Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch
cbertsch

No Need To Shout

From David Graeber, Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology--
Academics love Michel Foucault's argument that identifies knowledge and power, and insists that brute force is no longer a major factor in social control. They love it because it flatters them: the perfect formula for people who like to think of themselves as political radicals even though all they do is write essays likely to be read by a few dozen other people in an institutional environment. Of course, if any of these academics were to walk into their university library to consult some volume of Foucault without having remembered to bring a valid ID, and decided to enter the stacks anyway, they would soon discover that brute force is really not so far away as like to image -- a man with a big stick, trained in exactly how hard to hit people with it, would rapidly appear to eject them.

In fact the threat of that man with the stick permeates our world at ever moment; most of us have given up even thinking of crossing the innumerable lines and barriers he creates, just so we don't have to remind ourselves of his existence. If you see a hungry woman standing several yards away from a huge pile of food -- a daily occurrence for most of us who live in cities -- there is a reason you can't just take some and give it to her. A man with a big stick will come and very likely hit you. Anarchists, in contrast, have often delighted in reminding us of him. Residents of the squatter community in Christiana, Denmark, for example, have a Christmastide ritual where they dress in Santa suits, take toys from department stores and distribute them to children on the street, partly just so everyone can relish the images of the cops beating down Santa and snatching the toys back from crying children (71-72).
Tags: commonplace book, politics, theory
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 2 comments