trading places: go forth

In part, its simply a question of asserting their sheer existence. An unadulterated demand for visibility that exposes the limitations of democracy. …

This descending of the mob onto the shopping arteries, and the looting, well, it has terrorized the middle-classes somewhat. As Brecht wrote during the Berlin riots, ” the intelligence of capitalists grows in relation to their isolation.” With the London riots, at first people were horrified and stunned as if it arose from a cracked bottle of lightning; a divine and messianic catastrophe. The beginning of the apocalypse. Now that the cops have taken the upper hand, the torched buildings and overall devastation is being seen as a tourist attraction, with all the attraction and repulsion of an end-of-world scenario.

---Benjamin goes on: From this maxim it fol- lows that law sees violence in the hands of individuals as a danger under- mining the legal system. The use of violence by individuals must be cur- tailed by the state because only the state may have the monopoly on vio- lence: violence, when not in the hands of the law, threatens it not by the ends that it may pursue but by its mere existence outside the law. Law must maintain the monopoly on violence if it wants to preserve its status as law, its very claim to legitimation. Violence threatens law not in spite but because of the fact that law has its origins in violence. Benjamin points to the figure of the great criminal and explains its historical ability to both hor- rify and captivate the masses in precisely these terms. Such figures con- front the violence of law with the threat of declaring a new law. Read More: image:

….”You’re Invited.” This is the name of  of the campaign for t.v. built around the idea of welcome that has been suspended in mid-run by VisitBritain, the U.K.’s national tourist board until the rioting crisis subsides. VisitBritain is in its crucial planning period for its £100m global marketing campaign, -in collaboration with key commercial partners like American Express and British Airways- in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics…

However, violence is not a simple phenomenon phenomenon,since it manifests itself in many guises and a number of issues have to be considered. Namely, that in the public sphere, it is basically a structural problem, perhaps an objective feature  of consumerist, market economy contemporary societies. The problem is the tendency to be seduced by subjective violence where the bad apples are easily identifiable extraneous to the functioning of the system itself.  But, these poppings of subjective violence are generally against the structural or objective violence.  However, the first impulse is to  focus uniquely on  subjective dimensions.

Interestingly, and plausibly, violence is not necessarily an activity, or an action. It may be a delusion to believe that societal functions are self-propelling and that it requires enormous violence and destruction to transform them. In fact, with the London riots, the violence may be reinforcing the idea of making sure the status-quo is further entrenched and things stay as they are with a bit of tweaking. So, its seems illogical and contrary, but  it often takes a lot of violence to ensure the stability of the given structure. That is, perhaps the truly radical and violent course is to do nothing. Refuse to act.

Newark. 1967. ---The description of the events reveals a substantially antagonistic role of police in the riots in both cities. Of San Francisco’s eleven police-involved riots, seven were either instigated and/or escalated directly by the police. Among Boston’s four police-involved riots, all four were instigated and/or escalated by the police....Read More: image:

…London-based historian David Starkey’s remarks, about “whites becoming blacks” during debate on the UK riots on the BBC have provoked an outcry throughout the world. Starkey made the remarks on the BBC’s Newsnight programme last week where he said he had been rereading British politician Enoch Powell’s 1968 Rivers of Bloodanti-immigration speech.

He said: “What happened is that substantial sections of the Chavs (classist derogatory term for working class people without social skills and perceived to be without ambition) that you wrote about have become black. The whites have become black. A particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic, gangster culture has become the fashion.”…

---But other reports complicate that picture of young men struggling with poverty and social deprivation. The New York Times explains that while many of those who were remanded for trial hailed from an "underclass of alienated young people, with no jobs and few prospects," some of the young men and women came from affluent, middle-class communities and included a graphic designer, a postal employee, a dental assistant, a teaching aide, and a forklift driver. Sky News adds that one of the rioters who stole $8,000-worth of goods from a Comet store was a student at the University of Exeter and a daughter of a successful businessman. Many of those who appeared in court had no previous convictions, Sky adds. The Guardian, meanwhile, points to one suspect who had 96 previous convictions for theft.---Read More: image:

…Starkey said there had been “a profound cultural change” and

ed that the disturbances and accompanying looting were not riots in the traditional sense, but simply “shopping with violence”….Read More:

antonio machado: “i have walked many paths, i have opened many sidewalks; i have sailed in a hundred seas, and docked in a hundred ports. everywhere i have seen caravans of sadness, the proud and the melancholy, and drunkards of black shadow. and the pedants dressed in fine clothing who watch silently and think and know why they do not drink the wine of the taverns. bad people who walk and stink the face of the earth”

Mexican Priest Rev. Jesus Alfredo Gallegos. ---Rev. Jesus Alfredo Gallegos Lara is no humble man of God anxious to turn the other cheek. He cusses, wears cowboy clothing and arrives at Sunday mass packing a pistol in this pueblo of farm folk located 300 kilometres west of Mexico City in Michoacan state. He also sings mariachi and ranchera music, drives an unlicensed pickup truck with long-expired California plates and has publicly called the state governor a “bastard.” --- Read More:

In any event, Walter Benjamin writings on divine violence are pertinent;  a response to all the shadowy violence within  society that seem  orderly, well arranged and just, legal,  but paradoxically cause the most suffering to the economically marginalized.  Again, the fallacy of placing the locus of attention on rioting as a function of specific human moralities instead of evaluating whether the existing social order is bearable for the as yet untouched. The insularity of the middle-classes and the upwardly mobile created an odd ritual of privilege, a dangerous entitlement of ignoring their own privilege, their perch on the pecking order which is almost impossible to comprehend from those under them and who in turn are blind to those above them…


---His pessimism discloses the presence of violence within the continuity of "the whole time everything is the same" as a cosmic fate, a fate grounded in mystic necessity. He regards reality as essentially tragic, jet not as a partial historical stage or as an accident, but as normality itself. "The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the 'state of emergency', in which we live is not an exception, but a rule." The fact that "everything continues as usual" is the eternal "catastrophe," which according to Benjamin discloses the boundless dominance of the mythical. This is the basis of the "Kafka-like situation," which determines the subject as described in the article "Franz Kafka." The "original sin" makes itself present at each moment in history, and according to Benjamin it turns out to be a reaction to the subject's being a victim of cosmic injustice permanently directed against him.---Read More: image:,%20John-Annex.htm

Levi’s first global advertising has been public for just a few hours and already the brand is learning the importance of reacting quickly to local events — in this case the London riots….

The spot, “Levi’s Legacy,” which was posted on Facebook this morning and will be running in cinema and on TV through the fall, features scenes from May Day, a day of sanctioned demonstrations and celebrations. Shot in Berlin, those scenes bear an uncomfortable likeness to the rioting that’s been taking place in London since the weekend. And for that reason, Levi’s made the decision today to temporarily postpone its TV, cinema and Facebook spots in the U.K. Already the U.K. version of the ad had been edited to omit those scenes. Read More:

John Doyle:"Women are bitchy anyway," she continues. "So take a rich, bitchy woman and then put a baby inside them. And then you've got my clients."...there ensues a lengthy scene in which a "think tank" is convened to advise Samantha and Mitch about possible names. Among others involved are a linguistics expert, a poet and an editor. It is, like most of Pregnant in Heels, stunning television. The clients are rich, stupid and pregnant. They are perfect hate-figures. All I've described is about half the show. But it's enough to let you know that a milestone has been reached. There are pregnant women you are allowed to hate with a passion....Read More: image:

The real problem may be that its a herculean feat to be truly violent; an engagement for a violence of substantial transformation. Violence is likely inherent in any revolutionary act, but the trick is to avoid the kind of banal passive violence that is just an empty, helpless, impotent gesture.   True violence, not an aesthetic fantasy- like Stockhausen’s remarks on 9/11-  but changing the basic and core social infrastructure , or the central relations of society is well nigh impossible without going into the realm of messianic nihilism.


Uri Friedman :While the rioters in England this week have looted shops selling shoes, clothes, computers, and plasma televisions, they’ve curiously bypassed one particular piece of merchandise: books. The Economist observes that while rioters have a centuries-old history of book burning, “books are losing out to high-end jeans and Apple-made gadgets” in London, with the Waterstone’s bookstore chain emerging unscathed and the WH Smith chain reporting only one incident (some stores closed as a precaution). In explaining that the store would probably stay open during the unrest, one Waterstone’s employee even felt comfortable enough to issue a dare to the rioters: “If they steal some books, they might actually learn something.” The exception to the rule is the gay bookstore Gay’s the Word, which had its front window smashed and its shopfront splattered with eggs (notably, no goods were stolen). “Our impression is that there are certain people who have an issue with a visible gay business and are using the excuse of chaos to cause anti-gay damage,” an assistant manager told PinkPaper….

---by his admission that he is currently only eating meat from animals he has personally killed himself. Earlier this month, he surprised his 847 friends on his private Facebook page when he posted: "I just killed a pig and a goat." According to Fortune, the idea came from a chef called Jesse Cool who runs a restaurant called Flea Street Café, close to Zuckerberg's home in Palo Alto, California. She introduced him to some local farmers who showed him how best to kill his first chicken, pig and goat. "He cut the throat of the goat with a knife, which is the most kind way to do it," says Cool. Zuckerberg has subsequently explained, via an email to Fortune, that his new-found predilection for slaughtering animals is just his latest annual challenge. Last year, he challenged himself to learn Mandarin. The year before, it was to wear a tie every day.Read More: image:

…Confronted with all this evidence, The Huffington Post poses a couple vexing questions: “Did the bookstores survive because the rioters respect reading–or because they simply don’t care about books? Read More:

---Levi's has withdrawn an advertising campaign that features a young man squaring up to riot police after a public outcry that it glorified the recent public disorder across the country. The advert, which Levi's launched on Facebook on Tuesday night, was due to be aired on television and in cinemas. The "Levi's Legacy" advert shows a young man squaring up to a line of riot police officers as the voiceover says "you're marvellous". The 60-second film ends with the words "Go Forth".---Read More: image:




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