Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War

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Verso, 2005 - Political Science - 211 pages
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Afflicted Powers is an account of world politics since September 11, 2001. It aims to confront the perplexing doubleness of the present's lethal mixture of atavism and new-fangledness. The world careers backward into forms of ideological and geo-political combat that call to mind the Scramble for Africa, and the Wars of Religion. But this brute return of the past is accompanied by an equally monstrous political deployment of (and entrapment in) the apparatus of a hyper-modern production of appearances. Capital is on the move again. In the Middle East and elsewhere it is attempting, nakedly, a new round of primitive accumulation and enclosure.

Now, however, it is obliged to do so in unprecedented circumstances. Never before has imperialist victory or defeat depended so much on a struggle for hegemony in the world of images; never before has the dominant world power been subject to real catastrophe in the realm of the spectacle. The present turn to empire and enclosure, what Retort terms military neo-liberalism, is confronted not only by various forms of radical Islam but by a new kind of vanguard armed with the toolkit of spectacular politics. This book attempts to rethink certain key aspects of the current global struggle within this overall perspective, and to provide some critical support for present and future oppositions. Its main themes are the spectacle and September 11, blood for oil, permanent war and illusory peace, the US-Israel relationship, revolutionary Islam, and modernity and terror.
 

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User Review  - dick_pountain - LibraryThing

'Afflicted Powers' by the RETORT collective of Berkeley, California, asks whether Guy Debord's thesis - expounded in 'The Society of the Spectacle' in 1967 - is still capable of explaining our present ... Read full review

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Contents

THE STATE THE SPECTACLE AND SEPTEMBER 11
16
BLOOD FOR OIL?
38
PERMANENT WAR
78
THE FUTURE OF AN ILLUSION
108
REVOLUTIONARY ISLAM
132
MODERNITY AND TERROR
171
ENDNOTE
197
INDEX
203
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Page vii - The seat of Desolation, void of light, Save what the glimmering of these livid flames Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend From off the tossing of these fiery waves ; There rest, if any rest can...
Page 12 - But, on the other hand, these new freedmen became sellers of themselves only after they had been robbed of all their own means of production, and of all the guarantees of existence afforded by the old feudal arrangements. And the history of this, their expropriation, is written in the annals of mankind in letters of blood and fire.
Page 8 - I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.

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