UFPPC ( www.ufppc.org ) Digging Deeper CLII: March 14, 2011, 7:00 p.m.
Violence: Six Sideways Reflections
(New York: Picador, 2008).
It is a mystification to condemnall violence as "bad"; violence is in fact"distributed between acts and theircontexts, between activity and inactivity"(213).]
Introduction: The Tyrant's BloodyRobe.
"Subjective violence" alwaysexists with a backdrop of less obvious"objective violence" (1-2). We shouldrefuse to be stampeded into action bythe fake urgency of "subjective" violence(3-8).
Ch. 1: SOS Violence.
There is"something suspicious" about the focuson "subjective violence" (9-11). Marxgave a "new shape" to "the fundamentalsystemic violence of capitalism" (12-15).Satirical remarks about "liberalcommunists" (Bill Gates, George Soros,etc.) (15-24). Illustrations from film (25-29). In the
described byAlain Badiou, sex has replaced love (30-36). "[L]iberal communists are theenemy of every progressive struggletoday" (37).
Ch. 2: Fear They Neighbor asThyself!
"Today's predominant mode of politics is
"which mobilizes people with fear (40).Fear of the other, even in an age of supposed tolerance, is facilitated byinvoking "
the right not to be harassed
"(41). This makes it possible for thosecalling for respect for the Other to justifytorture (42-46). The stories of theseothers are occulted because there is a"fear of the over-proximity of the Otheras subject of desire" (58; 46-58, withreference to Lacan). Language enhancesthe human capacity for violence because"[i]t dismembers a thing, destroying itsorganic unity" (61; 58-73).
Ch. 3: "A Blood-Dimmed Tide IsLoosed."
The French suburban riots of 2005 were a "zero-level protest, a violentoutburst which wanted nothing," a
expression whose purpose was to "checkwhether the channel was working" (81;79; 74-84). "Science and religion havechanged places: today, science providesthe security religion once guaranteed. Ina curious inversion, religion is one of thepossible places from which one candeploy critical doubts about today'ssociety" (82). Deep down, today's"fundamentalists" don't really believe;their rage is really fueled by envy (82-92). Reporting on Katrina illustrated"what one can call
lying in the guise of truth
: even if what I am saying isfactually true, the motives that make mesay it are false" (100; 92-104).
Ch. 4: Antinomies of TolerantReason.
Reflections on religiousviolence, with a focus on Israel-Palestine(105-39).
Ch. 5: Tolerance as an IdeologicalCategory.
That intolerance rather thaninjustice is regarded as a source orproblems is due to "the failure of directpolitical solutions such as the WelfareState or various socialist projects" (140).Culture is the source of barbarism (141).Particularity and universality exist in adialectical relation denied by Kantianethics (141-58). It is a dirty secret thatour identity formation is often based ondistinctions imposed and enforced byviolence (158-77).
Ch. 6: Divine Violence.
"'Divineviolence' stands for . . . brutal intrusionsof justice beyond law" (178). People areafraid of losing "their transcendent God"(185; 179-85). German philosopher PeterSloterdijk wants intellectuals to give upresentment (185-96). Walter Benjamin