Violence Is What It Is

In the most basic terms, violence is what it is. A broad term that encapsulates everything from berating a friend to waging an industrial-scale war. It is a term defined by its own banality, for it always exists in the realms of power and the relations between people. Is it not violence when eternal damnation is promised for the sinner? Is it not violence when we threaten a friend or partner in an argument? Is it not violence when you smash a beer bottle over the head of the man who is flirting with your wife? The family feud and the modern war are both intimations of violence, the main difference being their degree of activity.

It is this scale that is important when determining where violence should lie. Violence itself is an inevitability so long as individuals exist and interact. The utopian nonsense of a fully voluntaryist society, where every relation and interaction must be voluntary, is both indefinable and unattainable. Unless one can eliminate the ominous feeling at the pit of one’s stomach when they have to make a difficult decision that is influenced by outside activities beyond their control, violence of the most base kind will remain. It will remain so long as there are axes to grind and injustices felt. That is not to say that the most destructive forms of violence (industrial warfare and the coercion of military-industrial complexes) should not be resisted where possible, but the idea we can push forth a world free of violence, free of politics, is a libertarian dream that unattainable. Libertarians of every stripe even support violence themselves, from Hoppean libertarians who support the violent removal of communists and liberals to left-libertarians who support beating up ‘fascists’ and crypto-anarchists who support assassination markets.

All this reveals that politics, in the Schmittian sense of identifying an enemy, is alive and well, and that with such politics violence is unavoidable. When ideology exists, we intend to craft our own politics that provides its own enemies. Thus “violence is golden”[1], it “is the gold standard, the reserve that guarantees order. In actuality, it is better than a gold standard, because violence has universal value”. This then reveals the tribal reality of politics. Violence is the glue of order, whether you are a libertarian, pacifist or whatever else. It is defined by political and cultural definitions, yet remains an underlying reality that influences how the order that comes from those definitions is constructed. It is no less violence if you physically remove someone from the social delineations of property relations that if you tax them for living within such delineations. Again, this not to say violence is good and should be passively accepted, but rather in constructing politico-economic institutions and forms, violence is part of the matrix of its initial constitution. Thus in rejecting violence, one lives in a utopia unattainable in the human realm. Instead, looking at re-engineering violence, decentralising its inherent relations and characteristics toward smaller, integrated systems of political existence, is the best manner of resistance to the current order of coercive state and supranational structures.

Resistance should be geared toward creating a tribal order of variable spatial and de-spatial organisation, variously interacting across different politico-economic space-times that thus limits the effects of and capacities for centralised violence. It may well be a decentralised authoritarianism, but then what does that mean. Does it mean the imposition of particular political and social stringencies upon variable populations? Well that is politics, that is ideology. Instead of pointlessly wishing this away, pushing for the means of exodus and the explosion of various political and economic forms may actually delineate violence along different pathways, becoming expressed through complex Ostromite political arrangements that encourage commons-based engagement and governance, creating cypherpolitical units that are an “affirmation of encrypting your political alternative in the space of indeterminacy and greyness”[2], providing means of exodus from the traditional Westphalian order of nation-states and international corporative structures. It is about decentralising violence and limiting its mass collective tendencies, pushing forth a range of existential and abstract borders that create many different lines and polities. Power won’t be eliminated, but mutualised amongst unions of individuals and enterprises.

Violence is what it is, in all its banal qualities. It is psychological, differential and scaled, and thus a central feature of politics. It is its use and scale that are important, and in this regard the aim of a radical, transformative politics should be in questioning where violence should lie. Where there is a class of rentiers who are parasites upon the taxpayer, is it not okay to loot and destroy their property and throw them to the curb? When there are individuals happy to terrorise and threaten people at will in a neighbourhood, is it not okay to bash their brain in with a baseball bat? These are examples of blatant, raw violence that come from the grievances and injustices that are apart of political, human life. Violence, then, is inevitable and ever-present. It is also useful and part of the matrix of political forms and units that a world of exodus will bring up. Rather than searching for the holy grail of voluntary political authority (an inherent contradiction) it is much better to push decentralisation and a cypherpolitical tribalism of varying, overlapping polities that interact with multiple individuals over multiple spatial and technological lines.

[1] http://www.jack-donovan.com/axis/2011/03/violence-is-golden/

[2] https://blog.p2pfoundation.net/cypherpolitical-enterprises-programmatic-assessments/2017/03/15

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