critique of violence

24 pg pdf by walter benjamin (1996) for m of care – may 19 – []

Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin (/ˈbɛnjəmɪn/; German: [ˈvaltɐ ˈbɛnjamiːn]; 15 July 1892 – 26 September 1940) was a German Jewish philosopher, cultural critic and essayist.

An eclectic thinker, combining elements of German idealism, Romanticism, Western Marxism, and Jewish mysticism, Benjamin made enduring and influential contributions to aesthetic theory, literary criticism, and historical materialism. He was associated with the Frankfurt School, and also maintained formative friendships with thinkers such as playwright Bertolt Brecht and Kabbalah scholar Gershom Scholem. He was also related to German political theorist and philosopher Hannah Arendt through her first marriage to Benjamin’s cousin Günther Anders.

hannah arendt

Among Benjamin’s best known works are the essays “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1935), and “Theses on the Philosophy of History” (1940). His major work as a literary critic included essays on Baudelaire, Goethe, Kafka, Kraus, Leskov, Proust, Walser, and translation theory. He also made major translations into German of the Tableaux Parisiens section of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal and parts of Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu.

another art world.. franz kafka..

In 1940, at the age of 48, Benjamin committed suicide at Portbou on the French–Spanish border while attempting to escape from the invading Wehrmacht.

Though popular acclaim eluded him during his life, the decades following his death won his work posthumous renown.

Susan Sontag said that in Benjamin’s writing, sentences did not originate ordinarily, do not progress into one another, and delineate no obvious line of reasoning, as if each sentence “had to say everything, before the inward gaze of total concentration dissolved the subject before his eyes”, a “freeze-frame baroque” style of writing and cogitation. “His major essays seem to end just in time, before they self-destruct”. The difficulty of Benjamin’s style is essential to his philosophical project. Fascinated by notions of reference and constellation, his goal in later works was to use intertexts to reveal aspects of the past that cannot, and should not, be understood within greater, monolithic constructs of historical understanding.

ssusan sontag



if according to natural law theory.. people give up violence for sake of state.. this is done on the assumption (which spinoza poses explicitly).. that the individual, before the conclusion of this rational contract.. had de jure the right to use at will the violence that is de facto at his disposal.. perhaps these views have been recently rekindled by darwin’s biology.. which in a thoroughly dogmatic manner, regards violence as the only original means, besides natural selection , appropriate to all the vial ends of nature.. and.. as violence is .. almost alone.. appropriate to natural ends.. is thereby also legal

this thesis of natural law, which regards violence as a natural datum, is diametrically opposed to hat of positive law, which sees violence as a product of history

if justice is criterion of ends, legality is that of means.. dogma to both.. just ends can be attained by justified means

10 (238)

the question that concerns us is: what light is thrown on the nature of violence by the fact that such a criterion or distinction can be applied to it at all.. in other words.. what is the meaning of this distinction?

the meaning of the distinction between legit and illegit violence is not immediately obvious.. positive law demands of all violence a proof of its historical origin.. which under certain conditions is declared legal, sanctioned..

indeed, the system strives to limit by legal ends even those areas in which natural ends are admitted in principle w/in wide boundaries.. like that of ed, as soon as these natural ends are pursued w an excessive measure of violence, as in the laws relating to the limits of ed authority to punish

oi.. any form of people telling other people what to do is violence.. any form of m\a\p

from this maxim it follows that law sees violence in the hands of individuals as a danger undermining the legal system..

11 (239)

one reflects how often the figure of the ‘great’ criminal, however repellent his ends many have been, has aroused the secret admiration of the public.. this can result not from his deed but only form the violence to which it bears witness.. any that even in defeat arouses the sympathy of the masses against the law.. this is above all the case in the class struggle, in the form of the workers’ guaranteed right to strike

oi.. kilpi work law.. work ness is violence.. so we’re striking to be able to continue to subject ourselves to violence

12 (240)

more specifically, such conduct, when active, amy be called violent if it exercises a right in order to overthrow the legal system that has conferred it.. for in a strike the state fears above all else that function of violence which it is the object of this study to id as the only secure foundation of its critique.. the strike shows it is able to found/modify legal conditions.. this can be rebutted by a consideration of military force

kingdom is within you ness

it is very striking that even.. or rather precisely.. in primitive conditions that scarcely know the beginnings of constitutional relations.. a peace ceremony is entirely necessary.. indeed, the word ‘peace’ in the sense in which it is the correlative of the word ‘war’.. denotes this a priori.. necessary sanctioning.. regardless of all other legal conditions, of every victory.. if therefore conclusions can be drawn from military violence.. as being primordial and paradigmatic of all violence used for natural ends.. there is a lawmaking character inherent in all such violence

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in the great criminal this violence confronts the law w the threat of declaring a new law.. a threat that even today, despite its impotence.. in important instances horrifies the public as it did in primeval times

the state fears this violence simply for its lawmaking character, being obliged to acknowledge it as lawmaking whenever external powers force it to concede them the right to conduct warfare, and classes forces it to concede them the right to strike..

if in the last war the critique of military violence was the starting point for a passionate critique of violence in general..which taught at least one thing.. that violence is no longer exercises and tolerated naively.. nevertheless.. violence was subject to criticism not only for its lawmaking character but also perhaps more annihilatingly for another of its functions..

militarism is the compulsory , universal use of violence as a means to the ends of the state.. it consists in the use of violence as a means toward legal ends.. the subordination of citizens to laws.. lawmaking and law preserving

again.. kingdom is within you ness

14 (242)

for law preserving violence is a threatening violence.. the deepest purpose of the uncertainty of the legal threat..

for if violence, violence crowned by fate, is the origin of law, the it may be readily supposed that where the highest violence, that over life and death, occurs in the legal system, the origins of law jut manifestly and fearsomely into existence.. for in the exercise of violence over life and death (ie: death penalty over property).. more than in any other legal act, the law reaffirms itself..

these two forms of violence (lawmaking and law preserving) are present in another institution of the modern state: the police..

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police violence is emancipated from both conditions.. (justifying means/ends).. it is both lawmaking and law preserving.. the assertion that the ends of police violence are always identical or even connected to those of general law is entirely untrue.. the police intervene ‘for security reasons’ in countless cases where no clear legal situation exists.. when they are simply supervising citizens.. a consideration of the police institution encounters nothing essential at all.. its power is formless.. like its nowhere tangible all pervasive ghostly presence in the life of civilized sates..

all violence as a means is either lawmaking or law preserving.. if it lays claim to nether of these it forfeits all validity.. the question poses itself whether therer are no other than violent means for regulating conflicting human interests

no need to regulate.. just listen deeper..

need: means to undo our hierarchical listening so we can org around legit needs .. sans reg’s.. sans any form of m\a\p

we are above all obligated to note that a totally nonviolent resolution of conflicts can never lead to a legal contract.. for the latter, however peacefully it may have been entered into by the parties, leads finally to possible violence.. it confers on each party the right to resort to violence in some form against the other should he break the agreement

bauwens contracts law et al

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this remains a ‘product situated w/in the mentality of violence’ no matter how it may disdain all open violence because the effort toward compromise is motivated not internally but from outside.. .. no compromise, however freely accepted is conceivable w/o a compulsive character

yeah that.. huge

public consensus always oppresses someone(s)

maté trump law.. brown belonging law.. et al

its profoundest ie is perhaps the conference, considered as a technique of civil agreement.. for in it not only is nonviolent agreement possible, but also the exclusion of violence in principle is quite explicitly demonstrable by one significant factor: there is not sanction for lying

whoa.. but lying to ourselves if we think conference .. civil agreement.. whatever.. is nonviolent..

public consensus always oppresses someone(s)

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the right to strike.. contradicts interests of the state.. (but) it grants this right because it forestalls violent actions the state is afraid to oppose..

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the political general strike demonstrates ow the state will lose none of its strength, how power is transferred from the privileged to he privileged.. how the mass of producers will change their masters.. the proletarian strike sets itself the sole task of destroying state power..

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mythic violence is bloody power over mere life for its own sake; divine violence is pure power over all life for the sake of the living.. the first demands sacrifice; the second accepts it

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the expiatory power of violence is invisible to men..