File spoon-archives/postanarchism.archive/postanarchism_2003/postanarchism.0307, message 51


Date: Sat, 19 Jul 2003 10:16:13 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: [postanarchism] Re: enviolence? 



Don wrote:

Tom,
 
I appreciate your strong statements of the affinity of anarchy and
nonviolence.  I wonder though, about how nonviolence as more than a tactic
can be formulated in an anarchic way.  Anarchy, to my understanding, and I
think many will agree, is not to be taken as an "ism" in any ordinary
sense as an infallible principle or a dogma, but as a value that in its
implementation may not turn out to be consistent or always possible -- and
which is not dependent on any other outcome -- anarchism may be an appeal
to justice, in some way, but not to righteousness.  Practically this is
more a strength than a weakness, even if it has a "limp" to it.  My point
is, how like this is your idea of nonviolence?  Can *nonviolence* as a
guiding principle be anarchic in this sense?  Its hard for me to see how
it could -- and correct me please if you addressed this and I missed it,
but isn't *non*violence itself a negating term, in its own way postal?  
If so, how to think beyond this?  What would *enviolence* be like, if I
may ask?
 
Thank you for your interesting posts, I hope my questions are not too
fuzzy to be of any use...
 
Don

--- An "ism" isn't a principle or doga in the first place as far as I'm
concerned, but rather a stabilized formation, just my preferred langauge.
Anarchy is a "-y", and often enough, an "-ism" (anarchism). I know maybe
that is getting too much into semantics...Your point: as a value, which I
accept it as: a value, a fundamental (?) possibility, a gesture, a moment,
a phase, an orientation, atmosphere, spirit, etc. You move quicly to say
that just as it is not a dogma, in its justice elements (hard not to see
them), it does not appeal to righteousness. The previous response to Shawn
I did not manage to get sent due to mailer problems (and this is also a
test message to see if it posts) got out some of what could respond to
this. Several main things:

- the militation against righteousness calls for a certain deconstruction
of "right". The business of "right", "right and wrong", and "should",
prescription, "ought", all determine the basic grounds of western
"justice". This deconstruction happens through the unearthing of the
marginalized nonviolence, as the "for the sake of which" any right is
right, wrong is wrong, etc. Western thought is caught in polemical
reaction, regarding ethics, including postmodern ethical discourse,
against justice as force, telling others what to do, dogma, absolutism,
and frames the various questions exclusively in these ways, even when
taking more radical pomo turns. The way you frame it asks about the same
thing. In this regard, I don't mean to say that nonviolence is, in fact, a
principle at all, nor a thing that "guides", if by guiding one means that
one goes along a path and keeps a certain signpost up ahead. "There is no
path to peace; peace is the path", which is to say that nonviolence is the
gravity of path. It finds a better parallel in a sense of "law" as in the
law of *physical* gravity. I don't think anyone means to dispute that law,
and as far as a "law" of violence goes, it's pretty indisputable as well:
even if one is "for" violence, a certain "non-" obtains: people don't want
to be violated, in virtually any path, there is a maintenance in a certain
nonviolence to oneself, to others, even if it is on the way to locking up
people in the Kamps or lynch someone. This sort of "law" is much more a
*dimension*, *element*, primordial condition than an authorian principle.
At the same time, it is ultimately the source of any authority as regards
law. The tortions and traumas of authoritarianism and everyday "justice",
fascist justice, state justice, state violence, etc. tend to occur in part
because the nonviolence element of justice is not understood in just this
sense, so that its power circlates through conditions without its nature
and condition being adequately unfolded. In adequate unfolding the nature
of authority and dogma changes and moves over into other forms. (not
putting this too well)

- That something is "postal" isn't bad or to be dogmatically avoided. The
essence and meaning of "postal" remains open to question and
understanding. Just as an-archy is postal (postarchy), nonviolence is
postal to violence. Postal to the possibility and actuality of it. It
recognizes that *there is violence* and, *usually*, that there is some
problem there. It has as much as anything to do with whether violence has
been brought up or not. The idea of "modernism" is, often enough, a sense
of forward progression, conquest, etc., that precisely didn't "bring up"
violence; then you have all these depictions of violence that was
unaddressed (e.g., Metropolis). There is a turn, I call it nominative
nonviolence sometimes, in which it simply *becomes a goal intself*, in its
irreducibly complex form, and has this same structure (as the "path to
peace" logic). I also call it the "ensubstantiation of nonviolence". Its
irreducibility is a problem of nonviolence, intrinsically, and motivates
and conditions this thoughtaction.

- One major moment here is this sense of -gression or -cendence, which is
highly related to cap-italism: all having to do with *movement*, passage,
path and goal, getting a-head on, getting over, movement, etc. Various
conditions of will, desire, action that mark what we take as "default" in
western culture, *just as physics is taken as default*, and even in terms
of human needs a reductive physics is taken typically as the "base" of a
*hierarchy of needs*. Anarchy tends to emerge, as a formation (total or
not) as a *motivated reversal of direction* whose *nonviolence* remains
nascient. This is the limp. Another issue is that the releasing of
nonviolence in turn enabls *more* "anarchy", not less, while failing to
broach and open nonviolence is probably the major reason for failures of
anarchy in many ways.

- The move against a "righteous anarchy" remains a move against the
violence of righteousness, and hence is a nonviolence. Yet to open up the
problem of righteouenss remains one that necessitates its deconstruction
into the hidden nonviolence. This in general, in terms of justice in
general, refers to alternative modes of justice, a redistribution of
justice, what I call "envesting" justice, various nonviolence-based modes,
etc.

- That nonviolence is itself postal and a *negation* is not a problem,
IMO. Yes, it is a negation. Interesting to recall that Heidegger said that
"every negation is an affirmation of the not". Derrida moves quickly to
the idea that in totalized or violent form it can be a violent negation
(as I pointed out to Shawn). If you ask me, if there is anything worth
negation, it's violence. But, for all of that, it can not tell us how to
do so. I think it is indisputably an actual condition and, for me, a cause
or issue whose substantive realization is an ongoing urgent burden,
obligation, necessity, vocation. What about you?

- "Enviolence" would be a violence that is iterative and postal to some
more simply direct form. The Nazis were enviolent when they moved from
gassing people in trucks to doing so in "work" Kamps with rooms disguised
as showers. Ennonviolence would variously be about such a turn in terms of
a more naive and direct nonviolence. To be sure, this is informed
precisely by Derrida's movement against totalization, just as
deconstruction and anything else (e.g., critique) that can stop
"progress", put it in the "talons of the apostrophe", enables (as a
necessary but insufficient condition) the "en". The "en", however, remains
a neutral operation. My heart is not, and it is in an irreducible moment,
even a certain "romanticism", but more than that, I think, that gives me
to nonviolence, its ensubstantiation, this spinning. And even, a certain
truth.

Don't know if this will mail,

Tom







   

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