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August 14, 2008


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Isn't there something really awry with Zizkek abusing Critique of Violence reasoning in order to demand fealty to state preserving violence?


I don't think "state preserving violence" is an apt characterization of the violence under discussion. That said, I agree it's a dubious--and cynical if not false--use of Benjamin.

Meanwhile, I imagine it was Zizek's own connection to Hallward that led him to write this little review. And in turn, a book review focused on Haiti seems an unlikely post on this blog, but for the fact Zizek wrote it.

patrick j. mullins

"Meanwhile, I imagine it was Zizek's own connection to Hallward that led him to write this little review. And in turn, a book review focused on Haiti seems an unlikely post on this blog, but for the fact Zizek wrote it."

It's the thought that counts in the Revolution--especially the miniscule ones...


It's this line: Lavalas activists didn't withdraw into the interstices of state power and "resist" from a safe distance, they heroically assumed state power ... that makes me assert that state preserving violence is under consideration. One cannot take over the state and then fail to make use of its violent power altogether. That's Benjamin's point -- unless of course, like Moses, you have a God who will swallow up the Korah's who oppose you.


I don't see Z as making the point that the Lavalas are exercising state preserving violence. It seems to me that there are multiple kinds of violence that Z mentions here.

--centuries of structural violence
--military/capitalist violence
--popular self-defense/divine violence

The third is the response to the former two. The third is lawless (they will not be allowed to use it in a state where law prevails).

Then, there is the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is not the same as the third type of violence, but is in relation to it. In this dictatorship of the proletariat, there are the parliamentary means and rules, but there is also more direct struggle that cannot be contained with the parliamentary form, which is always and necessarily a kind of pacifying/depoliticizing form (I read Z here as using Ranciere's argument).


Well, if Zizek is arguing for a kind of direct struggle that necessarily exceed the state form then he should say as much and quit taking cheap shots at anti-statist types. "Seizing the state," which is a favorite hobby horse of his these days, sounds exactly like advocacy of what would necessarily include state preserving violence. It's what the Foucauldian- Deleuzian-Negrian tradition rightly refuses in Zizek's project. We very much agree that the state form is pacifying of leftist principles, in fact, worse, it's racist and the organizing principle for well over 90% of all violence in modern society. But if what Zizek is after is struggle that exceeds parliamentary power then we're on the same page and Zizek should be a good enough reader to understand talk of the interstitial as arguing for precisely such a possibility rather than flippantly and repeatedly speaking of it as "retreat into the interstices."


Old--you and I have a long-standing disagreement on these matters. As I read him, Zizek is saying that both matter: using the state as well as relying on struggles that exceed the state. I don't take Zizek to be rejecting state-preserving violence; he's just saying that it's not the same thing as divine violence (repeating Benjamin). Textually: I don't read Foucault as rejecting state and institutional organizational forms. I don't agree that the state is necessarily racist: the nation is necessarily racist. My friend Jackie Stevens as a great book coming out from Columbia on this--she argues against all forms of kinship, pointing out that the notion of the nation rests on an inability to deal with mortality as well as on masculine pregnancy envy. So, back to Zizek: the position is includes and exceeds state power (basically, a Leninist position).


It's not nearly violent enough (or Hegelian-statist enough). The SZ bashers (like one Colonel .....), mostly booj-wah decadents, miss the point: Bonapartes and Lenins (and alas Wehrmachts), like shit, happen.

patrick j. mullins

The most amazing thing about those particular boj-wah decadents is that perezoso/lustmolch totally DEMOLISHED them, pointing out the idiocy of the hyperbole about a book review--and then claimed victory, just like Mission Accomplished in a cute little jumpsuit. They also produced leftist 'documentation' of how Mao did not commit crimes all that much, or if he did, look at what he did for a WHOLE PEOPLE? They did this against their will as on-topic types, because the point was to repeat themselves ad infinitum on their silly promotion of Zizek to wicked demigod, who doesn't phrase his praise of Chavez and Aristide well enough. This means, to them, that he, like me, is a 'paid government shill'. I see what Athaliah meant now about her mother Jezebel 'keeping fanatics [like Elijah] in check..' He got to resurrect anyway, ought to have proved ample compensation.

Ever hear of the Autobahn?

patrick j. mullins

unclear: It was the 'booj-wah decadents' who claimed victory, concluding with an idiotic quote from Harold Pinter, star of 'Jayne Mansfield Park'. That proves Pinkerton is indeed Frau Warwaski...

Dennis J Figueroa

In Haiti under Aristede, some of divine violence ("popular self-defense") which Zizek praises included rape and murder. Inspired by Zizek, shall we now all go out, and murder and rape people, so as to better fight capitalism?


what a strange comment.

i guess it depends on whether you were looking for an excuse or justification to do those things in the first place.



'old' on Zizek: ""Seizing the state," which is a favorite hobby horse of his these days, sounds exactly like advocacy of what would necessarily include state preserving violence."

seceding into a state would not
eurostaete.eu a discussion club in the north of Holland is attempting to make some 40Km worth of borderland (german appendixlike shape) not just a weird extruberance and a fold the other way for the neighbours but meaningful by adding the enclosing 4km to it.
If they apply selfhelp/statelet group grow up measures like those Ulrich von Beckerath spelled out in the 30s we will have the smallest country of the west feature it's best trait. kindalike a 'winterkoninkje'. An either fearless or very curious but certainly quick bird.

you are talking onesidedly like W G Carr in 1957 did ...... on war fomenters and profiteers who use universalizing fetishes (wether religious or political) to set folks flattered with shiny and unworn weaponry up against contest whatever part of their neighbours claims have a pretense that bleeds pride of place away into so much easier to contentialize time (the universal (feminine) love-lie that lividizes leadership or put another way crunchy credits lifted outa site with cerebral warmoney leverage and therefore 'in conflict' with and affront to theirs.

All of the sudden i/we imbalance was never exposed
israel never did nuttin in georgia


oeuwwi, couldn't possibly make that second chunk worse by rewriting it:

... setting folks up against their neighbours to contest whatever part of their claims have a pretense that bleeds pride of place away into so much easier to contentialize time and therefore 'in conflict' with and affront to theirs.

The universal (feminine) love-lie that lividizes the type of leadership uncomprehending how enemies, obstacles and stumbling blocks are really long shadows of cornerstones you forget to radialize, at your feet, waiting for finer times. Crunchy credits lifted outa site and projectivated with cerebral warmoney leverage go a long way to violate clean state rules) and therefore 'in conflict' with and affront to theirs.


crap, nothing as uneven as writing style. Look at James Joyce, Jose Arguelles, poetpiet. nobody's default is good enough to preserve, playing scales does not compute. I will shut up but this is funny:

hey, jorn barger posts a link about yahoo outperforming google and i do find a mysterious differences.

Lookie what i find googling my nick:
Rickels, 10 minutes EGS (switserland, on Schreber, 2006, no comments)

The magic escapes me like all editors elude me, let alone workouters and implementers, screenplayers and blueprinters and i am sure this result will baffle most people who go looking for poetpiet on that page; can't help thinking it was a close and human one, that look they took, algorhythbias.
found with a search for poetpiet,

Cannot be reciprocal though (nor do our mental constructs overlap, hold each other up or any of that stuff very well. My texts are as colourquiltcrazy to reflect the wiiiiideness of my reference frames but nobody puts a premium on my ability to show cross refs.

Getting to that toobe any other way would leave not just plenny but a little to be imagined i am afraid (if you did not look for me in the first place, though i might still make the first 55 results ... hang on i will check ... 52nd is me mention of him at hyperstition, 71, 72 my place and 78 at the DC indymedia via yahoo.

With google i don't even make the first the first 514 (all they will show anymore), the gratitude has run its course of course and yahoo is using some kinda quirked or tweaked older version of google on to bigger and better things.


Lookie what i find googling my nick ... in 4th place ... 3 times

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