Monthly Archives: December 2010

Sausage Sizzle

Random thought: Over a period of thirty or forty years, the university student has been reduced in circumstances and privilege so as to now be quite a bit closer to the proletarianized worker, themselves increasingly digitized as precarious labour, data input or call sector workers or shopping till operators. This trajectory of concurrence occurring while at the upper echelons an opposite pattern ensures the non-convergence of previously highly-privileged professionals with the wealthy and rich in business. Indeed, the Professors look set to become little more than petty bourgeois shopkeepers, and their departments more like merchandise stores, while University heads, and no doubt in other service sectors the upper managements as well, become robber barons paid and six figure sums with benefits. We are not talking social class here, since the quality of the wine is still a marker, but we are talking class formation nonetheless.

Merry Absurd Xmas Card – Scrooge and ‘Azure’!!

Some insane dialectics for xmas – time to think about those cash cards and all the pressure the commodity fest puts upon your wallet, then see also the beautiful blue sky and think of warmer places far away, and then remember this is England and the borders are secured by the UKBA. Massive conflicts here – blue sea, blue sky, narrow thinking, repressive apparatus.

Azure [ˈæʒə -ʒʊə ˈeɪ-]

n 

1. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Colours) a deep blue, occasionally somewhat purple, similar to the colour of a clear blue sky
2.Poetic a clear blue sky
adj 

1. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Colours) of the colour azure; serene
2. (History / Heraldry) (usually postpositive)Heraldry of the colour blue 

[from Old French azur, from Old Spanish, from Arabic lāzaward lapis lazuli, from Persian lāzhuward]

So, having consulted the deep meaning of this lovely cultural festival and holiday time, and considered the Persion roots of the word of choice for describing the sky, it comes as no surprise that pleasure in the blue is corrupted and destroyed by institutional abuse and feckless Government wastage, compounded by an inability to consider humane ways of welcoming those ready to brave the cold hard graft of life in ‘blighty. While ‘For everything else there’s Mastercard’, for asylum seekers there’s just the insult and injury of the Azure card (Scrooge is alive and well in the UK):

A cashless society: the other side of the coin …

By Anne Singh

22 December 2010, 10:00pm

As the seasonal festivities get into full swing, campaign and support groups are stepping up their lobbying against the Azure card – a cashless payment system for asylum seekers – which leaves thousands in extreme poverty.

‘SECTION 4 support’, as set out in Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, provides for limited financial support to be provided to asylum seekers whose claim has been refused but who are still unable to return to their country of origin and who would otherwise be destitute. In order to receive this support, refused asylum seekers must move into accommodation provided by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). At the end of June 2010, 6,750 people plus their dependants were in receipt of Section 4 support.

Background

A voucher scheme for refused asylum seekers was (re)introduced at the end of 2005. The vouchers were accepted in a limited number of stores to pay for ‘essential’ goods (food, toiletries) only, and could not be exchanged for cash. The principle behind the voucher scheme was to make failed asylum-seekers’ lives as intolerable as possible to ‘encourage’ their voluntary return.

The voucher system was heavily criticised by campaign and support groups as causing considerable hardship and distress as people had no cash to pay bus fares to see their legal representatives or attend health care appointments and were unable to buy food that met their dietary, religious, or cultural requirements.

In late 2009, the voucher system was abolished principally on the grounds that it represented poor value for money and, according to the UKBA, was open to ‘abuse and fraud’. The ‘abuse and fraud’ complained of by the UKBA was principally national and local charities and support groups – including the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) – who would exchange vouchers for cash to relieve the worst excesses of hardship.

The Azure card was introduced in November 2009 to replace the use of supermarket vouchers. It was introduced without any pilot but was proclaimed the definitive solution to the problems with vouchers. However, the Azure card has done very little to resolve these problems, continuing to restrict where and when people are able to shop, what they are able to buy, and often not working at all. From the start, the payment system was exposed as costly, inefficient and ineffective. The JRS highlighted this anticipating that, in addition to implementation costs, it would cost £200,000 per annum just to administer.

The Azure card is topped up ‘automatically’ each week by the UKBA and can be used in a limited number of supermarket outlets…

Read the rest of this article here: http://www.irr.org.uk/2010/december/ha000020.html

[Guest post] The Kettle: Resistance and Responsibility

by Dr. Yojo Queequeg

In 2009, after the kettling tactics and violence used by police on the day of the G20 protests in Central London, Duncan Campbell asked if this signalled the future of demonstrating in the UK: “Does this mean that anyone wanting to go on a demonstration in the future needs to be prepared to be detained for eight hours, photographed and identified?”

The events of the last few weeks have shown that the answer to Campbell’s question is an unequivocal affirmative. The movement of thousands has been halted, squeezed, pushed back and paralyzed. Not only this, but this movement has been quantified and criticised through public discourse; it has been claimed that certain minorities have gone too far, have pushed things to the extreme, and have provided a legitimate grievance with an illegitimate platform. These certain few have been held up as the justification of acts of state vengeance, in which young people are beaten as a result of demanding the right to their freedom of movement. There has been an unhappy tension propagated between the ‘heartening’ sight of so many thousands taking up the flag for higher education and the state of the nation, and the ‘disheartening’ revelations of acts of violence at the centre of these protests. “There are a few violent troublemakers who are ruining it for the rest of you” has echoed through and insinuated itself firmly into the public discourse of middle-Britain. The violence of this view is clear: it attempts to measure an appropriate level of anger for the unapologetic decimation of public services in the UK, to gather the fraying rope in order to tighten the knot around our necks.

The view above is diversionary; media engines sniff salaciously around students regurgitating this very line, producing the facile narrative of the solitary unhappy protestor condemning the broken windows, graffitied vans and black-eyed police officers. However, such a narrative obscures …

You can read the entire article here: The Kettle (1)

BeePicture

Also: http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2009/06/06/do-bee-do-bee-do/

Sunbeam and Colonial Adjustments

That interview with the Iranian News Agency retooled as an article for California and for translation in a Bengali paper.

Originally here on Dec 13th

The unrest in Britain is described in the media as about fees, but not a single student I have talked to, nor member of staff or other supporter of the anti-cuts campaigns, has failed to point out that its not primarily about fees but about a generalized attack by the neoliberal capitalist ruling class upon a very wide range of people.

The betrayal and hypocrisy of some politicians of course attracts some anger, but few people really have any faith that the parliamentary officials offer real alternatives – the chant on the streets is for ‘revolution’ – though of course there are many, many other chants. Some are personal – ‘Nick Clegg shame on you, shame on you for turning blue’ is one polite one – others are less polite. Some evoke the horrible days of Margaret Thatcher. Maggie Maggie Maggie, out out out! Possibly the most commonly mentioned reference points for current feeling in the UK are Thatcher’s Poll Tax riots, the 1930s anti-fascist actions in Cable Street East London, the Suffragettes fighting for the women’s vote at the start of the 20th century, the Chartists fighting for voting reform in the 19th century, or the support for the Jacobins (Coleridge and so on) in the 18th century – all of this is interesting, but in new circumstances with new tools. For example video sites and social networking as a mode of organising is well advanced. What the campaigns really need however is to link up more with international movements, such as those in Palestine, Iran, Nepal, South America and so on.

An analysis of why the Government are implementing these cuts now which is also very important in international terms. The deficit is not the largest the UK has had, but the neoliberal capitalists are taking the opportunity of a coalition government to implement a wide restructuring – a kind of structural adjustment – that will destroy the welfare state compact of the post WW2 period and further open the way for global corporations to profit, while ensuring increasing restriction and hardship for most. In some sectors this situation is also seen by Government as an opportunity to introduce restrictive and draconian – even proto-fascist – policies. This happens in several areas in different ways, and with different levels of party support. For example around immigration, using the justification of the imagined threat of ‘terror attacks’ – which of course is a racist coding, by an old imperial power keen to continue colonial politics where it can – the restrictions are cross-party, which is to say, each of the parliamentary parties is vying to see just how racist they can be. It appears to be slightly different on housing, which in the hands of the Con-Dem coalition is a sort of ‘ethnic cleansing’ programme for the reserve army of labour, who are to be consigned to the northern telemarketing work camps. On education and education funding specifically, as many have noted, none of the mainstream parties are truly unable to offer a progressive position. This is not yet to begin to address the scandals of banking bailouts, corporate bonuses and tax avoidance, rampant greed, the global mining and military industry death machine – and shareholdings in such – and other ruling class atrocities. The parliamentary path will not address such concerns, if anything is to be done they must be swept aside.

Police reaction to the students has been quite extreme, very violent provocation, use of horse charges, batons, beatings, very aggressive so-called ‘tactics’, named after kitchen appliances, but clearly designed to escalate tensions. In a time of cuts to all social services the police have an interest in making themselves seem useful. They have colluded with the press to find ‘front page’ sensation images, such as relatively insignificant anarchist actions, or the sacrificial offering of the Prince’s ride (the Royal vehicle) which was allowed onto streets in full knowledge that that was where militants were rampant. It can be assumed this was not merely a communications error, but rather a gamble that a dint in the rolls Royce would make a better cover story than the pictures of Santa Clause trying to break into the treasury (during, it must be said, a recession). Of course the violent attacks on students, the vast majority of them teenagers, was an error of judgement on the part of the police (as the BBC reporter quipped about the Prince, ‘heads will roll’), but the scandal of the Royal car was a fairly tame incident – it was not after all St Petersburg!, nor was it Cromwell helping execute another Royal called Charles in 1649. The repaint job done on the Prince’s ride has of course been seized upon by desperate politicians. Even the Prime Minister has been caught out in a lie about what was happening, saying that Police had been pulled from their horses and beaten at parliament – when video footage shows the policeman who fell from his horse was trampled by his own animal, with no students near him at all. The massive numbers of injured protesters – including one who had to have 3 hours of brain surgery – suggest the police have been the instigators of violence. I have witnessed this in person – in every protest it is the police that have been looking for a fight. As I suggested before, it is in their interests to seem to be needed.

The protesters are angry for sure – and the reasons are clear. Many accept the need for direct action, ranging from graffiti on state buildings, statues, occupations of colleges, to actions in shopping centres and commercial businesses, because this is proven to be the only way to be heard. 2 million people marched in London (1 out of every 30 Britons) against the invasion of Iraq and Tony Blair did not listen at all – instead lying his way toward war criminal infamy. He will not be tried in the international criminal court until there is a mass movement demanding a different kind of Government in the UK. It may be starting here – Blair was Thatcher’s child and now his party is in power, disguised as a coalition, but dragging all politicos into exposure. An alternative is in the offing. It is certainly necessary – the only kind of democracy worth fighting for is the one that fights at home – not bombs other countries on suspect whim and because Jesus has chosen you for a sunbeam!

John Hutnyk

WikiRebels

This is the documentary to watch, harrowing stuff, do not put an axe through your screen – though it may seem to suggest you need to do this.

watch the video here: http://svt.se/embededflash/2258254/play.swf

Apparently this vid version is only going to be up till January or so.

http://wikileaks.ch/

A search engine for wikileaks would of course be handy and lo and behold: But apparently the searches are a bit ‘hit and miss’. Nevertheless, developing search engines for the leaks is clearly good – the issue will be algorithmic I suppose as the volume of leaked pages rises… do add more search options as you find them:
Wikileaks ‘Cablegate’ search engine: http://cablesearch.org/

Why the Fees routine is nothing new, and why the issue is FAR wider than fees (old 1994 LA Leaflet from Australia).

download PDF here: fees


[guest post] Difference within form

Tess Quixote

It is easy to equate the Police absolutely with the State. This is obviously so in discursive terms. It is because this is obvious that it deserves unpacking.

The uniform of the riot policeman gains mobility on the backs of said men and women, while many riot police wear such uniform in their very fibre, I wish to argue that it is the uniform and the performing of it as signifier of state ‘order’ that over-writes the wearer so they bear an ideology which acts itself through their surface form and evacuates, in the wearing and performing of it, any singularity or vocality the wearer may have, or indeed perform, when out of uniform.

Read the rest of this article here: Difference within form

[Guest Post] Tesco’s- an obligatory passage point? Black Boxes vs an unreduced cosmos

Irresponsible appropriation of philosophy- spaces for thought, spaces for action…

Tess Quixote

What happens when you break with ‘space’? Charles Holland’s reflections on the USO through Tschumi’s quote ‘There is no space without event, no architecture without programme’: ‘Architecture could not be dissociated from the events that ‘happened’ in it’ is an excellent tool to think with.

The USO broke the normative use of the ‘architecture’ of Tesco: it was an imminent guerilla ‘text’, a USO ‘lecture’ that was there to expose, denigrate, sick-up; strip-bare with an acidic precision the text of a supposedly already ‘politicised’ space.  On/w/e could argue that the architecture of a company is two-fold: the structural architecture of a discursive space- an ‘out-there’ spectrality that haunts the physical but which we have strategies to disavow- keep the fluorescent-night-light of non-time flickering over the aisles and the nightmare doesn’t press too hard on your chest; then there is the ‘physical’ in which the movement of bodies is accommodated, ordered, formalised.

Read the rest of this article here: Tesco’s (2)

 

Bougainville

Letter from a BRA General.

Monday 13th December, 2010

BRA’s stand on mine reopening

Following all the media coverage in the recent weeks and the recent meeting by the so called landowners of Panguna Mine with the President for Bougainville, I would like to highlight certain issues that need to be taken into consideration before continuing discussions and plans to reopening of the Panguna Mine.
To set the record straight, the so called Panguna Landowners “Did not close the mine”. Let it be known that it was the Bougainville Revolutionary Army that closed the mine because of environmental damage and for the interest of everyone on the Island. The BRA consists of fighters from the North, Central and South Bougainville. So everyone have to be considered and accommodated in any discussions in regard to the reopening of the mine.
A lot of BRA soldiers died during the conflict, fighting to protect the environment that was destroyed by the mining giant, fighting for the Land and lastly for total independence for Bougainville. For the so called Panguna land owners to try to reopen the mine without considering and accommodating those who have given their lives and died for the closure of the mine would be an inconsiderate and greedy move.
When the mine was shut down, there was a claim to the BCL by the late Francis Ona on behalf of the landowners and Bougainville, the amount was K10 billion. Let it be known to all parties interested in the reopening of the mine that we have not forgotten and we still stand firm with this claim.
The move to reopen the mine is welcomed but is a sensitive issue. We don’t want to go down the same road we came out from. We fought against environmental damage, land rights and independence for Bougainville, therefore any discussions to reopen the mine must have a fair representation. I call on the National Government not to raise false hopes without gauging the views of all parties involved.
Ishmael Totoama
BRA general

For more on Bougainville see here and here.

Sunbeams and Colonial Adjustment

IRNA news agency interview:

Do you think the cause of these objections in Britain is increasing university ‘s fees or other issues like the government’s policy, economy and other things play role in it? Why the government officials did not fulfill their promises for fixing the fees?

The unrest in Britain is described in the media as about fees, but not a single student I have talked to, nor member of staff or other supporter of the anti-cuts campaigns, has failed to point out that its not primarily about fees but about a generalized attack by the neoliberal capitalist ruling class upon a very wide range of people.
.
The betrayal and hypocrisy of some politicians of course attracts some anger, but few people really have any faith that the parliamentary officials offer real alternatives – the chant on the streets is for ‘revolution’ – though of course there are many, many other chants. Some are personal – ‘Nick Clegg shame on you, shame on you for turning blue’ is one polite one – others are less polite. Some evoke the horrible days of Margaret Thatcher. Maggie Maggie Maggie, out out out! Possibly the most commonly mentioned reference points for current feeling in the UK are Thatcher’s Poll Tax riots, the 1930s anti-fascist actions in Cable Street East London, the Suffragettes fighting for the women’s vote at the start of the 20th century, the Chartists fighting for voting reform in the 19th century, or the support for the Jacobins (Coleridge and so on) in the 18th century – all of this is interesting, but in new circumstances with new tools. For example video sites and social networking as a mode of organising is well advanced. What the campaigns really need however is to link up more with international movements, such as those in Palestine, Iran, Nepal, South America and so on.
.
An analysis of why the Government are implementing these cuts now is also very important in international terms. The deficit is not the largest the UK has had, but the neoliberal capitalists are taking the opportunity of a coalition government to implement a wide restructuring - a kind of structural adjustment – that will destroy the welfare state compact of the post WW2 period and further open the way for global corporations to profit, while ensuring increasing restriction and hardship for most. In some sectors this situation is also seen by Government as an opportunity to introduce restrictive and draconian – even proto-fascist – policies. This happens in several areas in different ways, and with different levels of party support. For example around immigration, using the justification of the imagined threat of ‘terror attacks’ – which of course is a racist coding, by an old imperial power keen to continue colonial politics where it can – the restrictions are cross-party, which is to say, each of the parliamentary parties is vying to see just how racist they can be. It appears to be slightly different on housing, which in the hands of the Con-Dem coalition is a sort of ‘ethnic cleansing’ programme for the reserve army of labour, who are to be consigned to the northern telemarketing work camps. On education and education funding specifically, as many have noted, none of the mainstream parties are truly unable to offer a progressive position. This is not yet to begin to address the scandals of banking bailouts, corporate bonuses and tax avoidance, rampant greed, the global mining and military industry death machine – and shareholdings in such – and other ruling class atrocities. The parliamentary path will not address such concerns, if anything is to be done they must be swept aside.
.
What do you think about Britain ‘s police reaction to the students? Isn’t there any peaceful way to counter the protests instead of violent attack to the students?
.
Police reaction to the students has been quite extreme, very violent provocation, use of horse charges, batons, beatings, very agressive so-called ‘tactics’, named after kitchen appliances, but clearly designed to escalate tensions. In a time of cuts to all social services the police have an interest in making themselves seem useful, and of course they – like us – know things are to get more volatile over the coming months. They have colluded with the press to find ‘front page’ sensation images, such as relatively insignificant anarchist actions, or the sacrificial offering of the Prince’s ride (the Royal vehicle) which was allowed onto streets in full knowledge that that was where militants were rampant. It can be assumed this was not merely a communications error, but rather a gamble that a dint in the rolls Royce would make a better cover story than the pictures of Santa Clause trying to break into the treasury (during, it must be said, a recession). Of course the violent attacks on students, the vast majority of them teenagers, was an error of judgement on the part of the police (as the BBC reporter quipped about the Prince, ‘heads will roll’), but the scandal of the Royal car was a fairly tame incident – it was not after all St Petersburg!, nor was it Cromwell helping execute another Royal called Charles in 1649. The repaint job done on the Prince’s ride has of course been seized upon by desperate politicians. Even the Prime Minister has been caught out in a lie about what was happening, saying that Police had been pulled from their horses and beaten at parliament – when video footage shows the policeman who fell from his horse was trampled by his own animal, with no students near him at all. The massive numbers of injured protesters – including one who had to have 3 hours of brain surgery – suggest the police have been the instigators of violence. I have witnessed this in person – in every protest it is the police that have been looking for a fight. As I suggested before, it is in their interests to seem to be needed.
.

The protesters are angry for sure – and the reasons are clear. Many accept the need for direct action, ranging from graffiti on state buildings, statues, occupations of colleges, to actions in shopping centres and commercial businesses, because this is proven to be the only way to be heard. 2 million people marched in London (1 out of every 30 Britons) against the invasion of Iraq and Tony Blair did not listen at all – instead lying his way toward war criminal infamy. He will not be tried in the international criminal court until there is a mass movement demanding a different kind of Government in the UK. It may be starting here – Blair was Thatcher’s child and now his party is in power, disguised as a coalition, but dragging all politicos into exposure. An alternative is in the offing. It is certainly necessary – the only kind of democracy worth fighting for is the one that fights at home – not bombs other countries on suspect whim and because Jesus has chosen you for a sunbeam!

.

Western countries always claim that most of developing countries don’t observe human rights. Don’t you think that human rights and the right of protests for the students and other parts of people in west and especially Britain are ignored by the governments?
.
Human rights is a category that favours Western Govt criticism of so-called ‘developing societies’. The evidence of Guantanamo, special rendition, deportation, immigration policy, complicity with torture, increased civil liberty restrictions – and even recently the arrest and detention of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, all show that human rights is a meaningless phrase. Even if there are examples of abuses and atrocities in other countries, the record of the UK has never been clean. Never. It would be a grand idea to make it so.
.

Release Assange

RELEASE ASSANGE – Letter to the Australian High Commissioner London to be delivered Mon D13 (original location here)

Australians in UK for Immediate Release of Julian Assange, 12.12.2010 17:07

*If you are an Australian based in UK, or presently travelling through,
and wish to sign this letter.
Make contact through…..releasejulianassange at gmail.com Ph.079 392 90 576
**This letter will be hand delivered to the Australian Embassy, London, Monday December 13th. 2010.

High Commissioner to the United Kingdom

Australia House
Strand,
London WC2B 4LA

Dear Mr Dauth,

We Australians, here in London and from further afield, ask you to convey our urgent and emphatic request to the Gillard Government to do its utmost to defend Julian Assange?s human rights and the free and lawful operation of Wikileaks.

Australians around the world watch with grave concern as an Australian citizen is vilified by his own Prime Minister and Attorney-General, experienced lawyers whose words display a shocking disregard for the human right to the presumption of innocence, and risk prejudicing any legal proceedings Mr Assange may face.

We welcome the Government?s subsequent assurance that Mr Assange?s passport will not be cancelled and that your embassy will afford him ?all appropriate consular assistance.?

We learn from an Australian Government website[1] that the High Commission has a duty to ensure Mr Assange ?is treated no less favourably than local citizens detained for similar offences.? UK citizens, of course, enjoy the protection of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantee their right to freedom of expression, presumption of innocence and fair trial. That is, UK citizens enjoy a significantly higher degree of legal protection than do Australians, and the Australian High Commission must ensure Mr Assange?s treatment by UK authorities accords with those more stringent standards.

May we remind all consular staff and the Australian Government that Mr Assange ?has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers?[2] and to do so ?without interference by public authority.?[3]

Further, Mr Assange has a human and legal right to be ?presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law? and to be given a fair trial.[4]

As you must know well, it is unlawful under s104 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 for anyone intentionally or recklessly to cause death or serious harm[5] to an Australian citizen outside
Australia. And yet the Australian Government has voiced no objection to the death threats levelled against Mr Assange by high-profile US citizens and others.[7]

In light of the above, we, the undersigned:

1. Ask that Ms Gillard publicly and unequivocally withdraw her statement alleging illegal conduct on Mr Assange?s part, explain to the public why it was wrong for her to say that, and to apologise to Mr Assange.

2. Call on the Gillard Government to robustly defend Mr Assange both at home and abroad and to respect and defend his right to receive information and impart information freely, without interference by any public authority.

3. Ask the Attorney-General to initiate investigations into threats of violence against Mr Assange by persons in the United States and Canada, including Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, in violation of Australian law.

4. Urge the Gillard Government to oppose strenuously any application to have Mr Assange extradited to the United States, because it is unlikely he would receive a fair trial there.

We thank you for your attention to these matters of fundamental importance to a free and democratic society.

[1] ?Consular services: Arrested, detained and jailed overseas? ( http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/faq.html)

[2] Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (emphasis added). The same is stated more fully in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Australia is a party, and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which also applies to Mr Assange.

[3] ECHR, Art. 10(1)

[4] ECHR, Art. 6 and elsewhere

[5] Including ?harm to a person?s mental health (whether temporary or permanent) [including] psychological harm to the person;? and conduct that ?endangers, or is likely to endanger, a person?s life? (s146)

[7] See  http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/41914.html

Sincerely, your compatriots,

- John Pilger (from Sydney, Australia)  http://www.johnpilger.com/
- Peter Tatchell, (from Melbourne, Australia) London based, Human Rights Activist
http://www.petertatchell.net/
- Michael Dutton, (from Brisbane, Australia) Professor of Politics,
Goldsmiths University of London.
- Deborah Kessler, (from Brisbane, Australia) concerned citizen.
- Ciaron O’Reilly, (from Brisbane, Australian), London Catholic Worker/ Ploughshares.
http://www.londoncatholicworker.org/
- Eden Boucher, (from Adelaide, Australia) musician “Lovers Electric”.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovers_Electric
- David Turley, (from Adelaide, Australia), musician “Lovers Electric”.
- Sharon Turley, (from Adelaide, Australia) classical musician.
- David Warburton (from Adelaid, Australia), Coffee Brewster
- Saul Newman, teaches Political Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London.
- John Hutnyk, (from Melbourne, Australia) Professor of Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths Univrsity of London.
- Peter Thomas (from Rockhampton, Queensland) teaches History of Political Thought at Brunel University, London.
- Maria Albrecht, (from Melbourne, Australia) Catholic Worker Farmhouse
http://www.thecatholicworkerfarm.org/

- e-mail: releasejulianassange at gmail.com

On Violence

See University For Strategic Optimism for all your educational needs.

Department of DIY – UfSO

USO – 2 minute lectures launched

There are more of these here.

There are more of these here.
There are more of these here.
There are more of these here.

Cartoon Vigil tomorrow

This seems to have been the plan recommended to AP of NUS, but watered down…

The University for Strategic Optimism and the Spatio-political Performative

Guest post by Dr. Jacques Valentin, UfSO.

The University for Strategic Optimism is the synchronisation of multiple lines of thought and practice and one of the points around which this synchronisation occurs is that of space.

The ’68 comparison continually drawn with the recent student movement that the UfSO has been caught up in is fuelled not only by nostalgic commentators struggling for an ordering frame of reference but, we would also contend, from the specific spatial and temporal dimensions of this flame of rebellion. The Situationist colouring of the ’68 events is well-known and arguably one of the most consistent legacies of this has perhaps been the reimagining of urban space through concepts such as psychogeography and dérive. It is just such a reimagining that the UfSO seeks itself to reimagine. We are not merchants in the psychogeography industry, writing tourist guides or newspaper columns in a cynical commodification of symbolic urban space, rather we would contest that the spatio-temporal dimension of this recent wave of protest is a rehabilitation of what was radical about psychogeography, namely the potential political resignification and re-ordering of space.

Read the entire piece here: ufso and the spatio-political performative

UfSO site here.

Creative subversions: a politics beyond representation in the UK

Guest post by Charlotte Lattimer, Christopher Collier, Jaideep Shah, Katherine Burrows, Matthew Woodcraft and Saoirse Fitzpatrick, who write ‘as students, members of the University for Strategic Optimism, self-ascribed activists, friends…the list is infinitely long. We do not write or speak from one ground, nor do we represent ourselves on these multiple grounds. These categories or identities have no logical essence or order but are fluid and are evoked in specific contexts that allow for no systematic unity’.

Read the entire article here: Creative Subversions

an excerpt to wet your appetite (see you in college – struggle):

….we have witnessed and participated in some of the most creative protests and direct actions of recent decades. Our sentiment carries with it the rumbling sensation of a destabilising and fracturing of the normative capitalist ordering of space and time. Students and workers across the country have been challenging and subverting what has now been starkly revealed as the desiring-machine of neo-liberal logic: its bleak ‘commonsense’ that seeks to reduce our lives to a base functionalism where everything, including our hobbies, interests, desires, joys, and excesses, are given their proper place and time as long as they do not undermine the productivity of our monadic working capacities and ‘citizenships’. Places and times of subjecthood(s) are proscribed and conditioned by aggressive marketing so as to complement and enhance, as Foucault might term it, the ‘biopolitical’, or rather, the government’s maximum extraction of labour from the people(s) at its most cost-effective rate. Life itself becomes just another surplus to be reinvested into circuits of ever-enhanced ‘efficiency’.

Of course, not everyone in society is subject to this ordering of time and space. Those who elude such an ordering are not only those that own capital in the orthodox Marxist sense, but those who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo – where wealth and knowledge is concentrated amongst a very few whose positions and organisational structures tie other ‘professional’ workers into hierarchical socio-economies – those who are figured as untouchable by the protections of the political establishment. Mainstream political parties have refined their political duplicity to a performative art. In collusion with the mainstream media, these politicians project the appearance of concern, albeit to the interests of the centre, whereas privately they gladly and sincerely vouchsafe the interests of an economically powerful elite. Hence, when the thousands of protestors first marched and occupied the Conservative party headquarters at Millbank on 10th November, it was not some ‘violent’ catharsis of a naive group, or the criminal act of a selfish few, as has been articulated by a plethora of useless commentaries. On the contrary, it was a declaration that we(s) will not be fooled by our politicians’ appearances. ‘Representation’ is the contriving of various appearances: where our allegedly representational democracy manifests the appearance of democracy, the irruption of embodied direct actions discloses the politics of appearance and disowns it. This initial rupturing of normative spatial order has cleaved the physical securities upon which government writes its authority from the discursive mythologies that prop its ‘legitimacy’ up. A lightening flash of illumination has reinforced the lucid and energetic perception of the deep cracks and splinters that pervade the structure of the economy, and reveals thus the edifice of ‘right’-as-property upon which its apparent stability relies. ….

Read the entire article here: Creative Subversions

USO news round up

Johannes Effra (doctorate pending, viva thursday) from The Press Office of The University For Strategic Optimism prepared this helpful round up of the latest mentions of the fledgling University. Most offer praise, some are critical, and all offer something by way of thought or reflection on tactics and goals.

Excellent coverage on K-Punk and Infinite Thought:
K-Punk here: – “Kettle Logic” (29/11/10) another piece of strategic optimism using the USO to discuss a change in tactics in students, against containment both by police and the right-wing press.
IT here: – “A Nation of Shopkeepers” (04/12/10) compares USO strategies to the UK Uncut actions against Vodafone, Topshop etc .

One of the most systematic and interesting critiques of the USO comes from the Logical Regression blog, “Mourning Star: The Cul-de-sac we’re in” (04/12/10): here. Response by Dan Taylor: here

Chris Bertram simply posts up the first lecture, but there’s a typically reactionary though interesting debate in the comments stream: here

Charles Holland writes a good piece on the USO and architecture: here

A piece by Richard Hall comparing the Really Open University and current student actions that mentions the USO in a positive vein here

Another fair account of student actions and the USO here by Lucy Mayblin, “We are no longer the post-ideological generation” on the socialimagination site (03/12/10): here

A mention in the excellent south London blog Transpontine in an “Anti-Cuts Round Up” (05/12/10), here

Tawdry controversy in this exchange here about USO tactics hijacking the ‘disaster’ in a neoliberal vein – here

If anyone can read this (in Korean) then there might well be an interesting account of the USO: here

Reposts of the first video here, with good coverage in Liberal Conspiracy, Critical Legal Thinking, Shoppinghour, Chto Delat news etc: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here

Further brief link to the group here

The Future is Going to Come True (‘Buy this bloke a beer!’ said my friend Vij. ‘Future Presidential candidate for the United Socialist Federation of Europe’ I reckon).

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