Category Archives: education

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.
.
AIMS
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.
So…
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.

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

Keynote  

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

Plenary

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

Debate

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

Panels

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

Workshops

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 gleu@gold.ac.uk.

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).
Reading: 
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 – http://www.nadir.org/nadir/initiativ/kolinko/lebuk/e_lebuk.htm
Dowling, Emma, R. Nunes & B. Trott (eds) special issue on Affective Labour in Ephemera http://www.ephemeraweb.org/journal/7-1/7-1index.htm
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: http://www.gold.ac.uk/news/pressrelease/?releaseID=932]

Leonard Horner Hall

Since one of the first (positive) mentions of a really existing individual in Marx’s Capital is Leonard Horner, we should find out a little about this fellow who will not be forgotten…: ‘Leonard Horner was one of the Factory Inquiry Commissioners in 1833, and Inspector, or rather Censor of Factories till 1859. He rendered undying service to the English working class. He carried on a life-long contest, not only with the embittered manufacturers, but also with the Cabinet’ (Marx)

Patrick Corbett (Heriot-Watt University) recently took part in the Society’s Chartership programme as a scrutineer. Interestingly, the Society had chosen to host the meeting in the Leonard Horner Hall at Heriot-Watt University ….

Geoscientist 20.4 April 2010

Leonard Horner entered Edinburgh in 1799 at the age of 14 and learned, among other subjects, mineralogy – which stimulated a lifetime interest in geology. After leaving university he spent a quarter of a century as a linen merchant, travelling extensively and keeping up his intellectual interests. During this time became a fellow of the Geological Society (in the second year of its existence, 1808), was Secretary (1810-14) and twice President (1845-46, 1860-61). His first paper to the society was “On the mineralogy of the Malvern Hills”. In 1835 he helped initiate the Geological Survey of Great Britain. In his obituary W.J Hamilton, then President, recorded that Horner possessed a “cautious manner in which he avoids a too hasty generalisation” and concluded that he had laid the foundation of the principles that Murchison and Sedgwick subsequently applied to understanding the Palaeozoic rocks. Charles Lyell was obviously influenced by Horner, as the former married the latter’s daughter, Mary. He did much to promote a wider public interest in geology. After he retired as “the Inspector General of Factories” at age 74 in 1859, in the five years before his death, he spent time rearranging and cataloguing the Society’s museum collection.

In 1821, Horner founded the Edinburgh School of Arts (the first ever Mechanics’ Institute – for training skilled artisans) to promote high academic standards for the élite while extending useful knowledge to the labouring classes. Its prospectus stated the objectives “for the purpose of enabling industrious Tradesman to become acquainted with such principles of mechanics, chemistry and other branches of science as are of practical application in several trades”. Classes were held in the evening and included mineralogy for tradesmen working in the textiles industry for use in dye-making.

Karl Marx admired the work of Horner as a reforming factory inspector and eulogised that “his services to the English working classes will never be forgotten. He carried on a life-long contest, not only with the embittered manufacturers, but also with the cabinet”. In 1827, Horner was also invited to be the warden of the new University of London. He was effectively both Vice-chancellor (Principal) and Secretary of the new University. From this position of patronage, he was able to invite Charles Lyell to the chair of mineralogy at King’s College London in 1828.

The Edinburgh College of Arts was the progenitor institution from which Heriot-Watt University was created in 1966. Today the University retains the ethos of teaching practical subjects in a way that people in industry can participate, through international distance learning programmes – very much in the style of Leonard Horner – one of the founding fathers. I suspect Leonard Horner would have approved of the idea of professionalism (which is now embedded in Chartership and rather more evidence-based than in his day!) and the need for Continuing Professional Development .

Further reading

O’Farrell, P.N., 2004 Heriot-Watt University, An Illustrated History, Pearson Education, 511pp. Watch out for Patrick’s next book, a biography of Leonard Horner, the research for which has involved him in many happy hours in the Burlington House Library.

http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/gsl/pid/7349;jsessionid=3990B0009259ABF0F9F646D2EB19AC74
If the past is the key to your present interests, why not join the History of Geology Group (HOGG)? For more information and to read the latest HOGG newsletter, visit the HOGG website at: www.geolsoc.org.uk/hogg.]

Horeners letters – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Memoir-Leonard-Horner-F-R-S-Paperback/dp/1108072844/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1327674881&sr=8-2

Centre for Cultural Studies Goldsmiths MAs and PhD

Imagebar

Gathering the old word horde together, on education

Am supposed to be writing about Education, but I have that de-ja-voodoo feeling for the good old days:

This a citation of a lost piece that was called ‘ What is to be done about Arizona Junkets’ on delegates who go to education conferences – from Richard Bates ‘Educational research and the economy of happiness and love’ in THE AUSTRALIAN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCHER Volume 22, Number 1, 1-16, DOI: 10.1007/BF03219579

Letter on the UC Davis mobilization

More on the UC Davis Pepper Spray Surprise posted here yesterday.

This letter by ‘anonymous’ was sent from a discussion list [sent, not written, by GCS] and says it all:

It has now been covered in the NY Times, USA Today, Time Magazine, CBS, CNN, and across the entire mediasphere.  The various UC Davis police assault videos have been watched hundreds of thousands of times.  Various searches related to UC Davis and pepper spraying were the *top searches on Google* in the US today — think of what that means.  By mid-afternoon, UC Davis had already backed down and the Chancellor had released a damage-controlling and mealy-mouthed promise to investigate.  But it was too late.
By monday, millions will know about Lt. Pike and his chemical assault squad, and the $400K per year (plus free housing, travel, and vehicle) Chancellor who gave the order to cut the protesters down to the point that some were hospitalized, and including forcing open students’ mouths and spraying directly into them.  I kid you not.

And something remarkable happened at Davis tonight.  I’ve been watching the live streams and following the blogs since late this afternoon.  It was a very important moment.

Chancellor Katehi was preparing to give a news conference to take another crack at spinning this story and controlling the growing, viral character it has acquired.
UC Davis students showed up in large numbers to this conference,  and were kept out of the small building (Surge 2, for those who know the campus) for lack of press passes (ha ha).  They surrounded the building and their numbers grew over several hours to over 1000 student protesters.  Reports came that Chancellor Katehi was afraid to leave and go through the student protesters, or even that she was being kept from leaving, as if it were a hostage situation.  Cops were *not* summoned, however — or at least they were kept back.  UC Davis appears to have learned at least a tactical  lesson already.
Through patient OWS style organizing, worked out over dozens of mic checks, they arranged to clear a wide path, determined that they would be silent and respectful when she came out, and sent word that they were not keeping her hostage in the building, just there to call for her resignation.  Hours went by as the situation got more and more tense, but the students showed remarkable discipline and organization as their numbers kept growing.   Finally, they negotiated with Chancellor Katehi’s people and she left the building to walk to her taxpayer-paid $70,000 Lexus SUV [buick] with one aide.  The students maintained *absolute, total order and silence* — really, not a word —  and stood aside,  except for the couple of journalists asking her questions on the livestream feed.  It was eerie and powerful and  Chancellor Pepper Spray was clearly feeling the shame of a thousands of eyes on her around the nation (the livestreams were overloaded as they were joined by students across California and then the nation).
Here is the moment of triumph, posted moments ago and already with several hundred views:

http://youtu.be/8775ZmNGFY8

Only once she began to pull away did the crowd erupt into a roar: WHOSE UNIVERSITY? OUR UNIVERSITY! dozens of times as they marched off to consume the pizza ordered for them by people around the nation.
It was so powerful — and remember this all happened on a day when virtually no news (except Demi and Ashton’s divorce or the 30 year old Natalie Wood death investigation) gets reported on mainstream outlets.  This *all* happened online, and drew a huge national audience in the process, enough so to force a major university into damage control freakout.

update:

Last night’s video now has nearly 25,000 views.  A better one has now
been released of Katehi’s “Walk of Shame.”  Turns out that was not
just any “aide” — it was the UC Davis police chief (Spicuzzi) walking
with her [disputed, Spicuzzi was at the press conference].  This new video shows the final mic check to get everyone to
be silent and stand back before Katehi leave the
building.  If you are sending this story around, this video is better
in that it shows how deliberate and well orchestrated the silence was:

.

.

Occupy Wall Street!  #ows #ucdavis

.

Goldsmiths Meet on 23.11.11 to Build for 30 Nov General Strike.http://t.co/cAuSdWUG

.

UC Davis Pepper Spray Surprise.

If you are gonna pull out your weapon, you gotta use it. For me, this means that there should not have been anyone arrested – those dragged off should have been retrieved. They let them off lightly – my meaning will become clear if you watch this all the way through, not just the first few outrageous frames.

If it will not show as an embedded frame, try: http://youtu.be/WmJmmnMkuEM

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.

*****

Hello,

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 Nick.Petford@northampton.ac.uk 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,

Yours,

David Wall

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

david.wall@northampton.ac.uk

(+44) 01604 735500 2443

 

 

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

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,

Name:

Position/ Affiliation:

The Student Handjob

So here’s a publication that seems somewhat different to the usual glossy numbers offered to incoming students. And a very impressive set of articles too: Hard copies handed out at the Centre for Cultural Studies party on weds – electric version now live @ http://studenthandjob.wordpress.com/ -most Goldsmirths publication ever.

The Student Handjob studenthandjob.wordpress.com so radical… it’s fucking bodacious. .

.

Free Education

The Centre for Cultual Studies at Goldsmiths University of London took a decision to make as many as possible of its lecture series open to the public without fee. Seminars, essays, library access etc remain for sale. Still, here is a chance to explore cultural studies without getting into debt. The classes are MA level, mostly in the day – though in spring the Capital course is early tuesday evening We usually run 10 week courses (though Stiegler and Berry-Slater run for 5 weeks in the Spring) . Reading required will be announced in class, but preliminary reading suggestions can also be found by following the links. RHB means main building of Goldsmiths – Richard Hoggart Building.

Autumn Term – starting October 3rd.

Mondays 11am – 1pm
Cultural Theory – Lecture
Prof Scott Lash
RHB 137A
http://www.gold.ac.uk/media/CU71002A%20%20Cultural%20Theory%202011-12.pdf

Tuesdays 11am – 1pm
Postcolonial Theory ­ Lecture/Seminar
Dr Bhaskar Mukhopadhyay
RHB 342a
http://www.gold.ac.uk/media/CU71011A%20Postcolonial%20Theory%202011-12.pdf

Wednesdays 10am – 12 noon
Critical Theory – Lecture
Dr Luciana Parisi
RHB 308
http://www.gold.ac.uk/media/CU71007A%20Interactive%20Media%202011-12.pdf

There will be additional open lecture series in the Spring (venues tbc)

Spring Term

Sound, Text and Image – Dr Sophie Fuggle (mondays)
http://www.gold.ac.uk/media/CU71022A%20Text%20and%20Image%202011-12.pdf

Capitalism and Cultural Studies – Prof John Hutnyk (tuesday evenings)
http://www.gold.ac.uk/media/CU71012A%20Cultural%20Studies%20&%20Capitalism%2
02011-12.pdf

Biopolitics and Aesthetics – Dr Josie Berry-Slater (thursdays)

http://www.gold.ac.uk/media/CU71027A%20Biopolitics%20&%20Aesthetics%202011-12.pdf

Media Philosophy – Prof Bernard Stiegler (thursdays)
http://www.gold.ac.uk/media/CU71024A%20%20Media%20Philosophy%202011-12.pdf

all welcome.

New Term – just like the old term in the neoliberal university – Red Mole 1970 – flashback with this archival gem.

click here to get the full PDF: redmole1970

click here to get the full PDF: redmole1970

Millibrand’s labour opportunism is not worth the paper its paraphrased from.

Re Millibrand’s Tuition Fee ‘pledge’ – if this below from ‘Research Fortnight’ is true, why stop at a 6K cap? Surely 0.35% can be extended to 0.70% or more? 1.35% would surely fix it all? Need to reread the entire article, but the key trick is here:
‘So let’s imagine an ambush by a political party on the eve of the next general election advocating an immediate cut in the fee cap to, say, £6,000. This would imply a cut in CPI of about 0.35 per cent, corresponding to a saving of about £1.2bn in spending. Throw in savings on loan defaults, access and the National Scholarship Scheme and a stunning political calculation emerges. Thanks to the CPI effect, it will be possible for a party to go into the next election on a platform of cutting fees to £6,000 and restoring the corresponding block grant for teaching—with zero net impact on the public finances.’http://www.researchresearch.com/index.php?option=com_news&template=rr_2col&view=article&articleId=1103452
My maths is shit – but like everyone else I smell a rat. Labour is not even good at opportunism. We’ve had pledges from shiny-bodgie wannabee’s before now.

ALTERNATIVE, AUTONOMOUS ACCREDITATION

ALTERNATIVE, AUTONOMOUS ACCREDITATION
proposed by thomasgokey

“HULK BELIEVE IN HEALING POWER OF LOVE. HULK ALSO BELIEVE IN HEALING POWER OF SMASH. HULK VAST. CONTAIN MULTITUDES.” –FEMINIST HULK

Since 2007 we’ve seen a renaissance of self-organized spaces where knowledge is freely produced and shared, such as hackerspaces, alternative and artist-run schools like The Public School, The Art School in the Art SchoolThe University for Strategic OptimismThe Experimental College of the Twin CitiesThe Anhoek School and many others. What these spaces prove is that the teaching and learning that happens at “real” universities is not so special or elevated or rare or inimitable.

Over the past 30 years we’ve witness the neo-liberal transformation of universities, both public and private, into corporations, ones that produce a social relation between students and teachers in which both are exploited. Tuition has increased 900% since 1978 while tenure-track positions have been replaced by precarious adjuncts and grad students.

Due to the economy and austerity measures (which never seem to require austerity from the rich) humanities programs in particular have come under fire since the values they produce are not values capital recognizes.

The university is a factory as our friends in the UK have reminded us. In factories, the workers themselves have all the know-how. The know-nothing owners need the workers more than the other way around. The only thing the workers need is access to the means of production. With the shift to the kind of immaterial labor that takes place in the humanities the only thing we need is the student-teacher relationship itself and this is something we ought to be able to gain control of and determine for ourselves. Any café, public squareuniversity quad (or even a bank) can be transformed into a school. This exposes the corporate university for what it is, nothing more than a legitimized diploma mill, an ivy-walled bank that exchanges one form of credit (tuition) for another (academic). In this light it makes perfect sense for Syracuse University to sell out to JP Morgan Chase, they’re already in the same line of business.

The corporate “university” produces no value, it is simply a vampire that mediates this social relation between students and teachers. What schools like The Public School have shown us is that we don’t need this vampire at all. We can do it ourselves, we can become autonomous.

But at present what we do at The Public School or the Art School in the Art School et al. is not a threat to the corporate university at all for one simple reason: corporate universities have got a monopoly on accreditation. Right now they are the only ones who can notarize our brains. This is why they don’t mind at all when professors put their courses on YouTube where anyone can learn for free because this kind of learning doesn’t “count,” it isn’t recognized. The only value that the corporate “university” adds to the student/teacher relation is accreditation. Only the kind of education you have to pay them for counts, even when it is 100% identical as in the case of the UfSO.

In the spring of 2011 John Hutnyk taught a class at Goldsmiths University on Cultural Studies and Capitalism that was open to anyone in collaboration with The University for Strategic Optimism. The educational content was the same, but the students enrolled at Goldsmiths got formally recognized credit for the course whereas the students enrolled with the UfSO did not. We ought to be able to change this.

The task is how to weaponize (a non-violent weapon to be sure) The AS in the AS, The Public School, hackerspaces and similar schools. We want to turn these alternative spaces into weapons that can smash corporations and build true universities in their place. We want the administrators at Syracuse University (or NYU or Columbia or [fill in the name of your favorite loathsome corporate university]) to be scared shitless about what we can do without them, that we can educate our selves and each other without their vampiric interference.

What is needed to weaponize such schools is a networked, autonomous accreditation agency based on mutual recognition.

Thomas Gokey and Joanna Spitzner, representing the Art School in the Art School, invite other alternative educational ventures to meet at the NY Public School, not just to discuss these ideas, but to begin the active creation of such an autonomous accreditation agency. We invite all interested parties to join us in the flesh or in spirit (and by spirit we mean Skype).

We are all for education for its own sake. We are aware of the many difficulties and dangers of such a proposal. But even so there are many reasons to be optimistic that we can create an alternative accreditation system that does not simply reproduce the same nubureaucracy that governs corporate universities and that preserves the “education for its own sake” spirit of these various DIY projects. All we are advocating is making these DIY projects a genuine threat to existing systems of exploitation that currently exist within the university system.

JH: How to do this and still pay workers (including support staff, overheads, library, research, cafe, porters, what you would call janitors, grounds, tech, childcare, paint, etc)? Free at the point of delivery was a big consideration in our discussions – and there have been long discussions. In the factory, time is money, right, and workers control of factories still does not completely break that equation – a planned economy still requires some economic consideration. Differently distributed for sure, but… For this coming year, all our lectures in the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths will be open free to the public (from October – though we are currently thinking about perhaps working up a viable sign up option so people are encouraged to come for ten week blocks). The degree will still cost for Goldsmiths students. So, how to make credit transferrable? The Europe wide Bologna process is a nightmare, but something like this/better than this can and must be pursued.

tax credits, corporate sponsorship, Govt grants and robbing banks – its been done – all on the cards I guess…

Virginia Woolf ‘Three Guineas’ quote

Early November Education Demos.

So that’s the first half of November pretty much sorted:

.

Location: Houses of Parliament
Time: Friday, 04 November 2011 06:00
.
.
.
.
Location: London
Time: Wednesday, 09 November 2011 03:00
.
.
Guy Fawkes panto theme anyone?

Archive: UTS Student Association Orientation Handbook 1993

from the vaults – a page from the Orientation Handbook of the SA of University of Technology Sydney, UTS, 1993, with witty leftisms by Adrian (?) in the picture caption. I have several such handbooks. More scans to come.

J30

Suspend all cultural programming/work on June 30th!

for more information and details please visit:

www.j30strike.org
www.falseeconomy.org.uk
www.artsagainstcuts.wordpress.com
www.precariousworkersbrigade.tumblr.com
www.anticuts.com
www.coalitionofresistance.org
www.educationactivistnetwork.wordpress.com

A discussion today on cases of intrigue in our very own gulags of absentmindedness:

Two cases of note:

Row after university suspends lecturer who criticised way student was treated

Rod Thornton accused Nottingham University of trying to discredit student, who downloaded an al-Qaida training manual

Jeevan Vasagar, education editor
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 4 May 2011 19.09 BST
Article history

A view of Nottingham University’s Jubilee campus. The suspension of lecturer Rod Thornton has led to a row about academic freedom. Photograph: Zander Olsen

A university has been plunged into a row over academic freedom after suspending a lecturer who criticised its treatment of a student who researched al-Qaida.

Rod Thornton, an expert in counter-insurgency at Nottingham University, was suspended on Wednesday after he accused the university of passing “erroneous evidence” to police and attempting to discredit a student who downloaded an al-Qaida training manual from a US government website.

A member of staff at the university also lobbied successfully for Thornton’s article to be taken down from an academic website, arguing that it contained defamatory allegations.

The masters student, Rizwaan Sabir, was arrested and detained for six days for downloading the al-Qaida material.

A university administrator was also arrested after Sabir asked him to print the document because the student could not afford the printing fees. Both were later released without charge.

In the paper, Thornton wrote: “Untruth piled on untruth until a point was reached where the Home Office itself farcically came to advertise the case as ‘a major Islamist plot’ … Many lessons can be learned from what happened at the University of Nottingham.

“This incident is an indication of the way in which, in the United Kingdom of today, young Muslim men can become so easily tarred with the brush of being ‘terrorists’.”

Thornton’s article was prepared for the British International Studies Association (Bisa), which promotes the study of international relations and held its annual conference in Manchester last week…. (continues)

AND:
(LETTER TO FRFI)

Honorary Fellow sacked for supporting Millbank occupiers

I am a founder member of the University of Kent Law School and Kent Law Clinic and principally responsible for its international reputation as a critical law school. I was appointed an Honorary  Fellow in January 2007 as part of a settlement for breach of contract.

I was interviewed by the media after the Millbank occupation by students opposed to the rise in fees and gave unconditional support to the actions of the students. My comments appeared on the University of Kent’s Centre for Journalism website and in consequence the university demanded the article be taken down. The Centre’s director, Tim Luckhurst, refused to do so.

The university then sought to terminate the Honorary Fellowship and ordered me to remove Kent Law School as the mailing address of the National Critical Lawyers Group (NCLG) (founded in 1987 with this address, see http://www.nclg.org.uk). I was ordered not to associate myself in any way with Kent Law School and to leave my office with one day’s notice. Kent Law School then suspended the NCLG mailing list of over 3,000 and ordered the removal of NCLG from university internet servers.

Before the suspension, over 60 members of NCLG emailed the Vice Chancellor and Kent Law School head of department protesting strongly at my sacking – the protests came from barristers, solicitors and professors, staff and students at other law schools.

No one in Kent Law School staff and students has dared to say anything about these events, fearing the consequences, although there have been private messages of support. The university is in fascist mode, as are many other universities at this time.

I have received limited support from my union UCU, consisting of one visit to the Vice Chancellor who refused to talk. The union has failed to take any other action. The student union has a no victimisation policy but has also failed to support me, even though I was the legal adviser to the magnificent Kent occupiers who kept their occupation going from 8 December to 5 January.

UCU legal committee is meeting on 4 February to consider whether to support me legally, but this is not the best option.

I am a supporter of the RCP – now the Spiked Group – but have received no support whatsover from my former comrades; one at Kent Law School has worked actively against me. The SWP know about these events but they have so far failed to give any support. Similarly Dave Nellist of the Socialist Party and the Coalition of Resistance, including Clare Solomon, have not supported me.

The university has cancelled our booking for the NCLG bi-annual conference in March at Kent University and we have found it impossible to get a booking in London. SOAS accepted our booking then cancelled under pressure from some of their law professors. I suspect the NCLG has been blacklisted.

I would like to thank FRFI for their comradely support.

In solidarity and onwards to a better world,

Ian Grigg-Spall

Canterbury

Press Repress

A senior United Nations representative on torture, Juan Mendez, issued a rare reprimand to the US government on Monday for failing to allow him to meet in private Bradley Manning, the American soldier held in a military prison accused of being the WikiLeaks source. It is the kind of censure that the UN normally reserves for authoritarian regimes around the world. Guardian 11.4.2011

About time we heard something on this, as the UN continues to follow its usual daft tandem policy of total war and humanitarian bleating, and on the day that the BBC is reminding us that David-Desert Rat-Cameron took a degree at Oxford and, oh, now he wants to come across all mr-man-with-an-issue in a caring social mobility tone. Crikey, Mr numbnuts, you imagine yourself as some sort of advocate (patronizing git) and the dark lord of cuts. Plus it turns out you can’t even count, and so any chance the ‘story’ you told us could do nothing more than make you seem foolish is confirmed. What I want to propose is a direct exchange, a prisoner swap so to speak. Dave C, as a more than prominent figure, you get a ticker tape parade to welcome you to New York, but then you have to take Bradley Manning’s place in the stalag and serve out your time in solitary. You deserve it, lizard loser.

.

postscript 4am: I was nearly asleep when I wrote the above stub, hence the lack of reference which I should document, but also the strange lizard references and general rantiness, which I should remove but will leave as symtom of exhaustion. Hmmm, still nearly asleep – please forgive my improper grammar. For the record, Cameron was on the news having been to Oxford to butter up to those who gave him his degree, but along the way he made the stunning observation that Oxford is a bastion of white supremacy. Well, that’s not the phrase <em>he</em> used, but he has direct personal experience of it. Trouble is he got the numbers wrong with a mad exaggeration and error born of some probable trauma in his elite hi-jinx Bilgewater Club life with Boris. As media-worthy event it becomes another instance of a stir-up-trouble foot-in-mouth-as-policy strategy on the part of Government. They can’t be this clever eh, an attack on the poshest University means the rest of the University sector has to defend Oxford, and the consequent radicalization of Oxbridge students draws the wrong type of well-dressed radical into the student campaign (if this is the thinking, good grief – but all radicals will be welcomed, just some will need re-education camp). Along the way Cameron’s number fiasco undermines legitimate analysis of racism by making it sound like some twisted version of grade inflation. Doesn’t matter if its just 1 or 27, the evidence is plain to see – disproportionate enrollment is white supremacy no matter how you look at it. And its hypocrisy, because other organizations are demonized, funding withdrawn, and closed down for far less serious versions of being ‘not fit for purpose’.

The prisoner swap thing – we give you Cameron, you give us Manning – well, of course we need to be in a strong position to do a deal like that, which we are not, yet. And if the UN needs to sometimes be seen to criticize the US, well and good – though note how rare that is. It is no surprise that different parts of the colonial machine can be dysfunctional and snipe at each other, and yet both parts are still deadly. Stop bombing Libya and free Bradley Manning!

Occupation Cookbook from Zagreb

The Occupation Cookbook*
or the Model of the Occupation of the Faculty of Humanities and Social
Sciences in Zagreb
Introductions by Marc Bousquet and Boris Buden
Translated from the Croatian by Drago Markisa
http://www.minorcompositions.info/occupationcookbook.html

The Occupation Cookbook is a “manual” that describes the organization of
the student occupation of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
that took place in the spring of 2009 and lasted for 35 days. It was
written for two reasons: to record what happened, and to present the
particular organization of this action in such a way that it may be of
use to other activists and members of various collectives if they decide
to undertake a similar action.

What does it mean to “occupy” a school? A school occupation is not, as
the corporate media like to portray it, a hostile takeover. A school
occupation is an action by those who are already its inhabitants –
students, faculty, and staff — and those for whom the school exists.
(Which is to say for a public institution, the public itself.) The
actions termed “occupations” of a public institution, then, are really
re-occupations, a renovation and reopening to the public of a space long
captured and stolen by the private interests of wealth and privilege.
The goal of this renovation and reopening is to inhabit school spaces as
fully as possible, to make them truly habitable — to make the school a
place fit for living. — Marc Bousquet, from the Introduction

Cover and design by Dejan Krsic
Photos by Boris Kovacev

PDF available freely online
(http://www.minorcompositions.info/occupationcookbook.html), discounts
for ordering multiple copies.

Released by Minor Compositions, London / New York / Port Watson
Minor Compositions is a series of interventions & provocations drawing
from autonomous politics, avant-garde aesthetics, and the revolutions of
everyday life.
Minor Compositions is an imprint of Autonomedia
www.minorcompositions.info |info@minorcompositions.info

Great Wild Life Documentary from UfSO http://universityforstrategicoptimism.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/the-free-free-market-market-3/

Goldsmiths Occupation 25.3.11

Goldsmiths Occupation

Note on Chapter 16

Mapping Goldsmiths

An open invitation to all students and staff at Goldsmiths:

The Other Survey: Mapping Goldsmiths Workshop

Tuesday 15 March 2011, 5-7pm, NAB 326

The drastic cuts to university funding, tripling of student fees and
ongoing ‘restructuring’ of higher education have been accompanied by an
insistent language of measurement, evaluation and competition.
Intensifying tendencies that we’ve been living with, and enacting, for
some years, the university is being formatted as an institution in which
the “student-consumer” is asked to rank “service providers”, and where
artificially scarce resources are to be allocated according to competitive
pressures, in line with principles that are indifferent or antithetical to
a transformative conception of learning, and to non- instrumental
relationships between those who teach, study and work in universities.

The project that we are trying to build starts from the idea that we can’t
allow knowledge about the university to be colonised by student surveys,
league tables, and indicators of financial performance. Rather, we should
perhaps reflect on how little we know about how the institution works, how
power is distributed within it and what the economic, emotional and
existential realities of the “student experience” are, including how
Goldsmiths relates to its local, national and global environments.

In this workshop we would like to begin this process of collective
reflection, dialogue and mapping using it to improvise a participatory
project on university life. Come along with your questions, stories and
ideas so that we can start to sketch out the experiences of students,
teachers and workers who are a part of the College and explore what other
visions and practices of the university we might develop.

UKBA Border @ Gold.

WEDNESDAY 9TH MARCH 3-4PM INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS OPEN MEETING WITH PHILIP
BROADHEAD RHB 356 (domestic/EU students please come too!)

FRIDAY 11TH MARCH 1PM DEMO OUTSIDE DEPTFORD TOWNHALL AGAINST SMT THREATS
TO INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

As most of you already know, the Goldsmiths senior management team is
treating international students in a dispicable way.

*SMT are co-operating with UK Border Agency, rather than guaranteeing the
safety and security of Goldsmiths students.

*International students are required to use a defunct, pointless online
registration, which will be a regular requirement. (Students at Queen Mary
are required to gather in a room and have their passports checked, a
likely next step for Goldsmiths).

*Many students don’t know about this requirement, and didn’t submit the
registration.

*SMT has made a list of these students, and is threatening to pass their
details on to UKBA this Friday 11th March.

*Previously, lecturers were requested to pass on the names of any
international students who missed 3 or more classes, and this information
would then have been passed onto UKBA who could then legally deport these
students (GUCU were successful in their non-compliance with this request).

PLEASE JOIN US IN WEDNESDAY’S MEETING AND FRIDAY’S DEMO TO SHOW SMT THAT
WE WON’T COMPLY WITH THIS! It would really mean a lot for international
students to have support and for this issue to be brought into the wider
education movement.

Note to self – materials for talk on Education

Can’t cover everything, but here is a selection of stuff from the last year or more as a basis for a talk on education now:
.
General and preamble:
Sunbeams and Colonial Adjustments http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/sunbeam-and-colonial-adjustments/ 

.
Borders:
.
Privatization:
.
Mobilizations:
.
Dark Underbelly:
.
Soft underbelly:
(see also Guardian 2 March 2011 ed section – ideal school recipe by 7 year old kids)

Universities UK and the hidden hand of terror/freedom of speech



In a convulsive act of responsive policy and positioning, a new publication on freedom of speech in Universities has hit the shelves. This, I suspect, is going to be interesting reading – it is from the Vice-Chancellor’s cabal we know and love as ‘Universities UK’ – a name for the infinite escalation of ego and salary combined.
I’m thinking repressive tolerance, containment and plea-bargain all in one neat dialectical formula – ‘freedom with constraints’. The context is – as ever – the security of the West but I suppose we could think of this as an example of touching base with the alumni gone wrong. In a fully understandable move given that a 2010 review cleared UCL of any role in radicalizing its students, it seems a working party was set up ‘following the arrest of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in the United States on Christmas Day 2009 for an attempted act of terrorism. Eighteen months previously he had graduated from UCL’
Let’s check that all the buttons have been pressed:
- Islamophobic identifier in the name ✔ [no mention of underpants]
- wholesome ‘our side’ values reference to christian consumer festival
- attempted act of terrorism, clearly foiled by our intrepid allies the US ✔
- absolution in the passage of time (eighteen months)✔
Another fine production by Crusader spin inc. ✔

And because no-one, simply no-one, can do anything without a podcast these days, there is also a youtube video, with the UCL Provost talking about how we dont want students spying on each other and the best way to ensure freedom of speech is to have ‘openness, publicity, transparency and challenge’. Hear Hear!

.
In the report, then, there is the mysterious hand of not-at-all openness (my italics):

Indeed, the setting up of the Working Group behind this report was prompted by the events of Christmas Day 2009 when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was apprehended in attempting to blow up a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. Eighteen months previously he had graduated from University College London, where he had also been president of the student Islamic Society. An independent inquiry chaired by Professor Dame Fiona Caldicott concluded unequivocally that there was no evidence to suggest that he had been radicalised during his time as a student, and MI5 see the hand of the Yemen-based preacher Anwar Al Awlaqi in his conversion to violent extremism

The front cover of the report pictures a woman with a megaphone in a green jumper, and in front of her another woman reaching into her back-pack… [just sayin', see here]
.
And then on Page 39, for those not wanting to read the entire thing, is a diagram about accepting bookings for rooms on campus. The shorthand box is that bookings will be referred to security and could be refused if the booking or group involves/raises:

Potential Controversial Issues:
• subject to adverse media attention
• Associated with a campaign or political pressure group
• A faith or belief group whose views may be deemed as being discriminatory or inflammatory to others

Great material here for my Pantomime Terror book!
.
Because there needs to be a critical voice on this, here is an invitation to comment on a few choice snippets from the press release that indicate the stakes in terms of knowledge production:

Prevent is the element of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy that has been most visible to universities. The Prevent strand aimed to support community cohesion and thereby deter or divert people away from violent extremism. The strategy is currently being reviewed by the Coalition Government and it is clear that its focus and approach will alter over the next few years

Universities UK, working with the sector, has also been examining issues relating to entirely legitimate research by academics into potentially sensitive areas, such as terrorism and extremism. The work has been looking at the handling of sensitive research materials, and how institutions might need to adapt practices and processes. UUK will publish a guidance note for institutions later in 2011

An independent review (headed by Dame Fiona Caldicott) into Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s time at UCL published its final report in  in October 2010. The central conclusion of the report was that there was no evidence to suggest either that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was radicalised while a student at UCL, or that conditions at UCL during that time or subsequently were conducive to the radicalisation of students

Universities UK is the representative organisation for the UK’s universities. Founded in 1918, its mission is to be the definitive voice for all universities in the UK

More to come…

Goldsmiths teach-in 16 Feb 2011

Claire Bishop, Con-Demmed to the Bleakest of Futures: Report from the UK / Journal / e-flux

A very handy bunch of linked articles at the end of Claire Bishop’s article in e-flux (thanks Josie) – which, spoiler alert!, is number-heavy depression-inducing state of the condemned world analysis we do need to read.

Claire Bishop, Con-Demmed to the Bleakest of Futures: Report from the UK / Journal / e-flux.

Gavin Butt, Being Boiled

Melanie Gilligan, Visits from the Future

Sabeth Buchmann and Jens Kastner, Snapshot, Austria: Class Struggle from Above Right

Tom Holert, Birth of the Rebel Citizen in Germany

Hito Steyerl, Right in Our Face

Brian Holmes, Total Corruption: Report from the USA

Paul Chan, Progress as Regression

Franco Berardi Bifo, Exhaustion and Senile Utopia of the Coming European Insurrection

Hito Steyerl, Politics of Art: Contemporary Art and the Transition to Postdemocracy

Nora Sternfeld, Unglamorous Tasks: What Can Education Learn from its Political Traditions?

Irit Rogoff, FREE

Isabelle Bruno and Christopher Newfield, Can the Cognitariat Speak?

Florian Schneider, (Extended) Footnotes On Education

Tom Holert, Art in the Knowledge-based Polisvia

(I am going to consume this lot, mix it with this http://wp.me/pcKI3-lg- and thereby maybe have something to talk about at the Goldsmiths Teach-in on 16 Feb. Also planning to show a short film made in Australia in 88 at an Education demo in Melbourne – Anatomy of a March [McQuire, Hutnyk, Phipps])

UfSO international (New York clocks in)

The recent UfSO exposé of Coutts & Co saw simultaneous action take place on both sides of the Atlantic.  Whilst the UfSO undertook its creative action in the face of upper-class bankers Coutts & Co’s creative accountancy, a coordinated lecture was staged at Coutts’ New York offices.

On the 28th and 29th Jan UfSO featured in an initiative from New York’s The Art School in the Art School, which saw them present work including recent UfSO action in the ‘I know you know I know you know‘ exhibition, curated by the ACE Curatorial Collective at Hunter College’s Times Square Gallery.

In conjunction with this and in solidarity with UfSO the group attempted to gain entry to Coutts New York offices and staged a reading of the UfSO lecture on site.  We would like to express our gratitude to them for doing this and encourage similar affiliated actions or autonomous educational interventions from like-minded groups across the globe.  Off-shore mobility can be no defence in the face of global action.  We call for globalised mass action in the face of a coordinated, world-wide attack on public values, jobs, workers rights and access to education.

See here for UfSO Pages

News Flash Coutts-Flash

This was just sent in to me from wherever the off shore institutional base of UfSO is just now (having done a deal it seems):

Friday, 28 January 2011

For immediate release

Flashmob at Coutts, private bank to the British establishment

Today the University for Strategic Optimism (UfSO), light-heartedly flash-mobbed the head office of Coutts in 440 Strand, London. Dressed-up as wealthy bankers, the group presented the bank with a giant blank cheque representing the bailout it has received from the UK taxpayer. Coutts is a private bank for the super-rich and although almost entirely publicly owned by the UK tax-payer (as a subsidiary of RBS) and its main business is to help its wealthy clients to avoid paying taxes.

The peaceful action was carried out by the University for Strategic Optimism, a university based on the principle of free and open education, a return of politics to the public and the politicisation of public space. Its previous activities have included other flash-lectures in banks and shops; interventions on the tube and a conference on violence, presented live from the Parliament Square kettle at last year’s student protests. For more info, see the UfSO blog http://universityforstrategicoptimism.wordpress.com (video of today’s action coming soon).

As the queen’s own bank, Coutts is very selective of its customers and half a million pounds is the minimum requirement to open an account there. But even if you can’t afford to bank with Coutts, as a taxpayer you are among the majority shareholders of its parent company, RBS. With branches throughout the UK, Coutts specialises in what it calls ‘wealth management’ on behalf of its super-rich customers – in other words, helping them avoid paying taxes.

Coutts, one of the oldest pillars of the British financial establishment, was adopted as the location of the UfSO’s latest action in order to highlight the ridiculously unfair situation of UK taxpayers propping up a financial institution that exists primarily to help the wealthy avoid paying those the very taxes that keep it in existence. Those not rich enough to bank with Coutts are paying through their contributions for a bank that enables the wealthy to avoid them. The injustice of this situation is staggering. What’s even more staggering, is the fact that it seems very few actually realise what it is that Coutts does, and that it received funding from the government bailout.

When the government claims there is no alternative to the ongoing, devastating cuts to public services, welfare and university education, we need only look to Coutts to see that lie graphically exposed. The government is using our own money to prop up a bank, which exists in order to encourage wealthy individuals, whose private fortunes could more than tackle the deficit, to avoid paying their fair share. With its antique wallpaper and private banqueting suites, publicly owned Coutts is a parody of private privilege and vividly exposes the criminal ideology behind this government’s fire sale of our treasured public institutions. The corporate advertising slogan of such a bank should be: ‘Pay your taxes so the super-rich don’t have to’. Whilst the government is using our money to help out these tax avoiders, public services that we all rely upon are being systematically dismantled and sold off. This is the serious issue that the UfSO seeks to draw attention to with today’s action.

Contact: universityforstrategicoptimism@gmail.com
http://universityforstrategicoptimism.wordpress.com

The Paper ‘Minus One’ Edition

The Paper ‘Minus One’ Edition: is now available  [the pdf version can be found at ThePaperEditionMinusOne]

Or better yet: Get your freshly printed copy of the paper at the London demonstration against fees and cutsSaturday 29 Jan – ULU from 11am

Editorial:
We’ve felt it in the streets, in occupations, in walkouts, teach-ins and at Top Shop. In the assemblies, conferences and meetings – every time we get together we discover that it’s broader than we thought. We are in the midst of the most exciting student movement in Britain for decades. In the past months there’s been a joyous explosion of organising and creativity against the ConDem’s plans for austerity. And not just against the cuts to education, but increasingly for envisioning and building better ways of teaching, learning and creating knowledge. Undergraduates, education workers, school and college students – people from many different areas – have mobilised and been energised and now we need to establish better channels of communication and start learning from each other.Producing a newspaper is a strategic move in developing this kind of solidarity. With The Paper we want to build a space to reflect on, critique and learn from the frantic and inspiring actions we are all involved in; to host a meeting place in print for radical, considered analysis and commentary on tactics and strategy. We need to develop a sense of ourselves as a movement: a collective imaginary. Thus we need to know who we are, where we are, what we’re fighting for, what holds us together and what keeps us apart.

Underlying the spirit of The Paper is also a commitment to provoke debate and self- reflection. To broaden the movement’s vision and enable a re-imagining of the role and practice of education in our society. This we can only do by positioning ourselves not simply in the student movement, but also in the wider struggles that are emerging daily against the government’s brutality.

The Paper as an object is strategic: not only will it provide an important archive and record for struggle, but through its distribution, it can strengthen networks. Instead of living in the often anonymous, brief and fragmented discussions that dominate the web, The Paper aims to foster an accountable forum for debate, and to engage a wider range of participants. In providing a space for more sustained and in-depth analysis, The Paper recognises that a great deal is at stake in this struggle – that we need to develop analyses and collective strategies that go beyond the immediate fight against cuts. By voicing, analysing and imagining pasts, presents and futures different to those that are told or sold to us, The Paper can provoke and inspire us to act in the now, transforming our present.

So here is edition minus 1 of The Paper. Minus 1 because it is framed by questions for you: What would a paper for and by the movement look like? Is it possible to create a paper that school students and university lecturers, ESOL learners and library workers all feel belongs to them? Can we create a forum for genuine engagement across networks, occupations, and autonomous projects? This edition was produced by an ad-hoc editorial board of activists, students, troublemakers and artists from a broad radical political base. Take it as a message in a bottle to existing networks and projects, co-ordinating committees and aroused political consciousnesses: a call out for your contributions. The Paper is yours to seize, use and fertilise.

Contact us: Email: emailthepaper[at]gmail.com Send your letters to the editorial collective, event listings, drawings, reports, articles, photos and other bits and pieces for the next edition: by February 15th. We have a free subscribers postal service, so to receive the next edition email your contact details. We have regular editorial collective meetings and are always looking for writers, designers, proofreaders, editors, artists and energetic folk to get involved.

Contributors:Nelly Alfandari, Camille Barbagallo, Nic Beuret, Sofie Buckland, Alice Corble, Rachel Drummond, Mara Ferreri, Saskia Fischer, Janna Graham, Kate Hardy, John Hutnyk, Ewa Jasiewicz, Jeanne Kay, Jason Francis Mc Gimsey, Eddie Molloy, Jeronimo Montero, Bue Rubner Hansen, Francisco Salvini, Laura Schwartz

 

Now also online: http://wearethepaper.org/

 

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.

[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)

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

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)

 

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.
.

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).

Shut Down London 9.12.2010

From NCAEC @ anticuts.com. Thursday 9th December: Student and education workers from across the country should come to London. Students should make picket lines to ensure all workers comes out. Shut down institutions, blockade and picket schools, colleges and universities.
“Shut down London” should be our slogan for the day. We will invite Ed Miliband to the massive march on parliament.
We call on all Trade Unions to support the action and call on their members to walk out and support the protests. The TUC should call on their members to support the demo if they can’t go out during the day, and to attend the demo after work.
Those who really cannot make it to London should have solidarity actions across the country; protests outside town halls etc.

(edit by Trinketization)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,797 other followers

%d bloggers like this: