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The Disavowal of the Axis

Refusing to be defined or placed within the axis is only a rhetorical move, it doesn’t make one’s views more comprehensively formulated and it doesn’t make them any more correct. It is merely a symbolic gesture. But it does make a significant rhetorical difference. The disavowal of the distinction refuses the initial categorisation which simplifies one’s position into the interlocutor’s imaginary axis. As soon as one is placed on the dichotomous line, or within any grid of reductive possibility, the specificity our beliefs have already been reduced to a criteria which we are unlikely to share. Our views have already been equated with whatever mass of people the interlocutor associates with our political orientation.

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The explicit refusal of the distinction forces (or encourages, depending on how strongly the rejection is asserted) the interlocutor to hear the particularity of the position being articulated. They might make up their own mind anyway, throwing your view in with whatever set of views makes up their boxes labelled ‘left’ and ‘right’. There isn’t much one can do to prevent this if the interlocutor is already convinced of the accuracy of their own political horizon, but the disavowal of the distinction at least attempts to initiate a discussion on less presupposed grounds.

If a common ground can be found, superseding the scrawling dividing line, the symbol of our political incompatibility is refused and alliance can be made on the basis of common grounds, common interests, irrespective of the thought-gang one is, or has unwittingly become, associated with.

The rejection of the left/right axis is a first small step in the process of refusing the rhetorical blockades which divert comprehensive communication and distract us from establishing specific shared ends.

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Against the X axis

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