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The UL Lafayette Debate team won first place honors at the University of West Georgia Debate Tournament last weekend. This southeast regional tournament victory is a strong follow up to the debate team’s second and third place finishes at the GSU National Tournament three weeks ago.
Freshmen debaters and sisters, Ashley and Kari Fleming of New Orleans, defeated the University of South Florida in the final round to win their first college debate tournament. UL Lafayette debaters defeated teams from Florida State University, Georgia State University, Samford University, Vanderbilt University, and Georgia.
They also defeated teams from powerhouse programs Emory University and Wake Forest University. Graduate assistant coach Avery Henry was instrumental in the team’s success. The debate program is directed by Professor Scott Elliott.
This year’s intercollegiate policy debate topic is United States immigration visa reform. In the final round of the tournament, the University of South Florida presented a case in favor of increasing the admission of foreign-born scientists and engineers into the United States via employment-based visas. They argued that these highly skilled workers are necessary for the United States to maintain its dominance in nanotechnology research. This research is necessary for U.S. military hegemony and economic competitiveness.
UL Lafayette debaters successfully countered the affirmative's case for specialized visas by advancing a number of arguments regarding biopolitical control regimes. Using the works of Hungarian philosopher G.W. Tams, Ashley Fleming argued that the manipulation of the visa system as a means of economic production by elites produces a “Post-Fascist” state (authoritarianism with the illusion of democratic freedoms).
Kari Fleming extended this analysis by explaining Gorgio Agamben’s analysis of Homo Sacer and the concept of “Bare Life.” Agamben concludes that the exertion of state biopolitical controls reduces human life to a state of meaninglessness. Given that the development of nanotechnology is inevitable, the question is not how quickly we can create new means of production. Rather, the central question is how we position ourselves in the face of technological innovation. Development of these technologies in a post-fascist state enables elites to simply exterminate the “unnecessary” masses.
UL Lafayette convinced the judges that an open borders policy (no restrictive visas) would reduce the risks of post-fascism while allowing for the development of new technologies; thereby winning the tournament.