[iDC] California is burning/The Necrosocial and UCLA Students Mased in the Face as UC Regents Run!
brian.holmes at aliceadsl.fr
Mon Nov 23 13:52:02 UTC 2009
Thanks to Christiane and Ricardo for sending these links. For more,
there is a great section of Democracy Now you can watch:
The university struggles, in California and around the world, have been
the elephant in the room of iDC. Yet what is happening is fundamental to
what we will all become over the course of the next decades, because the
very definition of the sayable and the unsayable is changing.
If universities are managed as corporate profit centers -- for that is
the issue, and not only in California -- then all non-functional
departments will either radically shrink or disappear. It will still be
possible to speak about the technical functioning of the Internet and
about the interaction protocols supplied by the corporations or the
start-ups; but the intricacies of something like the Mechanical Turk
will no longer be discussed, because the cultural resources will no
longer be available. As for the labor theory of value, forget the pro
and the contra -- such things have no function in the economy as it is.
The question of what is valuable will be formulated only in terms of
Does anyone remember tactical media? The idea of tactical media in the
90s and early years of this decade was always to open up new spaces of
speech, gesture and action. The Internet, as a relatively uncontrolled
medium, could be seized and used for that purpose. I would say that the
proliferating media structure of this series of conferences -- with the
list, the videos, the live events, and the universe of people and
projects they link to -- is really an _amazing_ instrument for
continuing to open up discussion about what the world is becoming and
about the possibilities of intervention in that process. What we have,
thanks to Trebor, his students, his collaborators and ourselves, is a
fabulous tactical media network at a very high level of technical and
cultural potential. In fact, this is a network that could become
strategic: it could exert real power for the better. But for its
potential to be fulfilled, it cannot just be used academically, that is,
self-referentially. We have to engage much more with the social context
in which our individual research and production is evolving. Consider
these two paragraphs from The Necrosocial:
"The university is a machine which wants to grow, to accumulate, to
expand, to absorb more and more of the living into its peculiar and
perverse machinery: high-tech research centers, new stadiums and office
complexes. And at this critical juncture the only way it can continue to
grow is by more intense exploitation, higher tuition, austerity measures
for the departments that fail to pass the test of 'relevancy.'
"But the 'irrelevant' departments also have their place. With their
'pure' motives of knowledge for its own sake, they perpetuate the blind
inertia of meaning ostensibly detached from its social context. As the
university cultivates its cozy relationship with capital, war and power,
these discourses and research programs play their own role, co-opting
and containing radical potential. And so we attend lecture after lecture
about how 'discourse' produces 'subjects,' ignoring the most obvious
fact that we ourselves are produced by this discourse about discourse
which leaves us believing that it is only words which matter, words
about words which matter."
California is burning, students are being maced in the face. Actually,
the United States and most of the so-called "advanced" countries are on
the verge of becoming totally corrupt, at the very moment when the full
potential of humanity is needed to face what looks like a great crisis
on the near horizon. Let's talk about it, and about our own roles in
this crisis. Let's use this incredible media network to open up the
discussion of what the university is becoming, and how that
transformation is linked to the crisis of neoliberal society as a whole.
There is a use value of theory. If we don't put it to use, I am afraid
the universities, our multiple and diverse cultures, and even our
intimate selves will be sitting ducks for people who only want to use
the present crisis as an excuse for imposing more of the same radical
reduction of knowledge to pure functionality -- without even any more
room for our cherished words, words, words.
best to you all, Brian
rdom at thing.net wrote:
> The Necrosocial
> Occupied UC Berkeley, 18 November 2009.
> Being president of the University of California is like being manager of a
> cemetery: there are many people under you, but no one is listening.
> UC President Mark Yudof
> Capital is dead labor which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living
> Karl Marx
> Politics is death that lives a human life.
> Achille Mbembe
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