Kevin Johnson #1007485
Red Onion State Prison
P.O. Box 1900
Pound, VA 24279
Kevin Johnson #1007485
Red Onion State Prison
P.O. Box 1900
Pound, VA 24279
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?
True Leap Press is a radical publishing collective based in Chicago, Illinois. We support the intellectual struggle and advocate for the building of mass-based projects for antiracist, anticapitalist, and antipatriarchal political education. Our collective encourages any-and-all forms of revolt and insurrection against global anti-blackness, white supremacy, colonialism, capitalism, and heteropatriarchy. We also aim to facilitate the growth of a progressive political consciousness that is deliberately antipatriotic and against all forms of U.S. nationalism.
In the coming years, we hope to increase our number of publications, establish infrastructure for printing and distribution, and grow our capacity to work across prison walls. Our current (soon to be print) publication is entitled PROPTER NOS. It offers a platform for Black and radical antiracist theoretical and cultural work—such as poetry, short essays, experimental writing, artwork—and will also increasingly serve as a source of commentary and analysis from imprisoned activists and grassroots abolitionist organizations.
Referring to the collective sense of “We” that inspires the mobilization and identity formation of a People, the Latin phrase “Propter Nos” is the title we chose for our first publication. This is because we believe that one of the central tasks of building consciousness amongst colonized, imprisoned, working class, and poor peoples is to build spaces where a core set of political principles can be cultivated amidst the contradictions and antagonisms inherent to revolutionary movement building.
True Leap Press believes that establishing a clearinghouse for the formulation of a vision of mass insurgency among differently situated communities of struggle is a necessary (and urgent) task in the present moment of white nationalist resurgence and patriotic liberal counterrevolution. We therefore obstinately oppose the mythology of U.S. exceptionalism and white manifest destiny, and do not presume that American liberal democracy is an inherent “good.” Instead, we hope PROPTER NOS will serve as a forum for works that invigorate a different sense of common political consciousness, one rooted in the historical experiences of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Queer movements mobilizing against the white capitalist civilization and nation-building project of the United States.
The works included in each volume of PROPTER NOS loosely operate in accordance with the Black Liberation Army’s principle of “unity-criticism-unity.” This concept refers the “process of the members of a group, unit or organization united on a set of principles and objectives to struggle internally, behind closed doors among themselves.” This process is carried out in practice by working together with comrades, “observing and analyzing each other’s errors, and then offering constructive criticism to each other to correct errors and overcome any shortcomings.” The unity-criticism-unity approach is meant to “strengthen each other and thus advance the group, unit or organization” towards its revolutionary objectives. This type of practice also means remaining open to forming larger strategic networks and fronts.
By labeling an insurgent collaboration “strategic,” we simply mean a relationship formed between two or more groups based on a purpose that is contingent on the short- or long-term goals of participant organizations, cells, or even between differing movements. Networks and fronts aligned by shared strategic objectives—if practiced in a principled manner—hold the potential for facilitating the creation of dynamic forms of insurgency that operate simultaneously on different scales, across multiple institutional sites, and amongst a broader formation of insurgent cells working towards their own unique political ends. We also urge differently situated groups, units, organizations, and movements to not only engage in these strategy-driven configurations and joint processes of reflection, but also to approach mass political education and the art of movement building in a way that maintains awareness of how we are all complicit (albeit to varying degrees) in the ritualized and programmatic violences that constitute American social and gendered racial formation. This is a principle developed over the last two decades by the national antiviolence organization INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence.
Our publishing collective is itself aligned by a shared understanding of the U.S. regime of policing and imprisonment as a fundamentally anti-Black regime of physiological, psychic, and cultural violence that is traceable to the epoch of plantation slavery. We are quite deliberate in our efforts to maintain a political line that works critically and reflexively in collaboration with “above-” and “underground” organizations in the movement to abolish domestic warfare and the prison industrial complex. Our intention here is to support intellectual and cultural work that is directly connected to and relevant for the project of abolition. If, as abolitionists have argued for decades, the racial carceral-policing regime is not only a domestic military apparatus but a rigorous cultural production, then our enemy-in-struggle is also the mythologies, norms, and collective sense of “We” that has driven the last five-hundred-years of settler land-ecological conquest, racial chattel slavery, (proto)genocidal warfare, and empire.
For a print copies of PROPTER NOS, please send a request by snail-mail. We try to respond to mail as quickly as possible, but during our editing cycles and around certain deadlines our replies might be slightly delayed. We thank you for your patience in advance and hope to continue facilitate the dissemination of sharp criticism and analysis for the road ahead. To download PN in digital format please follow the link on our site.
Download, print, share and circulate our statement in PDF form HERE
*A version of this communiqué will appear in Issue #28 of The Abolitionist.
The inaugural issue of our journal, Propter Nos.
Download link: Propter Nos Vol 1 Issue 1
The goal of this first publication is to produce a space for commentary and reflection on the last half-decade of an emergent Black protest movement. Forgoing a paternalistic posture or the assumption that a “pure” form of political consciousness is attainable, our publishing collective sees the role of this publication as merely a tool among many other tools. With this publication we only wish to 1.) problematize the discourse that frames and informs the popular movement’s terms of engagement, 2.) generate modes of analysis that demystify the circulation and consumption of images of racial and sexual violence in the media, 3.) revise and revisit the three-pronged cultural project of the Black arts, aesthetics, and studies movements, 4.) provide an outlet in which information from counterintelligence operations for the Black movement against the racist capitalist state can be recorded, accumulated, and disseminated.
Bismarck, ND – Red Fawn Fallis, a political prisoner arrested during the movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, was sentenced today in federal court by Judge Daniel Hovland. Fallis was sentenced to 57 months (4.75 years) in federal prison. She will receive a credit of 18 months ‘time served’ taken off of her sentence, from time spent in North Dakota jails before trial proceedings began. Fallis is expected to serve a total of 39 months in prison followed by 3 years probation.
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When I first arrived in the Florida prison system on June 22, 2017, and was thrown in solitary confinement in the latest of numerous retaliatory interstate transfers for publicizing and resisting prison abuses, I questioned and discussed with numerous other prisoners our being forced to live in sweltering cells without air-conditioning, or fans, or any other protections against the severe Florida heat….
Paperback copies of our periodical publication PROPTER NOS
are NOW AVAILABLE for purchase at the following locations:
You can also order individual copies via snail-mail:
True Leap Publishing Collective, P.O. Box 408197 Chicago IL, 60640.
Please enclose $15.00 per book requested.
We can do bulk orders up to 10 copies, but books must be purchased up front.
Don’t worry, PN is also always available for free download on our website
The below list of materials is abolitionist food-for-thought. Each collective-author pushes the limits of what a mass struggle to abolish white supremacist domestic warfare and the U.S. prison industrial complex could look like. These can be shared electronically, printed out, mailed to friends/comrades, memorized, or otherwise circulated freely.
All items reproduced for educational purposes and are not the creation of True Leap Press
Reading List for January 2018:
> Courtesy of Ill Will Editions
> To learn about Mariame’s work, see: US Prison Culture (blog) or follow her on twitter: @prisonculture
> Learn more about Critical Resistance and follow them on twitter: @C_Resistance
all items reproduced for educational purposes
and are not the creation of True Leap Press
We are avid readers of Hortense J. Spillers and believe this bibliography of her life’s work will be a useful tool for people interested in reading and learning. Two summers ago our collective held a reading group, exchanging our thoughts on Spillers’ collection of essays Black, White, and in Color (2003). Through that experience we became most familiar with her work. Professor Spillers is a Black radical literary and cultural theorist who is oft cited for her essays “Interstices: A Small Drama of Words” (1984) and “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book.” (1987). Yet, her life’s work in papers, essays, speeches, and interview transcript spans over FOUR DECADES, and she is writing and teaching to this present day. Please take some time to get to know and appreciate her philosophical outlook. Below is a list of every work (to our knowledge) that she has published since 1970. We’ve also attached a zip file for ya’ll to download most of the titles listed below. Enjoy.
download link: Spillers Essays, Interviews, and Book Reviews
Hortense J. Spillers
Working Bibliography and Source Book
[last updated 7/3/17]
If there are any missing essays, articles, interviews, or titles that you find, please contact our collective and let us know. We want to make this work accessible as possible.
Cali friends and those who travel there frequently: 34 Trinity Arts and News is a radical newsstand, art space and used bookstore in downtown San Francisco. You can now find the first two volumes of Propter Nos in fancy print form, available for purchase at 34 Trinity!
Please visit: https://www.34trinity.com/
P.O.Box 408197 Chicago, Illinois 60640
Free all U.S.-held political prisoners and prisoners of war!
Center of Excellence
autonomous social center, partisan library & cinema /// centro social autonómo, cine y biblioteca partisana
National Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery
"Et s'il faut commencer par les coups d' pied au cul faudrait pas oublier qu' ça descend dans la rue"
A Publication of Critical Resistance
Join the effort to stop the construction of a $95 million dollar Cop Academy, and fund youth & communities instead.