AGITATION

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"Those who profess to favor freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

Frederick Douglass

This passage heads the ACT-UP instruction page for how to practice Civil Disobedience. Politically, the atmosphere is virtually ululating with unrelieved tension: it's as though tension has a kind of patience, a certain durability, until something has to blow. Most of the blows are small: a bad mood, road rage, passive aggression. Sometimes they're less personal: nodding to right-wing radio or dancing to protest music. Mostly, though, agitation is private. It is an internal and a political state, a bodily intention, a vibration toward action before action knows its form. It's a political project, paradoxically related to organizing, paradoxical because agitation also disorganizes, shakes things up.

What is the political economy of agitation? How does it differ from ANXIETY?

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