Black Skin White Marx – 4 June 2010 Goldsmiths

*Black Skin White Marx?*

Goldsmiths Centre for Cultural Studies present a special intervention:

Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (University Professor and Director of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University, USA) and Professor Fred Moten (Professor of English, Duke University, USA) will be speaking in dialogue with Karl Marx on issues of race, critique and the possibilities for a radical politics to come.

4th June 2010, 1pm-4pm
Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre
Goldsmiths, New Cross, London
SE14 6NW
All Welcome

Goldsmiths Centre for Cultural Studies in association with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Goldsmiths Graduate School, Centre for Postcolonial Studies, Department of Anthropology and Department of Media and Communications

Time Wasting = Money??

I went to a training session that was supposed to train me up on research grant account management this afternoon, advertised as compulsory for PIs (principal investigators). It was a crock.

The system is hysterically named ‘Aggresso’.

[there are little gnome-like accountants in a room somewhere laughing at the havoc they have wreaked].

I am furious.

1. that I did not get an email from anyone who was at the morning session warning not to go!

2. what they told us was sub-basic. How to log in, how to find an IP address (ask an IT specialist!!!)

3. all the problems of the old system are to be compounded with new dumbness.

4. its beta – even the instructor seems unsure of what he is doing (poor chap, nice tie, waste of space job).

5. I am probably going to be fired for what I wrote on the session feedback form. Ah well.

6. it had the merit of being shorter than advertised. I would have died if it took 3 hours.

And the sun is shining outside. I may have to return to my earlier career as a picture framer, butcher or newspaper boy.

pzzfftt*zt$ggh! I am going for lunch.

Counter/Mapping QMary: the university and border technologies

To begin by asking <what is the university> requires an investigation of the function of the university not only as a knowledge factory but also as a border. Our investigation of what the university produces as knowledge, hierarchies and power exposes the border/s that operate in, on and around the university. That <the university is a border> is made possible by the operation of a filter mechanism. The counting of bodies, money in and money out, who can and can not enter, what are we when we leave, the limits of what is and is not knowledge and the complicity with national and global border regimes – who and what is stopped at the border?


A group of students, staff and researchers at Queen Mary University have set out to map the ways in which migration, border technologies, surveillance and monetary flows intersect with the university as our place of work and study. Joining us in the project are the <Counter-Cartographies Collective from the University of North Carolina>, who will help us to explore the dynamics and possibilities of mapping as method and action.

From Thursday 13 May – Monday 24 May we will gather to discuss, research and take action to produce a counter map of Queen Mary University. As part of our practice we will be facilitating <three public workshops> to expand the participation and possibilities of the project. These workshops as well as the counter mapping production process are open to all who are interested and are free to attend – please see below for the programme and contact details.


Thursday 13 May, 2pm                    Imaginaries of the university

<Opening event of the Counter/Mapping QMary project>

The Counter-Cartographies Collective will present their work on the neo-liberal university and discuss their maps, methodologies and actions. This session will address our imaginaries of the university – current and potential – and will conclude with a drift around QM campus.

Thursday 20 May, 2pm             How to make a counter-map

<Workshop: mapping at method, practice and action>

The Counter-Cartographies Collective will facilitate a workshop on radical collaborative mapping skills using available open source mapping software and web-based data-mining techniques. Free and open to all, email us to register.

Monday 24 May, 4pm                The politics and potential of counter-mapping

<Presentation and open discussion> In this event, the Counter/Mapping QMary project will present their map of Queen Mary.

This presentation will be followed by an open discussion of the methods and politics of mapping the university as a site of migration, education and labour struggles.

Invited interlocutors:

The Students not Suspects Campaign (Goldsmiths),

No Cuts at Queen Mary Campaign,

Jane Wills,

Ishani Chandrasekara,

David Pinder,

John Hutnyk,

Alberto Toscano

Contact info:
Counter/Mapping QMary
Facebook group: countermapping qmary

The Counter/Mapping QMary project is generously supported by the School of Business and Management and the Economy, Development and Social Justice and the Culture, Space and Power research groups (Geography Dept) at Queen Mary University.


Report from the Rio Tinto AGM in London on 15 April 2010

Panguna Mine, Bougainville
Clive Porabou from Bougainville said that the company’s BCL subsidiary had caused massive destruction to land in Bougainville and its operations had led to a war which had cost 20,000 lives. A court case had been brought against the company in the USA. Would the company compensate the people of Bougainville for the destruction it had caused? BCL was now trying to go back in and reopen the mine, which would repeat the whole process. Would Rio Tinto warn them of the dangers of doing so?
Jan du Plessis said that the company had not operated in Bougainville since 1989. When it did operate, it employed 2800 people and contributed 10% of Papua New Guinea’s GDP. In 2001 a peace agreement was signed between the PNG Government and the separatists. The company understands that it cannot recommence operations without proper consultation with the stakeholders.
Tom Albanese said that the company respects the long-term peace process and the actions of the Government of Bougainville, the landholders and the Government of Papua New Guinea.
It is noteworthy that neither the Chairman nor the CEO commented on the lawsuit brought against the company in the USA.

See the full report at

Gil Scott Heron gotta rethink

From Occupied Ramallah, 21 April 2010

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is gravely disappointed by the announcement that well-known, progressive artist Gil Scott-Heron is due to perform in Israel on May 25. We call upon Mr. Scott-Heron, a member of United Artists Against Apartheid in the 1980’s and a featured singer on the breakthrough song ‘Don’t Play Sun City’, not to play apartheid Israel.

We urge you as an influential artist, and, more importantly, as a well-known activist on issues of social justice and equality, not to perform in Israel, a state that maintains a cruel system of occupation, colonization and apartheid against the Palestinian people and has been widely accused by UN experts and leading human rights organizations of committing war crimes and grave violations of human rights.  Your performance in Israel would stand in stark contrast to your anti-apartheid, anti-racist record and simply be part of Israel’s attempt to ‘re-brand’ and whitewash its apartheid system.

Your work has been an inspiration to activists around the world who are fighting for justice alongside the Palestinian people; do not tarnish your record and this admiration by turning a blind eye to the realities of Israeli apartheid.  A performance in Israel would come a year and a half after Israel’s bloody military assault against the occupied Gaza Strip which left over 1,440 Palestinians dead, of whom 431 were children, and 5380 injured. The 1.5 million Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, the overwhelming majority of whom are refugees, were subjected to three weeks of relentless Israeli state terror, whereby Israeli warplanes systematically targeted civilian areas, reducing whole neighbourhoods and vital civilian infrastructure to rubble and partially destroying Gaza’s leading university and scores of schools, including several run by the UN, where civilians, including children, were taking shelter. This criminal assault came after months of a crippling and ongoing Israeli siege ofGaza.

The situation for Palestinians outside Gaza does not fare well either.  Palestinian refugees, the majority of the Palestinian population, are not allowed to return to their homes from which they were expelled in 1948.  Palestinian citizens of Israel are treated as second class citizens where rampant discrimination and differential access to services is the norm.  Palestinians in the West Bank are locked in by an Apartheid wall with its connected system of Israeli-only roads, settlements and checkpoints. Literally, Palestinian areas are transformed into open air prisoners and laboratories for the latest Israeli weaponry.

If you have any doubts that the situation of Palestinians is similar to that of black South African’s under apartheid, we urge you to heed the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who in a recent letter to Berkeley students wrote: “I have been to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under the racist system of Apartheid. I have witnessed the humiliation of Palestinian men, women, and children made to wait hours at Israeli military checkpoints routinely when trying to make the most basic of trips to visit relatives or attend school or college, and this humiliation is familiar to me and the many black South Africans who were corralled and regularly insulted by the security forces of the Apartheid government.” [1]

In the face of decades of unrelenting oppression, Palestinian civil society has called upon supporters of the struggle for freedom and justice throughout the world to take a stand and heed our call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it recognises Palestinian rights and fully complies with international law. Many prominent international cultural figures including John Berger, Ken Loach, Arundhati Roy, Roger Waters, John Williams, among others, have declared their support for the boycott. Other renowned international artists, including Sting, Bono, Snoop Dog, Jean Luc Goddard and Joan Manuel Serrat have also heeded our call and cancelled their gigs or participation in festivals in Israel [2].

Your performance in Israel would be the equivalent to having performed in Sun City duringSouth Africa’s Apartheid era, in violation of the international boycott unanimously endorsed by the oppressed South Africans.  We hope that you will not play apartheid Israel.



[2] See International Guidelines for the Academic Boycott of Israel

Posted on 21-04-2010

UK Border Author-itybittyshitty

The new UK Points-Based Immigration scheme is – no surprise – a nasty headache, and the hoops to be jumped through for the privilege of being charged for higher education in the ever more depleted UK HE sector are just mind-boggling. See below for the guidance for students who might have the mad idea that coming to Goldsmiths might be a straightforward matter of applying and being accepted. To think that this points-biased plan originally comes from Australia is painful (and not mitigated by the UK’s overdue acceptance of the Flat White Coffee and decent Colombian beans – at last). Worse, it seems Lib-Dem Clegg (the fifth Beatle) wants to introduce a localized version of this, while his mates Posh Dave and Gordon Godzilla have even more rabid anti-immigration ideas up their trickster sleeves (no-one said anything good on this topic in the first TV ‘debate’ – where was Davina McCall, who could have let us phone them out of the show and have them sacrificed to appease the volcano). Non compliance with the reporting is the way forward for staff, but here are the latest instructions, just to emphasize the absurdity of it all – the immoral maze. My favourite is the promise that all this will change again imminently. For the worse no doubt. Use you vote wisely – screw it up and stuff it in the end of an old bottle, half filled with Volcanic ash, light the end and be ready to throw – self defence is no offence as we know.

Seriously though – the Students Not Suspects campaign site is here. Join the fight.

FAO: All Administrative and Academic Staff
Dear Colleague
Following implementation of points-based immigration (PBI) international students who require a visa to study in the UK must be sponsored by a licensed institution.
The type of visa a student can apply for is dependent on their age, and both the level and duration of their programme of study – see
<> .
Goldsmiths has been licensed by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to sponsor students in all categories, but most international students at Goldsmiths will need to apply as Tier 4 General Students.
Tier 4 (General) category is for adult students who want to come to or remain in the UK for post-16 education.
Whether applying to enter the UK to commence studies or remain in the UK to continue their studies a students visa application must be supported with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). CAS are issued on behalf of Goldsmiths by the following offices:
. Admissions – applicants to commence a new programme of study at Goldsmiths should contact the Admissions Office, Room 115, Richard Hoggart Building or <> . Further information is also given at <> ;
. Enrolments and Records – students extending their student visa to continue or repeat part of their current programme of study should visit Enrolments and Records, Room 122, Richard Hoggart Building or email <> .

Students should note that we are required to take a photocopy of their current passport, details of which must be included in the CAS together with tuition fees paid, and pre-requisite qualifications if they are a new entrant. They should allow 5-10 working days for their CAS to be assigned, i.e. we must apply and pay for the CAS via the UKBA Sponsor Management System. The CAS is valid for 6 months from point of issue, after which the student must show this office that they have obtained clearance to study or they may not be sponsored and taught by the institution. Students are therefore required to show proof of entry clearance to Enrolments and Records once their visa application has been processed or their access to services may be suspended and their enrolment withdrawn.

It is important to note that although international students are not permitted to enrol on a part-time programme of study, they are permitted to repeat in part-time attendance or in exam-attendance if their participation is required. In such cases we will ask the Academic Department to confirm that the student’s participation is required and that they are able to meet their sponsorship duties, or we may not issue a CAS.

Subsequent to the issue of a CAS, Enrolments and Records will be required to report any change of programme, interruption, withdrawal, or failure to attend/enrol to the UKBA. It’s therefore important that any student indicating a wish to interrupt or withdraw is referred to either the Departmental Administrator or Enrolments and Records who may issue them the appropriate paperwork to be authorised by either their head of department or senior tutor. Students failing to return the authorised paperwork within 2 weeks of the last date of attendance will remain liable for the full tuition fee and will not be eligible for a refund of any fees paid.

Failure to report such changes within a reasonable timeframe may also result in our sponsor licence being withdrawn, we will not be able to issue CAS to any student of Goldsmiths and current students may find that their CAS or visa is cancelled.

Tier 1 category is for skilled workers, but visa applications might be supported by confirmation of award and transcript of results – see <;> <;>
Whether a Goldsmiths student is applying for Tier 1 (General) or Tier 1 (Post-qualifying) their visa application must be supported by proof of qualifications.

Student Archives is able to provide Goldsmiths alumni or graduates a copy of their transcript or confirmation of award for this purpose. Enquirers should be advised to contact Archives, Room 122, Richard Hoggart Building and complete the order form or email Further details of the services offered by Archives are given at <> .

Further enquiries
This information has been circulated to all international students, but if a student does want further advice on points based immigration, isn’t certain of what visa they require or have been refused entry to the UK they should contact Student Advice, email <> with brief details of their enquiry. All enquiries are dealt with in confidence.

Further changes to PBI are expected to be announced shortly, including the introduction of Highly Trusted Sponsor status. We will keep staff and students informed of these changes as they happen.

On behalf of Student Services / Marketing and Recruitment

Border Next (Gothenburg 8-14 June 2010)

The Beyond Borders Network is a series of Workshops on Borders, though I note that the work involved in anticipation of the meetings themselves is perhaps as important as the meetings – certainly in terms of creative work it borders on the insane. The meetings themselves have been jam-packed.

In “Sonic Border” (London Nov 2008) we explored the way sound crosses the border differently, provoking a rethink of the border’s location – not just in ports, but between us all, in conversations, in ideas – an oppressive structure of language, meaning, representation, and a cry of protest and the music of solidarity across divides. Sound problematized the geographic and visual location of the border regime.

In “Theatre Border” (Berlin April 2009) the performative, tactile and ritualistic force of the border as staged power suggested we rethink connection, touch, proximity and co-responsibility. The theatrical exclusion of others manufactures a charade populated by demons, caricatures and monstrosity. We don’t want to be cast in such dramas, and our engagement with the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall involved considerable polemic. The conference included a peripatetic component that was documented by camera and mobile DV. Finally, our discussions included work on a theatre production (work-shopped by the Swedish network participants, and subsequently performed in public).

In “Border Documents” (Copenhagen Nov 2009) we join with the CPH.DOX documentary film festival to consider the border as it unfolds in time/screen based media. We were thinking about the telematic border, CCTV and the scanning screens of the immigration check, and the ways film can frame alternative ways of seeing, witnessing, representing, archiving and experiencing ‘the elements of truth’ (from one of our guest speaker Hito Steyerl, 2003). We explored how the documentary form can carry a politic, an ethics or an epistemology and how documentary film and border activism lends itself to the cinematic to film another way across.

In “Border Infection” (London March 2010) we explored the metaphors of contagion and virus, the way borders are porous and subject to infestations and/or prophylactic attempts at security. In this workshop we joined with LDN-BRU who put on a week long gallery exhibition of works made (by our Network participants) in response to the themes. This was a great success and is to be repeated alongside the final Network meeting in June. It will provide excellent illustrative material for a prospective publication. In Border Infestation we also explored a maritime thematic (see picture) in the area around Goldsmiths, taking up again the peripatetic idea from the Berlin workshop, also successfully.

“Border Reverb” is the last of the series of events, to be held in June 2010. The workshop moves to Gothenburg Sweden to join with the Clandestino Music Festival – to consider, reflexively, what we have learned (and unlearned, un-texted) from the Beyond Text opportunity. The final sessions will address the re-verbing of the Border, among other things.

Chris on Borders

Chris Collier is a contemporary artist writing here, and says nice things of our Lon:Bru Beyond Borders gallery show alongside the Beyond Text Newtwork workshop in March:

There was the last show of the year in The Gallery, Goldsmiths which was the fantastic Border Infection, from Raul Gschrey, Nicolas Sauret & Ashley Wong, Moustache Collectif, Helen Turner and curated by Benoît Loiseau & Joanna Figiel. Border Infection was the result of an ongoing collaboration between Beyond Borders and LDN/BRU that originated from a shared enthusiasm for questioning and transgressing creative, cultural and geographical boundaries. The exhibition brings together a group of international artists who share similar concerns and interests. Exploring issues and limitations surrounding urban and city narratives, as well as ownership and dislocation, the show includes multimedia installations, videos and performances. The exhibition was held in conjunction with John Hutnyk of Centre for Cultural Studies cross-disciplinary symposium Beyond Borders. The exhibition was fantastic, amongst the strongest we’ve had (alongside Café Trojan Horse and Paper Jam in my eyes) and the opening/performance was really great too, fantastically attended and a great atmosphere. The work was really great and we all ended up down the pub afterwards a little worse for wear to round off a good evening.

Some fine pics here.

We are doing it all again in Gothenburg, only different. See here.

H G Wells on Money

In the marvellous “Love and MR Lewisham”, the occultist swindler Chaffery offers Lewisham this commentary on money:

What is clothing? The concealment of essential facts. What is decorum? Suppression! … to the common civilized man the universal exchangeability of … gold is a sacred and fundamental fact. Think of it! Why should it be? There isn’t a why! I live in perpetual amazement at the gullibility of my fellow-creatures. Of a morning sometimes, I can assure you, I lie in bed fancying that people may have found out this swindle in the night, expect to hear a tumult downstairs and see your mother-in-law come rushing into the room with a rejected shilling from the milkman. “What’s this?” says he. “This Muck for milk>” But it never happens. Never. If it did, if people suddenly cleared their minds of this cant of money, what would happen? The true nature of man would appear. I should whip out of bed, seize some weapon, and after the milkman forthwith. Its becoming to keep the peace, but its necessary to have milk. The neighbours would come pouring out – also after milk. Milkman, suddenly enlightened, would start clattering up the street. After him! Clutch – tear! Got him! Over goes the cart! Fight if you like, but don’t upset the can!… Don’t you see it all – perfectly reasonable every bit of it. I should return, bruised and bloody, with the milk-can – I should keep my eye on that… But why go on? You of all men should know that life is a struggle for existence, a fight for food. Money is just the lie that mitigates our fury. (Wells 1900/2002:176-77)