This text from the Institute for the Study of Insurgent Warfare begins from the premise that anarchists in the United States are at an impasse. With the decline of Occupy and the simultaneous increase of class conflict around the world, anarchists are struggling to intervene in relevant way and are struggling once again with the question “what is to be done?”
This zine argues that anarchists should reconceptualize their efforts in terms of insurgency and move beyond the realm of activism. It argues that the critique of activism must be stronger than simply rejecting its forms (i.e. lodging complaints with authority figures) and move towards a critique and practice that transcends activism. Moreover, rather than simply focusing on abstractions – as activists and anarchists often do – the zine asserts that anarchists should develop a material understanding of how their enemies actually function. In turn, this will help illuminate new ways forward.
The zine is pretty dense and contains a fair amount of theoretical jargon, but a patient reader will be able to glean helpful insights.
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Excerpt from 9 Theses on Insurgency
“...activists [don’t] fail because they have long meetings or enjoy screaming at empty buildings; these are merely symptoms of a more general sickness. Rather, the failures of activism appears at the core of the activist injunction to act in all moments on the discursive terrain of a mythologized ‘social conversation,’ and to declare ourselves victorious so long as ‘something’ happens, that we did ‘something.’”