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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His language “ heaving in its pain ” — suggests labor , as if the world were
struggling to give premature birth to a monster , whose lineaments are still
unformed , grotesque , and unimaginable . Although he overstates the genuine
situation of ...
... and festering age , faces of fiends , crooked twisted , misshapen monsters
blasted with the ravages of disease and all the horrors of chronic innutrition —
the refuse and the scum of life , a raging , screaming , screeching , demoniacal
( 74 ) As if in apocalyptic literature , everything is shaped by the anticipation ,
says Bakhtin , of the “ new word ” to be spoken by the monsters ( 139 ) — the
rough beasts — about which capitalism dreams . The dialogic is fully the realm of