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Analysis & Polemic

Life and Labor in the Era of Climate Justice
Andrew Ross

As radicals, it is our job to respond to the very newest political formations, and few have presented themselves with the urgency of the tendencies that have sprung up to address and combat the climate crisis. For the purposes of this talk, let me outline four of these tendencies

1) The first is the emergence of the carbon calculus as an overriding measure of our ability to meet the crisis. If we cannot afford to allow atmospheric carbon levels to rise to 450ppm, should we hold the threshold at 400ppm or demand a reduction to 350ppm? For some climate activists, this is the only important question, and, for those who favor the quickest form of emissions reduction, we must proceed by any means necessary, even if it involves following pathways that are undemocratic. But the most everyday manifestation of this new calculus is the growing habit of assessing the carbon footprint of every product and every personal movement, including acts of labor. Indeed, quantifying the world’s energy throughput on the microlevel of personal conduct is becoming a pseudopolitical obsession. In some ways, it is a perverse spin on the statistical tyranny of the GDP, reducing our actions and our use of material things to a data-set––the outcome of which is a moral assessment of our thermodynamic performance. Carbon-Neutral Man is the goal, a model of ascetic behavior that is the obverse of the wasteful hyperconsumer.

All Power to the Free Universities of the Future
Statement in Relation to the Outlawing of the Copenhagen Free University

The Copenhagen Free University was an attempt to reinvigorate the emancipatory aspect of research and learning, in the midst of an ongoing economisation of all knowledge production in society. Seeing how education and research were being subsumed into an industry structured by a corporate way of thinking, we intended to bring the idea of the university back to life. By life, we mean the messy life people live within the contradictions of capitalism. We wanted to reconnect knowledge production, learning and skill sharing to the everyday within a self-organised institutional framework of a free university. Our intention was multi-layered and was of course partly utopian, but also practical and experimental. We turned our flat in Copenhagen into a university by the very simple act of declaring 'this is a university'. By this transformative speech act the domestic setting of our flat became a university. It didn't take any alterations to the architecture other than the small things needed in terms of having people in your home staying over, presenting thoughts, researching archival material, screening films, presenting documents and works of art. Our home became a public institution dedicated to the production process of communal knowledge and fluctuating desires.

The Tactics of Camping: Yes We Camp!
Eric Kluitenberg

Michel de Certeau observed that the tactics employed by the ‘weak’ are always on the watch for opportunities, and that these opportunities must be seized “on the wing”. Tactics, de Certeau writes, have no base at their disposal from where they can capitalise on their advantages, prepare their expansions, or secure their independence from circumstances. Instead tactics ‘insinuate’ themselves into the places of others. They operate on the terrain of strategic power, ‘fragmentarily’, without taking it over in its entirety. Whatever these tactics win, they cannot keep. [1]

Hence, tactics are always nomadic.

The Anarchist Stuart Christie and His Very Peculiar Literary Bedfellow,
The Neo-Conservative War Propagandist Stephen Schwartz

Part One: The Anarchists and Spain: "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda…"
Kevin Keating

In 1964, a courageous young Scottish anarchist named Stuart Christie was arrested in Spain for taking part in an effort to assasinate dictator Francisco Franco. If the attempt on Franco's life had succeeded it would have been one of the most emotionally satisfying political killings of the 20th century. But alas, like many earlier efforts against the Generalissmo this attempt failed, and Christie's role in this failure had several aspects. First, shortly before going to Spain, Christie participated in a television inteview where he made it clear he thought killing Franco would be desirable. Along with the obvious lack of discretion demonstrated by Christie, it later turned out the journalist interviewing Christie, Malcolm Muggeridge, had been involved with British intelligence services during World War Two. This compounded the fact that it was neither the time nor the place for Christie to voice his fiery sentiments.

"Art As The Imagination of the After-Future"
Franco Berardi

Utopia was the dominant feature of xxth century avant-garde, although flows of dystopia have been interweaved in the imagination of cinema, poetry and narration. Only today, at the beginning of the 21st century, does dystopia take centre stage and conquer the whole field of the artistic imagination, thus drawing the narrative horizon of the century with no future. In the expression of contemporary poetry, in cinema, video-art and novels, the marks of an epidemic of psychopathology proliferate. In its highest expressions, in my view, Art of the years zero zero has been phenomenology of mental suffering, of disorder provoked by connective mutation of the Psychosphere.

The Economic Crisis in Fact and Fiction
Paul Mattick, Jr.

Paul Mattick, Jr.’s most recent book, Business as Usual: The Economic Crisis and the Future of Capitalism, was just published by Reaktion Books. In late April, he sat down with John Clegg and Aaron Benanav of the journal Endnotes This version of their interview appeared in The Brooklyn Rail.

Rail: Recent reports suggest that the economy is growing again. The unemployment rate is stabilizing, or even declining, and the Dow is trending upwards. So was the crisis really that deep? What makes you think that we haven’t already seen the end of it?

The Creeping Nausea of American Exceptionalism
James Howard Kunstler

History, that coy dominatrix, loves to trick the credulous human race.
In a moment when something we call "democracy" seems to be spreading
through the dodgy precincts of the world like a contagion of virtue,
the trend is actually going the other way in countries that have
practiced it for a while.

"The Revolt of a Generation"
Paolo Do

More than 200 people from different Italian cities, together with students and precarious workers from Vienna, Madrid, London and Tunisia animated the Euro-mediterrean happening "The Revolt of a Generation" at La Sapienza University on the 12th and 13th of May, in Rome. It was an important moment of discussion and elaboration: the revolution of Tunisia confronted with the experiences of the Italian universities; the Spanish network of Juventud sin futuro and the UK's Uncut discussed together with the antiracist student collectives from Vienna, while the experience of the Feminist university of Tunisia confronted with the challenge of the self-education and the critical knowledge.

Sol, or When the Impossible Becomes Unstoppable
Marta Malo

Write to orient oneself, at the velocity imposed by the moment. Between poetics and theory, write to offer something to the confabulation of the world, to contribute, from inside, to the creation of the square, to prolong the event which is Sol. Because yes, Sol has been an event: one of those unexpected occurrences that redraws the map and reopen the horizon of the possible.

In the demonstration the 15th of May, overflowing with joy at the size of the demonstration and its fresh atmosphere, a Radio Mobile Unit interviewed some of those present. “What does the future look like to you?” Despite all the energy circulating, many of the interviews were clearly pessimistic: “It looks grim.” On Monday, when news of the camp in Sol started to blow like gunpowder in the social networks, in a list for exchanging goods and services someone wrote: “What does it matter if some people are camping, as long as others are shopping at the department store next door?” It does matter, because this wasn’t just any camp: the bold gesture of a few became a signal to the many: it was “now or never” and the hunger for doing was set loose, the hunger to speak.

Arabs Are Democracy's New Pioneers
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

One challenge facing observers of the uprisings spreading across north Africa and the Middle East is to read them as not so many repetitions of the past but as original experiments that open new political possibilities, relevant well beyond the region, for freedom and democracy. Indeed, our hope is that through this cycle of struggles the Arab world becomes for the next decade what Latin America was for the last – that is, a laboratory of political experimentation between powerful social movements and progressive governments from Argentina to Venezuela, and from Brazil to Bolivia.


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