On Civil War

David Theo GoldbergRacial Justice

Politics today is nothing short of civil war.

The driving question is no longer so much whether this or that conflict is a civil war but what political work the notion of “civil war” is being exercised to do. States descend into civil wars when contrasting conceptions of life within them are deemed irreconcilable. Living, for a considerable proportion of the state’s inhabitants, is made unbearable. Those at least nominally controlling the state apparatus insist on obedience and deference to its way of being, on pain of erasure. Civil wars are struggles over competing ways of being in the world, over their underlying conceptions, over control of the state and its apparatuses to materialize and advance these commitments.

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