What we are reading | Issue No: 11

Asim Rafiqui

Table of Contents

  1. “Why Great Art Is Always A Political One”

This is a stunning documentary by Anjali Monteiro and K. P. Jayasankar– very unique in its structure and arrangement, that features Narayan Surve and the artist Sudhir Patwardhan. It places them squarely in the period of working-class struggles and concerns, which is lovely to see. This is a lovely film, and you can hear Sudhir Patwardhan explaining his work.

Can you discover ‘an influence’ after the fact?

What do you call someone who seems to embody your eye, your sensibility, and yet you had never seen his / her work, and yet, when you now see it, you see the ‘influence’…the similarities?

Is he confronting the same questions? Is he seeing this incredibly complex and multi-layered world with the same desire to depict it as close to that complexity as possible?

I am going through these images–gorgeous, striking, unique, and no, I refuse to give you some ‘European’ reference to understand them in any way. They are Patwardhan’s and his alone. But I want to make them as photographs. They are the photographs I would make if in Mumbai. It is beautiful stuff. It makes me want to go and make photographs.


2. “Media Imagines Them Before The State Kills Them”

3. “Someone Finally Said It; Blade Runner And Deep Misogyny”

4. “Wait, They Take Pictures There?”

5. “The Motorcycle As Making Modernity”

6. “Shooting Ourselves; The Spinning Head Tapes”

Suchitra Vijayan

1. Aime Cesaire’s “Poetry and Knowledge”

Poetic knowledge is born in the great silence of scientific knowledge.

 – Aimé Césaire 

2.  The Root of African Savages | MELEKO MOKGOSI

3.  Histories of Violence: Affect, Power, Violence — The Political Is Not Personal Brad Evans interviews Brian Massumi

4. Academic Politics of Silencing

5. My journey home to Puerto Rico, by NICHOLAS POWERS

6. Spoken Word Performance by Jake Maier

I am a veteran

Thank me for my service

If you want to end the conversation

Thank me for my service

If you want to watch my eyes glaze over

Thank me for my service

If you want me to know that you don’t understand, and don’t want to

*deep breath in*

Fuck the military

Fuck the police too

But the police don’t have shit

On two million Americans

Armed with M240B machine guns, 40MM grenade launchers, mortars, JDAMS, Apache helicopters, C4 daisy chains, M1 abrams tanks, F18 jets,

And oh yeah


Thank me for my service

Who did I serve?



Do you feel any safer? Any better off?

I don’t.

The CEOs of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and their shareholders though

They’re doing pretty good

The US is the #1 arms exporter in the world

We spend more on our military than

China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, the UK, Japan, and Germany


Our country is not being taken over by the military industrial complex

Our country IS the military industrial complex

Tell me, when was the last time we bombed white people?

Why did Japan get the nuke, twice, and not the Nazis?

Why did Vietnam get napalm and agent orange?

Why are there bombs exploding over Bagdhad and Raqqa, but none over LA?

We’ve been exporting white supremacy worldwide since 1775

And getting better with practice

You can thank me for my service,

But the military does not exist to protect you

It exists to protect the status quo

That keeps the prisons full of people of color

That keeps the government male, straight, and white

That keeps the police heavily armed and trained

That keeps indigenous people off their land

That keeps universal healthcare out of reach

That keeps our schools poor

And our colleges expensive

Oh and by the way

Our tanks measure fuel in gallons per mile

Not miles per gallon

Can’t have global warming without the global war

So if you need permission

To say fuck the military

I’m giving it to you

If you need permission

To question the veterans you know and love

You’ve got it

But I’m not saying fuck the troops

I’m saying support their resistance

Support conscientious objectors

Support deserters

Support whistleblowers

Bowe Bergdahl is not a traitor

And Chelsea Manning, she’s a hero

The military gives us bogus contracts

It is our moral obligation to terminate them

So don’t thank me for my service

Ask me about it

Because I want to tell you

That if what we’re after is liberation

We must stop supporting the organization

That picks our pockets

And wages genocide for profit

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