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Monthly Archives: January 2009



No to fees – A living grant for every student – Tax the rich to fund education!



Event Info:




Time and Place:

25th February 2009

12.00 – 17.00

Assemble: Malet Street, London



Contact Info: 







Education – a right not a privilege

No to fees – A living grant for every student – Tax the rich to fund education

National demonstration February 25th 2009

This academic year could see the lifting of the £3,000 cap on tuition fees in higher education. Meanwhile, student debt and poverty are already spiralling, students face soaring costs of living, and the market dominates our education system from school to college to university.

After years of underfunding for post-16 education, the Government brought in tuition fees and then top-up fees. Worsening the already existing inequalities in higher education, fees are greatly accelerating the development of a competitive market between universities, with a tier of well-funded and prestigious institutions and another of less prestigious, underfunded ones. Along with the absence of decent student grants, they rule out the possibility of seriously expanding access, force most students who do get to university into debt and push many into casualised, low-paid jobs. Lifting the cap will, of course, make all this worse. Meanwhile most further education students have always paid fees and never had grants.

Top-up fees will be in the headlines this year, but fees are not the only issue. Though Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish university students studying in their own nation, and FE students under 19, do not have to pay fees, they do not receive a living grant and are also forced into poverty and debt. Nursing, midwifery and other students who have to work as a large part of their course receive a bursary as an on-the-cheap substitute for a living wage.

International students are exploited to subsidise higher education institutions through higher and higher fees, while postgraduate study is limited to a small elite through a more and more restrictive funding system.

Women, black, LGBT and disabled students are affected and disadvantaged disproportionately by the growth in student poverty and debt.

As our education is commodified and most institutions are run more and more for profit, the wages, conditions and rights of our teachers and other education workers are also coming under attack.

We also note that, as the economic crisis bites, the Government has announced that it plans to cut student numbers and further limit eligibility for grants.

We believe that NUS is allowing the Government to get away with these deeply unpopular policies. This year, despite the review of the cap on fees, NUS is not organising a national demonstration – not even one for its needlessly bureaucratic “alternative funding model”, let alone the abolition of fees and living grants that students need. Its “day of action” – which took place on 5 November, the day after the US presidential election, hardly the best time to get attention – was a start, but totally inadequate.

That is why we, students’ union officers and student activists, are organising a national demonstration, around the following demands:

* No raising of the cap on top-up fees; halt and reverse the growth in international students’ fees; abolish all fees in HE and FE – free education for all;
* A living grant for every student over 16 – at least £150 a week; and a living wage for nursing and other students who have to work as part of their course;
* Stop and reverse marketisation in our schools, colleges and universities – tax the rich and corporations to fund education.

We are organising this demonstration in alliance with trade union activists fighting back against wage freezes, job cuts and privatisation; with other anti-cuts and privatisation campaigns; with young people’s and children’s organisations; and with others who believe that education should be open to all as a human right, not a privilege open to a minority based on wealth.

Supported by:

NUS Women’s Campaign
NUS LGBT Campaign
University of Bradford Union
Union of UEA Students
University College London Union general meeting (indicative vote)
Aston Students’ Guild
Edinburgh University Students’ Association (indicative vote)
University of Sussex Students’ Union
Cambridge University Students’ Union
Huddersfield University SU LGBT society
Education Not for Sale
Sussex Not for Sale
Another Education is Possible

Individual signatories (all pc unless their organisation is listed as a signatory):

Aled Dilwyn Fisher, LSESU general secretary
Michael Deas, LSE Green Party
Joe Sammat, LSE
Tonina Alosmer, LSE
Alrabbas V, LSE
Anna Krausova, LSE
Vladimir Unkovski-Korica, LSE Socialist Worker Student Society
Lena G, LSE
Ruby Buckley, LSE
Heather Shaw, Sheffield College SU president
Martha Kunda, Sheffield College SU general secretary; NUS Women’s Committee co-FE rep
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, University of Bradford Union secretary-treasurer
Vicki Baars, Leeds Met Students’ Union Associate President Welfare and Campaigns; NUS LGBT Committee Women’s Rep; NUS National Councilor for the North East; North East Yorkshire And Humberside Area Womens’ Officer
Maryam Ahmed, Leeds University Union equality and diversity officer
Ellie Toolan-Kerr, University of Leeds
Joel Harrison, Leeds University Union Student Council
Chris Close, Leeds University Union Revolution Society
Dan Edmonds, Leeds University Union Revolution Society
Richard Berry, Leeds University Union Revolution Society
Max Darby, Leeds University Union Revolution Society
Siobhan Coleman, Leeds Metropolitan University Union Revolution Society
Brad Atkinson, Leeds Metropolitan University Union Revolution Society
Adam Farrell, University of Sussex SU education officer
Richa Kaul Padte, University of Sussex SU welfare officer
Dave Owen, University of Sussex SU activities officer
Joseph O’Connor Meldau, University of Sussex SU campaigns officer
Tom Wills, Sussex Not for Sale
Simon Englert, Sussex Not for Sale and SWSS
Syed Bokhari, Sussex SWSS
Koos Couvee, University of Sussex SU communications officer 2007-8
Alan Bailey, University of Salford SU VP representation; NUS LGBT Committee open place
Beth Noble and Matt Smith, University of Salford SU LGBT Society co-chairs
Joe Czechowicz and Franklin Williams, University of Salford SU LGBT Society committee
Sofie Buckland, NUS Women’s Committee; NUS NEC 2006-8
Jennie Killip, University of Manchester SU women’s officer; NUS Women’s Committee lesbian rep
Robbie Gillett, University of Manchester SU communications officer
Ellie Reyland, University of Manchester SU welfare officer
Vicky Thompson, University of Manchester
Gemma Short, Sheffield University; NUS Women’s Committee open place
Daniel Randall, Sheffield University; NUS NEC 2005-6; left candidate for NUS president 2008
Laura Schwartz, NUS Women’s Committee open place
Evangeline Holland-Ramsey, Huddersfield University SU LGBT officer; NUS Women’s Committee co-FE rep
Adam Ramsay, Edinburgh University Students’ Association president
Kath McMahon, Edinburgh University Students’ Association council
Darcy Leigh, Edinburgh University
Helen Harjak, Edinburgh University
Keshav Dogra, Edinburgh University SA council
Philip McGuiness, Edinburgh University
Stephanie Spotto, Edinburgh University
Alasdair Hawkins, Edinburgh University
Devin Dunseith, Edinburgh University
Sara D’Arcy, Edinburgh University
Alex Wood, Aston Students’ Guild equalities officer; People & Planet Management Committee
Chris Marks and Stephen Wood, Hull Left Forum
Rachael Ferguson, midwifery student at Greenwich University, former University of Sussex SU women’s officer
Daniel Rawnsley, Oxford University
David Amos, Oxford University
Aidan Simpson, Oxford University
Molly Bryson, Oxford University
Amy Gilligan, Oxford University
Sean Ambler, Oxford University
Hannah Thompson, Oxford University SU Women’s Committee
Emily Hammerton-Barry, Cambridge University SU HE funding officer
Ria Hylton, Cambridge University SU Mental Health Officer
Ed Maltby, Cambridge University
Joseph Wilson, Cambridge University
Weiran Ni, Cambridge University
Moira Smith, Cambridge University
Kate Pallas, Cambridge University Women’s Union newsletter editor
Patrick Rolfe, Cambridge University
Ria Hylton, Cambridge University
Benny Talbot, Cambridge University
Navinder Kang, Chester University SU vice president
Debbie Hollingsworth, Ruskin College SU women’s officer 2007-8
Graeme Kirkpatrick, Aberdeen College Students’ Association vice president
Katie Sutton, University of Derby SU women’s officer; NUS Women’s Committee NUS National Council rep
Craig Griffiths, UCL and People & Planet
Donnacha Kirk, PhD student, UCL
Jo Casserly, UCL Stop the War Society president
Andrew Weir, UCL Union council member
Sol Gamsu, UCL Stop the War Society treasurer; Friends of Palestine Society; Save Senate House Library Campaign.
Sean Murray, UCL Revolution Society
Amani Ashraf, University of Westminster
Mick Lynes, University of Westminster and SWSS
Carly Doyle, National Union of Teachers student officer
Daniel Cooper, Royal Holloway University
Stuart Jordan, nursing student, City University
Katie Hunt, University of Leicester SU bisexual representative
Beth McEvoy
Rebecca Davies, Sheffield Hallam SU education executive
Jorgen Hovde, University of Essex
Haegwan Kim, University of Essex SWSS
Zara Verryt, People and Planet society chair, Newman University College, Birmingham
Adam Elliott-Cooper, Nottingham University
Vicki Morris, Birkbeck College London
Livio Birattoni, Birkbeck College London and Socialist Students
Ben Sellers, SOAS SU co-president
Sacha Ismail, SOAS, Workers’ Liberty youth and student organiser
Jason Irving, SOAS
Sara Cesarec, Imperial College London
Sam Coates, Young Green, Cardiff University
Neil Cafferky, Richmond College and Socialist Students
David Jamieson, Strathclyde University and SWSS
Rosie Isaacson, Southampton University Fight the Fees
Sara El Sheekh, Kings College and SWSS
Lukas Kudic, Kings College and SWSS
Kady Tait, EBC
Luke Staunton, Bradford College



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Call for Submissions

Issue #108: “Enclosures”

Issue Editors: Amy Chazkel and David Serlin

The Radical History Review seeks submissions for an issue entitled, “Enclosures,” which will explore the twin phenomena of proprietary demarcation and dispossession that has accompanied the global transition to industrial capitalism in cities and rural areas alike.

Although usually associated with the social and legal conflicts over the peasantry’s use of the commons in early modern England, politicians, activists, thinkers and scholars of all ideological orientations have applied the concept of enclosure broadly across a vast variety of historical and geographical contexts.  The “commons” has become a generic metaphor for public property and, by extension, the commonweal; it has come to denote not only agricultural land but also the most abstract types of common property, such as academic disciplinary knowledge and access to the airwaves. Likewise, the enclosure of the commons has taken multiple meanings that extend the idea of the fencing off of common property in the interest of private gain and liberal (or neoliberal) individual property rights.

This special issue offers an opportunity to take stock of the idea of enclosure—to explore the connections between, for example, the type of “primitive accumulation” for which the term was originally applied and its more abstract, contemporary instances, and to historicize rigorously its application. To what degree was there ever really a “commons”?  How did constructions of sacrosanct public space and its privatization and dispossession become naturalized features of cultural life?  By collectively publishing work on such diverse phenomena as urban squatters throughout the world, intellectual property, or social conflicts over indigenous collective property rights in colonial and post-colonial settings, the journal editors aim to explore the limits of the usefulness of the concept of enclosure as a critical paradigm for understanding modern political and social life, and to consider how to connect its manifold manifestations.

While we would welcome submissions that revisit the early modern European context to which the term enclosure has typically been applied, we strongly encourage works from any time period, especially those that critically examine the broad applicability of the term and those that venture beyond the European and North American contexts.

The range of topics might include, but is not limited to, the 

Enclosure of the commons and the genesis of informal economies
The historical roots of the privatized city
Enclosure and the politics of population control
The political and cultural uses of nostalgia for the “commons”
Visual culture and the process of enclosure
Environmental politics as part, or counterweight, to the process of enclosure
Transnational historical perspectives on political and social movements such as Brazil’s and India’s respective anti-dam movements, or the struggle over the privatization of water in Bolivia
Successful assertions of communal rights, for example in urban shantytowns and former runaway slave communities in the Americas: have they challenged the process of enclosure?
Artistic, cinematic, or other cultural representations of enclosure and creative responses to it—for instance, in Agnès Varda’s cinema verité classic, The Gleaners and I, or Britain’s punk and post-punk movements as aesthetic responses to Thatcher’s sweeping politics of privatization
Enclosure and imperialism: what is the relationship between the domestic reapportioning of property rights and the possession of overseas territories? How can we connect the enclosure of the commons in the metropole to the fate of communally owned indigenous lands and other resources under colonial rule?
The making of modern statecraft from the perspective of the “enclosers”: the surveyors, judges, and notaries who carried out the quotidian work of enclosure
The politics of public space and the exclusionary “public sphere”
Enclosure of the scientific commons and the commodification of  
The human genome as private property and the ownership of self
The intellectual commons and radical approaches to intellectual and academic life
Innovative uses of the cartographic and judicial records that enclosure left behind
Critical reassessments of the classic works on enclosure, particularly E. P. Thompson and his cohort of Warwick School historians of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century English agrarian society.


The RHR seeks scholarly research articles as well as such non-traditional contributions as photo essays, film and book review essays, interviews, brief interventions, “conversations” between scholars and/or activists, teaching notes and annotated course syllabi, and research notes.

Procedures for submission of articles:
By February 1, 2009, please submit a 1-2 page abstract summarizing the article you wish to include in this issue as an attachment to

with “Issue 108 abstract submission” in the subject line. By March 1, 2009, authors will be notified whether they should submit a full version of their article for peer review.  The due date for completed drafts of articles is August 1, 2009. Those articles selected for publication after the peer review process will be included in issue 108 of the Radical History Review, scheduled to appear in Fall 2010. Articles should be submitted electronically with “Issue 108 submission” in the subject line.  For artwork, please send images as high resolution digital files (each image as a separate file).


Abstract Deadline: February 1, 2009

Radical History Review
Tamiment Library, 10th
New York University
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

Visit the website at:



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Marx Memorial Library

Spring 2009 Lecture Series


Marx and the Environment



9th February 09: Limits to Growth in the Economy


David Leal will consider the consequences of world-wide capitalist collective labour – immensely productive but immensely energy consuming – and ask whether we are still confident that technological advances are making socialism and abundance possible.



23rd February 09: Marxism and Ecology


David McLellan will discuss whether Marxism and ecology are incompatible or whether, on the contrary, Marxism can contribute to solving the most important crisis facing our world.



9th March 09: China: Facing the Green Challenge


Jenny Clegg will discuss the challenges facing China as it sets out to achieve a greener development – challenges both at the local levels and in the international context where it finds itself engaged in a trial of strength with the US over the renewal of the Kyoto Protocol.



23rd March 09: Marx on Nature and Human Nature


Lawrence Wilde starts from the point that the young Marx considered himself to be both a humanist and a naturalist – and these positions are hugely relevant to the dilemmas facing us under late capitalism.



All lectures begin at 7pm

Admission £1, Concessions 50p


Marx Memorial Library, 37a Clerkenwell Green, London, EC1R 0DU.  Nearest tube: Farringdon. Buses: 63, 55, 243.


Tel. 020 7253 1485   email:




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The Flow of Ideas:   

An Encounter with Stuart Hall


Part of the Spaces of Democracy Network, The Centre for the Study of Democracy, Department of Politics and International Relations, would like to invite you to:

An Encounter with STUART HALL on Friday 6th February 2009.

This year’s Encounter focuses on the influential works of cultural theorist Stuart Hall. The schedule for the day’s events are as follows:

10:30 am – 12:30 pm Roundtable on “Politics, Culture and Globalisation” with the participation of Doreen Massey, Martin Jacques, Larry Grossberg and Jonathan Rutherford.

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Roundtable on “Cultural Practices and Political Identities” with the participation of Francoise Verges, Angela McRobbie, Isaac Julien and Bill Schwarz.


5:00 pm Lecture by Stuart Hall: ‘Cultural Studies and Radical Politics’

Followed by a reception.


For further details of the programme please visit


All events take place in Fyvie Hall, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW.


If you could contact to indicate your attendance to help us keep check on numbers, it would be much appreciated.


We look forward to seeing you there.

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The Rouge Forum Update: Education at the Crossroads (January 26th 2009)


A Message from Rich Gibson


Dear Friends

An up front reminder on the Rouge Forum Conference, May 14 to 17, in Ypsilanti Michigan. Proposals due very soon.

Centered in the key organizing point of North American life, the Rouge Forum represents the only voice of the left, recognizing that at the core of our many crises, economic collapse to perpetual war and all in between, lies the system of capital. This conference represents a gathering of people who have learned that friendship can arch over political differences. Come join us!

From Monthly Review, here is one of the better economic analyses of why things are as they are in the growing depression.

This is the conclusion: “In this sense we are clearly at a global turning point, where the world will perhaps finally be ready to take the step, as Keynes also envisioned, of repudiating an alienated moral code of “fair is foul and foul is fair”­used to justify the greed and exploitation necessary for the accumulation of capital­turning it inside-out to create a more rational social order. 49 To do this, though, it is necessary for the population to seize control of their political economy, replacing the present system of capitalism with something amounting to a real political and economic democracy; what the present rulers of the world fear and decry most ­as “socialism.” 50

What is missing from the analysis is the dual role of war. It was war that ended the last depression, not Keynesian hyper-spending, and it is also imperialist war that lies, in part, at the base of the current deepening collapse.

And from YouTube, here is Noam Chomsky on the election, capitalist democracy (those who spend most, win, among other things) and what is next: (part one of three).

The take on election results from the Dailey Show:

Michael Klare hoping for the unlikely event; that Obama will abolish the Carter Doctrine on Mideast Oil:

Reminder of the March on the Pentagon on the anniversary of the Iraq invasion, March 21, Washington DC:

Short update this week, but plenty of reading.

Thanks to Amber, Tom, Bob, Adam and Gina, Karl,  Dave, Glenn, Candy, Sharon A, Lucy, Michael, Dell, Mary, Chris, Ruthann, Paul, Zoey, Carl G, Sandy, Van, and Tina.

Rich Gibson


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The Flow of Ideas:

Globalisation and European Integration: ‘the nature of the beast’


Friday 5th and Saturday 6th June 2009


The conference invites specialists from the fields of politics, international relations, international political economy and sociology to build on their experience of applying historical materialist theories in empirical settings related to global governance and regional integration, with an emphasis on the European Union (EU). Working papers designed to stimulate dialogue between invited speakers, Warwick research staff and postgraduate students will introduce workshops in this two-day event.


The conference aims to stimulate interdisciplinary exchange on the historical materialist frameworks used to investigate the relationship between global governance, regional integration and the national state, with special reference to the European Union. It will also seek to stimulate a constructive engagement, in one of its panels, between historical materialist, constructivist and post-structuralist approaches to European integration.


The conference will showcase and challenge the most promising critical theories of regionalisation and globalisation, including neo-Gramscian, Open Marxist, Regulation and World-System approaches, with the purpose of generating useful connections and intellectual exchange. It will bring together researchers thinking about the creation and reproduction of social and political authority in a variety of settings. Truly interdisciplinary in approach, it aims to break down institutional barriers by forging interpersonal relations, and searching for commonality between fields and approaches which are traditionally considered incompatible.


The participation of eminent speakers in a conference addressing issues and phenomena which are highly relevant to the social sciences, not to mention contemporary applied socio-political practice, will attract a strong inter-disciplinary academic audience from European and American universities.


Confirmed participants:


Claes Belfrage; Andreas Bieler; Hans-Jürgen Bieling; Werner Bonefeld; Peter Burnham; José Caballero; Alan Cafruny; Guglielmo Carchedi; Ben Clift; Jan Drahokoupil; Otto Holman; Bob Jessop; Huw Macartney; Henk Overbeek; Magnus Ryner; Vivien A. Schmidt; Stuart Shields; Kees Van Der Pijl.


We are inviting abstracts addressing one of the conference’s key themes:


Global governance, the EU and the national state:

·        Sustaining or transcending international competition?

·        The EU as a building-block or obstacle for global governance?

The EU and the global economy:

·        The global monetary system and the single currency.

·        Aid, trade and the relationship with the global South.

Social agency and European integration:

·        Labour, migration and the EU: ideas, interests, and institutions in the regulation of the social question in Europe.

·        Global capital and the EU: transnational elite agency and the European project.

Regionalisation beyond the EU:

·         The EU in global perspective: comparative analyses of the EU and other forms of regionalisation.

·         Explaining regionalism and regionalisation in America, Africa and Asia.

Engaging Critical approaches to European integration: constructivism, post-structuralism and other alternatives.


Abstracts should:

·        Be no more than 250 words for a 20 minute presentation.

·        Include your name, institution, level of study, department and paper title

·        Address an interdisciplinary audience

·        Be submitted by March 15th electronically to:  


Other deadlines:

Registration: 15 April 2009.

Submission of paper: 25 May 2009.


Registration fee (Friday and Saturday): £27 per delegate.

Includes refreshments, buffet lunch, and wine reception on Saturday.


Conference webpage: 


Co-organisers: Andreas Tsolakis ( and Petros Nousios (


This project is kindly funded by the American Study and Student Exchange Committee and the PAIS department at Warwick University.

Politics and the Unconscious




Politics and the Unconscious


For a Special Issue of Subjectivity


Guest Editors

Jason Glynos (University of Essex, UK)

& Yannis Stavrakakis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)


The special issue aims to explore the unconscious dimension in politics, whether in the context of political practice or political theory. Of particular interest is the question of how to conceptualise the relationship between the unconscious and political subjectivity.


It is often remarked that in politics much of importance takes place below the radar. ‘Dog whistle politics’, ‘tacit knowledge’, ‘complicity’, and ‘surmise’ are just some of the terms used to capture such silent or unofficial processes which, however, are central to our understanding of official political practices.


The concept of the ‘unconscious’ registers this dimension of politics and there are many ways it can be understood, theorised, and operationalised for purposes of empirical analysis.


The special issue will include an extended interview with Professor Ernesto Laclau, whose aim is to probe the role that Lacanian psychoanalysis plays in his recent work in political theory. But we strongly encourage the submission of papers which explore the unconscious dimension of politics from alternative psychoanalytic perspectives, as well as social-psychological and other perspectives.



Possible themes include:


·         the unconscious and its relation to political subjectivity

·         the role the unconscious and cognate concepts can or should play in political theory and analysis

·         reflection on the historical and/or contemporary use of psychoanalysis in the study of politics

·         the unconscious in critical social and political psychology

·         the role of stereotypes in relation to the unconscious

·         ideological critique

·         hegemony and post-hegemony

·         theories of freedom and emancipation

·         theories of justice and principles of distribution

·         the political economy

·         processes of policy formulation and implementation

·         economic policy, wealth, and happiness

·         utopian thought

·         theories of democracy and post-democracy

·         the politics of consumption

·         general methodological and epistemological issues concerning the use of the unconscious (or cognate terms) to political studies, e.g., what can or should qualify as evidence of the unconscious in social and political life

·         the unconscious at the intersection of media and politics

·         the tenability and significance of drawing a distinction between the individual and collective unconscious

·         different perspectives on the unconscious and their comparative/contrastive significance for understanding political processes

·         the differential implications for political theory and analysis of subscribing to different psychoanalytic frameworks

·         the character and modalities of political discourse

·         discourse and affect in processes of identification

·         fantasy and political subjectivity

·         the political constitution of groups and institutions

·         social and political identification in organizations


We encourage papers which explore any of these or other politically-inflected themes from the point of view of the unconscious or related concepts. Theoretically-informed empirical studies are particularly welcome.


Send expressions of interest with short proposal for possible contributions to by 16 March 2009. Once a proposal is accepted authors will be asked to submit full papers by 20 July 2009. Full papers will then go through the standard peer-review process. Author guidelines can be found at:


The call for papers can also be found at:

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Dan Hind on the Financial Crisis


Essay: Dan Hind on the Financial Crisis

Many explanations have been offered for the current economic crisis – regulatory failure did it, or President Carter, or sub-prime lending, or Alan Greenspan. Maybe we all did it. Dan Hind, author of The Threat to Reason: How the Enlightenment was Hijacked and How We Can Reclaim It, points out the problems with the stories most often offered by journalists, politicians and broadcasters. And he offers an alternative reading of the crisis that draws on the work of Richard Wolff, Graham Turner, Richard Stiglitz and others to provide the best brief account yet of what has really been going on in the global economy. It’s 10,000 words long, and it is sensitively entitled Jump! You Fuckers!

You can download it from the Verso website here:




The Threat to Reason: How the Enlightenment was Hijacked and How We Can Reclaim It



“Fine, lucid and sharp … well written and worth reading before the next wave of western tanks crosses a border, somewhere in the Middle East” Rod Liddle, The Sunday Times


“In this thoughtful polemic Dan Hind argues that we are being misled by a debased “Folk Enlightenment” which has little in common with the Enlightenment initiated by Bacon and championed by Voltaire, Hume and Kant” – Financial Times


“Since September 11 2002, the idea of Enlightenment has been ripped from university textbooks and airlifted into battle between the West and its irrational enemies. In this elegant polemical essay, Dan Hind rightly quibbles with this supposedly Manichean tussle between the guarantors of Enlightenment in the West and everyone else. Hind wants to rescue the idea of Enlightenment from its usurpers, while pressing it into the service of something better.” James Harkin, The Independent


Nick Lezard’s paperback choice in The Guardian:

“In the tradition of those great works that ask big and fundamental, yet curiously unexamined, questions. A profound and much-needed contribution … In the spirit of Enlightenment thinkers, he both reveals the contradictions and hypocrisies of contemporary politics, and also points a way forward” – Joel Bakan, author of The Corporation.

From Dan Hind:

“A few years ago I started to notice that the word ‘Enlightenment’ was cropping up a good deal in political and cultural debate. For example influential commentators and journalists regularly described the ‘War on Terror’ in terms of a wider struggle between ‘Enlightenment values’ and their irrational enemies. Secular liberals complained that Christian fundamentalists were undermining America ’s enlightened inheritance. The defenders of conventional medicine squared off against New Age healers and mystics. On campus avowedly anti-Enlightenment post-modernists were supposedly undermining traditional scholarship. According to writers like Richard Dawkins, Francis Wheen, and Dick Taverne a rising tide of mumbo-jumbo was threatening to overwhelm us.

I wanted to see whether it made sense to think of the Enlightenment in these terms, as something to be defended against external, self-declared enemies. And I wanted to look again at what it might mean to be enlightened in the present day. Was it enough to quote a bit of Voltaire and fret about the rising tide of unreason? Or do the ideas of the historical Enlightenment have a more interesting role to play?

I am convinced, and here try to show, that our understanding of the Enlightenment has become far too narrow and that often the ideas associated with it are being used to mystify the public and to protect unaccountable power.

So, what was the Enlightenment? And what might it be now? The Threat to Reason is an attempt to answer these two questions.”

AUTHOR: Dan Hind has worked in publishing since 1998. He is currently editorial director of Bodley Head. His journalism has appeared in the Guardian, New Scientist and the Times Literary Supplement. The Threat to Reason is his first book. He lives in London

•     Publication: 13th June 2008

•     Binding: Paperback

•     ISBN: 978-1-84467-253-0

•     Price: £7.99 / $15.95

•     Extent: 192 pages


Rowan Wilson, Sales and Marketing Manager, Verso, 6 Meard Street, London W1F 0EG

Phone: +44 (0)20 7437 3546, Fax: +44 (0)20 7734 0059



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The Flow of Ideas:

Re-visioning the Future: Modernity between Utopia and Dystopia  


Call for Papers

International Social Theory Consortium (ISTC)
MARCH 20, 2009
Since the 1980s, social theorists have become increasingly reluctant to relate constructively to the future of western societies, modern democracy, and human civilization. Both in the social sciences and the humanities, postmodernist critics highlighted the affinity between utopianism and forms of totalitarianism. As a consequence, social theorists refrained from recognizing as part of their unique responsibility efforts to refine existing and to delineate new perspectives on the future. Social Theorists began to pay focused attention to problematic patterns of thought that need to be overcome, in order to reduce the odds that the kind of socially, politically and economically induced catastrophes that influenced the direction of historical change during the twentieth century will recur—both directly and indirectly, positively and negatively.  Yet whether we appreciate it or not, in the context of globalization, the imminence of change has pushed itself aggressively to the forefront of social-theoretical concerns. The inevitability of change is inescapable, and its centrality to modern civilization undeniable. Concordantly, the imperative to engage in informed and critically reflexive discourses about the kind of world we will, should, or might live in, continues to increase rapidly. The conference will serve to facilitate interdisciplinary exchange relating to the continuing challenge of capturing the warped nature of modernity at the intersection of the past and the future and of utopia and dystopia.



Harry F. Dahms (Sociology)
Steven P. Dandaneau (Sociology)
Allen R. Dunn (English and Religion)

Papers accepted for inclusion in the program will be considered for publication in Current Perspectives in Social Theory (ed. Harry F. Dahms) or Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal (ed. Allen R. Dunn).

The organizers welcome proposals on any topic in social theory, and request submission of abstracts (between 150-250 words), 5-page outlines, papers, or proposals for sessions. Papers will receive preferred consideration.  For a list of conference theme-related topics, submission deadline, and registration fees, see the full call below:

The conference will be hosted by the University of Tennessee, in Knoxville, May 21-23 of 2009.  It is the 8th annual conference of the International Social Theory Consortium. Recent meetings have taken place in Singapore, Dubrovnick, Lexington, KY, Toronto, Tampa and Sussex. The submission deadline for proposals is March 20, 2009.


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Reworking the University


Reworking the University: Visions, Strategies, Demands




April 24-26, 2009, University of Minnesota



The current ‘financial meltdown’ has exacerbated the ongoing crises within the university, resulting in even greater budget cuts, tuition hikes, hiring freezes and layoffs. Responses from university administrations have been predominantly reactive and have served to fortify the university as an institution of neoliberal capitalism. The administration and others have narrated this crisis as an external force that, while dramatic in the short rub, can nonetheless be managed properly. It is clear to many, however, that the neoliberal logic that has been used to transform the university over the past few decades has failed at a systemic level; the neoliberal death spiral has come home to the university.


In contrast to these reactionary responses, we seek to create a space for collective re-evaluation of the university in crisis as an opportunity for real transformation. Last year’s conference, “Rethinking the University: Labor, Knowledge, Value” (April 2008), sought to challenge the supposed inevitability of the neoliberal university. As a continuation of this project, “Reworking the University” seeks to draw together academics, artists, and activists, to share and produce political visions, strategies and demands for building an alternative university in common.


“Reworking the University” seeks to generate a vibrant, political exchange by troubling the traditional format of the academic conference. To this end, we hope to produce spaces for individuals and groups from different backgrounds and across a variety of institutional boundaries to converge. While the conference will include the presentation of papers on the topic of “Reworking the University”, the committee’s selection process will prioritize workshops, roundtables, trainings, art installations, film screenings, performances, and other forms of creative engagement.


The conference organizing collective has selected several questions and themes that emerged out of the 2008 conference that we will address in various formats. If you have interest in participating, please provide us with a description of your proposed contribution. We encourage you to self-organize a session (i.e. workshop, roundtable, training, etc.) and submit it as a whole. Feel free to use the blog: to help  facilitate session organizing.


Below is a list of possible topics and we, of course, welcome additional suggestions. In submitting your ideas for sessions, please give us as much information as possible – suggestions for themes, other participants and the session format.


The Reworking the University conference coincides with “Reclaim Your Education – Global Week of Action 2009” (April 20-27):  Organizers also encourage suggestions for additional actions as part of this event.


Send your suggestions (of up to 500 words) to:


The deadline for submissions is February 10th 2009



Prospective Themes and Issues:

Confronting American Apartheid: Access to Education

The Financial Crisis and the University

Counter/Radical Cartographies and Disorientation Guides

Corporate Funding and the University

Autonomous/Open/Free Universities

The Poverty of Student Life

Post-Enlightenment Visions: Beyond the Liberal Model

Anarchism and Education

Adjunct Unionization

Organizing Across Campuses, Cities, and Regions

Post-Antioch Universities & the Antioch Legacy

Anti-militarization Movements in the University

Prisons and Education

Undergrad Education Beyond Commodification

Historical Struggles in the University: May ’68 and Beyond

Autoreducation and Tactics for Direct Action in the Workplace

Contemporary Struggles in the University: The Anomalous Wave & Movements in Italy, Greece and elsewhere

Expropriating Institutional Space

Graduate Student Unionization and Radicalizing the Academy

Anti-professionalization; Anti-disciplinarity

Student Debt

Pedagogy of the Crisis

Creating Radical/Open Access Publications and the Politics of Citation


The schedule and proceedings from last year’s conference can be found at: 



Committee on Revolutionzing the Academy (ComRAD)



Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:

The Rouge Forum Update – (January 2009)


An up front reminder: The Rouge Forum Conference is May 14 to 17, 2009, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, near Detroit. The call for proposals is here:


The deadline is February 15 for proposals. Why come?

What’s our current context? A stock market collapse. Massive racist unemployment nearly redoubling each month. Hundreds of thousands of foreclosures and evictions. Police terror (the Oakland murder the most recent example) and immigration raids. Calls for more taxes and cuts in public services met by bankster bailouts in the trillions. Declared US wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq; undeclared wars in Gaza via Israeli proxies, Colombia, and cold wars growing with Russia and China–much of that revolving around oil. In schools all over the world: regimentation of the curricula to promote nationalism, high-stakes exams eradicating freedom, and militarization.

How can this be described as other than class war, an international war of the rich on the poor?

Now comes Obama promising Hope! and Change!

Probably not. His appointees alone say otherwise, all of them beholden to nearly the same oil bosses, war-makers, and financiers who propelled Clinton and Bush. Arne Duncan, education czar, promises privatized charter schools and merit pay—more of the same, faster.

The last 40 years demonstrate the primary role of capitalist democracy, which Obama personifies: An executive committee of the rich where they iron out differences, then allow us to choose which of them will oppress us best–and their armed weapon. Currently, the main result of Obama’s demagoguery is to resurrect forms of nationalism that were becoming exposed by the Bush regimes’ harsh tactics. Now we get the velvet glove over the iron fist, Obamagogue.

Only the Rouge Forum, which includes many voices, has had room for this kind of analysis in the US. We’ve combined this reasoned critique with action: test boycotts, strikes, and backing for resisters. Our publications circulate world-wide. In addition, we created a community of thinking people who can join together in friendly debate, overcoming isolation.

Hope and change rest not in seeking some politician to save us, but through building a mass class conscious base of people willing to fight back, to sacrifice to rearrange the social relations that allow the few to rule the many through ruses like nationalism, racism, sexism, and religious irrationality. Absent that goal, all struggle is mere tactics, lurching from opposing one unrelated form of oppression to the next, never getting to the root of things.

The union executives are no help. Already they prepare to offer concessions (concessions don’t save jobs, they only make employers want more), and to attack other sectors of workers not paying them dues (the California Teachers Association supports a regressive sales tax hike to pay for schooling) and to consolidate their power (NEA President Dennis Van Roekel seeks, again, to merge NEA with the AFL-CIO, SEIU’s Andy Stern moving to take control of the AFL and Change to Win, etc). The very structures of unions divide people by job, race, industry. NEA and AFT spent millions of dollars and thousands of volunteer hours to elect Obama who demonstrated open contempt for educators throughout his campaign. With school workers the most unionized people in the US, the unions are unprepared to resist the attacks on every facet of education ahead.

That’s why it’s important to come to the Rouge Forum Conference and offer your own leadership to a movement for Equality and Freedom in schools and out. The them of the conference, Education, Empire, Economy and Ethics at the Crossroads, offers a wide field for discussion and presentations.

You can add your own voice, right now, to the Rouge Forum blog established by Community Coordinator Adam Renner at:

The Rouge Forum News deadline is February 15. Send articles, cartoons, art, etc., to Adam Renner ( )

Thanks to Katy and Greg, Kerry, Mary, Paul, Gina and Adam, Amber, Wayne, Tommie, Donavan, Sally, Lisa, Sharon A. David, Marty, Gil G, Perry, Marc, Kevin, Shelly, Chris, Candace, Lacy, Anne, Donna, Alan S, Sherry, Tally A, Kim, Sue, Laura C, Lynn S, Stephanie, Colleen, Kelly, and Sarah.

All the best in the New Year

Down the banks and
Up the Rebels!

Rich Gibson



Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Rikowski web site, The Flow of Ideas is at:

Politics, Democracy and Practice


Date: 20th February 2009, 10.00 – 4.30

Venue: Coventry University, Richard Crossman Building, Jordan Well, Coventry CV1 5FB

Details at:

The C-SAP Critical Pedagogy/Popular Education Special Interest Group is organising a day for higher education teachers and educators to think about the relevance and importance of the bodies of ideas known as Critical Pedagogy and Popular Education.

Are you someone who:

* Believes in academic excellence but not elitism?

*Is concerned about the creeping culture of neo-liberal managerialism in Higher Education?

* Is uncomfortable about the idea of academics as entrepreneurs?

* Is concerned that the business culture in higher education is corroding collegiality?

* Believes in the positive value of widening participation in higher education?

* Is looking for new, creative ways of working with students?

* Believes that education still plays a vital role as a vehicle for progressive social change?

* And would like to connect with others who share these concerns?

If you answer to some or all of these questions is ‘yes’, then this is a day you should make every effort to attend. We believe it is important for progressive educators to meet and share ideas precisely at a time when the current economic crisis and growing popular discontent with neo-liberal policies across the world make it vital to elaborate alternative, participatory strategies for addressing the educational challenges of our times. We see this as a moment where we can (re)polticise, critique and reclaim the categories of existing discourse (such as ‘widening participation’, ‘inclusion’, ’employer engagement’, ‘diversity’ etc.); and where we can together articulate our private troubles not simply as individual grievances but as the whole public issues they represent.

Aims and Objectives of the Day:

The day seeks to provide an opportunity for teachers in higher education across the full disciplines/subjects to share, update and develop our ideas and commitments to radical pedagogical practices that seek to promote inclusivity, social responsibility, ethical reflexivity and political awareness. By the end of the day participants will have developed:

1. A critical understanding of key ideas and methods associated with critical pedagogy and popular education

2. Creative ideas for enhancing their pedagogical practices through engaging insharing of ideas and critical dialogue with colleagues from different institutions and disciplines

3. Ideas and strategies for building alliances, networks and communities of practice amongst academics, students, cirizens, activists and social movements.

Programme for the day:

The programme for the day will include a range of keynote speakers and workshops on themes and issues relevant to our aims and objectives. This will include material such as:

[1] The Moment of Critical Pedagogy – Why Critical Pedagogy? – Why Critical Pedagogy now?

[2] The ideas of Popular Education in Research and Politics

[3] ‘Race’ and Social Justice in the University and in the Community

[4] Gender, Sexulaity and Critical Pedagogy

[5] Performance as a Critical Tool

[6] Conversational Podcasting

The day will also include a performance from Banner Theatre, one of Briatin’s longest established community theatre companies, wh have extensive experience of working with marginalized and disadvantaged communities.

Cost and who can attend: The workshop is free for participants and places will be allocated on a ‘first come first served’ basis. Primarily ai,ed at HE teachers and students.

How to apply: Please contact FRances Worrall at C-SAP:

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The Flow of Ideas:

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