Day: July 31, 2017

Joy is a Fine Initial Act of Insurrection

Over the past 15 years, historian and activist Rebecca Solnit has written three collections of essays that have recently been published (or republished) by Haymarket Books as a trilogy for our times. This inexplicable week we’ve just experienced seems as good a time as any to consider Solnit’s thoughts on hope in the face of despair, and to take the long view which she favors. In the first of the series, Hope in the Dark (originally published in 2004), Solnit talks about the demands of hope and then notes that joy is a way to support the work which hope demands. “Joy doesn’t betray but sustains activism.  And when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated, and isolated, joy is a fine initial act of insurrection.” Though initially written during the Iraq war of 2004, I thought of how much more our politics in 2017 aspire to make us fearful, alienated, and isolated — seen most recently with Donald Trump’s Long Island speech about cities as “bloodstained killing fields.”  Hope and …