The Exploding Appendix Annual Dada Cabaret and Christmas Party (Online Video Session – 15th December 2020)
October 26, 2020
Podcast 17: Acid Communism: A Live Discussion with Jeremy Gilbert
November 16, 2020

The Politics of Civil Liberties and Free Speech: A Discussion with Christine Louis-Dit-Sully (Online Group Video Discussion – 12th January 2021)

IOI Academy 2017 Tom Fenn

Christine Louis-Dit-Sully IOI Academy 2017. Photo by: Tom Fenn


In a period of political authoritarianism, increasing scope and power of private tech firms, and a series of crises that have required a fundamental rethinking of our political certainties, it may be said that issues of free speech and civil liberties have become fundamental and pressing. Likewise, in a context where political conservatives have found a professed ally in freedom of speech, those of us committed to progressive and leftist ideas need to think through what our own understanding of civil liberties and freedom amounts to. In order to think through some of these issues we will be joined by Christine Louis-Dit-Sully, an academic biologist, writer and free speech advocate. She is the author of Transcending Racial Divisions: Will you Stand by me? that will be released with Zer0 Books later in 2021. In this session, she will be joining us to discuss a range of ideas related to freedom of speech, censorship and the politics of identity. What makes Christine’s work interesting is her ability to be both provocative and nuanced, fiercely defending freedom of speech, yet unafraid to challenge professed free-speech advocates and their assumptions.
Central to Sully’s exploration of free speech and civil liberties is her attempt to develop thought on how anti-racism and other political struggles can be pursued without falling into some of the pitfalls of identity politics and its opponents. She has often criticized identity politics for the way “extremely small numbers of the characteristics that could be used to describe me as an individual (such as being black, a woman and a foreigner) are supposed to determine my opinions, my reasoning styles, my ideas, my beliefs, my preferences for hairstyles, my taste in food, and other aspects of my life.” Yet she also notes that “professed opponents of identity politics still believe that my identities and the supposed personal benefits they give me determine my opinions.” Challenging both sides of this debate, Sully’s work could be said to provide a provocative intervention, shifting away from the tendency for such discussions to ossify around notions of ‘culture wars’, and reignite a radical discursive politics.
In this session, we will discuss the challenges facing activists, journalists and protestors today; how the defense of civil liberties should be defended in a period of intense political upheaval and crises;  whether ‘Cancel Culture’ exists, and whether it is the best prism to think through contemporary concerns around civil liberties and academic freedoms; how the defense of free speech might be thought alongside other civil liberties, such as the right of migrants; how best to continue the anti-racist and civil right struggles; the threats to civil liberties posed by companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google and Reddit; and how to think through an array of phenomena such as the extradition of Assange, anti-social behaviour laws, and designated protest zones.
This session will be run as part of the Exploding Appendix Avant-garde Art Practice and Research Group’s fortnightly meetup, which will be taking place online via Zoom.  ( The meeting ID is 731 769 8673. The Passcode is “go“. This session will be run by Bradley Tuck and take place on the 12th January 2021 from 19:30 – 22:30 (GMT). If you would like to join us for the session, or have any questions please message me at
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