Jan 27, 2007

Twilight of the Heart

from, Growing Pains,
Editorial from Upping the Anti issue 3

Writing our most recent histories seems to bring to mind the reliable touchstones of literature. Let us say, then, that it was the best of times – and the worst of times. A little over five years ago, our world was turned upside down. All it took was two events: Qu├ębec City and September 11.

But is this tragedy or farce?

...In political terms, five years can seem like an eternity. And sometimes it’s difficult to reckon with the enormity of the changes that can transpire in the time it takes to recover from the shock of a violently transformed geopolitical landscape. Taking stock of the left today, we must admit that some of the assumptions under which we operated when we began this journal need to be revisited. The “anti-capitalist” movements that were ascendant in 2001 have now for the most part faded away. And while some of the groups that arose during this time remain, they are the exception rather than the rule. As a whole, the radical left – where it is still visible – seems to have responded to the new terrain by focusing on single-issue initiatives.

Without a doubt, the work done by activists in these fields is commendable, but it is hard to deny that the sense of possibility that existed five years ago has now largely dissipated. And yet, it was from this very sense of possibility – expressed concretely by a nascent movement grappling with theory and practice on an increasingly mass level– that we hoped to draw inspiration for these pages. As it turns out, we can neither breathe life into nor be inspired by a corpse. What we can do is make sure that its death was not in vain. The cadaver is calling. And so we turn to the work of autopsy.