Category Archives: education

Marxism for Beginners

blocksWhy when I look for trinkets for the kids can’t I find the things I assume would be best sellers in a certain bourgie corner of London?

For example, a set of building blocks with pictures of Marx, Engels, Mao…?




Update: And Giles is first with a design, though I had to get him to swap M.N Roy for his inclusion of Gandhi


Education at the Border – Edu Commission #2 #border #education

Here, the good oil… click image to download the report

Screen shot 2013-04-25 at 11.02.38


Course Guide for lectures on Marx’s Capital 2013

Lecture course on Marx’s “Capital” at Goldsmiths: everybody is welcome

Capitalism and Cultural Studies – Prof John Hutnyk:

tuesday evenings from january 8, 2013 – 5pm-8pm Goldsmiths Room RHB 309. Free – all welcome.

No fee (unless, sorry, you are doing this for award – and that, friends, is Willetts’ fault – though the Labour Party have a share of the blame too).

****** weekly course reading guide is here: Cap and cult studs outline013********

This course involves a close reading of Karl Marx’s Capital (Volume One).
90 minute lectures, 60 minutes discussion
The connections between cultural studies and critiques of capitalism are considered in an interdisciplinary context (cinema studies, anthropology, musicology, international relations, and philosophy) which reaches from Marx through to Film Studies, from ethnographic approaches to Heidegger, from anarchism and surrealism to German critical theory and poststructuralism/post-colonialism/post-early-for-christmas. Topics covered include: alienation, commodification, production, technology, education, subsumption, anti-imperialism, anti-war movement and complicity. Using a series of illustrative films (documentary and fiction) and key theoretical texts (read alongside the text of Capital), we examine contemporary capitalism as it shifts, changes, lurches through its very late 20th and early 21st century manifestations – we will look at how cultural studies copes with (or does not cope with) class struggle, anti-colonialism, new subjectivities, cultural politics, media, virtual and corporate worlds.
****** weekly course reading guide is here: Cap and cult studs outline013********

The lectures/seminars begin on Tuesday 8th January 2011 between 5 and 8pm and will run for 11 weeks (with a week off in the middle) in the Richard Hoggart Building (Room 309), Goldsmiths College. You are required to bring their own copy of the Penguin, International Publishers/Progress Press or German editions of Karl Marx Capital Vol I. We are reading about 100 pages a week. (Please don’t get tricked into buying the abridged English edition/nonsense!)

Education Commission Report No 1

Click on the boot to download and read the full report, or here EdCommReport1

Snitching about…

was sent this by the folk at V.I.S.A. (Victorious International Student Army):


Stop the Snitching: What We Mean By Non-compliance


The pastoral idyll is dead. It was bulldozed long ago only to be overlain with a grid of barbed wire. If it ever had any real existence, it is now best described as a border fence, an internment camp, an interrogation room at the dock or airport. What we mean by this, is that the argument that attendance records – from lectures, classes, tutorials – need to be kept for pastoral reasons is now untenable. It needs to be jettisoned, however much nostalgia or regret we may feel in doing so. It is no longer safe or strategic to record attendance, for whatever reason, now that the border crosses us in our places of work and learning.


If the border is a social relation and not a thing, then we must pay attention to the ways in which we are reproducing, enabling and enforcing that border in our day-to-day lives. The most obvious way we might do this is, of course, the demand that teaching staff act as border agents by forwarding attendance records to the UKBA. Three missing strikes and you’re a terrorist. Goldsmiths UCU were quick to adopt a position of non-compliance, and has re-affirmed this stance in a recent statement. We need to be clear, however, about exactly what we mean by non-compliance, and alert to those who might be in a weaker position, from which non-compliance becomes more difficult to uphold.


Regarding the latter, two groups immediately spring to mind: administrative staff, and international students themselves. Admin staff are easier for management to single out, scapegoat, and threaten with punitive measures. Even a well-meaning attendance record kept for pastoral purposes can become a border snitch if intercepted once in administrative hands. Alternatively, lying on attendance registers makes teaching staff liable. To co-opt a reasonably repugnant, and thankfully now redundant, phrase from the US military, the best policy with regard to non-compliance is: don’t ask, don’t tell. If the data is never recorded, it can’t be passed on. Simple.


Management will, however, undoubtedly try to fulfill the UKBA’s demands whilst at the same time seeking to sidestep hostilities from staff and students. ‘Light touch’ is management-speak for this covert-cavity-search-on-campus approach. If they are unable to get the information they need from teaching or admin staff, rest assured they will exploit the vulnerabilities inherent in the precarious status of international students directly. We need to make it clear – strikes, occupations, public refusal – that any requirement or request that demands international students act as their own border agent, or assumes them to be criminal or terrorist until proven otherwise, is in blatant contradiction of our position of non-compliance. We need to make sure our non-compliance doesn’t leak. Stop the snitching – solidarity across the board and the border.


Love and rage,


Goldsmiths Migration Solidarity

School for Study

See this (click on the pic to be taken to the website):

Welcome notes Goldsmiths CCS – JH #newterm


a million urgent fiddles to do on the blog, website, ordering of books or some such, then meetings, campaigns, the fucking UKBA, new students, information emails, a student shafted by MET/UKBA, colleagues in disciplinary hearings in need of support, general chaos, and marking, lets not forget the marking, and the plagiarism cases than need to be – well, second offence really should get more than a book thrown at them – but then there is the welcome drinks, the welcome party, the welcome seminar, tutorial and photo opportunity. I lay myself down on New Cross Road and wait…

The Education Commission. :: a militant inquiry into privatisation and immigration controls in education ::

Students, lecturers, admin workers and anybody else interested in education are invited to join a new group aiming to research and take action around the current conditions in the education sector.  In the wake of the UK Border Agency’s revocation of London Met’s Highly Trusted Sponsor Status and consequent plans to deport potentially thousands of international students along with further plans for privatisation across the sector, we propose to investigate and take action around the changing nature of the education in the UK since the abolition of the EMA and mass increase of university tuition fees in 2010. We aim to draw together student, parent, and education workers’ experiences as well as available data in order to produce and disseminate as accurate a picture as possible of the current state and trends in higher education in the UK.  We do so in support of and solidarity with current and future struggles in education. Our next meeting is on Wednesday 26th September at 6.30pm at London Met Holloway Road campus (the tower building next to Holloway Road tube station). Here is a link:

Anybody interested in participating should contact:[at] This project has been initiated by Plan C London, it is however open to individuals and groups to get involved.

Spin Out!

This sure is a spin out invite. Free drinks! :) – Actuall;y, I think its a prank, put up by my ‘friends’…

Dear Professor Hutnyk

Just a few places remain at our inaugural Senior Higher Education Leaders’ Symposium which is taking place on Tuesday 30th October.

This is an ideal opportunity for you to meet leading experts in higher education, followed by dinner at Imperial College London with guest speaker Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University.

The Symposium commences at 1pm, with a drinks reception starting at 6pm. Presentations and seminars include:

‘The Emergence of the Skills Training Agenda in the UK’
Professor Peter McCaffery, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, London Metropolitan University

‘Researcher Development – A case study from Australia’s Go8 universities’
Professor Shelda Debowski, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Notre Dame, Australia

‘International Trends in the Development of University Teaching’
Professor Graham Gibbs, Retired Director of the Oxford Learning Institute, University of Oxford

‘Modelling the Benefits and Costs of Blended Learning’
Professor Diana Laurillard, Professor of Learning & Digital Technologies, London Knowledge Laboratory, Institute of Education

‘Leadership and Management Training – Do we need to become more like corporates?’
Sir David Watson, Professor of Higher Education and Principal, Green Templeton College, University of Oxford and Professor Jill Jameson, Professor of Education, University of Greenwich

‘Future Strategies for Researcher Development and Training’
Dr Douglas Halliday, former Dean of the Graduate School, Durham University and Professor Shelda Debowski

If you are able to join us please confirm your attendance by registering via this link:

Please note there is no charge for attending the Symposium or dinner. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me, and I very much hope you are able to join us.

Kind regards


Wendy Harbottle
Sales & Marketing Manager
<snip> <>

UK & Europe
1 Kensington Cloisters
5 Kensington Church Street
London, W8 4LD

Cambridge, MA Office
One Broadway, 14th Floor
Kendall Square, Cambridge
MA 02142, USA

Epigeum Ltd is a spin-out company of Imperial College London,

London Met Demo Friday 28 Sept 2012

From London Met UCU:

London Met – Defend Our Students – London Demonstration Friday 28/9

Dear all,

London Met UCU, London Met Unison, and London Met SU have called a London-wide mobilisation and march from ULU (Malet Street) to the Home Office (Marsham Street, Victoria) for Friday 28th Sept. Assembling at Malet Street for 1pm. Under the banner: ‘Amnesty Now – Save London Met – No to Privatisation’. This initiative is supported by London Region UCU, and University of London Union (ULU).

This Friday (21/9) the High Court will consider granting an immediate injunction (an effective ‘stay’) in favour of London Met Uni and against the UK Border Agency (UKBA). Such an injunction should allow for a full Judicial Review of the UKBA’s decision to revoke London Met’s Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) Tier-4 licence – an action that has condemned over 2,500 of our students to either forced university transfer or deportation.

However, even if an injunction is granted it will only be a temporary reprieve until the outcome of the Judicial Review itself – which is expected to take at least several months to be heard. Meanwhile, our license to recruit international students is still suspended, our current international students are still in limbo – particularly if they have more than this academic year to complete, and our courses/jobs still threatened.

If an injunction is not granted then we will be in the fight of our lives – not only for all our international students against an immediate and very real deportation threat but for the very survival of London Met as a public university.

We are refusing to sit on the sidelines and by mere observers of our destiny as others shape it. We are therefore fighting as hard as we can for our students, our university, and for real justice. We will have much more chance of winning that fight with your support and solidarity – as wonderfully expressed during last Friday’s UK-wide solidarity events.

Last week’s TUC Congress in Brighton unanimously supported the call for an immediate amnesty for our students

We now need your support once more – particularly, if you are based in London. We want as many trade union banners as possible on next week’s march/demonstration – along with as many colleagues as you can bring. This is not just a fight for London Met – this is a fight for public education as a whole.

Please send messages of support to mark.campbell_home [at]

In solidarity

Mark Campbell
London Metropolitan University UCU (Chair)
UCU National Executive Committee (London and the East HE)
SERTUC Public Services Committee (Vice-Chair)

H.Ed Horror Show (‘Exporting UK Higher Education’ – BIS)

If you were missing the Olympics, here is another bread and circuses event that may or may not have the G4S doing security.

(click the screenshot to go to the confluence website):

Anyone remember the Hotel Nikko in Sydney August 1991? (


New Scanner for Student monitoring to be introduced (by your border-agent-tutor)

Trinketization must-have item of the week! this new electronic gadget from Opticon: website is a barcode scanner about to be rolled out at Queen Mary, to be used by seminar leaders to register attendance at seminars by scanning students’ ID cards.

[i am reliably informed from deep inside the administrative apparatus]

forget the new iphone five, this is the trinket you need for the proper management of scholarship in the knowledge economy

its sleek design makes it an oh so slick silver status object, with curved corners™

first an arm and a leg in fees, then electronic tagging as the staff are made agents of UKBA. FFS.

A reminder of the Centre for Cultural Studies position against being agents of the Border regime here.


—– Forwarded Message —–

MESSAGE FROM CCLS Director and Head of Dept, Laws

Dear all,

As a result of the tightening of immigration rules, from this academic year
onwards all universities must monitor students’ lecture attendance on an
ongoing basis. This encompasses students from all postgraduate taught
programmes. The attendance monitoring exercise will require the assistance
of academic staff members and guest speakers teaching postgraduate modules.
We have purchased scanners that read students ID cards. There is one scanner
per module. Each module convener must ensure that the person responsible
for the weekly lecture brings the scanner into the class, gives it to
students to record their attendance and brings it back to CCLS/Mile End
reception as appropriate.

It is VITAL that this is done every week as continuity is required when
checking for absence.

Scanner control

Modules taught at LIF OR CH SQ can collect and return scanners to LIF
Modules taught at Mile End OR at IALS by department staff can collect and
return scaners to Mile End Law Reception

We will start the monitoring exercise from week one, although for the first
two weeks it is trial run as class lists are not yet known. Your help in
implementing this is very important. As you know, foreign students are vital
for us and we must do what is required by the authorities to ensure our
right to sponsor student visas is not affected.

If you have any queries please contact Aqib (Ext. 8091 or
Wendy Ext 8104

There are some basic guidance notes attached -

Many thanks in advance for your collaboration with this task.

Kind regards,

Spyros and Valsamis

Malignancy Ed


UKBA demo weds

Come to the demo on Wednesday 5th Sept and protest against the UKBA– defend London Met students! 
Wednesday 1pm outside the Home Office’s headquarters in Marsham Street, SW1P4DF
Supported by: London Met’s UCU and Unison union branches


“The National Union of Students are fully backing the demonstration on Wednesday and we’re asking people to bring to bring suitcase/bags so that we can use them build a massive pile in front of the Home Office and we are asking everyone to bring their national flags!”

I have to say I am dismayed that NUS and London Met SU are calling on people to bring their country’s flags to the demo on weds. As an internationalist, and for other reasons, I’d find it deeply discomforting to carry my own national flag for this. Let alone that some nations barely support their ‘internationals’ (surveillance etc) and when they do it is along the lines of getting them along to the grotesque celebration of Nations we have just endured under the 6 ring oilypigs circus. I’ll come for international solidarity, as a worker of the world etc… Not on behalf of some fake elitist nationalist ecumenium.

Surely the only way to pull this off is if you carry the flag UPSIDE down, as a signal for distress! Good grief, Nationalism is not the message here – the jingoism of the the #closingceremony teaches that at least. Money for parades, yet education is shafted.

The bring a suitcase idea appeals. I even may have one with a Qantas flying kangaroo sticker on it :). Upside down of course.
See you there. Red salute.

more notes on educationium

…the pressure for academics, and by extension students, at least student activists, the SU and postgrads, to themselves become the malignant and parasitic managerial class is operative here. Becoming self-regulating means complicity in several modes. The university now demands managers to present as petty bourgeois shop keepers, marketing specious wares; or as entrepreneurial visionary explorers tasked with terra-firming new vistas of corporate training, consultancy and product placement; as public brand-uni sprukers of tele-genic ‘ideas’ and Verso-controversy coffee chat radical publishing… Etc. The malignancy here is an emergent but hollow expertise of those who are not just measurers – if all they did was bean-counting we might more readily discount their dodgy deals.

Alternative Art College Questions Answered.

Hi Paul

Dear John
I recently contacted you about talking at the Alternative Art College event in May and now i am currently writing my MA diss on the ‘Autonomous education/learning space.I was wondering if you had time to answer briefly a few questions written below, It would be great to have your input.
The questions below are broad and provoking.
These questions require much longer answers than I can give. If you want to be involved with Higher Education Quality Assurance you must find a way to format these as multiple choice tick box questionnaires – only this kind of practice counts in the metrics-regime HE sector today.
I wish i had time to do this in person as it would have been a very
interesting conversation.Questions:

1. How do you feel you function within the institution? Is it possible  to function autonomously within an institution?

I joined the University system in order to maim it. OF course even this position is now totally in complicity with its afterlife – ie, a life after its already tragic-yet-welcomed demise.
2. When it comes to  the element of an art input do you feel it  enhances the production of ‘alternative’ learning or education
Art input is the path to complicity made palatable to those who think radical activity lies in the pretense of form and formlessness. The only thing radical in art is that it continually gets co-opted into Institutions, suggesting that there is perhaps – ever so maybe – something worth co-opting. This of course is its value, to capital, and it is a facade. No, worse, a charade. Perhaps a puppet show. Answer A.
3. If situated outside of the institution does it have a increased
autonomous position?
What is outside? Do you mean art? The autonomy of art is a faded inversion of its former subservience to power. Now it is mere decoration. The only radical artists are part time landscape gardeners working in the suburbs, never likely to be nominated for the Turner Prize. Is this what art can be. I think its best we have another look at Adorno’s great book ‘Aesthetic Theory’ – the question is still unresolved as to whether art remains the place of ‘a secret omnipresence of resistance’. Probably not.
4. In regards to the relationship an individual can have with the institution, it is possible to see
contradictions, I see this as positives as it is a corner stone of how to function when creating work in an art practice, do you feel the
role of the contradiction is important when creating ‘alternative’ learning spaces?
See Mao – On Contradiction. This is the essay that must be brought to class. Its not so much that there are contradictions to be understood, but there are only contradictions, to be managed – which is why the quality assurance people offer their inane questionnaires – they produce these things to justify their own contradictory non-practice as a malignant and parasitic growth that fosters bureaucracy within a zero-degree blast zone of what once was education and thinking.
5. DO you feel that there is a definitive model for which
education should proceed?
There is a definitive model of how to resist education. Education is not a social good insofar as it reproduces class hierarchy. This of course is not news. See chapter 16 of Capital.
6. when it comes to suggest that either are a blueprint for a ‘better’
HE structure do they then become what they once were opposing? or are
neither of them opposing the institution but merley reflection on its
current form?
When were they oppositional? The opposition here is an integrated structure. It thrives on complicity and the fiction that greater thinking and critique can have some autonomy outside of the very contradictions that make it possible. All else – and this is a very big else – is training for the alpha, beta and theta drones required by the market system. Tragically, the old university (heaven forbid if we were to save that battered carcass of privilege) is no longer even the preferred mode of preparation for the military-entertainment complex of contemporary capital. Hence McDonalds degrees for graduates of the McDonalds Olympics… etc…

Thank you again i hope these questions make senseBest Paul

* The Alternative Art College *


Yup, all good. Write well. J

Tommy Smith, Peter Norman and John Carlos.

Let the Olympiss games begin – remember Tommy Smith and John Carlos showing support for Muhammed Ali’s anti-Vietnam war stance, against poverty and lynching, for Black power, part of the Olympic Project for Human Rights – see – which also brings to light a little known factoid making it worth remembering that the white guy who came second in the 200 metres that day was a runner from Melbourne named Peter Norman. Norman supported the protest, citing Australia’s mistreatment of indigenous people, by ‘pinning an OPHR patch onto his chest to show his solidarity on the medal stand’.

I like this because solidarity is not showboating, its standing alongside in support. Smith, Norman, Carlos: 1,2,3.

Remember Peter Norman:

Plan C and Quebec solidarity actions

An invitation to an evening in support of CLASSE (Quebec) // 7pm Friday 22nd June // Centre for Possible Studies

7pm Friday June 22nd, 2012 

Centre for Possible Studies
21 Gloucester Place
Marble Arch

In response to an urgent appeal for support from CLASSE in Quebec – due to
mounting legal costs because of the massive student strike and rebellion -
Plan C London is hosting an evening of support and solidarity with films and
discussion.  The urgent appeal from CLASSE can be found here:

Solidarity with Quebec students on strike
Called by: Education Activist Network & Defend the Right to Protest Supported by: Disabled People Against the Cuts, Plan C London
4pm Sunday June 24th, 2012
Canada House,
Trafalgar Square
Following the call-out for international solidarity with Quebec students on strike, we have decided to call a demonstration in London, UK.

The last solidarity demonstration brought more than 300 people into the streets. Let’s make sure that this demonstration strengthens the determination fof students in Quebec to continue the fightback against the Charest government.

We invite all organisations and individuals to sign the call to support the solidarity demonstration on Sunday June 24:

‘Earth Shattering Fact’ – you cannot measure education…

Via Marcus and the SMH.

I like journalists whose three word sentences do not hide their contempt for bean counters. Even if the comparison with mining flies in the face of the actual convergence of schools and industry, still…:

For a start, schools are complex environments. They are full of people. They aren’t mines. This might be seen to be stating the bleeding obvious but you can’t measure schools and the people in them in the same way you measure iron ore. The human variable affects everything that happens in a school. Good teaching is impossible to measure. Examination results might be easy to measure. They tell us that students at well-resourced schools will do better in examinations than students at poorly resourced schools. Isn’t that incredible? Examination results will also suggest that students from comfortable middle-class backgrounds will get better marks than students from less privileged backgrounds. Another earth shattering fact.

Read more:

Research Trends

Pretty interesting trends identified in stats from the ESRC on what topics our best and brightest choose to write their PhDs (we will need an algorithm correcting for nerdiness of course).

Seems there has been a big drop in these areas:

a number of disciplines fell below the target to a greater or lesser extent. These disciplines were: anthropology, area and development studies, education, human geography, science and technology studies, social policy, social work and sociology.

While there were massive increases in the areas of Economic and Social History, Environmental Planning, and Politics and International Relations.

Just saying – sign o the times.

See the general breakdown here.


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