Propter Nos, Volume 3 (2019)

ANTI- / NON-

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The intertwined domains of political action and critical thought have undergone a renewed interest in the “anti-” and the “non-” as generative frameworks and approaches. This issue of Propter Nos is interested in the relationship between these two prefixes, generally thought to index a negative orientation toward any given concept or practice. The critical fervor surrounding “the negative” often fails to pro- vide a safe home for such thinking and practice. More often than not, this posture is ostracized, considered “unproductive,” heretical, and criminal—all designations which fall heavily on those positioned as the ‘negativity’ civil society aims to liquidate: the Black, the Prison Slave, the Native. From this perspective, the negative blemishes the neatness of “rational” and liberal-progressivist thinking; it stubbornly and myopically forecloses possibility and plentitude in favor of despair and fatalism. Due to this general aversion to the negative, the finer points of detail between various articulations of negativity are often collapsed, and any sense of nuance is evacuated from this discussion.

Thinking with/in the negative, not merely as a psych0-affective register but as an amorphous system of philosophical sensibilities and theoretical dispositions that tarry with negation as the locus of structural critique, this issue considers the following questions: Are “anti-” and “non-” collapsible terms? Are the “anti-” and/or “non-” only thinkable in opposition to an affirmative posture; or, is there a mode of accounting for the space between, and outside of, these terms? What do “anti-” and/or “non-” offer as approaches to aesthetic practice, political action, or theoretical inquiry, rather than mere descriptors? What is the generative potential of the (perceived) passivity or resignation of orientations toward the “anti-” and/or “non- ”? And need there be the promise of generativity in order to ground a politics?

 

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Propter Nos, Vol 2. Issue 1

INSURGENCY / EXHAUSTION

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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?

 

Propter Nos. Vol. 1 Issue 1

The inaugural issue of our journal, Propter Nos.

Vol. 1 Issue 1 (Fall 2016): Reflections on the “Movement Moment”


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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.