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KRISIS

KRISIS

NEVER WORK

Cardiff University Conference

Friday 10 July 2015

Call for Papers

“A corpse rules society – the corpse of labour.” – Manifesto Against Labour, Krisis-Group

Since the 1970s modern societies have been increasingly faced with social issues caused by a reliance on a form of life that technological development is making redundant: work. Competition drives companies to eject human beings from the labour process even while it relies on those people as consumers and producers of value. Equally, more human beings than ever before depend upon the capitalist production process for their survival, yet at this historical juncture it appears no longer to have need of them. It is this contradiction that some contemporary social critics have diagnosed as the basis of a crisis of civilisation through which we are currently living. The symptoms of this crisis are manifold and, one can argue, affect every aspect of society: privatisation, financialisation and economic crises, mass unemployment, the casualisation of labour and austerity programmes, regional conflict, the rise of political extremism, growing wealth inequality, individualisation, school shootings and the ever-growing number of people suffering from narcissistic personality disorders, to name but a few.

Despite the sheer scale of problems that society currently faces, the dominant social discourse has rarely considered that a crisis of the very categories of capitalist society could be the source of the problem. Work, in particular, is central to modern notions of individual and collective identity, of morality and even of human nature. It is the means through which individuals are expected to realise themselves and to gain access to social wealth. It is perhaps for this reason that, while work is often seen as central to resolving the current crisis – either through calls for higher wages and the right to work or through attacks on immigrants and the unemployed – it is rarely seen as the problem in itself. The aim of this conference is therefore to ask what might a critique of work usefully offer us in addressing contemporary social issues and, if one will allow it, the possibility of a greater crisis of modern civilisation.

Contributors might consider:

  • What kinds of critique of work are necessary, on the basis of what criteria and in the name of what alternatives?
  • What hampers such a critique and how can we remove, go around or through these barriers?
  • What critical theories can usefully contribute to a contemporary critique of work?
  • How can contemporary social movements benefit from a critique of work?
  • How might a theoretical critique of work manifest itself practically and how might critiques of work in practice inform theoretical critiques?
  • What lessons can we learn from historical and contemporary social movements against work?
  • What might a critique of work tell us about the political, economic and psychological forms and changes that society is currently experiencing?
  • What are particularly unexamined aspects of the critique of work that need addressing?
  • How widespread and persistent are critiques of work in contemporary social movements and what kinds of critique of work have they developed?
  • What useful relationship might the critique of work have with critiques of the state, patriarchy, politics and other social forms?
  • What alternatives to work still exist, have existed and might exist?

 

Confirmed keynote speakers will be: Anselm Jappe (author of Guy Debord, Les Aventures de la marchandise, Crédit à mort) and Norbert Trenkle (author of Die Große Entwertung, Dead Men Working). Both of our keynotes are members of the wertkritik, or “critique of value”, school of Marxian critique.

Abstracts of 350 words, with a small bio, should be sent to Dr Alastair Hemmens (hemmensa@cardiff.ac.uk) by 20 February 2015.

The conference itself will take place at Cardiff University, Wales, on 10 July 2015.

This research is funded by the Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship: Dr Alastair Hemmens, “‘Ne travaillez jamais’: The Critique of Work in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century French Thought, from Charles Fourier to Guy Debord.”

Website: http://www.marblepunk.com/2015/01/never-work-cardiff-university.html

Robert Kurz

Robert Kurz

 

**END**

‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

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Manifesto Against Labour

Manifesto Against Labour

 

Education on Trial

UniCOMMON: THE REBELLION OF LIVING KNOWLEDGE

An extraordinary season of struggle, beyond Uniriot

Uniriot has been several things: the will to compose different political cultures, the desire of conflict and the innovation inside and against the university reformed by the Bologna Process. The attempt of building up a new experimentation outside of any reassuring identity, but creating a new network able to change and being changed by the richness of discussions and the unquestionable reality of the struggle that cross us.

Uniriot.org has been a great platform, a useful tool for the challenge we issued five years ago: not only a showcase of our ideas, but a crossroads of different experiences and projects, new narrations of struggle, communication about the transformations of the university and our research. We have been trying to carry this challenge forward since the movement of 2005, when we created Uniriot, through our experience inside the European struggles during the AntiCPE movement in France, Bologna Burns in Wien and Madrid, until the anomalous wave of 2008 and the incredible autumn we lived in 2010.

We have been profoundly changed during these extraordinary months, together with students, precarious workers and researchers that have passionately animated and continuously organized the struggles of the last year. As we cannot be the same, we close the experience of Uniriot and launch a new political constituent process to live up to our time and the transformations required by the struggles. A new challenge!

The Rebellion of Living Knowledge: UniCommon

UniCommon moves its first step in an era of crisis and austerity: the education reforms enacted without any public funding inside the framework of the failure of the Bologna Process and, at the same time, its extension outside Europe as a tool of exploitation of transnational living knowledge; the dismissal of the public university and the de-qualification of high school education, the massive youth unemployment, precarity and the absence of any future for a whole generation inside and outside the academy.

In this landscape, movements shouted firmly the shelter of public university against cuts, rising tuition fees, free research labor and debt loan, not as mere defence of the extant, but as a strategic field to claim quality of knowledge and free education against any rhetorical meritocracy. Self-education has been our political disposition, focused on the struggle for a qualified and critical knowledge, a device of organization that we are going to practice; our aim is to focus on the transformations of researchers’ status in the era of delegitimization of research work and the peer-review system. Militant research is our collective tool to understand and to map the transformations of the present; self-education is our device beyond the public/private dichotomy to make our university!

UniCommon wants to switch the nexus between education and precarity, creating a new social constituent deal within the new composition of labor, a democratic reappropriation of welfare against private plunders and feudal academic power. We have learnt that where there is a capital relation, there is exploitation of toil, passions, words and knowledge; where there is globalized cognitive capitalism so there is a parasitic power that robs our body, our life.

The European and north-African movements of the last autumn have taught us that the claim for welfare against poverty and rights against exploitation are strictly connected to the claim for democracy and freedom against power and its corruption. Students who have animated the revolts of last years, thousands of precarious and young unemployed took up the book shields to defend their lives: a rioting generation reclaiming knowledge, free access and circulation, income and new welfare, democracy and freedom of choice above our body.

UniCommon is born within the practice of Book Bloc, a common tool of defence, a production of imaginary to express our desire. We have created those book shields as an attempt of combining radicalism and people’s support; the challenge of our time is to build up a wild experimentation, widespread and radical at the same time, to step over the crisis and the failed utopia of cognitive capitalism. The Book Bloc is a transnational practice, against any fixed identity and outside any representation of conflict, it is our defence within the democracy of turmoil!

The failure of Bologna Process does not mean the end of exploitation of our knowledge, on the contrary the crisis deepens the capitalistc command over our body; at the same time, the struggles have showed us their powerful capacity of creating connections despite borders, sharing common projects and practices, shaping a different future where free knowledge, income, rights and citizenship are not just a privilege.

UniCommon is a new compass oriented by self-education, created by the wild demos that blocked the circulation of commodities; it is a device defended by the transnational Book Bloc inside a European space definitely twisted by the Mediterranean revolts, the margins that break into the center to overturn it.

Moreover, Unicommon is a network of communication and political organization, a web platform that will work as a place of information and communication of struggles from high school to the academy, a space of connection among experiences of self-education and autonomous collectives of research. UniCommon.org is a new website inside the 2.0 web time: video as a tool of enquiring and mapping transformations, photos as the continuous effort of imaging the fuzzy movement of our demos and discussions, audios as a precise opinion of different voices, augmented reality to shape and multiply our world.

UniCommon starts from La Sapienza University within a day of large discussions to make a public analysis of the past autumn and to imagine the spring that lies ahead.

Meet you in the struggles, to create the future and subvert the present; to make the university of the common!

°°°°°

Program 24.03.2011

Create the Future, Subvert the Present

10:30 a.m. College of Philosophy, Villa Mirafiori, La Sapienza – Roma
Public assembly of students and precarious collectives and networks

Against the dismissal of public university, creating the university of the common

°°°
2:00 p.m. Lunch break

°°°

4:00 p.m. College of Political Science, LaSapienza – Roma
Round table

After the revolt of the autumn toward the general strike of 6th May 2011

Speakers: Ilenia Caleo (Zeropuntotre); Roberto Ciccarelli (Il manifesto), Claudio Riccio (Link), Eva Pinna (Surf), Luca Tomassini (CPU), Giorgio Sestili (Atenei in rivolta), Simone Famularo (Assemblea di Medicina – La Sapienza)  Francesco Sinopoli (Flc-Cgil), Corrado Zunino (la Repubblica)

°°°
7:30 p.m. aperitif break and videos
°°°

Info: http://www.uniriot.org  /  and from 24th  March  >>> http://www.unicommon.org >>>

—END—

‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h7tUq0HjIk (live)

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Education Crisis