Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


IAS Talk Pieces: Concepts for the 'New Normal'. #2 Implication

By Michael Rothberg, Brian Klaas, Jennifer Ferng, Maya Goodfellow and Alexis Shotwell. Hosts: Nicolla Miller and Stefano Bellin. Music by Fuubutsishi and Fingerspit. Artwork by Greet Van Autgaerd.

Greet Van Autgaerden. Excursie #2

27 October 2021

Listen to this episode here

Welcome to this podcast on ‘Implication’.

This new episode belongs to our series ‘Concepts for the New Normal’. The idea of these series is to bring together colleagues to explore a key concept of our times; offering a variety of perspectives from the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, on the ideas that are shaping our lives. Today’s concept, inspired by Michael Rothberg's book The Implicated Subject: Beyond Victims and Perpetrators, is ‘implication’.

How might we be implicated in structural problems like racism, the decline of democracy, social discrimination, modern slavery, and sexual violence? What are the background conditions that allow structural violence and injustice to take place? When and how does implication become significant? And how can we transform our implicated positions into collective solidarity work?

By exploring the issue of implication in different contexts, the speakers in this podcast will address some of these questions. I am aware that there are many different forms and degrees of implication. This podcast does not aim to be comprehensive, but rather to open a conversation and invite all listeners to reflect on how they might be implicated in large-scale structures of violence and injustice. 


Introduction by Nicola Miller

Welcome to this podcast on ‘Implication’. My name is Nicola Miller, I am the director of the Institute of Advanced Studies at UCL in London and our work focuses on cross-disciplinary research and debate of all kinds and today we are introducing you to a new podcast in our series ‘Concepts for the New Normal’. The idea of these series is that we take a particular term and invite experts in a range of fields to reflect and comment upon it.


Introduction by Stefano Bellin

Thank you for listening to the “Concepts for the New Normal Series”. My name is Stefano Bellin, and I am a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Warwick. In this podcast we will explore the concept of “Implication”.

How might we be implicated in structural problems like racism, the decline of democracy, social discrimination, modern slavery, and sexual violence?

What are the background conditions that allow structural violence and injustice to take place?

When and how does implication become significant?

And how can we transform our implicated positions into collective solidarity work?

By exploring the issue of implication in different contexts, the speakers in this podcast will address some of these questions. I am aware that there are many different forms and degrees of implication. This podcast does not aim to be comprehensive, but rather to open a conversation and invite all listeners to reflect on how they might be implicated in large-scale structures of violence and injustice.

The podcast was produced in collaboration with Albert Brenchat-Aguilar and Patricia Mascarell Llombart, whom I thank for all their invaluable help. This episode features distinguished scholars in global politics, racism, architecture, political and critical theory to offer different perspectives on the question of implication.


Intro to Michael Rothberg by Stefano Bellin

Our first speaker is Michael Rothberg, whose book The Implicated Subject has inspired this podcast.

Michael Rothberg is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at UCLA and the 1939 Society Samuel Goetz Chair in Holocaust Studies. He is also co-organizer of the Working Group in Memory Studies, an affiliate of the Alan D. Leve Centre for Jewish Studies, and the chair of the Department of Comparative Literature at UCLA.

Professor Rothberg is the author of three influential books. The Implicated Subject: Beyond Victims and Perpetrators (2019) and Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization (2009), both published by Stanford University Press. His first book Traumatic Realism: The Demands of Holocaust Representation (2000) was published by the University of Minnesota Press.

He has also published several articles and book chapters and co-edited The Holocaust: Theoretical Readings (2003; with Neil Levi) as well as five special issues of journals. His work has been translated into French, German, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.


Michael Rothberg

The Implicated Subject is a book about historical and political responsibility. It has two origins: one of which is more scholarly and one of which is more personal. On the scholarly side, I always saw it as a continuation of my book Multidirectional Memory. Multidirectional Memory was a study of how different group memories of collective trauma intersected with each other and echoed with each other and, specifically, it was a way of trying to understand how Holocaust memory has developed over time in dialogue with memories of colonialism and slavery and during ongoing processes of decolonization. And in Multidirectional Memory when I looked at the way in which these different memories intersected with each other, I was mostly interested in shared experiences of victimization and how a perception of shared experiences of victimization could contribute to the development of a dialogical, multidirectional memory. But when I finished the book, I started to become interested in other ways in which histories intersect with each other as well as in other subject positions from that of the victim, and that eventually led me to the notion of the “implicated subject”. The other origin that I was mentioning is more personal, or biographical. It had to do with questions I have been asking myself for decades as a white, Jewish, American man, about what my relationship to the founding crimes of the United States is, specifically slavery and the genocide of indigenous people. And I remember having arguments in my early twenties with other people with similar backgrounds where they would suggest that they had no particular responsibility for slavery or for genocide because after all, like in my case, their families had immigrated to the United States long after these thing things had taken place, long after slavery had ended and long after North America had initially been settled. And I knew that this was a wrong argument and I tried to argue against it, but I didn’t really have a very good vocabulary for making my argument and explaining my position. And it was only later, especially after reading some post-Holocaust philosophy and political theory by Karl Jaspers and Hannah Arendt, that I started to develop a vocabulary for thinking about the forms of responsibility that I thought clarified that kind of relationship, an indirect responsibility for a collective form of violence, like genocide or slavery. And it was through Jaspers’s distinction between different forms of guilt and Arendt’s reflections on collective responsibility that I finally came to the notion for the implicated subject. The key point about The Implicated Subject is the argument that histories of violence and exploitation are enabled not only by direct perpetrators, by initiators of particular regimes, but also by people that are indirectly implicated in those events, who bear a kind of indirect responsibility (not guilt) because of their participation in large-scale structures or large-scale histories, or the way have benefited from and inherited those histories of violence. So I argue that we need to move beyond the familiar categories of victim, perpetrator, and bystander, a kind of triad that especially in Holocaust studies (the field from which I come) has oriented our thinking about violence (including genocide). I argue that these are insufficient for understanding large-scale, traumatic histories, both past and ongoing. So as a kind of replacement for the figure of the bystander in particular, I offer the category of the implicated subject. While the bystander is passive and detached, the implicated subject is intertwined with various histories and structures; it is not simply passive, but it is participating – whether he or she know it or not – in this kind of processes, and therefore bears a kind of responsibility as someone who enables, perpetuates, or benefits form historical violence or participates in structures of inequality and benefits from those as well. So, as you can hear in the way I am describing it, there are two sort of fundamental axes of implication that I distinguish from each other: what I call a diachronic axis and a synchronic axis. The diachronic axis of implication has to do with the way we are entangled with, “folded into” - as the word “implication” suggests -, with histories that may have already been completed but that continue to resonate in the present, histories that we benefit from, that we inherit, in which we are connected to acts of perpetration without ourselves being perpetrators. What I call synchronic implication, on the other hand, has to do with histories and structures that are currently unfolding, currently existing. E.g., global capitalist exploitation, sweatshop labour, that we – in the developed West – may be benefiting from without participating in direct ways. Often these two (synchronic and diachronic implication) are intertwined and sometimes even inseparable, but I think that it is useful to distinguish them analytically for making sense different forms of violence and exploitation, and for being able to make distinctions and differentiations. Once you start to recognize this multiplicity of implication and the fact that we participate in various kind of histories simultaneously and we occupy various structures at the same time, you start to understand that people are not situated in only one way in relation to historical and contemporary forms of violence. So I offer also a category that I call “complex implication”. The latter is an acknowledgement and a description of the fact that many people, or maybe most people, are situated complexly in relation to various forms of injustice and domination. And so, one may very well have lines of connection to a history of victimization, say as a post-Holocaust Jew, but at the same time he or she may be implicated in unfolding forms of violence in the present – say the Israeli occupation of Palestine. And I think that this recognition that we are often complexly situated is analytically powerful, because the world is in fact complex, but I think that it is also politically important because a lot of the difficulties and controversies that often turn around things like the Israeli-Palestinian question, for example, have to do with this very complex situation in which people find themselves related to those events. So for Jews, for example – I am speaking in part autobiographically - we have a strong sense of the long history of antisemitism, culminating in genocide and the Holocaust. And part of our identity as Jews is very much based on a memory, a remembrance, of that history of victimization, a history of suffering. But, at the same time, we have to be able to recognize that, in the present, whether we are in the Diaspora or in the State of Israel, we in fact are implicated in other forms of oppression and injustice. And I think that recognizing our implication in the present does not cancel out that history of violence and suffering [antisemitism and the Holocaust]. At the same time, that history of suffering cannot be used to excuse other forms of violence in the present or the domination of other people or other groups. The notion of complex implication is one that is in fact widespread.


Intro to Brian Klaas by Stefano Bellin

Our next speaker is Dr. Brian Klaas, an Associate Professor in Global Politics at University College London and a columnist for The Washington Post. Dr. Klaas is an expert on democracy, authoritarianism, American politics, political violence, and elections, and he is frequently invited on TV and other media as commentator and political consultant.

He is the author of four books: "The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack on Democracy"; "The Despot's Accomplice: How the West is Aiding & Abetting the Decline of Democracy," "How to Rig an Election, and the forthcoming “CORRUPTIBLE: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us” .

Professor Klaas is also the host of the Power Corrupts podcast, one of the best podcast series I’ve listed to since the pandemic started. You can find all the episodes at powercorruptspodcast.com/


Brian Klaas

Several years ago, after I finished an extended field research in Madagascar, an island off the coast of East Africa, I flew back to the United States. I had been in Antananarivo studying the political dysfunctions, the corruption, and the violence, that has transformed an idyllic magical island into one of the world’s poorest countries. On the way to the airport to catch my flight, I saw the all too common but nevertheless heart-breaking scene outside my taxi window that I had grown used to. There was a young girl scrounging for food in piles of trash by the side of road. The average person in Madagascar lives on about a 1.5$ per day, just about a £1 every day. When my plane landed in America, I had a layover at the airport. While waiting for my connection, a woman in front of me at Starbucks, who was buying a $5 dollar Frappuccino, with extra shots of everything you could imagine, began shouting at the barista for screwing up her order. It was impossible not think about how that Frappucino was worth more than three days of wages for the average person on the island I had just left, or how the face of that little girl in the thrash piles would have lit up if she had been able to taste fresh shots of vanilla syrup, syrup that had almost certainly come from vanilla pods in Madagascar, the world’s leading producer of vanilla, instead of the rancid food that she was actually eating. And yet somehow most of us never think like that. We are rarely jolted from our comfortable existences from those haunting images and, most importantly, few of us ever recognized that we are implicated in the tragedies of everyday suffering that define literally billion of lives across the globe. Billion of lives that often have no voice in the systems or the decisions that affect their life chances. I had nothing to do with the fact that I was born in the United States, the richest democracy in the planet. I was just lucky. I ended up with all my needs met, in a loving family, in a safe country, where my voice actually mattered for the political decisions that would affect my life. In the lottery of birth, I hit the jackpot. But that victory comes with responsibility. People who live in rich powerful, democracies have unique power to help mitigate the suffering of those who don’t. People who have a voice in their governments in the West have a responsibility to use that voice to help ensure that other voices are heard across the world in their governments. And yet when we go to cast the ballot, we almost always think only about our own life chances. Elections are won and lost in places like the US, the UK, France, Japan, Canada, Germany, places like that, not based on which politician will have a foreign policy that empowers others and makes the world more democratic, but based on tax rates, health care costs, and culture wars. All of that of course makes sense, we have a voice and we are entitled to use it for whatever ends we desire, and it’s natural that people vote based on decisions that affect themselves. But we should at least consider those who are silenced by authoritarian regimes, those who are unable to speak out, and those who often just want more powerful governments in the West to put pressure on the dictators and despots who oppress them, to embrace at least some democratic reforms. We who are the lucky citizens of rich democracies are in a word “implicated” in the fate of democracy globally, we’re the people who will determine the strengths of our own republics, but we’re also the people who can give oppressed people elsewhere a fighting chance. And yet in some elections in western countries the majority of people don’t even bother to vote. They take that privilege for granted and they don’t use it. It’s a statement about the huge privilege we have been granted and how it’s not even worth the minor inconvenience it takes and the time to vote for some people. It is the political equivalent of greedily slurping down an overpriced Frappucino directly in front of a little malnourished girl who is starving – it’s that level of callous indifference. Democracy is not self-sustaining. It is not self-repairing. It’s only as strong as the people who, through their actions, make it resilient. But from a global perspective it is also up to us not just to make democracy inspiring and desirable as a form of government, but also to make it achievable for others. That means electing leaders who make promoting democracy a priority of their platform. Because, ultimately, political systems that allow children to starve and corruption to flourish don’t have to exist, and we can do our part to vanquish them.


Intro to Jennifer Ferng by Stefano Bellin

Having listened to Rothberg’s and Klaas’s thoughts on implication, we will now move to a third domain of discussion: architecture. The next contribution is from Dr. Jennifer Ferng, a Senior Lecturer in Architecture at the University of Sydney. 

Dr. Ferng is an expert on the relations between migration and the built environment, with a focus on Pacific and Asian countries. Her international research on forced displacement and humanitarian aid has been recognized by multiple renowned institutions. 

Dr. Ferng is the author and co-editor of Crafting Enlightenment: Artisanal Histories and Transnational Networks, as well as several book chapters and journal articles.

Her current research, entitled World’s Watchmen: Multinational Contractors and the Refugee Crisis examines how private contractors who provide humanitarian services have contributed to the global growth of the “detention industrial complex” and specifically, how humanitarian aid has become a corporate, if not outsourced, form of ethical responsibility by state governments.



Jennifer Ferng

“Implication”, for someone who is trained as an architect and an architecture historian, I contemplate how buildings, people, and sites around the world are implicated in asymmetrical power relationships or government regimes that control borders in order to protect their citizens. More often than not, when someone mentions the term implication such a term applies to human beings. However, I think primarily of buildings and infrastructure, and how they are represented within cultural, economic, and political contexts. “Implication” is not a common term in the field of architecture, and it doesn’t lend itself easily to non-human subjects. But how is the built environment implicated in issues like migration and forced displacement? How do buildings impact the way how we see particular political issues, like immigration and asylum? I think that there are many possible answers in this regard. One might be that buildings revolve around accessibility, and by extension, how accessibility frames the responsibility of the architect to create equal and just spaces. Particularly, humane spaces for those on the move. Accessibility also applies to the public who visits buildings and, of course, to their interactions in these spaces. But implication also leads to other related concepts around guilt, responsibility, complicity, and solidarity. Certainly, the way in which buildings are designed strongly evokes sentiments related to contentious political narratives, that of empathy, melancholy, and even violence. But, for me, buildings are implicated subjects themselves. They are created by those who are aligned with power and privilege and, yes, maybe are not direct agents of harm, sometimes more than not. But buildings have also contributed and benefited from regimes of domination, both in invisible and in visible ways. So it’s kind of difficult to untangle how they are embedded within these systems. But they also dictate the terms in which the physical environment alters and conditions of human behaviour. Referring to asylum seekers and refugees, such histories of harm involve appaling power regimes such as detentions centres and prisons, and these are numerous. We can think of Australia’s “Operation Sovereign Borders” for example, that has been dedicated to funneling asylum seekers to offshore processing centres located in other countries. Such centres are perpetrators of injustice, seeding urban infrastructure that will last for decades: roadways, docks and ports, buildings foundations, and even other types of temporary structures. Perhaps another way to also think about the built environment and implication is to trace further back how buildings were financed in the first place. That is multinational corporations which are responsible for the erection and the management of infrastructure related to detention an incarceration, have become frontline agents in the global refugee crisis. Global companies commissioned as third-party contractors, now stand in for the architect as the primary executor of transnational agreements. These contractors, often protected by state governments, who refuse to disclose the nature of these agreements, these corporations are responsible for designing, constructing, and even maintaining detention facilities in the name of these state governments. When we think of the employees who work at these corporations, then they too are implicated in the execution and design of inhumane spaces, they continue to hold asylum seekers and refugees, sometimes for years at the time. It is hard to draw a clear line where the ethics of responsibility ends, in this history there could be hundreds of millions of implicated actors who are contributing to the forced displacement of asylum seekers. But, on a brighter note and on the opposite end of this spectrum, there are many religious actors who acyuallly work rather tirelessly in the realm of humanitarian aid. They attempt to provide free assistance for the transit and community housing when asylum seekers are in desperate need. They are often underfunded and, even more so, underappreciated for their efforts. In Sydney, Australia, where I am based, the Jesuit Refugees Service (JRS) is one of these groups who are trying to locate housing for individuals and families when their bridging visas have come to an end. Their options are sometimes limited, particularly to real estate or properties that are donated by their own congregation members. Non-profit groups, like the Refugee Council of Australia, have also tried to bring greater awareness of these political issues around mandatory detention and the illegal mistreatment of asylum seekers. For every act of implication, perhaps there is a greater act of both care and kindness that could offset the corporate takeover of human rights.     


Intro to Maya Goodfellow by Stefano Bellin

Our fourth speaker is Dr. Maya Goodfellow, a writer and academic who specialises in the relationships between race, bordering and capitalism. Dr. Goodfellow is currently Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Sheffield, where she is conducting a research project that studies the forms of racism produced by what she calls “the politics of the centre”. 

As well as exploring the discursive nature of processes of racialisation, her research is specifically concerned with the material elements of racism, such as the relationship between profit-making and immigration enforcement.

Dr. Goodfellow is the author of Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Became Scapegoats, published by Verso in 2019. The book was longlisted for the Jhalak Prize and received excellent reviews in academic journals and among the general public.

Dr. Goodfellow has also written for The GuardianNew Statesman and The New York Times, among others, and regularly appears on channels such as the BBC and Sky News.


Maya Goodfellow

During the UK’s first lockdown, we were repeatedly told that we were all in it together. But the pandemic exposed the deep existing inequalities in this country and globally – which left d certain people more exposed and more at risk. This was the case for many people who are classified as immigrants. Despite some minor changes to the rules, the UK government actively worked to keep the immigration system going, including the hostile environment.

The result was clear. Some people were too scared to go to their local hospital – fearing their data would be shared, they’d be charged or eventually detained or deported. While others with no access to the UK’s social safety net, had to choose between going out to work and contracting the virus or becoming destitute.

People classified as British citizens may reject the hostile environment – some, like those involved in Docs Not Cops, importantly actively resisting the government’s demand to check people’s documents.  But how might they also be implicated in creating the narratives that are actually central to the very policies that they reject?

This is not about individualistic blame, guilt or some kind of judgement political purity: it is about recognising how we might feed into the existing narratives that underpin such punitive policies, as well as how we might contribute to the acts of bordering. When people talk about migrants as contributors – people who do important jobs or as a group than contributes to the economy – they implicitly reproduce the idea of the good, useful immigrant.

This treats people’s humanity and their right to move as contingent upon their perceived contribution, shutting out anyone who doesn’t fit into this mould – often buttressing the racialised image of the undocumented migrant. This may not be intentional or is in fact counter to what they are trying to achieve but is nonetheless the outcome. This has outcomes to: the NHS surcharge is scrapped for health and care workers but not for anyone else – people’s rights dependent on what their contribution is seen to be.

We are all implicated in a world where some people have the right to move relatively freely while others are criminalised for doing so. Where wealth is so unevenly distributed that some have no choice other than to move. And where certain people in the UK are at times celebrated for being so-called migrant doctors and nurses while others are shut out from accessing the basic things we all need to live because they were born elsewhere, are poor and are racialised as a threat. We are all connected: every single person’s rights and humanity should matter.

Yet instead, the borders which produce such violence are lauded as rational and necessary.

One of the ways to combat this, then is not just to continuously respond to the current political worlds and terrains. But to imagine new ones altogether and work towards those.


Intro to Alexis Shotwell by Stefano Bellin

It seems appropriate to conclude this podcast with Alexis Shotwell, a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Professor Shotwell works in social and political theory, with a current focus on complicity and complexity as a ground for ethical and political action. Her areas of research include environmental justice, racial formation, disability, unspeakable and unspoken knowledge, sexuality, gender, and collective political transformation.

Shotwell is the author of two wonderful books Knowing Otherwise: Race, Gender, and Implicit Understanding (Penn State Press, 2011) and Against Purity: Living Ethically in Compromised Times (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) and she is currently working on a project called Collecting Our People, which begins from the understanding that we face multiple wicked problems that we cannot solve alone and for which we are not equally responsible – complex things like global warming, systemic racism, and chemical pollution. Professor Shotwell will offer us some reflections on how we can move from implication to action and connection.


Alexis Shotwell

I think that it’s not trivial, but it’s accessible, it’s common, it’s something that many of us do, to discover our implication as soon as we try to do something about something we care about, we are right there in the middle of recognizing that we are involved in things that we wished were not this way. And in my work I am really interested in asking, what does it mean for us to start from implication and to turn toward action and connection, instead of recognizing implication and thinking that the best thing we can do, or the only thing we can do, is to disavow that connection with that implication. So, whatever our field of care is, whatever we are interested in, whatever we feel implicated with, for me we can look at exactly the places that we want to turn away and to feel like that isn’t our fault, or we are doing all the recycling, or we have made every lifestyle change that is possible, and therefore we are not implicated, we’re pure, we’re free. To do the opposite of that. To turn toward the things that we feel we don’t want to be connected to, and to take that feeling, that wish that it were otherwise so strongly that we actually we want to pretend that we are not connected, and go toward it. So, I think, in part this is starting with just feeling what it feels like to really care about something and to want it to be otherwise and to recognize that we can’t personally solve it. To actually start by just feeling what that feels like is a gift of implication. And one of the things that gift gives us is an orientation toward history, toward the way that we inherit whole systems, patterns, materials, circumstances that were or are out of control. We didn’t choose them. We just benefited from them, or they are the structure of our life. So, gas lines, coal companies, electricity, water used for flushing toilets…so many infrastructural things are beyond our control. They are part of the history we inherit. Property relations, whiteness…so much. And we can also see the way that we have differential distributions of present benefits. So, some of us live better because other live worse. And, if we really feel that feeling, that’s actually a good place start for doing something different than pretending we are not connected. One of the places I take my injunction here is from one of my teachers, Donna Haraway, who set out what she calls an ethical and methodological principle which is to critically analyse or deconstruct only that which I love, and only that in which I am deeply implicated. So, to never pretend that you are pure or cut off, or able to solve some thing just by being disconnected. I want to say...I think that’s a very good place to start. And we can move from there towards something that is a little more effective. “Effective” here means, we can change this world. It doesn’t have to be this way. That realization, that understanding, that it does not have to be this way, is in effect a recognizing that we are implicated and that we repudiate that implication. But if are going to do this well, one of the things to push against is decades and years of individualism, and the belief that what is called for from us is individual heroism and martyrdom. In fact, what is called for from us is connection, it’s coming together and building power, building collectivities. We are at the end of a long period where social movements globally movements have not been ascendent, where neoliberalism continues to dominate, and where lifestylism sometimes feels like the only thing that we can do. But more and more we see the rise of movements for black lives, the rise of people standing together with migrants and undocumented people, the rise of people standing against fascism and white supremacy, the rise of people who care deeply about the climate and about making this a world in which many worlds can live. We can say, all of us together can change this. So we can train up, we can study how to be together. And I’d just suggest three different ways that I find helpful here. First, we can start by cultivating the kinds of friendships and interpersonal relations that nourish our being our best selves, whatever that specificity and that particularity is. So here I am drawing from a concept from Aristotle, that the way that we become our best selves is through helping others, is by helping others to be their best selves, and allowing them to call us in to our own particular, unique, situated excellence. That might not seem political, but actually it’s necessary. We need to start relating to other people, other beings, and other ecosystems as friends, that we make friends, including with ourselves, with all our imperfections and the ways in which we mess up and fall down and don’t meet our own goals. Extending friendship into mercy toward ourselves and others is one good place to start. Next, we can build up back this capacity this capacity to be what sometimes we call “fellow travellers” or “comrades”. So, this is people that we are working together with on something political that probably is kind of precise and specific, that has a strategy, that has tactics, that we can evaluate if we are winning, that we can start over when we lose – which we mostly do, let’s be honest -, that we can, when we win, take those wins as terrain of struggle for future work. So that’s comradeship, that’s having lateral relations of solidarity, when we don’t necessarily have to be friends, but we have a shared world that we are working to build. It might not exist yet, we are making it in our working-together. I am personally a big fan of making actual, formal collectives, and setting up structures for them, having infrastructure, having policies, practices, and duration. So the third way that we can work on this, I am talking about this in terms of calling each other in, collecting our people, and in this final case what I’m calling it “claiming bad kin”. So the third form of relationality that I think we can build to tune in into implication and to turn it into action is resistance. So direct opposition is a form of relationship and it’s powerful. This means, if we are white people who care about anti-racism and take seriously our history, we can say “what is the best way that I can be treasonous toward whiteness?” “How can I stand directly against white supremacists, who are claiming me as their kin, and refuse them, and shut them down, and de-platform them?”. I am implicated in their work and therefore I can oppose them. Wherever we are looking, there is going to be some kind of space for opposition like that, I think. It’s very inspiring. We can only do that long, long opposition, that long taking our implication and standing against it when we also have friends, and we also have fellow travellers and comrades. So anytime we feel implicated, I want us to notice that as a point of feeling connected and taking it as traction for making a different world together. I am so interested in all of us doing that to each other.


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