Publisher: AK Press / IAS
Released: November 21, 2017
Joyful Militancy investigates how fear, self-righteousness, and moralism infiltrate and take root within liberation movements, what to do about them, and ultimately how tenderness and vulnerability can thrive alongside fierce militant commitment.
Why do radical movements and spaces sometimes feel laden with fear, anxiety, suspicion, self-righteousness, and competition? Montgomery and bergman call this phenomenon rigid radicalism: congealed and toxic ways of relating that have seeped into social movements, posing as the “correct” way of being radical. In conversation with organizers and intellectuals from a wide variety of political currents, the authors explore how rigid radicalism smuggles itself into radical spaces, and how it is being undone
Interviewees include Silvia Federici, adrienne maree brown, Marina Sitrin, Gustavo Esteva, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Walidah Imarisha, Margaret Killjoy, Glen Coulthard, Richard Day, and more.
Praise for Joyful Militancy
“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 importantly, and accessibly, asks hard questions and challenges the rigid culture within activism and social movements that need it. Instead with open hearts and minds the pages within offer thoughts for liberatory openings, not more answers, for all of us to explore within ourselves to radically engage in shifts from rigidity towards joy with sharp edges. 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
"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
carla joy bergman is an independent scholar, writer, podcaster, and mom. She has spent the past two decades working in her community to create collaborative multi-media platforms that range from print to films. carla loves to zoom in on the in-between happenings and issues and to bust binaries. She is the editor of Trust Kids: Stories on Youth Autonomy and Confronting Adult Supremacy, co-editor of Stay Solid: A Radical Handbook for Youth and co-founder of Grounded Futures, and is continuing to write on a variety of subjects. She lives in Vancouver, Canada.
Nick Montgomery is an organizer and writer currently at Queen's University.