The 'desk killers', the desk-bound perpetrators of all manner of vileness are still with us.
“.. The first step towards building an alternative world has to be a refusal of the world picture implanted in our minds and all the false promises used everywhere to justify the insatiable need to sell. Another space is vitally necessary… First, a horizon has to be discovered. And for this we have to re-find hope – against all the odds of what the new order pretends and perpetrates…. The act of resistance means not only refusing to accept the absurdity of the world picture offered us, but denouncing it. And when hell is denounced from within, it ceases to be hell.”
(taken from an exchange of letters between Subcomandante Marcos and John Berger)
All of Platform’s work confronts power, and in particular that of transnational corporations. One major book project ‘The Desk Killer’, by Dan Gretton of Platform, will focus on the psychology and actions of middle and senior management. It is the culmination of more than a decade’s research into the phenomenon of the ‘schreibtischtaeter’ – a term that was first used widely in Germany in relation to the trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961. It translates, somewhat awkwardly in English, as ‘desk-perpetrator’ – someone who mass-murders from a desk. However, The Desk Killer will focus beyond the intentionality of murder and examine the more complex, and politically urgent, question of distanced killing. How organisations and the individuals within them have been able to ‘compartmentalise’, to evade responsibility for their actions – whether in the rigid bureaucracies of the Third Reich or within the complex structures of corporations today. By foregrounding the role of white-collar perpetrators in the Holocaust, and highlighting the lethal collaboration between corporations and the state, both historically and today, it raises acute questions about the meaning of responsibility and the deeply problematic nature of contemporary corporate behaviour.
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