Vol. 2 Issue 1 (Fall 2017):
Insurgency / Exhaustion
This issue of Propter Nos offers a collection of essays, poetry, artwork, and prose that meditates on the interrelated phenomena of insurgency and exhaustion. We use the term “insurgency” to describe an approach to political struggle that is comprised of individuals, groups, units, and cells working together through decentralized networks, on multiple scales, and across different institutional sites to abolish a society structured in dominance. Some contributors use the term with a more specific meaning, referring to a form of counter-warfare in which clandestine and “above-ground” formations combine their political resources with the principled use of violence to achieve revolutionary strategic objectives. Yet while insurgency is a key thematic framing this issue, many contributors explore exhaustion as an inherent aspect of growing, nurturing, and sustaining opposition to the dominant culture—its state and military, its laws and mode of production, its moral and aesthetic values. What exactly are the long-term consequences of our most cherished approaches to organizing, education, and cultural praxis? Are the leading paradigms, strategies, and tactics of political work at all sustainable? What if we admit that we are burnt out? Stress, fatigue, burnout, war-weariness, and emotional expenditure are all inherent elements of building mass movements against anti-blackness, white supremacy, colonialism, racial capitalism, and cis-heteropatriarchy. As in all aspects of life, without the proper diagnosis, healing, care, and rest, exhaustion weakens our capacity to effectively guard against the forces of counterinsurgency. In a moment when the World has become ever-so politicized, enraged, and emboldened, what would it mean if we made room to consider the effects of exhaustion in the processes of building anti-systemic insurgency? What direction would our struggles take if we troubled the insistence on an ever-approaching future plentitude?