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Tag Archives: Unmaking the Public University

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!

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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

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2:00 p.m. Lunch break

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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)

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7:30 p.m. aperitif break and videos
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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

Higher Education Crisis

UNMAKING THE PUBLIC UNIVERSITY

Chris Newfield author of the “Unmaking of the Public University” is speaking at Goldsmiths College, University of London, next Monday

Monday 7th March, 2011
5.00pm-7.00pm
Room 309, Richard Hoggart Builidng
Christopher Newfield “The Broken American Funding Model: Our Higher Education Problem, and Yours”

The talk will discuss the conventional wisdom about how American research universities are funded, and show that it is wrong. Although Americans disagree about whether the privatization of public universities is educationally and socially desirable, there is a general consensus that it is financially sound. This talk shows that privatization doesn’t make basic budgetary sense, and that one can argue against reduction of public funding on financial as well as educational and social grounds. It will also review recent U.S. activism and suggest ways in which a better higher education model might be starting to emerge.

Introduced and chaired by Les Back

Christopher Newfield teaches American Studies in the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His current research focuses on higher education history, funding, and policy, culture and innovation, and the relation between culture and economics. Recent articles have appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Academe, Le Monde Diplomatique, La Revue Internationale des Livres et des Idées, Radikal (Turkey), Social Text, Critical Inquiry, and South Atlantic Quarterly, and include “The Renewal of Student Movements, 2009-10,” “The View from 2020: How Universities Came Back,” “The End of the American Funding Model: What Comes Next? “Ending the Budget Wars: Funding the Humanities during a Crisis in Higher Education,” “Public Universities at Risk: 7 Damaging Myths,” “Science and Social Welfare,” “L’Université et la revanche des ‘Elites’ aux Etats-Unis,” “Why Public is Losing to Private in American Research,” and “Can American Studies Do Economics?” He is the author of The Emerson Effect: Individualism and Submission in America (University of Chicago Press, 1996), Ivy and Industry: Business and the Making of the American University, 1880-1980 (Duke University Press, 2003), and Unmaking the Public University: The Forty Year Assault on the Middle Class (Harvard University Press, 2008), chairs the Innovation Group at the NSF Center for Nanotechnology in Society, runs a blog on the current crisis in higher education, Rethinking the University (http://utotherescue.blogspot.com), blogs at the Huffington Post, and is working on a book called Lower Education: What to do about our Downsized Future.

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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

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

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

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Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com