We are a clearinghouse for difficult ideas

Dear readers,

The Polis Project is a hybrid research and journalism organization that works with communities in resistance. Through our Research, Reportage and Resistance approach, we publish and disseminate critical ideas that are excluded from the mainstream media.

Our work sheds light on the rise of authoritarianism especially in democracies and focuses on issues of racial, class and caste injustice, Islamophobia and state oppression around the world.

In September 2019, the United States Library of Congress selected The Polis Project's website for inclusion in its web archives. They consider the “website to be an important part of their collection and historical record.”

We publish fearless journalism – you can read our Washington Post op-ed on how our work has been censored on Twitter at the behest of the Indian State.

Launched in 2017, we have hosted scholars, writers and activists to disseminate a variety of positions in regards to some of the most critical issues affecting contemporary global politics. Some of our guests include Somali Canadian writer Hassan Ghedi Santur, writer and scholar Nanjala Nyaloba, Prof. Nijah Cunningham, author of Tear Gas Anna Feigenbaum, feminist theorist and activist Zillah Eisenstein, Arjun Sethi (author of American Hate), member of the National Assembly of Pakistan Mohsin Dawar, Alaa Satir on the Sudanese revolution and Pulitzer prize-winning photographer Lorenzo Tugnoli. From American imperialism to state violence in India, from the ways cities are structured in Pakistan to the ethnic erasure in Sri Lanka, we explore our relationship with power and the collectivist spirit that unites us.

We are thrilled to reach a new audience through ScrollStack and here we share a selection of works we are extremely proud of.

Consider it a taste of what is to come.

Voices of Dissent: A History of Dissent in India - A conversation with Romila Thapar

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Prof. Romila Thapar about her book Voices of Dissent

We live in times when any form of dissent in India is marked as anti-national suggesting that the very concept of dissent has been imported into India from the West. It is an argument made by those who imagine the Indian past as free of blemishes and not requiring dissenting opinions.

Suchitra Vijayan sat down with Prof. Romila Thapar to talk about her new book Voices of Dissent and the significance of dissent throughout Indian history. Here they explore the long history of dissent in the subcontinent as its forms evolved or changed through the centuries.

Is Kashmir under military occupation? Why that is not rhetoric and it is important to answer the question.

Senior journalist Parvaiz Bukhari in conversation with lawyer Kartik Murukutla

Senior journalist Parvaiz Bukhari is in conversation with international human rights lawyer Kartik Murukutla regarding state violence and human rights abuses in Kashmir. The two discuss if Indian presence in Kashmir can be termed an occupation and what that means for international understanding of the region going forward.


Urban displacement and grassroots activism in Karachi

Karachi Bachao Tehreek is a grassroots coalition of lawyers and activists who are concerned about the sustainability of the development projects in the city of Karachi. They work in collaboration with community leaders in the working-class localities that bear the brunt of this so-called development.

In this conversation with Francesca Recchia, Fatima Zaidi details the timeline of urban violence and disenfranchisement taking place in the city, how the resistance movement came about and what are their demands. Even as the State enacts exploitative capitalist policies, Zaidi expresses hope in the future of a people’s movement.

Visit our Soundcloud for the full conversation.

Urban conflicts and promises in Karachi: evictions, development and activism.

Extending our explorations in Karachi, Francesca Recchia sits down with Arif Hasan, an architect, urban historian and activist from the city.

Looking at anti-encroachment drives that have targeted vulnerable communities, Hasan details how Karachi changed from a bustling multi-ethnic city after Independence to one blatantly favoring upper classes. He analyzes the impact of neoliberalism and private capital in determining an urban development based on projects rather than plans as well as global interests that contribute to shaping the city. Hasan unpacks the intricate nexus of collaborations and complicities between government officials, private developers, politicians, the judiciary and the Military that is the main force behind current land policies. As the Police and the State respond to the protests and mobilizations against these policies with increasing violence, Hasan sees hope in nurturing spaces to meet, build coalitions and fighting back.

Listen to the full conversation on our Soundcloud

Find the full interview on our website.

Keep listening and do take care.

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The Polis Project, Inc

Clearing house for difficult ideas