Creative Time in Common Prehistory Drift: Narvskaya Zastava (Saint Petersburg, 2004) Aside from researching the urban environment during a two-day walk around a chosen location, an important component of this project was the results of communication within the group, the personal lives of its participants, and the associations that arose in connection with the places that were researched. An objective mapping of the site was organized in parallel with the subjectivity of the community, which gained new experience by jointly living through a certain moment of time in an environment alien to it. The methods developed in Drift were a continuation of the Leningrad-Petersburg tradition of strolling around strange places. This culture is directed towards the experience of communities that are based on friendship and aspire to a reclaiming and détournement of urban space, thus demonstrating with their own experience the contrast between what life is and what it might be.
I see the students’ mobilization that has been mounting on the North American campuses, especially in California, as part of a long cycle of struggle against the neo-liberal restructuring of the global economy and the dismantling of public education that began in the mid-1980s in Africa and Latin America, and is now spreading to Europe—as the recent student revolt in London demonstrated. At stake, in each case, has been more than resistance to the “enclosure of knowledge.” The struggles of African students in the 1980s and 1990s were particularly intense because students realized that the drastic university budget cuts the World Bank demanded signaled the end of the “social contract” that had shaped their relation with the state in the post-independence period, making education the key to social advancement and participatory citizenship. They also realized, especially on hearing World Bankers argue that “Africa has no need for universities,” that behind the cuts a new international division of work was rearticulated that re-colonized African economies and devalued African workers’ labor.
Late last summer, before the schools in Russia reopened, a remarkable beer ad about post-Soviet space aired on Russian TV. Thirty seconds of feel-good Russian classic rock: an active bass and a prominent slide guitar wafted around a voice, always-already middle-aged, slightly flat after working a night shift. Four measure whole notes by the band: the staggered vocal names the brand. Krasny Vostok. Where the sun rises / the east is red. A new day is dawning / over our land. // How can you resist. Cause' this land is not made of history's pages; it's not made through borders or territorial stages. Our land is made up of people and people are what make our land.
Introduction This is the last of my four scheduled Russell Scholar lectures on the theme ofacademic freedom. I would like to briefly recapitulate for you their trajectory. In my previous lectures I discussed the threats to academic freedom coming fromthe state and market and I began to sketch a theory of academic freedom taking usbeyond our need to defend academic work and institutions from these threats. I arguedthat the notion of a knowledge commons is crucial in defining the positive aspect ofacademic freedom and that the proper expression of academic autonomy in the 21stcentury is the preservation, defense and expansion of the knowledge commons. In this lecture I address the role autonomous universities can play in the practical task of making the knowledge commons. Conclusion: The Threat, an Exodus from the University similar to one between the
This paper explores an artwork - Black Shoals Stock Market Planetarium, by Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway - as a visual metaphor of the conditions of digital labour in the contemporary financial sphere. The experience of networked trading, the nature of the meta-commodity that is bought and sold, and the aesthetic of the ‘creative city’ that has grown up around the electronic exchanges are shown to cohere into the larger pattern of a predatory society, where ‘super-empowered individuals’ eat away the social framework that spawned their own increasingly precarious existence. Such is the destiny of the flexible personality. In conclusion, the paper inquires into the philosophical principles, scientific calculations and aesthetic figures that could chart another future.
As a theater of cruelty and mode of public pedagogy, economic Darwinism undermines most forms of solidarity while promoting the logic of unchecked competition and unbridled individualism. As the welfare state is dismantled, it is increasingly replaced by the harsh realities of the punishing state as social problems are increasingly criminalized and social protections are either eliminated or fatally weakened.
Edu-factory is entering into its fifth year of activity. This period has been formidable, both for edu-factory as well as for the changes in the general context. First and foremost, there is the global crisis, which is to say, the crisis of global capital. Reading the daily catastrophic reports and the desperate alarms of governments, think-tanks and the mainstream media all over the world, who can remember that only twenty years ago the universal rhetoric was the celebration of the end of history? So, without any sort of idealist purpose, by means of a materialist analysis we can say that the proposition and prospect of revolution is no longer a pipe dream or fantasy. Such a possibility can be formulated from the classical definition of revolutionary situation: the governors of the global capital cannot live like before; workers, precarious, students and the productive multitudes don’t want to live like before.
“What was once the factory is now the university” states the international Edu-factory collective, which started off as a mailing list of 500 students, activists and researchers worldwide. They argue that in today’s cognitive capitalism, we have experienced the transformation from organising knowledge from above to the capture and expropriation of common knowledge after it is produced. This appropriation and exploitation of knowledge produced in the common opens up for a possibility that lies in the autonomy of knowledge production. The fact that knowledge today is produced in the common also makes it possible for us to re-appropriate it. The Edu-factory’s attempt to create a global autonomous university is a way of reclaiming such common knowledge. Edu-factory writes, “Theoretical practice is always political practice, and political practice is not only theoretical practice”. They claim that there is no production of knowledge that is not political. Theory is always a field of struggle and in times of “cognitive capitalism,” perhaps one of the most important. We met with Gigi Roggero, one of the initiators of Edu-factory at the Labour of the Multitude conference in Warsaw to talk about Edu-factory, recent university and precarious workers struggles, and ideas of autonomous education.