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New No’s by Paul Chan

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 22, 2018

After the 2016 election, artist and writer Paul Chan wrote the following poem that he called “New No’s”.

No to racists
No to fascists
No to taxes funding racists and fascists

No mercy for rapists
No pity for bigots
No forgiveness for nativists
No to all those

No hope without rage
No rage without teeth
No separate peace
No easy feat

No to bounds by genders
No to clickbait as culture
No to news as truths
No to art as untruths

No anti-Semitic anything
No Islamophobic anything
No progress without others
No meaning without meaning

No means no
No means no
No means no
No means no

I ran across this several times at The Whitney; it’s part of their great exhibition An Incomplete History of Protest. The exhibition is closing next week and the poem is difficult to find online (Chan’s own publishing company, which was selling posters of the poem, seems to be defunct at the moment), so I wanted to preserve a copy here.

Update: The notable prior art for this piece includes Yvonne Rainer’s No Manifesto, Ad Reinhardt’s No War, and The No Manifesto for Poetry Readings and LISTSERVs and Magazine and ‘Open Versatile Spaces Where Cultural Production Flourishes’. (via @joeld)