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Social Movements Against the Global Security Architecture! A Critique of the Militarisation of Social Conflict and the Securitisation of Everyday Life Gipfelsoli Recent unrest due to food price hikes, protests against rising energy costs, visions and realities of a climate crisis and growing concerns over scarce resources, in conjunction with the continued turmoil of financial markets, are creating a sense of insecurity for a neoliberal regime in severe crisis. The G8 states and their allies are seeking to contain these conflicts and the evident accumulation crisis of the global economy through market-orientated solutions in order to restore economic growth whilst calls for more state intervention in the regulation of financial markets are rife. At the same time, the 'war on terror' serves to justify ever-more militarisation of all spheres of life. Wars are waged to secure new markets, transport routes and resources. New techniques of governance are emerging within a logic of waging war against who- or whatever cannot be made profitable. In 2009, a number of security policy changes whose consequences are as yet unclear, are planned for the EU. Under the banner of 'civil-military cooperation', internal and external security are to be merged into a 'comprehensive' and supra-national 'security architecture'. With a view to the US ministry, the 'Department of Homeland Security', founded after September 11th 2001 and comprising governmental, business and research organisations, EU security authorities are pushing for similar policy approaches for the European Union. 'Homeland Security' is to form the basis of the global security architecture of the most dominant states and richest economies, incorporating supranational institutions and multilateral agreements.
Notes on the "Bailout" Financial Crisis George Caffentzis 0. These notes on the political-financial crisis were written in the last month while many US financial corporations were, in effect, nationalized in response to the bankruptcy of several major investment and commercial banks. The notes have been prompted by the fact that there has been remarkably little political activity in the streets, union halls, retirement communities of the country demanding a resolution of the crisis in favor of the millions of workers who are now losing wages, houses and pensions. Certainly not even the most compliant unions and the retirement associations were invited to participate in the negotiations that were carried on concerning the legislation. Is this lack of attention to workers' interests due to the "shock" tactics that the Bush Administration used to push the "bailout" legislation? Perhaps, but we also think that money and the financial sector of capitalism that deals directly with it have been inherently opaque to working class political analysis and action for more than a century. (The last time there was a self-conscious working class debate on a national level concerning the money form was the 1896 election when the fate of the gold standard hung in the balance.) The purpose of these notes is to present in outline a way of understanding this crisis as developing out of class struggles taking place in the US and internationally in the last decade. This can be useful, I believe, since if class struggles had the power to create the crisis, then understanding them might guide us to the path that would lead us out of the crisis with more power. 1. Financial crises are difficult to understand from the point of view of class politics, for our model of class struggle to this day is still the factory where the workers' labor power is bought (through the payment of a wage) by capitalist firms and put to work along with machines and other inputs to produce a product that is sold for a profit. The workers are worked harder, longer, more dangerously and/or more productively in order to make a larger profit. They respond to this work regime by a combination of means, from compliance to a thousand and one ways of passive resistance to strikes to factory take-overs, while the capitalists devise strategies to resist this resistance. This struggle can take a myriad of forms (sometimes involving the most refined application of social and psychological sciences and sometimes the most brutal forms of assassination and torture), but the factory model is categorically straight forward: workers resist exploitation and capitalists resist their resistance; with profits and wages most often moving inversely. It is all apparently simple, but it can become complex because in a struggle there are many deceits and tricks each side plays both on each other and on observers (present and future). When it comes to money and the financial corporations that operate with it (banks, mortgage loan corporations, and other money market firms) this model of class struggle seems not to operate. Why? There are at least three primary reasons. First, money is quite a different "product" than either physical things like cars or services like massages. It is a bit mysterious. Words that combine the philosophical and necromantic like "magical," "abstract," "fetishistic," and "universal" are often used to describe money and to immediately give the impression that, compared to other commodities, the usual rules do not apply. For example, money is a unique kind of commodity, for it exchanges with all other commodities, a role that no other commodity plays. Second, while industrial or commercial firms require the production and sale of a non-monetary commodity in order to "make money," financial firms make "money from money." They seem to operate in an abstract realm without a spatial location. This adds to the weirdness of the financial firms that during the history of capitalism have always attracted both fascination and hostility from other capitalists and workers. Third, they claim a different form of income than other capitalists and workers: Interest. When it comes to making money they make it in the form of interest on loans to capitalists (who pay interest out of their profits) and workers (who pay interest out of their wages). In other words, the money financial firms "make" is created "elsewhere" by workers working for non-financial capitalists. The workers of the financial firms themselves may be exploited--e.g., be forced to work long hours and get paid in worthless stock bonuses--but the income that the firms' owners receive does not derive from these employees' efforts in producing a product. It comes from the profits and wages of those who received loans who are, in most cases, not their employees. Where does the right to earn interest come from? How is it determined? These kinds of questions haunt our understanding of financial firms, since it appears that in a society where work is the source of value, interest appears to be like "creation out of nothing"!
Micropolitics Autumn 08 The Sensible At Work Micropolitics Mondays Beginning 13 October 6:30 PM Housman's Bookshop, 2nd floor 5 Caledonian Road Kings Cross London N1 9DX http://micropolitics.wordpress.com Building on lessons learned from past visitors, Suely Rolnik, Brian Holmes and Franco Berardi, this year, the Micropolitics group will take it slowly. Departing from our drifts, narratives and fables of our experience of Post-Fordist life and labour, we will elaborate concepts from what Suely Rolnik calls the ‘sensible mutations’ found within our current regimes of value production. How do provoke frictions and counter-conducts, structures of support, and other forms of value, for ourselves and with others? How might we intervene into the formats and processes that manage expectations, relationships, the production of knowledge and social care? Part seminar, part analytic support group, micropolitics will meet on the second Monday of each month.
Oct 12 2008 8:00 pm
Oct 12 2008 10:00 pm
Etc/GMT-5
A reading of Ed Sanders’ epic poem The Life and Poetry of Allen Ginsberg Sunday, October 12, 8 pm At the Living Theater, 21 Clinton Street, 10002 (Between Houston and Stanton, near F train, 2nd Avenue stop) 212-729-8050
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Autonomy, Composition, and the Radical Imagination Seminar with Stevphen Shukaitis, Vilnius Free University (Laisvasis Universitetas) October 9th – 10th, 2008 Thursday October 9th, in gallery “Kaire-Desine” (Left-Right), Latako Street 3, Vilnius. 6pm. Friday October 10th, in Contemporary Art Centre, Vokieciu Street 2, Vilnius. 6pm. What is the nature of the radical imagination? Drawing from autonomist and anarchist politics, class composition analysis, and avant-garde arts, this seminar will explore the emergence, functioning, and constant break down of the resistant social imaginary: the continual cycles of composition, decomposition, and recomposition of the potentiality of struggles composed by capacities created within social movement. It is these cycles of composition, the circulation of struggle, which compose the revolutions of everyday life. To invoke the imagination as underlying and supporting radical politics, over the past forty years, has become a cliché. A rhetorical utilization of ideas that are already in circulation, invoking the mythic unfolding of this self-institutionalizing process of circulation. But what exactly is radical imagination? And more specifically, what are the compositional capacities created by the emergence, transformation, mutation, and decomposition of collective imagination within social movements? Imagination is not something that is ahistorical, derived from nothing, but an ongoing relationship and material capacity constituted by social interactions between bodies. While liberatory impulses might point to a utopian (no)where that is separate from the present, it is necessary to point from somewhere, from a particular situated imagining. The task of a radical politics is one of understanding and renewal of forms of self-organization and the imagination. These are questions fruitfully approached through a renewal of militant research, workers inquiry, and class composition analysis, which will be explored. This seminar will investigate the construction of imaginal machines, that is, the socially, historically embedded and embodied manifestations of the radical imagination. Imagination, not as something possessed by individuals, but rather the composition of capacities to affect and be affected by the world developed movements toward creating forms of autonomous sociality and collective self-determination. What does it mean to invoke the power of the imagination when it seems that the imagination has already seized power (through media flows and the power of the spectacle)? Does any subversive potentiality remain, or are we left with simply more avenues for the rejuvenation of questionable fields of power and rearticulating regimes of accumulation? Perhaps it is only honest to think in terms of a temporally bounded subversive power, one that like the mayfly has its day in the sun. It might be that imaginal machines, like all desiring machines, only work by breaking down. That is, their functioning is only possible, paradoxically, by their malfunctioning. By reopening the question of recuperation, the inevitable drive to integrate the power of social insurgency back into the working of capital and the state, we create possibilities for exploring a politics continually reconstituted against and through the dynamics of recuperation, to keep open an antagonism without closure that is continually recomposed. To develop tools necessary in resisting the continual subdivision and suburbanization of the radical imagination.
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Starbucks to Require Employee Availability Around the Clock and Cut Workforce in Major National Initiative The Starbucks Coffee Co. is in the process of an extreme revamping of its workforce policies according to company documents obtained by the Starbucks Workers Union of the Industrial Workers of the World. The initiative, dubbed "Optimal Scheduling", will require employees to make themselves available to work essentially around the clock to obtain so-called full-time status. Even for workers able to make the extraordinary sacrifice to obtain "full-time" status, no work hours are guaranteed- identical to Starbucks' current system of part-time status for all retail hourly workers. In addition, Starbucks will lay off workers who cannot meet minimum availability requirements. As baristas learn of the new program, discontent is rising. "I've had to make myself available each week from Tuesday to Sunday starting at 4:45am until 11pm in the hopes of possibly getting 32 hours of work but not being guaranteed a single hour," said Liberte Locke, a Starbucks barista in New York and member of the IWW Starbucks Workers Union. "It's impossible for me to get a second job now even though I need one and impossible to have a life outside of work." Under the new system, baristas who opt for pseudo full-time status have to make themselves available to work 70% of the total hours their store is open during the week. In an example given in the company documents, a store open 115 hours per week requires a barista to be available to work 80.5 hours each week - over double the standard work week. Week-to-week Starbucks can then schedule workers anywhere within that availability. In addition, workers who cannot make themselves available for at least three shifts a week will be fired, absent a "compelling reason" which Starbucks has not defined. Weekend workers must be available for at least 16 hours to avoid termination.
Call for participation TURN*ON Artivistic 2009 (Fall) Montreal, Canada http://artivistic.org The world to come is so sexy. We are unstoppable for we are fueled with an incredible urge to embrace the pleasure provided by difference, exchange and freedom. Our actions today are charged with an energy that is animated by the rise of change and a movement that is simply irresistible. New movements are arising at the intersections of sex, politics and technology. These movements are inspired by, as well as critical of, the long traditions of struggle they stem from, remixing gender bending, sex work (and play), and media activism. From body hacking to the implosion of the service economy, where are we today and what new possibilities can we envision and nurture? For its upcoming fourth edition, Artivistic is going sexy. Discussing, questioning, and imagining the past, present, future, and infinite possibilities of sex. While keeping issues of power and control in question, we want to turn to the potency of pleasure, curiosity, humor, and desire in order to TURN*ON that which has yet to be thought and experienced differently.
A Shattering Moment in America's Fall from Power John Gray, The Observer Sunday September 28 2008 The global financial crisis will see the US falter in the same way the Soviet Union did when the Berlin Wall came down. The era of American dominance is over. Our gaze might be on the markets melting down, but the upheaval we are experiencing is more than a financial crisis, however large. Here is a historic geopolitical shift, in which the balance of power in the world is being altered irrevocably. The era of American global leadership, reaching back to the Second World War, is over.
"Hank Paulson and the State of Exception" Malatesta, The "bad loans" i.e. the tender of high interest money to people who could not make the payments, have caused a banking crisis and Henry "Hank" Paulson seeks to take complete control to impose decades of austerity on main street America; nationalize the insolvent companies and give a handout to the banks of "treasury" money. Hmmmm....first off, wouldn't nationalizing a profitable company like an oil company make the money available and hurt far fewer people? Well, besides the obvious there is an amazing Constitutional crisis and a time for boiling anger. I wonder where and when some protests will erupt?
*Commonplaces of Transition* Screening and talk by Joanne Richardson, D Media, Romania Wed, 24 Sept, 7pm - 9pm Mute, Main Hall, The Whitechapel Center, 85 Myrdle Street, London E1 *Films* In Transit (30 min, 2008) Precarious Lives (excerpt, 43 min, 2008) Two or Three Things about Activism (excerpt, 73 min, 2008) On the following night 'Two or Three Things about Activism' will be screened at RampArt, see http://therampart.wordpress.com/ Commonplaces of Transition is a collaborative project between D Media (Romania), Ak-Kraak (Germany), Interspace (Bulgaria) and K:SAK (Moldova) that has produced 8 videos about the remapping of borders, the transformation of labour and the evolution of activism. Joanne Richardson will screen In Transit (30 min, 2008), Precarious Lives (excerpt, 43 min, 2008) and Two or Three Things about Activism (excerpt, 73 min, 2008), and discuss the connection of the project to video activism and counter-documentary. 'In Transit' is a diary of a journey through space and time, composed of subjective impressions of the present, childhood memories and recycled fragments of the past. While traveling across Romania in the year of its EU accession, the monologue reflects on the meaning of transition, the re-writing of history and the relation between images and memory. Multiple layers of signification emerge in references other films by Guy Debord, Chris Marker and Peter Forgacs. Joanne Richardson is living and working in Cluj as a theorist, artist and program director of D Media ( http://www.dmedia.ro ). She is the editor of a webzine ( http://subsol.c3.hu ) and two books on digital culture, has written essays on the radical left, video activism, tactical media, copyleft and has made videos on issues ranging from globalization, to nationalism and postcommunism.
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