Monthly Archives: June 2010

What is Violence? Part 2/3

As I said in my last post, I think the first task for defining ‘violence’ is psychological: what is the experience of violence, what is it to feel oneself to be ‘violated’ by a certain action? That’s what I’ll discuss … Continue reading

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What is Violence? Part 1/3

Media coverage of G20 protests this weekend was awash with the words ‘violence’ and ‘violent’. Protests ‘turned’ violent, police tried to ‘contain’ violence, public figures speak out ‘against’ violence. So what is violence? In particular, what do people mean when … Continue reading

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On Protests with No Identifiable Theme

This article is a good example of another recurrent thing that people say about G20 protests is “There are so many different issues here! Do you lot actually agree about anything?” It lists “gender justice, queer rights and disability rights…environmental … Continue reading

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My Big Problem with Breaking Windows

In the wake of a G20 protest that involved quite a bit of unfenestration, I felt moved to say briefly why this particular tactic leaves me decidedly uneasy. Note this is a question of strategy, not of legitimacy. 1) The … Continue reading

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G20 Protests: Utopia and Magic

At all G8/G20/WTO summit-and-protests affairs, the following sort of dialogue pops up, around the theme of ‘utopian’ demands: Protesters: “We demand the total abolition of poverty! And an end to war! And a world free of injustice and exploitation!” Onlooker: … Continue reading

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Vandalism and Solitude

Apparently two men were locked in a cage for 20 hours because they put up posters saying “Disrupt G20”. Police have charged them with mischief, more specifically a sort of ‘vandalism’, and were worried about “whether the individuals are a … Continue reading

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Political Judgement: Dave from PR and the Saudi King

Imagine I’m David Cameron – imagine, moreover, that I’m a sincere and principled political idealist, jetting off to Toronto for the G20 summit, burning with enthusiasm to make the world a better place. But! Oh no! I find myself at … Continue reading

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Is it Wrong to Firebomb a Bank?

The Grand Conclave of World-Masters is getting closer here in Toronto, as are the protests against them and the police operation against said protests. Expect the odd post on related subjects. One interesting event has been the recent firebombing of … Continue reading

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Nietzsche/Spinoza: Striving and the Will-to-Power

Nietzsche and Spinoza are philosophers very different in temperament, but I’d like to suggest they agree entirely on a certain sort of motivational monism. Nietzsche famously suggests – with that vague, casual, conviction that characterises his writing – that every … Continue reading

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Spinoza, Panpsychism, and the Difference between Animals and Objects

What’s the difference between the mental lives of animals and of inanimate objects – between a human, say, and some mustard? The usual answer is simple: objects like mustard don’t have mental lives at all, while animals do. But some … Continue reading

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