"Preoccupied"
Occupied Times Interviews Michael Hardt

[Michael Hardt has combined his role as Professor of Literature and Italian at Duke University with political writings and activism. Together with the Italian Marxist Antonio Negri, he has produced an influential critique of our present time. Their trilogy of books – titled “Empire”, “Multitude”, and “Commonwealth” – have been described by Slavoj Zizek as a “Communist manifesto for the 21st Century.”]

The Occupied Times: In your recent work, Declaration, you and Professor Negri identified four political archetypes or ‘paradigmatic subjectivities’, as you call them, that you believe will be crucial to any political change. These are: the indebted, the represented, the mediatised and the securitised. In looking at the indebted, how can we transform what starts as consciousness-raising about the importance of ‘the debtor’ as a subject under post-Fordist capitalism, into a more viable means to challenge those who make us the indebted?

"Work: The Great Illusion"
Viviane Forrester

[An edited extract from the English translation of the late author's L'Horreur Economique. Viviane Forrester, a co-founder of ATTAC, died in April 2013.]

We are living in the midst of a deception, where artificial policies claim to perpetuate a world that has in fact gone for ever. Millions of human lives are devastated and annihilated by this anachronism, which asserts the immutability of our most sacred concept: work.

Work is the foundation stone of western civilisation. The two seem so much a part of each other that even now, when work is vanishing into thin air, no one ever officially questions it. Doesn't it order all distribution and thus all survival? The networks of exchange deriving from it seem as indisputably vital as the circulation of blood. Yet today, work, regarded as our natural driving force, has become an entity without substance.

Our concepts of work, and thus of unemployment, around which politics revolve (or claim to revolve), have become illusory. Our struggles with them are as much of a hallucination as Don Quixote's tilting at the windmills. Yet we still ask the same phantasmal questions, allowing us to ignore the disappearance of a world where there was still some point in asking them. The climate of that world remains in the air we breathe. We still belong to it viscerally, whether we profited or suffered from it. We are still fiddling with the vestiges of that world, busily plugging gaps, patching up emptiness, fudging up substitutes around a system that has not just collapsed but vanished.

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Meeting on Workers' Inquiry in the Logistics and Warehouse Sector in London
Angry Workers of the World
@ LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street
Wednesday 18th September, 7pm

We are planning a militant worker inquiry in the distribution networks around West-London. The initial plan is to continue to research and discuss the situation in the global and local logistics and warehouse sector, to get jobs in strategically interesting places and to potentially make some interventions. Of course all this would be decided by those who choose to join.

The Quiet Realization of Ivan Illich's Ideas in the Contemporary Commons Movement
David Bollier

I come here today as an ambassador of the commons movement – a growing international movement of activists, thinkers, project leaders and academics who are attempting to build a new world from the ground up. It’s not just about politics and policy. It’s about social practices and the design of societal institutions that help us live as caring, intelligent human beings in spiritually satisfying ways.

Many Americans have not heard of the commons except in connection with the word “tragedy.” We’ve all heard the famous tragedy of the commons parable. It holds that any shared resource invariably gets over-exploited and ruined. Since the “tragedy meme” appeared in a famous 1968 essay by Garrett Hardin, it has been drummed into the minds of undergraduates in economics, sociology and political science classes. It serves as a secular catechism to propagandize the virtues of private property and so-called free markets.

Thanks to the tragedy smear, most people don’t realize that the commons is in fact a success story – that it is a durable artifact of human history, that it is a way to effectively manage shared resources, and that it lies at the heart of a growing political and cultural movement.

"No TAV: The Valley That Resists"
Ilaria Bertazzi

A Presentation at Bluestockings
Tuesday, September 3rd @ 7 PM

Discussion: NO TAV:
“The Valley That Resists”
With Ilaria Bertazzi

In Val Susa (Italy) the population is resisting the construction of a high velocity railroad, creating one of the most powerful movements today in the EU fighting against ecological degradation and selfdetermination. Ilaria Bertazzi examines the significance of this struggle, in the context of the attack the NO TAV Movement is presently undergoing and the strategies and methods of struggles the movement has developed during the last two decades. Ilaria Bertazzi is a student born and living in Torino (Italy). Since 2008 she’s been part of the NO TAV movement which is centered in Val di Susa, the western part of Piemonte, confining with France. She has also been involved in the University Students Movement and the Feminist movement in Italy.

Labor Day, May Day, What’s to Celebrate?
Bernard Marszalek

I suspect that more than a few people would accept as historic fact that Stalin created May Day, and to checkmate Stalin’s evil, communist attempt to influence US workers, FDR initiated Labor Day. Two utopias in conflict: the Workers’ Paradise vs. the American Dream. The Communist Manifesto or FDR’s Second Bill of Rights.

Oddly enough, there is symmetry at play here as both leaders corrupted the original meaning of these workers’ holidays. Neither Stalin nor FDR cared two figs for the historic struggle of the working class; their intent, like the Fathers of the Church before them, was to seize dissentsion, drain it of its original content and fill it with a conformist ideology.

May Day grew internationally to memorialize the struggle of the working class as exemplified by the Haymarket Martyrs, however, in America, the home of this infamy, workers were expected to “Honor Labor.” In other words, on Labor Day the workers celebrate work, while on May Day workers commemorate the struggle to gain control of it, in fact, to abolish it.

An esoteric interpretation of the IWW preamble
Hakim Bey
From The International Review, 1991

People who think that they know our politics, who know that we are individualists (or even worse, “neo-individualists”), will no doubt be shocked to discover us taking an interest in the IWW. They’ll be even more flabbergasted to hear that Mark Sullivan & I joined the NY Artists & Writers Job Branch of the IWW this January at the urging of Mel Most (who subsequently went & died on us!). Actually, we’re a bit shocked ourselves. “Never complain, never explain” ......; but perhaps this time we’ll relax the rule a bit – hence the apologia.

The Mackay Society, of which Mark & I are active members, is devoted to the anarchism of Max Stirner, Benj. Tucker & John Henry Mackay. Moreover, I’ve associated myself with various currents of post-situationism, “zero work”, neo-dada, autonomia & “type 3” anarchy, all of which are supposed to be anathema to the IWW & syndicalism in general. Other members of the NY Artists Branch are also individualists or pacifist-anarchists (in the Julian Beck line of transmission); some unease has already been expressed during meetings about the Preamble & other IWW texts.....; so, aside from making a sentimental gesture in honor of Mel’s memory..... why are we collaborating with the IWW?

Ruigoord’s Third Futurological Symposium on Free Cultural Spaces
Amsterdam, Netherlands, July 23–25, 2013

Space Is the Place
― Sun Ra

Free Cultural Space Is the Place! More particularly, the place is Ruigoord Culturele Vrijhaven, which between the 23rd and 25th of July 2013 will host the Third Futurological Symposium on Free Cultural Spaces. This year, again under the inspirational chairmanship of Felix Rottenberg, The Cosmopolitical Parliament welcomes an international group of presenters from important Free Cultural Spaces. Central aims of this year’s Symposium include generating a comprehensive collective vision of the extraordinary value and essential importance of Free Cultural Space and refining and publishing a Declaration on The Universal Right to Free Cultural Spaces.

June 1st in Turkey, Multitude: The desiring-machine of expression against representation
Otonom

June 1, 2013 is the rise of a new understanding of the political from the perspective of expression against that of representation. June 1 is not a “fact” which corresponds to measurement of time through its spatialization, but it is an “event” that is the flow and intersection of singular immeasurable durations. It does not refer to a practice of reason or subject that turns life into an object, but to an event as life, as the flows of bodies and affects. It is the expression of an affect which has its idea, it is a becoming. Hence June 1 cannot be considered in terms of a nation or a people who acts within the hierarchy of the universal, the representation and the subject. It presents us a multitude in act that is a desiring-machine functioning in unconscious virtuality of singularity, body, affect and life.

A new plane of the political is in becoming. It is obvious that the fault lines of modernism which is the plane of representation, subject, reason and hierarchy have been moving. In the immeasurable virtuality, this act is nothing less than an earthquake. The political from the perspective of representation is replaced with the plane of “expression” that signifies the political from the perspective of body. The discourse of the new plane of the political centers around “dignity”, which is the bodily expression of de-classification against classification by representation. June 1 is the scream of honor, conscious, and ethics against morality. In contrast to affects regulated in accordance with the movement of concepts and consciousness, we are standing on a plane of concepts shaped by the flows and intersections of affects, differences and differentiations. The political plane of sense and signification seems to undergo a radical change. The leftist language of representation seems to be paralyzed and we witness constitution of a new language of the left. That which is political moves from the language of representation to that of expression since the former proves to be impotent and insufficient to signify the plane of the political.

ephemera politics of consumption issue released
volume 13, number 2
The politics of consumption

This age of austerity comes on the back of a lengthened period of apparently rampant consumer excess: that was a party for which we are all now having to pay. A spectacular period of unsustainably funded over-indulgence, it seems, has now given rise to a sobering period of barely fundable mere-subsistence. Consumption, narrated along such lines, is a sin which has to be paid for. Beyond the deceptive theology of consumption, however, lies actual politics. In May 2012, we hosted a conference at Dublin’s Royal Society of the Antiquaries of Ireland in order to analyse and debate the politics of consumption. This special issue is the outcome of the discussions which took place during that event. It features conceptual and empirical investigations into the politics of consumption, a head-to-head debate on the idea of consumer citizenship, a series of notes on the relationship between art, politics, and consumption, and reviews of two recent books. Taken together, these diverse pieces underline the need for a politically-oriented analysis of consumption, not only for the sake of informing academic debates but also for the sake of informing contemporary consumption practices. Consumption, we argue, is political: to approach it otherwise is to dogmatically seek refuge in a world of fantasy.

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