Sunday, December 06, 2009

Systems theory 

As this astonishing article makes clear, Denmark is treating its climate change conference as though it were another meeting of the G20, warranting $122 MILLION in security measures. Apparently such measures include a host of bold declarations, all with the same message: the imperative of keeping the conference peaceful permits the police to do whatever they must to curb troublemakers. The excessive beefing up of security is, in a sense, a dare to protest groups who are themselves looking for a fight with police. Any clashes would benefit both sides, justifying the expenditure on the police's end and providing publicity for the leftist/anarchist groups.

We have reached a point where almost all repression and opposition have been radically systematized so as to be efficiently fed into internet- and cable-bound media circuits. Such farcical, carefully preplanned and staged "political violence" has its analogue in Iraq and Afganistan, terrains where US and anti-US forces can meet and act out their aggressions at a safe distance from the serenity of the developed world. Copenhagen's holding pens are a masterful metaphor for what is going on here: all political action will henceforth be contained, delimited in space and time. The holding pens anticipate the protesters who will willingly enter them in devotion to their cause; they are the "event" of the conference writ small, as a parceled unit of "conflict" with previous and future such units around it. More conferences, more street battles, more protests, more deliberations by powerful people, more inaction as a result of said summits-- but no surprises. Without the spontaneous political event, can we really understand that which occurs as "history" at all?


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