> ! < on Thu, 18 Dec 2008 14:52:07 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> No Future

Since I've been reading a lot of (post)autonomist theory these days, this
essay did catch my eye, but it does an odd job of advancing a few touch-ups
on the theory of cognitive labour while, at the same time, seemingly turning
around to grasp after a discourse that doesn't seem to accurately describe
(or inspire) what is going on anymore.

> The number of registered students has been constantly increasing ever
> since the Second World War: this gives us a measure and an idea of how
> much it has changed, of how central it has become.

Sure, universities are everywhere and now every Western child is expected to
have a post-secondary degree. But the rise in numbers (quantitative change)
does not necessarily entail a change in status of the university
(qualitative change), a change that is moreover spatiogeographic to the
orbit of power (becoming a 'center'). Moreover, shouldn't we first propose &
analyze that the rise in numbers is more likely indicative of the rise in

And I have to ask, these days, what on earth if anything one can pinpoint,
in such a complicated apparatus as the flows of global capital, as the

While universities have certainly turned toward corporatization -- it would
be difficult not to notice that since their inception the university has
been hand-in-hand with the State, capital, religion, etc. -- to say the
university is 'central' to cognitive labour mistakenly posits a centre to
what is now globally networked capital, which is the whole point of pushing
this tidbit of Marx in the Grundrisse in the first place. There is nothing
'central' to cognitive labour save for knowledge production itself, which
both Negri (in Porcelain Workshop) and Marx muse is 'in the brain' of the
worker. What is central is each and every individual, which is where Negri's
theory of the multitude draws its strength: resistance is everywhere. To say
that the university is central mistakes the smoke for the fire, pinpointing
one rather minor site, even, in the global network of capital (I'm not even
sure 'capital' is the right term anymore).

Sure, I like universities, we like universities, we might want to defend the
damn institution, but to privilege it theoretically .. ?

> How are we to articulate the organizational practice of self-education
> when a physical outside does not exist? From where do we organize the
> threat? We need to find a new and public line of escape: a way to
> invent new weapons as Deleuze and Guattari (2004: 445) said, in a
> scenario that is no longer physical but becoming more and more time
> bound. We need to organize self-educational practices and workers
> self- management at a new level: at the level of the institution.

Yes, we all want self-education. But usually one needs resources: places,
spaces, connections, archives, access. The internet can't solve the problem
of collective radical education. I think any attempt at self-education
(given that we understand this really as collective radical education, as
pure auto-education via solipsism won't get you very far) is still
essentially bound to space, which is, to the 'physical' and the attempt to
separate time from the 'physical' is a truly confused project. The level of
the institution is the *first* level one organises, or can be, or at least
usually is (the workplace), and it is certainly anything but *new* (are you
kidding?), but rather is the very level itself which everyone from Plato's
Republic to Althusser's Institutional State Apparatuses seeks to get their
claws into .. 

Yay for autonomist theory, but let's rev the engines //

// <!>

> No Future
> Paolo Do
> from ephemera volume 8 number 3, "university, failed"
> (http://www.ephemeraweb.org )

tobias c. van Veen -----------++++ !
http://www.quadrantcrossing.org --
McGill Communication & Philosophy
resistance . through . rhythm .

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