File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2003/lyotard.0302, message 48


Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2003 18:59:43 +0000
Subject: Re: fear in a handful of dust




Glen

rough notes...

I was referring to any and all peoples - presumably you think that a 
US/Australian human subject might think that scrutinising a package left 
unattended in a public place and phoning the police immediately is a 
significant change in behaviour? I don't having lived through such 
events - it's a phone call that's all... Like Pavlovian dogs you'll soon 
get used to reaching for your mobile phone...

The reality is that there is no 'difference' between a supposedly 
globalised terrorist campaign than any of the localised terrorist 
campaigns that took place in the past 30 years. Our human responses will 
be, and can be no different than before. Actually the major difference 
seems to be a general growth in local kynicism towards our local 
govenments operations... Which did not exist in the 70s/80s when 
innocent Irish people were jailed for terrorist activities.  So yes you 
are correct there is no  evidence of an increase in the level of 
insecurity between 2003 in the UK and previous periods.

Even the neo-colonialist responses that govenments are producing are 
hardly different than previous generations responses. The 'state' fear 
you are referring to is hardly new or significant, indeed the state 
responses to anti-colonial violence have not changed since the 19th C. 
 From Gunboats up the Yangtse to protect the British Opium trade, to the 
concentration camps in Kenya in the 1950s supposedly to protect the 
colonialists from the Mau-Mau... the history is the same. The 
colonialist states ALWAYS murder more people than the terrorists and 
anti-colonialists. IN this sense I agree that there may be a seeming 
increase in the amount of international political capital but the 
reality is that it's just a change of direction. Take a look at Tariq 
Ali's article in the New Left review  'Janissary Pakistan...' as an eaxmple.

As the neo-liberal/globalist ideology is plainly collapsing around us - 
how significant are any non-'free-trade' agreements ?

How is the pro-refugee campaign going in Australia ?

regards
steve

Glen Fuller wrote:

> Steve,
>  
> When you write 'just an insignificant change in peoples responses to 
> strange events' which people are you referring to? The 'British' people?  
>  
> Are you suggesting that the globalised 'terror' campaign is not 
> different to what has come before it? Different, not necessarily in 
> individual countries, and not necessarily in the actions precipitated 
> by certain events, but in the qualitative response of the threat of 
> insecurity (not the threat to security) on a global scale?
>  
> The Aussie government just happens to be working on a free trade 
> agreement with the US just as Howard and Co happen to be one of the 
> most vocal supporters of Bush and Co, and just as there seems to be 
> heightened flows of 'fear' circulating. (After the Bali bombing one of 
> the bombers apologised to Australia as they were not targeting 
> Australians but were targeting the 'US', this seems to have been lost 
> on Australian politicians.) 
>  
> The affect of our everyday lives may be zero in terms of 
> actually being afraid, that doesn't mean that 'fear' (of the threat of 
> insecurity) doesn't circulate as a form of, for example, international 
> political capital.
>  
> Glen.
>
>     ----- Original Message -----
>     From: steve.devos <mailto:steve.devos-AT-krokodile.co.uk>
>     To: lyotard-AT-lists.village.virginia.edu
>     <mailto:lyotard-AT-lists.village.virginia.edu>
>     Sent: Thursday, February 13, 2003 3:23 AM
>     Subject: Re: fear in a handful of dust
>
>     Glen
>     During the period 1970 until 1999 approx the UK lived under
>     constant and continuous terrorist attack from either Irish
>     terrorists, some Palestinian bombs or some internal fascists -
>      the affect of your everyday life will be zero after a few weeks
>     into months.  The only important impact is the tendecy of the
>     state to start introducing political liberties.
>
>     Nothing commodified about it then. just an insignificant change in
>     peoples responses to strange events....
>
>     regards
>     steve
>
>     Glen Fuller wrote:
>
>>     Eric,
>>
>>     > What I am concerned about is that to the extent I fear I can be
>>     > manipulated.  Fear is like the ultimate fetish of
>>     commodification.  The
>>     > products I buy do not offer happiness as much as freedom from fear.
>>     The SUV is possibly one of the best examples of 'freedom from
>>     fear' commodified. If you think of security as a duration in
>>     time-space (ala Virilio), so that a duration is a velocity
>>     'forever' ie constant. Forever is the unknown future. Car-drivers
>>     are partitioned a space within the flows of traffic according to
>>     the rhythms of traffic. The unknown future could be in the next
>>     second when some semi-trailer t-bones you and your family. Enter
>>     the SUV: occupies a lot of space, and therefore a particular
>>     duration in the rhtyhms of traffic by territorialising the future
>>     with probabilities of (in)security so that it is un-unknown. 
>>      
>>     Perhaps when the fear of a buggered environment becomes
>>     actualised it will be the only thing to reduce the everyday
>>     desire to occupy a duration of time-space in the form of an SUV.
>>     Then again the bottom could drop out of the fetish with further
>>     'firestone disasters'...
>>      
>>     Another example of the commodification of fear is its
>>     introduction into the political economy of terrorism not by
>>     terrorists but by the Australian Federal Government. The recent
>>     'terrorist awareness' package sent in the mail to every residence
>>     (and which a teacher-friend was handed at her school),
>>     entitled: "Let's Look Out for Australia: Protecting our way of
>>     life from a possible terrorist threat"
>>      
>>     Again it is the threat of a possible danger (terrorist threat)
>>     and by territorialising the unknown future to make it known this
>>     generates an (in)security. Also it encourages the 'capturing'
>>     of as many differences within the fabric of Aussie everyday life
>>     to generate an 'our way of life' . 'Fear' is the indirect
>>     technology utilised to generate docility. The most sinister (and
>>     useless) information in the booklet is the below:
>>
>>
>>       We can all play a part
>>
>>
>>           Be alert, but not alarmed
>>
>>
>>           There are things we can all do to help protect our way of life.
>>
>>     Keep yourself informed The Commonwealth Government will use
>>     television, radio, newspapers and the internet to provide
>>     critical information and advice on protecting our nation against
>>     terrorism. It is important that you try to keep up to date with
>>     the news.
>>
>>
>>           Keep an eye out for anything suspicious
>>
>>     Some of the best people to spot things that are out of the
>>     ordinary in a neighbourhood or workplace are those who are there
>>     every day. As we all go about our daily lives, we should keep an
>>     eye out for things that may be unusual or suspicious.
>>
>>
>>           Be alert, but not alarmed.
>>
>>     Whether or not something is suspicious can depend on the
>>     circumstances. Look at the situation as a whole.
>>
>>     -------
>>
>>     Here are some further excepts:
>>
>>
>>           Is Australia a potential terrorist target?
>>
>>         * Every country, including Australia, is a potential
>>           terrorist target.
>>         * Like many countries around the world, Australia has been on
>>           heightened security alert since 11 September 2001.
>>         * In November 2002, the Commonwealth Government received, and
>>           made public, information of a possible terrorist attack
>>           within Australia.
>>         * Security and intelligence agencies constantly monitor all
>>           available information. If the Commonwealth Government
>>           learns of a further threat against Australia you will be
>>           advised through the news media.
>>
>>
>>           How long will Australia be on heightened security alert?
>>
>>         * It is likely that we will be living with increased security
>>           for the foreseeable future.
>>         * Terrorism has changed the world and security may never
>>           return to the relaxed levels most of us grew up with.
>>
>>
>>           What if my children become concerned or anxious about
>>           terrorism?
>>
>>         * Talk with your children about what is happening and what is
>>           being done to protect them. Encourage them to say how they
>>           feel.
>>         * Be honest about things being discussed in the media and in
>>           your community.
>>         * If anyone in your family becomes anxious to a point where
>>           it starts interfering with daily life, consult a health
>>           professional.
>>
>>     ------------
>>
>>     I don't think too many people would be feeling much more secure
>>     after reading that...
>>
>>     The entire document is found at this URL:
>>
>>     http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/www/rwpattach.nsf/viewasattachmentPersonal/7125CDBBB8CFFD83CA256CC1007C8A1D/$file/letslookout.htm
>>
>>     Glen.
>>
>


HTML VERSION:

Glen

rough notes...

I was referring to any and all peoples - presumably you think that a US/Australian human subject might think that scrutinising a package left unattended in a public place and phoning the police immediately is a significant change in behaviour? I don't having lived through such events - it's a phone call that's all... Like Pavlovian dogs you'll soon get used to reaching for your mobile phone...

The reality is that there is no 'difference' between a supposedly globalised terrorist campaign than any of the localised terrorist campaigns that took place in the past 30 years. Our human responses will be, and can be no different than before. Actually the major difference seems to be a general growth in local kynicism towards our local govenments operations... Which did not exist in the 70s/80s when innocent Irish people were jailed for terrorist activities.  So yes you are correct there is no  evidence of an increase in the level of insecurity between 2003 in the UK and previous periods.

Even the neo-colonialist responses that govenments are producing are hardly different than previous generations responses. The 'state' fear you are referring to is hardly new or significant, indeed the state responses to anti-colonial violence have not changed since the 19th C. From Gunboats up the Yangtse to protect the British Opium trade, to the concentration camps in Kenya in the 1950s supposedly to protect the colonialists from the Mau-Mau... the history is the same. The colonialist states ALWAYS murder more people than the terrorists and anti-colonialists. IN this sense I agree that there may be a seeming increase in the amount of international political capital but the reality is that it's just a change of direction. Take a look at Tariq Ali's article in the New Left review  'Janissary Pakistan...' as an eaxmple.

As the neo-liberal/globalist ideology is plainly collapsing around us - how significant are any non-'free-trade' agreements ?

How is the pro-refugee campaign going in Australia ?

regards
steve

Glen Fuller wrote:
Steve,
 
When you write 'just an insignificant change in peoples responses to strange events' which people are you referring to? The 'British' people?  
 
Are you suggesting that the globalised 'terror' campaign is not different to what has come before it? Different, not necessarily in individual countries, and not necessarily in the actions precipitated by certain events, but in the qualitative response of the threat of insecurity (not the threat to security) on a global scale?
 
The Aussie government just happens to be working on a free trade agreement with the US just as Howard and Co happen to be one of the most vocal supporters of Bush and Co, and just as there seems to be heightened flows of 'fear' circulating. (After the Bali bombing one of the bombers apologised to Australia as they were not targeting Australians but were targeting the 'US', this seems to have been lost on Australian politicians.) 
 
The affect of our everyday lives may be zero in terms of actually being afraid, that doesn't mean that 'fear' (of the threat of insecurity) doesn't circulate as a form of, for example, international political capital.
 
Glen.
----- Original Message -----
From: steve.devos
To: lyotard-AT-lists.village.virginia.edu
Sent: Thursday, February 13, 2003 3:23 AM
Subject: Re: fear in a handful of dust

Glen
During the period 1970 until 1999 approx the UK lived under constant and continuous terrorist attack from either Irish terrorists, some Palestinian bombs or some internal fascists -  the affect of your everyday life will be zero after a few weeks into months.  The only important impact is the tendecy of the state to start introducing political liberties.

Nothing commodified about it then. just an insignificant change in peoples responses to strange events....

regards
steve

Glen Fuller wrote:
Eric,

> What I am concerned about is that to the extent I fear I can be
> manipulated.  Fear is like the ultimate fetish of commodification.  The
> products I buy do not offer happiness as much as freedom from fear.
The SUV is possibly one of the best examples of 'freedom from fear' commodified. If you think of security as a duration in time-space (ala Virilio), so that a duration is a velocity 'forever' ie constant. Forever is the unknown future. Car-drivers are partitioned a space within the flows of traffic according to the rhythms of traffic. The unknown future could be in the next second when some semi-trailer t-bones you and your family. Enter the SUV: occupies a lot of space, and therefore a particular duration in the rhtyhms of traffic by territorialising the future with probabilities of (in)security so that it is un-unknown. 
 
Perhaps when the fear of a buggered environment becomes actualised it will be the only thing to reduce the everyday desire to occupy a duration of time-space in the form of an SUV. Then again the bottom could drop out of the fetish with further 'firestone disasters'...
 
Another example of the commodification of fear is its introduction into the political economy of terrorism not by terrorists but by the Australian Federal Government. The recent 'terrorist awareness' package sent in the mail to every residence (and which a teacher-friend was handed at her school), entitled: "Let's Look Out for Australia: Protecting our way of life from a possible terrorist threat"
 
Again it is the threat of a possible danger (terrorist threat) and by territorialising the unknown future to make it known this generates an (in)security. Also it encourages the 'capturing' of as many differences within the fabric of Aussie everyday life to generate an 'our way of life' . 'Fear' is the indirect technology utilised to generate docility. The most sinister (and useless) information in the booklet is the below:

We can all play a part

Be alert, but not alarmed

There are things we can all do to help protect our way of life.

Keep yourself informed The Commonwealth Government will use television, radio, newspapers and the internet to provide critical information and advice on protecting our nation against terrorism. It is important that you try to keep up to date with the news.

Keep an eye out for anything suspicious

Some of the best people to spot things that are out of the ordinary in a neighbourhood or workplace are those who are there every day. As we all go about our daily lives, we should keep an eye out for things that may be unusual or suspicious.

Be alert, but not alarmed.

Whether or not something is suspicious can depend on the circumstances. Look at the situation as a whole.

-------

Here are some further excepts:

Is Australia a potential terrorist target?

  • Every country, including Australia, is a potential terrorist target.
  • Like many countries around the world, Australia has been on heightened security alert since 11 September 2001.
  • In November 2002, the Commonwealth Government received, and made public, information of a possible terrorist attack within Australia.
  • Security and intelligence agencies constantly monitor all available information. If the Commonwealth Government learns of a further threat against Australia you will be advised through the news media.

How long will Australia be on heightened security alert?

  • It is likely that we will be living with increased security for the foreseeable future.
  • Terrorism has changed the world and security may never return to the relaxed levels most of us grew up with.

What if my children become concerned or anxious about terrorism?

  • Talk with your children about what is happening and what is being done to protect them. Encourage them to say how they feel.
  • Be honest about things being discussed in the media and in your community.
  • If anyone in your family becomes anxious to a point where it starts interfering with daily life, consult a health professional.

------------

I don't think too many people would be feeling much more secure after reading that...

The entire document is found at this URL:

http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/www/rwpattach.nsf/viewasattachmentPersonal/7125CDBBB8CFFD83CA256CC1007C8A1D/$file/letslookout.htm

Glen.




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