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RENEWING THE ANARCHIST TRADITION A Scholarly Conference November 7-9, 2008 in Montpelier, Vermont The ninth edition of the Renewing the Anarchist Tradition (RAT) conference, sponsored by the Institute for Anarchist Studies (IAS), once again aims to provide a participatory and scholarly space in which to reexamine, reinvigorate, and make relevant the social and political tradition of anarchism. Each year, RAT brings together anarchists, anti-authoritarians, and libertarian leftists who want to critically engage both the tradition itself and the world in which we live. Participants and presenters at the conference thereby contribute to developing a more rigorous contemporary theoretical framework for anarchism as well as a stronger basis from which nonhierarchical movements can organize and resist. 2008 is a strange time to be an anarchist in North America. Thomas Friedman is calling for a green revolution, and Bono is at the forefront of a global war on poverty. The bright light of the U.S. presidential election campaign, anointed by Silicon Valley capital, has harnessed massive popular desire for radical social transformation--"Change"--to propel himself toward the White House. The reception he receives abroad articulates a thirst for a genuine internationalism, even as he signals his readiness to command more of the same military interventionism that has devastated people and social movements around the world. As anarchists and anti-authoritarians, it is easy to feel marginal, dissipated, defeated, and irrelevant as we watch some of our dearest ideas co-opted, sucked of content, turned inside out, and projected into the mainstream political scene. What better moment, then, to come together to reflect on and honestly appraise the practices, platforms, convictions, dogmas, truisms, and theories that anarchism offers? What better moment to reimbue that tradition with a crucial sense of urgency and the substance that can genuinely challenge racism, imperialism, sexism, colonial pillage, capitalist exploitation, and the multifold and mutually reinforcing forms of oppression and systems of domination?
BENEFIT CD RE-RELEASE: MARIE MASON’S ‘NOT FOR PROFIT’ This music CD is a 2008 benefit re-release of Marie Mason's ‘Not For Profit’, which was originally released in 1999. A classic anarchist neo-folk record, these eight songs feature Marie (accompanied by guitarist and Earth First! activist Darryl Cherney) singing against the destruction of the earth and the oppression of humanity. Mason is a recent Green Scare arrestee who is facing Life in prison for two acts of property destruction in which no one was hurt.. She is a long-time IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) and Earth First! activist, as well as a writer for ‘Fifth’ Estate magazine. All proceeds from this re-release go to the Marie Mason General Support Fund. For more information visit: http://freemarie.org.
ephemera 8.2. ‘Alternatively’ released ephemera 8.2., ‘Alternatively.’ is now online: http://www.ephemeraweb.org. In its focus on alternatives, the latest ephemera issue addresses one of the main tasks that critique has (to) set for itself: to counter political paralysis of any kind, construed by the right and left, by pointing at the false logic behind it, indeed, by means of the formulation and practice of alternative logics. There are many ways of organizing social life other than on the basis of and dictated by the kind of free market- or neoliberalism that reigns in large parts of the world. In other words, this issue, its editorial specifically and its contributions in their own way attempt to delegitimize the notorious post-communist ‘There Is No Alternative’-logic of thinking (TINA). At the same time, this issue also warns against the defeatist way of thinking represented by the casting of commodification as a totalizing force that leaves nothing beyond its grasp. While this threat is real, to portray consumer capitalism thus is a process of abstraction that is not only politically paralyzing, but can even be construed as conformist, like any belief in ‘this is how things are’, like TINA. To suggest that things can be otherwise, the shift of perspective might be an important part of alteration (the act of producing alternatives), including shifting our perspective on how to appreciate alternatives. That is, rather than attributing appreciation based on the potential for realizability, the editorial suggests that alternatives might prove politically enabling precisely because they seem unrealizable. Alternatives understood in this way do not function as different solutions but as different problems; not as alternative answers to the same questions but as alternative questions opening up for new answers. Whereas any alternative solution keeps the problem which it solves intact, an alternative problem breaks with and delegitimizes the existing solution. It divides, twists and thoroughly subverts established Truths as well as breaking the ground for new ways of thinking. As such, the moment of alteration transforms the horizon of the given by way of giving us new questions to ask.
THE ASSAULT ON CULTURE: A Mute Magazine talk on privatisation and critical artistic practice +++ Does private-public funding and management of culture mark the death of institutional and critical autonomy? And is direct censorship an anomaly, the most visible form of a wider constriction of cultural freedom, or the shape of cultural policy to come? Mute has invited a range of practitioners along to discuss the perils and opportunities for critical cultural activity in neoliberalising institutions: Leigh French, co-editor of /Variant/ magazine and contributor Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt will discuss the recent censorship of /Variant/ by Culture & Sport Glasgow, the new private charitable trust that manages the city's arts and leisure. They will be joined by Richard Birkett, assistant curator of the ICA's current Nought to Sixty programme and David Garcia, 'tactical media' theorist and Dean of Chelsea College of Art and Design London. The talk will raise some of the following questions: Does commercialisation enhance or corrode 'critical' culture? Why does an institutional turn to 'openness', collaborative and politicised art practices coincide with privatisation? And how will capitalist crisis impact on arts funding and cultural practice – a shift from radical reformism to conservative reaction or revolutionary refusal? Where: Upstairs at Publish and Be Damned self-publishing fair, Rochelle School, Arnold Circus, London E2.
50 Ways To Leave Your Love, Or, let's find a completely new art criticism Brian Holmes For most of the twentieth century, art was judged with respect to the previously existing state of the medium. What mattered was the kind of rupture it made, the unexpected formal or semiotic elements that it brought into play, the way it displaced the conventions of the genre or the tradition. The prize at the end of the evaluative process was a different sense of what art could be, a new realm of possibility for the aesthetic. Let's take it as axiomatic that all that has changed, definitively. The backdrop against which art stands out now is a particular state of society. What an installation, a performance, a concept or a mediated representation can do with its formal, affective and semiotic means is to mark out a possible or effective shift with respect to the laws, the customs, the measures, the mores, the technical and organizational devices that define how we must behave and how we can relate to each other at a given time and in a given place. What you look for in art is a different way to live, a fresh chance at coexistence. Anything less is just the seduction of novelty - the hedonism of insignificance. If that's the case (if the axiom really holds), then a number of fascinating questions arise - for the artist, of course, but also for the critic. Where the critic is concerned, one good question is this: How do you address yourself to artists or publics or potential peers across the dividing lines that separate entire societies? How do you evaluate what counts as a positive or at least a promising change in the existing balance of a foreign culture? I'm sure you immediately see how difficult this is. Already in the past, it was hard enough to say that a particular aesthetic tradition and a particular state of the medium defined the leading edge, the point at which a rupture became interesting. Yet still there were times when all the painters seemed to flock to Rome, then later to Paris, then later to New York City; and so through the sheer aggregation of techniques and styles, the fiction of a leading edge could be maintained, at least by some. But in the face of a simultaneous splintering and decline of what used to be called "the West," and a correlative rise of some of "the Rest," who could seriously say that certain local, national or regional laws, customs, measures, mores and technical or organizational devices are really the most interesting ones to transgress or even break into pieces, in hopes of a better way of being? Or to be even cruder about it, and closer to the actual state of things: Who can seriously claim that the Euro-American forms of society are the benchmark against which change must be measured - even if those societies are still the most opulent and most developed and most heavily armed with all the nastiest of technological weapons?
Letter from Steve Kurtz to His Supporters July 12, 2008 From the CAE Defense Dear Supporters, After four long, difficult years I have been released from my legal ordeal. I want to thank everyone who supported me through this—the greatest challenge I’ve ever had to face. I feel vindicated today because I am innocent, but today I am also humbled by a legal and political victory that is not mine alone. Everyone who contributed their support to this case can lay claim to a victory against the forces aiming to abridge our fundamental rights. I am mindful that my case was just one of many examples where fear and irrationality gained the upper hand after 9/11. I am aware that my vindication is an exception. I continue to have anxiety about the outcome of many pending cases still awaiting justice. Although it seems that my case has come to a conclusion, it is only now that I can fully comprehend the immensity of what happened. The tragic death of Hope was a profound loss. The unfortunate events following Hope’s death occurred at a moment of intense pain and sadness for all of us. Neither my life nor the work of Critical Art Ensemble has been the same without her. If she were here today, I know she would be proud of everything that has been done by all the people involved. Collectively, we stood without flinching, and defeated a monster of social injustice. Hope always said that we should “never surrender” to authoritarian power, and we didn’t.
Rape threats, beatings and racist chants: 15 Italians jailed for abuse of G8 Genoa protesters John Hooper The Guardian Fifteen Italian police officers and doctors were last night sentenced to jail terms of up to five years after being found guilty of abusing protesters detained during riots at the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa. Thirty other defendants were cleared of charges ranging from assault to the denial of basic human rights. The judges issued their verdicts after 11 hours of closed-doors deliberations.
:: Call for Papers, Presentations, and Interventions :: The State of Things: Towards a Political Economy of Artifice and Artefacts April 29th to May 1st, 2009 Centre for Philosophy and Political Economy, University of Leicester Keynote speakers: Tiziana Terranova, University of Naples L’orientale Natalie Jeremijenko, New York University Nick Dyer-Witheford, University of Western Ontario In a more wistful moment, Marx asked what commodities would say if they could speak. Surely, if he listened long enough, they would have announced the various traumas of their exploitatative and violent birthing to him. Eventually, one imagines, they would have described the nature of the various forms of labour necessary for their production as the apparitionally elementary components of the capitalist mode of production. So would the commodity’s autobiography be the same now, one wonders. Today we live in a much different state of things: the artifice of artefacts is evident all around us. A parliament of communication technologies, from RFIDS to bluetooth devices, constantly exchange information and network all around and through us. Wireless networks of communication, control, and cooperation proliferate in mysterious ways, all speaking an infra-language of organization, inscribing new techniques of governance. But these networks have become all the more indiscernible by the open secret of their appearance.
FIFTH ESTATE #378 (Summer 2008) now out! CONTENTS of ">FIFTH ESTATE #378: * “Green Scare Continues” – H. Read * “My Green Scare Arrest” – Marie Mason * “RNC: Shut It Down!” – RNC Welcoming Committee * “An Anarchist in Cuba: Socialism or Cell Phones” – Walker Lane * “Shamanism, Anarchy, and the End of the World” – Dave Hanson * “Tarot Cards and the Left” – Joshua Sperber * “The End of Money” – Daniel Pinchbeck * “An Arm of Jacks to Fight the Power” – Peter Lamborn Wilson * “Counterfeiting Sovereignty” – Don LaCoss * “Isn’t All Money Fake?” – E. B. Maple * “Wealth and Poverty: In the Shadow of an Exclusive Club” – Val Salvo (reprint from FE summer 1991) * “Down and Out in Athens” (Excerpt from ‘Nike’) – Cara Hoffman * “We Are All Slaves of Capital” (excerpt from ‘The Wandering of Humanity’) – Jacques Camatte * “Strike!” (poem) – Eugene V. Debs * “The African Road to Anarchism?” – Jim Feast * “Shoplifting and the Politics of Instant Gratification” – Cookie Orlando * “Victorian Proto-Punk, Riot Grrls: The Literary Legacy of Helen and Olivia Rossetti” – Cara Hoffman * ”The ‘60s, 40 Years Later: No Chicago in Denver” – Bernard Marszalek * “Organizing for Anarchism in Oreland” – interview with Andrew Flood and much much more...
"Unfinished Business, The Cultural Commodity and its Labour Process" Stefano Harney We argue that the problems of managing in the creative industries cannot be fully understood in the current and most common overviews of the industries. We review the two ways the industries are understood as social trends before suggesting that they are both insufficiently broad and encompassing. We then use the history of cultural studies, its origins and engagements, to extend the horizon of the creative industries and also to focus on where the work takes place in these industries. This in turn leads us to post-workerist thought and its conception of the cultural commodity, a conception with modify with cultural studies. We then return within this wider frame to what we regard as the central problematic for management with the rise of the creative industries: the location of the labour process that produces the cultural commodity and its value.
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