Monthly Archives: March 2012

NXRB – Les Back reviews Robson on Millwall FC.

‘No one likes us, we don’t care’

In Robson on March 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Review by Les Back

Review of Garry Robson “‘No one likes us, we don’t care’: the myth and reality of Millwall fandom” Berg Publishers, 2000 203pp.

Bushranger Bay

Still reading Gayatri Spivak’s new book, An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization. Its difficult, but actually great. I think her argument is somehow (anyhow) to keep working at the patient effortful non-coercive project of education for epistemic change and rearrangement of individual desire (careerism) towards a collective responsibility (planetary perspective), where the wealth of productive capacity would be (re)distributed through real democratic choice founded on aesthetic education (skills of reading, habits of empathy, not jumping to judgement) and critical comportment towards others and for the comfort and care of all (!). Yup, I’ve a ways to go yet.

More NXRB – Yari Lanci on Negri


heh heh – end of term digital philosophy class.

Thanks Jaron.

CPI(M): “Condemn the arrests and torture of Maoist activists in Kolkata and Mumbai!”

From Communist Party of India (Maoist) via A World to Win:


12 March 2012. A World to Win News Service. India has been on a fast track to playing a more major role in the global economy. Indian and international corporations are itching to tear up the land inhabited by tribal peoples to get their hands on the riches that lie under them, minerals like bauxite, coal and iron ore.  The Indian government cannot tolerate the fact that large swaths of the country are not under their control, and are determined to crush any resistance that stands in their way, especially the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and the masses hungry for radical change who make up the army they lead. In late 2009, with an array of military forces and the utmost cruelty, the Indian government unleashed a war on the people called Operation Green Hunt. Following is a press release dated 2 March, 2012 from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), signed by its spokesman, Abhay.

 In the last week of February 2012, the police have arrested activists of our Party, including some senior cadres from Kolkata and Mumbai. On the specific intelligence inputs provided by the murderous Andra Pradesh Special Intelligence Bureau (APSIB), joint forces of police and Special Task Force (STF) of Andra Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal have raided the shelters of our comrades in Kolkata and Mumbai suburbs and arrested at least nine comrades, including two women comrades. Comrades Sadanala Ramakrishna, Deepak Kumar Pargania, Sukumar Mandal, Bapi Mudi and Sambhu Charan were arrested from Kolkata, while Comrades Dinesh Wankhede, Aasimkumar Bhattacharya, Suman Gawde and Paru Patel were picked up from Thane in Maharashtra.

 Comrades Sadanala Ramakrishna alias Santosh (62) and Aasimkumar Bhattacharya (65) were the seniors among the arrested. Senior comrade Sadanala Ramakrishna has been working for the revolution for at least four decades. He has been ailing with serious health problems for so many years. A mechanical engineer graduated from the prestigious Regional Engineering College (REC) of Warangal where other martyred leaders like Surapaneni Janardhan and Azad emerged as great revolutionaries of their times, Comrade Ramakrishna sacrificed his bright life for the cause of the liberation of the downtrodden.

 Both the two women comrades arrested – Vijaya and Suman – have been undergoing medical treatment for some time, staying in the shelters outside the struggle zones. Particularly, comrade Vijaya has been suffering from serious heart problems.

 The police forces, known for worst kind of cruelty, have been torturing these comrades mentally and physically while in custody. They have foisted several false cases against these comrades so that they could be languished behind bars forever.

 On one hand the ruling classes are asserting that these arrests are a big success for them, and on the other hand, they are trying to portray our comrades as dangerous criminals, claiming that they have recovered huge amounts of cash and other material that is used for making arms.

 These arrests are nothing but a part of Operation Green Hunt (OGH), i.e. the “War on People” which has been underway since 2009. The comprador ruling classes, in connivance with their imperialist masters, particularly with the US imperialists, have unleashed this brutal war of suppression in the poorest parts of India so that their neo-liberal policies of plunder of resources could go unhindered. They are particularly targeting the revolutionary leadership and eliminating them. As the Pentagon itself claimed recently, the US Special Forces are not only actively involved, but also assisting their Indian counterparts on the ground in the counter-insurgency operations aimed at eliminating the revolutionary leadership. This fact also shows us that the US has been patronizing in the ongoing Operation Green Hunt, making the values such as the freedom, independence, and sovereignty of our country a joke. The exploiting rulers of our country are daydreaming that this movement can be suppressed if its leadership is wiped out.

 The revolutionary movement cannot be crushed with arrests and murders. The bars of the dungeons cannot restrict the revolutionary ideas from spreading among the vast masses.

 The CC of CPI (Maoist) strongly condemns these arrests and the inhuman torture being inflicted on them. We demand immediate and unconditional release of these comrades, as well as all of the political prisoners languishing in various jails in all corners of our land. We also demand the lifting of all the false cases foisted against these comrades.

            -end item-

‘the best hated and most calumniated man of his time’

Engels speaking at Marx’s burial (Marx died on this day in 1883, the burial was 3 days later):

On the 14th of March, at a quarter to three in the afternoon, the greatest living thinker ceased to think. He had been left alone for scarcely two minutes, and when we came back we found him in his armchair, peacefully gone to sleep — but for ever.

An immeasurable loss has been sustained both by the militant proletariat of Europe and America, and by historical science, in the death of this man. The gap that has been left by the departure of this mighty spirit will soon enough make itself felt.

Just as Darwin discovered the law of development or organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of development of human history: the simple fact, hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of ideology, that mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion, etc.; that therefore the production of the immediate material means, and consequently the degree of economic development attained by a given people or during a given epoch, form the foundation upon which the state institutions, the legal conceptions, art, and even the ideas on religion, of the people concerned have been evolved, and in the light of which they must, therefore, be explained, instead of vice versa, as had hitherto been the case.

But that is not all. Marx also discovered the special law of motion governing the present-day capitalist mode of production, and the bourgeois society that this mode of production has created. The discovery of surplus value suddenly threw light on the problem, in trying to solve which all previous investigations, of both bourgeois economists and socialist critics, had been groping in the dark.

Two such discoveries would be enough for one lifetime. Happy the man to whom it is granted to make even one such discovery. But in every single field which Marx investigated — and he investigated very many fields, none of them superficially — in every field, even in that of mathematics, he made independent discoveries.

Such was the man of science. But this was not even half the man. Science was for Marx a historically dynamic, revolutionary force. However great the joy with which he welcomed a new discovery in some theoretical science whose practical application perhaps it was as yet quite impossible to envisage, he experienced quite another kind of joy when the discovery involved immediate revolutionary changes in industry, and in historical development in general. For example, he followed closely the development of the discoveries made in the field of electricity and recently those of Marcel Deprez.

For Marx was before all else a revolutionist. His real mission in life was to contribute, in one way or another, to the overthrow of capitalist society and of the state institutions which it had brought into being, to contribute to the liberation of the modern proletariat, which he was the first to make conscious of its own position and its needs, conscious of the conditions of its emancipation. Fighting was his element. And he fought with a passion, a tenacity and a success such as few could rival. His work on the first Rheinische Zeitung (1842), the Paris Vorwarts (1844), the Deutsche Brusseler Zeitung (1847), the Neue Rheinische Zeitung (1848-49), the New York Tribune (1852-61), and, in addition to these, a host of militant pamphlets, work in organisations in Paris, Brussels and London, and finally, crowning all, the formation of the great International Working Men’s Association — this was indeed an achievement of which its founder might well have been proud even if he had done nothing else.

And, consequently, Marx was the best hated and most calumniated man of his time. Governments, both absolutist and republican, deported him from their territories. Bourgeois, whether conservative or ultra-democratic, vied with one another in heaping slanders upon him. All this he brushed aside as though it were a cobweb, ignoring it, answering only when extreme necessity compelled him. And he died beloved, revered and mourned by millions of revolutionary fellow workers — from the mines of Siberia to California, in all parts of Europe and America — and I make bold to say that, though he may have had many opponents, he had hardly one personal enemy.

His name will endure through the ages, and so also will his work.

[the picture is from the ‘Marx trot‘ tour of old beardo’s houses and the pubs he drank in – which included a brief stop outside the now cocktail bar where once the Manifesto was adopted by the League. Another Marx trot is planned for the summer, stay tuned]

Policy Documents

Exasperated by the proliferation of strategy documents and committee creep(s) here at college, I bothered to comment on one that hit my desktop today… here it is, just for the record (well, here is my comment, I presume the strategy itself is still only a draft, so i can’t post it):

Preamble. Learning and teaching! there is a huge disjunct between the preamble and the second and third parts. It is as if these were written by two different committees. The first part is from the corporate sector, the second a Goldsmiths person.

On the first part: At an institution like ours we have to link the distinctive research Goldsmiths’ academics do clearly with our teaching. This linkage should be a core value – we are different, we do things differently. That is why we are not SOAS or LSE/UCL etc, but it is also why we can compete with them – and its why we are the destination of choice for cultural studies – and for media, sociology, arts etc – because we do it differently and radically. Where is that in the statement? I would not exactly start with the so-called ‘values’ phrase ‘Radical and innov­at­ive thinking’ but I would search for a way to foreground this, and link this explicitly to teaching.
The place to really be sharp I think is in relation to the government imperative to get more bang for NO bucks – ‘Higher rates of annual participation accompanied by changing funding environments have placed new imperatives on the importance of demonstrating value for money — both in teaching and research’ – this sentence only mildly and implicitly questions the outrageous fraud of defunding higher education and turning it into a free gift of training for industry. The national education policy should be even more roundly criticised by a place like Goldsmiths and this must be a core value of our teaching, as it is in research. In an environment like this, it behoves us to speak out explicitly against these imperatives, not concede to them and restate them.
OK, I know that a T&L strategy is not going to be able to explicitly step up to this, but an angular take on ‘value for money’ might be more proactive about producing critical thinking, capable, ethically alert, educated students. Not just fodder for the sausage factory. Conceding the ground to a discussion of employability is faulty.
Two parts of the preamble also mention research. It might be good to get in some comment about responsible and critical research here too. The collaborative research might be read as working with industry, this must be tempered with responsibility, and it is something that deserves to be said much more often here. To simply give a free reign to any collaboration goes the way of corporate tie-ins, or worse.

“build on our record of world-leading and high impact research;
increase collaborative research, knowledge exchange and consultancy”

I find the second clause troubling if it does not come with a health warning vis a vis corporate opportunism. This also matters for teaching in a fundamental way. In the sciences companies like Riotinto have used ‘collaborative research’ and consultancy as a way in to having a say on curriculum, for example.
Then we get to the meat section. This part is wholly different. Supportive statements and sensible, encouraging concerns for the student experience and so on. Here I have much less trouble with the wording – though sometimes things like ‘enterprise’ slip in (is this the starship enterprise, or something else?).
Focussing our aims
SA4 – employability speak starts to creep in a little, but it is largely OK. What is Synapse (link?) Who gets these gold Awards? [It may be that communication is really a missing link in all Goldsmiths does]
SA5 – global open access. This is great. For example, providing subsidised access to our electronic library holdings for students trapped in Gaza would be a way forward. I have tried n the past to get this on the SMT agenda. Maybe it is something GLUE could take up.
What is missing?
What I think is crucial for a L&T strategy is not at all a centralised resource. What is missing is an up-front commitment to deploy resource to departments. This no doubt is a common complaint from academics, but it is now beyond absurd that centralised administrative fiefdoms are in the business of mass dissemination of strategy documents that, if some meta-cognitive criticism might be warranted, seem only to allocate more and more work to departments, and more and more ‘meta-document writing’ to the self-perpetuating central admin sections. Among the things I can think of immediately that might be an alternative to all this would be that we need more resource within departments to teach PhD students - the calculation of staff time is insufficient for these students who require intensive attention. I mean, that is, if we are to teach them, say, to write. I think in the University we do a good job still of teaching to listen, teaching to repeat arguments, even to discuss and critique, but teaching to write takes time and one to one development of writing as an exchange between supervisor and student, as well as adequate time between supervisor and groups of students – say a writing seminar or the development of academic publications. I think we have had enough of the massive centralised effort to produce a glossy award-winning but alienated college-wide prospectus and centralised webpages always tightly controlled by design protocol. We should instead release funds to departments to free up staff time for increased writing supervisor-student sessions and for in-house scholarly publications which might also carry the prospectus, making the whole thing more attractive, critical and intellectually challenging.
OK, so, I’ll stop, I know this is probably just typing in the wind. I won’t even correct the typos. Just needed to say this after a day of meetings that were fairly underwhelming.

Avatar Trinkets

For those of you who like your anthropologists in cryo, in an incubator (online ethnography anyone), or fighting off the mining industry – as already oft-mentioned on this blog (more links below), this little cherub should set you off with oohs and ahhs. As soon as you look closely at the picture though, it will be ahhhg and owwww. Very strange (thanks Rachel).

The description, by Sean O’neal, is stunningly good: not only is Avatar sex fucked up – ‘having magical ponytail-sex’ – but now the baby is too, as he points out its head-turning facility that will accompany you through those forlorn sleepless incubator nights.

I’d add that I guess the avatar technology could be adopted here too as it solves the problem of birth defects – just keep the kid in an incubator for life, and play with the avatar. In a rainforest enhanced with fairy lights, since no rainforest was rainforest enough.. etc etc..

There is still much to be said on that movie, but I dunno if saying nothing isn’t better.

No mention of Krisna’s baby blue either.
We should pay tribute to the film’s consultant anthropologist Nancy Lutkehaus for her expertise. Deserved and oscar, even as a ‘curator’. This from her own pen:

Cameron is like a collector of fine art who sees himself as a connoisseur, and my function was less that of a dealer who brings rare objects to the collector, but rather that of a curator whose expertise provides the imprimatur of authenticity.

The lush primal world of Pandora and the exotic culture of the Na’vi revealed in the film include many of the basic elements of what used to be called “primitive” societies — animism, a coming-of-age ceremony and test of manhood, a religion based on a supreme (maternal) tree spirit. It is truly a 21st-century elegy to a lost world — as well as Cameron’s warning to our own.

Nancy Lutkehaus is professor of anthropology, gender studies and political science, and chair-elect for the Department of Anthropology at USC College.

Bougainville material:

Uncle Bill’s yage expedition

After my Marx lecture on tuesday evening I was talking to some intrepid fellow travellers about William Burroughs anthropological expedition to sample Yage in South America and I mentioned his letters (as well as doing some pretty bad imitations of uncle bill’s Benway routines). Even though the second volume of letters is about to be published, the first volume may be hard to get so I have copied the relevant letters.
see here: Burroughsletters45-59 for the three or four most relevant excerpts from the letters. (ref: William S Burroughs Letters 1945-1959 Penguin 1993)
There is an entire book on this stuff.

22 March 2012 Iran – Goldsmiths

New Cross Review of Books

About NXRB

Book Reviews from the Big Crabapple that is NX, London.

This is a haphazard collection of reviews old and new. Of course we are not competing with any of the other fine book review rags out there from other towns like New York or London, it’s just that…

We will accept contributions where they are by our friends and comrades, where they are really good and so long as they are approved by the unbiased (non parliamentary, ultra-leftist, no touching faith in reformism or the State) editors. We reserve the right to reject (and hunt down, huff and puff, and burn your house etc.) any sexist, racist or pro-capitalist comments or contributions. You know the drill.

We are for reading, for reading in context, for making reading a part of the struggle to transform lives and life – looking for ways to transmute the nasty slime of Capital into something else, something better, whatever it takes. If it takes book reviews too, then here we go. Culture Industry Reconsidered! Film reviews too people – high-brow elitist theory-heavy auto-reflexive hyper-critique inclusive.

Email the editor-ish (you will see, editorial here is a self-organising collective process) John.Hutnyk [at]

“The Ethical Subject of Affective Culture” by Dave Boothroyd – Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Radical Media Forum presents:

“The Ethical Subject of Affective Culture” by Dave Boothroyd – Wednesday,
March 21, 5:30 RHB 142 (Richard Hogarth Building, Goldsmiths).

The desire to develop a theoretical framework for securing the extension
of the ethical to the political has led to an increased and diverse
critical interest in the Emmanuel Levinas’ ethics of alterity. Appraisals
of his ethical philosophy and assessment of its value in relation to the
passage from the ethical to the political, however, often take the form of
insufficiently critical appropriations presenting, as Howard Caygill has
put it, ‘angelicised’ versions of the Levinasian thought of absolute
alterity and infinite responsibility. Alternatively, Levinas is often read
as simply reiteratively insisting on the primacy of the ethical whilst
casting the political as its destruction. I seek to avoid this dichotomy
altogether by taking an entirely different approach to the crucial
Levinasian theme of the substantive materiality of the ethical Subject and
by focussing on Levinas’ radicalisation of empiricism; reading this
‘positively’ (contra Derrida) as a crucial dimension of Levinas’ account
of ethics as arising out of the vulnerability of the ‘I’. From this
perspective, we find Levinas to be closer to Deleuze on the ethical
Subject than has previously been acknowledged. They each consider
philosophy/thought to begin as an existential practice of
‘experimentation’ and subscribe to a philosophical principle of
‘transcendence within immanence’.

I approach this theme by analysing their respective anti-Hegelianisms and
how these relate to the sovereignty of the Subject, and by examining the
role Levinas’ radical empiricism plays in his account of the material
accomplishment of the ethical Subject through ‘separation’. This approach
brings to the fore the ethico-political significance of his thinking the
absolute Other always as the ‘other-in-me’. Finally I turn to how this
alternative approach to Levinas’ ethical Subject relates to contingent
situations, within which ethical demand may or may not arise and
responsibility may or may not be engendered, but which are, nonetheless,
necessarily moments of ‘decision’.


(previous mention of Boothroyd on this blog here)

Future Tense 18.5.2012

Goldsmiths Learning and Teaching Conference 2012

Date: Friday 18th May 2012, 9.00-4.30
Venue: Goldsmiths, University of London (find us)
Cost: Free – registration necessary

Goldsmiths Learning Enhancement Unit is hosting a conference to explore some of the key issues currently shaping higher education today. The event interrogates what familiar concepts such as ‘interdisciplinarity’ and ‘research-based teaching’ really mean in current practice, as well as contemplating technology-enabled futures for learning.

You will hear from individuals whose work in university departments is shaping, shifting or challenging existing learning and teaching activities. In an exciting collaboration, Martin Conreen, from Goldsmiths’ Design Department, and Mark Miodownik, the materials scientist from University College, London who gave the 2010 Royal Institute Christmas Lectures, will give a keynote presentation. Presenters include Melissa Benn, Linda Drew, John Hutnyk, Andrew Middleton and Richard Wingate.

The conference is open to all and we look forward to seeing you.
As tickets are limited, please only register if you intend to attend!

Register for Future Tense: Learning and Teaching Conference at Goldsmiths in London, United Kingdom  on Eventbrite

Register for Future Tense

More information on speakers and panels


Mark Miodownik (University College London) and Martin Conreen (Goldsmiths, Department of Design): The Importance of Stuff


Richard Wingate (Kings College, London): Researcher-Led Teaching


Melissa Benn and Fiona Millar: Education and Equality?
Chaired by Francis Gilbert ( Goldsmiths, Department of English and Comparative Literature)


Free Learning – Web 2.0 and the Challenge to Higher Education
Andrew Middleton (Quality Enhancement and Student Success, Sheffield Hallam): Extending Learning Environments in Audio and Video
Mira Vogel (Goldsmiths Learning Enhancement Unit): Learning for Free? – The World of MOOCs
Crossing Borders - Interdisciplinarity in Action
Michael Dutton and John Reardon (Goldsmiths, Department of Politics): Politics/Art: Multi-Genre Learning and Teaching
Deirdre Osborne (Goldsmiths, Department of Theatre and Performance): Crossing Many Roots: the Notion of the Cross-Disciplinary MA
Squaring the Circle – Research/Teaching in Practice
Anna Carlile (Goldsmiths, Department of Educational Studies): The Illuminate Student-Researcher Programme
Michael Young and Anna Furse (Goldsmiths): Goldsmiths Perceptions of Research-Based Teaching
Pedagogics – Conceptual Approaches to Learning and Teaching
Linda Drew (Dean of Academic Development, Glasgow School of Art): Relational Pedagogy for Practice: Practical Pumps to Platforms
Kevin Molin (Goldsmiths, Department of Educational Studies): (Un)planned Talk
Student Consumers/Student Producers? The Student as Subject in Higher Education
Mary Karpel (Head of Work-based Learning, University of East London): Student-Centred Curriculum Development
Lucy Renton (Faculty Blended Learning Leader, Faculty Of Art, Design & Architecture, Kingston): Opening Out: Edgeless Virtual Learning Environments and Student Producers
Universities and the Real World — ‘Experience’ and Learning and Teaching
Adam Dinham ( Goldsmiths, Faiths & Civil Society Unit): A Role for Religion in Higher Education?
John Hutnyk (Goldsmiths, Centre for Cultural Studies): ‘Workers Inquiry’ and the Teaching Factory – A Cultural Studies Position
Slides Rules and Realist Novels: Continuities in Learning and Teaching
Rory Allen (Goldsmiths, Department of Psychology): Like the Slide Rule: Teaching Statistics
Christine Eastman (Institute for Work Based Learning, Middlesex): Charles Dickens and Work-Based Learning – a Case Study
Assessment and Learning
Marco Gillies (Goldsmiths, Department of Computing):  Between the real and the virtual: assessment and feedback in Computing
Vanessa King (Goldsmiths, Department of History): Assessment in History


Deb Astell and Brigitte Parusel (Capture Arts): The Capture System – Creative Thinking, Learning and Teaching
Caroline Frizell (Goldsmiths, Dance Movement Psychotherapy, in the Department of Professional and Community Education): Body-Based Experiential Learning

Find out more

Please address queries to

More information on speakers and panels 

 includes my bit, in the panel with Adam:
John Hutnyk (Goldsmiths, Centre for Cultural Studies)
‘Workers Inquiry’ and the Teaching Factory – A Cultural Studies Position
I want to focus primarily on the development of workers inquiry or co-research. First called a parallel sociology, which owes debts to Adorno, via the work of Panzieri in the journal Quaderni Rossi (Wright 2002:21). Alongside this, from outside the labour movement, the collection of oral histories and questionnaires of the ‘poverty-stricken’ came to be known as co-research. I think we can trace this work back to the figure of the Factory Inspector Leonard Horner as described by Marx in his chapter on ‘The Working Day’ in Capital.
Today, workers inquiry in the autonomy tradition works at that field where the socialized worker may recognize themselves and their work – immaterial labour, affective labour, attention, virtual, precarious, productive consumption, communications, symbolic play, shit work mixed with temporary, flexible, diversified, collaborative, remote, transitory and itinerant labour –as subject to, and thereby organized against, capital and capitalists. The bourgeoisie can only recognize itself through the state, as orthodox Marxism would have it, and needs institutionalized sociologists and anthropologists to articulate its self-image (this is another trap of the teaching factory) but workers inquiry is necessary collective, participatory and self-organized. Here a responsibility to oneself as part of a project offers a different outlook on social research than does the control orders of disciplinary knowledge. So maybe we can explore the idea of breaking with the order words and hierarchy of knowledges where cultural studies might sidestep the requirement of working for the man (in order to work for the human).
Steve Wright Storming Heaven Pluto Press. 2002 – chapter 2
Marx ‘The Working Day’ – chapter 10 of Capital. 1867
Additional Reading: 
Wright, 2000 Storming Heaven, London: Pluto. Ch 2.
Kolinko 1999 Hotlines: Call Centre Communism –
Dowling, Emma, R. Nunes & B. Trott (eds) special issue on Affective Labour in Ephemera
Shukaitus, Stevphen and David Graeber 2007 Constituent Imagination: Militant Investigations, Collective Theorization AK Press.
Kracauer, Siegfried 1930 The Salaried Masses London: Verso 1998

Austerity, what austerity?

I am trying to keep my disapproval of this polite. Did Goldsmiths win the Grand Prix? There is no other excuse for the G-brand magnums these good ol boys are pumping.

[the photo is the publicity shot to announce a partnership agreement with Lasalle in Singapore:]

Chicago Boys – 8.3.12 at 8pm

8th of March at 8pm in The Serpentine Gallery     ( Here is a small project description and if you think someone could be interested or you are interested in it, maybe you could forward it further or pop in if you are curious:


‘Chicago Boys, While We Were Singing, They Were Dreaming’: a 1970s revival band and neo-liberalism study group, assembled by Kurdish artist and musician Hiwa K whose interests lie in different modes of informal knowledge. The band plays 1970s popular music songs from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, England, Bangladesh, Poland, the Netherlands, and Lebanon. The performances of the songs are alternated with associative presentations of archival material related to personal stories and appearances of neo-liberal policies.

The ‘Chicago Boys’ consists of those who do not necessarily have musical experience but develop it together. From different professional and cultural backgrounds, they gather and dedicate a period of about two months to learn how to perform, while grappling with the questions of free market economy in their weekly study group sessions. The band continues its practice while new members from different locations join along the way.

The name ‘Chicago Boys’ refers to a group of young Chilean economists who, after having studied with economist and ‘grandmaster’ of free-market economic theory Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago, drove a neo-liberal economic policy in Chile under the dictatorial regime of Pinochet in the 1970s. ‘Chicago Boys, While We Were Singing, They Were Dreaming’ traces back the possible “affairs” (as Hiwa K puts it) between this first implementation of liberal economics and a number of parallel events happening at the time, such as the oil crisis and the US threat to attack Saudi Arabia. In addition, ‘Chicago Boys’ tries to understand the weakening of the left that manifested at the turn of the 1970s into the 1980s in different parts of the globe; a political tendency one can currently witness. All these developments are reflected upon through the lens of cultural dynamics, particularly those in the popular music genre.

‘Chicago Boys, While We Were Singing, They Were Dreaming’ is an ongoing, collective and transnational project that attempts to practice an alternative model for exploring the globalization process and its impact on our daily culture.


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