Since the beginning of the end of Occupy anarchists in the United States have again found themselves in an all too familiar position: an impasse. Around the world, class conflicts and zones of insurgent activity are increasing in frequency and number. In the United States, however, the crackdown on Occupy seems to have reinforced the conclusion that resistance and direct action are hopeless pursuits. For those of us who won’t -or can’t- quit, the most consistent response to this impasse has focused on a common question: What is to be done?
This question, in many ways, facilitates responses that perpetuate the impasse. Asking “what is to be done” cripples our ability to attack the state and defend ourselves, first by conceptualizing conflict and removing it from actual material dynamics, then by effacing the particularities of time and terrain. In this question we come to focus on fighting and resistance as generalized phenomena spread across terrain in consistent and constant ways. Then we produce singular, neat, and clean responses, like slogans and programmes, and avoid, whenever possible, the actual dynamics of conflict. But conflict, like insurgency, occurs. It occurs in some time, in some space and as a density of dynamics that cannot be franchised, chanted, or endorsed.
To escape this impasse means going back to a fundamental question of what it means to engage in the insurgent. We can call ourselves fighters, but we cannot understand how to fight until we begin to develop a discourse of what we are fighting, and where, in a material sense. Until we can begin to grasp this question, or build a narrative around this question, we will continue to shift between utopian narratives and glittering generalities of conceptual resistance.
Insurgency is a thing that occurs, it resists conceptualization, refuses valuation and, as such, conceptual questions of meta-politics are irrelevant. Insurgencies, a journal edited by The Institute For The Study of Insurgent Warfare, will return to questions of the immediacy and materiality of conflict and insurrection. This project, along with its associated blog (isiw.noblogs.org), will focus on questions of immediacy -outside of political codification- on the level of tactics and material dynamics. Insurgencies will aim to develop an analysis of the dynamics of actual material conflicts on the ground and the terrains in which they occur, from the submerged conflicts that occur within everyday life (theft, worker insubordination, illegalism, etc) to the celebrated moments when the logistics of policing are ruptured and possibilities abound.
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