From: Tom Blancato <tblan@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 11 Oct 1996 14:43:57 -0400 (EDT)
On Thu, 10 Oct 1996, Mr Christopher McMahon wrote:
> Ghandi helped found the modern state of India. Peace from Unity.
He was working within the constraints of that situation, admitting of a
dirt that this kind of criticism tries to avoid, but in the process, this
kind of criticism ends up having more dirt on its hands, not less.
> nonviolence is a sort subjectifying and subjective ethical imperative
> born of guilt/shulden.
That is one of the primary concerns for nonviolent thoughtaction as I see
it. What if it were, rather, an *art of desire and pleasure*, and even
its self-denials were voluptous in certain ways? And, again, if one
wishes to deny the denial practices of strong nonviolence, one in fact
ends up with more and cruder denial, even if simply in the denial
associated with academic study, its disciplines, etc., but also the
agonistic (to say the least) asceticism of a Nietsche, as opposed to the
*enstructional* practices of sexual modification and experimentation of
Gandhi, who fucked his brains out as a youth.
More than that, though, Gandhi was, ideal-wise, much more an anarchist.
An anarchic India, as opposed to a Unified one, even if only partly
unified, was utterly impossible at the time of WWI and WWII. So, again, I
suggest that your denial is simply *dirtier* than Gandhi's. Were you in
that situation, *and this is of course a kind of mad hypothetical
situation*, the chances are best, I think, that the approaches one in
your position would pursue would have produced *more statism and more
violence*. It is at this level that I'm thinkdoing this thinkdoing, which
is really more just thinking, of course, but it is in the definite
vicinity of a definite willingness to *undertake*.
Another interesting Nietzsche/Gandhi parallel: Themese of
purity/purification, dirt, etc. And again, Nietzsche as caught in the
"guilt" trap, Gandhi *playing with and, expecially, experimenting with
Personally, I try to espouse such a
> non-violent ethics,
And so does just about everyone, I'm claiming.
and I think Tom is right when he ascribes a
> cetral role to a desire for nonviolence to postcolonial and other
> ethical agendas
And yet it is *not thematized and substantialized as such*. That is its
alienation. The logics of its entrapment are part of what comes first in
raising the question: i.e., to start to activate that opens up all sorts
of bogus horizons, such as: totalist nonviolence, the imperitive, etc.
These are simply the walls surrounding and hiding the operating
nonviolence, not what its fruition would be.
(but only from the POV of the State in the flow of
> its self-overcoming - from a marginalised position, it strikes me,
> non-violence can be a strategy of blackmail - the guy in from of the
> tank at Tianmen Square - the hunger stike of Bobby Sands - Ghandi's
> floowers taking the wallop as if its hurting you more than its hurting
> me...... It's like saying: Have another look at yourself, arn't you
> ashamed.....? Or maybe its just me?
That is one possibility in a *range*. The question is, do you simply pick
this one possibility, a highly problematic one, to be sure, and let it
suffice to refute? But nonviolent thoughtaction works precisely in
exposing the polemical nature of such a use of example, but is not
interested in *denying* that that may in fact be *bad* (as you
implicitly) suggest, blackmail. But that, in turn, is *also* what the
Tianamen guy is doing: he is not simply blackmailing, but disrupting the
protocols of the arena of violent enforcement. And, one must add,
further, that there is a first, prior, violence: *The tank*. And there
are many, many more logics that develop out of pursuing this example.
> Isn't the choice (as if we have a choice) really between subjectivity and
> guilt, good and evil, ethics etc (and all the sickness that sustains it).
Probably not. Probably what is in order is to suspend this arena of
course, to determin how it in facts plants a tree right inthe middle of
things that organizes the space in question.
> and a mode of producing kindness and cruelty as though it were all the
> same, as though we didn't understand the
> meaning of the words......
Sure. One doesn't want this, this "production", and *production* must be
given to *thought* in a truly developeed sense, and that is the "thought"
referred to in thoughtaction, the thought of Derrida, for example, in
which he suspects "production" as a "very old philosopheme, worn shiny by
"The sanctions are not spectacular, and operate slowly, but they kill and
maim as remorselessly as bullets and bombs, and are destroying a
generation of Iraqi children." Brad Lyttle, delegation to Iraq member.
"The characteristics of the treatment that caused people to be outraged
and shocked are now kind of masked so that the procedure looks rather
benign," said New York psychiatrist Hugh L. Polk.
As many permutations of molecules used in making psychiatric drugs can be
developed today in 2 hours as used to take a lifetime for a researcher.