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« February 2015 »
Speech at Franco Berardi’s PhD Defence
Being a decade younger, I heard for the first time from him and his activities around 1980, when stories about Radio Alice were spreading throughout Europe. True, the Amsterdam free radio scene, operating out of the squatters movement of the time, had a multitude of (local) roots but Radio Alice was certainly one of them. The Bologna uprising of 1977, in which Bifo played a crucial role, predated our most tumultuous year, 1980, and was thus a an important source of inspiration for the revolts in Amsterdam, Zurich and Berlin. What we shared was our common desire to find out what ‘autonomy’ could look like in different parts of Western Europe which lacked any trace of its own ‘operaist’ workers movement.
Part punk and new wave, part rainbow coalition (feminism, anti-nuclear eco protests, anti-racism), part post-industrial turning techno, the sense of ‘no future’ in this late Cold War period was widely spread. The march into the institutions was over and doors were closing. Even the Situationists had closed shop. Being aware that well-meaning alternative proposals were no longer effective, we set up temporary encampments for anger & beauty. In these dark times of mass youth unemployment, the common language was one of refusal. After the lived utopia of the late 1960s with its failed experiments, my generation grew up in the shadow of armed struggles of others. Slowly but steadily we said goodbye to solidarity with the post-colonial national projects. After our own movements started to disintegrate, even our own militants went on a self-marginalising path (however, without taking other with them in their misery). By the second part of the eighties we were on our own, in a harsh neo-liberal technological world that inevitably forced the Media Question and the Globalization Question upon us. The ‘slow cancellation of the future’ (as Mark Fisher calls it in Ghosts of my Life) happened under our very eyes, leaving head space to dream how computer-aided social networking should look like.
I cannot but think strategically, in a political sense, about Berardi’s timely mapping exercise that he performed here. Every insight breathes the sense of intense debate and collective consideration, set in 1975, 1996, 2011, 2020 and beyond. Suffice to say, this PhD thesis has neither become a hermetic Hegelian Magnus Opus, nor a boring academic residue of an author’s wild years. Quoted sources are treated like equals. There are zero traces of a plagued genius or arrogant theory celebrity that suffers from melancholy. The tone remains urgent. We may or may not be depressed, but at least we’ve made the quantum jump to start studying depression. This is not become we indulge in our collective defeat, but we want to unlock the general sensibility. Let’s make our vulnerability unmanageable.
Review of Precarious Communism
In Precarious Communism Gilman-Opalsky explains that the purpose of any manifesto, including his own, is to make manifest certain facts. Accordingly, he highlights the difference between Marx and ‘Marxism’ without engaging dead ideologies. He is a ‘precarious’ proponent of new theories void of historical baggage or loaded terms. This makes the book an excellent supplement to many social science and humanities courses.
Gilman-Opalsky situates Marx and ‘Marxism’ in the concept of precarious communism (autonomy) in an attempt to disentangle the terms ‘communism’ and ‘Marxism’ from past ideological purity and state practice. It is a way forward that allows for no single pure ideological possibility of social organisation, but rather many diverse possibilities for achieving a non-capitalist society that could be described generally as communal. Precarious Communism also demonstrates the ‘precarious’ position of the non-ideological communist seeking a way forward. It is within this context that Gilman-Opalsky attempts to situate the Communist Manifesto for today’s audience, realities, and experiences, using the methodological technique developed by the French Situationists (an artistic-political organisa- tion) under Guy Debord called detournement (meaning re-routing or hijacking).
One of the author’s major contributions is to update Marxist ideas, rather than ideology, showing their relevance both theoretically and as more accurate descriptions of conditions under late capitalism or neoliberalism. In fact, such critical analyses are more important and relevant than ever before given the expansion of capitalist co-optation and invasion into even more spheres of life than in Marx’s times. Gilman-Opalsky points out that globalisation is still based on the old city power centres around the world. In this sense, globalisation is a thinly veiled exercise aiming to further modern forms of neo-colonialism. More so, this is a ‘privatized’ globalisation, as he points out, where national governments have voluntarily privatised almost all of their functions leaving them as hollow ‘straw men’ for the elite to rail against, an ironic sight indeed since governments, having been co-opted long ago, are no more than political expressions of capital. He points out this contradiction where so-called liberals (basically the bourgeoisie) accuse the capitalist state of being Marxist.
2015 Autonomedia Calendar of Jubilee Saints
Radial Heroes for the New Millennium!
James Koehnline and the Autonomedia Collective
Autonomedia's Jubilee Saints Calendar for 2015! Our 23rd annual wall calendar, with artwork by James Koehnline, and text by the Autonomedia Collective.
Hundreds of radical cultural and political heroes are celebrated here, along with the animating ideas that continue to guide this project — a reprieve from the 500-year-long sentence to life-at-hard-labor that the European colonization of the "New World" and the ensuing devastations of the rest of the world has represented. It is increasingly clear — at the dawn of this new millennium — that the Planetary Work Machine will not rule forever!
Celebrate with this calendar on which every day is a holiday!
32 pages, 12 x 16 inches, saddle stitched
isbn 978-1-57027-299-8 : price $9.95 : 32 pages
Buy two, and we will send a third calendar for free!
Lives of the Orange Men Review
Lives of the Orange Men: A Biographical History of the Polish Orange Alternative Movement
by Major Waldemar Fydrych, Minor Compositions
It is something of a cliché to say the Spanish experienced what the rest of Western Europe went through in the 1960s in the 1980s, after being freed from the yoke of Franco’s fascist dictatorship. The same might be said of Eastern Europe as it extricated itself from the clutches of Bolshevism. That’s certainly the impression created by this eyewitness account of the Orange Alternative by one of its prominent activists, Major Waldemar Fydrych.
The Orange Alternative practised what it dubbed ‘social Surrealism’ to parody the state capitalist dictatorship in Poland and its socialist realist art. This loose group of activists restaged the storming of the Winter Palace (a key incident in the Bolshevik seizure of power) using cardboard tanks and ships that the actors wore as costumes; likewise they handed out toilet paper in the streets when there was a shortage of this commodity. Fydrych explains his involvement in these actions in this way: ‘I make dialectical art… in other words I act upon consciousness and treat everything as a work of art.’ Many of the Orange Alternative’s actions echo neo-dadaist and related activity in the West in the 1960s. For example: ‘The day of the happening…was an evening full of surprises… the militia tried to arrest the Santa Clauses. The Santas were protected against easy arrest by being tied together with a rope. While the militiamen were untying them, the crowd sang Sto Lat (A traditional Polish song, similar to For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow)… the crowd… sometimes chased the militiamen… chanting, “What are we to think? Santa’s in the clink!” and “Release Santa!”... Since it was St. Nicholas Day, the militiamen also arrested professional Santa Clauses coming out of department stores with presents.’
This brings to mind the Black Mask intervention at Macy’s in the late 1960s where one member of the group dressed up as Santa Claus and handed out free toys to children. The kids were then treated to the edifying spectacle of seeing Santa arrested and having their toys snatched back from them by the cops. The stunt was repeated at Selfridges in London by the King Mob group.
Class Wargames Book Launch London 25 October
Red Gallery 1-3 Rivington St, London EC2A 3DT
Class Wargames: ludic subversion against spectacular capitalism
“In a world become ‘game-ified’ against its will, Class Wargames provides the field manual for the only game that matters – that of history.” – McKenzie Wark
5.00-7.00pm: collective games playing
7.00-7.30pm: screening of Ilze Black's 'The Game of War' film
7.30-9.00pm: talks by Richard Barbrook, Fabian Tompsett and Kimathi Donkor
9.00pm until late: KCC & the Rocking Crew and Toi-Toi featuring Claus Voigtmann
Requisite fb event page
There will also be a book event at the London Anarchist Bookfair, 18 October at 5PM
"Ebola and NATO"
In a world that is increasingly more densely interconnected, and, theoretically, more informed, one can easily observe how misinformation/disinformation is easily spread around. It is also easy to observe that those who have the most to win from any given development shall resort to anything in order to ensure their own victory. In this kind of situation, sometimes described as a “crisis”, uncomfortable questions will tend not to be asked, and when asked the dominant profiteering mindset, centuries in the making, will likely lead to silencing any uncomfortable questions that might arise, and, naturally, the even more uncomfortable answers. To examine some of the origins and ramifications of this mindset would require much more space and time than this brief essay.
In order to understand the logic and reasoning coming out of an institution like NATO, one should understand how its rise is intimately connected to the history of how the United States was settled. In both cases, the central element is the conquest and shaping of power through military means. This process has led to an understanding and practice of justice, in the US and beyond its borders, determined by violence. Beyond its borders, NATO has become the most powerful instrument in the US military arsenal to impose its view of humanity, its understanding of justice. NATO has allowed the US and its allies to impose its own understanding and practice of justice by any means necessary, including circumventing the UN. The institutionalization of violence (through NATO) to achieve complete and total control over all segments of humanity has gone so far that the deep and wide historical interconnections between the expansion of NATO and the expansion of Ebola tend to be seen as having nothing to do with each other. The logic and reasoning operating in the mindsets of those who are in charge of NATO is no different from the logic and reasoning operating in the mindsets of any rapist anywhere in the world. In the process, collectively and individually, they tell themselves “nothing will happen to me”.
New issue of ephemera on ‘The politics of worker’s inquiry’
The Politics of Worker’s Inquiry
ephemera: theory & politics in organization
Volume 14, Number 3 (August 2014)
Edited by Joanna Figiel, Stevphen Shukaitis, and Abe Walker
This issue brings together a series of commentaries, interventions and projects centred on the theme of workers’ inquiry. Workers’ inquiry is a practice of knowledge production that seeks to understand the changing composition of labour and its potential for revolutionary social transformation. It is a practice of turning the tools of the social sciences into weapons of class struggle. It also seeks to map the continuing imposition of the class relation, not as a disinterested investigation, but rather to deepen and intensify social and political antagonisms.
Workers’ inquiry developed in a context marked by rapid industrialization, mass migration and the use of industrial sociology to discipline the working class. It was formulated within autonomist movements as a sort of parallel sociology based on a radical re-reading of Marx and Weber against the politics of the communist party and the unions. The process of inquiry took the contradictions of the labour process as a starting point and sought to draw out such political antagonisms into the formation of new radical subjectivities. With this issue we seek to rethink workers’ inquiry as a practice and perspective, in order to understand and catalyse emergent moments of political composition.
Including essays from Fabrizio Fasulo, Frederick H. Pitts, Christopher Wellbrook, Anna Curcio, Colectivo Situaciones, Evangelinidis Angelos, Lazaris Dimitris, Jennifer M. Murray, Michał Kozłowski, Bianca Elzenbaumer, Caterina Giuliani, Alan W. Moore, T.L. Cowan, Jasmine Rault, Jamie Woodcock, and Gigi Roggero; an interview with Jon McKenzie; and book reviews by Craig Willse, Stephen Parliament, Christian De Cock, Mathias Skrutkowski, and Orla McGarry.
The International Gathering of “The Workers’ Economy” Mexico City November 7-8
Following the first four encuentros internacionales (international gatherings) of the “Workers’ Economy,” held in Argentina, Mexico and Brazil from 2007 to 2013, and after the first Regional Gathering of Europe and the Mediterranean, held in Marseille, France in January 2014, it is now proposed to conduct Regional Gatherings in every even-numbered year and International Gatherings in odd-numbered years. Following this plan, the 1st Regional Gathering of the North America, Central America and Caribbean Region of “The Workers’ Economy” will be held in Mexico City, Mexico on November 7th and 8th, 2014; the 1st South American Regional Gathering of the “The Workers’ Economy” will take place in Argentina on October 3th and 4th, 2014; and the 5th International Gathering of “The Workers’ Economy” will be held in Venezuela in July, 2015.
We invite you to attend the 1st Regional Gathering of the North America, Central America and Caribbean Region of “The Workers’ Economy” in November 2014.
Conducting an encuentro in the North America, Central America and Caribbean Region on themes pertaining to “the workers’ economy” entails enormous challenges for the emerging struggles of workers building an alternative economy. First, there is a huge gulf between the developed countries of North America (Canada and the USA) and those further south (Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean) — in technological development, economic organization, and standards of work and life. Second, the imperialist role and agenda pursued by American capitalism has meant economic and political dependence among most capitalist governments and countries in the region. Third, the region’s workforce continues to experience enormous disparity and dispersion.
Review of Communization and its Discontents
Published in Anarchy: A Journal Of Desire Armed #74
Anthologies are always tricky. The job of an editor includes surveying the intellectual landscape for as much of a similar understanding of the topic as possible, then finding the right contributions from the right authors, and gathering them together in as coherent a manner as possible. This doesn’t always work out the way the editor or a publisher might want. Anthologies are always a mixed bag as well, with some contributions making more of an impression and others being totally forgettable. Part of the challenge with an anthology concerning trends in this particular intellectual radical theory is that there are some seriously divergent understandings and theorizing about this communization stuff, both from inside and outside the tendency. Much to Minor Compositions’ and Noys’ credit, the essays in this anthology span a wide range of opinions and assessments about communization, from unqualified excitement through qualified enthusiasm to qualified skepticism, if not dismissal.
Occupy the Mexican Consulate in New York City, June 19-20, 2014
Thursday Jun 19 at 3:00pm to Friday Jun 20 at 5:00pm at
Mexican Consulate 27 E 39th St btw. Madison & Park Aves,
nr. #4, 5, 6, S, 7, B, D, F, M, N, Q, R, 1, 2, 3 & 42nd St. cross town bus: http://goo.gl/Oqy0cx ; buses: goo.gl/97dMyW description: https://www.facebook.com/events/1416636688614361/ ``two day occupation...come any time``\
Date: Sat, 14 Jun 2014 10:46:07 -0400 From:
Occupy the Mexican Consulate in NYC to stop the deadly attacks on the Zapatistas and their teachers
Are you coming? Let us know!
WHAT Non-violent protest to stop the paramilitary deadly attacks on the Zapatista autonomous communities who are resisting the predator corporate power, defending the land, the natural resources of the jungle, and building a horizontal, leaderless community for a world where many worlds fit.
As Sub-Commander Moises highlights, ``we will not respond with violence`` .
WHERE Mexican Consulate
27 E 39th St, New York, New York 10016
WHEN This is a 2-day occupation, from THURSDAY 19 at 3 pm to FRIDAY 20t at 5 pm. New York Civil Rights Legendary Attorney Norman Siegel has agreed to be a legal observer and advisor for this Occupation. You can come anytime and stay for as long as you can!
WHO An initiative originated in the heart of our fellow John Penley,
[ facebook.com/john.r.penley ; facebook.com/john.penley.3 -t.] growing in the hearts of many others, with the help of the
OWS Zapatista Solidarity Network. [ facebook.com/OccupySolidarityNetwork ]
In response to the May 2, 2014 paramilitary attack on the Zapatista community of La Realidad and the killing of community member Companero Galeano, over 2000 organizations, intellectuals, and activists from North America and beyond – includding Mumia Abu-Jamal, Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Junot Diaz, Cornel West, Emory Douglas, the IWW, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and many, many others –“ denounced this violence and called for a week of action in solidarity with the pain and rage of the Zapatista communities.
During the week of May 18-24, companer@s in solidarity in more than 40 cities across the world responded to this call. Their actions, reported to the Anattackonusall.org website, circulated through the corresponding facebook and twitter account, andcovered in the free and independent media in English, Spanish, Greek, and Italian, included: demonstrations at consulates and corporations, in the streets, and in public spaces; conferences and panel discussions on Zapatismo and autonomy; silent marches and memorials; readings, info sessions, teach-ins, and study groups; art installations, video and banner production, concerts, poetry readings, and Zapatista documentary screenings; fund-raisers, flyer distribution, e-graffiti actions, and encampments, and email and phone campaigns to Mexican Consulates across the US as well as to the office of Manuel Velasco, Governor of Chiapas, and more.
Â Do you want to help re-build the school that was destroyed in La Realidad Autonomous community?
``The capitalist government at its three levels [federal, state and local] destroyed the autonomous school and the autonomous clinic and the hose from where the water comes and, with that, they want to put an end to the Zapatista fight. Zapatista people don`t forget that the government destroyed their first community Aguascalientes, and then Zapatista women and men built other five Aguascalientes. And when they destroyed the humble houses of our MAREZ authorities (Municipios AutÃ³nomos Rebeldes Zapatistas) in 1998 (â€¦) the MAREZ kept working following their path and strongerâ€ - Subcommander Insurgent MoisÃ©s.
"We want to let all our comrades in Mexico and the world know that we have opened a bank account in the name of our dear compaÃ±era Fernanda Navarro, so deposits of money can be made to the campaign for the reconstruction of the school and clinic that were actually destroyed by the beast in the service of big capital" (See the picture with the bank information if you want to make a donation)