Issue 4: Counterlexicons

Call for Texts


The gruesome violence of Israel’s war in Gaza—the magnitude of both material and immaterial losses—is blatantly exposing the West’s warmongering financial machine as it simultaneously denies the current genocide and refuses to reckon with its own colonial history. Concurrently, from America to Asia, people are mobilizing in a massive movement of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, giving credence to Ghassan Kanafani’s declaration that “the Palestinian cause is not a cause for Palestinians only, but a cause for every revolutionary, wherever he is, as a cause of the exploited and oppressed masses in our era.”

While military violence and destruction is war’s most conspicuous battlefront, the policing and silencing of language in the West exposes the profound rift between oppressive and liberatory forces, and between ruling classes and the rest. Accordingly, the very meaning of words is being altered or denied. And today, signing a petition, chanting slogans, or releasing a statement in solidarity with the Palestinians can incur material consequences. In McCarthyite fashion, written and spoken words are weaponized in disingenuous accusations used to justify the unfolding genocide. While there is no comparison between genocidal violence and the risks of voicing a political stance, the repression of pro-Palestinian speech nevertheless lays bare the dehumanizing force at work in both the culture industry and military industrial complex, as well as their interconnectedness.

What we say and how we say it is formative of the common sense we share. What words can help us think, position, and grasp the monstrosity of the present without paralyzing us? How is language itself a battlefront from which to expand existing frameworks of work, action, and solidarity, while resisting the complicity of others? Must we unearth old lexicons? Must we not create new ones?

This call draws on the historical role of artists and intellectuals in developing a visual and poetic language to speak to and resist dispossession—a duty which has been, from the start, intricately enmeshed with leftist anti-racist struggles around the world. In light of such histories, we invite poets, writers, and artists to send us essays, poems, manifestos, statements, declarations, and letters that explore both the perversion and possibilities of language in times of genocide.

Send us your contributions by April 1st at magazine @ makhzin. org!