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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... production of surplus value is permitted only through a bodily dispossession of
the worker her , or himself ; the labor that has produced a commodity is wrenched
out of the worker , and she or he is transformed into a commodity . Likewise ...
Note the insistent repetition of I . It is less a problem of producing a “ Kathy ”
identifiably better or worse than of initially claiming the violent forces of abject self
- production . In these passages we can isolate an effort to gain control over the ...
This is legitimate at most levels of political and linguistic life , yet brutality has
found numerous ways of disarming this distinction . According to the varied
theories we have so far examined , there is a violence involved in the production
of a self ...