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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Khalfa: violent strategies
David Teh on Sun, 9 Sep 2001 17:24:01 +0200 (CEST)


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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Khalfa: violent strategies


guerrilla criticism

little wars, micro-conflict

> >From the outset, the workers' movement was divided as to the kind of
> response it should give. Two main approaches appeared. ...Neither of these approaches
> has worked.

agreed

> In addition, theorising violence, or even acclaiming it, has day-to-day
> consequences on people's behaviour and on the culture developed in the
> organisations that use it.

wherefore the need to theorise? the violence in us is deep-seated and
immovable.
whether or not you argue that we're born with a certain measure of it,
you can't deny
that we are inhabited by it, nor that we have no scope for deciding what
sort of
violence we absorb. from the moment we in the West are conscious of the
distinct,
visible world around us, violence is an input. we might come to be
appalled by it once
more thoroughly socialised, but we might've felt it in response to
something as
incidental as reaching for a piece of cake that didn't belong to us, and
as soon as the
TV goes on, it's way past too late. and TV/film heroes don't end up on
kids'
pillow-slips and sheets for nothing - the violence from our screens has
a firm grasp on
our sleeping lives, too. how could we possibly exorcize a violence this
deeply
embedded?

it's not just corporal violence, Skywalker's a fighter. all weapons
count.  bring me an
8-year old, from any part of the globe, that doesn't know what to do
with a toy pistol.
the violence at genoa, particularly the state-sponsored homicide bit,
blends
effortlessly into the televiolent ambience. it's been with us from
TJHooker and Police
Academy to NYPD Blue, not to mention all our paler lo-cal rip-offs. 
we're all so used
to it, we see a man killed by the state and the next minute are reaching
for our credit
cards so as not to miss out on the free steak-knives. Who really watches
Water Rats or
Blue Healers, anyway? (crap Australian police-fantasy) No, me neither.
we're bored of the cops. the e-generation is
bored of cops and bored of war and bored of blood and gore, too. look at
what 'wrestling'
has come to mean for us.

violence is everywhere in us, and not all of it is dangerous, not all of
it is
worriesome for others. the demonic brilliance of capitalism, and its
cultures, is that
in many situations, it has figured out how to get the job done without
it - without
violence even showing up. "the greatest trick the devil ever pulled yada
yada"
it's only possble to lament the absence of something like violence when
its effects
have started to flow automatically. the problem is not that we
unthinkingly obey, it's
that we think obediently.

the effects of violence are sometimes 'do nothing' and sometimes a
violent reaction,
sometimes a resistance and sometimes a violent resistance. they are
localised,
distributed, fractured, and quotidian. they pass unnoticed, like the
violence itself.
both are unremarkable and flow automatically.

> Violence is not a neutral technical means. It has consequences on those
> who use it, on the society that promotes it and unavoidably dominates any
> other social relationships.

agreed

> Since Seattle, the movement against neo-liberal globalisation has grown
> considerably. This has affected both the periodicity and extent of
> mobilisations and has brought increasing radicalisation, amongst the
> young in particular.

(at least here in Australia) this sort of claim is far from having been
substantiated. it's wishful thinking. it's too difficult to separate the
percolation of radical ideas into younger groups from the ubiquitous
aesthetic of resistance (so thick on the ground), a cheap veneer with
which every type of commodity has been buffed. furthermore, the 60s have
taught us (haven't they?) to be sceptical of this generational placebo.

> But, and this is the main point, these mobilisations
> are only the precursor of an overall shift in public opinion, at least
> in  capitalistic developed countries. Not only are these movements
> gaining in  strength, but they are also starting to resonate with the
> concerns of  increasing segments of the population.

now you're talking.  this is the real gain of post-Seattle activism.

you go on to mention the need for strategies for building on this
foundation. 'public opinion' is a dicey benchmark, prone to
disappearance and re-appearance elsewhere (as Australia's recent refugee
'crisis' (debacle)) has shown us. outpourings of disgust and dismay
might quickly gurgle down the plug-hole of 'public opinion' with a few
well-timed 'polls' from the media-monopoly that needs to get circulation
back up again - what could be better than a neck-and-neck 'democratic'
struggle?

it doesn't matter to Rupert Murdoch that A = B in politics. the "filip
for lagging incumbents" is an orchestrated correction mechanism in a
public sphere dangerously bored with the farce of the two-party
corporate state. so all of a sudden we all agree with our Prime
Minister's xenophobic stance.

public opinion is an even more treacherous scale for measuring the
advances of 'the movement'. first is the problem that the media only
want to know about it when someone get's smoked. we have to re-energise
strategies (from detournement to earnest pamphleteering) to get the
BigMedia to sell *our* messages.

not: "any publicity's good publicity"
but: "FREE publicity's good publicity"

but more importantly, we have to build non-commercial channels and
info-structures so the real work can continue.  info-structures are
between us all. they are para-institutional, they exist between
individuals, organisations, institutions (including between and amongst
corporations); they are educational, social, cultural and administrative
interconnections.  technologizing the movement must not be a goal;
instead, technology can provide a cue, a signpost pointing out where to
Attac - where the info-structural resources are thick enough to be
co-opted for the causes of social change. the real work can be
disruptive OR informative - it is to intervene in these quotidian and
intra-social connections. the real work is (mostly) face-to-face.

the most important things to communicate are not *solidarity* and
*radicalism*, but the urgency and relevance of change to the lives of
all.

dt


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