Theory

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Flying Universities - Flash Research Workshop - Warsaw November 4 - 8 2009 What was the flying universities? Could we make a map of the Flying Universities? Could we make a time-line? What kind of knowledge did the Flying Universities produce and reproduce? Who were the students? Who were the teachers? What was the relationship between 'flying' and occupation? How was the FU organised? Under which historical conditions was 'flying' necessary? To what extend were the Flying Universities kept secret? What is the advantage of secrecy? What does it mean to fly? Can we meet some of the people involved? Can we walk to some of the places where the flying universities were situated? Can we get access to documents? To what extend were they facilitation research? To what extend were they facilitating education? To what extend were they fascilitating resistance? What kind of economy was involved? What was the relationship between the teachers and the students? Gender and age of the flying students and scholars? Is flying still necessary? Are we under occupation? What kind of knowledge is lacking or excluded? Is the tradition still alive? How can we organise? What do we want to know? How can we fly? Workshop Participants so far is: Kuba Szreder (the Slow University), Romek Dziadkiewicz (Academy 36,6), Jakob Jakobsen (former Copenhagen Free University) and more
"Marx, Cognitive Capitalism and the Transition to the Commons" Michel Bauwens [Snatched from a longer list-exchange at the Institute for Distributed Creativity, ed.] I think we do have to accept that we are no longer in a mercantile, nor industrial capitalist logic, but in a third phase of cognitive capitalism. My thesis is that the marxist thesis, of a organized working class taking power and then changing society, has been discredited. Not only because it didn't happen in the last 200 years, but because it is based on a misreading of history. In the previous transitions, revolutions were always the end point of a long process of reconfiguration. Hence, both slave owners and slaves morphed to serfdom as domain lords and serfs, first as an individual strategy to survive the collapse of the Roman slave economy, and thus in paradoxical ways saving and strenghtening the system; and both nobility and working strata of feudal society morphed to capitalist relations and practices, with the same effect. The point is that these changes, initially seen as a way out for the old system, turned out to be more productive overall, and eventually it made no longer sense to keep the old social order, which precluded this higher productivity to occur on a general scale.
On the Digital Labor Question Andrew Ross (Transcribed October 16th, 2009 from a lecture presented at September 29, 2009, at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School) The Freelancers Union was established in 2007 to offer a social safety net and political advocacy on behalf of independent workers who contract their labor to multiple employers. Though it is now the fastest growing union in New York, a city with far more than its per capita share of creative workers, its services model has not yet been fully acknowledged by the labor movement, not even as the national share of “non-standard employment” approaches 33% (almost certainly an undercounted figure). The union emerged from the chrysalis of Sara Horowitz’s Working Today, which earned its laurels in the late 1990s, at the height of the New Economy push to promote “free agency” among the city’s burgeoning digital workforce. A decade later, it remains the only real institutional effort to provide stability to the precarious lives of the city’s independent workers, many of whom were the first to fall into the deep hole of the current recession. The needs of this workforce has attracted a good deal of commentary in recent years as part of a burgeoning analysis of the creative labor of artists (broadly defined) who were once considered marginal to the productive economy, but are increasingly profiled and promoted as the model workers of the new economy. Wherever their labor is organized into the formal silos of the so-called “creative industries,” it has garnered the attention of national statisticians bent on building the case for a new high-growth sector, irresistible to investors, politicians, and real estate speculators who know the presence of artists can have on land value. [1] But well beneath the statisticians’ radar there is a more telling story about the degradation of work that has occurred as part of the transition to a Internet-centered economy based on the widespread use of non-paid amateur or user labor. This short essay will review some of the features of that transition.
Work, Play & Boredom May 2010 Conference CFP Call for Papers for an ephemera Conference at University of St. Andrews, 5-7 May 2010. Deadline for abstracts: 31 January 2010. In recent years, play has become an abiding concern in the popular business literature and a crucial aspect of organizational culture. While managerial interest in play has certainly been with us for some time, there is a sense that organizations are becoming ever-more receptive to incorporating fun and frivolity into everyday working life. Team-building exercises, simulation games, puzzle-solving activities, office parties, themed dress-down days, and colourful, aesthetically-stimulating workplaces are notable examples of this trend. Through play, employees are encouraged to express themselves and their capabilities, thus enhancing job satisfaction, motivation, and commitment. Play also serves to unleash an untapped creative potential in management thinking that will supposedly result in innovative product design, imaginative marketing strategies and, ultimately, superior organizational performance. Play, it seems, is a very serious business indeed.
A Revolutionary Proposal: Invisible Insurrection of a Million Minds Alexander Trocchi [Published as "Technique du coupe du monde," Internationale Situationniste #8 (January 1963; reposted from Not Bored).] "And if there is still one hellish, truly accursed thing in our time, it is our artistic dallying with forms, instead of being like victims burnt at the stake, signalling through the flames." -- Antonin Artaud, The Theatre and Its Double, 1958 Revolt is understandably unpopular. As soon as it is defined, it has provoked the measures for its confinement. The prudent man will avoid his definition which is in effect his death-sentence. Besides, it is a limit. We are concerned not with the coup d'etat [seizure of the state] of Trotsky and Lenin, but with the coup du monde [seizure of the world], a transition of necessity more complex, more diffuse than the other, and so more gradual, less spectacular. Our methods will vary with the empirical facts pertaining here and now, there and then. Political revolt is and must be ineffectual precisely because it must come to grips at the prevailing level of political process. Beyond the backwaters of civilization it is an anarchronism. Meanwhile, with the world at the edge of extinction, we cannot afford to wait for the mass. Nor to brawl with it.
CFP Affinities #4 – What is Radical Imagination: Horizons beyond “The Crisis” Edited by Alex Khasnabish and Max Haiven The social crises of neoliberalism, so evident and provocative throughout the rest of the world, have finally come "home" to the global North in the form of a cataclysmic financial crisis wreaking havoc on the lives of people, workers and communities, intensifying already intolerable injustices and inequalities and justifying the intensification of surveillance, policing and militarization.
The Liberal “Anti-Capitalist” Climate Camp 2009 Resonance The camp for climate action 2009 received lots of criticism, much of it is superficial and fails to get to the roots of the problematic relationship between anti-capitalism and environmentalism. The camps media conscious strategy wasn’t very successful this year. With no direct action for the media to string out over a weeks reporting, the media resorted to criticising the middle class nature of the camp. This line of criticism was reproduced by several radical groups, including this report from the Cambridge anarchists . Sure, many of the activities highlighted at the camp such as compost toilets, morning yoga and the insistence on a militant vegan space may have seemed alien to many outside the fencing of Blackheath common, yet to critique the camp on these grounds is to use a weak, sociological understanding of class. It’s unlikely the camp would have been more radical if the yoga and soya milk was replaced with whippets and lager. A critique of the climate camp based upon sociological categories of class is not a progressive approach to take. Whilst a more diverse variety of activities may have broadened the appeal of the camp, it would not have improved the political content of it.
"The Will of The People: Notes Towards a Dialectical Voluntarism" Peter Hallward By ‘will of the people’ I mean a deliberate, emancipatory and inclusive process of collective self-determination. Like any kind of will, its exercise is voluntary and autonomous, a matter of practical freedom; like any form of collective action, it involves assembly and organization. Recent examples of the sort of popular will that I have in mind include the determination, assembled by South Africa’s United Democratic Front, to overthrow an apartheid based on culture and race, or the mobilization of Haiti’s Lavalas to confront an apartheid based on privilege and class. Conditioned by the specific strategic constraints that structure a particular situation, such mobilizations test the truth expressed in the old cliché, ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’. Or, to adapt Antonio Machado’s less prosaic phrase, taken up as a motto by Paulo Freire, they assume that ‘there is no way, we make the way by walking it.’[1]
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New Transversal issue: knowledge production and its discontents When knowledge production becomes the raw material of cognitive capitalism, what becomes of the old factories of knowledge, the universities? With the rising importance of knowledge, they move to the eye of the storm, become objects of desire of neoliberal transformations, objects of competition between regions and continents, but also subjects of struggles against these transformations and competitions. Though the university as a privileged site of struggle has -- except for a few moments in time -- been only a myth, in recent months there seems to be a rising tide of conflicts around it, in different places around the globe.
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The Italian Difference: Between Nihilism and Biopolitics Lorenzo Chiesa and Alberto Toscano (eds.) Download book as PDF (Open Access) This volume brings together essays by different generations of Italian thinkers which address, whether in affirmative, problematizing or genealogical registers, the entanglement of philosophical speculation and political proposition within recent Italian thought. Nihilism and biopolitics, two concepts that have played a very prominent role in theoretical discussions in Italy, serve as the thematic foci around which the collection orbits, as it seeks to define the historical and geographical particularity of these notions as well their continuing impact on an international debate. The volume also covers the debate around ‘weak thought’ (pensiero debole), the feminist thinking of sexual difference, the re-emergence of political anthropology and the question of communism. The contributors provide contrasting narratives of the development of post-war Italian thought and trace paths out of the theoretical and political impasses of the present—against what Negri, in the text from which the volume takes its name, calls ‘the Italian desert’.
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