneous community

2. Worse education
a. time spent on religious instruction eats into regular lesson time

II. Ideological schools are bad
1. Mech as ideological = political and educational ideology and then use the same arguments as for religious schools
a. (If you don’t mech it this way you have to say why steiner schools and the like are bad, which is difficult)

c. Opp
I. Better than alternatives
1. religious children homeschooled
2. religious children taught religion outside of state institutions
a. church schools/madrassas

II. Most Religious schools good
1. Truth
a. factually
i. higher grades
ii. better behavior

b. analytically
i. sense of community
ii. higher parent involvement
iii. less bullying of minorities (i.e: muslims in US schools)

2. Impact
a. better grades/life = more likely to integrate
b. less bullying = more likely to integrate

2. THW run simultaneously in or out referenda in all EU member states
a. Note: This debate is a double burden debate, making it somewhat tough on prop. Prop has to prove both that there should be referenda and that they should be held simultaneously

b. Prop
i. referendum
1. decision will happen anyway, it is better for it to happen in a referendum than in national elections
a. referendums better
– single issue: no voting anti-eu for other policy reasons
– no protest voting

2. Leaving EU is good for some countries
a. EU is a neo-liberal institution
i. migration
1. harms poor workers in rich nations swamped by cheap labour
2. Harms poor nations as most skilled minority of population has language skills to emigrate. The rest are left in a worse off economy.

ii. Euro
– prevent deflation of currency to deal with debt

iii. budget rules
– prevent stimulatory measures

iv. no border controls
– infant industries argument

3. Leaving EU is good for EU
a. Reduces uncertainty in EU policymaking

4. Leaving EU is bad for EU, which is good because the EU is bad
ii. simultaneous

1. Reduces uncertainty in EU policymaking
a. certain states with strong anti-EU movements could leave at any time
b. This makes it impossible to predict future revenue/voting balance/etc…

i. anti-referendum
1. Will harm EU, EU is good
2. Will harm nations which may leave
a. greece
b. spain
c. uk
3. Better that it happens in national elections

ii. anti-simultaneous (I cannot see this as a tenable opp line)

3. THW ban Zwarte Piet (Black Pete)
i. Zwarte pete offensive/dehumanising
ii. Zwarte Pete makes 100’00 children a year more racist
1. Truth
2. Importance

i. Backlash
1. Truth
a. Majority of Dutch support Zwarte Pete

2. Importance
a. More racism/support for far right parties

ii. (in case of soft prop line) Ban will be ineffective

TH, as the WTO, would allow poor countries to establish trade barriers
a. Prop
i. Infant industries argument (works with import bans and/or subsidies)
ii. Export Controls prevent shortage of critical goods (i.e food)
iii. Capital Controls ensure some profit remains in country
iv. Minimum stay/local staff requirements ensure some skill transfer

b. Opp
i. Anti Infant Industries
1. White Elephants: Impossible to predict which industries will grow/continue to exist in the future
2. Low Infrastructure: Low infrastructure (human and physical) of poor nations means their industries will never be able to compete with west means tarifs can never be lowered
3. Inequality: Tariffs/Subsidies transfer income from majority (due to price increases of goods) to minority who work/own a business which is protected

ii. Developing Governments are bad
1. Corruption: will allocate benefits to inefficient industries close to the regime
2. Lack of Capacity: Economics ministries/academic too underdeveloped to make recommendations about trade barriers

iii. Retaliatory protectionism by developed countries

Semi: TH, as the USA, would put boots on the ground in Iraq
i. Boots on the ground = faster victory
1. Truth
a. US army better than other armies
b. US army better than no army

ii. Better USA than other army, else ethnic cleansing
1. Truth
a. Iraq’s history of ethnic cleansing
b. Gov run by shia death squad commander
c. Soldiers have personal grievances

i. Note: You need to counterprop in this debate. If you don’t, it seems to me to be very difficult verging on impossible to show that the status quo, ISIS staying around for longer and the war killing more people, is better.

ii. Defending the status quo, i.r: bombing/supporting iraqi army or kurds = bad idea

iii. Counterprop: Fund sunni militia
1. continue bombing

2. intensify bombing in areas where minorities are threatened
a. Yazidis
b. Kurds
3. Create a buffer zone between Iraqi army and Sunni areas
4. Fund Sunni Militia to dispose of isis once it is sufficiently weakened
5. Benefits
a. gain an ally in the region
b. no ethnic cleansing
c. weaken iranian influence
i. Iran dominates shia regime in baghdad
d. Local forces capable of keeping IS out

Final: (paraphrased) THW ban automation
a. Obvious thing worth proving:
i. automation = gdp growth

b. Clashes
i. How far will automation go?
1. Prop: Very far

2. Opp: Not very far
a. Importance of creativity
b. Importance of human contact

ii. Will new jobs replace the old ones?
1. Prop
a. new jobs increasingly high skill
b. not everyone can attain high skill level
i. genetic
ii. self-discipline/motivation
c. not everyone can do new jobs

2. Opp
a. Many new jobs in
i. art
ii. music etc…

b. Massive boost to gdp = more education = educate everyone to do difficult jobs

iii. Assuming a high degree of automation, is it good or bad?
1. Prop
a. Dystopia
i. poor/unemployed will not get money
1. already don’t redistribute, no reason to believe we would in the future
2. high degree of concentration of wealth = elites control society
3. Unemployment = trade unions die out

a. Even if less jobs: good
i. redistribute wealth = marxist utopia
ii. everyone works less (2 hours a day) = enough work for everyone
iii. poor have more power

Mascha Bloemer

Mascha is een alumnus van de Amsterdamse Studentendebatvereniging Bonaparte. Zij was redacteur van SevenTwenty (2012-2013) waarna ze in 2013-2015 de rol van hoofdredacteur op zich pakte.

Over de auteur

Mascha Bloemer administrator

Mascha is een alumnus van de Amsterdamse Studentendebatvereniging Bonaparte. Zij was redacteur van SevenTwenty (2012-2013) waarna ze in 2013-2015 de rol van hoofdredacteur op zich pakte.

2 Reacties tot nu toe

Daan W.Geplaatst op7:53 pm - jan 31, 2015

I don’t think you need to counterprop the semi motion at all. It is wrong to think that opp needs to defend a certain policy. All opp needs to do in this debate is a) point out that the stated objectives by proposition won’t be met and/or that there are different harms or b) point out that the invasion is morally unjust. OO in our debate should have answered to POIs with “We are agnostic about whether the airstrikes are working and the only burden we take on us is that your plan will fail”.

Also r3 was a bit more subtle than “ban zwarte piet”, but essentially turned out to be “if we want to get rud of zwarte piet, it should be by a government ban”. So all arguments about why piet was bad were conceded from the get-go and debates turned largely in government action vs public debate discussions.

    Srdjan MileticGeplaatst op12:13 am - feb 1, 2015

    I largely agree with you on the Zwarte Pete round. As for the semis I agree that in principle as opp you don’t always need to counter-prop or defend a single fixed alternative but my issue is that in this motion there are huge harms that prop can point out in the status qou, namely a longer war and ethnic cleansing by the Iraqi army when they win. These harms are so large that I don’t see the status qou, i.e: doing nothing or bombing, as being defensible. As for pointing out that the Gov plan won’t work, I don’t think this is enough for Opp to win. I think Opp has to show that the gov plan is worse than a different, mutually exclusive alternative (i.e: doing nothing). Finally on morality, I find it very difficult to conceive of a persuasive argument against preventing genocide, especially considering the current problems are largely a result of US intervention.

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