Blog

Some Thoughts on the U.S. Presidential Election, by Sima Shakhsari

As we anxiously wait for the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, many who are rightly worried about the ramifications of another four years under Trump’s presidency have hoped that Trump’s removal would restore the American democracy. This hope for restoration raises several concerns, that while not particular to this election, are important to consider. First, we may ask, what exactly “restoring” American democracy after Trump means. After all, despite the promise of freedom and salvation that sustains the American democracy (or rather its illusion), it is paradoxical to insist on restoring a system of governance that was built…

Art for Community, by Molly Costello

Art for Community, by Molly Costello

These pieces are being made available by artist Molly Costello to support the movement for abolition, to challenge the culture of white supremacy and to help imagine a world beyond capitalism. For all of you out there working to build our healed future, thank you for your commitment to this world. Molly is a queer illustrator, food grower, bee tender and a seeker of mysticism. Through their creative work they explore themes of interconnectedness, cosmology, and resilience, and are interested in cultivating a radical imagination for our emergent new world. As a white person, Molly is committed to the work…

Dalit Lives Matter! A Cry to Rage Against the Horrifying Violence of Saffron Terror in India, by India Civil Watch

In Hathras, cops barricade a raped woman’s home, hijack her corpse, set it afire on a murderous night,deaf to her mother’s howling pain. In a land whereDalits cannot rule, they cannot rage, or even mourn.This has happened before, this will happen again.. . . .Sanatana, the only law of the land that’s in force,Sanatana, where nothing, nothing ever will change.Always, always a victim-blaming slut-template,a rapist-shielding police-state, a caste-denying fourth estate.This has happened before, this will happen again. These haunting words from Meena Kandaswamy’s poem, Rape Nation, were penned in the aftermath of the brutal gang rape and murder of a…

Artwork, by Sunil Awachar

Artwork, by Sunil Awachar

Dr Sunil Abhiman Awachar is a poet, painter and Assistant Professor at the Department of Marathi, University of Mumbai, India. He is a full-time activist in the Dalit human rights movement. He has published four anthologies of poetry in Marathi, that include ‘Global vartamanachya kavita (2008)’ ‘Mi mahasattechya darashi katora gheun ubha rahanaar nahi,’ ‘Bravo! Fox minds of capitalist’ and ‘Poems of the occupied everything’. One of these anthologies was translated into English as ‘Our world is not for sale’. His poems, written in a unique blend of local Indian languages—Mahari, Gondi and Banjara, are political statements which demand social justice. He is also on…

(Too) Great Expectations? On Fieldwork, Guidelines, and Ethics in Human Geography, by Mark Anthony Arceño, Deondre Smiles, Emelie Bailey, Anurag Mazumdar, Thelma Vélez, J.P. Wilson, Kelly Yotebieng, and Kendra McSweeney.

ABSTRACT This blog post engages the American Association of Geographers’ (AAG) 2009 “Statement on Professional Ethics.” We argue that the Statement falls short in helping us (students) understand how we know if we are doing the “right” thing when conducting research in the field. Rather than suggest new verbiage for a revised code of ethics (which we had been told was  apparently ongoing within the AAG), we instead ask for a broader rethinking of the AAG’s role as an arbiter of ethical practice in the field, organizing its collective ethical stance and resources to support us as researchers undergoing graduate…

ACTION ALERT! International Community Condemns the Horrifying Violence against Dalit Women by Police-State in India, By India Civil Watch

By now, you may have heard about the most recent cases of horrifying rapes and murders of Dalit women and their terrorization and traumatization by the police in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. We are reaching out to individuals and organizations located outside India to sign a statement to express in the strongest possible collective voice our outrage at this horrific violence, to express our solidarity with all the families of survivors and victims of caste-based violence in India, and to join organizations, movements, and concerned citizens across India and the world to demand accountability and justice for…

Beautiful Damaged People, By Abhay Flavian Xaxa

Among the doom and gloom they smile, Mistaken for idiots by the mad rational world.  The Adivasis, beautifully damaged people! On the treasures of iron, gold and diamond they sit, Poor and powerless, holding the curse of nature. The curse of loving their land , water, forest, where they prefer to die as mad lover beautifully damaged people! With stars in their eyes, n moon in their minds, Thoughts flowing like an undammed river with hearts unadulterated with twisted philosophies, Religions, ideologies, lust and greed. Their vision misunderstood as juvenility, On the face of violence, loot and hopelessness they remain,…

Rest, by Amoke Kubat

These times; Coronavirus now called COVID-19. The whole world is on lockdown. People are fearful, confused, defiant and restless. Somebody must have cried out from the wilderness, “What next, God?” I asked myself privately, “Is this when Hell freezes over?” I am sleepless with such questions. I am concerned but not scared. Worldwide protests ignited (again) by the brutal, livestreamed and televised murder of another Black man, George Floyd. These times. I live in north Minneapolis. I watched people engage their rage to mobilize and take to the streets. I had seen this before, August 1965, during the Watts riots….

Between academic time and crisis time: A conversation with Mona Bhan and Celina Su

Between academic time and crisis time: A conversation with Mona Bhan and Celina Su

So much has happened since we met for the first time via Zoom in early May. On a hot summer afternoon in August, we met via Zoom again, spending two hours thinking through the interview questions presented by the AGITATE! Team. We took turns answering each question; each time, we excitedly pointed out joint commitments and overlaps in our responses. This did not feel forced at all. We then spent a few minutes jotting down our verbal notes in writing. Although we each came back to our written notes to proofread them for clarity, we decided against making any substantive…

कुठली मेथडॉलॉजी… Which Methodology…, by विनायक लष्कर (Vinayak Lashkar)

कुठली मेथडॉलॉजी… -विनायक लष्कर कुठली मेथडॉलॉजी वापरून आमच्या जिवंतपणाचं तुम्ही संशोधन करताय गुर्जीतुमच्या मेलेल्या सिद्धांतांनीआमचं जिवंत असणं कधीच नाकारून टाकलंय…संख्या फेकण्यात तर तुम्ही सराईत तज्ञ आहात गुर्जीपण कोणत्या पद्धती वापरून तुम्ही करणार आहातआमच्या शोषलेल्या रक्ताचं गुणात्मक विश्लेषण…संशोधन पेपरांचे तर तुम्ही ढिगावर ढिग रचतच चाललाय गुर्जीपण आमच्या घामाची शाई तुम्हाला कधीच उमटवता येणार नाही कागदावर…राष्ट्रीय, आंतरराष्ट्रीय पातळीवर टाय कोट घालून तुम्ही पेपर प्रेझेंट कराल गुर्जीपण आमचं रिकामं प्वॉटतुम्ही कधीच भरू शकणार नाही…तुमच्या संदर्भ सुचीत नामांकित नावंतुम्ही शोधून शोधून टाकाल गुर्जीपण ही पृथ्वी समृद्ध करण्यासाठी आमच्या झिजलेल्या भाऊबंदांची नावं तुम्ही कधीच टाकू शकणार नाही…पण एक फुटनोट द्यायला मात्र तुम्ही कधीच ईसरू नका गुर्जीतुमच्या या सगळ्या सिद्धांत पद्धतीशास्त्रांनीआमची सामान्य जगण्याची गृहीतकं सिद्ध करण्याच्या नादातसमदी जिंदगीच ईस्कटून टाकली… Which…

‘We are part of the tapestry’: Black Iranians launch collective, by Behdad Mahichi (from Aljazeera)

‘We are part of the tapestry’: Black Iranians launch collective, by Behdad Mahichi (from Aljazeera)

She sits with an air of reflection, a tea in one hand, staring into the moon over the Gulf through the window. Next to her are two books, one titled Iranian. The second one is opened – and on a fresh page she has written down and underlined the word “Africa”. It is a scene from Siyaa Zibaast (Black is Beautiful), an animated short series. The woman depicted is Khyzran Khanum, a 22-year old who was kidnapped from Tanzania and sold as a slave in Iran in the mid-1800s. Despite being told to remain home, Khyzran hears from another enslaved…

Waháŋpi!, By Agléška Cohen-Rencountre (Lower Brule Sioux Tribe)

Red skies erupt as the sun escapes prying eyes. Glass lake surface distorts the shape of the canoes upon them from top down views. Vagina shaped vessels pulsing between the pressures of the lake and sky. Fish glance jump to spot who are the stewards of the birchbark cloud in their midst. Black fur covered land loving bullfrog? Oh yes. It’s a rez dog, knows her way around a canoe because the manoomin is ready to harvest. Customary knocking sticks in paw. Nothing unusual on this dreamy day to her at all – let them deny the possibility that she…

Conversations on Tamil Feminist Theater, hosted by Marappachi Theater (Part 2)

This is the second installment in a two-part series on Tamil Feminist Theater We live in a time when conflict and destruction are no longer the exception but the norm. It may be natural disasters or conflicts created by State and non-state institutions and individuals. It often feels like a dark cloud is looming over us. However, those of us who have chosen to live with the purpose of changing the world to the best of our ability always see a silver lining to these clouds. That could be a song that expresses deep sadness and thus helps with healing;…

Conversations on Tamil Feminist Theater, hosted by Marappachi Theater (Part 1)

This is the first installment in a two-part series on Tamil Feminist Theater We live in a time when conflict and destruction are no longer the exception but the norm. It may be natural disasters or conflicts created by State and non-state institutions and individuals. It often feels like a dark cloud is looming over us. However, those of us who have chosen to live with the purpose of changing the world to the best of our ability always see a silver lining to these clouds. That could be a song that expresses deep sadness and thus helps with healing;…

Palestinian in Hiroshima, by Mazin Qumsiyeh

Palestinian in Hiroshima, by Mazin Qumsiyeh

I and Oliver Stone both spoke at Hiroshima on the anniversary of the first nuclear bombing in human history and we are slated to speak in two days at Nagasaki on the anniversary of the second nuclear attack. My speech is below in English (I will send the Japanese version later). These remain the most starkest of acts of state terror in Human history. I had seen images and video before that made me shudder but being in the City is different. At 8:15 AM on a sunny hot day we laid down next to the dome for three minutes with…

We Belong to the Land, by Antônio Bispo dos Santos

We Belong to the Land, by Antônio Bispo dos Santos

Translated by Carmela Zigoni1 I. When I provoke a debate about colonization, the quilombos2, their manners and their meanings, I do not want to position myself as a thinker. Instead, I am positioning myself as a translator. My elders formed me first through orality, but they put me in school to learn through written language so that I could translate the contracts3 we were forced to make. I went to the school of written language at the age of nine but since I started to speak, I have also been trained by ‘craft masters’ in our community activities. When I…

The Creative Process, by James Baldwin (1962)

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…

A Statement by Sociology Graduate Students at the University of Minnesota

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…

Black Lives Matter and Savarna Supremacy, by Vishal Jamkar and Richa Nagar

Black Lives Matter and Savarna Supremacy, by Vishal Jamkar and Richa Nagar

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 in this country, in education, in health services, and in every area of American life. It’s time for us to…

La règle des trois unités, by Beaudelaine Pierre

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…

A Frank Discussion with Iranian Americans about COVID19 and US Sanctions on Iran, by CODEPINK

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…

Statement for a Feminist Foreign Policy to Confront the Coronavirus Pandemic

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…

In Praise of Empathy, by Ruramisai Charumbira

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…

When humanity fails: A hopeful reminder, by Elizabeth Sumida Huaman

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…

The Most Lethal Virus Is Not COVID-19, by Margo Okazawa-Rey

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 healthcare workers, and finding effective ways to support workers and families in precarious situations and small businesses at risk of not surviving. At the same time, must keep socializing virtually through dancing, music concerts, and other creative, inspiring, and healing, as well as fun, gatherings.

Violence Against Muslims and Peaceful Dissenters in Northeast Delhi: Urgent Call for Global Action to Support the Many Shaheen Baghs, by India Civil Watch

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…

యింకో ద్వేష భక్తి గీతం! Another Ode to Hate-riotism, original poem in Telugu by Afsar, translated into English by N. Venugopal

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…

Why the Chinese are Making a Catastrophic Mistake in Xinjiang, by Daanish Mustafa

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…

A Letter of Support from Gujarat to Kashmir

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…

A friend is passing on today…, by Janani Eswar

A friend is passing on today…, by Janani Eswar

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…