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What’s Left: Materialist Responses to the Internet
In San Francisco's Mission District, the Black Bloc Breaks Some Windows and Fails to Make an Impact
Gentrification is a process where a working class, low-income neighborhood is colonized by the affluent and transformed into a bourgeois area. The 'embourgeosification' of a formerly proletarian quarter often begins when authentically impoverished low-income artists and bohemians move in. Minimum-toil-culture types are drawn to a low-income area by cheap rents, and are also often animated by an authentic antipathy for the larger homogenous corporatized society around us. Their marginal presence is followed by a proliferation of artsy enterprises: high-end galleries, shops, bars and restaurants drawing mainstream prosperous types to shop and consume in an area once thought to be too dark, dirty and (usually) non-white for upper middle class tastes. The gentry come to shop and party, and end up moving in, driving up the cost of rental housing, annexing affordable housing altogether, helping to drive hardcore wage slaves and the poor out of their homes and remaking an area in the image of the gentry's grasping, conspicuously consuming, conformist selves.
A Post-Capitalist Farming Experiment
Potentials, Problems and Perspectives
Since one and a half years around 70 people are involved in a post-capitalist farming experiment. Situated in the middle of Germany a collective of 5 growers is feeding around 65 supporters, year-round with a full supply of vegetables. The production is organised along the needs and abilities of the community.
Internally the growers collective evaluates the needs of each "worker". Both in financial terms ("wage") and concrete needs (e.g. a place to live). Those needs have to be met in order to enable the individuals to sustainably organise within the project. This happens independently from the evaluation of the amount of time that each grower is willing to commit to the project ("working hours"). If both of this results in a feeling of enough resources to start growing, a budget is calculated summing up all production costs (including "wages") and running investments of a one-year production.
Reactivating the Social Body in Insurrectionary Times:
A Dialogue with Franco 'Bifo' Berardi
[An interview conducted with David Hugill and Elise Thorburn and first published in the Berkeley Planning Journal, 25(1).]
Abstract: The Italian theorist Franco “Bifo” Berardi has spent a lifetime participating in revolutionary movements and thinking through their complexities. He is best known in the English-speaking world for his association with the Italian autonomist movement Operaismo (“workerism”) and its prominent attempts to transform communist politics by resituating
the “needs, desires, and organizational autonomies” of workers at the foundation of political praxis (Genosko and Thoburn 2011: 3).
No Poetry After Adorno
10 Problems with Adorno’s Dictum “Nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben ist barbarisch” (To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric)
1. Adorno’s dictum is like Fukuyama’s ‘the End of History’, an infuriatingly untrue soundbite that only makes the philosopher look ridiculous. Melodramatic, arrogant, obsolescent, it looks ever more wrongheaded as the decades roll on. A groan of despair, it might have been excusable as a Facebook status update, but not as serious philosophy.
n - 1. Making Multiplicity: A Philosophical Manifesto
Occupation without subject. Movement without subject. Asubjective composition. The current occupation movements are characterized by their dispensing with any subject. No unity, no wholeness, no identifiable class. Classical theories of revolution would see this as a problem, the (revolutionary) subject being a condition for the possibility of revolt, insurgency, revolution as a fixed component of a theory of stages: only once a uniform subject appears on the horizon, a molar block, the working class, a united front, only then – seen from this angle – can the revolution get going.
The Combustible Campus
From Montreal to Mexico City, Something Is Stirring in the University
For three decades now, the neoliberal restructuring of post-secondary education has sought to implant market logic and corporate-style management into the academy. The systematic defunding of public education that enables this process has only intensified in recent years with the global financial crisis and the austerity measures imposed in its wake. The resulting transformation of public university systems has brought us corporatized administrations, rising tuition, departmental closures, expanded class sizes, noxious corporate food, offensives against academic workers, and ethically dubious corporate donations.
In its current form, one could argue that the academy produces little that extends our collective social capacities and much that diminishes them: hierarchy, exploitation, debt, individualism, precarious employment, and cynicism. At a time when knowledge is increasingly seen as a commodity to be produced in accordance with the demands of profit, and public education is decried as an unjust fetter on the ruthless pedagogy of the free market, the private sector has turned its attention to the university and is fervently dedicated to its transformation. The state has mostly obliged, with centre-right and centre-left governments across the world taking turns at accelerating this epochal shift in post-secondary education.
The Tribe of Moles
[Translated by Ed Emery. This is Bologna's seminal investigation of class composition in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s. A Note on Terminology: The categories of class analysis used by the sociology of the traditional working-class movement and by bourgeois sociology (petty bourgeoisie, middle class, lumpen- or sub-proletariat, lumpen-bourgeoisie etc) are used here only in their conventional historical usage. We consider the scientific value of these classifications - in present conditions, and given the assumptions underlying them - to be doubtful to say the least. They have only a conventional value, inasmuch as the concepts of capital and class composition are far better suited to define the dynamic of class relations today as relations of power, which is what concerns us.
The same applies to the category of income. It is used first in its conventional and distributionist sense, derived from bourgeois political economy and largely accepted by the official labour movement; and secondly in its scientific Marxist sense, as revenue - ie income immediately spendable in the sphere of circulation, money as money, which is not exchanged as capital.
But even this latter concept is not entirely satisfactory or adequate for contemporary analysis, insofar as it carries with it a precise historical connotation: it refers to a particular separation between productive labour (exchanged with capital and producing surplus value) and unproductive labour (which, even if it takes a waged form, does not produce surplus value). This separation becomes merely a formal distinction, of little value in analysis of present-day conditions of a fully socialised capitalism.
These contradictions of language are an expression of the contemporary crisis of the traditional Marxist conceptual apparatus. They underline the need for a creative and political re-evaluation of analytical categories, a "rediscovery" of Marxism in the light of the contemporary class struggle. We can then overcome them in a positive way, confronting them dynamically, rather than allowing them to paralyse political analysis. This is why we have preferred a certain polyvalence of meaning (at the risk of confusion) to silence - let alone a biblical and literal exegesis of Marx!]
The Tribe of Moles
This article is a provisional attempt to trace the internal development of the autonomous class movement in Italy, which led to the explosive confrontation around the University occupations in Spring 1977. Such an analysis is only meaningful if it allows us to uncover the new class composition underlying these struggles, and to indicate the first elements of a programme to advance and further generalise the movement.
Reflections on the Cult of Stalin
[First published: as “Brief an Alberto Carocci” in the special issues of Nuovi Argomenti, Nos. 57-58, 1962, devoted to the discussion of the Twenty-second Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union; it was subsequently published as “Privatbrief über Stalinismus, Brief an Alberto Carocci” in Forum, Nos. 115-117, 1693; abridged English translation, published 1963; Transcribed: by André Nj.]
Dear Senor Carocci,
I am very tempted to reply at length to the problems which you raise in your “eight questions”: for practically everything that has occupied the minds of many of us for years – past is concentrated in them. Unfortunately, the circumstances in which I find myself compel me to renounce this intention. But since I do not wish to keep from you completely the ideas in my mind, I am writing just a simple private letter, which, of course, does not pretend at all to deal systematically with all the essential questions.
I begin with the expression “cult of the personality.” Of course I regard it as absurd to reduce the substance and the problems of such an important period in the history of the world to the particular character of an individual. ...
My first reaction to the Twentieth Congress concerned not only the personality but the organization: the apparatus which had produced the cult of the personality and which had fixed it in a sort of endless enlarged reproduction. I pictured Stalin to myself as the apex of a pyramid which widened gradually toward the base and was composed of many ‘little Stalins”: they, seen from above, were the objects and, seen from below, the creators and guardians of the “cult of the personality.” Without the regular and unchallenged functioning of this mechanism the “cult of the personality” would have remained a subjective dream, a pathological fact, and would not have attained the social effectiveness which it exercised for decades.
"In Italy, An Ambiguous Justice"
Salvatore Palidda (Genoa University)
[This article, “En Italie, une justice ambiguë”, was first published in French in
“Mediapart” on 20 July 2012. Translation by Statewatch.]
Everyone recalls the violence, abuses of power and torture by numerous police officers against demonstrators during the Genoa G8, as well as the violence by the self-styled “black bloc”. Eleven years after the 20th and 21st of July 2001, the third instance of Italian justice [the Corte di Cassazione, Italy’s highest appeal court] has just issued its definitive sentence against the officers accused of beating the 93 demonstrators who were sleeping in the Diaz school and then, straight afterwards, a second verdict against ten demonstrators who were charged for “destruction and looting” and accused of being responsible for the “devastation” of the city and for seriously endagering public order.