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Paths to Autonomy

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Categories: Noah Bremer & Vaida Stepanovaite

Paths to Autonomy

Paths to Autonomy
Edited by Noah Bremer & Vaida Stepanovaite

Collection exploring the history and development of autonomous politics in Lithuania and Eastern Europe

A path is created when a direction is taken, its production marks the imbrication of personal choice, communal action and subhuman (structural, historical, ecological) conditionings. We are at the same time the makers of our paths and subject to the inheritance of paths we have made with others and which have arrived before our own makings. And just as class is not a static, abstract, transhistorical form, neither are the paths of its articulation as autonomous revolts of selves against capital – there are many paths to, for, and of autonomy. The autonomist tradition, that politically experimental effort to build autonomy within and against capitalism, has been intensely variegated from its inception in the 1970s. From an initial focus upon the question of proletarian autonomy, its paths have multiplied, bifurcated, and diffused. Following the legacies of decolonial and feminist autonomism, we would argue for an embrace of autonomy’s differences and bifurcations. We see not one path but many. A diffusion that not only amounts to the proliferation of oppositional subjects – i.e. a proliferation of the modes by which we refuse to be subjects for capital – but also of the geographies, ecologies, and temporalities that mediate the articulation of selves.

Paths to Autonomy began in 2020 as our effort to think these manifold paths through assemblies, talks and readings situated in the post-state socialist, Eastern European, context of Lithuania. For we, ourselves, begin in the East. It is the circumstance within and against which our path to autonomy is necessarily mediated. We, the present inheritors of state socialism’s experiments, catastrophes, and subterranean potentialities step into a future conditioned not only by its highways, nuclear plants, wars, and imperialist historiographies, but also by the manifold paths of autonomy, resistance, and rebellion that arose both within and against its territories. In Paths to Autonomy you will find excavations of this parallel history of Eastern autonomism; the opening of dialogues between militants in the East and the global autonomist movement; and some critical interventions in contemporary autonomist theory. Threaded throughout the book is a lexicon of concepts formed by contributors, which can be approached on one hand as a red thread – suggesting connections and affinities amidst notable differences – and on the other as a toolkit for the journeys and struggles that await us in the cultivation of paths to come.

Contributions by Katja Praznik, Stevphen Shukaitis, Marina Vishmidt, Roberto Mozzachiodi, Paweł Nowożycki, Agnė Bagdžiūnaitė, Emilija Švobaitė, and Vaida Stepanovaitė, Edward Abramowski and Bartłomiej Błesznowski, Airi Triisberg and Tomas Marcinkevičius, Ayreen Anastas, Rene Gabri, Arnoldas Stramskas, and Noah Brehmer.

Bio: Noah Brehmer is a militant researcher, editor, and union member who migrated from NYC to Lithuania in 2013. Currently based in Vilnius, Noah organizes a range of activities through the movement space Luna6 and is a co-coordinator of Solidarity Network Y?! (an emerging support network for comradely organizations in the region). In 2022, Brehmer cofounded Lost Property Press, with Vaida Stepanovaitė. Brehmer has published articles and essays in Blind Field Journal, LeftEast, Mute Magazine, Metropolis M, Artnews.lt, and OpenDemocracy. Continue reading →

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Dissemblage. Machinic Capitalism and Molecular Revolution

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Categories: Gerald Raunig

DIsassemblage

Dissemblage. Machinic Capitalism and Molecular Revolution
Gerald Raunig

Following Dividuum (2015), Gerald Raunig presents the second volume of “Machinic Capitalism and Molecular Revolution.” Dissemblage unfolds a wild abundance of material of unruliness, from the multilingual translation machines of Al-Andalus to the queer mysticism of the High Middle Ages, from the small voices of the falsetto in 20th century jazz and soul to today’s disjointures and subjunctures against the smooth city in machinic capitalism.

In this volume Gerald Raunig not only develops a conceptual ecology of concepts of joining and jointing, but also undertakes an experiment in theoretical form. Semi-fictional interweaves with meticulously researched historical sources, mystical writings with letters from friends, philosophical fragments with poetic ritornellos. More than a narrative about dissemblages from social surrounds, thing-worlds, and ghost-worlds, the book itself is a dividual multiplicity in form and content, out of joint, in the joints, dissemblage.

Bio: Gerald Raunig is philosopher at the Zurich University of the Arts and co-editor of the multilingual publishing platform transversal texts. He is the author of Art and Revolution and A Thousand Machines. Dissemblage is the second volume of “Machinic Capitalism and Molecular Revolution,” following up on the conceptual lines of its first volume, Dividuum.

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Kicks, Spits, and Headers

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Categories: Paolo Sollier, Stevphen Shukaitis

Kicks, Spits, and Headers

Kicks, Spits, and Headers. The Autobiographical Reflections of an Accidental Footballer
Paolo Sollier
Preface by Sandro Mezzadra
Translated by Steven Colatrella
Edited by Stevphen Shukaitis

Kicks, Spits, and Headers documents two years of football by a self-proclaimed accidental footballer. Coming of age during the student and worker revolt of the 1960s-1970s, the Italian ‘hot autumn,’ Paolo Sollier brought these countercultural energies and Marxist politics on to the football pitch, inadvertently becoming an icon along the way. Here he describes, in lucid and humorous prose, the challenges of trying make sense of and balance the tensions and contradictions between being a professional footballer and a political militant.

“A classic of radical football literature, finally available in English. This is a real treat that must not be missed. – Gabriel Kuhn, author of Soccer vs. the State: Tackling Football and Radical Politics

“Reading Kicks, Spits, and Headers today allows readers to explore from a specific viewpoint the landscape of politics and football in the turbulent 1970s in Italy. It also delivers us the fragmentary contours of a project that deserves to be translated onto the conditions of our present.” – Sandro Mezzadra, from the Preface

Bio: Paolo Sollier was a professional footballer in the 1970s, then manager in the amateur leagues. He is author of the bestseller Calci, Sputi e Colpi di Testa, first published in 1976 and here translated into English for the first time.

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Welcome Home

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Categories: Clarrie & Blanche Pope

Welcome Home

Welcome Home
Clarrie & Blanche Pope

Graphic novel about squatting, unrequited love and lost struggles, written with humor and driven by hope

Welcome Home

 A group of squatters occupy an empty flat in a condemned tower in London, aiming to unite their neighbors to resist the demolition. Weaving together confused memories, Welcome Home moves between the squat and our protagonist’s work in a care home.

The squatters aim to bring all the residents together to resist the tower’s demolition. But it’s not as easy as that. Rain is in love with her housemate Eva, who unfortunately happens to be her best friend’s girlfriend. She can’t stand Will and his try-hard activism, and is avoiding Yaz, who used to tease her at school and lives in the tower. Her life in the squat is repeatedly interrupted by her work in a care home where she has grown particularly close to Doris, a resident with dementia, who used to live in their flat. Through Doris’s stories we discover the history of the tower and another, older love triangle.

Shortlisted for the Myriad First Graphic Novel Prize, Welcome Home manages to deal with the heavy topics of urban regeneration, care homes, and dementia, while maintaining a light touch.

Bio: Welcome Home was written by sisters Clarrie and Blanche Pope, and is inspired by their experience in squatting and housing struggles, as well Blanche’s time spent working in care homes. They want to give readers insight into the class, race and gender politics involved in both through a humorous look at the way in which these issues affect the minutiae of people’s lives.

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All Incomplete

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Categories: Fred Moten, Stefano Harney

All Incomplete

All Incomplete
Stefano Harney and Fred Moten

Building on the ideas Harney and Moten developed in The Undercommons, All Incompleteextends the critical investigation of logistics, individuation and sovereignty. It reflects their chances to travel, listen and deepen their commitment to and claim upon partiality.

All Incomplete studies thehistory of a preference for the force and ground and underground of social existence. Engaging a vibrant constellation of thought that includes the work of Amilcar Cabral, Erica Edwards, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Cedric Robinson, Walter Rodney, Hortense Spillers and many others, Harney and Moten seek to share and understand that preference.

In so doing, Moten and Harney hope to have forged what Manolo Callahan, echoing Ivan Illich, calls a convivial tool that – despite the temptation to improve and demand, develop and govern, separate and grasp – helps us renew our habits of assembly.

All Incompletefeatures the work of award winning photographer Zun Lee, exploring and celebrating the everyday spaces of Black sociality, intimacy, belonging, and insurgency, and a preface by Denise Ferreira da Silva.

Bio:Stefano Harney and Fred Motenare authors of The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study. They are students of the black radical tradition and members of Le Mardi Gras Listening Collective. Zun Leecarves out communal spaces where Black storytelling can thrive. He often makes photographs to remind him how to be grateful. He tends to forget often. Denise Ferreira da Silva teaches at the University of British Columbia and is a member of Coletiva.

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Formless Formation

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Categories: Sandra Ruiz & Hypatia Vourloumis

Formless Formation

Formless Formation: Vignettes for the End of this World
Sandra Ruiz & Hypatia Vourloumis

Formless Formation is an experimental project conceived and co-authored by two performance theorists working in critical aesthetics and political thought. The book is an insurgent revolt, walking side by side with plural and planetary anticolonial forces organizing against debt, expropriative extractive capital, environmental catastrophe, and the militarized policing of people and borders. It is in direct conversation with all Indigenous, Black, Brown, ecological, feminist, queer, diasporic movements and struggles countering capitalist predatory formations across time and space. Through shared resonances across differing aesthetic-life-worlds and solidarities that bypass the nation-state, Ruiz and Vourloumis bring to the forefront performative and aesthetic practices and methods that address current and future social organizing.

“For artists, theorists, revolutionaries, activists and weirdos who are already performing aesthetic-life-worlds and reaching for the beyond in the here and now, Formless Formation is a must read! Ruiz and Vourloumis witness, celebrate, and conjoin without taking and without force. This double negation as skillful artistry extends greater dreaming space to all of us who are already so over it and also in the known unknown by way of radical praxis. This prescient co-authorship with its expansive archive and out of this world word couplings, associations, and relations will make you question the revolutionary potential of anything attributed to a single name. Following their sound, there is a trustworthy “we” at work and play that moves us to a more radical radicality. This is a capacious analysis beyond interdisciplinarity. It is how we fly, zoom, read, and dance to believe in belief yet again, which makes the inventive and experimental, a collective ours.” – Ruth Nicole Brown

“Formless Formation manages to be many things at once: theory, manifesto, astute analysis, and sharp critique. Working from a sprawling archive of sources across disciplines, Ruiz and Vourloumis mobilize a potent set of keywords in order to pinpoint and pry loose new modes of aesthetic and political engagement. As current as your twitter feed and as musical as your life, this exhilarating text traces how pivotal queer and BIPOC artists and activists sonify resistance, how resonant forms emerge from and within the noise, and how contemporary performance catalyzes other worlds.” – Vijay Iyer

Bio: Sandra Ruiz is the author of Ricanness: Enduring Time in Anticolonial Performance (NYU Press, 2019). Hypatia Vourloumis is the author of the forthcoming Paralinguistic Insurgencies: Indonesian Noise. They are alumni of the performance studies department at NYU, where they met as students. Continue reading →

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Climate Chaos. Making Art and Politics on a Dying Planet

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Categories: Neala Schleuning

Climate Chaos. Making Art and Politics on a Dying Planet
Neala Schleuning

Formulates an anarchist aesthetics exploring what art can mean in and do in the Anthropocene

Kant sought to contain the ancient fear and terror of the natural world in his concept of the sublime. He argued that with human reason we could safely confront an uncontrolled and powerful natural world. But today we no longer have the luxury of the Kantian sublime as we face the oppressive claustrophobic horror of drastic global climate change.

The earth itself is now threatened and livelihoods are more precarious. A new sublime incorporating the experience of awe and immensity – coupled with a profound respect for the presence of a great and unpredictable force of nature – can shape our response to the Anthropocene. Climate Chaosreassesses the Kantian sublime, opening up the opportunity to reconsider its dark side and our own fears, as we come face to face with the agency of nature beyond a rational response. Can we find ways to change our thinking, art, and politics to move beyond through the catastrophe of the present? A new aesthetics and a new political narrative of living in harmony with the earth is emerging.

Bio: Neala Schleuning is a writer and educator. She received her PhD in American Studies from the University of Minnesota in 1978 with an emphasis in political philosophy and intellectual history. Fulbright Scholar to the Russian Federation, she is the author of many articles, higher education policy papers, films and radio productions, and several books, including Artpolitik: Social Anarchist Aesthetics in an Age of Fragmentation (2013), America: Song We Sang Without Knowing(1983); Idle Hands and Empty Hearts: Work and Freedom in the United States(1990); Women, Community, and the Hormel Strike of 1985-86(1994); and To Have and to Hold: the Meaning of Ownership in the United States(1997). Continue reading →

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The Magneti Marelli Workers Committee – The “Red Guard” Tells Its Story (Milan, 1975-78)

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Categories: Emilio Mentasti

The Red Guard

The Magneti Marelli Workers Committee – The “Red Guard” Tells Its Story (Milan, 1975-78)
Emilio Mentasti

In a large factory in Milan in the mid-70s, a few dozen workers organized themselves against both the management and the unions in an autonomous Workers’ Political Committee. Soon, this “Red Guard” consisted of hundreds of workers fighting against layoffs and relocation. The Committee did not stay shut up within the walls of the factory. It participated in numerous other struggles, such as strikes and demonstrations, which were raging across the whole of Italy. Crucially, it took part in attempts to unify the movement of workers’ committees on a regional level. And it also participated in the radical struggle against inflation, where workers refused to pay ever increasing prices. This movement of autoreductionfamously inspired Dario Fo’s play Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!

Magneti Marelli was not the only factory in Italy to create autonomous workers’ organizations, but its Committee served as a reference for all the others because of its bold initiatives and its capacity to help workers in the surrounding smaller workplaces to benefit from its experience. Its exemplary fight was a vital part of the revolutionary struggle in Italy during the hot decade 1968-1979, and one that still contains important lessons for class struggle militants today.

Bio: Emilio Mentasti is a historian who has published several books on the history and organization of the autonomous workers movement in Italy.

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Ideas Arrangements Effects: Systems Design and Social Justice

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Categories: The Design Studio for Social Intervention

Ideas Arrangements Effects

Ideas Arrangements Effects: Systems Design and Social Justice
The Design Studio for Social Intervention
Foreword by Arturo Escobar

A guide for using design principles to inform and shape radical politics

 Ideas are embedded in social arrangements, which in turn produce effects.

With this simple premise, this radically accessible systems design bookmakes a compelling case for arrangementsas a rich and overlooked terrain for social justice and world building. Unpacking how ideas like racism and sexism remain sturdy by embedding themselves in everything from physical and social infrastructure to everyday speech and thought habits, this book gives readers the tools to sense, intervene in and imagine new arrangements. Using diverse examples from their work and others, DS4SI offers readers a roadmap for using social interventions to invite the larger public into imagining and creating a more just and vibrant world.

“Throughout their work, DS4SI strives to enact the principle that design is not just about problem-solving within existing paradigms and social orders, it is about world building, about imagining and constructing new territories of life and difference… This is design’s imagination at its best, the grounds for a genuinely transformative design praxis. It is a route to disclosing new worlds and bringing them into existence.” – Arturo Escobar, author of Designing the Pluriverse

“As we face this dire moment of climate change, tyranny, mass extinction and international war on the global scale, and poverty, housing shortages, and stagnant wages at home, we need tools that we can use to address these problems, and it can’t be just the same old tools we’ve been using all along. This is where this excellent guide to ideas-arrangements-effects comes in.” – Mindy Thompson Fullilove, author of Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do About It

Bio: The Design Studio for Social Intervention is dedicated to changing how social justice is imagined, developed and deployed in the United States. Situated at the intersections of design practice, social justice, public art, and popular engagement, DS4SI designs and tests social interventions with and on behalf of marginalized populations, controversies and ways of life.Founded in 2005 and based in Boston, DS4SI is a space where activists, artists, academics and the larger public come together to imagine new approaches to social change and new solutions to complex social issues. Continue reading →

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Red Days: Popular Music & the English Counterculture 1965-1975

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Categories: John Roberts

Red Days: Popular Music & the English Counterculture 1965-1975
John Roberts

Challenges the conventional narratives about English popular music and the counterculture of the late 1960s and early 1970s

The passion, intensity and complexity of the popular music produced in England between 1965-75 is the work of an extraordinary generation of working class and lower middle class men and women (in alliance with a handful of middle-class men and women) who saw in the new music the remaking of something bigger than themselves, or more precisely, something bigger than themselves that they could guide and shape and call their own. In this the ‘use-values’ of popular music underwent an unprecedented expansion and diversity during this period. Red Days presents how music and action, music and discourse, experienced a profound re-functioning as definitions of the popular unmoored themselves from the condescending judgements of post-1950s high culture and the sentiment of the old popular culture and the musicologically conformist rock ‘n’ roll seeking to displace it. The remaking of the popular between 1965-1975, accordingly, is more than a revision of popular taste, it is, rather, the demolition of old cultural allegiances and habits, as forces inside and outside of music shattered the assumption of popular music as the home for passive adolescent identifications.

Bio: John Roberts is Professor of Art & Aesthetics at the University of Wolverhampton. He is the author of a number of books, including, The Necessity of Errors (2010), Photography and Its Violations (2014), Revolutionary Time and the Avant-Garde(2015), Thoughts on an Index Not Freely Given(2016) and The Reasoning of Unreason: Universalism, Capitalism and Disenlightenment (2018).

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