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Lecture 14

Lecture 14.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHILOS 2G03
Professor
Diane Enns

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Lecture 14 (Nov. 5)– On Violence – Arendt  Main reason that warfare is still with us is because we have no substitute – violence is always a last resort  If war is the continuation of politics by other means, then violence is not simply a disruption of the political process, it is considered to be politics itself o The way that we do politics  Violence is the status quo, naturalized, taken for granted and not questioned  Politics and violence have become synonymous – extreme violence (how we come up with ‘political solutions’)  Sartre and Fanon are criticized for suggesting that human kind is recreated through violence o This is a glorification of violence (leftist emancipatory politics in general) o She is not criticizing state violence, she is complaining about revolutionary violence  Violence does not heal the wounds it has inflicted – if it were true, and we could see the results, we would see revenge would cure most of our ills o Myth and fantasy of annihilating our enemies  Oppressed dream of violence but don’t come true for the average person struggling for freedom  The system will never change, the people running it will – revolutionaries take over and repeat the same abuses of power  She sees this glorification of violence in the protest movements of her time (1960’s) o Emphasis on nonviolence for a time – protests against the war of Vietnam but this changed o Extremists are yielding to a glorification of violence  Fanon’s call for violence was very influential on these groups on the US Relationship between power & violence  Power = violence  Power /= violence  Political thinkers have associated violence with power  Arendt thinks that we can only say power and violence are the same if we say that the state and politics are about domination and oppression. Power and violence are only the same if we agree that politics is about domination (36) What is power?  Community/obedience (power over…) o The most crucial political issue from this perspective of politics as domination is the question of whom rules whom o Power is rooted in an instinct for domination – command obedience o Power from the top down – domination o Hebrew Christian tradition – imperative conception of law (law is about obeying – 10 commandments) o Current manifestation of this command obedience power is beurocracy – rule by nobody  Corporations and institutions – all of these blur the old distinctions between the people and the sovereign (hard to find out who can be accountable) o Page 39 – “it is the state of affairs, this beurocratic state affairs, making it impossible to localize responsibility and localize the enemy…most potent causes of world unrest’  Description of the 1960’s still applies to today  How can we change a system where we can’t find the people who are responsible o If power is only command and domination/obedience than there is no greater power than that grows out of a barrel of a
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