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Tag Archives: Coalition Government

BEYOND RESISTANCE TO THE CUTS TEACH-IN

Teach-in on Saturday 26th February 2011

A World To Win

Youth unemployment and rising food prices as well as authoritarian rule have pitched people in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Algeria and Bahrain into conflict with their regimes. The same global economic crisis lies behind the Coalition’s drive to rescue the capitalist economy through huge spending cuts.

And a political system in which you get a government you didn’t vote for that acts for big business means that there is no way out for people in Britain either.

The TUC’s March 26 walk in the park will solve nothing, as many are aware. Join A World to Win’s contingent and help move beyond resistance to the cuts to changing the system we live under.

Closer to hand, our Teach-in on Saturday February 26 will draw out the connection between the eco-crisis, the destructive drive for growth at any cost and the role of People’s Assemblies in bringing about a not-for-profit, truly democratic society.

A top United Nations official has warned that the military around the world are preparing for unrest resulting from the effects of climate change on people’s lives. So we’d better get organised.

Sign-up now for Beyond Resistance to the cuts – building People’s Assemblies Teach-In, ‘Kicking Capitalism’s Growth Habit – Building a Sustainable Economy’. Open discussion + film show.

Forward this to your friends, spread the word on Facebook … and follow A World to Win on Twitter.

Kicking capitalism’s growth habit – building a sustainable economy

Saturday 26 February 1.30-5.30pm [register from 1pm]
R509, Birkbeck College
Malet Street
London
WC1E 7HX [map link]

Please register to book a place http://www.aworldtowin.net/about/eventPA26Feb2011.html

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Ben Linus

THE CONDEMNED

By Paul Bowman 

Jacques Rancière once lamented the loss of the word “proletarian” from common political language. Without the use of this term, a really important conceptual and political category is lost, and with it, an ability to mobilize and act politically is lost too.

This term has never really worked in the UK anyway. But clearly, the UK needs a new political term that can act as a banner to unite all of those who will bear the brunt of the political violence being wreaked by the pantomime-villain coalition government. The people that need to be united include social services (from all areas of social services, and that is A LOT), teachers, lecturers, students, Northerners, etc.

The term needs to ‘work’ in the way that Stuart Hall argued the word “black” came to *work* at a certain point in history: namely, to connect diverse ethnic identities in terms of their shared experience of racism in the UK. It needs to be a rallying point, a point of and for identification and the establishment of political identity.

We can’t have anything ‘left-wing-sounding’, as this is clearly too partisan. It isn’t going to work in Britain. It just isn’t. So we need to be creative and discursive and not obviously party political. No one wants to be obviously party political. But remaining single-interest is a dead end.

So may I suggest that the term we adopt to name (and rally) all who suffer under the obscene acts of this shocking government is “The ConDemned”.

And may I suggest that we use this term to try to forge links and alliances and chains of equivalence with all areas of UK society, rather than singling out “the students” as if they are some single interest exception to the norm. We need to show that The ConDemned are the norm – are becoming the norm.

But – and this is the crucial thing – we need to be clear that this is not a group or an entity who even want to exist. We certainly don’t want to continue to exist as a group. We desire not to exist. We want to be dissolved. We are being created by the negative political energies of the Coalition government. We have been ConDemned. We will go away when they do. When their actions are stopped and reversed, redressed, rectified.

Paul Bowman at: http://ranciere.blogspot.com/2010/11/condemned.html

Just a thought:

Maybe the Coalition Government should be known as ‘The ConDemned’, rather than us. They are ConDemned (and will be consigned to history) by us.

Do we want to take on this label?

Glenn Rikowski

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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Protest Against Austerity

THE POLITICS OF ‘PAIN’ IN AN AGE OF AUSTERITY

Please forward widely

(NB: A full audio recording of our last seminar, ‘The Politics of Debt’, is now available at: http://culturalstudiesresearch.org/)

UEL Centre for Cultural Studies Research presents: The Politics of Pain
8 December 2010, 15:00 to 17:00

Pain has become one of the central discourses of the coalition government as it embarks on its cuts programme. The cuts are inevitable, we are told, and the pain must be shared in the interests of fairness. But is the pain necessary, should it be shared, is it really being shared, how will the pain affect the social fabric, and what are the psychosocial consequences of the crisis? This is the second seminar in the Centre for Cultural Studies Research’s three-part “Debt, Pain, Work” series that interrogates the discourses and policies of the coalition government.

Speakers

Kate Pickett, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of York, co-author of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better

Mike Rustin, Professor of Sociology in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at UEL and author of The Good Society and the Inner World

Jeremy Gilbert, Reader in Cultural Studies in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at UEL and author of Anti-Capitalism and Culture: Radical Theory and Popular Politics

For more Information and for a full audio recording of the last seminar in this series see:  http://culturalstudiesresearch.org/

UEL Docklands Campus
Transport: Cyprus DLR station is located right next to the campus (just follow signs out of the station)

Room  EB.G.14: (Ground Floor, East Building, which is to the left on entering the main square from Cyprus station)

All Welcome – no booking required

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

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Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski

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The Island

THE PRIVATIZATION OF THE HUMANITIES

If you tolerate this… Lord Browne and the Privatisation of the Humanities

By Martin McQuillan

The pithily entitled ‘Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance’ was published on Tuesday. In short, for those not parochial enough to be concerned by this, it was a committee set up by the previous Labour government, chaired by ex-BP boss John Browne (as one of the many sinecures offered to him, including Chair of the Tate Trustees, in compensation for the homophobia that chased him out of the oil industry, otherwise it would have been him and not Tony Hayward taking the rap for the Deepwater Horizon disaster) charged with considering future funding arrangements for universities and their students in England.

The headlines from the report are that 1. The current cap of £3,290 on student tuition fees should be scrapped in favour of potentially unlimited fees set by universities themselves, 2. The current teaching grant distributed to English universities should be cut by £3.2billion with a 100% reduction for the arts, humanities and social sciences. In effect Browne’s committee (which included the Chief Executive of Standard Chartered PLC, the Head of McKinsey, and two Vice-Chancellors) has at a stroke privatised the arts and humanities in England. The committee recommends that the state should no longer have any investment in these areas and that private individuals who wish to pursue such things at their own cost should pay for them.

It is hard to know where to begin with this. There are no workarounds, no accommodations to be made, no temporary crisis to be endured; this is the nuclear option, total and irreversible wipeout. Now, there is a difference between the publication of a so-called ‘Independent’ Review (Browne has now moved on to his next job advising the coalition government on Whitehall job cuts, and his review has clearly been hijacked to feed the ideological attack on the state currently being pursued by an administration that no one voted for) and how it translates into legislation through the torturous process of what Washington would call ‘the pork barrel politics’ of buying off a Lib Dem back bench revolt. However, there would seem to be little to be hoped for in this regard. What is striking here is not that higher education (and the arts, humanities and social sciences in particular) have been targeted but that they have been the first thing to be attacked and in such a spectacularly ruthless manner. The calculation must be that the news agenda will have moved on next week when everyone is more concerned by the fate of ‘useful things’ like hospitals and fire stations in the Comprehensive Spending Review. And of course, if the ConDems cannot be bothered to fund humanities teaching any more there is very little prospect that they will continue to fund humanities research. ‘The future has been cancelled’, as Graham Allen, writing in the context of Irish cuts, put it recently.

Most people will blame the Conservatives; the Conservatives will hope that most people will blame the LibDems. I do not blame either; I expect nothing else from the guardians of class privilege and their unscrupulous carpet-bagging associates. The people who are to blame for this are the Vice-Chancellors of UK universities (with one honourable exception) who have consistently pressed for an increase in tuition fees in order to maximise the return to their institutions. Tuition Fees used to be called ‘top-up fess’ because they were additional to state funding which had fallen behind the real costs of running universities. However, the short-termism of Vice-Chancellors failed to understand that as soon as fees were introduced the university sector would not only lose its place in the queue for, but its claim entirely on, the public purse. The Browne Report hits Vice-Chancellors with a sucker punch: you can have unlimited fees but you can no longer have public funding.

While science and ‘priority’ subjects will continue to receive a teaching grant the rest of us must fend for ourselves. The people who will be most affected by this is not so-called ‘teaching-focussed universities’ but those so-called ‘elite’, so-called ‘research-intensive’, so-called ‘universities’. Dear reader, I spent 10 years directing research in a Russell Group university, I know how much mediocrity there is out there, wrapped in snobbery and shrouded in utterly bogus ‘missions groups’ which allow ministers to divide and rule the sector through its own vanity. If there is no public funding and no funding council to distribute it then there will be no cap on student numbers for institutions. Humanities departments in ‘elite universities’ will only survive by piling students high and servicing them at low costs. The Browne Report does not set them free to compete with the world’s best universities, it impoverishes them and turns all of the arts, humanities and social sciences in England into teaching-focussed universities. Lets not even get started on what it means for the Art Schools and monotechnics; all advances made in funding of the humanities over the last thirteen years have been put into sharp and irrecoverable reverse.

I could make a defence of the worth of the humanities but if legislators cannot recognize their value from the outset then no words here will persuade them. Nor will I make the obvious case for the social mobility afforded by a university education—as if a Conservative-lead administration gave two figs for the education of the lower orders. However, the fundamental reason to oppose tuition fees of any kind is that those who benefited from a free higher education as a democratic right should not when in government (as a result of that free higher education) tell future generations that they must now take on mortgage-sized debts to pay for the same privilege. How this is ‘progressive and fair’, as our politicians like to say, is a mystery. One should not just resist this situation; it has to be refused utterly.

Distracted by the chimera of RAE results and QAA inspections, academics in the United Kingdom have not had the best track record in saying no to government in the last twenty years, but if this does not rouse us nothing ever will. And if it can happen in England it will without doubt be rolled out across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Europe, and Australia. This is a culture war in which critical thought is threatened with extinction. It is time to stop writing the monograph on the footnotes of Henry James, drop the myth of ‘research’ and ‘teaching’ institutions, and do something quickly to save everything any academic worthy of the name holds dear.

http://www.thelondongraduateschool.co.uk/thoughtpiece/if-you-tolerate-this%E2%80%A6-lord-browne-and-the-privatisation-of-the-humanities/

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowidea.co.uk

A World To Win

TAKING THE REVOLUTIONARY ROAD

This Saturday – 22 May
A World to Win Conference

Taking the Revolutionary Road

The coming together of the Tories and Lib Dems in a coalition government is a dramatic expression of the way that the economic and financial crisis has an immediate impact on politics. It gives added urgency to the call to create People’s Assemblies as an alternative to the dead-end of Parliamentary politics. As one delegate to A World to Win’s conference says:

“….given the global nature of the crisis there’s a real need for revolutionary solutions not just in Britain but for the whole of our planet and all its peoples, London May 22nd will be a great starting point.”

Register for Conference | Agenda: http://www.aworldtowin.net/about/2010conference.html

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MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

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A great video and song, ‘Daystar’ by Will Roberts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6f_pA5XUPk

 

David Cameron

‘THE MEANING OF DAVID CAMERON’ – WITH RICHARD SEYMOUR

Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Time: 19:00 – 21:00
Location: Housmans Bookshop
Street: 5 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross
Town/City: London, United Kingdom

Description:
Richard Seymour, blogger of ‘Lenin’s Tomb’ fame, and author of ‘The Liberal Defence of Murder’ will be in store discussing his latest publication, ‘The Meaning of David Cameron’.

The Tories are posing as a ‘progressive’ and ‘radical’ alternative to New Labour. Drawing from George W Bush’s ‘compassionate conservatism’, they maintain that the ‘Big Society’ can do what ‘Big Government’ cannot – produce a cohesive, mutually supportive, happy society. Cameron’s court intellectual, Philip Blond, maintains that this if David Cameron’, which is a viable alternative to the failures of the egalitarian left and the excessively pro-market right. But is this more than campaign mood music? And are the conservative traditions that they draw on – from the bucolic, pseudo-medievalism of G K Chesterton to the anti-statism of Friedrich Hayek – really a bulwark of progress and radicalism?

Richard Seymour argues that such ideas can only seem ‘progressive’ in light of New Labour’s acquiescence to Thatcherism. To understand the Cameronites, it is necessary to understand how the social landscape and corresponding political language was transformed by the collapse of post-war social democracy and its more radical competitors. To resist the Cameronites, he argues, it is necessary to attack the neoliberal consensus on which all major parties found their programme.

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski