Nine Theses On Insurgency

The opening text from the first journal of Insurgencies by ISIW that discusses the need to abandon activism, which is defined by symbolism, conceptual terrains of engagement and a politics of complaint. Instead, it suggests a realignment towards insurgency, embracing material engagement with our enemies and focusing on strategy as opposed to abstract political theory.

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Thesis 1: Up until this point critiques of activism have tended to focus upon the characteristics of activists that we find reprehensible.

Thesis 2: Activism constructs a symbolic terrain of engagement in a conceptual space, one defined by a politics of complaint fused with an injunction to act against problems defined in a completely despatialized way.

Thesis 3: It is this formation that has led us to our current impasse, where attempts to transcend activism replicate the same formation but through actions of greater magnitude.

Thesis 4: To overcome the impasse is not a question of moving past complaint into other forms of symbolic action against despatialized enemies, but of defining the enemy in an immediate and material sense.

Thesis 5: To define the enemy in an immediate and material sense means moving beyond hatred or rejection into a posture of hostility, or an immediate antagonism, in this case hostility in relation to policing.

Thesis 6: This move into hostility requires a reattachment of action to the space and time of the act, the immediate and material tactical terrain formed by conflict.

Thesis 7: The reattachment of action to the immediate and material separates the question of strategy/fighting from the question of why we fight, from the terrain understood conceptually.

Thesis 8: This realignment is the move from activism to insurgency.

Thesis 9: Insurgency is not something that can be defined in itself, except as an immediate and material engagement of hostility toward an immediate enemy within a context of warfare.