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The Atrocity Organization

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Categories: Events

The Atrocity Organization: JG Ballard & the Technologies of Psychopathology Management
:: Tuesday November 10th :: 5PM
:: Foundry, London :: 86 Great Eastern Street ::

The Atrocity Organization

A kind of waiting madness, like a state of undeclared war, haunted the office buildings of the business park. – J.G. Ballard, Super-Cannes

As a novelist and fiction SF writer, JG Ballard developed one of the most dynamic (and disturbing) exploration of collective psychopathology, excesses in organizational life, and the collapsing of the Western imaginary. From the fetish of the car crash to obscene hidden violence of the business park, internment camps to masochist fantasies directed through the mediated form of Ronald Reagan’s body, Ballard’s work ventures into territories that are disconcerting to explore, but from which one can learn a great deal. Rather than assuming that disorder and excess is a condition that management and organization must respond to, this event will explore the proposition that what might really be psychopathological is the desire to impose order upon an inherently ungovernable and excessive condition. Continue reading →

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Imaginal Machines

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Categories: Current Publications, Stevphen Shukaitis

Imaginal Machines: Autonomy & Self-Organization in the Revolutions of Everyday Life
by Stevphen Shukaitis

All power to the imagination? Over the past forty years to invoke the imagination as a basis for radical politics has become a cliché: a rhetorical utilization of ideas already in circulation, invoking the mythic unfolding of this self-institutionalizing process. But what exactly is radical imagination? Drawing from autonomist politics, class composition analysis, and avant-garde arts, Imaginal Machines explores the emergence, functioning, and constant breakdown of the embodied forms of radical imagination.

What does it mean to invoke the power of the imagination when it seems that the imagination has already seized power through the power of the spectacle? Does any subversive potentiality remain? Perhaps it is only honest to think in terms of a temporally-bounded subversive power. It might be that imaginal machines only work by breaking down. That is, their functioning is only possible, paradoxically, by their malfunctioning. By reopening the question of recuperation, the inevitable drive to integrate the power of social insurgency back into the working of capital and the state, we create possibilities for a politics continually reconstituted against and through the dynamics of recuperation: to keep open an antagonism without closure.

“Imaginal Machines explores with humor and wit the condition of art and politics in contemporary capitalism. It reviews the potentials and limits of liberatory art (from surrealism to Tom Waits) while charting the always-resurgent creations of the collective imagination. Shukaitis exhibits a remarkable theoretical breadth, bringing together the work of Castoriadis, the Situationists, and autonomous Marxism to define a new task for militant research: constructing imaginal machines that escape capitalism. Imaginal Machines is truly a book that makes a path by walking.” – Silvia Federici, author of Caliban and the Witch: Women the Body and Primitive Accumulation

“If you have ever had someone say to you, ‘okay it’s fine to criticize but what would you do?’ this is the book for you. Shukaitis takes us on a raucous ride through actually existing alternative organizations that are anarchic, loving, fun, and best of all they work.  We meet people and organizations who imagine a completely different way of being together in the world.  And we are never far from a sophisticated theoretical travelogue as we walk these roads with the author.  What would you do?  Try this, and this, and this!” – Stefano Harney, Chair in Strategy, Culture, and Organization, University of London Continue reading →

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Imperceptible Strategies, Unidentified Autonomous Organizations

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Imperceptible Strategies, Unidentified Autonomous Organizations
:: A Drifting Seminar :: London, October 23rd,2009 ::

Anarchist and autonomous politics are often associated, in a kneejerk way, with a celebration of chaos and disorder: a rejection of all forms of organization. The reduction of radical politics to a cheap joke (‘anarchist organization, what’s that?’) comes to substitute for an actual understanding of autonomous organizational practices. Far from rejecting organization all together, the history of autonomous politics contains a wealth of different modes of organizing, from the formation of temporary autonomous zones to affinity group models, maroon communities to networks and collectives.

These are forms of organizing that not always acknowledged as being organizations because they do not conform to what it is assumed organizations necessarily are: durable, static, and hierarchical. This understanding of organization obscures and makes difficult an actual engagement with the merits and weaknesses of different forms of organizing. But what would be found if rather than working from a fixed and unchanging concept of organization, one that excludes temporary forms of organization from consideration, it was attempted to tease out the organizational dynamics from all the temporary alliances and alliances that appear and disappear?
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Connective Mutations

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Categories: Events

Connective Mutations: Autonomy & Subjectivation in the Coming Century
A Seminar with Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi
September 3rd –  6th, 2009 – New York City
Organized by 16Beaver & Minor Compositions

Connective Mutations

The concept of the subject is crucial for radical philosophy of the second half of the twentieth century. Arguments and debates over the nature of the subject, the location and nature of the revolutionary subject, have vastly shaped radical politics and organizing. The work of Félix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze changes the frame of this discussion, proposing the concept of subjectivation, or becoming-subject, as a framework to understand the multiple becomings and states of social encounters. This concept of subjectivation overlaps significantly with the concept of class recomposition developed in the 1960s and 70s by autonomist thinkers such as Sergio Bologna, Mario Tronti and Toni Negri. Both strains of thought focus on how forms of social antagonism and resistance give rise to new social positions and possibilities for collective becomings.

Today we find ourselves in a transformed condition, one created by techno-anthropological and connective mutations, marked by overwhelming flows of immaterial labor and information flows that threaten to exceed the limits of the body. Cyberspace may be infinite, but cybertime is not. This intensification and expansion of technological dynamics and automatisms makes problematic the very possibility of collective subjectivation. Have we reached a stated where the immersive flows of information, affect, and desire act to dampen or even preempt the emergence of new collective subjects? Continue reading →

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Precarious Rhapsody

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Categories: Current Publications, Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi

Precarious Rhapsody: Semiocapitalism and the pathologies of post-alpha generation
by Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi

Edited by Erik Empson & Stevphen Shukaitis
Translated by Arianna Bove, Michael Goddard, Giuseppina Mecchia, Antonella Schintu, and Steve Wright

An infinite series of bifurcations: this is how we can tell the story of our life, of our loves, but also the history of revolts, defeats and restorations of order. At any given moment different paths open up in front of us, and we are continually presented with the alternative of going here or going there. Then we decide, we cut out from a set of infinite possibilities and choose a single path. But do we really choose? Is it really a question of a choice, when we go here rather than there?  Is it really a choice, when masses go to shopping centers, when revolutions are transformed into massacres, when nations enter into war? It is not we who decide but the concatenations: machines for the liberation of desires and mechanisms of control over the imaginary. The fundamental bifurcation is always this one: between machines for liberating desire and mechanisms of control over the imaginary. In our time of digital mutation, technical automatisms are taking control of the social psyche.

Franco Berardi Bifo is a contemporary writer, media-theorist and media-activist. He founded the magazine A/traverso (1975-1981) and was part of the staff of Radio Alice, the first free pirate radio station in Italy (1976-1978). He is author of numerous books, including Cyberpunk, The Panther and the Rhizome, Politics of Mutation, Philosophy and Politics in the Twilight of Modernity, and The Factory of Unhappiness. He is currently collaborating on the magazine Derive Approdi as well as teaching social history of communication at the Accademia di belle Arti in Milano. Continue reading →

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Affective Politics & the Imagination of Everyday Resistance

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Categories: Undercommons

Affective Politics & the Imagination of Everyday Resistance

Recently, “affect” has been a key concept for research in politics, aesthetics, marketing, neuroscience, and sociology. This course seeks to draw together some of the more innovative work within this “affective turn,” focusing on the political composition of subjectivities, especially via cultural practices.  After a survey of some conceptual foundations of affectivity, we explore its relation to group-formation, labor, technology, value, passions (fear, panic, trauma, joy, love), actions, and creativity. The course will feature guest speakers engaged in affective politics and involve group discussions on the affective nature of practices participants are involved in.

Bluestockings • 172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington, NYC •
$35 – 55 – 75 sliding scale
Wednesdays 4– 6 PM from July 15th – August 26th, 2009
Instructors: Jack Z. Bratich & Stevphen Shukaitis Continue reading →

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Strategies of Refusal

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Categories: Militant Research, Stevphen Shukaitis, Undercommons

Strategies of Refusal: Explorations in Autonomist Marxism

Since the publication of Hardt and Negri’s Empire new attention has been brought to a previously ignored current of revolutionary theory and practice, namely that of autonomist Marxism. The attention paid to readings of Negri have tended to neglect the vast wealth of engaged theoretical reflection contained within the history of autonomist thought and organizing from which Negri’s work emerges. The course will begin to explore this future behind our backs focusing on key concepts and practices with autonomst Marxism such as class composition analysis, spatial articulations and enclosures, mobility and exodus, the refusal of work, affective labor, biopower, communication and information theory, and current developments in autonomist organizing such as those around precarious labor. It will explore the writing of theorists as Mario Tronti, Paolo Virno, the Midnight Notes Collective, Harry Cleaver, Silvia Federici, Bifo, Leopoldina Fortunati, Ferrucio Gambino, Raniero Panzieri, Sandro Mezzadra, George Caffentzis, Maurizio Lazzarato, Mariarosa Dallacosta, Toni Negri, Félix Guattari, and Alisa Del Re. Having at least a working knowledge of Marxist concepts (and a willingness to critique them) would be very helpful. A majority of the reading will be made available electronically and/or in scanned form.

Bluestockings • 172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington, NYC •  • $25 – 50 sliding scale
Sundays 12 – 2 PM from October 9nd – December 4th, 2005
Instructors: Jack Z. Bratich & Stevphen Shukaitis

::Readings::
Readings are divided into core and supplementary readings. The core readings (noted with a star *, approximately 50 pages) will be used to form the basis of discussion of the topics for the given week. Supplementary readings are materials arguments will be drawn from and would be useful for pursuing particular topics further but are not necessary to read before discussion. Reading core materials is highly encouraged and will greatly aid in having engaging and intersting discussions.

::October 9th – Introduction / Overview::
*Gary Kinsman, “The Politics of Revolution: Learning from Autonomist Marxism” http://auto_sol.tao.ca/node/view/383
*Harry Cleaver. Reading Capital Politically (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1979), 3-66.
*Mario Tronti, “The Strategy of Refusal,” Italy: Autonomia. Post-political politics. Ed. Sylvere Lotringer and Christian Marazzi (Semiotext 1980), 28-35.

::October 16th – The Future Behind Our Backs::
*Sergio Bologna, “The Tribe of Moles,” Italy: Autonomia. Post-political politics. Ed. Sylvere Lotringer and Christian Marazzi (New York: Semiotext, 1980), 36-61.
*Patrick Cunninghame, “Autonomia in the 1970s: The Refusal of Work, the Party and Power”
*Michael Hardt, “Introduction: Laboratory Italy,” Radical Thought in Italy: A Potential Politics. Ed. Michael Hardt and Paolo Virno(Minneaplois, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 1-9.
*Steve Wright. Storming Heaven: Class Composition and Struggle in Italian Autonomist Marxism (London: Pluto Press, 2002)

::October 23rd – Enclosures//Exodus// Migrations//Lines of Flight::
*Midnight Notes, “The New Enclosures,” Midnight Oil: Work, Energy, War, 1973 – 1992 (Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 1992), 317-333.
*Sandro Mezzadra, “The Right to Escape,”ephemera Volume 4 Number 3 (August 2004), 267-275.
Antonio Negri, “Rupture Within Empire: The Power of Exodus,” TCS 2002
*Paolo Virno, “Vitruosity and Revoltuion: The Political Theory of Exodus,” Radical Thought in Italy: A Potential Politics. Ed. Michael Hardt and Paolo Virno. Trans. Ed Emery (Minneaplois, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 189-210.
Massimo De Angelis, “Marx and Primitive Accumulation: the Continous Character of Capital’s Enclosures,” The Commoner Number 2 (2001), 1-22.
John Holloway, “Capital Moves,” Revolutionary Writing: Common Sense Essays in Post-Political Politics. Ed. Werner Bonefeld (Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 2003), 161-169
Sandro Mezzadra, “Citizenship in Motion,” MakeWorlds
Marcus Rediker and Peter Lineabaugh, “The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, and the Atlantic Working Class in the Eighteenth Century,” Gone to Croatan: Origins of North American Dropout Culture. Ed. Ron Sakolsky and James Koehnline (Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 1993), 129-180.
Nicholas Thoburn, “The Hobo Anomalous: class, minorities and political invention in the Industrial Workers of the World,” Social Movement Studies Volume 2 Number 1 (2001): 61-84.

::October 30th – Constituent Power// Biopolitics// States of Exception::
*Giorgio Agamben, “What is a Camp?” Means Without End
*Michel Foucault. The History of Sexuality -section on biopolitcs
*Maurizio Lazzarato, “From Biopower to Biopolitics”
*Antonio Negri. Insurgenceis: Constituent Power and the Modern State. Trans. Maurizio Boscagli (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1999), 1-35.
Giorgio Agamben. Homo Sacer
Walter Benjamin, “Critique of Violence,” Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings. Trans. Edmund Jephcott (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1968), 277 – 300.
Jacques Derrida, “Force of Law: The ‘Mystical Foundation of Authority’,” Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice. Ed. Drucilla Cornell, Michel Rosenfeld, David Gray Carlson (New York: Routledge, 1992), 3- 67.
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, “Biopolitical Production,” Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 22-41.
Nikolas Rose, “The Politics of Life Itself,” Theory, Culture & Society 2001 Vol. 18(6): 1–30

::November 13th – Autonomist Feminism// Affective Labor//the Body::
*Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James. The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community (Bristol: Falling Wall Press, 1972)
*Alisa Del Re, “Women and Welfare: Where is Jocasta?” Radical Thought in Italy: A Potential Politics. Ed. Michael Hardt and Paolo Virno. Trans. Ed Emery (Minneaplois, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 99-113..
*Silvia Federici, “Introduction,” Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation (Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 2004), 11-19.
Leopoldina Fortunati.The Arcane of Reproction
Wages for Housework
“Development and Reproduction” – Mariarosa Dalla Costa
Caffentzis – On the Notion of a Crisis of Social Reprodction
Michael Hardt, “Affectivew Labor” boundary (1999)
Women, Development and Labour Reproduction: Issues of Struggles and Movements – Ed. The Dalla Costa sisters

::November 20th -Media//Information Flows//General Intellect::
*Nick Dyer-Witherford, “Intellects,” Cyber-Marx, Cycles and Circuits of Struggle in High-Technology Capitalism (Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1999), PAGES.
*Maurizio Lazzarato, “Immaterial Labor,” Radical Thought in Italy: A Potential Politics. Ed. Michael Hardt and Paolo Virno. Trans. Ed Emery (Minneaplois, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 133-147.
*Karl Marx, “Fragment on Machines,” Grundrisse. Translated Martin Nicolaus (London: Penguin Books, 1973), 690-712.
*Paolo Virno, “Notes on the General Intellect,” Marxism Beyond Marxism. Ed. Saree Makdisi, Cesare Casarino, and Rebecca E. Karl (New York: Routledge, 1996), 262-272.

::December 4th – Autonomism Today::
*Colectivo Situaciones, “Further Comments on Research Militancy. Footnotes on Procedures and (In)decisions,” ephemera. Trans. Nate Holdren and Sebastian Tsouza. Volume 5 Number 4 (forthcoming November 2005)
*Greenpepper Magazine. Precarity Issue
*Antonio Negri, “Twenty Theses on Marx: Interpretation of the Class Situation Today,” Marxism Beyond Marxism. Ed. Saree Makdisi, Cesare Casarino, and Rebecca E. Karl (New York: Routledge, 1996), 149-180.
*Paolo Virno, ‘Ten Theses on the Multitude and Post-Fordist Capitalism” from Grammar of the Multitude

::Materials::
Romano Alquati, “The Network of Struggles in Italy,”notes taken summarizing a presentation by Alquati in the late 1960s.
Guido Baldi, “Theses on the Mass Worker and Social Capital,” Radical America, vol.6, No.3, May-June 1972
Sergio Bologna, “Class Composition and the Theory of the Party at the Origin of the Workers Councils Movement,” The Labour Process & Class Strategies. Trans. Bruno Ramirez (London: Stage 1, 1976), 68-91.
Sergio Bologna, “The Tribe of Moles,” Italy: Autonomia. Post-political politics. Ed. Sylvere Lotringer and Christian Marazzi (New York: Semiotext, 1980), 36-61.
Harry Cleaver. Reading Capital Politically (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1979)
Lucio Colletti. From Rosseau to Lenin: Studies in Ideology and Society. Trans. John Merrington and Judith White (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1972)
Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James. The Power of Women and the Subversion of Community
Massimo De Angelis, “Marx and Primitive Accumulation: the Continous Character of Capital’s Enclosures,” The Commoner Number 2 (2001), 1-22.
Empire’s New Clothes: Reading Hardt and Negri. Ed. Paul Passavant and Jodi Dean (New York: Routledge, 2004)
ephemera Volume 4 Number 3 (August 2004), “Theory of the Multitude”
Silvia Federici. Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation(Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 2004)
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000)
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. Labor of Dionysus: Critique of State Form
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. Multitude: Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (New York: Penguin Press, 2004)
John Holloway, “In the Beginning Was the Scream,” Revolutionary Writing: Common Sense Essays in Post-Political Politics. Ed. Werner Bonefeld (Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 2003), 15-37.
Italy: Autonomia. Post-political politics. Ed. Sylvere Lotringer and Christian Marazzi (Semiotext 1980)
Midnight Notes Collective. Auroras of the Zapatistas: Local & Global Struggles of the Fourth World War (Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 2001)
Midnight Notes Collective. Midnight Oil: Work, Energy, War, 1973 – 1992 (Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 1992)
Anonio Negri and Felix Guattari. Communists Like Us. Trans. Michael Ryan (New York: Semiotext(e), 1990)
Antonio Negri. Insurgenceis: Constituent Power and the Modern State. Trans. MaurizioBoscagli (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1999)
Antonio Negri. Marx Beyond Marx: Lessons on the Grundrisse. Ed. Jim Fleming. Trans. Harry Cleaver, Michael Ryan, Maurizio Viano (Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 1991)
Antonio Negri. Negri on Negri: Antonio Negri in Conversation with Anne Dufourmantelle. Trans. M. B. DeVoise (New York: Routledge, 2004)
Antonio Negri. Time for Revolution. Trans. Matteo Mandarini (London: Continuum, 2003)
Toni Negri, “Keynes and the Capitalist Theory of the State Post-1929,” Revolution Retrieved: Selected Writings on Marx, Keynes & New Social Subjects 1967-1983. Ed. Ed Emery (London: Red Notes, 1988)
Raniero Panzieri, “Surplus Value and Planning: Notes on the Reading of Capital,” In The Labour Process and Class Strategies. CSE Pamphlet, No.1, London: Stage 1, 1976.
George Rawick, “Working Class Self-Activity,” Radical America ,Vol.3, No.2 (March-April 1969)
Red Notes. Working Class Autonomy and the Crisis: Italian Marxist Texts of Theory and Practice of a Class Movement, 1964 – 1979. Ed. Ed Emery (London: Red Notes Archive, 1979)
Tiziana Terranova. Network Culture: Politics and the Information Age (London: Pluto Books, 2004)
Nicholas Thoburn. Deleuze, Marx, and Politics (London: Routledge, 2003)
Mario Tronti, “The Strategy of Refusal,” Italy: Autonomia. Post-political politics. Ed. Sylvere Lotringer and Christian Marazzi (Semiotext 1980), 28-35.
-“Lenin in England”
-“Workers and Capital”
Paolo Virno. Grammar of the Multitude. Trans. Sylvčre Lotringer (New York: Semiotext(e), 2004)
Steve Wright. Storming Heaven: Class Composition and Struggle in Italian Autonomist Marxism (London: Pluto Press, 2002)
Zerowork Collective, “Introduction to Zerowork,” reprinted in Midnight Oil: Work, Energy, War, 1973 – 1992 (Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, [1975] 1992), 109-114.
John Zerzan, “The Revolt Against Work,” Telos 1974

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