Mark, Wes, and Seth keep trying to figure out this difficult essay. Is Benjamin really advocating a workers' revolution to end the state, or just reflecting on a hypothetical to explore the limits of the concept of violence? According to Judith Butler's interpretation of the essay, the takeaway is the alternative to motivation through force, i.e., speech. She supports this by referring to some other essays, "The Task of the Translator" (1921, i.e., immediately after the current essay) and the earlier "On Language as Such and on the Language of Man" (1916), where language is given functions with religious significance (he talks about "the divine infinity of the pure word"). This connects, of course (in ways that I don't understand, having not read those essays), with how Benjamin actually concludes "Critique of Violence," which is with the discussion of "divine violence" as somehow transcending means-end analysis and the corruption inherent in violence.
End song: "Jericho" from hackedepiciotto, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #116.
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