Why do radical movements and spaces sometimes feel laden with fear, anxiety, suspicion, self-righteousness and competition? The authors call this phenomenon rigid radicalism: congealed and toxic ways of relating that have seeped into radical movements, posing as the ‘correct’ way of being radical. In conversation with organizers and intellectuals from a wide variety of currents, the authors explore how rigid radicalism smuggles itself into radical spaces, and how it is being undone. Rather than proposing ready-made solutions, they amplify the questions that are already being asked among movements. Fusing together movement-based perspectives and contemporary affect theory, they trace emergent forms of trust, care and responsibility in a wide variety of radical currents today, including indigenous resurgence, anarchism, transformative justice, and youth liberation. Joyful Militancy foregrounds forms of life in the cracks of Empire, revealing the ways that fierceness, tenderness, curiosity, and commitment can be intertwined.
Interviewees include Silvia Federici, adrienne maree brown, Marina Sitrin, Gustavo Esteva, Tasnim Nathoo, Kelsey Cham Corbett, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Sebastian Touza, Walidah Imarisha, Margaret Killjoy, Glen Coulthard, Richard Day, Melanie Matining, Zainab Amadahy and Mik Turje.
Includes full interviews of Silvia Federici and Kelsey Cham C.
All images by Pete Railand at Justseeds
*Visual description of the cover: A large red thistle or teasel flower head and stem takes up nearly the entire cover, slanting to the right, with motion lines going outward from the flower. The background is 3/4 yellow with a stripe of blue down the right side. The title of the book and the authors’ names are at the bottom right (Joyful Militancy: Building Thriving Resistance in Toxic Times by Nick Montgomery and carla bergman; Foreword by Hari Alluri).*
Advance Praise for Joyful Militancy
“Yes, yes, yes! This book is so timely! Absolutely what we need in these days of spreading gloom. A very well argued case for joyful militancy, and against the dead hand of puritanical revolution. Read it, live it!”
—John Holloway, author of Crack Capitalism
“This wonderful book, infused and informed by activist experience, emphasizes the importance of the full range of political affects. Anger and rage rightly, inevitably drive militants, the authors argue, but we must also discover joy and friendship in struggle, which are our highest rewards. The book provides not only an antidote for anyone who has suffered the pitfalls of political activism but also a guide to a fulfilling militant life.”
—Michael Hardt, co-author of Assembly
“The resurgence of the reactionary right has led many on the left to feel overwhelming despair. Resisting the rising tide of dread, this unique, genre-bending book offers a spirited defense of a militant politics of joy—an affirmative theory of openness and experimentation, curiosity and questioning. This is a thought-provoking, morale-boosting, hope-inspiring tonic offered at the moment we need it most.”
—Astra Taylor, author of The People’s Platform and co-founder of The Debt Collective
“Combining humility, deep insight, and open, liberatory theoretical foundations Joyful Militancy asks hard questions and challenges the rigid culture within activism and social movements that need it. This book kicks ass!”
—scott crow, author, Black Flags and Windmills and Emergency Hearts, Molotov Dreams
“People who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about Joyful Militancy and what is positive in the affective refusal of Empire, such people have a corpse in their mouth. Carla Bergman and Nick Montgomery help us to remove that corpse so that we can sing new subversive songs, which is precisely what is needed more than ever.”
—Stevphen Shukaitis, author of The Composition of Movements to Come
“Read this, my lovelies — it’s a lifesaver!”