I began this letter weeks ago. Many letters have come out since I started, and I’ve been humbled by the thoughtfulness and intelligence with which so many comrades all over are trying to think this moment.
Continue reading Quarantine Letter #10: Irreversible
In August of 2019, the collective author “consejo nocturno” [nocturnal council] released a chapter of their 2018 book Un habitar más fuerte que la metrópoli on the Artilleria immanente website. While we await the publication of the full work in English, ill-will-editions have taken the initiative to translate the chapter here, offering links to the books it cites in the notes below.
Continue reading There are no metropolitan revolts, only revolts against the metropolis
In March, my friends August and Kora spoke of a “jump-cut” when describing the interruption that COVID-19 has had on many of our lives.  I too felt this sense of disorientation in the first days and weeks of the pandemic, as the virus made its way first through my social media feed, before seeping into casual conversations and suddenly coming to structure our daily lives. The “inhuman velocity” of change made it impossible to grasp. Yet while the pace of events was indeed disorienting, it also seemed to present a window for previously radical ideas to take hold in ways we could have never imagined.
Continue reading Quarantine Letter #8: Shards – Stability is seductive in a world that is falling apart
Can we think something like a “revolt”? Has revolt been thought? Under what conditions might thought be able, eventually, to grasp what we call a revolt?
Continue reading The Anarchy of Beginnings: Notes on the Rhythmicity of Revolt
I’ve been inspired by letters circulated recently by Ill Will Editions,which have offered a helpful window for thinking through the current global pandemic. Reading them, it struck me that several have circled around something like a disjunction or asymmetry between two distinct yet overlapping lines of thought: on one hand, there is the understandable fear that the forms of social control presently implemented will be sustained beyond the pandemic (not unlike they were after 9-11), a concern that directs our attention to state power; on the other hand, there is the disruptive force of the virus itself, like a non-human agency conducting itself across us, and operating beneath and beyond the waves of governmental and economic measures by means of which the elites in the political class scramble to maintain an increasingly tenuous veneer control and authority. Orion addressed the latter in his letter when he described the virus as a power that has “constructed its own temporality, which immobilizes everything,” a power “capable of extending beyond what the insurrections proved incapable of doing, and actually shutting down the economy.” Two types of agency, two asymmetrical lines of force—how are we to parse their peculiar overlap in this moment, those of us who have never been friends of their ‘normal time’?
Continue reading #Quarantine Letter #6: Empty Plazas
Just when I was feeling most elated about prospects for the future given the strength of the Indigenous resistance sweeping Canada in early 2020, the coronavirus arrived on the scene with whiplash-inducing force to upstage everything in its deadly path unexpectedly shutting down whatever parts of the Canadian economy had not already been intentionally shut down by the Wet’suwet’en land defenders and those involved in solidarity actions that had immediately preceded the spread of the disease. Rather than framing The Virus exclusively within the kind of nightmare scenario that is typically associated with the mainstreaming of the term “surreal” (as if all there ever is to surrealism’s critique of reality is this dark side), I want to instead illuminate the surreal possibilities for social transformation that can be revealed by creating a surreal (rather than literal) analogy between the contagion of the virus and the contagion of revolt.
Continue reading #Quarantine Letter #5: Unreconciled
A fourth letter in the ill wills editions quarantine series, from their friend Icarus.
Continue reading #Quarantine Letter #4: Everything is true, nothing is permitted.