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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At worst transgressive rhetoric in the United States occluded the real progressive
work accomplished by activists , divided the movement , and occasionally
culminated in activity that was merely self - destructive . At best , however , the
8 Yet , even as salesmanship goes , the rhetoric of violence will be a notorious
failure . 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 ...
What fails as politics — and often what succeeds — is consumed as culture , and
the rhetoric of violence has already marked the ambivalent extreme of this
process . The rhetoric of violence shatters all the stale illusions of dialogue ...