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<nettime> 10 Preliminary Theses on Resistance
Ian Alan Paul on Wed, 1 Feb 2017 01:10:53 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> 10 Preliminary Theses on Resistance


    10 Preliminary Theses on Resistance

   Ian Alan Paul, January, 2017

   1. Resistance against Trump will first become manifest in radical acts
   of negation.

   Sabotage this. Slow down that. Undermine a process. Raise questions.
   Draw lines. Flood systems. Destroy records. Overwhelm institutions.
   Withdraw your consent. Waste their time. Blockade everything. As Trump
   tears down the world around him in order to build his own from the
   wreckage, resistance will necessarily take shape first in spontaneous
   and audacious refusals. That which cannot be stomached, that which
   weighs too heavily, that which becomes in too many ways too much will
   be the gasoline for the fires to come. Pure negativity will be the
   initial attractor that draws us onto the streets, urgently gathering
   together beneath banners emblazoned simply with the word �.�   2. In collective acts of refusal, opportunities will arise to find in
   one another something which is not yet present but could be.

   Behind burning barricades, in occupied lecture halls, on blocked
   highways, at shut-down airport terminals, in riotous street parties, at
   lock-downed bank entrances, in striking ports, online and on the
   streets and, for some, in jail cells, people will one by one accumulate
   and aggregate into something else, something otherwise. Even the best
   of friends will be met again as if for the first time, encountered anew
   within the tumult and turbulence of a multiplicity of struggles. Acts
   of negation will establish the conditions of possibility for new forms
   of affirmation, and every opportunity to refuse Trump will also be an
   opportunity to discover in each other the possibility of becoming a
   force together.

   3. Our resistance will require the playful invention of new
   repertoires, always differentially improvised in concert with others.

   Every practice enacted in the present will require wildly speculative
   adaptation, elaboration, and experimentation. A march, an occupation, a
   blockade, and an infinite number of other techniques known and unknown,
   will all necessitate continuous reinvention as power responds,
   refashions, and reorganizes itself. The opportunity to put something
   new into practice must be cultivated, prepared for, and proliferated
   across complex, diverse, and inconsistent coalitions, alliances,
   conspiracies, and crowds. Resisting Trump will require new forms of
   choreography that set into motion destituent and constituent forces,
   maneuvering, defending, and attacking, tearing apart as they assemble.
   The only question that should preoccupy us in this moment is not the
   singular �at is to be done?�ut rather the always multiple and
   shifting �at works?�   4. Success will depend on an ability to take cues from those who are
   already most affected by power.

   Power is most intimately known by those who have lived their lives
   beneath it, and this intimacy will be what will orient, navigate, and
   guide us through the coming struggles. A constellation composed of the
   memories of Ferguson and Stonewall, of Standing Rock and Zuccotti Park,
   of Oscar Grant and Tamir Rice, among a great many others, can also be a
   map that reveals potential routes through the present catastrophe.
   Those who have historically been most affected by power will be most
   familiar with the character, complexities, and challenges of the fights
   to come.

   5. Differentiating between companions and collaborators will simply be
   a matter of observing who refuses alongside you.

   The present makes accomplices of us all. The only remaining thing to be
   settled is who you will choose to be an accomplice to. As lines of riot
   police and make-shift barricades cut the world into a billion different
   sides, which one will you stand on? Failing to chose is to have the
   choice made for you by whatever power presently governs, and complicity
   threatens to follow from anything but a total rejection of the
   powerful. Ultimately, a line will be drawn between those who currently
   (or seek to) govern, and those who desire to be and insist upon being
   ungovernable.

   6. Resistance, like life, will be defined by moments of indescribable
   joy and tremendous despair.

   In the fray of the coming confrontations, inspiration will flow from
   the courage of those close to us and exhilaration will accompany any
   victories that follow. However, these will emerge alongside the loud
   knock at the front door late at night, the swing of the police club,
   the spinning tear gas canister, the burst of pepper spray, the gliding
   bullet, the cold jail cell, and the felt absence of lost friends.
   Neither joy nor despair will wholly define resistance, but rather
   resistance will depend upon the capacity to experience these things
   together, to be moved collectively by both joy and despair.

   7. Our endurance as a force will rely on refiguring the limits of our
   responsibility and ability to respond to one another.

   Capitalism, as a system, ceaselessly encroaches upon every atom of the
   world to ensure that survival is only possible on its own terms to the
   point where the possibility of life itself is called into question.
   Interrupting this process won�depend on any brilliant maneuver or
   tactical success as much as it will on our ability to redefine the
   limits of care and compassion, to reimagine the form and distribution
   of our interdependencies so we can move towards a world in which it may
   be possible to endure differently. In the coming years, our solidarity
   must become a weapon so sharp that it will cut straight through cages,
   borders, and walls, seeing in variably distant and different others the
   possibility of survival.

   8. As everything is increasingly occupied, refused, and blockaded, the
   time will quickly arrive to produce the infrastructure for the
   otherwise.

   Whenever and wherever power crumbles, there will always be forces
   anxious to replace what has been demolished. Power can never finally be
   destroyed, but can only be indefinitely warded off by insistent and
   persistent refusal. Resistance, undertaken as a practice, understands
   that power must be defeated continuously if anything different has a
   chance of emerging. The infrastructure of the otherwise, that which
   could lead us towards a time and place unlike the present, is not
   something we build but is something we enact in consistent and patient
   repetition.

   9. The crisis has already arrived, and whoever is best able to shape
   the chaos that ensues will produce what has yet to arrive.

   There is no going back, no way to retreat onto solid ground, no
   possibility of rolling back time, except perhaps while dreaming. The
   sheer entropy of the present means that there is little to hold on to,
   but it also means that it has become possible to speculate more
   radically than ever before. Watching the world around us rise and fall
   at an accelerating rate, those who prevail will be those who grasp the
   risks worth taking, those who are able to clearly and vividly see the
   world as it exists and as it can exist. What will come is in no way
   determined, but will depend on a series of leaps that produce their own
   ground to land upon.

   10. The greatest virtue of our resistance is that it is entirely absent
   of any promises and guarantees.

   Never trust anyone who tells you about �e future�n the singular.
   The most powerful in the world expend all of their energy to maintain
   even the faintest appearance of order, and even the most extremely
   regulated and controlled corners of the world are constantly threatened
   by the arrival of any number of unknown, improbable but possible
   futures. Hope in the present arises from the insight that the
   unknowability of futurity is perpetual and ineradicable. To not know
   precisely where we are headed is to remain open to the possibility of
   arriving where we couldn�possibly have planned to, and in refusing
   the present we also invite what cannot presently exist within it.

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