Raids on Human Consciousness: Writing, Anarchism, and Violence
However one looks at violence -- as an instrument of bureaucracy or ideology; as a product of racial, gender, or class antagonisms; or as the inevitable result of power politics -- it is an integral part of every social system and is one of the most pressing problems of our tortured century.
In Raids on Human Consciousness Arthur Redding examines the contention that violence, be it the mass product of revolutionary uprising or a private sadomasochistic indulgence, may be taken to instill in those who commit it the capacity for radical change.
Conscious that mainstream theory considers violence deviant, a departure from the normal equilibrium of social and aesthetic structures, while other critiques take it to be integral to any dynamic system, Redding begins with the anarchist inquiry into the relationship of violence to the imaginary representation of modern communities. He explores the "public images" of anarchism in literature and popular culture and emphasizes the diverse strategies by which modern writers encounter, derive, deflect, and manipulate fantasies of political violence.
Redding recognizes that language fails when confronted with the extreme suffering of human bodies. Acknowledging that flesh is subject to war, torture, and everyday brutality -- violations to which language can never do justice -- he nonetheless finds it urgent to reclaim language on the far side of suffering.
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Caudwell , for whom the only guarantee of success is action itself , idealizes the
force of violence in social change almost to a fetish : “ For one must not only plan
the bridge [ to communism ) , one must see how it is to be built , by violence , by ...
In Marx violence is subsumed under a general exploitation that is primarily
economic . He asserts during a discussion of colonial economic expansion in
Capital that “ force is the midwife of every old society which is pregnant with a
new one .
tic , and universal “ force , ” which comes to emerge as the metaphysical bedrock
for historical activity . Presley comes to realize this , and resigns himself to its
power : “ force only existed — force that brought men into the world , force that ...