Stevphen Shukaitis on Mon, 29 Dec 2008 11:10:58 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> No Future


Thought I would congeal a number of thoughts and responses to comments
made into one message... sorry for the slowness in responding, have
been busy with all sorts of family and holiday type things... Oh, and
before doing that, obviously I'm not Paolo so anything I'm saying is
my take on it, not his...

And that's important to point because while I quite appreciate recent
post-workerist writing on academic labor and the changing role of the
university (for instance as embodied in things like the edu-factory
project:, I don't entirely agree with
a number of suppositions that tend to get made by such projects. A
critical appreciation you might say. And that applies to this piece as

For instance, in particular, I worry about falling into a sort of
substitutionalist trap by wanting to see university as THE paradigm
and space of cognitive capitalist & post-fordist production. This
really only seems to be a necessary move to make when you're engaging
in some kind of strange Leninism (network Leninism?) where it becomes
necessary to identify the highest point of capitalist production in
order to identify the revolutionary subject that is consonant and
emergent within such conditions, and so forth and so on... Post-
workerism has really never rid itself of its Leninist roots and
at time that shows forth in a kind of nostalgia for a hegemonic
revolutionary subject or a strange return to a kind of stagist
conception of history (which someone like Virno admits to).

But, but it doesn't need to be that way, as it's possible to employ a
class compositional approach to university of workplace and space to
shape politics and and through without needing it to be paradigmatic.
And this is exactly the sort of thing that people like the Midnight
Notes Collective have been doing for years, and is quite useful to go
about through things like always keeping reproductive and affective
labor in the framework (thanks for bringing that out as an important
area of focus, it often gets lost it seems). Incidentally, here's
my take on questions of affective labor and social reproduction and
building a politics that takes such questions as a starting point:

Having said that, piece does seem to reflect a particular Italian
experience, but not necessarily a bad thing. Written several months
ago, and perhaps given university occupation and current struggles is
not wildly optimistic but rather just reflects different conditions.
This is exactly the sort of thing that came up for me when we had
a release event for the epehemera issue this is from, that the
experience of UK universities are far different. And likely quite
different in many other places, although the recent occupation of the
New School and the gains there are quite interesting in how they are
somewhat anomalous from how things seems to go the in US.

As for the question about centers... well, I think one can say that
something is more central without saying that is is the center. So
one can say that global capitalism is polycentric and the university
has came to play a more central role in networks and circuits of
value production without saying that is the center itself. This is
similar to saying that something is important to consider and work
with/ through but without saying that its the paradigmatic space. The
question is what this increased centrality would mean for composing a
radical politics around it. Or for that matter even if such centrality
is not the case you still have the same question, which is what the
potentiality of a space, composition of forces and social relations,
enables or does not enable for movement building. And that's why I
value things like this essay and related projects, for given some
tools for thinking through such things, even if the answers provided
have not always been totally convincing in and of themselves.


On 20 Dec 2008, at 16:17, > ! wrote:

> Hmm,
> If one proposes to 'simply act', I'm not sure how a highly theoretical
> discourse of the Other will get anyone very far in acting upon  
> pedagogy. But
> simple action isn't ever that simple, is it?

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