Reply To: Policy of Engaged Neutrality

Welcome Forums NSN Forum General Discussion Policy of Engaged Neutrality Reply To: Policy of Engaged Neutrality

John Capecci

As a new member of NSN, I appreciate the organizational leadership creating this opportunity for respectful dialogue, and I read with great interest the views of members who’ve chosen to comment here. I do not, however, agree with taking the stance of “engaged neutrality,” and feel it implies support for Georgia’s oppressive and sexist legislation; holding the summit in Georgia would, as well. Rather than repeating the good arguments already made above, I’ll simply say that I, too, 100% agree with mburch and those responses that point out the failure of neutrality in the face of human rights issues. Though NSN’s intent for this forum is “NOT to debate the political issues, rather … to discuss the Policy of Engaged Neutrality,” I cannot separate the two. To discuss engaged neutrality requires us to position ourselves in relationship to the issue, as many have here. Again, because “engaged neutrality” is problematic when it comes to serious issues of human rights, attempting to limit discussion here only to the stance of engaged neutrality feels to me like a stance in itself, one that downplays the significance of this legislative act——even this broader historical moment. I and other members contend: “Neutrality is not an option because this legislation is wrong.” Do other NSN members feel, but have not expressed plainly here, that “Neutrality is a fair option because this legislation is right”? To my mind, that’s the supposedly apolitical corner into which “engaged neutrality” paints us. As others have noted, a more direct question——“How do NSN members feel about this act of legislation?” or “Does the recent legislation clash with fundamental values of NSN?”——might prove more instructive for future decision- and policy-making, as well as to the limits of organizational disengagement. Finally, I’m also interested in what differences this discussion raises among members regarding the cultural importance and power(s) of stories. I, for one, feel that not acknowledging the cultural narratives NSN would be tacitly condoning——about women, about reproductive rights, about power——implies a naïve and limited view of the force of storytelling. Meanwhile, I look forward to learning from and contributing to the NSN community, and discerning whether or not the organization is one in which I will continue as a member.

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