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Radical Philosophy Review

Systemic, Symbolic, and Foundational

Volume 15, Issue 1, 2012

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Displaying: 1-17 of 17 documents

1. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Harry van der Linden A Note from the Editor
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2. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Brandon Absher, Anatole Anton, José Jorge Mendoza Guest Editors' Introduction
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systemic violence
3. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Richard Peterson Is Nonviolence a Distinctive Ethical Idea?
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Nonviolence today is usually advocated either on the basis of a moral condemnation of violence or a strategic confidence in nonviolent tactics. This paper offers an ethical conception that rejects an instrumentalist notion of nonviolence, on the one hand, and yet seeks to connect its normative appeal to effective politics, on the other. The argument proceeds by developing a relational and performative account of violence and by applying this to contexts of direct and structural violence to bring out the respects in which violence is a matter of harmed social existence. Proceeding then to nonviolence, the paper argues for an understanding of its transformational function by drawing on themes from recognition theory. It identifies relevant features of nonviolence by pointing to the experience of social movements as well as by referring to the nature of conflicts with violent opponents.
4. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Harry van der Linden On the Violence of Systemic Violence: A Critique of Slavoj Žižek
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This paper questions the extension of the common notion of violence, i.e., “subjective violence,” involving the intentional use of force to inflict injury or damage, towards social injustice as “systemic violence.” Systemic violence is altogether unlike subjective violence and the work of Slavoj Žižek illustrates that conceptual obfuscation in this regard may lead to an overly broad and facile justification of revolutionary violence as counter-violence to systemic violence, appealing to the ethics of self-defense. I argue that revolutionary violence is only justified to counter subjective violence inflicted or organized by the state. Thus I reject in conclusion Žižek’s further defense of revolutionary violence as retributive and as “shock therapy” necessary to disrupt the old society.
5. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Naomi Zack Violence, Poverty, and Disaster: New Orleans, Haiti, and Chile
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Disaster has a triple violence: the literal event; inequality in rescue efforts; deprivation and coercion prior to physical disaster. Globally, the poor are the most vulnerable in disaster, but there are different degrees of poverty. Although Chile suffered a far more severe earthquake than Haiti, in 2010, the developed infrastructure of Chile allowed for greater resilience. The extreme poverty of Haiti impeded the implementation of humanitarian assistance pledged in the billions. In New Orleans, the exiled poor left behind usable real estate that represented an opportunity for disaster capitalists. The exploitation of the poor in this case is less classic exploitation than depredation. The prevention of depredation will require study, laws prohibiting disaster capitalism, and further emphasis on disaster preparation.
6. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Lisa Heldke An Alternative Ontology of Food: Beyond Metaphysics
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This essay explores some well-traveled territory—the area in which eating and suffering come together. I undertake two projects. First, I scrutinize some foods that are often portrayed as unambiguously either good (homegrown organic vegetables) or bad (foie gras), in an effort to complicate the stories we tell about them. What violence has been heretofore invisible in them? What compassion has been occluded? This project informs a second: an answer to the question “how should we eat?” My answer takes up Kelly Oliver’s call for an ethics of “sustaining relationships.” I ground it in an alternative ontology of food, one that views foods not as substances, but as loci of relations.
7. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Brandon Absher Toward a Concept of Ecological Violence: Heidegger and Mountain Justice
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I argue in this paper that Mountaintop Removal (MTR) is part of what I call “ecological violence.” Whereas the common conception of violence perceives it as harm directly inflicted against an individual by a person or group, I seek to illuminate a form of violence that operates in the complex interrelation between people and the environing world they disclose through their practices. Ecological violence, as I understand it, is ecological in that it concerns the practices through which humans understand and uncover beings in their surrounding environments. It is violent in that it is concerned with practices that sever people and other beings from the relations necessary for their authentic being. MTR, I argue, is violent in just this sense. To make sense of the concept of “ecological violence” I draw on the philosophies of Martin Heidegger and György Lukács.
symbolic and foundational violence
8. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Joan Cocks Foundational Violence and the Politics of Erasure
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In this article I clarify foundational violence by differentiating it from direct, structural, and cultural violence. Unlike direct violence, foundational violence is productive as well as destructive and can occur via practices that conventionally are considered peaceful. Unlike structural violence, it obliterates instead of exploits established social relations. Unlike cultural violence, it does not merely distort reality but annihilates the meanings permeating a pre-existing reality. I illustrate this argument with the erasure of the residency rights of citizens of the former Yugoslavia by the Slovenian state and the erasure of American Indian life worlds by the continental expansion of the United States.
9. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Michael M. Moeller, Andrew Sivak Fuck Your God in the Disco: Music, Torture, and the Divine at Guantánamo
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Our paper focuses on the recent incorporation of pop music into torture rituals at Guantánamo. After placing the violent intersection of sound and the sacred in historical perspective, we argue that Guantánamo’s so-called “disco” underscores a significant break with the past: whereas sonic weapons were traditionally called upon to conquer and control, they are now being enlisted in the wasteful pursuit of obliterating the religious devotion of an already captured enemy.
10. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Nikolay Karkov Alienation and Its Discontents: Marxism, Conceptual Violence, and the Colonial Difference
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This text offers a discussion of the concept and experience of alienation, as it has been theorized in two very different traditions. Accordingly, I juxtapose a recent discussion by Italian Autonomist Marxist Franko “Bifo” Berardi to that of Argentine philosopher and scholar of indigenous cosmologies Rodolfo Kusch. Unlike Berardi’s anti-capitalist critique, Kusch identifies Western Modernity (and not just capitalism) as the source of alienation, and proposes a “de-linking” from its categories and epistemic practices. I caution that even a progressive meta-theory such as Marxism can engage in conceptual violence, when it claims universal validity.
11. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Niki D'Amore The Violence of the Signifier and the Intelligence of the Flesh: Feminine Jouissance as Real and Substitutive Satisfaction
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Contrasting the conflicting positions of Fink and Žižek, this article opens and closes with the question: is feminine jouissance ineffable? It solves the mystery of why Lacan associates the Other jouissance with women and presents an account of phallic and the Other jouissance informed by the work of Breuer and Freud. It argues that the satisfactions of Lacan’s feminine subject bear striking affinity to those of the hysteric, while phallic jouissance affords the same sort of enjoyment as that of Freud’s obsessional neurotic. And, while “real” experiences make one lose one-self and may not be represented by one who was absent, this is not to say that we cannot shed light on characteristically feminine pleasure/pains.
12. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Milton Fisk In Defense of Marxism
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After an extended period in which Marxism received relatively little attention, many of its tenets are now playing a more important role within the left. This essay argues for the relevance today of a number of Marx’s major themes. The Marx I offer here is a conservative Marx. I base this view on his insistence that socialism is needed not to makes us perfect but to save society, in a general sense, from the threats of destruction that it encounters under capitalism. His criticism of utopianism requires that change be anchored in steps humanity has prepared itself to take, rather than in steps that it has no reason to believe will be effective. The importance of class has survived attacks on it as a relic of industrialism and the dominance of the male proletariat. But the working class is more extensive than it ever was. It now encompasses diverse races, genders, and cultures in what can become a front against capitalism. Finally, Marx’s politics posits an inversion of the power relation in capitalist society with capitalism’s subordination of citizens to the state. The global ferment against the failures of capitalism opens new possibilities for the growth of anti-capitalist currents.
13. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
William Smaldone Can Capitalism Lead to Peace?: Revisiting Hilferding's Theory of "Realistic Pacifism"
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In "Finance Capital" (1910), Rudolf Hilferding put forward a theory of capitalist development and imperialism that exerted a powerful influence on Marxist thinking throughout the Twentieth Century. After the First World War, however, Hilferding radically altered that theory. Instead of global capitalist development fueling rivalries among the capitalist states that would likely lead to war, he postulated that mutual economic interests, buttressed by close political and cultural affinities, would be more likely to promote cooperative relations among the western powers which would seek to maintain international peace. Hilferding believed that the “unbridled competition of individual sovereign states” was gradually giving way to a “community of interests.” He suggested that international treaties, the expansion of democracy, and the construction of the League of Nations, would reduce the importance of national sovereignty and would pave the way for peace and socialism. The Second World War and the Cold War seemed to relegate Hilferding’s ideas to the dustbin of history, but the collapse of the communist world and the “triumph of capitalism” have, once again, radically altered the international terrain. This paper argues that important elements of Hilferding’s theory apply to the present capitalist order in which, though imperialism remains alive and well, war among the major powers seems improbable.
14. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Geoffrey Karabin The Heavenly Protest: Toward a Liberation Theology of the Afterlife
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How would a liberation theologian respond to Marx’s famous critique that religious belief and, even more specifically, a hope for heaven is “the opium of the people”? I utilize the conceptual resources found within the work of liberation theologians Gustavo Gutiérrez, Enrique Dussel, and Jon Sobrino to argue that a belief in heaven is able to constitute a protest against oppressed persons’ present hell. To strengthen the connection between a believer’s heavenly hope and a commitment to worldly struggle, I examine how the hope must be conceived as the completion and fulfillment of a process of temporal transformation.
15. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Thomas Nail Violence at the Borders: Nomadic Solidarity and Non-Status Migrant Resistance
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This paper argues that borders and violence against migrants no longer takes place exclusively at the geographical space between two sovereign territories. Instead border violence today has become much more normalized and diffused into society itself. An entire privatized industry now capitalizes on the cycle of transporting, incarcerating, hiring, and releasing non-status migrants. Similarly, however, resistance to this violence is also shifting from the older confrontation with sovereignty and the demands for rights to the larger aim of making the non-status migrant or nomad the new figure of political belonging and solidarity: demanding equality for all, regardless of status.
16. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Richard Schmitt Socialist Solidarity: How Can We Tell Whether It Is Possible?
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The theme is socialist solidarity. Schmitt notes that efforts towards solidarity fail because we do not know how to put our ideals in practice. The example is taken from the early kibbutzim. The founders were clear about their socialist principles but did not know how to put those in practice in such simple situations as the distribution of clothing. Schmitt concludes from that example that efforts to build socialist solidarity are often impeded by our ignorance of concrete techniques and arrangements needed for a solidary socialist society.
17. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
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