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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... evidenced even in Feldman , is enwrapped and made possible by structures
that exist beyond it , most important perhaps the hyperinstitutional apparatus that
governs the production of theory , however transgressive , as commodity .
To sound openly a theme that I will return to again and again in this book , we
should examine how it is possible to speak “ beyond ” all stricture . This beyond is
not a realm cut loose from the ritualized or legalized orchestrations of power in ...
The logic is Sorelian ; a time will come , it seems , when compromise is no longer
possible , and liberation must be actively fought for . 16 To Laura Roskos , along
with Barb North , I am indebted for their patient , long discussions of Vida with ...