[Marxism] Theory of Violence

daniel.evans920 at ntlworld.com daniel.evans920 at ntlworld.com
Sat Aug 25 08:28:11 MDT 2007

Hello all,

I just subscribed mainly because I wanted your opinions on the following.  I sent the message below to the Clausewitz Home Page to see what they think but they don't have a discussion section.

`Hi there,

I believe that there is an unfinished syllogism in the work of Clausewitz which if he had completed would have made him even more renowned today than he already is.

He made two statements about war, politics and violence when he perhaps should have made three.  He said: war is the continuation of politics by other means and war is violence.  As he was writing about war it is understandable that he did not think to make the concluding statement: violence is the continuation of politics by other means.

The implications are that all violence, every single example of it however seemingly insignificant, is an expression of or a continuation of an individual's, group's, organisation's or state's politics.  From wife-beating to rape to mugging to gang wars to battering protestors to terrorism to world war, all are explained by this theory.  Of course, it doesn't absolve the researcher from painstakingly getting to the roots of the perpetrators politics in each separate instance but it gives the framework from which to begin.

What do you think?'

I know it is not strictly Marxism but I'm pretty sure Marx and Engels approved of Clausewitz.  I would like to know what people think, whether it is an interesting theory or old hat or meaningless or too obvious to bother with in order to help me decide if it is worth taking forward.  I hasten to add that it is not a moral theory anymore than Clausewitz's original statemnt about war and violence was moral.

By the way, I was writing this e-mail before seeing the Politics of War thread.


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