structural violence

adding page while reading human movement by peter.. term pounded into me years earlier by david :.. feminin\ism ness..interpretive labor.. revolution in reverse.. debt.. utopia of rules .. bureaucracy .. graeber violence in care law.. managerial feudalism.. et al


from human movement


ghandi: poverty is the worst form of violence..

alludes to – structural violence

stokely carmichael 1967: when white terrorists bomb a black church and kill five black children.. act of individual racism.. when 500 black babies dies each yr because of lack of proper food, shelter, and medical facilities and thousands morea re destroyed and maimed physically emotionally and intellectually because of conditions of poverty and discrimination in the black community, tha tis a function of institutional racism

evicted ness

johan galtung.. formally intro’d the term ‘structural violence’ in 69 –  he defined gandhi as a ‘structuralist’ ‘stating: gandhi saw conflict in the deeper sense of something that was built into social structure not in to the persons..


as mentioned in the intro of this book, this structuralist, systems based worldview is deemed critical to effective problem solving..


the question is.. can those roots be change to stop the negative chain reactions.. we need to seek out and resolve root causes that continue to lead to social oppression, ecological disregard, and other influences that reduce human well-being.

roots of healing

deep/simple/open enough


from revolution in reverse:

The rarity with which the nightsticks actually appear just helps to make the violence harder to see. This in turn makes the effects of all these regulations — regulations that almost always assume that normal relations between individuals are mediated by the market, and that normal groups are organized hierarchically — seem to emanate not from the government’s monopoly of the use of force, but from the largeness, solidity, and heaviness of the objects themselves.

bureaucracy ness

When one is asked to be “realistic then, the reality one is normally being asked to recognize is not one of natural, material facts; neither is it really some supposed ugly truth about human nature. Normally it’s a recognition of the effects of the systematic threat of violence. It even threads our language. Why, for example, is a building referred to as “real property”, or “real estate”? The “real” in this usage is not derived from Latin res, or “thing”: it’s from the Spanish real, meaning, “royal”, “belonging to the king. All land within a sovereign territory ultimately belongs to the sovereign; legally this is still the case. This is why the state has the right to impose its regulations.

But sovereignty ultimately comes down to a monopoly of what is euphemistically referred to as “force” — that is, violence.

The idea that nations are human-like entities with purposes and interests is an entirely metaphysical notion. The King of France had purposes and interests. “France” does not. What makes it seem “realistic” to suggest it does is simply that those in control of nation-states have the power to raise armies, launch invasions, bomb cities, and can otherwise threaten the use of organized violence in the name of what they describe as their “national interests” — and that it would be foolish to ignore that possibility. National interests are real because they can kill you.

The critical term here is “force”, as in “the state’s monopoly of the use of coercive force.” Whenever we hear this word invoked, we find ourselves in the presence of a political ontology in which the power to destroy, to cause others pain or to threaten to break, damage, or mangle their bodies (or just lock them in a tiny room for the rest of their lives) is treated as the social equivalent of the very energy that drives the cosmos.

this is ridiculous ness

Contemplate, for instance, the metaphors and displacements that make it possible to construct the following two sentences:

Scientists investigate the nature of physical laws so as to understand the forces that govern the universe.

Police are experts in the scientific application of physical force in order to enforce the laws that govern society.

This is to my mind the essence of Right-wing thought: a political ontology that through such subtle means, allows violence to define the very parameters of social existence and common sense.

cure violence – as disease

Marx himself, for all his contempt for the utopian socialists of his day, never ceased to insist that what makes human beings different from animals is that architects, unlike bees, first raise their structures in the imagination. It was the unique property of humans, for Marx, that they first envision things, then bring them into being. It was this process he referred to as “production”.

labeling/defining – messing with us..

I would argue that Leftist thought is founded on what I will call a “political ontology of the imagination” — though I could as easily have called it an ontology of creativity or making or invention. Nowadays, most of us tend to identify it with the legacy of Marx… (his imagination meant production but for society was too utopian and so warned against – unique property of humans – they first envision things, then bring them to be) ..but really marx’s terms emerged from much wider arguments…. the ultimate, hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make, and, could just as easily make differently. In this sense, a phrase like “all power to the imagination” expresses the very quintessence of the Left.

.., imagination and violence seem to interact in predictable, and quite significant, ways.

p. 2 – violence & imaginative displacement

I’m an anthropologist by profession and anthropological discussions of violence are almost always prefaced by statements that violent acts are acts of communication,that they are inherently meaningful, and that this is what is truly important about them. In other words, violence operates largely through the imagination.

All of this is true. I would hardly want to discount the importance of fear and terror in human life. Acts of violence can be — indeed often are — acts of communication. But the same could be said of any other form of human action, too. It strikes me that what is really important about violence is that it is perhaps the only form of human action that holds out the possibility of operating on others without being communicative. ..

Violence may well be the only way in which it is possible for one human being to have relatively predictable effects on the actions of another without understanding anything about them.

Pretty much any other way one might try to influence another’s actions, one at least has to have some idea who they think they are, who they think you are, what they might want out of the situation, and a host of similar considerations. Hit them over the head hard enough, all this becomes irrelevant. …. most human relations… extremely complicated, endlessly dense w/experience and meaning. require continual and often subtle work of interpretation; everyone involved must put constant energy into imagining the other’s pov….. Threatening others with physical harm on the other hand allows the possibility of cutting through all this.

unless equal contest of violence… then have to know something about each other

The threat will usually suffice. .. the most characteristic quality of violence — its capacity to impose very simple social relations that involve little or no imaginative identification — becomes most salient in situations where actual, physical violence is likely to be least present.

virginia woolf – documented the other side of this: the constant work women perform in managing, maintaining, and adjusting the egos of apparently oblivious men – …endless work of imaginative id and what i’ve called interpretive labor….. women are aways imagining what things look like from a male pov…

structural ineq/violence.. invariably creates same lopsided structure of imagination.. an since.. as smith observed, imagination tends to bring w it sympathy.. victims of structural violence tend to care about its beneficiaries…perhaps .. single most powerful force preserving such relations..

easy to see bureaucratic procedures as extension of this phenom…..bureaucratic procedure operates as if it were a form of stupidity, in that it invariably means ignoring all the subtleties of real human existence and reducing everything to simple pre-established mechanical or statistical formulae. Whether it’s a matter of forms, rules, statistics, or questionnaires, bureaucracy is always about simplification.


No doubt all this makes it easier to see the two as fundamentally different sorts of activity, making it hard for us to recognize interpretive labor, for example, or most of what we usually think of as women’s work, as labor at all. ..

To my mind it would probably be better to recognize it as the primary form of labor.Insofar as a clear distinction can be made here, it’s the care, energy, and labor directed at human beings that should be considered fundamental.

..The things we care most about — our loves, passions, rivalries, obsessions — are always other people; and in most societies that are not capitalist, it’s taken for granted that the manufacture of material goods is a subordinate moment in a larger process of fashioning people. In fact, I would argue that one of the most alienating aspects of capitalism is the fact that it forces us to pretend that it is the other way around, and that societies exist primarily to increase their output of things.

if output matters. input matters. – fashioning people.. ness

p. 3 – alienation

In the twentieth century, death terrifies men less than the absence of real life. All these dead, mechanized, specialized actions, stealing a little bit of life a thousand times a day until the mind and body are exhausted, until that death which is not the end of life but the final saturation with absence.

— Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution of Everyday Life

revolution of everyday life

It (skewed imagination via structural violence) might also create social situations where kings, politicians, celebrities or CEOs prance about oblivious to almost everything around them while their wives, servants, staff, and handlers spend all their time engaged in the imaginative work of maintaining them in their fantasies.


For a long time I was genuinely puzzled as to how so many suburban American teenagers could be entranced, for instance, by Raoul Vaneigem’s The Revolution of Everyday Life — a book, after all, written in Paris almost forty years ago. In the end I decided it must be because Vaneigem’s book was, in its own way, the highest theoretical expression of the feelings of rage, boredom, and revulsion that almost any adolescent at some point feels when confronted with the middle class existence. The sense of a life broken into fragments, with no ultimate meaning or integrity; of a cynical market system selling its victims commodities and spectacles that themselves represent tiny false images of the very sense of totality and pleasure and community the market has in fact destroyed; the tendency to turn every relation into a form of exchange, to sacrifice life for “survival”, pleasure for renunciation, creativity for hollow homogenous units of power or “dead time” — on some level all this clearly still rings true.   – from crimethinc

suffocating from the daythe death of us..

tendency to turn every relation into a form of exchange..

what we keep doing with new possibilities.. ie: blockchain – disengage.. rather – host life bits.. io dance ness

could copy the whole page.. (almost did).. as well as notes form his  bureaucracy (utopia of rules)

structural violence..


Peter Joseph (@ZeitgeistFilm) tweeted at 8:58 PM on Sun, Dec 08, 2019:
“Not only does structural violence kill more people than behavioral violence, it is also the cause of the majority of behavioral violence.” -Dr. James Gilligan


siddiqi border law: every border implies the violence of its maintenance – Ayesha Siddiqi

via David Graeber (structural violence et al – rev in reverse):

“There’s all these imaginary lines around the world with not-so-imaginary weapons protecting them.” @davidgraeber
Over 5 years ago and still relevant
Original Tweet:

constant line law: Can you draw a line that welcomes without also excluding?In Constant’s theory.. every line is violent.. Every line has to be undone. Every line has to be provisional, dotted, blurred, contested. [from Mark Wigley‘s take on Constant’s.. new babylon]


astra on security


vinay on spiritual colonialism:


Money is therefore the right to act without violence: it is exchanged for consent of various kinds..t


from david graeber‘s utopia of rules:


this *essay is not just – or note even primarily  – about B.. it is primarily about violence

*dead zones of imagination

structural violence, by which i mean forms of pervasive social inequality that are ultimately backed up by the threat of physical harm..

structural violence

..—invariably tend to create the kinds of willful blindness we normally associate with bureaucratic procedures.

supposed to’s of school/work – any form of m\a\p

to put it crudely: it is not so much that B procedures are inherently stupid, or even that they tend to produce behavior that they themselves define as stupid – though they do do that – but rather, that they are invariably ways of managing social situations that are already stupid because they are founded on structural violence..  and so.. why we don’t notice it


we are not used to thinking of nursing homes/banks/hmos.. as violent institutions.. except perhaps in the most abstract na metaphorical sense.. but the violence i’m referring to here is not abstract. i am not speaking of conceptual violence i am speaking of violence in the literal sense: the kind that involves, say, on person hitting another over the head w a wooden stick. all of these are institutions involved in the allocation of resources.. 

what we need before/instead of that.. a means for 8b people to know what they really want.. to know/grok what enough is

..w/in a system of property rights regulated and guaranteed by govt in a system that ultimately rests on the threat of force. force in turn is just a euphemistic way to refer to violence.. the ability to call up people dressed in uniforms, willing to threaten

what makes it possible.. ie: spend days in .. libraries poring over Foucault-inspired .. about the declining importance of coercion as a factor in modern life without ever reflecting on that fact that, had they insisted on their right to enter the stacks without showing a properly stamped and validated ID, armed men would have been summoned to physically remove them, using whatever force might be required.

oh my. too resonating. in too many ways.

as if the more we allow everyday ness to fall under B regs.. more everyone concerned colludes to downplay the fact that.. all of it ultimately depends on the threat of physical harm.

actually, the very use of the term ‘structural violence’ is an excellence case in point.. when i first began working on this essay, i simply took it for granted that the term referred to actual violence that operates in an indirect form.. (later took that actual to threat of)

structural violence


the omegas internalize their disgrace and come to act as if they believe they really are guilty of something.. in a sense perhaps they do believe it.. but on a deeper level it doesn’t make a lot of sense to ask wether they do or not.. the whole arrangement is the fruit of violence and can only be maintained by continual threats of violence: the fact that the omegas are quite aware that if anyone directly challenged property arrangements or access to ed, swords would be drawn and people’s heads would almost certainly end up being lopped off


in a case like this, what we talk about in terms of ‘belief’ are simply the psychological techniques people develop to accommodate themselves to this realty..

We have no idea how they would act, or what they would think, if the Alphas’ command of the means of violence were to somehow disappear.


science of people in schools – (he was talking – belief as a psychological technique to accommodate self to structure of violence)

this is what i had in mind when i first began using the phrase.. “structural violence”—structures that could only be created and maintained by the threat of violence, even if in their ordinary, day-to-day workings, no actual physical violence need take place.

hooks & barlow

for most part.. academics don’t use term this way.. current usage really harkens to 60s peace studies and used to refer to structures that.. have same effects as violence even though they may not involve physical acts of violence at all

it’s puzzling why anyone would make such an argument unless they were for some reason determined to insist that the physical violence isn’t the essence of the thing.. that this isn’t what really needs to be addressed. to pose the question of violence directly would, apparently, mean opening a series of doors that most academics seem to feel would really better be left shut..

most of these doors lead directly to the problem of what we call ‘the state‘ and the B structure thru which it actually exercises power.. is the state’s claim to a monopoly of violence ultimately the problem, or is the state an essential part of any possible solution?

is the very practice of laying down rules and then threatening physical harm against anyone who does not follow them itself objectionable, or is it just that the authorities are not deploying such threats in the right way?

to talk of racism, sexism, and the rest as a bunch of abstract structures floating about is the best way to dodge such questions entirely



cure violence

structural violence

on violence

graeber man with stick law

spiritual violence

et al