The only philosophy which can be responsibly practised in face of despair is the attempt to contemplate all things as they would present themselves from the standpoint of redemption. Knowledge has no light but that shed on the world by redemption: all else is reconstruction, mere technique. Perspectives must be fashioned that displace and estrange the world, reveal it to be, with its rifts and crevices, as indigent and distorted as it will appear one day in the messianic light. To gain such perspectives without velleity or violence, entirely from felt contact with its objects — this alone is the task of thought. It is the simples of all things, because the situation calls imperatively for such knowledge, indeed because consummate negativity, once squarely faced, delineates the mirror-image of its opposite. But it is also the utterly impossible thing, because it presupposes a standpoint removed, even though by a hair’s breadth, from the scope of existence… . The more passionately thought denies its conditionality for the sake of the unconditional, the more unconsciously, and so calamitously, it is delivered up to the world. Even its own impossibility it must at last comprehend for the sake of the possible. But beside the demand thus placed on thought, the question of the reality or unreality of redemption itself hardly matters.
Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia (New York: Verso, 2005), 247.

"Law Like Love" by W.H. Auden:

Law, say the gardeners, is the sun,
Law is the one
All gardeners obey
To-morrow, yesterday, to-day.

Law is the wisdom of the old,
The impotent grandfathers feebly scold; 
The grandchildren put out a treble tongue,
Law is the senses of the young.

Law, says the priest with a priestly look,
Expounding to an unpriestly people,
Law is the words in my priestly book,
Law is my pulpit and my steeple.

Law, says the judge as he looks down his nose,
Speaking clearly and most severely,
Law is as I’ve told you before,
Law is as you know I suppose,
Law is but let me explain it once more,
Law is The Law.

Yet law-abiding scholars write:
Law is neither wrong nor right,
Law is only crimes
Punished by places and by times,
Law is the clothes men wear
Anytime, anywhere,
Law is Good morning and Good night.

Others say, Law is our Fate; 
Others say, Law is our State; 
Others say, others say
Law is no more,
Law has gone away.

And always the loud angry crowd,
Very angry and very loud,
Law is We,
And always the soft idiot softly Me.

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relevant to the current media coverage of Michael Brown’s extrajudicial execution and subsequent protests:
And we all do it because it’s easy; it even comes through in the way we label crimes motivated by group membership. We call them “hate crimes,” implying that they are motivated by hate, but it’s too easy. Conflating oppression and hate is fraught with many more problems than such a seemingly small semantic shift would suggest, and if we are to effectively combat domination it’s imperative that we learn to avoid discussing oppression in terms of hate.

Talking about hate shifts discussion of domination from structural inequality to the feelings of individuals, even though the basis for the material differences that permeate our society isn’t ‘hate.’



Mike Brown’s killer Darren Wilson “explaining” “what really happened” - he just deactivated his facebook so I can no longer post what he’s up to, but just wanted to show everyone the absolute bullshit lies being told

Let’s keep in mind this article from the Wall Street Journal:

Local police released new details in sometimes chaotic fashion Friday about the shooting death of an unarmed African-American teenager, which sowed more mistrust in a community already lacking faith in law-enforcement efforts. Early Friday, Ferguson police identified Darren Wilson as the officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in an incident that has sparked a week of unrest in this St. Louis suburb as well as protests in cities across the country.Chief Thomas Jackson also released documents and surveillance video, alleging that Mr. Brown was tied to a robbery at a convenience store shortly before he crossed paths with police. Hours later, Mr. Jackson held another news conference in which he said Mr. Wilson, who is white, wasn’t aware of the robbery when he stopped Mr. Brown.

"In this preliminary remark and these concrete illustrations, I only wish to point out that you and I are always already subjects, and as such constantly practice the rituals of ideological recognition, which guarantee for us that we are indeed concrete, individual, distinguishable and (naturally) irreplaceable subjects… .

"I shall then suggest that ideology ‘acts’ or ‘functions’ in such a way that it ‘recruits’ subjects among the individuals (it recruits them all), or ‘transforms’ the individuals into subjects (it transforms them all) by that very precise operation which I have called interpellation or hailing, and which can be imagined along the lines of the most commonplace everyday police (or other) hailing: ‘Hey, you there!’

"Assuming that the theoretical scene I have imagined takes place in the street, the hailed individual will turn round. By this mere one-hundred-and-eighty-degree physical conversion, he becomes a subject. Why? Because he has recognized that the hail was ‘really’ addressed to him, and that ‘it was really him who was hailed’ (and not someone else). Experience shows that the practical telecommunication of hailings is such that they hardly ever miss their man: verbal call or whistle, the one hailed always recognizes that it is really him who is being hailed… .

"Thus ideology…has always-already interpellated individuals as subjects, which amounts to making clear that individuals are always-already interpellated by ideology as subjects, which necessarily leads us to one last proposition: individuals are always-already subjects. Hence individuals are ‘abstract’ with respect to the subjects, which they always-already are.”

-Louis Althusser, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” (Lenin and Philosophy, 117-119).

(full text available via

I don’t usually editorialize about the content I post here, but I want to comment on part of an otherwise spot-on article. Raushenbush concludes by saying:

White people need to get off the computer and get involved with our voices, feet, votes and resources to help make sure that this epidemic of black deaths in America ends.

My problem is that white people speak a lot in America. In fact, white voices predominate in nearly every social and political discussion on a national scale. I think maybe white Americans need to shut up for a bit — I mean to shut each other up, something that practically no one else can accomplish. Maybe more white shouting isn’t what’s needed. Instead, maybe white Americans need to teach each other about structural and institutional racism, to call out racist violence for what it is, and to challenge those among us who are in denial. We need to create forums for Black Americans to speak without the cultural policing carried out by “model minority” expectations or narratives of “respectability.” We need to think critically about what in our culture seems to believe that extrajudicial state violence against PoCs is “tragic” in the word’s most fatalistic and inevitable sense. We need to help each other connect the dots between history and present, and to see that our past is our present — that the police execution of black Americans is modern lynching.

I believe this is how we can begin, as Raushenbush hopes, to see that these are not merely “Black issues” — or instead, that “Black issues” are intrinsically American issues. Because if justice is not possible for some part of our population, then it fails universally for all Americans.

« Et le monde ne m’épargne pas … Il n’y a pas dans le monde un pauvre type lynché, un pauvre homme torturé, en qui je ne sois assassiné et humilié. »

(“And the world does not spare me. There is not in the world one single poor lynched bastard, one poor tortured man, in whom I am not also murdered and humiliated.”)

-Aimé Césaire, Et les chiens se taisaient (And the Dogs Were Silent), Acte III.

(read in english via google books)