Monthly Archives: October 2011

A Spectre is haunting Europe…

Not all parties atre the same – sorry to have missed this one… [thanks Jo]

The Student Handjob – now in bespoke perfect bound edition.


From THIS site you can purchase the slightly more glossified covered (and somewhat renamed [original version here]) Student Handjob. I am hoping to negotiate a discount. Original version here.

Nyx, a Noctournal


A horrifically good and brand new issue of the CCS postgrad noctournal publication Nyx was launched tonight in New Cross/Deptford, and a very fine thing it is too. You will soon be able to purchase the new issue from the website. Do be quick! NOW HERE.

Match of the Day!

Deaths in Custody March on Downing Street 29 Oct 2011

Critical Support #OWS

A collection of articles in critical-support of #OWS (collected by, or at least reposted by, The Public School).

Capitalism IS crises.

Though some will say the crisis is cyclical, I think rather that entropy and disintegration is the unity, the unifying modus operandi, of Capital, not simply appearing or revealed in crisis so much as always thriving on many, multiple, and perpetual, crises. Hence the slogan ‘Capitalism IS crisis’ rings true – Capitalism as a thriving parasitic system of destruction, dysfunction and a necessarily dog-eat-dog opportunism as Gekko/Cartels/Monopolies conglomerate in the highest stage of imperialism… where Capitalism must eat its young to survive, indeed, it survives by eating its young. Whatever unity it has is that every capitalist must stab every other capitalist in the back in the end, ad infinitum.

Gotcha moment for Cameron


The manner of Gaddafi’s death is obscene.

The associated reprisals exceed comprehension.

This was to defend Misrata – here – with a No Fly zone.

Nothing had flown for quite some time.

Enboldened, Cameron is also now poised for harsh responses in the all too civil war that is domestic politics.

Shame – the world cannot continue like this.

99 per cent or 99.9999 percent or any other fractional carve-up, we need a ruthless criticism of everything that exists in order to bring ourselves to understand what we are trying to do.

What we are trying to do is oust Cameron, and Clagg, and Millipede. Away with all gods.

One, two, many camps.

Occupy Zindabad!

The Letter to the Rube: ‘ruthless criticism of all that exists’

Just for the record, and because its worth reading again, Marx’s 8th Letter to Arnold Ruge (Sept 1843):


Letters from the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher

Marx to Ruge

Kreuznach, September 1843

I am glad that you have made up your mind and, ceasing to look back at the past, are turning your thoughts ahead to a new enterprise.[22] And so – to Paris, to the old university of philosophy – absit omen! [May it not be an ill omen] – and the new capital of the new world! What is necessary comes to pass. I have no doubt, therefore, that it will be possible to overcome all obstacles, the gravity of which I do not fail to recognise.

But whether the enterprise comes into being or not, in any case I shall be in Paris by the end of this month,[23] since the atmosphere here makes one a serf, and in Germany I see no scope at all for free activity.

In Germany, everything is forcibly suppressed; a real anarchy of the mind, the reign of stupidity itself, prevails there, and Zurich obeys orders from Berlin. It therefore becomes increasingly obvious that a new rallying point must be sought for truly thinking and independent minds. I am convinced that our plan would answer a real need, and after all it must be possible for real needs to be fulfilled in reality. Hence I have no doubt about the enterprise, if it is undertaken seriously.

The internal difficulties seem to be almost greater than the external obstacles. For although no doubt exists on the question of “Whence,” all the greater confusion prevails on the question of “Whither.” Not only has a state of general anarchy set in among the reformers, but everyone will have to admit to himself that he has no exact idea what the future ought to be. On the other hand, it is precisely the advantage of the new trend that we do not dogmatically anticipate the world, but only want to find the new world through criticism of the old one. Hitherto philosophers have had the solution of all riddles lying in their writing-desks, and the stupid, exoteric world had only to open its mouth for the roast pigeons of absolute knowledge to fly into it. Now philosophy has become mundane, and the most striking proof of this is that philosophical consciousness itself has been drawn into the torment of the struggle, not only externally but also internally. But, if constructing the future and settling everything for all times are not our affair, it is all the more clear what we have to accomplish at present: I am referring to ruthless criticism of all that exists, ruthless both in the sense of not being afraid of the results it arrives at and in the sense of being just as little afraid of conflict with the powers that be.

Therefore I am not in favour of raising any dogmatic banner. On the contrary, we must try to help the dogmatists to clarify their propositions for themselves. Thus, communism, in particular, is a dogmatic abstraction; in which connection, however, I am not thinking of some imaginary and possible communism, but actually existing communism as taught by Cabet, Dézamy, Weitling, etc. This communism is itself only a special expression of the humanistic principle, an expression which is still infected by its antithesis – the private system. Hence the abolition of private property and communism are by no means identical, and it is not accidental but inevitable that communism has seen other socialist doctrines – such as those of Fourier, Proudhon, etc. – arising to confront it because it is itself only a special, one-sided realisation of the socialist principle.

And the whole socialist principle in its turn is only one aspect that concerns the reality of the true human being. But we have to pay just as much attention to the other aspect, to the theoretical existence of man, and therefore to make religion, science, etc., the object of our criticism. In addition, we want to influence our contemporaries, particularly our German contemporaries. The question arises: how are we to set about it? There are two kinds of facts which are undeniable. In the first place religion, and next to it, politics, are the subjects which form the main interest of Germany today. We must take these, in whatever form they exist, as our point of departure, and not confront them with some ready-made system such as, for example, the Voyage en Icarie. [Etienne Cabet, Voyage en Icarie. Roman philosophique et social.]

Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form. The critic can therefore start out from any form of theoretical and practical consciousness and from the forms peculiar to existing reality develop the true reality as its obligation and its final goal. As far as real life is concerned, it is precisely the political state – in all its modern forms – which, even where it is not yet consciously imbued with socialist demands, contains the demands of reason. And the political state does not stop there. Everywhere it assumes that reason has been realised. But precisely because of that it everywhere becomes involved in the contradiction between its ideal function and its real prerequisites.

From this conflict of the political state with itself, therefore, it is possible everywhere to develop the social truth. Just as religion is a register of the theoretical struggles of mankind, so the political state is a register of the practical struggles of mankind. Thus, the political state expresses, within the limits of its form sub specie rei publicae, [as a particular kind of state] all social struggles, needs and truths. Therefore, to take as the object of criticism a most specialised political question – such as the difference between a system based on social estate and one based on representation – is in no way below the hauteur des principes. [Level of principles] For this question only expresses in a political way the difference between rule by man and rule by private property. Therefore the critic not only can, but must deal with these political questions (which according to the extreme Socialists are altogether unworthy of attention). In analysing the superiority of the representative system over the social-estate system, the critic in a practical way wins the interest of a large party. By raising the representative system from its political form to the universal form and by bringing out the true significance underlying this system, the critic at the same time compels this party to go beyond its own confines, for its victory is at the same time its defeat.

Hence, nothing prevents us from making criticism of politics, participation in politics, and therefore real struggles, the starting point of our criticism, and from identifying our criticism with them. In that case we do not confront the world in a doctrinaire way with a new principle: Here is the truth, kneel down before it! We develop new principles for the world out of the world’s own principles. We do not say to the world: Cease your struggles, they are foolish; we will give you the true slogan of struggle. We merely show the world what it is really fighting for, and consciousness is something that it has to acquire, even if it does not want to.

The reform of consciousness consists only in making the world aware of its own consciousness, in awakening it out of its dream about itself, in explaining to it the meaning of its own actions. Our whole object can only be – as is also the case in Feuerbach’s criticism of religion – to give religious and philosophical questions the form corresponding to man who has become conscious of himself.

Hence, our motto must be: reform of consciousness not through dogmas, but by analysing the mystical consciousness that is unintelligible to itself, whether it manifests itself in a religious or a political form. It will then become evident that the world has long dreamed of possessing something of which it has only to be conscious in order to possess it in reality. It will become evident that it is not a question of drawing a great mental dividing line between past and future, but of realising the thoughts of the past. Lastly, it will become evident that mankind is not beginning a new work, but is consciously carrying into effect its old work.

In short, therefore, we can formulate the trend of our journal as being: self-clarification (critical philosophy) to be gained by the present time of its struggles and desires. This is a work for the world and for us. It can be only the work of united forces. It is a matter of a confession, and nothing more. In order to secure remission of its sins, mankind has only to declare them for what they actually are.


Plod Pods

The micro drone is not the only sci fi spin off boggling the goggles these days (its a hunter-seeker from Dune). This below, at first, I thought was a put up job. I thought it was mad enough to be a photo-shopped diss, but it seems all too true: as this story from Harlem, of course, confirms.

I was alerted to this new fold in the panoptic street-scape by Jeff Heydon, who owes us more text soon (Jeff?). And am thinking we need to watch the Star Wars films again to learn the tactics and logistics needed to topple these monsters.


Movin’ On Up

A significant amount of my research deals with surveillance and the idea of the panoptic. That it is the current model for most first-world prison systems or that it applies to the datafication of the entire populous of the planet under the weight of the digital revolution is well established. What I find fascinating is the way in which the idea of the panoptic can indeed conform to different national cultures.New Yorkers are so often derided for being obnoxious, Starbucks-swigging, quasi-cultured faux-European poseurs that it’s genuinely nice to come across an example that indicates the Big Apple is just as capable of fusing laziness, an unnatural attachment to Star Wars (think of the AT-STs from Empire), the automobile obsession and the assertion of freedom through overt dictatorial mechanisms as the rest of the country. The following photograph, taken by an ever-vigilant friend of mine, will better illustrate my point:

What we appear to be witnessing in this instance (and, to be fair, I haven’t been thinking about this object for a very long time) is the stop-and-search equivalent of the drive-thru window. The realization that the guard tower can now be driven to the point of concern and the dynamics of the total surveillance prison can be enacted anywhere on the street adjusts our relationship with systems of power in two ways.

The first is obvious: the ability of the police to view, capture and develop a case against a citizen is mobile, technological and allows the traditional, permanently fixed globe of the CCTV camera to shift from one location to another location. The physical aspects of the city are less stable than before – our relationship with objects that indicate power no longer fits to the object/stable – human/mobile dynamic … or not as clearly as before anyway.

The second is a bit more interesting. SkyWatch (the name of the tower) offers an opening in our understanding of urbanity from a public perspective. The necessity of a tower that is mobile might function as an indication of the fallibility of a power structure that encourages us to think that it is omniscient. There is a desperation that emerges from this thing; the need to turn the urban landscape into a potential prison block at the drop of a hat might indicate to us just how much of the landscape is a permanent blind spot on the security system’s radar screen.

The use of SkyWatch is problematic at best. The option to erect a guard tower anywhere on an urban map at the whim of the police puts all of us in the position of a potential prisoner. With that in mind, it might just be how obvious this thing is that makes me chuckle at it rather than feel a genuine sense of concern. More likely, though, that’s an indication that I’m becoming far too comfortable with the sensation of being watched at all times for no good reason at all …

Talk at RUHR-UNIVERSITÄT BOCHUM December 8 2011 6pm

Join us in the streets: uprisings, riots, revolt and other square forms of organizing.

This paper examines how contemporary events are, perhaps, giving rise to new forms of participatory politics. Some of these events are recent, some emergent, and some unanticipated. They reach from the wave of public mobilisations in city squares; Tahrir, Syntagma, Madrid, Occupy Wall Street (Butler 2011) and #OccupyLSX to the use of new technologies and communications media; citizen journalism, counter-mapping, bespoke apps for organization and new activist groupings and projects (UfSO, The Paper). Topics of interest reach from the efforts to articulate rights on the part of diasporic settler groups in the UK and Germany (for example, taxi-drivers, sex-workers, and travelers in Southeast London: see Mathew 2005, Chatterton, Rees, Norman ESRC research in Leeds 2007-9); to the cultural turn of the political lobbies, from the Tea-Party in the US, the English Defense League in England, to the Bersih movement in Malaysia. These new forms – are they even new? what role do intellectual and cultural theorists possibly have, if any? – deserve attention since they occur in the context of austerity and after ten years of ‘war on terror’ – making it very interesting to see people work collectively in ways co-constitutive of better – democratic? – aspiration for change (Freire 1970, Escobar 2009). The discussion seeks to connect this emergent optimism and enthusiasm with the politics and representation of constituent groups from earlier cycles of struggle, considering vanguardism and Party politics, access issues, interests, and the critical question of comportment towards the Masses, the Rabble, the Mob, the Lumpen or the Racaille. Reference will be made to writings by Jacques Derrida, Slavoj Žižek, Susan Buck-Morss and Alain Badiou. Some preliminary materials and reading might be found here: – recent viewing of the Kassovitz film La Haine (1995) might also be helpful.
John Hutnyk is Professor of Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths College and author of several books including The Rumour of Calcutta (1996); Critique of Exotica (2000); Bad Marxism: Capitalism and Cultural Studies (2004); and Diaspora and Hybridity (with R.Kaur and V.Kalra 2006).
venue detrasils: h1

Bochum 8.12.2011

Kurzfristig ist es uns noch gelungen einen weiteren Gast für unsere Veranstaltungsreihe im Wintersemester zu gewinnen. John Hutnyk wird am 08.12.2011 zum Thema Join us in the streets: uprisings, riots, revolt and other square forms of organizing sprechen. Weiter Informationen finden sich auf der Terminübersicht.

Internationalise all areas #occupylsx #occupywallst

The Internationale in many versions:
 Comment: Internationalise all areas
The Internationale–Red Army Choir and Orchestra, High Quality Stereo Version!
‎”The Internationale” performed by the Red Army Choir and Orchestra. Rousing high quality stereo version! As you listen to this inspiring song, remember those…

The Internationale” conducted by Arturo Toscanini–originally BANNED
In 1944, to honor the Allied victory in Italy, the great Arturo Toscanini–a refugee from Fascisim in his home country–decided to conduct a performance of V…
Internationalise all areas!


Some of these clips come with pretty amazing ads added by Google – this one had, when I watched it (I imagine they are somewhat randomized) an link for a piece ‘Exposing the lies and crimes of Greenpeace':

with Chinese politicians and military personnel – this one too has anti Greenpeace ads all over it. Is it just this clip or is it a targeted algorithm – as if I needed telling that Greenpeace was dodgy – from the other end of the scale though.

Soviet October Revolution Parade, 1977 Part I Парад 7 ноября
John Hutnyk Internationalise all areas!

This is the parade in Moscow’s Red Square, devoted to the 60th anniversary of th…
The Internationale in North Korea
North Korean girl singing The Internationale


1 May in Cuba – The Internationale
Internationalise all arias!


International Anthem in Spanish (From land and Freedom, which I know is somewhat problematic, but… internationalize!
The Internationale in English
Comment John Hutnyk: internationalise all arrears!

Collected Marketing Detournements for Goldies

‘I’m quite a fan of the Goldsmiths ad campaign. And I’m sure it’s accurately pitched at the target demographic. I have faith in #goldsmirk’.
‘I liked this the first time round, but my critical theory course makes me think it might be a hoax. I stumble on Goldsmiths’ #goldsmirk
‘I’d like to know just how much this marketing strategy cost. Can tell a numpty came up with it. I mither at Godlsmirths Sachs’ #goldsmirk
‘I’m still marking dissertations from the students that left three weeks ago and the new students are already here. I slave at #goldsmirk’
‘mummy and daddy really wanted me to go to Oxford. And I have a pony. I slum it at #goldsmirk’
‘I’m secretly a power mad fuck, but want people to think I do good so I traded my uzi for a copy of Camera Lucida. So shoot me’. #goldsmirk
‘Imagine there is more horatio in your dream than philosophy, and I trust I make myself obscure, at #goldsmirk’
*Update – and what a good update it is – from here:
and the Razor Award winner for Movember, after rigorous polling, goes to:
s econd prize – a free copy of the cartoon Manifesto (well, actually a link to the youtube url, but hey): 

Frankfurt 6 and 7 Dec 2011

Statement from #occupylsx

What appears to be the first statement from the London Occupation… is indeed a bit anti-theory – which I agree is strange because it comes out of a group sitting around thinking about what to do – and the demands are only an initial and somewhat abstract step towards building an alternative – yes, actually, how does one nationalize a bank?, I would very much like to see a guide for that – and yet this is wholly necessary: the effort to make something work beyond the repetitious call for ‘another world is possible’ is also here… Maybe its a bit ‘end is nigh’ in tone, and overly reliant on some ‘separate’ labour movement that will come like the cavalry to make us serious, and it flirts with the usual anarcho anti-Leninism that mistakes the British Trotskyite swamp with the Left… but on the whole, I like and welcome this and see it as an improvement on the brand-label slogans that have been our fare so far. Join us in the streets… I would put this entire text on my banner with just a few modifications – and openness to more ‘demands’ – there are always many demands – which is a good thing, no.

From now on there is only action - open letter ( via email )
Dear comrades,

From now on there is only action. The theories are nice to have – the theory
of horizontalism, of communes, of erotic revolt against the capitalist
oppression of our bodies. But the global crisis is moving fast. Whether you
are the Greek Communist Party, or UKUncut, or Anonymous, or Die Linke or
Lulzsec, or Zizek or just some gang of kids on a corner that likes one kind
of music and hates another: there is no time left for convincing others.

We have to act together.

Capitalism is about to experience a moment of breakdown. The Eurozone’s
financial system is bust: the result will be either a chaotic series of
defaults, provoking involuntary nationalisations and temporary abolition of
market forces by the ruling elite (short selling bans, bans on CDS); or we
will be saved from this by a pre-emptive abolition of the market in
sovereign debt, bank debt, credit derivatives etc.

This stark alternative explains the inaction of Merkel, Trichet, Barosso,
Lagarde: the only plan possible to pre-empt disaster is, to them, disaster:
it is the involuntary socialisation of the finance system.

We have got to this moment of mass, simultaneous, global occupation of space
in the cities of the world through a painful process.

Committed minorities put their bodies in the way of harm: from Climate Camp
to Gaza to Tahrir Square to Syntagma to Wall Street. There is a natural
feeling of jealousy, of ownership, among those who got us this far: that the
new masses being dragged onto the cold pavements do not understand the finer
points of theory, were not kettled the year before, were not part of this or
that iconic Facebook group.

But get ready for something bigger: the labour movements of the world are
grinding slowly into action. Cumbersome, slow, bureaucratic, hierarchical,
given to forming a committee to solve a problem that can be sorted out with
an iPhone. Yes. But decisive. In Greece right now, workers are doing what a
molotov cocktail cannot: stopping the printing of tax forms, stopping the
IMF delegations from even checking into their hotel rooms.

Right now the problem of the spontaneous movements, wherever they have set
up camp, is their failure to articulate with the levers of control currently
held by the rich elite. In a period before a crisis, or a period of
hopelessness, this is not a problem: creating the alternative nucleus of a
better world does not need one to get dirty in the business of the possible.
Living despite capitalism was a good idea and still is. Demanding the
impossible was, and remains, an act essential to liberate one’s mind.


The crisis is going to bring the impossible onto the agenda. It will be
necessary to construct a pathway from where we are to what we want to

Failure to connect with the levers of power, of policy, of the actual, of
the concrete always leave opposition movements open to being used as a walk
on army for the reformists: reform by riot – a division of labour by which a
kid in a hoodie goes to prison for two years and a man in a suit gains
sudden acceptance of his liberal reform plans – is as long as the history of

It is too late for that now.

The movement needs to have demands: not impossible ones but concrete ones.
Not schematic, drawn from the theories of various left philosophers but
based on action. The movement should combine demands, objectives, with the
new means of achieving them: where the social democrat calls for
nationalisation, the movement of the masses calls for decentralised social
ownership and takes physical control of the seized assets.

It will come down to this in practice. Soon numerous European banks are
going to go bust; maybe even some states. In some places ATMs will close.
There will be a right wing backlash: the authoritarians and the racists are
swarming to join the riot squads and the reserve military formations to get
their chance to break our heads. They will break the heads of migrants, the
oppressed; narratives of racial and religious purity will appear; narratives
of “national economic interest: dead for decades will be revived. It is
possible to live "despite capitalism"  - it is not possible to live "despite
quasi fascism": there is no space in right wing crisis capitalism for
anything - first books burn, then bodies.

In the 1930s fascism won because the workers movement and the progressive
left refused to unite in action, letting their differences –not just of
politics but of lifestyle and of historical rivalry – get in the way of

Today, with social media, instant unity is possible between a variety of
people, and it can last microseconds or long enough to take and hold a
square. The united front is replaced by the flashmob. Soon we are going to
have to take and hold banks, insurance companies, pension funds. And we are
going to have to keep the system running – the system many of us would see
destroyed – until it can be morphed, reformed, dismantled in a way that does
not smash the lives of a whole generation.

We cannot leave politics to the politicians and economics to the economists,
reserving for ourselves only the streets, the camps, the symbolic act,
hilarious graffiti and acts of kindness.

We have to deconstruct and replace both mainstream politics and economics;
we cannot become passive consumers of the alternatives offered by the “great
and good” of the liberal left. It is for the exploited and oppressed to
create these alternatives themselves.

Comrades – do not be frightened of demands. They need not dominate us or
entrap us into hierarchies or timetables from the 20th century. The can
liberate us from the role of being the opera chorus: the spear carriers with
formidable presence whose ultimate role is as warm-up act for the political
divas of Labour, social-democracy, Stalinism and Green Party politics.

I demand – and you may join me if you wish, or amend, delete, reject – the

Nationalise all banks that cannot raise capital to withstand the coming
sovereign debt crisis. Break them up. Create a state guarantee for deposits
but impose 100% losses on shareholders and bondholders. Repurpose what’s
left as development banks and small scale credit for working class
communities and business loans.

Create a socialised banking system – a mixed economy of utility banks,
non-profits, ethical banks, credit unions and mutual societies.

Impose – immediately and universally across Europe and wherever possible
elsewhere – uniform minimum standards for wages, employment rights, rights
for precarious workers. Impose from below: by refusing to work without them.
This will, at a stroke,  remove the possibility of the parallel,
cheap-labour economy that has corroded social solidarity in the rich
countries and regions of Europe. Commit ourselves to a high wage, high skill
economy, with massive state spending on upskilling and education.

Once this is done, the debate on how much growth we actually want and need
is a real one. Ie, it has a real outcome, not a theoretical warm glow in our

Statism and central planning are dead, discredited. But now, too, the free
market has failed. Rationality can be imposed on the economy, but from below
as well as above, and using the state as enabler of competition, creativity
and invention, destroying forever the Hayekian objection that rationality in
economics leads to “serfdom”.

Any fiscal union for Europe must be created on terms dictated by the
workers, the poor and the oppressed, not the dim elite who fucked things up
so badly.  It will involve transfers – of taxpayers money from the north to
the south. We are sorry about this, but it will.

The prize – and the only condition for this merger – is that we create a
unified social Europe – from Iraklion to Rekyavik – where social justice is
an inalienable right, and speculation, inequality and exploitation are a
jailable offence.

Our crisis is coming. The American crisis and the Chinese crisis will not be
long following. If we do it – this continent with its 1000 year traditions
of revolt, utopianism, bloodshed and craziness – it will prove to the world
it can be done. Others will follow.

Out of these meagre tents and chickpea soup kitchens will come the new
world. There is nowhere else for it to come from.

Treasure trove of Phamperletts…

A treasure trove (nicked from Chris at 56a): has some paginated ready to print PDFS on all sorts of things:

But there are loads more at, Zabalaza, and others places  (although not as classy as KM Free Press, of course). KM Press texts were made in InDesign with Booklet plug-in. Super easy!du

Occultural Studies

Joanna Hodge 28.11.2011

28 Nov 2011 CCS PhD seminar  special session at 5pm by Professor Joanna Hodge: ‘Jean Luc Nancy’s excription: between excess and ecstasy’ – Council Room, Laurie Grove, Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre, in solidarity with the Goldsmiths Occupation. Contact John.Hutnyk[at}

New Cross

three events of note: Goldsmiths Centre for Cultural Studies 19-20-21 Oct 2011

Haneen Maikey wednesday 19th October 2011 Queer Politics & the Palestinian Struggle: Ten Years of Activism.

A Centre for Cultural Studies and GUCU LGBTQ Society event: – Haneen Maikey, queer Palestinian activist and director of alQaws – wednesday 19th October ROOM 137A 3pm all welcome – see here.


Fictional Character and Digital Avatar – A talk by Prof John Frow, on 20 Oct 2011 Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, all welcome, see here


Death of The Champion and Savage Messiah at Goldsmiths 21.Oct.2011

Special Double Bill event: – Laura Oldfield Ford – author of Savage Messiah -

and – Ken Fero/Tariq Mehmood’s new film – Defeat of the Champion (25 mins)

- plus discussion. 21 Oct 2011 RHB Cinema see here:

Pantomime Terror Lecture (last 5 mins)

Here, for obscure in-joke reasons, is the last part of my inaugural lecture in 2008, where I had been discussing pantomime terror, paranoid suspicions on the tube, and the ur-story of the 1001 nights updated to Guantanamo … this is meant not only as a wind up – and I will post the entire lecture eventually. Geoff Crossick says some things at the end…


American Spring: ‘First we take Manhattan’

There are a couple of very interesting observations in the Lenin’s Tomb commentary upon the Occupy Wall Street circus (a circus yes, with the cops as clowns, dark knights of corporate order, threatening mayhem if you walk on a road).

I am particularly interested in the critique LT offers of the ‘list of demands’ that is not one. ‘Join the process’ is well and good, but inadequate when its clearly more than just a process call – but a need for solidarity when: ‘it must be a felicitous coincidence that JP Morgan Chase donated $4.6m to the New York Police Department on the same day that the same department engaged in a mass arrest of hundreds of#OccupyWallStreet activists marooned on the Brooklyn Bridge’.

If it can be said that ‘the occupation began with a deliberate strategy of having minimal concrete politics and no demands.  The idea was that the politics and tactics of the occupation would be agreed in the context of aparticipatory, open-ended symposium.  No doubt some of this is mired in what I would consider a destructive and caricatured anti-Leninism, but I can imagine it comes from real experiences and expresses legitimate desires’ then LT is correct to examine this. The assessment offered is fair, critical, but optimistic. Along the way, some excellent phrasings, for example the on the money appreciation of slogans: ‘The best slogan I’ve seen is, “How do we end the deficit?  End the war, Tax the rich.”  This has the virtue of being a popular demand, a concise point, and right on the money’ – right on the money, get it? Very good. But the section on rapid politicization after police crack-down rings true as well, and is reason to cheer. I think this is indicative of a wider atmosphere that we can diagnose in the anticipation of the coming actions in the UK as well – a politicization is underway, and directions are up for discussion. That itself is of interest.

Read the rest here:



First we take Manhattan

Wall Street’s famously chaste, humble bearing may not be the secret of its charm.  When you ask what is, you begin to realise what the Right has accomplished.  It has plausibly retailed something as banal as markets, and all the variations and derivatives thereof, as a libidinised field of popular (competitive) participation, the final source of all wealth/value (stock markets delivering oodles of the stuff like ducks farting out golden eggs), and, if this isn’t a tautology, a genre of erotica.  The insurance company as an aphrodisiac.  Yet it had to occur to someone to give Goldman Sachs and allies something to worry about, a something from which they have thus far been protected.  Under the Obama administration, which treats the quack orthodoxies of investment bankers as technocratic panaceas, the politically dominant fraction within the US ruling class has rarely seemed more powerful and at ease.  In their home city, the banks and traders have colonised the political system to the extent that one of their own sons, Michael Bloomberg, can take office and actually run the city as a favour to them.  (Bloomberg declines remuneration for his services.)  This is 21st Century philanthropy.

“The whole world is watching,” the protesters chant. No doubt. The question is whether any of those watching will take this as a cue to join the occupation in solidarity.  Admittedly it is already an over-worked reference, but there are compelling, if distant, echoes of Tahrir Square in New York (and now, I understand, financial districts in Boston, Miami, Detroit, San Francisco, etc.), in the sense of a nascent attempt to find a new model commune.  What the occupiers seek to create is both a rallying point for oppositional forces, and a model of participatory democracy that, if replicated, would give popular constituencies the ability and authority to solve their problems.  We’ll come back to the model of self-government being debated in Zuccotti Park, but as far as rallying opposition forces and pricking the mediasphere goes, the occupation has been having some success. The critical moment has been the participation of the organised labour movement, with the direct involvement of transport and steel workers, and the solidarity of Tahrir Square protesters.  (A mass strike by transport workers in Egypt has just won a major victory, gaining a 200% pay rise, just months after the army outlawed strikes).  The context of which it partakes is a germinal revival of class struggle in the United States.  Doug Henwood, who initially expressed reservations about the (lack of) politics of the initiative, describes the situation as “inspiring”.  This is why the initiative has been greeted with the predictable sequence of tactful silence from officials, followed by open hostility, police brutality, threatening murmurs from Bloomberg and, finally, last night’s mass arrest – which I would imagine follows orders from the mayor’s office. Bloomberg, you’ll be relieved to know, is not exercised on behalf of multi-billionaires like himself, but those Wall Street traders on a measly $40-50k, inconvenienced by anticapitalist wildlife.
and it continues after a vid: read the rest, from para three: here

Philosophy closure: University of Northampton

Below you’ll find an email circulated by David Wall from the University of Northampton. The only other thing I know about this is that if you visit Northampton’s webpage for philosophy it will confirm that they are not taking applications for philosophy degrees for 2012.



as has happened at a number of universities in the UK, the Executive Dean of the School of Social Sciences at the University of Northampton has decided to phase out the teaching of philosophy and close the department here.  This is planned to take effect from next year with no new intake of students for philosophy from 2012/13.  We think this decision is unjustified, for the reasons described in the template letter below and others, and hope to get the decision reversed so that philosophy can continue to be taught here.  We would be very grateful for your help and support with this.  If you agree and are willing to help please sign the template letter and copy it into, or attach to an email to the Vice Chancellor of the University at or send a hard copy by mail to Professor Nick Petford, The Vice Chancellor, The University of Northampton, Directorate,
Boughton Green Road, Northampton, NN2 7AL, UK.

Hopefully with your wider support, and the support and enthusiasm that our students have shown we can keep philosophy being taught here.

Thanks for any help you are able to offer,


David Wall

Lecturer in Philosophy,
The University of Northampton,
Boughton Green Road,
NN2 7AL,

(+44) 01604 735500 2443



The Vice Chancellor
Professor Nicholas Petford
The University of Northampton,
Boughton Green Road, Northampton, NN2 7AL

Dear Professor Petford,

I am writing to express my concern about the recent decision by the Executive Dean of Social Sciences to phase out the teaching of philosophy and close the department at the University of Northampton.  This decision seems unreasonable both financially and academically.

As a category D subject (according to the classification system of the UK government’s recent white paper on competition in higher education) philosophy has low running costs for the university, currently employing only 2.3 members of staff.  These costs are more than funded by the student fees it earns as it attracts good numbers of students.  In addition to the existing students this year’s first year intake will be 13 single honours and 11 joint honours students.  These numbers compare well with those of departments of similar size both within the University of Northampton and against other universities and would be greater were they not limited by the current caps on student intakes.  Moreover, there is evidence that these good numbers will continue with numbers of applications and offers increasing year-on-year from 2010/11 to 2011/12 (the two years in which a single honours programme has been offered and for which final intakes have been determined by the caps rather than the interest from prospective students) in contrast with many other subjects in the university, and the government white paper suggests that category D subjects such as philosophy will be least at risk from competition from the private sector in the near future.  So there are good financial reasons to continue to teach philosophy at Northampton.

Similarly, the department justifies itself academically, achieving excellent results and providing students with a very good overall experience of being at university.  In 2010/11 80% of completing students in philosophy achieved ‘good’ degrees (level 2:1 and above) which again compares well with philosophy departments of similar size in other universities and with
similar sized subjects at Northampton.  It is anticipated that this will be maintained or improve as a greater proportion of students are single honours who will spend more time dedicated to studying philosophy and receive a more complete and thorough philosophical education, and end of year exam results and progression rates support this optimism.  In addition, philosophy is integrated with a number of other subjects in the university.  The department offers modules that are relevant to, and popular with students taking courses in politics, law, sociology, business, etc, as well as modules that are popular generally as electives, such as the modules in moral theory and in philosophy of religion.  This contribution to the broader educational experience would be lost if philosophy were to close.

In addition to these financial and academic considerations there are important reasons related to the ethos and standing of the university not to close the department.  Philosophy is among the traditional, core subjects of higher education and we believe that any university worth of the status should offer it for study.  As well as the training that philosophy provides for a broad range of careers, something frequently acknowledged by employers in fields such as journalism, business marketing, analysis and consultancy, civil service, education, etc, it reflects the fact that attending university is about more than merely gaining vocational training.  Students recognise this and it is likely to be an even more important consideration for them when they are potentially paying more to attend university from 2012/13 with the introduction of higher tuition fees.

So, there are good ideological, academic, and financial reasons to continue to teach philosophy at the University of Northampton.  I urge you to reconsider and reverse the decision to close the department there and to do so as soon as possible so that it can be properly advertised in the UCAS entry system for 2012/13.

Yours sincerely,


Position/ Affiliation:

Trashing Performance

Its mostly north of the river (we got places to trash in Lewisham too) but still might be well worth the travel card:for schedule info and tix see

Haneen Maikey wednesday 19th October 2011 Queer Politics & the Palestinian Struggle: Ten Years of Activism

A Centre for Cultural Studies and GUCU LGBTQ Society event:
Haneen Maikey, queer Palestinian activist and director of alQaws
 – wednesday 19th October Laurie Grove Council room. 3pm all welcome

Queer Politics & the Palestinian Struggle: Ten Years of Activism

Queer Palestinian groups began to emerge in as early as 2001. After a decade of
activism Palestinian queer groups aspire to lead a new queer movement that is
integral to the Palestinian society, a movement that interlinks and intersects with
other social and political struggles and movements. Paving the road for a relevant
and local sexual discourse and a more visible LGBTQ activism.

One of the key grassroots organizations working on sexual and gender diversity in
the Palestinian community, ‘alQaws for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestinian
Society’, works to integrate the queer community into various levels of Palestinian
society. Realizing that the oppression faced by Palestinian queers is not only a result
of their gender and sexual identity, but a result of being Palestinians, alQaws strives
to carve out a space for the queer community in the shadow of oppression and
occupation. alQaws believes that in addressing the pressing needs of their fledgling
communities, dynamic and visible community groups should lead the desired social

The lecture/Workshop will present the queer struggle in Palestine through the
broader historical and political context. It explains the formation of a Palestinian
queer movement, which evolved throughout different and major historical events in
the political sphere of the region. The lecture/Workshop proposes an understanding
about the nature of the queer activism in Palestine, its accomplishments and
challenges through the last decade and will introduce the current discourse of
homonationalism and Pinkwashing in Israel from the perspective of marginalized
Palestinian queers.

About Haneen:
The lecture will be facilitated by Haneen Maikey, a queer Palestinian activist and
the director of alQaws. In late 2001, Haneen worked as the Palestinian Project
Coordinator for Jerusalem Open House, which began Haneen’s involvement in
the Palestinian queer community and instigated long process of self-discovery
and community development. During this period, what began as merely a service-
oriented project under the umbrella of a Jewish-Israeli organization grew into
alQaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society – the first independent,
grassroots, politically active LGBTQ organization working within Israel and the
Palestinian occupied territories. Since 2008, Haneen has been the director of alQaws.

Haneen is also a co-founder of the political movement of the Palestinian Queers
for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions [PQBDS]. PQBDS is a group of Palestinian
queer activists who live in the Palestinian Occupied Territory and inside Israel, who
came together to promote and stand for the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions against Israel .

About alQaws: alQaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society is a group
of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning and queer (LGBTQ) Palestinian
activists who work collaboratively to break down gendered and heteronormative
barriers in Palestinian society [].

Defeat of The Champion and Savage Messiah at Goldsmiths 21.Oct.2011

Special Double Bill event:

- Laura Oldfield Ford – author of Savage Messiah -


- Ken Fero/Tariq Mehmood’s new film – Defeat of the Champion (25 mins) -

plus discussion.

21 Oct 2011

NOTE: room Change to RHB Cinema – same time, 5pm friday. 

(RHB Cinema Goldsmiths College, 5pm- 8pm)

Screening and discussion on the same bill with:

A talk by Laura Oldfield Ford

- authour of SAVAGE MESSIAH  -

Published 17 October 2011 by Verso

 Praise for Laura Oldfield Ford’s work

 “The consumer-friendly face of neoliberal Britain gets an anarchic makeover in Laura Oldfield Ford’s politically biting work. … No false promises of a brighter, better, more sanitised tomorrow here. Instead, she focuses on areas haunted by an urban dispossessed, which regeneration seeks to concrete over: city wastelands where fortress-like old tower-blocks rise, with their Escher-like walkways and bleak “recreational” open spaces.” Guardian, Artist of the Week 

“This black-and-white, cut‘n’paste-style zine by the artist Laura Oldfield Ford, in which she traces her psychogeographical drifts around London’s grimey underbelly, has achieved cult status in art circles since its first issue in 2005. Be warned: this is a city you won’t find in any guidebook.” Independent

“One of the most striking fanzines of recent years is Laura Oldfield Ford’s Savage Messiah, focussing on the politics, psychology and pop-cultural past of a different London postcode. Ford’s prose is scabrous and melancholic, incorporating theoretical shards from Guy Debord and Marc Augé, and mapping the transformations to the capital that the property boom and neoliberalist economics have wrought. Each zine is a drift, a wander through landscape that echoes certain strands of contemporary psychogeography. Ford—or a version of her, at least— is an occasional character, offering up narcotic memories of a forgotten metropolis. The images, hand-drawn, photographed and messily laidout, suggest both outtakes from a Sophie Calle project and the dust jacket of an early 1980s anarcho-punk compilation record: that is, both poetry and protest.” Sukhdev Sandhu, New Statesman


  • Savage Messiah records drifts through a ruined city, collecting the entire set of Laura Oldfield Ford’s acclaimed art fanzine to date. Part graphic novel, part artwork, the book is both an unflinching polemic against the marginalization of the city’s officially defeated, and an exploration of the ruptures that open up in everyday life, in urban space and time. An ephemeral, palimpsestic London emerges from the shadow of the looming megalith of ‘London 2012.’ Savage Messiah takes us on a tour of its landmarks – Kings Cross to Hackney Wick, Elephant and Castle, Westway, North Acton to Canary Wharf – with forays North through memory.

Ford uncovers and chronicles the conquered, repressed city in a punky, DIY style using scissors and glue – rather than digital cut and paste – to reclaim an aesthetic rendered anodyne by advertising. By collage, mixing photography, drawings and text,Savage Messiah reconfigures the seamless order of neoliberalism, dislocating its established narratives.

In evocative, fragmentary narrative recalling JG Ballard and David Peace, Ford conjures the dispossessed. Through her perspective speak the timeless voices of the working class, punks, ravers, squatters and militants – and also the rioters of 2011: those ruthlessly Photoshopped out of the city in which the dominant mood calls its work of exclusion and sanitization ‘regeneration’.

Savage Messiah opens up and maps oppositional pathways through time and the city, creating an alternative space for the spectral, unregenerated lost generations of the past to roam. In doing so, it also forecasts our future; our present is already inscribed.


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