“Nothing will ever happen here, and nothing ever has,” wrote Guy Debord in his 1967 meditation on the life environment of spectacular society. As we move into a whole new year, we admit to wondering along with you: did 2021 really come and go? We're still reminding ourselves that COVID variants have been so numerous that naming committees went through the Greek alphabet twice to get to omicron, that "the rebellion last summer" was two summers ago, and that it's been almost two years since we published a meditation on the suspended, vertiginous time delivered upon our world by the Coronavirus.
Still, from the perspective of Ill Will, a lot did happen in 2021 — and a lot is already pulling us into 2022.
Ill Will's brand-new website launched in March 2021. Our hardworking online team developed an eye-catching layout with articles that are both easy to read on-screen and easily accessible in print form for those of us still faithful to the hard copy. Our design team has put together beautiful and easily shared pamphlets like Francesco Santini's “Apocalypse and Survival,” Michel Foucault's “The Analytic Philosophy of Politics,” and Adrian Wohlleben's “Memes Without End.” While we prefer to keep the inner workings of Ill Will anonymous to the public, we're happy to share that we devoted substantial effort in 2021 to experimenting with our organization, expanding our editorial team, increasing communication among contributors, and bringing in new perspectives through a newly formed advisory board.
In terms of content, reflections on the unfolding legacy of the George Floyd rebellion of Summer 2020 poured into 2021 as Americans continue to make sense of their country in the wake of its biggest rebellion in recent history. We heard from Adrian Wohlleben, Kiersten Solt, Shemon, and Inhabit in their moving and thoughtful "Kenosha, I do mind dying." We capped Christmas 2021 with Wang Nangxian and Paul Torino’s "Downtown Fucked,” a reflection on a memory-holed attack in Nashville that took place a year prior. Meanwhile, we did our best to keep the Anglophone world informed of the ongoing controversy over the "Green Pass" implemented as part of the COVID-19 sanitary measures in Italy and France, by translating polemics and clarifications by Giorgio Agamben, Flavio Luzi, Il Rovescio, Wu Ming, and Temps Critiques. We're also happy to have continued hosting international perspectives with contributions from a former member of Tiqqun, Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, Mexico’s Tadeo Cervantes, Chile’s Vitrina Dystópica, and perspectives on the uprising in Sudan, among many others.
As we promised in our closing letter of 2020, we began a new practice of releasing excerpts of forthcoming books to keep readers abreast of developments in the world of print. Two such excerpts looked at 1970s Italian autonomist currents: a chapter from The Weight of the Printed Word: Text, Context and Militancy in Operaismo by Steve Wright, author of the seminal Storming Heaven on the Italian Autonomia movement; and a chapter from the long-awaited translation of The Golden Horde by Nanni Balestrini and Primo Moroni. We featured selections from David Cayley's Ivan Illich: An Intellectual Journey, a contribution to the growing field of engagement with Illich's thought and work, as well as Grégoire Chamayou’s The Ungovernable Society: A Genealogy of Authoritarian Liberalism. Finally, somewhat closer to our American home, we had the privilege of publishing an excerpt from the late race traitor Noel Ignatiev's memoir, Acceptable Men, as well as a remarkably thoughtful interview with Marquis Bey touching on their forthcoming book Black Trans Feminism.
In the coming year, Ill Will remains committed to our practice of bridging the most revolutionary thought from the halls of intellectual society with ideas and analysis unfolding in direct contact with social upheavals. In the next few months you can expect an engagement with Stefano Harney and Fred Moten's All Incomplete by Frédéric Neyrat, a third installment in our translations of Italian feminist Lea Melandri (edited and introduced by Leijia Hanrahan), reflections on fascism and class from comrades in Brazil, on sideshows and wayward lives in Minneapolis, critical perspectives on the left’s electoral triumph in Chile, a return to the history of revolutionary violence in Japan, as well as an interrogation of the scientific controversy over the vaccine from a partisan perspective. In the spirit of collaborative intellectual engagement, we are envisioning a panel on the question of what it means to change one's cosmology and more interviews with emerging thinkers. Finally, we are excited to announce that Ill Will will soon be joining the growing audible world, by offering audio recordings of key articles.
If you feel like there's a thinker, doer, or collective with whom an Ill Will collaboration would pop, we'd love to hear it. Drop us a line on our site or on Twitter. As always, Ill Will remains an entirely volunteer-run publication, so any financial contributions are welcome on our Patreon.
Bisous, and happy new year.
Image: Bieke Depoorter