This paper provides an exposition of police state (‘mythic’) violence through the optic of drone culture, in a moment when the police state has declared war against the civilian population. The moment is contextualised during a period of resistance by academics and students against the capitalist university in England 2010-2011, where the financialisation of academic and student life was seen as an act of intellectual vandalism. Grounded in Walter Benjamin’s concept of ‘educative power’ (1921) the paper asks what forms of revolutionary ‘divine’ violence are needed to disable the mythic violence of killing drones. Taking its cue from Benjamin Noys’ (2010) challenge to counter dronic violence as a negative collective agency through the abolition of capitalist work, the paper presents a collective form of action by a group of students and academics who have established their own critique of waged-labour, as a worker-student cooperative, the Social Science Centre, Lincoln; not as a clandestine operation but as subversion in full view. Based on a critical engagement with the concept of ‘the Undercommons’ (Harney and Moten 2013) the paper asks the question ‘is it possible to work as a critical intellectual within an English university?’ All of this is illustrated as a sort of social science fiction through a reading of China Mieville’s The City and the City (2011), where the Social Science Centre’s public subversion encounters the mythical power of the surveillance state as a concrete thought experiment.
The paper was published in ‘Drone Culture’ a special edition of Culture Machine, edited by Rob Coley and Dean Lockwood.