2014-08-02

From Caria to Abu Ghraib




If anything distinguishes capitalism from other regimes of power-religion is the way in which it distributes its structural violence. The mantra permanently recited by the systemic propaganda is that the violence always belongs to the other: the anti-system, the criminal, the terrorist. But obviously the violence, as happens with the energy, cannot be created, it can only be transmitted. Thus violence systematically appears in all critical situations, in all those realms in which the system confronts what is not yet the system, what is in the process of assimilation. These critical realms --spatial, temporal and functionally-- show that the violence is in fact an essential and structural ingredient of the system, that is just channeled until it finds a way out through these leaks.

Compared with the classical capitalism, what neoliberalism does is to redistribute these critical situations, in such a way that the violence inherent to them operates more normally, despite the contradiction. The crisis becomes permanent; the exceptional becomes normal. In correspondence with that, the systemic violence channeled to these realms can be exercised normally, but also with a bigger opacity and impunity. In other words, as in other areas of production, neoliberalism privatizes and outsources violence, and of course makes a bigger profit from it. 

Image after Porch of the Caryatids, Erechtheion (421-406 b.C.) in Athens [ua-fu/fd], View by View's White House in Washington D.C. [fu/fd] and Abu Ghraib tortures (2003-04) [pd-fu/fd].