Walter Benjamin, resistance and the cultural artefact – 5 Objects Podcast with activist and social theorist AK Thompson

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For each episode of 5 Objects, we ask our guest to choose five pieces or items that have influenced their intellectual life and their work. These can be books, art, music, poetry, photographs, performance, a person, an event, or an experience. The choices then become the basis of a free-flowing conversation that discusses our guest’s life, their personal, political, and intellectual journeys and histories. 

For this episode, Suchitra Vijayan spoke to activist and theorist AK Thompson

A.K. Thompson got kicked out of high school for publishing an underground newspaper called The Agitator and has been an activist and social theorist ever since. Currently a Professor of Social Movements and Social Change at Ithaca College, his publications include Sociology for Changing the World: Social Movements/Social Research (2006), Black Bloc, White Riot: Anti-Globalization and the Genealogy of Dissent (2010), Keywords for Radicals: The Contested Vocabulary of Late-Capitalist Struggle (2016), Spontaneous Combustion: The Eros Effect and Global Revolution (2017), and, most recently, Premonitions: Selected Essays on the Culture of Revolt (2018). Between 2005 and 2012, he served on the Editorial Committee of Upping the Anti: A Journal of Theory and Action.

AK Thompson’s 5 objects:

1. My high school uniform
2. Shakespeare my butt by the lowest of the low
3. Tompkins Square Park


Woody Harrelson, as a Seattle tact squad cop, prepares to confront anti-WTO demonstrators, beside graffiti announcing the eventual outcome, which says “We are winning” with the letter a in the word “are” surrounded by a circle, forming a circle-A for anarchism 

4. The “we are winning” photo from Seattle
Woody Harrelson, as a Seattle tact squad cop, prepares to confront anti-WTO demonstrators, beside graffiti announcing the eventual outcome, which says “We are winning” with the letter a in the word “are” surrounded by a circle, forming a circle-A for anarchism
 5. Benjamin’s essay, “On the Concept of History”

You can learn more about A.K.Thompson’s recent book premonitions here

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