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Franco 'Bifo' Berardi, "The Knowledge Movement"

The Knowledge Movement Franco 'Bifo' Berardi

Since the beginning of the modern age autonomy has been a defining feature of scientific progress and of the institution of university. It is not only a formal juridical aspect, but an epistemological prerequisite that prevents knowledge from beginning a purely instrumental technique.

Late capitalism, in the phase of re-assertion of the already failed neoliberal philosophy, also the Autonomy of University, and therefore of the process of knowledge production, has been sacrificed to the absolute domination of profit, growth and competition.

Only lately this operational and functionalist reduction of knowledge has been imposed in Europe, as an effect of the Bologna Charter (1999), and it is implying a standardization of the heuristic procedures, of the evaluation criteria, and what matters most, of the very goals of knowledge. The economic principle has been adopted as the purpose, the methodology and the evaluation criterion of knowledge.

The idea that knowledge has an established purpose (whatever it may be) is wrong in itself, because the process of knowledge is constantly questioning not only its methodology but also its purpose.

At the end of the decade the financial crisis has narrowed the margins of investment for public education, so the process of subjugation of knowledge to the economic design has married with a cut of the available resources and with a privatization of educational structures.

At the dawn of the second decade the end of Modernity is clearly leaning towards the barbarity of functionalism and towards a neoliberal dogmatism whose catastrophic effects can be clearly detected in the daily life of the European society. During 2010 this process has rapidly deployed in many European countries, but at the same time all over Europe a movement of precarious cognitive work has arisen, that so far has manifested itself as defense of public school and University.

But the movement of students and researcher must become a movement of knowledge, i.e. a movement for the resurrection of the autonomy of knowledge in the conditions of post-modernity. This is the only way to save the legacy of modern civilization and to go beyond the neoliberal dogmatism and the only way to work out projects who will be able to go beyond the environmental and social catastrophe that the financial class has provoked.

The movement that has first emerged in the schools and universities of Europe in Fall 2010, will not be able to defend life condition of cognitive workers without simultaneously transforming epistemological protocols and the very contents of knowledge. For the first time in the history of social struggle this is simultaneously a social movement and an epistemological methodology. The cognitarian movement, subjectivation of the general intellect, is called to become movement of knowledge, if it wants to save the social existence of intelligence.