A   C o m p r e h e n s i v e   M a n u a l
Sometimes the best course of action will
slinging that merely puts a bad taste in
be obvious; often not.  The debate about
people's mouths.
what to do will be a contentious one, and
has split many progressive groups.  If we
When the young Republicans wanted to
do not quickly mend these splits, we will
cosponsor a debate with a peace group
fall into the traps set for us by the Right.
(we were) in, we refused in order to avoid
This article offers a framework for dis 
a mudslinging fest that would only speak
cussion so that our groups can more
to the converted on both sides.  We
quickly reach a consensus.
agreed to a debate only if it was spon 
sored by the student government.
These guidelines may also help you
respond to a sectarian left group who
Sometimes an attack is so low that no
attacks you for not following their  party
response is necessary.  Disclosing the
line  closely enough.
nature of the attack alone will build sym 
pathy to your cause even without discus 
In such discussions, it is important to
sion of the issues.  If the attack is person 
evaluate whether the Right's provoca 
al, try to have someone else respond oth 
tions reflect a sincere desire to present an
er than the person attacked; an injury to
alternative point of view, or whether the
one is an injury to all.
agenda is primarily to disrupt your cam 
Levels of engagement
The following are some possible ways to
College and university cam 
respond, from a minimal level of engage
puses are often organizing
ment to greater levels.  In general, we
hubs for the radical right,
recommend minimizing the engagement;
with increasing numbers of
if a right wing group has a tiny audience,
 campus  publications heav 
you only increase that audience by
ily financed by prominent
engaging them.  However, one or two
political conservatives who
people can spread one or two points that
may or may not have any
may cause potential supporters to ques 
real connection to the insti 
tion your entire campaign.  In this case,
tution.
you will be better off if you are ready
with a response.  A few ideas:
paign.  It is also very important to moni 
tor the tide of student opinion: do not lose
touch with your constituency.
M
Don't bring yourself down to their lev 
el.  A minimal level of engagement is
to make a public statement as to why
Ignoring the attack
you do not intend to get into a
Many students today have a disdain for
harangue with the group.  Perhaps you
politics because they view it as a shouting
could shoot down just one of their
match between two extreme points of
arguments as an example of why you
view.  Since the Right has money, not
think students should not take the rest
numbers, this situation works to their
of their arguments seriously.  We know
advantage by discouraging mass political
what you're against, but what are you
involvement.  At any costs, avoid mud 
for?  For example, many Right wing 
T h e   R a d i c a l   R i g h t
M     2 9 7






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