AGITATE! Blog

The AGITATE! Blog compliments and extends the AGITATE! Journal’s volumes by offering a dynamic home for ongoing conversations, emerging meditations, and creative agitations. It features work that responds to and reflects on the current moment with a sense of urgency, providing space for agitations that deepen and challenge the key themes at the heart of AGITATE!’s work: questions of solidarity and justice; politics of translation; politics of location; living and learning through multiple languages, genres, and mediums (including visual arts); unsettling dominant modes of knowledge production and valuation; and fostering visions and practices whereby collective learning and growth are prioritized over ‘getting things done.’ Featured work includes works-in-process, statements and commentaries, translations, poems, and republished work. Given its quicker publication timeline compared to AGITATE!’s volumes, the Blog is a good option for time-sensitive works. Sometimes, there is a dynamic relationship between entries appearing on the Blog and articles published in the volumes: Pieces that begin as Blog posts might be revisited and become volume articles, and volume articles might inspire continued conversation, updates, or revision in the form of Blog posts. The decision to post submissions for the AGITATE! Blog is made collectively by the AGITATE! Editorial Collective.

We Belong to the Land, by Antônio Bispo dos Santos (8/7/2020) - Translated by Carmela Zigoni[1. Translator's Note: The following text, authored by Antonio Bispo, has been translated from the original Portuguese into English by Carmela Zigoni. The author and translator wish to remind readers that in this piece, there are some concepts and ideas that are not explained fully in a manner typical of Western academia. This is intentional. We wish to leave room for imagination, and we wish to remind readers that these ideas are what the author has called "local philosophy." This is a philosophy that does not follow or conform to colonial norms. The text was originally published… Continue Reading
The Creative Process, by James Baldwin (1962) (7/31/2020) - From Creative America, Ridge Press, 1962. Perhaps the primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid; the state of being alone. That all men are, when the chips are down, alone, is a banality—a banality because it is very frequently stated, but very rarely, on the evidence, believed. Most of us are not compelled to linger with the knowledge of our aloneness, for it is a knowledge that can paralyze all action in this world. There are, forever, swamps to be drained, cities to be created, mines to be… Continue Reading
A Statement by Sociology Graduate Students at the University of Minnesota (7/22/2020) - On 4 June, 2020, our department chair informed graduate students that two of the officers charged in George Floyd’s murder “appear to have ties to our department, college, and university.” After expressing sadness and outrage, we were asked to “direct any media inquiries to CLA, UMN (College of Liberal Arts).” As graduate students in the department, we feel disbelief, anger, and disappointment at the handling and communication of this news and believe that it is our responsibility to address this conversation ourselves.  The murder of George Floyd has brought to light our department’s complicity in systemic racism and anti-Blackness. An… Continue Reading
Black Lives Matter and Savarna Supremacy, by Vishal Jamkar and Richa Nagar (7/14/2020) - A banner demanding justice for George Floyd during a demonstration in Minneapolis on May 30, 2020 (Source: Delil Souleiman/ AFP). On June 4th, the civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton Jr., powerfully eulogized George Floyd, the 46-year old unarmed Black man who was brutally murdered by four Minneapolis police officers when one of them kneeled on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds even as Floyd repeatedly pleaded, “I can’t breathe.” Pointing out that Floyd’s story has been the story of Black folks in the United States for 401 years, Sharpton said, “What happened to Floyd happens every day… Continue Reading
La règle des trois unités, by Beaudelaine Pierre (5/13/2020) - unité de temps And the students saidin their surreal utopian worldthere will be no currencyno one will be put to work to live andcontaining students between walls toturn them into docile citizens will be punishedthere will be a reorder of genderwalls and lands andthe young will choose their learning in alignment with their calling in alignment with their vision in alignment with community needs andthere will be no prisonsno demokrasi pépéonly witches and mad womento govern the cityall times made equal Covid dix-neuf pourl’an deux mille vingtschools’ doors are closedno one goes to workgrocery shelves are down andmy neighbor knock… Continue Reading
A Frank Discussion with Iranian Americans about COVID19 and US Sanctions on Iran, by CODEPINK (5/8/2020) - It’s one thing to read news accounts about US sanctions and the outbreak of coronavirus in Iran, but it’s another to hear first-hand accounts. The following is a frank discussion with six Iranian Americans about how the collapse of the Iranian economy and the healthcare crisis affect the lives of people back home. Now that this pandemic is wrecking economies throughout the entire world, it may be easier for people to understand what has been happening in Iran—and hopefully feel more empathy.  The discussion is based on an April 5 webinar hosted by CODEPINK. The voices are those of  Sussan… Continue Reading
Statement for a Feminist Foreign Policy to Confront the Coronavirus Pandemic (5/6/2020) - In February, three organizations — MADRE, Women Cross DMZ, and Grassroots Global Justice Alliance — convened a group of 23 women and gender nonconforming people from across the United States in order to engage in a cross-movement dialogue on our collective work against militarism and war in order to examine, challenge, and reimagine US foreign policy.While our convening occurred before the coronavirus became a global pandemic, this public health crisis has only amplified the need to redistribute resources, restructure society, and create long-term solutions that prioritize the true needs of all people.The following statement represents the beginning of a larger conversation to redefine our… Continue Reading
In Praise of Empathy, by Ruramisai Charumbira (4/27/2020) - If you had told me that it would take a novel pathogen, to work like a charm, drilling hard into our collective heart, making us shiver with fear and empathy, I would have called you names. If you had told me it would take a novel pathogen, to snap our eyelids wide open to how the third world was and is made; people living in distress for generations, I would have thought you delusional. I mean, if you had said it would take a novel pathogen, to slap us awake to the fading memory that we, as a species, are… Continue Reading
When humanity fails: A hopeful reminder, by Elizabeth Sumida Huaman (3/30/2020) - When did the breath of life start to kill? As Quechua people, we are taught about the power of one’s breath. The fresh Andean air that we take in is a gift that we have been given to live in this world. Each breath is a reminder that we are alive and most importantly, that with our aliveness comes a responsibility to do good with each thought and each physical movement fueled by this breath. Our breath is powerful because it holds the ability to offer thanks, express reverence and awe, to transfer strength and healing, and to carry the… Continue Reading
The Most Lethal Virus Is Not COVID-19, by Margo Okazawa-Rey (3/27/2020) - The escalating panic and fear surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic is palpable across the social spectrum. The Governor of California has ordered the entire to state to “shelter in place” for the foreseeable future, meaning we can leave home only for essential tasks. Yes, the virus is yet to be fully known and controlled; yes, the incidence of infection is increasing and cannot be predicted accurately; yes this virus causes death. And yes, we must keep washing our hands and taking other precautions and maintaining physical distance. We must also practice social solidarity. This means involving ourselves in mutual aid, supporting… Continue Reading
Violence Against Muslims and Peaceful Dissenters in Northeast Delhi: Urgent Call for Global Action to Support the Many Shaheen Baghs, by India Civil Watch (2/26/2020) - This is an urgent call for global action. For the last three days, large violent mobs of right-wing Hindu nationalists have unleashed a spate of violent attacks in Delhi which have led to at least twenty three deaths recorded so far and injured more than 100. Vehicles and commercial establishments owned by members of the Muslim community have been specifically targeted and burned or vandalized. Mobs have been threatening women and children with physical violence and rape, and Northeast Delhi is burning. In the meantime, the Delhi police has played a silent spectator, and other times has actively aided the… Continue Reading
యింకో ద్వేష భక్తి గీతం! Another Ode to Hate-riotism, original poem in Telugu by Afsar, translated into English by N. Venugopal (2/10/2020) - యింకో ద్వేష భక్తి గీతం!~అయినా ప్రేమిస్తూనే వుండమని కదా చెప్తావ్. గోడలన్నీ నెత్తుటి మరకలవుతాయ్, వీధుల్లో తల ఎత్తుకొని నడవలేను. పసిపిల్లాడి లాగు విప్పి మరీ సున్తీ పరీక్షలు చేస్తావ్. యిప్పటికీ నా పేరు కంటే నా చివరి పేరు మీదే నీ వూనిక. నేనెక్కడా లేను. నేనేమిటో యెవరికీ అక్కర్లేదు. శాసనాలు చేయక్కర్లేదు ఆదేశాలు కాగితాల మీదే వుండక్కర్లేదు నా నిలువెత్తు రూపమే నిషిద్ధ పత్రమైనప్పుడు- 2 వుపవాసాలు వుంటాను, వుపన్యాసాలు వింటాను. భయపడుతూ భయపడుతూ పిల్లల్ని కంటాను. చివరికి మంచి మాటే అయినా అది నీ చెవికి యెలా యెక్కుతుందో తెలీక ప్రతి మాటా బెరుకు బెరుకుగా అంటాను. అయినా, స్వేచ్చకేం తక్కువా అని పాటలు పాడమంటావ్. దేశాన్ని ప్రేమిస్తూనే వుండమని చూపుడు వేళ్ళు నా మీదికి రువ్వుతుంటావ్. కాళ్ళు తెగిపోయినా సరే, పరేడ్ లో ముందే వుండాలని నేనూ అనుకుంటాను. కాని, యీ సారి పరేడ్ లో… Continue Reading
Why the Chinese are Making a Catastrophic Mistake in Xinjiang, by Daanish Mustafa (12/18/2019) - Malice against children is emblematic of evil in the Abrahamic religious tradition. The Old Testament tells the story of how the Pharaoh ordered the murder of every male Hebrew child born in Egypt to protect himself against the Messiah—Moses (es)—that the shamans had foretold would destroy him. Ironically, he ended up raising Moses (es) in his own house, and was destroyed by him anyway. One can read the story literally or allegorically, but in either case the intent of the Egyptian empire was to destroy the Hebrew, either through a campaign of genocide or through acculturation. Pharaoh tried both—by attempting… Continue Reading
A Letter of Support from Gujarat to Kashmir (10/17/2019) - A group of 250 activists, academics, students, artists and concerned citizens of Gujarat have signed this letter to declare solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who have been silenced and held captive in their own land. They call for a complete lift on the media and communications blockade (including the restoration of internet services), the release of political prisoners detained without trial since August 5, the demilitarisation of Kashmir, and the initiation of a meaningful dialogue with the people of the region on their future. A Letter of Support, from Gujarat to Kashmir On August 5, the Indian… Continue Reading
A friend is passing on today…, by Janani Eswar (5/7/2019) - The Gulmohar and I are losing a companion. May 5th, 2016 Until yesterday, if you looked outside where we work, you would find a beautiful mango tree on the plot next to us. In the respectful form of Tamil or Kannada, my mother tongue and the language that is spoken around me right now, pronouns and sentence conjugations are agender; like English’s plural pronoun. Perhaps this is why using they, them, theirs as pronouns to refer to my friend, this Mango tree, feels the most appropriate while communicating in English. Just taller than our two story building, they were reaching… Continue Reading