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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... nature of the anarchist tradition , its insistence that “ means and ends ”
arguments take us nowhere ; indeed , for the anarchist , this “ us ” is precisely
exclusionary , for the moral calculus of gains and losses cannot be considered
( 79 ) There can be no more precise example of what Sorel had in mind when he
spoke of the drama and the immediate ... For what is revealed here is precisely
the truth of warfare which underlies the pretense of peaceable commerce , and ...
The possibility Vida clings to has been evacuated from the realm of the thinkable
, like the god in Huxley ' s Brave New World ( 1932 ) whose epiphany is revealed
in his absence , and it is precisely this withdrawal of possibility which she ...