The Right to Strike: The New Winter LD Debate Topic and What to Expect.

Levi Gorden

“A just government ought to recognize the unconditional right of workers to strike”. This is the resolution that will be carrying the discussion of the November-December 2021 debate season. And while Many people find this an odd topic to start the year off with as it doesn’t fall in line with many of the popular resolutions of years past, others find it a perfect way to start the sparse and hectic November-December season.

How debate works:

Just to get something necessary out of the way, I’m going to do a quick rundown on debate structure. An average LD debate round is a competition where 2 people, one arguing to affirm the resolution (aff) and one arguing to negate it (neg), discuss the topic back and forth. Each competitor gives multiple speeches in order to make their side more convincing and to refute the other side.

The cases to be made:

One thing I personally dislike about this resolution is the use of loaded words within the resolution itself. With terms like “a just government” and “unconditional right” along with words like “ought” and “strike” it will be a necessity for almost everyone to define one or more terms or words in order to make this case work. Not only is that an annoying clarification that takes up valuable time in your opening speech, but it also leads to the possibility that 2 competitors might have different definitions of any number of these terms. With both of these instances slowing down discussion, this resolution can be annoying to discuss.

Though that doesn’t mean this topic is absent of strengths. It, like all good LD topics, is extremely flexible on both the affirmative and negation. For the aff you could run a myriad of cases surrounding human dignity, worker protection against oppression, the ethics of capitalist systems, and uncountable others. This is also the case with the neg, international law, economic setbacks, and the ethicality of some professions refusing to work, mark only some of the vast array of possible case foundations.

It’s also fairly topical, as work, worker’s rights, and the ethics of the our work practices are becoming increasingly questioned in modern society. Is work without the right to strike ethical? How needed is it for workers to be able to negotiate with their employer? Is it justified to hurt a business in order to strike? The questions brought up by this case are varied and fairly applicable to the issues we are currently discussing in the modern world. The case stokes introspection but also encourages skepticism and just like real-life, is not entirely black and white.

All of these aspects also attest to a good sense of balance, a feature needed by all runnable debate topics.

In summary:

While not as anticipated a case as last year’s lethal autonomous weapon resolution, this year’s topic is fairly topical and has all the hallmarks of a good debate case. A perfect selection for the busy and less emphasized fall topic.