"It Is Simply All Too Much"
An Interview with the Italian Philosopher Franco "Bifo" Berardi
Tim Stüttgen

[Franco "Bifo" Berardi is an author, philosopher and media activist. Alongside Antonio Negri, Michael Hardt, Paolo Virno and Maurizio Lazzarato, he is one of the most influential proponents of so-called post-operaism. He was in charge of the magazine »A/traverso« (1975–1981) and associated with the left-wing radical radio station Alice (1976-1978). Like many other members of the Autonomia movement, he fled to Paris in the 1970s, where he made the acquaintance of Félix Guattari. With Guattari, he studied schizoanalysis, which led to experimental collaborations with many artists and activists. His most recent publications include "The Soul at Work" (2009), "Precarious Rhapsody" (2009) and "After the Future" (2011).]

Tim Stüttgen: Let us begin straight away with the theses put forward in your book "The Soul at Work".... In the book, you describe how all the characteristics of a person – language, creativity, affectivity – have been integrated into the working process of neo-liberalism, leading to new forms of alienation.

Franco Berardi: The most significant productive powers in our era are cognitive and affective forms of work. You can also call it semiotic work, as it mainly has to do with semiotic material. So the old concept of alienation moves away from its former Hegelian context and becomes relevant to a materialistic analysis of class make-up. Contemporary alienation is an effect produced by a combination of several factors: the technological acceleration of information combined with the neurotic compulsion to engage in economic competition, and the virtualisation of communication and the consequent isolation of bodies. In this context, alienation no longer means the loss of an allegedly human authenticity, as it did in the old humanist or idealist sense. Here, alienation means a psychopathological state, a psychological form of suffering, that has its roots in a new escalation of psychological exploitation.

The Reasonable “Madness” of Revolt
Richard Gilman-Opalsky
Fifth Estate Issue 390

In the existing world, largely governed by the logic of capital and the pathologies of accumulation, real madness is the absence of revolt. Wherever revolt is absent in the world today, we should worry about human health and sanity. A society that does not revolt against a social order that damages it with such escalating facility—psychologically, collectively, ecologically—is a society at the terminal stage. Revolt is the healthy expression of reasonable refusal.

For those who want to throw the existing world into question, the liberal political philosophy of John Rawls (1921 – 2002) is of little use. After the publication of his first major work, A Theory of Justice (1971), Rawls became the most influential liberal philosopher of the second half of the 20th century, receiving accolades and awards from scholars, and from politicians like Bill Clinton. He remains a touchstone intellectual for contemporary liberalism, and as one of its greatest advocates, Rawls is relevant to considerations of the disastrous limitations and contradictions of his own worldview.

Among Rawls’ many errors, the most fatal was his contention that “justice” and “fairness” could be satisfactorily realized within the limits of capitalist society. This same premise continues to ground the most fundamental liberal conceits, including that perplexingly unshakeable faith in “capitalist democracy.” Like most liberals, Rawls never took riot, revolt, or revolution seriously, since he viewed them as superfluous to the interests of the “least advantaged members of society,” as he frequently called them. Instead, Rawls devoted his life’s work to theorizing a “practical” way toward that greatest of all contradictions in terms, a fair capitalist society. Most liberals agree with these contentions, making it fair to conclude that they scarcely understand the logic of capital, and the countless catastrophes of capitalist society.

"The Dream of Anarchy and the Anarchy of Dreams:
Urgent Communiques From the Crossroads of Anarchy and Surrealism"
Ron Sakolsky

Friday, October 18th @ 7 pm
Bluestockings, 172 Allen, NYC

Ron Sakolsky will read from his twenty-first century anarcho-surrealist trilogy: Creating Anarchy (Fifth Estate, 2005/Ardent, 2013), Swift Winds (Eberhardt, 2012), and Scratching the Tiger's Belly (Eberhardt, 2012). Together these books comprise a radical mixtape of outrageous ideas-in-action, hidden histories, mutinous rants, rebel poems, razor sharp polemics, incendiary broadsides, slyly subversive stories, rollicking manifestos, impossible demands, utopian adventures, and provocative parables.

Sakolsky is the editor or co-editor of the Autonomedia anthologies Surrealist Subversions: Rants, Writings & Images by the Surrealist Movement in the United States; Sounding Off: Music as Resistance / Rebellion / Revolution; and Gone to Croatan: Origins of North American Dropout Culture.

Protest at South African Consulate in New York,
in Solidarity with the Shackdwellers Movement!

Date: Monday October 14th
Time: 11:30am-2:00pm
Where: South African Consulate, 333 E 38th St NYC

On Monday, members of New York City's social justice community led by Picture the Homeless will hold a solidarity rally in front of the South African Embassy to show support for our brothers and sisters facing state violence & repression in Durban. We hope you can join us. Please spread the word!

Our purpose is to show solidarity with the Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement in Durban and include messaging about World Zero Eviction Days.

Statement in Defense of the Abahlali BaseMjondolo members

To: James Nxumalo, Mayor, eThekwini Municipality, Durban, South Africa Senzo Mchunu, Premier, KwaZulu-Natal Jacob Zuma, President, Republic of South Africa

Since 2005, the ABAHLALI BASEMJONDOLO (Shack Dwellers) movement has mobilized to fulfill the needs of a large number of inhabitants in the city of Durban who live without access to land, housing, food, education and basic services such as clean water, sanitation, electricity and health care.

In response to this mobilization, the South African Police Service, the Ethekwini Municipality and the ruling political party (ANC) have attempted to criminalize the actions of this movement.

In particular, we have observed:
The continued intimidation, beatings and unlawful detention of activists.
The torture of individuals held in detention.
The demolition and bulldozing of thousands of homes.
The use of the press to slander the movement and its various leaders.

Video from the Third Futurological Symposium on Free Cultural
Spaces, Ruigoord, Amsterdam, Netherlands, July 2013

Hans Kup and Alan Dearling have produced a nine-minute video from the Third Futurological Symposium on Free Cultural Spaces held in Ruigoord, Amsterdam, Netherlands in July, 2013.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqlW985bn3Y&feature=youtu.be

Arbeitselig, or, Blissful Work
Gustav Landauer
Originally published as “Arbeitselig”, Der Sozialist, May 1, 1913.
Translated by Gabriel Kuhn

Every era of a people has different cultural layers, next to and above one another. This applies to the words that are being used as well. Words are full of nuances that have strong effects, yet people do not pay attention to these unless someone points them out. The word Heim (home/house), for example (a word that is slowly disappearing from everyday speech, entering the realm of “poetic” language), no longer evokes feelings of joy and comfort, but of yearning and alienation. We just need to look at the word Heimarbeit (housework), which refers to something unpleasant, shameful, full of privation. It is not that the home loses grace, comfort, and tranquility because of the work, but the work is considered dishonorable and dangerous instead of acceptable and endurable, as it would be if it occurred outside of the home. If we pay attention to these subtleties, we understand more deeply what the bare facts should already tell us, namely that, today, the home is a beautiful reality to some, the object of occasional nostalgic longing to all, and a cause of great concern to parts of the working class.

How about the word Arbeit (work)? In itself, it has become a neutral term. What is important is how it is used, that is, the sentence, in which it appears. This is what makes the implications clear; implications that may differ greatly. On the one hand, there might be an artist who, after domestic quarrels or problems with friends, pulls himself together, flexes his muscles, and says with utter conviction: I still have my work! On the other hand, there might be a factory worker who, after spending a few minutes in the early morning hours with his wife and children, tears himself away from the family by explaining: I have to go to work.

nanopolitics, exhaustion, biopolitics: an evening of bodies and books
London, October 9th 7pm @ no.w.here
Top Floor, 316-318 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 OAG

This evening will present an encounter of three lines of thought and practice relating to politics, bodies, life, the social and the common. Doing so, we attempt to think across conceptions and realities of micro, nano and biopolitics. Asking what it is that these dimensions may hold in common, what distinguishes them, and what they may learn from each other, we propose three short presentations followed by an open discussion.

First up is the handbook by the nanopolitics group from London, published with Minor Compositions this fall. Playfully sketching out the term ‘nanopolitics’, this handbook departs from bodies and their encounters in investigating the neoliberal city and workplace, the politics of crisis and austerity, precarity and collaboration. This book, packed with excercises and tools for action draws on social movements, grassroots organizing, dance, theatre and bodywork. As the hosts of this evening, the nanopolitics group will propose some ways of activating their handbook, which tries to think politics with and through the body.

"Global Revolt: Cinematic Ammunition" Film Series
New York City, Oct. 1, 2013

Flaherty NYC: Global Revolt: Cinematic Ammunition
Programmers: Sherry Millner and Ernie Larsen
Opening Night - Tuesday, October 1, 7pm
Refuse & Refusal: Anti-Authoritarian & Avant-Gardist Interventions
Tuesday, October 1, 7:00pm @ Anthology Film Archives (please note new venue)

Ben Morea, Ayreen Anastas & Rene Gabri will be present for a post screening discussion.

"The truth of a society is in its detritus." -Ella Shohat & Robert Stam
"The world is our garbage, we shall not want." -Black Mask

Ausfegen
The previously unquenchable spirit of the modernist avant-garde seems to have evaporated at almost the same moment as anti-authoritarian, autonomist, and anarchist movements re-surfaced in the 21st century. These films, which explore the unmistakable correspondence between refuse and refusal, should tell us a thing or two about this wholly unpredicted emergence.

Looking Deep Into the Dark Matter
review of Dark Matter by Gregory Sholette: Mass Artistic Resistance to the Neoliberalization of Everyday Life
Molly Hankwitz

Finally, a history of collective precarity from a politicized artist. Author/writer, Gregory Sholette, in the final paragraph of Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture, at last clarifies the frequently cited metaphor of “zombies” and enormous digital casts, which likes of Annalee Newitz? have been preoccupied with in terms of popular culture and most noticeably, the big budget extravaganza digital films of recent decades. He writes:

“We go on picking the rags, but every now and again, this other social [non] productivity appears to mobilize its own redundancy, seems to acknowledge that it is indeed just so much surplus---talent, labor, subjectivity, even sheer physical-genetic materiality and in so doing frees itself from even attempting to be usefully productive for capitalism?, though all the while identifying itself with a far larger ocean of “dark matter”, that ungainly surfeit of seemingly useless actors and activity that the market views as waste, or perhaps at best as a raw, interchangeable resource for biometric information and crowd sourcing. The archive has split open. We are its dead capital. It is the dawn of the dead.”

This blatant appeal to the use-value of our necrophilia, artistic waste, the products of our labor and time, runs throughout an historical text, alternately conscious of its own limitations and brilliantly pervasive in its political critique and arts research. Sholette devotes himself to describing the animation of a diverse, selection of contemporary artists collectives and collective projects, American, European, South American, and “other”, for whom relationships as cultural workers to the neo-liberal art world in recent decades of the 21st century, has been a central concern. Among this history are crisp critical frameworks for understanding the art and its positioning against what he calls “enterprise culture” Or the current era of marked precarity in which artists are force to live, which is also marked by “enforced creativity” imposed on all forms of labor.

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