monopoly of violence

I’m so tired of this bullshit. Individual capitalists maximize their own self-gain through the accumulation of profits, while the state as an institution enacts policies that look out for the longevity of capital as a whole, specifically when the choices of disparate capitalists cause crises or civil unrest. Some Keynesianism here, some worker concessions there. That isn’t socialism – those policies are created to prolong capitalism and prevent socialism (i.e. prolong capital accumulation and top-down ownership over the means of production, and prevent worker self-management and broader economic democracy). The state, through its structural functions, maintains the status quo and keeps capital accumulation going into the long-term. You can call this “corporatism” or “cronyism” or whatever the hell else, but it will never change the fact that the preconditions of “pure capitalism” will always give rise to a legitimizing apparatus with a monopoly on violence to maintain the class stratification of “pure capitalism”, and after probably two days you’d end up with “cronyism” (read: capitalism as it has always existed) all over again.

Work Bitch analysis

Britney Spears to the bourgeoisie after having just learned about the marxist labour theory of value:  

You want a hot body? You want a Bugatti?
You want a Maserati? You better work bitch
You want a Lamborghini? Sippin’ martinis?
Look hot in a bikini? You better work bitch
You wanna live fancy? Live in a big mansion?
Party in France?
You better work bitch, you better work bitch
You better work bitch, you better work bitch
Now get to work bitch!
Now get to work bitch!

Britney Spears explaining to the bourgeoisie that she has seized state power and its monopoly on violence:

Break it off, break it down
See me come and you can hear my sound
Tell somebody in your town
Spread the word, spread the word
Go call the police, go call the governor
I bring the treble, don’t mean to trouble ya’
I make the governor, call me the governor
I am the bad bitch, the bitch that you’ll never know

Britney Spears motivating the working class to work towards creating the new communist society:

Hold your head high, fingers to the sky
They gonna try to try ya’, but they can’t deny ya’
Keep it moving higher, and higher
Keep it building higher, and higher
So hold your head high, fingers to the sky
Now they don’t believe ya’, but they gonna meet ya’
Keep it moving higher and higher
Keep it moving higher and higher and higher

Work, work, work, work
Work, work, work, work
Work, work, work, work
Work, work, work
Work it out, work it out, work it out, work it out
Work it out, work it out, work it out, work it out
Work it out, work it out, work it out, work it out
Work it out, work it out
You better work bitch
You better work bitch

If the state is defined, in Weber’s famous formula, by the exercise of a monopoly of legitimate violence over a given territory, a revolution always involves a breaking of that monopoly, and the emergence of what Lenin and Trotsky called a dual power. Logically, there are three ways in which this can arise, corresponding to the three terms of Weber’s formula. A revolution can break the monopoly of the state’s power by destroying the legitimacy of its rule, so that coercion cannot be exercised to repress the movement against it. The Iranian Revolution, in which there was no fighting, the royal army remaining paralysed as the monarchy fell, would be an example. Alternatively, a revolution can pit an insurgent violence against the coercive apparatus of the state, overwhelming it in a quick knock-out blow, without having secured any general legitimacy. This was the Russian pattern, possible only against a weak opponent.

Finally, a revolution can break the state’s monopoly of power, not by depriving it from the outset of legitimacy, nor rapidly undoing its capacity for violence, but by subtracting enough territory from it to erect a counter-state, able in time to erode its possession of force and consent alike. This was the Chinese pattern. It was not exclusive to China, forming the general path of guerrilla forces—also Yugoslav or Cuban—to power. What was exceptional in the Chinese case was not the creation of successive ‘rebel states’ within the state, but their combined longevity.

Perry Anderson, “Two Revolutions" (2009)

cubismo47  asked:

If she had the manpower should Dany of just wiped out the adult slaver caste in Slaver's Bay to prevent the chance of internal counter-revolution? The morality of such an act is likely non-existent but think it beats her vengeful half-measures.

It’s…a tough question. On the one hand, “dracarys” is presented as an unambiguously triumphant moment–the show was not wrong to go full ‘80s cheese with it. It’s also hard to interpret Dany leaving the Masters of Yunkai in charge, their wealth and land largely untouched, their monopoly on violence within the city unquestioned, as anything but a gigantic mistake, one that leads to an escalation of terrible consequences throughout ADWD. 

On the other, GRRM also presents Dany executing 163 slavers after taking Meereen as a pure display of vengeful rage that accomplishes nothing in terms of systemic solutions; Dany immediately begins to second-guess herself after GRRM forces her to stare at the grisly results. And the author is pretty unambiguously clear that he’s not OK with killing children, including the children of Masters–just look at “The Windblown” for proof of the latter. 

So for me, there are two primary objectives: a) confiscate and redistribute the wealth of the Masters and b) secure the political/military authority of the freedmen. (A makes B a whole lot easier, naturally.) I shed no tears for slavers killed in the process of revolting, but I think it’s far more important to take their estates, pyramids, and all the wealth they used in OTL to work their will in Volantis–along with hostages–than it is to kill all of them. 

medium.com
The Monopoly on Violence and Re-Invigorating an Anti-Imperialist Vision for Black Liberation

I think anybody who is honestly struggling against racism must struggle against imperialism and vice versa.” — Assata Shakur

It is detrimental to Black liberation that we understand violence, as well as terrorism, as concepts entirely fed to us through an epistemic monopoly. There is a double standard and white supremacist monopoly on the concept of “violence” and while it is not surprising, it is deeply troubling. Who gets to define which forms of “violence” are acceptable, and who can perpetuate them, and who is responsible for unapproved violence? As Black people in the west, a stolen people on colonized land, that we get our very definition, normalization, and understanding of violence from our oppressors, masking themselves as civilizers and humanitarians, should be a troubling reminder of the reality of this monopoly on violence. Inside of this examination of violence, we are reminded of the importance of having a clear anti-imperialist stance within our visions of Black liberation because, as Malcolm X famously said, “the police do locally what the military does internationally.”

Is taxation theft?

Libertarians often assert that taxation is theft because it has the commonality of being the coercive appropriation of wealth earned from voluntary agreements in the market or rightful inheritance. I don’t think this is a good comparison because there are some fundamental differences between taxation and theft that have considerable social significance.

Firstly, taxation is not arbitrary. You know in advance of a particular date how much you are going to pay if you earn a certain amount. Theft is arbitrary so it exerts a much greater psychological toll and the financial loss can range from very little to everything you own.

Secondly, robbers do not provide useful services but the state does. While much the state does is highly destructive, virtually everyone supports public roads, law, police and the military and for good reason. Without certain basic public goods we would have anarchy and vastly higher rates of social disorder until a legal territorial monopoly over violence was restored.

Thirdly, while taxation is compatible and even necessary for the preservation of civilisation, theft is not. The legalisation of theft would immediately lead to the destruction of all commerce in society as people would be afraid to trade with one another. Violence and mass starvation would occur as the state renounced its basic function to protect property. People would resort to violent familism and tribalism and social capital would be non-existent under these circumstances.

Lastly, only (a proportion of) libertarians and anarchists regard taxation as theft, everyone else (the overwhelming majority of taxpayers) disagrees, even to the point of believing it to be a civic duty. Social consensus is required to keep the peace and while theft is almost universally regarded as an inherently destructive action, taxation is not.

The distribution of wealth that the market allocates is not sacrosanct. It is based on private supply and demand but it lacks any concern for the interests of the broader community. This is why libertarians support the private sale of heroin to consenting adults or explosives to Muslims. A drug dealer or bomb trader may be rich but does this represent his positive contributions to the community? The market in these cases has rewarded individuals for socially destructive activities. This gives the community an interest in employing coercion to prevent their family or friends becoming hooked on smack or blown up by Jihadists.

At the end of the day, these are basically moralistic arguments which have no concrete importance. The state has the power to tax, so it uses its power. Even if taxation is inherently exploitative (this isn’t my view), exploitation is a part of life which we have to deal with. Libertarianism is utopian because it aims to abolish coercion, which is an essential feature of human society (even if libertarianism was implemented it would still impose enormous limitations on human freedom). This is similar to the incompatibility of Marxian socialism with human nature, as it attempts to abolish individual egoism. Coercion and greed are consistent facts of life and will be no matter which group of elites hold power.

If the State fails its duty to ensure the security of the citizens, if it will not actually ensure that it has a true monopoly on violence within its territory, IT WILL LOSE ITS LEGITIMACY.

A ‘retaliatory’ van attack by a white guy is survivable for the government, if this isn’t a sign of a coming pattern in which this picks up.  The government needs to put its foot down hard NOW and crush the origin of the Muslim van attacks somehow or else things are going to get very bloody later.  If the UK gets a wave of tit-for-tat sectarian vehicular homicide, each new one is going to erode public faith in the government’s hold on the territory, causing the next wave of marginally-most-vulnerable-to-radicalization to become radicalized (as they judge “no one will protect me”) and initiate the next attack until armed militias form.

fuck

All this talk about open borders and the marginal dude is okay and so on… the tail risk end is civil war.

Violent Protests

Before we can entertain any condemnation of violent anti-state or anti-capitalist demonstrations we must first recognise that both the state and capitalism are inherently violent. The use of violence against the violent, while remaining violence, is mitigated by common sense and the law. It is the state and the various apparatus’ of the state that hold the monopoly of “legitimate” violence. It uses its power to coerce people into obedience and uses force - sometime brutal and deadly force - to correct the disobedient. No one has the freedom to opt out of the state, and states are not always good for their subject citizens.

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@fullmetalwindbreaker
So the state is an organ of class rule that takes the shape of a system or series of systems. IE: Our state is a liberal democracy built to primarily enforce capitalist rule through a monopoly on legitimate violence. It uses cops, the army, the law, borders, etc to do this.

Communism by definition is a classless, stateless, currencyless society. Communism literally can’t exist WITH a state.
Socialism (the step between capitalism and communism in which the working class control the means of production) can have a state but doesn’t necessarily require one.

Anarcho-communism is basically a philosophy that seeks to achieve a communist society but skips a socialist state phase, moving from capitalism straight to communism because it sees the state as inherently oppressive.

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“Our society operates on a clearly defined, yet often unarticulated, hierarchy of violence… As an institution, police act as state-sanctioned gangs charged with the task of upholding the violent, racist hierarchy of white supremacist capitalism and, whenever possible, furthering a monopoly of power where all violence from/by those higher on the hierarchy upon those lower can be normalized into business as usual.Any deviation from this business as usual, any resistance — the threat of force… or any displacement of state power whatsoever — by those lower on the hierarchy upon those higher is met with brutal repression. This is why cops are always present at protests. It is NOT to “Keep the peace.” We have seen their “peace” — tear gas, rubber and wooden bullets, mace, riot gear, sound cannons, and thousands of brutal cops leaving dead bodies. They are not there for peace, but rather to maintain at all times the explicit reminder of America’s power hierarchy through the brutalization of black and brown bodies above all others.”

– Gangs of the State: Police & the Hierarchy of Violence

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

George Miller waited almost twenty years to bring the fourth Mad Max film into existence but was postponed due to the attacks on 9/11. The original Mad Max (1979), which is the only other film of the franchise I have seen, has almost no connection to the newest edition except for the name of the central character, the Australian setting, and the appearance of a few weathered, dusty V-8 Interceptors as seen in the provided picture. Mad Max: Fury Road is neither a reboot or sequel to any of the films in the original trilogy (Miller says Fury Road exists in parallel with the other films); it is instead a reconfiguring of the vehicular chaos of that trilogy where Australia has moved into the post-apocalypse, water has replaced oil as the commodity of scarcity and one that begets violence, and where the main villain has a tireless fellow with a guitar that ejaculates flames as his hood ornament. You don’t have to be a psychologist to get that one and, yet, that isn’t even the wackiest thing in this damn movie. 

Despite what has been written, Fury Road is no cult classic. “Cult classic” necessitates that the film be obscure, known by few. Get rid of the “cult”. Mad Max: Fury Road is an action classic, perhaps the best action film of the young century. Its 120 minute runtime is essentially a pursuit film from the opening seconds; its plot paper-thin. But the thing is, cinema – more so than other art forms such as literature and especially television – is a medium of ideas, not narrative. Fury Road is a monument to that very idea and executes it so terrifyingly well.

Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is a former police officer who finds himself in the captivity of the War Boys, pawns of dictator-cum-deity Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played the villain in the original Mad Max). Joe has a stranglehold on an aquifer in which he exerts control over his penurious populace in a place called the Citadel. During what was supposed to be a routine expedition for gasoline, Joe realizes Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) has driven off with his five wives – sexual slaves, but Joe has naming rights – in hopes to escape Joe’s tyranny. Joe checks on his wives’ quarters, releases the requisite baddie-is-furious scream, dons beskulled battle armor, and joins a war party to bring his wives back. Furiosa is able to escape the pursuing parties save a War Boy named Nux (Nicholas Hoult), who has strapped Max to the front of his car. Max will join forces with Furiosa and the wives – Capable (Riley Keough), Cheedo (Courtney Eaton), The Dag (Abbey Lee), Toast (Zoe Kravitz), and the pregnant Angharad (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) – in their attempt to escape from Joe’s forces. And, after some time and due to circumstance, Nux will join our heroes, too.

With the three previous Mad Max films produced on shoestring budgets, Fury Road seems to be the film that Miller was destined to make. Despite the expectations that Max will be the central character, he is instead a supporting character swept by the merciless dust storms of history that embrace this rocky, deceased land. The dictatorial patriarchy that Max is hinted to have fought has emerged victorious; the counter-order that Max came from has been destroyed by climate change, thermonuclear war, and the disintegration of a monopoly on violence. As the laconic Max and others like him (wherever they may be) are no longer in a position to affect change, that task falls upon Furiosa – sporting a shaved head and a prosthetic arm – who, to me, is the central character of this motion picture. Theron is up to this task, giving the film’s best performance. Through grunts and facial expressions suggesting past griefs and traumas, she endows our heroine with a mistrust of men without ever having to say a word about it. Furiosa is driven by one thing alone (permit me to be a sappy bastard as my write-up to Inside Out follows this) – the future of the women she has promised to protect and deliver to safety in this radical, perhaps fatal, act of defiance. It is almost as if Theron is channeling the ghost of Maria Falconetti, whose shaved head and nuanced facial expressions in The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928, France) surely must have influenced Furiosa’s characterization and, subsequently, Theron’s performance. Stay tuned silent film fans, I’ll be name dropping another silent film shortly!

The screenplay by Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris is skinned of exposition. The psychology of Immortan Joe and the indoctrination of the War Boys are never explained; the dissolution of identifiable law and order as seen in the original Mad Max trilogy is only mentioned in the prologue and never suggested again. We don’t know to what extent Immortan Joe has been physically/sexually violent to the five women Furiosa must hide in the belly of her War Rig when Joe’s cacophonous caravan of carnage draws near. When the time comes to fire back and plunge makeshift weapons into the abdomens of onrushing War Boys, Furiosa maintains an appearance of eerie, unearthly calmness – not tears, not despair. There will be time for that later. More than any of the Mad Max films that preceded Fury Road, the newest entry is more concerned with liberation – not simply political liberation or sexual liberation, the latter being more problematic than most of its proponents will admit. Furiosa nor any of Joe’s five wives know what lies beyond the oil rig where Furiosa occasionally ventures towards. The plan is to simply escape from the sexualization and violence that has followed them all their lives. As one would imagine, such violence is stubborn as it cries for bloodlust and the diaphanous objectification of those who might continue Joe’s lineage. Who knew that one could mine so many feminist ideas in an ultraviolent, saturated action movie (just note that the presence of feminist ideas does not necessarily mean a film is feminist)?

Also, if a film can anger men’s rights activists, it must be doing something right!

Fury Road shares structural storytelling similarities to Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton’s The General (1926) – mostly because both films are centered on a life-and-death pursuit – and shares more in common with Looney Tunes antics than the action found in 1979′s Mad Max. The film is covered in as much shameless batshit as the most violent Looney Tunes shorts and the wackiest Buster Keaton comedies. It’s as if Furiosa and Max’s War Rig was Roadrunner and Joe’s forces were collectively Wile E. Coyote. But Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote exist within the confines of wholesome, anvil-dropping animation. I would have no idea why, if you have not seen the film, you will have read this far into the write-up but some spoilers will be divulged from now until the end of this paragraph. From the chrome paint that is applied before the War Boys attempt to enter Valhalla, all the masks, the milk, War Boys who don’t mind cackling and dangling over the sides of cars while they speed upwards of 100 mph, and War Boys hanging on massive poles in hopes to throw explosives and land on Furiosa’s War Rig, thank goodness Miller never feels the need to explain all these cockamamie details because there is no conceivable way one could concoct a serious explanation to these eccentricities. Needless to say, WTF meters will be broken. Fury Road takes the pursuit scenes, throws in too many flashing lights in an early example (those who are sensitive to such moments, please be warned that these lights occur within the first half-hour and never appear again), raises the stakes, and de-digitizes the effects to elevate the gravity of this desert chase. Yet within the traditions of Wile E. Coyote-Roadrunner shorts and silent films, the madness of Fury Road is content to express anti-oppression ideologies through the actions the characters choose to take, displaying their evolutions in characterization without lecturing.

Cinematographer John Seale and editor Margaret Sixel are the unheralded forces behind the camera. Seale, persuaded by Miller to come out of retirement to shoot the film and whose previous credits do not suggest that he would have shot anything like Fury Road, saturates the film with harsh oranges and blues reminiscent of the days in Hollywood where night scenes in color films weren’t really shot at night but instead shot with a filter. The emptiness of the desert engorges on what looks like Technicolor. It makes the outback – the film was supposed to have been shot in Broken Hill, New South Wales but, due to heavy rains that saw wildflowers spring up, was moved to Namibia – a wordless, harsh character that only contributes to an uncertainty of what lies beyond the horizon. If anything, Seale does not use the flatness of the landscapes as much as he could to maximize that uncertainty. Sixel has a difficult task in that Fury Road contains a noticeably larger proportion of action sequences than the average action film. Her rapid-fire cutting from so many different angles will make hearts race amid the minimized CGI (Miller committed himself to use as many practical effects as possible); the decisions to accelerate the frame rate in select scenes proves distracting, making Fury Road resemble too much of a silent film and allowing for some unintentional comedy. 

Junkie XL’s (the stage name of Tom Holkenborg) electronics-heavy score to Fury Road is nothing like Brian May’s work to the first two Mad Maxes and Maurice Jarre’s for the third. In line with the need to reimagine Mad Max for the purposes of Fury Road, Miller selected a Hans Zimmer disciple for this film. Now, as many of you know, I have been highly critical of Zimmer the last several years for his synthetic sameness. Junkie XL’s score to Fury Road, like Zimmer’s many scores since Batman Begins, is a brutal one. But that brutality – when mixed with ceaseless ultraviolence, slavelike drummers, and a guitarist with a pyromaniacal streak that I wanted to smash in the face with his own instrument – makes Junkie XL’s score make more contextual sense than your average Zimmer score. With pounding percussive elements, passages that are all about that bass, and strings that have nothing to do but ostinato mindlessly away, Fury Road’s score is curiously disjointed and non-action motifs rarely carry over from one scene to the next. It is a textbook example of how a film score works far better in context than heard independently. The occasional anarchy of Junkie XL’s score sees dissonance in the non-action scenes, making for an unpleasant – at least, to the bias of my ears – listen.

For its presentation of feminist ideas to an extent almost unheard of in action films, its spectacular CGI, and spellbinding performances by Charlize Theron and Hugh Keays-Byrne, Mad Max: Fury Road is a glorious action film that has more similarities to an American Western than a piece of dystopic science-fiction. Well, that is if you can picture a Western with stagecoaches with dozens of ten-foot long spikes, horses sprinting with layers of paint on them, and a steaming locomotive run by really attractive renegade women escaping a violent land baron who remains in power despite the incursions of a John Wayne-led cavalry regiment. Oh, and for extra measure, let’s throw in Gene Autry perched on top of the pursuing locomotive rocking out to “Back in the Saddle Again” (if it is possible to rock out to “Back in the Saddle Again”) on his flamethrowing guitar. As is evidenced in this last paragraph, I still haven’t recovered from the FUCK, YEAH, nearly seizure-inducing adrenaline rush that is one of the greatest action films made in many moons. 

Miller threw all the batshit he could scrape up at the fan and boy, am I grateful for the mess he has made.

My rating: 9/10

^ Based on my personal imdb rating.