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17

On Social Saidsm

Essence, excressence and the politics of neoliberal cruelty

by China Miéville

11
terms
4
notes

Miéville, C. (2015). On Social Saidsm. Salvage, 2, pp. 17-50

(adjective) given to tears or weeping; tearful / (adjective) tending to cause tears; mournful

19

Meanwhile, liberal culture wrings its hands over the thinness of the veneer over our savagery, from the nasty visionary artistry of Lord of the Flies, to lachrymose middlebrow tragedy-porn, emoting and decontextualising wars

—p.19 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 5 months ago

Meanwhile, liberal culture wrings its hands over the thinness of the veneer over our savagery, from the nasty visionary artistry of Lord of the Flies, to lachrymose middlebrow tragedy-porn, emoting and decontextualising wars

—p.19 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 5 months ago
20

Class rule necessitates violence and its contested, overlapping, jostling ideologies. It justifies, or more, Orgreave in 1984, the armed wing of the state laying down manners on insurgent workers. It insists that waterboarding is not torture and anyway it defends our freedoms. It explains the necessity of the spikes carefully fitted at the bases of new buildings to ensure the homeless can’t sleep there. Rising unevenly from a fundamental necessity to capital – oppression – are brutalities necessary to sustain class rule at home; to sustain imperialism abroad; everyday sadisms so metabolised their cruelties often hide in plain sight.

The drives to such phenomena are hazy-edged, non-identical but inextricable, imbricated, mutually constituting. They’re constant but not static. The parameters and place of violence, repression and sadism change with history. And with them, from the rush of jouissance they tap, inevitably flows their excess – a scandalous, invested sadism, enjoying its own cruelty. A surplus sadism. Baum’s Halloween party.

—p.20 by China Miéville 2 years, 5 months ago

Class rule necessitates violence and its contested, overlapping, jostling ideologies. It justifies, or more, Orgreave in 1984, the armed wing of the state laying down manners on insurgent workers. It insists that waterboarding is not torture and anyway it defends our freedoms. It explains the necessity of the spikes carefully fitted at the bases of new buildings to ensure the homeless can’t sleep there. Rising unevenly from a fundamental necessity to capital – oppression – are brutalities necessary to sustain class rule at home; to sustain imperialism abroad; everyday sadisms so metabolised their cruelties often hide in plain sight.

The drives to such phenomena are hazy-edged, non-identical but inextricable, imbricated, mutually constituting. They’re constant but not static. The parameters and place of violence, repression and sadism change with history. And with them, from the rush of jouissance they tap, inevitably flows their excess – a scandalous, invested sadism, enjoying its own cruelty. A surplus sadism. Baum’s Halloween party.

—p.20 by China Miéville 2 years, 5 months ago

(noun) the state of being old; the process of becoming old / (noun) the growth phase in a plant or plant part (as a leaf) from full maturity to death

20

Neil Davidson mooted that neoliberalism may be undermining the basis for capital accumulation itself. What we inhabit, the phase we’ve tentatively come to term ‘late’ capitalism, is its senescence

—p.20 by China Miéville
confirm
2 years, 5 months ago

Neil Davidson mooted that neoliberalism may be undermining the basis for capital accumulation itself. What we inhabit, the phase we’ve tentatively come to term ‘late’ capitalism, is its senescence

—p.20 by China Miéville
confirm
2 years, 5 months ago

(psychoanalysis) the process of investment of mental or emotional energy in a person, object, or idea

22

This doesn’t obviate the fact that such sadistic cathexis was shoved into the public sphere in the first place:

—p.22 by China Miéville
strange
2 years, 5 months ago

This doesn’t obviate the fact that such sadistic cathexis was shoved into the public sphere in the first place:

—p.22 by China Miéville
strange
2 years, 5 months ago

(noun) the act of performing more than is required by duty, obligation, or need

27

there is something distinct about social sadism in modern capitalism, and in neoliberalism in particular. This is surplus cruelty in a specific sense, sadism supererogatory in relation to the – conjunctural, contested – ‘functional’ requirements of the system

—p.27 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 5 months ago

there is something distinct about social sadism in modern capitalism, and in neoliberalism in particular. This is surplus cruelty in a specific sense, sadism supererogatory in relation to the – conjunctural, contested – ‘functional’ requirements of the system

—p.27 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 5 months ago

naturally accompanying or associated

27

The concomitant diffusion of the state into the biopolitics of everyday life underlies its growing powers, including for repression, and sadism

—p.27 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 5 months ago

The concomitant diffusion of the state into the biopolitics of everyday life underlies its growing powers, including for repression, and sadism

—p.27 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 5 months ago
29

Colonial sadism is not a result of racism; racism, rather, is created by that sadism – viciousness justifying itself post-facto. The agonies inflicted by the metropole’s torturers are the ‘civilising process’.

This exonerated colonial savagery continues even – especially – where the ‘civilised’ population is a subset within the borders of the state. Thus the management techniques of slavery, the panoply of baroque, spectacular, inventive viciousness, whips and rapes, punitive scatology, spiked wheels, salt-rubbed wounds.

Capitalist social sadism is still, of course, a racialised, colonial logic. Its victims are by no means always non-white, nor are those who apply it always white, but it’s intrinsically derived from these techniques of colonialism, its social Darwinism and naturalisation of hierarchies, and the racialising drive is irrepressible. New configurations of viciousness illuminate this, as neoliberalism stretches the boundaries of quotidian sadism.

—p.29 by China Miéville 2 years, 5 months ago

Colonial sadism is not a result of racism; racism, rather, is created by that sadism – viciousness justifying itself post-facto. The agonies inflicted by the metropole’s torturers are the ‘civilising process’.

This exonerated colonial savagery continues even – especially – where the ‘civilised’ population is a subset within the borders of the state. Thus the management techniques of slavery, the panoply of baroque, spectacular, inventive viciousness, whips and rapes, punitive scatology, spiked wheels, salt-rubbed wounds.

Capitalist social sadism is still, of course, a racialised, colonial logic. Its victims are by no means always non-white, nor are those who apply it always white, but it’s intrinsically derived from these techniques of colonialism, its social Darwinism and naturalisation of hierarchies, and the racialising drive is irrepressible. New configurations of viciousness illuminate this, as neoliberalism stretches the boundaries of quotidian sadism.

—p.29 by China Miéville 2 years, 5 months ago

(adjective) requiring immediate aid or action / (adjective) requiring or calling for much; demanding

37

Is there no surplus beyond this surplus? A level of repression, including sadism, excessive even for the exigencies of the class rule which has thrown it up?

—p.37 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 5 months ago

Is there no surplus beyond this surplus? A level of repression, including sadism, excessive even for the exigencies of the class rule which has thrown it up?

—p.37 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 5 months ago

(of a seal or closure) complete and airtight

37

to deny that some excesses may be, indeed, accursed shares, potentially troublesome, embarrassments and autotelic reveries, would be left functionalism, granting capitalism a homeostatic hermetic smoothness it doesn’t warrant

—p.37 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 5 months ago

to deny that some excesses may be, indeed, accursed shares, potentially troublesome, embarrassments and autotelic reveries, would be left functionalism, granting capitalism a homeostatic hermetic smoothness it doesn’t warrant

—p.37 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 5 months ago

a speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly (plural: encomia). as the adjective encomiastic, means bestowing praise, eulogistic, laudatory

40

Nothing so gauche as an explicit defence of the Grandma Millie fantasy; only an encomium to the profits and practices of which it was exuberant expression.

—p.40 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 5 months ago

Nothing so gauche as an explicit defence of the Grandma Millie fantasy; only an encomium to the profits and practices of which it was exuberant expression.

—p.40 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 5 months ago
41

[...] The liberal is often the most outraged and vociferous chanter on the demonstration. Richard Seymour once made the indispensable distinction between those who are liberals out of fidelity to liberal ideas, and those who are liberals out of fidelity to the liberal state. The latter will never be on the side of emancipation. The former, to the extent that such ideas embed ethical politics predicated, however fallaciously and ideologically, on certain supposedly liberatory and universal claims, may be.

—p.41 by China Miéville 2 years, 5 months ago

[...] The liberal is often the most outraged and vociferous chanter on the demonstration. Richard Seymour once made the indispensable distinction between those who are liberals out of fidelity to liberal ideas, and those who are liberals out of fidelity to the liberal state. The latter will never be on the side of emancipation. The former, to the extent that such ideas embed ethical politics predicated, however fallaciously and ideologically, on certain supposedly liberatory and universal claims, may be.

—p.41 by China Miéville 2 years, 5 months ago

(adjective) having a purpose in and not apart from itself

41

Still, the jouissance sadism taps can become autotelic, can shock consciences far wider than the hard Left.

—p.41 by China Miéville
confirm
2 years, 5 months ago

Still, the jouissance sadism taps can become autotelic, can shock consciences far wider than the hard Left.

—p.41 by China Miéville
confirm
2 years, 5 months ago

unable to be resisted or avoided; inescapable

44

Before its ineluctable drive, the sadistic spite at its victims for their ‘weakness’ can be disavowed.

—p.44 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 5 months ago

Before its ineluctable drive, the sadistic spite at its victims for their ‘weakness’ can be disavowed.

—p.44 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 5 months ago
48

Humans have many capacities. It’s a doomed enterprise to prefigure socialism, but we can certainly feed the drives that, as far as we can imagine, we’d like to hope will cut with its grain.

—p.48 by China Miéville 2 years, 5 months ago

Humans have many capacities. It’s a doomed enterprise to prefigure socialism, but we can certainly feed the drives that, as far as we can imagine, we’d like to hope will cut with its grain.

—p.48 by China Miéville 2 years, 5 months ago

(verb) to renounce upon oath / (verb) to reject solemnly / (verb) to abstain from; avoid

48

We can abjure the complicity demanded of us

—p.48 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 5 months ago

We can abjure the complicity demanded of us

—p.48 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 5 months ago