The Politics of Exhaustion

How Organizing Around the Need for Rest can Revitalize the Left

Image by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen.

Though peak COVID has now been relegated to the realm of cultural taboo, the malaise which was so emblematic of quarantine days shows no signs of abating. And perhaps that’s not a bad thing—a country can’t, and shouldn’t, lose over a million people in little over a year without negative psychic effects. Politically, the situation is grim, despite superficial indications of normalcy’s return. The memory of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaigns, quashed without compunction by ruthless Democratic Party apparatchiks, haunts our politics to this day. A profound bitterness lingers in the air—a product of Bernie’s excruciatingly near success at wresting the nomination from the chloasma-dappled hands of the neoliberals’ appointed candidate, and a register of the disquieting knowledge that the far right continues to organize, that January 6 was a harbinger of things to come, that COVID was also a warning which appears to have been largely ignored, and that the planet continues to hurtle towards climate oblivion.

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Scott Remer has published in venues such as In These Times, Africa Is a Country, Common Dreams, OpenDemocracy, Philosophy Now, Philosophical Salon, and International Affairs.

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