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Tag Archives: Autonomia




New issue of ephemera on ‘The politics of worker’s inquiry’ released…

The Politics of Worker’s Inquiry
ephemera: theory & politics in organization
Volume 14, Number 3 (August 2014)
Edited by Joanna Figiel, Stevphen Shukaitis, and Abe Walker

This issue brings together a series of commentaries, interventions and projects centred on the theme of workers’ inquiry. Workers’ inquiry is a practice of knowledge production that seeks to understand the changing composition of labour and its potential for revolutionary social transformation. It is a practice of turning the tools of the social sciences into weapons of class struggle. It also seeks to map the continuing imposition of the class relation, not as a disinterested investigation, but rather to deepen and intensify social and political antagonisms.

Workers’ inquiry developed in a context marked by rapid industrialization, mass migration and the use of industrial sociology to discipline the working class. It was formulated within autonomist movements as a sort of parallel sociology based on a radical re-reading of Marx and Weber against the politics of the communist party and the unions. The process of inquiry took the contradictions of the labour process as a starting point and sought to draw out such political antagonisms into the formation of new radical subjectivities. With this issue we seek to rethink workers’ inquiry as a practice and perspective, in order to understand and catalyse emergent moments of political composition.

Including essays from Fabrizio Fasulo, Frederick H. Pitts, Christopher Wellbrook, Anna Curcio, Colectivo Situaciones, Evangelinidis Angelos, Lazaris Dimitris, Jennifer M. Murray, Michał Kozłowski, Bianca Elzenbaumer, Caterina Giuliani, Alan W. Moore, T.L. Cowan, Jasmine Rault, Jamie Woodcock, and Gigi Roggero; an interview with Jon McKenzie; and book reviews by Craig Willse, Stephen Parliament, Christian De Cock, Mathias Skrutkowski, and Orla McGarry.


‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

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Antonio Negri


Just out from Polity Press:

Antonio Negri: Modernity and the Multitude
by Timothy S. Murphy

The Italian philosopher and militant Antonio Negri has been a provocative and controversial figure for over forty years. He has been a professor of law at the University of Padua, a labor organizer in the Veneto, a political prisoner in Rome, a member of Italian parliament, a political refugee in Paris and most recently, as a consequence of the success of his book Empire (written in collaboration with American Michael Hardt), an internationally influential theorist of globalization. He has written over forty other books, which have been translated into dozens of languages, and his work has challenged orthodoxy in intellectual history, political science, labor relations, theology, and literary and cultural studies.

This book is the first comprehensive study of Negri’s work in any language. It follows the development of Negri’s critical framework and theoretical innovations from his early work as a historian of legal philosophy in the Fifties, through his period of intense and unconventional leftist activism during the Sixties and Seventies and his imprisonment and exile during the Eighties and Nineties, culminating in a clear, thorough and evenhanded account of his important contributions to the emerging study of – and struggle over – globalization. The book also includes discussions of Negri’s critics and the reception of his work at each stage.

“Murphy’s book provides a thorough and thoughtful engagement with Negri’s work, covering everything from the early works on Hegel and Kant to the recent political debates on Empire. Besides covering works that have yet to be translated into English, its principal strength is the way in which it synthesizes politics and philosophy, demonstrating how Negri engages politics through philosophy and vice versa. It is no exaggeration to say that this book will fundamentally change the debate on Negri’s work.” — Jason Read, University of Southern Maine

“Sympathetic but not uncritical, carefully exploring the interplay of text and context, Tim Murphy’s book promises to become the standard introduction to this exciting and controversial thinker.” — Steve Wright, Monash University

“Murphy’s book is remarkable, at once an overview of Negri’s work while also providing a detailed analysis of its mainsprings. There has been nothing like this book, written in English of course, but with a mastery of the Italian source material, and with an ear deeply attuned to the thought of a truly great and creative Marxist thinker.” — Kenneth Surin, Duke University


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‘Maximum levels of boredom

Disguised as maximum fun’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: (recording) and (live, at the Belle View pub,Bangor, northWales)  


‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski:


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Call for Interventions: Anarchism & Autonomism, for the ASN 2.0 Conference ‘Making Connections’ at Loughborough University September 3rd – 5th, 2012
Coordinator: Stevphen Shukaitis (Autonomedia / University of Essex)

Over recent years anarchist and autonomist traditions of politics and analysis have proliferated in multiple and overlapping forms. While these currents are often conflated they emerge from distinct political trajectories, at times diverging over key questions.

This workshop is designed to tease out and compare the convergences, divergences, and productive tensions between these approaches. The goal is not to endlessly rehash debates between anarchism and marxism that seek to establish the superiority of one to the other, or to create a conceptual division of labor where anarchism handles ethics & tactics while marxism takes care of economics & strategy, but rather to create a space for transversal encounters ideas and practices.

Possible topics for consideration include, but are not limited to:
– The meaning and practice of autonomy today
– Communization & the commons
– Class composition & workers’ inquiry
– The refusal of work & the work of refusal
– Escape & the imperceptible politics of the undercommons
– The multitude & its dark side
– Affective labor & social reproduction
– Convergences / divergences between anarchism and autonomism
– Dialectics versus immanence
– Precarity & the autonomy of migration
– Schizoanalysis & class formation
– Anarchist and autonomist approaches to aesthetics

Send proposals of 200-500 words (along with bio and affiliation if applicable) to Stevphen Shukaitis ( by March 24th. Proposals for forms of intervention other than the reading of papers are highly encouraged.

Anarchist Studies Network:
Minor Compositions:

Stevphen Shukaitis is an editor at Autonomedia and lecturer at the University of Essex. He is the editor (with Erika Biddle and David Graeber) of Constituent Imagination: Militant Investigations // Collective Theorization (AK Press, 2007). His research focuses on the emergence of collective imagination in social movements and the changing compositions of cultural and artistic labor.


‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: (recording) and (live)

‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski:

‘The Lamb’ by William Blake – set to music by Victor Rikowski:

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Call for Papers

The Universityof North Carolina at Chapel Hill, May 3-5, 2012 @ The Institute for the Arts and Humanities/Global Education Center

In collaboration with the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and NWO

The conference The Anomie of the Earth is a follow-up to the Post/autonomy conference held in Amsterdam in May 2011.

While the Post/autonomy meeting focused on the European dissemination of autonomist thought, the second conference will build on its American location and explore a plurality of notions and practices of cultural-political autonomy. Though privileging the context of North and South America, the conference will also address European, African and Asian perspectives.

A presupposition of the conference is that what Carl Schmitt has defined as the Western “nomos of the Earth” – i.e. the political, legal, and spatial configuration of a Euro-Atlantic modern global order – is currently being shaken by intense endogenous and exogenous forces. By discussing the potentials and limits of autonomy/autonomia within our actual conjuncture, the conference will address the emerging nomos and its new constellations of life and knowledge.

More specifically, the conference will thematize the intersections of autonomy/autonomia with four lines of research that have reframed current debates in the humanities and social sciences:

* Radical conceptualizations of life, labor, sovereignty, borders, precarity, migrations, communities and commons, multitude;

* Spatial, affective, ethical and ecological forms of resistance to neoliberal capitalism;

* Critical trends taking place at the edges of contemporary epistemologies; such as vitalisms, geo-philosophies, biopolitics, political anthropologies, new materialisms, political ontologies and ecologies, subaltern studies, embodiment and emergence theories;

* Decolonial studies and new theorizations of post-capitalist, non-liberal and non-statist modes of knowledge and political practice; decolonial feminisms.

These broad themes should be focalized through a specific engagement with autonomy/autonomia.

We welcome the submission of papers in English. Accepted papers will be posted online on the conference website ( For the panels, speakers will be asked to make short (10-15 minutes) presentations addressing the main topics of their papers.

Please send your paper, together with a short abstract, by March 1 to Given the limited size of the conference, only a small number of papers will be accepted. Conference organizers will send acceptance notifications by March 21.

For further information, please contact

This conference is the second of a series within the project Precarity and Post-autonomia: the Global Heritage funded by NWO (Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research).
Confirmed Participants

Giuseppe Bianco (University of Warwick/CIEPFC)

Jodi A. Byrd (University of Illinois)

Gustavo Esteva (Universidad de la Tierra)

Silvia Federici (Hofstra University)

Michael Hardt (Duke University)

Catherine Walsh (Universidad Simon Bolivar)

Gareth Williams (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

And the planning committee:
Federico Luisetti, John Pickles, Wilson Kaiser (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Vincenzo Binetti (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

in collaboration with, at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Samuel Amago, Yusuf Al-Bulushi, Emilio del Valle Escalante, Mark Driscoll, Arturo Escobar, Diana Marcela Gomez Correal, Lawrence Grossberg, Michal Osterweil, Michael Palm, Alvaro Reyes

and the NWO partners: Frans-Willem Korsten (Leiden University/Erasmus University Rotterdam), Joost de Bloois (University of Amsterdam), Silvia Contarini (Université Paris Ouest, Nanterre La Défense), Monica Jansen (Utrecht University)


NWO, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), and the Center for Global Initiatives, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Center for European Studies, The Institute for the Arts and Humanities, The Institute for the Study of the Americas, Department of Geography, Program in Comparative Literature, Department of Anthropology, Department of Communication Studies, Cultural Studies@UNC (UNC-Chapel Hill), Department of Romance Studies (Duke University)


‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski:

‘The Lamb’ by William Blake – set to music by Victor Rikowski:


Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:

Rikowski Point:


Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at:



Gail Day, Dialectical Passions: Negation in Postwar Art Theory (Columbia University Press, 2010)
Cloth, 320 pages, 15 halftones
ISBN: 978-0-231-14938-9
$50.00 / £34.50 – Promo Code for 30% discount: ‘DAYDI’ on orders via:

Representing a new generation of theorists reaffirming the radical dimensions of art, Gail Day launches a bold critique of late twentieth-century art theory and its often reductive analysis of cultural objects. Exploring core debates in discourses on art, from the New Left to theories of “critical postmodernism” and beyond, Day counters the belief that recent tendencies in art fail to be adequately critical. She also challenges the political inertia that results from these conclusions.

Day organizes her defense around critics who have engaged substantively with emancipatory thought and social process: T. J. Clark, Manfredo Tafuri, Fredric Jameson, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, and Hal Foster, among others. She maps the tension between radical dialectics and left nihilism and assesses the interpretation and internalization of negation in art theory.

Chapters confront the claim that exchange and equivalence have subsumed the use value of cultural objects—and with it critical distance— and interrogate the proposition of completed nihilism and the metropolis put forward in the politics of Italian operaismo. Day covers the debates on symbol and allegory waged within the context of 1980s art and their relation to the writings of Walter Benjamin and Paul de Man. She also examines common conceptions of mediation, totality, negation, and the politics of anticipation. A necessary unsettling of received wisdoms, Dialectical Passions recasts emancipatory reflection in aesthetics, art, and architecture.

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Post/autonomia – Call for Papers

Amsterdam, 19-22 May 2011

University of Amsterdam/SMART Project Space

Keynote speakers include:

Franco Berardi (‘Bifo’)

Vittorio Morfino

Stevphen Shukaitis (to be confirmed)

Immaterial labour; multitude; the communism of capital; commons; precarity; biopolitics: autonomist thought has undoubtedly provided contemporary critical theory with some of its major concepts and/or allowed for an important reconsidering of these. Most importantly, autonomist thought has been at the forefront of thinking the crucial shifts in contemporary capitalism and its effects in both the social and cultural sphere. Autonomism’s impact on current critical theory in both European and American academia can therefore hardly be underestimated. Moreover, today we witness a resurgence of autonomist models of activism and thought in social movements in for example Italy, Greece, the UK and California.

What can ‘post/autonomia’ mean today?’ therefore is one of the pivotal questions in contemporary critical theory and activism. Rather than packaging it as ‘Italian Theory’, we would like to explore the international dissemination of autonomous thought and activism today and their possible futures; in particular we would like to explore critical engagements and uses of autonomist ideas that shape what we might call post/autonomia. It is precisely the dynamics, tensions and ruptures between autonomia and its possible futures (or ‘posts’) that we would like to investigate. What are the effects of autonomia, as a thought and a movement, in a variety of domains: from critical theory to cinema, from activism to academic practice?

Crucial questions raised by the notion of post/autonomia are:

* How did autonomist thought move from what was in fact a specific local context to the global activist and intellectual sphere?

* What are the possible connections between (post)autonomia and other contemporary conceptualizations of ‘communism’?

* What is the role of (post)autonomist thinking in current efforts to reassemble and reconstitute the militant left?

* What are possible connections/convergences between (post)autonomism and post-situationism, anarchism or the green movement?

* How can post/autonomia be situated in the aftermath or even afterlife of the ‘no global’ moment?    * How is post/autonomia taking shape in diverse cultural and artistic interventions?

* What is the significance of autonomist thought in non-western/global contexts (e.g. the debates concerning precarious labour in China)?

* How does the current the interest in autonomism and its relevance relate to political discourses concerning the ‘heritage’ of 68/77 and their alleged ‘liquidation’ (by Berlusconi/Sarkozy); to what extent does it encourage or block these debates?

* What elements of autonomism remain unaddressed today (e.g. the feminist heritage)?

* What particular nexus between theory/militant practice takes shape in post/autonomia (e.g. in media activism and precarity-movements)?

* What new perspectives/connections can be created: e.g. post/autonomia and queer, the metropolis, bioeconomy, etc. etc.

The conference will provide a platform for addressing these and other important questions. Papers may address the following topics (but are by no means bound to these):

Post/autonomia and:

–       contemporary activism

–       conceptualizations of bio-politics

–       the neo-liberal state

–       precarity

–       media activism

–       academic activism and new student movements (L’Onda che viene etc)

–       post-situationism

–       queer autonomy

–       feminism

–       the work of individual theorists (e.g. Negri, Virno, Berardi, Guattari, Lazzerato, Marazzi etc)

–       semiocapitalism

–       artistic and cultural activism

–       political/cultural memories of autonomia

–       the metropolis and the social factory today

–       the new communism

–       transversality

–       new spinozisms

–       (the lessons of) Genoa 2001

–       strategies of resistance

–       populism

–       the law, the state of exception and legitimacy

We welcome both academic and practice-oriented contributions in English. Papers should not exceed 20 minutes. Please send abstracts (350 words) before March 15 to For further information, please contact

This conference is the first of a series within the project Precarity and Post-autonomia: the Global Heritage funded by NWO (Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research).

Organizing committee:

–       Vincenzo Binetti, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (USA)

–       Joost de Bloois, University of Amsterdam

–       Silvia Contarini, Université Paris Ouest, Nanterre La Défence

–       Monica Jansen, Utrecht University

–       Federico Luisetti, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (USA)

–       Frans-Willem Korsten, Leiden University/Erasmus University Rotterdam

–       Gianluca Turricchia, University of Amsterdam

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Call for Papers
From Empire to Commonwealth: Communist Theory and Contemporary Praxis

Conference to be held at the University of Wollongong, 
25-26 November 2010

With the publication of Commonwealth in 2009 Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s three part series (which started with Empire and continued with Multitude) is complete. The series constitutes an almost unparalleled attempt to revitalise emancipatory communist politics for our time. Drawing on the Italian traditions of operaismo and autonomia and combining them with post‐structuralism, Hardt and Negri attempt a radical reworking of the basis of anti‐capitalist thought. Following the disasters of the 20th Century, two directions seemed open to radical thought: one denied the specificity of late capitalism and insisted that nothing had fundamentally changed while the other asserted that everything had changed and that the revolutionary transformation of society was no longer possible.

Hardt and Negri reject both these alternatives. They maintain the Marxian critique of capitalism, and emphasise the emancipatory potential of labour by attempting a challenging rethinking of the revolutionary project. They do so in a way which refuses the dominant ideologies of global capitalism, is heretical to orthodox Marxism, is refreshingly different from the staid left liberalism and reheated social democracy typical of the Academy, and resonates with struggles across the globe.

At ‘From Empire to Commonwealth’ we would like to open up a space for critical dialogue about Hardt and Negri’s work, their understanding of the world, their politics, the traditions with which they engage and the criticisms they have faced. We would also like to generate our own ideas and critiques and contribute to the development of emancipatory and rebellious theories of the world.

While this conference takes place within the boundaries of the university we would like to position ourselves on the edge of this space, challenging both the demarcations which separate the university from the rest of society and struggling within the university to open up the horizon of what and how we can think.

We are seeking papers on, but not limited to, the follow topics. Presentations that defy the genre of academic conferences are welcome:

·  The politics of love

· Affective, precarious and immaterial labour

·  Feminism and autonomy

· Empire as a theory of international relations

· Capitalism and the control society

· The intellectual history of autonomist Marxism

· Queer struggles against capitalism

· Post-structuralism and anti-capitalism

· Multitude and class composition

· Labour and value in contemporary capitalism

· Contemporary anti-capitalist politics

· Identity and subjectivity

Please email abstracts of approximately 200 words to Alexander Brown at: by 30 July 2010. Further information will be posted on the conference blog, as it becomes available. We are considering publishing the conference papers.

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 Saturday 1st May, 5pm

‘The Red Guard Tells its Story’ is a recently published book about the workers’ struggles in Italy in the 1970s.  As of yet, it is only available in French and Italian. However, a member of the ‘Mouvement Communiste’ who worked on the French translation of the book is travelling to London to bring the message of this book to a British audience. The event will involve a discussion of what is important about the struggles of that time and what we can learn from them in relation to workers’ struggles today.


5 Caledonian Road
King’s Cross
London N1 9DX
t: 020 7837 4473

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