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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... the forces of repression , however , for , while it is clear enough that an
organized repression of anarchists took place ... the specter of anarchy again
invoked in order to justify the repression of pacifists such as Goldman and
Eugene Debs .
For it is not forever true that there is no such thing as bad press ; outbreaks of
violence have traditionally been used by the media and the government to justify
repression , and COINTELPRO ' s tactics of pushing or teasing the movement
In this sphere absences accumulate , and the forces of repression find this
intolerable . Again , however , it is not merely the forces of repression which will
find this intolerable but all of us who benefit from that force and rely on its