Literature and Censorship

Literature and Censorship

Karl Marx in an insightful passage on “censorship” wrote, censorship does not prevent “arbitrariness,” but makes it into a “law.” And since censorship does not punish offenses but opinions, “it cannot be anything but a formula for the censor
.” Thus it is entrusted not with courts but with the police. (Emphasis in original; Marx and Engels, 1975, 11-14) Arbitrariness, law, police, and repression – these are not very unfamiliar terms in today’s increasingly neo-liberal society. What the phenomenon of censorship further adds is an internalization of the external repressive. Consider Jacques Derrida’s words in “Freud and the Scene of Writing” (1978):

The apparent exteriority of political censorship refers to an essential censorship which binds the writer to his own writing.

In other words, censorship is not only external to the process of writing but writing itself entails censorship insofar as there is no writing without repression. The neo-liberal capitalism of today is based on a mirage of freedom in the name of parliamentary democracy and it would like to instill in its citizen subjects the illusion that there’s no censorship whatsoever. It is only during the larger unfolding of the “events” such as Edward Snowden’s “revelations,” that we realize what a monitored and repressive system of life we are in. How do we fight this apparent lack of censorship today? Or rather, how do we settle a score between the apparent lack of censorship, the arbitrariness of law, and the sudden recognition of the repressive machineries of the State throttling free speech?

Consider the following topics without being limited to them:

  • Censorship and Free Speech
  • Pornography and Censorship
  • Censorship and Cinema in the Digital Age
  • Copyright and Censorship
  • Censorship and the Bio-political Machine
  • Censorship and the rise of Neo-Conservatism
  • Internet and Censorship
  • Religion and Censorship
  • Censorship in Social Media
  • Modern Democracy and Censorship
  • Censorship as Cache
  • Censorship and Surveillance
  • State and Censorship 

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