recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : 1968   32

From the archive: Bayview Hunters Point Community Support S.F. State Strike | December, 1968 - YouTube
"KQED news footage from December 4, 1968 featuring the African American community of Bayview Hunters Point at San Francisco State College, supporting the Black Students Union and Third World Liberation Front in their efforts to establish a college of Ethnic Studies.

Includes scenes of Eloise Westbrook and Ruth Williams speaking to enthusiastic crowds. Westbrook emphasizes that: "I want you to know I'm a black woman, I'm a mother and I have 15 grandchildren. And I want a college that I can be proud of! ... I only have but one life to give children, when I die I'm dead. And you'd better believe it. But I'm dying for the rights of people." Williams exclaims: "I'm from the ghetto community and at the sound of my voice, when I rise up just about the masses of Hunters Point rises up too! So I am, I am supporting the Black Students Union, the World Liberation group 100 per cent!"

There are also views of Adam Rogers and Sylvester Brown marching with students on campus and standing with other community leaders like Dr. Carlton Goodlett, Rev. Cecil Williams, Ron Dellums and a young Danny Glover.

Part of the KQED collection of the Bay Area TV Archive at SF State University: https://diva.sfsu.edu/collections/sfbatv "
sfsu  1968  sanfrancisco  history  eloisewestbrook  ruthwilliams  ethnicstudies  protest  activism  kqed  adamrogers  sylvsterbrown  carltongoodlett  ceciwilliams  strikes  rondellums  dannyglover  blackstudentsunion  hunterspoint  colleges  universities  highereducation  highered  education  race 
february 2019 by robertogreco
Review: 'Ready to Burst' by Franketienne - Chicago Tribune
"This is the book of an intellectual, French and Haitian style, filled with ideas, politics, snatches of conversations, contemporary retellings of folktales. Zombies, unnamed, stalk through its pages. Engrossing as all this is, it's right to be wary of a book that opens with this declaration: "I no longer worry about what I write. I simply write. Because I must. Because I'm suffocating. I write anything. Any way."

Here, back in 1968, Frankétienne is making his declaration against writing as a trade or business. For him, writing is a mission and a doctrine with a name: Spiralism, which he created in the mid-1960s along with two other highly regarded Haitian writers, Jean-Claude Fignolé and René Philoctète, all of whom were persecuted by Papa Doc's regime, like all members of the intelligentsia who did not come to heel. Described in somewhat ecstatic terms in the novel, both by an unnamed first person narrator and later, at greater length, by Paulin, Spiralism seems, to our contemporary minds, antiquated or wacky, like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Spiritualism. But it is much more rigorous than that, and much closer to a literary theory and an aesthetic movement.

"Spiralism," the narrator tells us on the very first page, "defines life … not in a closed circuit, but tracing the path of a spiral. So rich that each new curve, wider and higher than the one before, expands the arc of one's vision." Whenever friends converse in these pages, we get a real sense of the intellectual and political ferment of the 1960s as it touched Haiti, from which the idea of Spiralism grew.

The narrator describes Spiralism also as a kind of "explosive vertigo," and that's how the reader feels as he or she follows Raynand walking to the wharf, or traveling out of the country to the Bahamas (briefly), or as he sails back to Haiti, or coming upon a political rally, or being hurled into prison, or ending upon his sickbed. Raynand walks everywhere because, he says, walking is "his sole and apparent freedom" in a book where Haiti is depicted as a sort of grand, inescapable penitentiary.

The book has the occasional stylistic flaws of its era ("Electricity. Mechanics. Ballistics. And from end to end, the tragicomedy of History. Vast circus of dwarves and clowns"). But the sinewy strength of the rest of the work pushes the reader beyond those fragmentary bits onward to an appreciation of the artistic whole. Frankétienne can bore you with a few paragraphs of blather on Spiralism and then stun you with simple language like this: "(He) carefully sparks the purple flame of a lovely little yellow lighter." Often, when reading a wild, passionate, exotic and surreal passage about a crowd or a scene or a landscape, I felt the pang of surprised recognition. You feel, too, as you will if you've ever been to actual Haiti, that you've gotten lost inside a fantastic and writhing Haitian painting. (Frankétienne is also a painter and a playwright.)

Those Haitian paintings, of markets, of crowds, of Vodou ceremonies, and other aspects of Haitian daily life, are timeless, and so is the Haiti Frankétienne describes, both for better and for worse. Timeless is Haiti's undercurrent of revolution. Timeless are its elite's pronouncements about the dignity of the individual. Timeless, too, is the appearance of the spiritual world in the world of daily life.

Equally persistent, unfortunately, are the untreated malaria, the abandoned children treated as slaves, the terminal tuberculosis, the lifelong unemployment, the degradation of women, the useless and corrupt government, the inconclusive political unrest, the endless ineffective blah blah blah (actually a phrase in Haitian Creole) of the Haitian intellectual class — all liabilities of a country that in the last half century and more has experienced the inroads of globalization as the direst of poverty.

We are so lucky, and Frankétienne is so lucky, that Kaiama L. Glover has come along to translate his works into English and to give Spiralism the international attention it deserves as a historic Caribbean literary movement.

I interviewed Frankétienne in 1986, when I first arrived in Haiti. I had no idea what he was talking about then and couldn't get over the fact that he had put his two names together. Thinking back on it, I'm sure he was talking about regime change and Spiralism. And now, having finally, belatedly, read "Ready to Burst," I know what he meant."
frankétienne  1968  2014  books  haiti  spiralism  amywilentz 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Mexico 68 - 99% Invisible
"The clear iconography of the Metro system is a reminder of a complicated and sometimes terrible period in Mexico City’s history. It’s a simple design that invites you to explore the massive and complex metropolis. It is a graphic design system that assures that, if you get lost, no matter where you’re from, or what language you speak, you can find your way around, and see the city for yourself."

[See also: http://www.hermanmiller.com/why/talking-pictures.html ]
design  graphicdesign  1968  olympics  mexico  graphics  mexicocity  df  mexicodf  lancewyman  petermurdoch  opart  art  history  typography  luiscastañeda  color  mexico68  government  civics  metro  transportation  subways  worldcup  1970  tolisten 
june 2017 by robertogreco
California Trip • Dennis Stock • Magnum Photos
"Dennis Stock’s remarkable 99 black-and-white photographs are the result of the author’s travels through the unique state of California during the1960s. Traversing the state from Sacramento to San Diego, Stock says of this collection, “Even though I found the sun and fog, sand and Sierras which conveyed a firm image of stark reality, the mother vision of life, the state seemed unreal. The people were conducting layers and dimensions of life that unsettled me. Surrealism was everywhere, the juxtapositions of relative levels of reality projected chaos. For the young man with traditional concerns for a spiritual and aesthetic order, California seemed too unreal. I ran.”

This classic photo essay on California captures the contrasts of the state and its people, from the mountains of the Sierras to the sands of the coast, from the people on a spiritual quest to those doing research at the cutting-edge of technology, all during time of intense political, cultural and social exploration in America’s history."
california  1968  photography  dennisstock  sacramento  sandiego  losangeles  venicebeach  novato  santamonica  coronadelmar  monterey 
january 2017 by robertogreco
John Berger: The Nature of Mass Demonstrations (Autumn 1968)
"Seventy years ago (on 6 May 1898) there was a massive demonstration of workers, men and women, in the centre of Milan. The events which led up to it involve too long a history to treat with here. The demonstration was attacked and broken up by the army under the command of General Beccaris. At noon the cavalry charged the crowd: the unarmed workers tried to make barricades: martial law was declared and for three days the army fought against the unarmed.

The official casualty figures were 100 workers killed and 450 wounded. One policeman was killed accidentally by a soldier. There were no army casualties. (Two years later Umberto I was assassinated because after the massacre he publicly congratulated General Beccaris, the ‘butcher of Milan.’)

I have been trying to understand certain aspects of the demonstration in the Corso Venezia on 6 May because of a story I am writing. In the process I came to a few conclusions about demonstrations which may perhaps be more widely applicable.

Mass demonstrations should be distinguished from riots or revolutionary uprisings although, under certain (now rare) circumstances, they may develop into either of the latter. The aims of a riot are usually immediate (the immediacy matching the desperation they express): the seizing of food, the release of prisoners, the destruction of property. The aims of a revolutionary uprising are long-term and comprehensive: they culminate in the taking over of State power. The aims of a demonstration, however, are symbolic: it demonstrates a force that is scarcely used.

A large number of people assemble together in an obvious and already announced public place. They are more or less unarmed. (On 6 May 1898, entirely unarmed.) They present themselves as a target to the forces of repression serving the State authority against whose policies they are protesting.

Theoretically demonstrations are meant to reveal the strength of popular opinion or feeling: theoretically they are an appeal to the democratic conscience of the State. But this presupposes a conscience which is very unlikely to exist.

If the State authority is open to democratic influence, the demonstration will hardly be necessary; if it is not, it is unlikely to be influenced by an empty show of force containing no real threat. (A demonstration in support of an already established alternative State authority – as when Garibaldi entered Naples in 1860 – is a special case and may be immediately effective.)

Demonstrations took place before the principle of democracy was even nominally admitted. The massive early Chartist demonstrations were part of the struggle to obtain such an admission. The crowds who gathered to present their petition to the Tsar in St Petersburg in 1905 were appealing – and presenting themselves as a target – to the ruthless power of an absolute monarchy. In the event – as on so many hundreds of other occasions all over Europe – they were shot down.

It would seem that the true function of demonstrations is not to convince the existing State authority to any significant degree. Such an aim is only a convenient rationalisation.

The truth is that mass demonstrations are rehearsals for revolution: not strategic or even tactical ones, but rehearsals of revolutionary awareness. The delay between the rehearsals and the real performance may be very long: their quality – the intensity of rehearsed awareness – may, on different occasions, vary considerably: but any demonstration which lacks this element of rehearsal is better described as an officially encouraged public spectacle.

A demonstration, however much spontaneity it may contain, is a created event which arbitrarily separates itself from ordinary life. Its value is the result of its artificiality, for therein lies its prophetic, rehearsing possibilities.

A mass demonstration distinguishes itself from other mass crowds because it congregates in public to create its function, instead of forming in response to one: in this, it differs from any assembly of workers within their place of work – even when strike action is involved – or from any crowd of spectators. It is an assembly which challenges what is given by the mere fact of its coming together.

State authorities usually lie about the number of demonstrators involved. The lie, however, makes little difference. (It would only make a significant difference if demonstrations really were an appeal to the democratic conscience of the State.) The importance of the numbers involved is to be found in the direct experience of those taking part in or sympathetically witnessing the demonstration. For them the numbers cease to be numbers and become the evidence of their senses, the conclusions of their imagination. The larger the demonstration, the more powerful and immediate (visible, audible, tangible) a metaphor it becomes for their total collective strength.

I say metaphor because the strength thus grasped transcends the potential strength of those present, and certainly their actual strength as deployed in a demonstration. The more people there are there, the more forcibly they represent to each other and to themselves those who are absent. In this way a mass demonstration simultaneously extends and gives body to an abstraction. Those who take part become more positively aware of how they belong to a class. Belonging to that class ceases to imply a common fate, and implies a common opportunity. They begin to recognise that the function of their class need no longer be limited: that it, too, like the demonstrations itself, can create its own function.

Revolutionary awareness is rehearsed in another way by the choice and effect of location. Demonstrations are essentially urban in character, and they are usually planned to take place as near as possible to some symbolic centre, either civic or national. Their ‘targets’ are seldom the strategic ones – railway stations, barracks, radio stations, airports. A mass demonstration can be interpreted as the symbolic capturing of a city or capital. Again, the symbolism or metaphor is for the benefit of the participants.

The demonstration, an irregular event created by the demonstrators, nevertheless takes place near the city centre, intended for very different uses. The demonstrators interrupt the regular life of the streets they march through or of the open spaces they fill. They ‘cut off these areas, and, not yet having the power to occupy them permanently, they transform them into a temporary stage on which they dramatise the power they still lack.

The demonstrators’ view of the city surrounding their stage also changes. By demonstrating, they manifest a greater freedom and independence – a greater creativity, even although the product is only symbolic – than they can ever achieve individually or collectively when pursuing their regular lives. In their regular pursuits they only modify circumstances; by demonstrating they symbolically oppose their very existence to circumstances.

This creativity may be desperate in origin, and the price to be paid for it high, but it temporarily changes their outlook. They become corporately aware that it is they or those whom they represent who have built the city and who maintain it. They see it through different eyes. They see it as their product, confirming their potential instead of reducing it.

Finally, there is another way in which revolutionary awareness is rehearsed. The demonstrators present themselves as a target to the so-called forces of law and order. Yet the larger the target they present, the stronger they feel. This cannot be explained by the banal principle of ‘strength in numbers,’ any more than by vulgar theories of crowd psychology. The contradiction between their actual vulnerability and their sense of invincibility corresponds to the dilemma which they force upon the State authority.

Either authority must abdicate and allow the crowd to do as it wishes: in which case the symbolic suddenly becomes real, and, even if the crowd’s lack of organisation and preparedness prevents it from consolidating its victory, the event demonstrates the weakness of authority. Or else authority must constrain and disperse the crowd with violence: in which case the undemocratic character of such authority is publicly displayed. The imposed dilemma is between displayed weakness and displayed authoritarianism. (The officially approved and controlled demonstration does not impose the same dilemma: its symbolism is censored: which is why I term it a mere public spectacle.) Almost invariably, authority chooses to use force. The extent of its violence depends upon many factors, but scarcely ever upon the scale of the physical threat offered by the demonstrators. This threat is essentially symbolic. But by attacking the demonstration authority ensures that the symbolic event becomes an historical one: an event to be remembered, to be learnt from, to be avenged.

It is in the nature of a demonstration to provoke violence upon itself. Its provocation may also be violent. But in the end it is bound to suffer more than it inflicts. This is a tactical truth and an historical one. The historical role of demonstrations is to show the injustice, cruelty, irrationality of the existing State authority. Demonstrations are protests of innocence.

But the innocence is of two kinds, which can only be treated as though they were one at a symbolic level. For the purposes of political analysis and the planning of revolutionary action, they must be separated. There is an innocence to be defended and an innocence which must finally be lost: an innocence which derives from justice, and an innocence which is the consequence of a lack of experience.

Demonstrations express political ambitions before the political means necessary to realise them have been created. Demonstrations predict the realisation of their own ambitions and thus may contribute to that realisation, but they cannot themselves achieve them.

The … [more]
johnberger  demonstrations  1968  revolution  massdemonstrations  assembly  democracy  rehearsal  resistance  awareness  practice  authority  authoritarianism  civics  change  law  order  organization  violence 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Missionary, Go Home! | Lapham’s Quarterly
[referencing: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:e3995e7d6a26 ]

"It has become a rite of passage for privileged young Americans to spend a year abroad doing service projects—installing toilets, teaching English, and purveying other rudiments of progress. For many of those embarking on such journeys, there is a further rite of passage: reading the text of a 1968 speech by Monsignor Ivan Illich, a Catholic priest. Illich’s speech usually appears under the title “To Hell with Good Intentions,” after one of its most telling passages. Illich’s argument was an assault on the idea that affluent Americans have any help worth offering poor people abroad—in this case, in Mexico. Attempts to help, said Illich, do more harm than good.

Illich delivered his address in Chicago at a regional meeting of the Conference on Interamerican Student Projects, which was populated by organizers from groups that sent young people abroad for service. They represented the spirit of benevolent expansionism that President Kennedy had promoted at the start of the decade through programs like the Peace Corps and, for Latin America in particular, the Alliance for Progress.

At the time, too, Illich’s Catholic Church was joining in the excitement. From the pope on down, there was an initiative underway for sending 40,000 foot soldiers—a full 10 percent of then-plentiful U.S. priests and nuns, along with lay volunteers—to serve their poorer and less well-catechized neighbors in Latin America. Missionaries would carry out charitable works while lovingly upgrading native religiosity with European doctrines and devotions. Such missionizing aligned neatly with the imperatives of the Cold War—a holy complement to the continuing dirty wars against godless communism.

Before his prepared remarks, Illich began by lamenting the “hypocrisy” he had observed at the conference among those now seated before him. He was impressed, he said, that the young people in the audience already knew, based on past expeditions, that their efforts would probably not be especially helpful, and that most well-intended volunteer activities result in nothing like their promises and ambitions for those they purport to serve. And yet his hearers were still planning to send more gringos south.

“I did not come here to argue,” Illich went on to say. “I am here to tell you, if possible to convince you, and hopefully, to stop you, from pretentiously imposing yourselves on Mexicans.”

This rebuke—to the credit of the meeting’s planners—could not have been entirely unexpected. At the time Illich was among the Catholic Church’s most brilliant and irascible clergymen. He was the son of a Jewish mother and a Croatian father, an ancestry that compelled him to leave his home in Austria soon after the rise of Nazism. He studied in Rome for a career at the Vatican, but afterward moved to New York City and took a poor Puerto Rican parish in Washington Heights. His success there made him the church’s go-to man for tutoring American priests assigned to Spanish-speaking parishes. By the mid-1950s, he’d been dispatched to Puerto Rico to run an institute for that purpose.

At first, Illich held out hope for the church’s expansion of the missionary project. A 1956 speech, “Missionary Poverty,” described the vocation of the missionary as a worthy exercise in self-abnegation. A missionary “has to become indifferent to the cultural values of his home,” Illich said. “He has to become very poor in a very deep sense.” Even this modest, ascetic kind of optimism faded, however. Clashes with the Irish American bishops who governed the church in Puerto Rico caused him to flee and start a more radical teaching center in Cuernavaca, Mexico, which would eventually become the Centro Intercultural de Documentación.

According to an unpublished memoir by Father Paul Mayer, who knew Illich in New York and Cuernavaca, “Ivan believed that U.S. missionaries would (even unwittingly) be neo-colonialist emissaries and bring North American values, theology, ideology, and politics to the people of Latin America under the guise of preaching the Gospel.” In the last years of his life, Mayer—also a Jewish refugee from Nazism who became a troublesome Catholic priest—remembered Illich’s presence in his Cuernavaca seminars. “Although a good-hearted man by temperament, he did not hesitate to resort to ruthlessness in these dialogues,” he wrote.

Illich’s clash with Catholic missionary policy is the subject of a new book, The Prophet of Cuernavaca: Ivan Illich and the Crisis of the West by historian Todd Hartch. It describes the process by which Illich leveraged his reputation as the Latin American church’s foremost educator of linguistic and cultural fluency for a kamikaze mission against the very effort he was supposed to be serving. In part thanks to his writing and teaching at Cuernavaca, the missionary initiative fell far short of its ambitions. His attacks on the missionary project came at a cost; by the end of the 1960s, his relationship with the Vatican had soured to the point that he renounced the public office of clergyman, even while remaining—privately, spiritually, and canonically—a priest.

Hartch faults Illich for not giving Catholic missionaries more of a chance to learn cultural sensitivity, to do real good abroad, and to bring their lessons home. He also challenges Illich for opposing a policy promulgated by the church, to which he always claimed allegiance. “Even the trickle of missionaries who did serve in Latin America has provided its share of critics of American culture, politics, and religion,” Hartch writes. “Imagine if there were a thousand more such people active in American life today.”

Illich, however, was not a patient or liberal reformer, and he never sought to be. Alongside his battles against missionizing, he published widely discussed tracts that took aim at the period’s favorite manifestations of progress—such as Deschooling Society, against compulsory education, and Medical Nemesis, against institutional medicine. His polemics displayed little interest in merely “moving the needle,” as philanthropists are apt to say nowadays. He refused to compromise with whatever appeared newer, bigger, richer, and better, and he sought to smash these in order that smaller and older forms might grow in the cracks. As a passionate educator and disciplined yoga practitioner, Illich was not opposed to structured learning or physical health as such; what distressed him was when the institutions meant to provide such things become so powerful that they deny people’s freedom to define what education means, or what health consists of, for themselves. So also with the church. A church for the poor, he thought, is no longer that when its missionaries are also ambassadors of American affluence.

“By becoming an ‘official’ agency of one kind of progress,” Illich wrote in 1967, “the Church ceases to speak for the underdog. We must acknowledge that missioners can be pawns in a world ideological struggle and that it is blasphemous to use the Gospel to prop up any social or political system.”

Illich’s outlook, among other neglected and worthy tendencies in the Catholic past, finds fresh vindication in the era of Pope Francis. Illich made efforts to cultivate theologies grown out of the distinct experience of Latin American Catholicism. In 1964, for instance, he organized a meeting in Brazil among theologians who would soon go on to become the framers of liberation theology. Notwithstanding a recent spate of claims in the conservative Catholic press that the movement was an invention of the KGB, this was a theology of Latin America, by Latin Americans. Francis, the first Latin American pope, recognizes liberation theology’s best impulses as such; one of those who attended Illich’s meeting in Brazil, Gustavo Gutiérrez, has recently been invited to speak at the Vatican after many years of disgrace. Since his tenure as archbishop of Buenos Aires, the pope has insisted the church should learn from the devotional practices of the marginalized, not try to stamp them out.

The usual logic of philanthropy assumes that a person who has accumulated wealth and expertise is qualified to know what is best for others. Who could be better equipped than Mark Zuckerberg to decide how poor people use the Internet? Or Bill Clinton to promote democracy abroad? Sending affluent teenagers to developing countries helps accustom the givers and recipients alike to the resulting unidirectional flow of aid. This habit, and its corollaries, Illich sought to break.

Many of the Illich’s followers today are more secular than ostensibly Catholic. I once met a Mexican abortion provider, for instance, who cited him as an influence; an arts organization in Puerto Rico, Beta-Local, runs a school named after him. But Illich’s contempt toward the development agenda of the wealthy represents, it seems, an essentially Christian kind of faith that the meek should inherit the earth—and that we have more to learn from them than from the rich.

“Come to look, come to climb our mountains, to enjoy our flowers,” he said at the end of his 1968 speech in Chicago. “Come to study. But do not come to help.”"
ivanillich  servicelearning  nathanschneider  charitableindustrialcomplex  colonialism  imperialism  philanthropy  missions  whitesaviors  education  hypocrisy  catholicchurch  missionaries  toddhartch  popefrancis  latinamerica  mexico  beta-local  development  decolonization  1968  2016  1967  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  capitalism  power  control 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Art + tech (13 Oct., 2015, at Interconnected)
"There's something about art + tech which is niggling at me. The process I'm interested in is when a technology organisation commissions or supports art as a way to understand itself.

I don't quite understand this itch or why I've got it, so I've spent a day looking at examples."
mattwebb  art  design  technology  1951  belllabs  1960s  1990s  lilianschwartz  rachelduckhouse  kitchens  amtrak  randcorporation  1971  andywarhol  advertising  marketing  davidchoe  eames  eamesoffice  2011  1968  electricobjects  eo1  brendandawes  mailchimp 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Rochdale College - Wikipedia
"Opened in 1968, Rochdale College was an experiment in student-run alternative education and co-operative living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It provided space for 840 residents in a co-operative living space. It was also a free university where students and teachers would live together and share knowledge. The project ultimately failed when it could not cover its financing and neighbours complained that it had become a haven for drugs and crime. It was closed in 1975."

[See also:

Rochdale College Tapes Part I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2Wj_ZormPY

Rochdale College Tapes Part II
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW9EnDnsT_U

Rochdale College Tapes Part III
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beFJ44d0xgA

High Society - Rochdale College [1of2]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8w72uUB4rUg

High Society - Rochdale College [2of2]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaimOfvMF4A ]
1968  1960s  1970s  colleges  freeschools  freeuniversities  toronto  canada  education  unschooling  deschooling  community  alternative  lcproject  openstudioproject  via:maryannecasasanta 
july 2015 by robertogreco
I Had A Scheme | MORNING, COMPUTER
"Last night I dreamed of being able to curate a hub on Medium that was nothing but the confluence between the apocalyptic, the technological, the numinous, the archaic and the future. A Black Mountain College of the next new normal. Which is basically the space I’m thinking within all the time right now. I’m feeling very apocalyptic. I’m feeling like I want to explore it. In 1968, the year I was born, NEW WORLDS magazine ran a cover that contained a black-on-near-black graphic and the white text WHAT IS THE EXACT NATURE OF THE CATASTROPHE? The answer is both ahead and behind. Half of my brain is in deep time at present. I have a book on my shelf entitled APOCALYPTIC WITCHCRAFT.

“The Wild Hunt as living experience” is a phrase on the back cover.

(God, what if it’s just The New Hauntology? “We are as ghosts and might as well get good at it.”)

I’m a little worried about turning into the ghost of Terence McKenna and rattling on about The Archaic Revival for the rest of my days.

Anyway. I woke up and I was still poor, so I know it was a dream."

[Post referenced here too: http://morning.computer/2014/10/the-university-of-disaster/

"“Science itself is on the verge of a systemic crash, a philosophical coma. In the face of this crash, I suggested creating a “university of disaster”…”

That’s from THE ADMINISTRATION OF FEAR by Paul Virilio. Connects to “a Black Mountain College of the next new normal.” Imagine if the Health Goth look became, in response to First World Ebola, the street-level iteration of the medieval “plague doctor” look, jumping right past cheap hazmat suits. Extinction Symbol connects to Health Goth by its stark black-on-white nature. The symbol leaps out at you on streets, but may not look so out of place in hospitals. Rewilding becomes a reaction, not an active response, to First World Ebola because the African hot zone where this latest outbreak originates is so wild and unmanaged that WHO has to state that its infection stats should be speculatively multiplied by three, due to the simple fact that they can’t get reportage out of a significant chunk of the region. You may indeed want to go back to the woods when our cities become viral incubators, but that really just means that nobody will know who you’re spreading diseases to. The cities are where the medical care is. Unfortunately, people fly into them from all over the place, and so Bruce Sterling’s notion that cities will be filled with old people who are afraid of the sky takes on a whole new meaning. And suddenly we’re living in the old BBC tv series SURVIVORS from 1975, a prime year in classical British hauntology.

Someone just prototyped a litmus paper test for Ebola over the weekend. Virilio contends that “speed” is the defining element of the present-day condition. Speed as agency of fear.

Still just thinking out loud here."]
warrenellis  2014  bmc  blackmountaincollege  1968  witchcraft  hauntology  magic  petergrey  terenecemckenna  paulvirilio  extinction  speed  fear  ebola  rewilding 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Empires Revolution of the Present - marclafia
"The film and online project brings together international philosophers, scientists and artists to give description and analysis to the contemporary moment as defined by computational tools and networks.

It states that networks are not new and have been forever with us in the evolution of our cities, trade, communications and sciences, in our relations as businesses and nation states, in the circulation of money, food, arms and our shared ecology.

Yet something has deeply changed in our experience of time, work, community, the global. Empires looks deeply to unravel how we speak to the realities of the individual and the notion of the public and public 'good' in this new world at the confluence of money, cities, computation, politics and science."

[Film website: http://www.revolutionofthepresent.org/ ]

[Trailer: https://vimeo.com/34852940 ]
[First cut (2:45:05): https://vimeo.com/32734201 ]

[YouTube (1:21:47): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaTw5epW_QI ]

"Join the conversation at http://www.revolutionofthepresent.org

Summary: The hope was that network technology would bring us together, create a "global village," make our political desires more coherent. But what's happened is that our desires have become distributed, exploded into images and over screens our eyes relentlessly drop to view.

REVOLUTION OF THE PRESENT examines the strange effects — on cities, economies, people — of what we might call accelerated capitalism. Set against a visually striking array of sounds and images, 15 international thinkers speak to the complexity and oddity of this contemporary moment as they discuss what is and what can be.

Documentary Synopsis:
Humanity seems to be stuck in the perpetual now that is our networked world. More countries are witnessing people taking to the streets in search of answers. Revolution of the Present, the film, features interviews with thought leaders designed to give meaning to our present and precarious condition. This historic journey allows us to us re-think our presumptions and narratives about the individual and society, the local and global, our politics and technology. This documentary analyzes why the opportunity to augment the scope of human action has become so atomized and diminished. Revolution of the Present is an invitation to join the conversation and help contribute to our collective understanding.

As Saskia Sassen, the renowned sociologist, states at the outset of the film, 'we live in a time of unsettlement, so much so that we are even questioning the notion of the global, which is healthy.' One could say that our film raises more questions than it answers, but this is our goal. Asking the right questions and going back to beginnings may be the very thing we need to do to understand the present, and to move forward from it with a healthy skepticism.

Revolution of the Present is structured as an engaging dinner conversation, there is no narrator telling you what to think, it is not a film of fear of the end time or accusation, it is an invitation to sit at the table and join an in depth conversation about our diverse and plural world."

[See also: http://hilariousbookbinder.blogspot.com/2014/09/rethinking-internet-networks-capitalism.html ]

[Previously:
https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:ec1d3463d74b
https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:9f60604ec3b3 ]
marclafia  networks  philosophy  politics  science  money  cities  scale  economics  capitalism  2014  kazysvarnelis  communication  communications  business  work  labor  psychology  greglindsay  saskiasassen  urban  urbanism  freedom  freewill  howardbloom  juanenríquez  michaelhardt  anthonypagden  danielisenberg  johnhenryclippinger  joséfernández  johannaschiller  douglasrushkoff  manueldelanda  floriancrammer  issaclubb  nataliejeremijenko  wendychun  geertlovink  nishantshah  internet  online  web  danielcoffeen  michaelchichi  jamesdelbourgo  sashasakhar  pedromartínez  miguelfernándezpauldocherty  alexandergalloway  craigfeldman  irenarogovsky  matthewrogers  globalization  networkedculture  networkculture  history  change  nationstates  citystates  sovreignty  empire  power  control  antonionegri  geopolitics  systems  systemsthinking  changemaking  meaningmaking  revolution  paradigmshifts  johnlocke  bourgeoisie  consumption  middleclass  class  democracy  modernity  modernism  government  governence  karlmarx  centralization  socialism  planning  urbanplanning  grass 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Buddhist Economics
"(From an article by the economist E.F.Schumacher in Resurgence magazine, 1968)

"The Buddhist point of view takes the function of work to be at least threefold: to give a man a chance to utilize and develop his faculties; to enable him to overcome his ego-centeredness by joining with other people in a common task; and to bring forth the goods and services needed for a becoming existence. Again, the consequences that flow from this view are endless. To organize work in such a manner that it becomes meaningless, boring, stultifying, or nerveracking for the worker would be little short of criminal; it would indicate a greater concern with goods than with people, an evil lack of compassion and a soul-destroying degree of attachment to the most primitive side of this worldly existence. Equally, to strive for leisure as an alternative to work would be considered a complete misunderstanding of one of the basic truths of human existence, namely, that work and leisure are complementary parts of the same living process and cannot be separated without destroying the joy of work and the bliss of leisure.

From the Buddhist point of view, there are therefore two types of mechanization which must be clearly distinguished: one that enhances a man's skill and power and one that turns the work of man over to a mechanical slave. How to tell one from the other? "The craftsman himself", says Ananda Coomaraswamy, a man equally competent to talk about the Modern West as the Ancient East, "the craftsman himself can always, if allowed to, draw the delicate distinction between the machine and the tool. The carpet loom is a tool, a contrivance for holding warp threads at a stretch for the pile to be woven round them by the craftsman's fingers; but the power loom is a machine, and its significance as a destroyer of culture lies in the fact that it does the essentially human part of the work". It is clear, therefore, that Buddhist economics must be very different from the economics of modern materialism, since the Buddhist sees the essence of civilization not in the multiplication of wants but in the purification of human character. Character, at the same time, is formed primarily by a man's work. And work, properly conducted in conditions of human dignity and freedom, blesses those who do it and equally their products. The Indian philospher and economist J.C.Kumarappa sums up the matter as follows:

"If the nature of the work is properly appreciated and applied, it will stand in the same relation to the higher faculties as food is to the physical body. It nourishes and enlivens the higher man and urges him to produce the best he is capable of. It directs his freewill along the proper course and disciplines the animal in him into progressive channels. It furnishes an excellent background for man to display his scale of values and develop his personality.""
efschumacher  buddhism  economics  1968  labor  work  existence  anandacoomaraswamy  craft  jckumarappa  purpose  freewill  leisure  artleisure  leisurearts  meaning  meaningmaking 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Mini-Schools: A Prescription for the Reading Problem by Paul Goodman | The New York Review of Books
"For ages six to eleven, I propose a system of tiny schools, radically decentralized. As one who for twenty years has urged democratic decentralization in many fields, including the schools, I am of course interested in the Bundy recommendation to cut up the New York system into sixty fairly autonomous districts. This would restore some relevance of the culture (and the staff) of the school to the culture of the community. But however valuable politically, it is an administrative arrangement; it does not get down to the actual pedagogical operation. And it certainly is not child-centered; both poor and middle-class communities have their own ways of not paying attention to children, according to their own prejudices and distant expectations. By “tiny school,” therefore, I here mean twenty-eight children…with four teachers (one grown-up to seven children), and each tiny school to be largely administered by its own staff and parents, with considerable say also for the children, as in Summer-hill. The four teachers are:

A teacher regularly licensed and salaried. Since the present average class size is twenty-eight, these are available.

A graduate from the senior class of a New York college, perhaps just embarking on graduate study. Salary $2000. There is no lack of candidates to do something interesting and useful in a free setting.

A literate housewife and mother, who can also prepare lunch. Salary $4000. No lack of candidates.

A literate, willing, and intelligent high-school graduate. Salary $2000. No lack of candidates.

Such a staff can easily be racially and ethnically mixed. And it is also the case, as demonstrated by the First Street School, that in such a small setting, with individual attention paid to the children, it is easy to get racially and ethnically mixed classes; there is less middle-class withdrawal when the parents do not fear that their children will be swamped and retarded. (We have failed to achieve “integration” by trying to impose it from above, but it can be achieved from below, in schools entirely locally controlled, if we can show parents that it is for their children’s best future.)

For setting, the tiny school would occupy two, three, or four rooms in existing school buildings, church basements, settlement houses otherwise empty during school hours, rooms set aside in housing projects, store-fronts. The setting is especially indifferent since a major part of activity occurs outside the school place. The setting should be able to be transformed into a clubhouse, decorated and equipped according to the group’s own decision. There might be one school on every street, but it is also advisable to locate many in racial and ethnic border areas, to increase intermixture. For purposes of assembly, health services, and some games, ten tiny schools could use the present public school facilities.

The cost saving in such a setup is the almost total elimination of top-down administration and the kind of special services that are required precisely because of excessive size and rigidity. The chief uses of central administration would be licensing, funding, choosing sites, and some inspection. There would be no principals and assistants, secretaries and assistants. Curriculum, texts, equipment would be determined as needed—and despite the present putative economies of scale, they would be cheaper; much less would be pointless or wasted. Record-keeping would be at a minimum. There is no need for truant officers when the teacher-and-seven can call at the absentee’s home and inquire. There is little need for remedial personnel since the staff and parents are always in contact, and the whole enterprise can be regarded as remedial. Organizational studies of large top-down directed enterprises show that the total cost is invariably at least 300 percent above the cost of the immediate function, in this case the interaction of teachers and children. I would put this 300 percent into increasing the number of adults and diversifying the possibilities of instruction. Further, in the conditions of New York real estate, there is great advantage in ceasing to build four-million-dollar school buildings, and rather fitting tiny schools into available niches."



"FURTHER, I see little merit, for teaching this age, in the usual teacher-training. Any literate and well-intentioned grown-up or late teen-ager knows enough to teach a small child a lot. Teaching small children is a difficult art, but we do not know how to train the improvisational genius it requires, and the untrained seem to have it equally: compare one mother with another, or one big sister or brother with another. Since at this age one teaches the child, not the subject, the relevant art is psychotherapy, and the most useful course for a teachers’ college is probably group therapy. The chief criterion for selection is the one I have mentioned: liking to be attentive to children. Given this setting, many young people would be introduced to teaching and would continue with it as a profession; whereas in the New York system the annual turnover approaches 20 percent, after years of wasted training.

As I have said, however, there are fatal political and administrative objections to this proposal. First, the Public School administration does not intend to go largely out of business. Given its mentality, it must see any radical decentralization as impossible to administer and dangerous, for everything cannot be controlled. Some child is bound to break a leg and the insurance companies will not cover; some teen-ager is bound to be indiscreet and the Daily News will explode in headlines.

The United Federation of Teachers will find the proposal to be anathema because it devalues professional perquisites and floods the schools with the unlicensed. Being mainly broken to the public school harness, most experienced teachers consider free and inventive teaching to be impossible.

Most fatally, poor parents, who aspire for their children, tend to regard unrigidly structured education as down-grading, not taking the children seriously, and also as vaguely immoral. In the present Black Power temper of Harlem, also, the possible easy intermixing is itself not desired. (Incidentally, I am rather sympathetic to black separatism as a means of consolidating the power of black communities. But children, as Kant said, must be educated for the future better society which cannot be separated.)

In spite of these fatal objections, I recommend that, instead of building the next new school building, we try out this scheme with 1200 children."
paulgoodman  smallschools  tinyschools  education  unschooling  1968  deschooling  learning  children  schooldesign  classsize  openstudioproject  history  lcproject  minischools  small  literacy 
july 2014 by robertogreco
George Maciunas (ed.): Flux Year Box 2 (1965-68) — Monoskop Log
"Flux Year Box 2, a signature Fluxus production, is a boxed anthology of works that was edited and assembled by Fluxus “chairman” George Maciunas beginning in about 1965. Like all Fluxus editions, the contents of each box varies depending on what Maciunas had available at the time.

“With this project, the assembled works nestle inside a partitioned wooden box designed by Maciunas and printed with a matrix of mismatched fonts on its hinged cover. In his request for ideas, Maciunas indicates the edition will be “limited to book events only, i.e. events that are enacted by the reader automatically as he inspects the book or box.” Scores for performances requiring additional props or instruments—for example, Albert M. Fine’s Fluxus Piece for G.M.—do not factor among this criteria. Rather, immediate sensation and contained experience are accentuated. A sort of tool kit or supply chest, Flux Year Box 2 contains materials for actions, such as corresponding using Ben Vautier’s The Postman’s Choice postcard, medicating oneself with capsules from Shigeko Kubota’s Flux Medicine, or burning down all libraries and museums using Ben Vautier’s Total Art Match-Box. In addition, during this period Maciunas produced film programs called Fluxfilms, and incorporated this audiovisual dimension into Flux Year Box 2, including numerous short loops and a hand-crank viewer with which to watch them.”"
fluxus  flux  georgemaciunas  art  objects  mailart  events  situationist  1965  1968  benvautier  shigekokubota  fluxfilms 
january 2014 by robertogreco
“A Question of Silence”: Why We Don’t Read Or Write About Education
"The lack of imagination evident in these narratives reflects the lack of real-world alternatives. In the real-world fantasylands of schooling (e.g., Finland, Cuba, Massachusetts) education looks more or less the same as it does everywhere else. In short, the system is missing—or ignores—its real antithesis, its own real death. Without that counter-argument, educational writing loses focus. Educationalists present schooling as being in a constant state of crisis. Ignoring for a second the obvious fact that without a crisis most educationalists would be out of a job—i.e., closing our eyes to their vested interest in the problem’s persistence—what does this crisis consist of? Apparently, the failure of schools to do what they are supposed to do. But what are they supposed to do? What is their purpose? And why should we stand behind their purpose? This is the line of inquiry that—can you believe it—is ignored.

Of all the civic institutions that reproduce social relations, said Louis Althusser, “one… certainly has the dominant role, although hardly anyone lends an ear to its music: it is so silent! This is the School.” That statement was made in 1970, by which time school buses zigzagged the cities every working morning and afternoon, school bells rang across city and countryside, the words “dropout” and “failure” had become synonymous, education schools were in full swing, and school reform had gained its permanent nook on the prayer-wheel of electoral campaigns. In other words: what silence?

Althusser, of course, was referring to the absence of schooling as a topic in critical discourse. In this regard he was, and continues to be, accurate. The few paragraphs that he appended to the above-quoted statement may well be the only coherent critique of schooling in the upper echelons of critical theory. Critical theory, which has written volumes on Hollywood, television, the arts, madhouses, social science, the state, the novel, speech, space, and every other bulwark of control or resistance, has consistently avoided a direct gaze at schooling (see footnote). ((Here follows a cursory tally of what critical theorists (using the term very loosely to include some old favorite cultural critics) have written on education. I won’t be sad if readers find fault with it:

Horkheimer is silent. Barthes and Brecht, the same. Adorno has one essay and one lecture. Marcuse delivered a few perfunctory lectures on the role of university students in politics—but he makes it clear that you can’t build on them (university politics as well as the lectures, sadly). Derrida has some tantalizing pronouncements, particularly in Glas (“What is education? The death of the parents…”), but they are scattered and more relevant to the family setting than the school. Something similar, unfortunately, could be said of Bachelard—why was he not nostalgic about his education? Baudrillard, Lefebvre, and Foucault all seem interested in the question, if we judge by their interviews and lectures—and wouldn’t it be lovely to hear from them—but they never go into any depth. Even Althusser’s essay, Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses, which contains the above quote, quickly shies away from the topic: instead, he concentrates on the Church. In short, professional critical philosophy might have produced a more interesting study of Kung Fu Panda (see Žižek, who is also silent) than of the whole business of education. The one exception would be Rancière’s The Ignorant Schoolmaster, which I will discuss.)) Even Foucault, champion of enclosures, keeps out of the schoolhouse. ((Part III of Discipline and Punish includes a discussion, but his analysis there is mixed with all the other institutions that exercise punishment. The only direct references are in two lecture-discussions with students, both from 1971.)) The silence is particularly striking if we see radical philosophy itself as an educational endeavor, an enterprise concerned with ways of seeing and doing.

It’s not that there are no critical conversations within education—there are, and I will discuss them soon. But I think the silence of radical philosophers is emblematic of some special problems in the relationship between education and society."



"Progressive educators, who as a rule crave resources and ideas from outside their field, nonetheless did not seem bothered by the new seclusion. They even welcomed it. Today, every schoolteacher, admin, or researcher learns as part of her training to show open disdain for any opinion on education that doesn’t come from inside the field (“but has she taught?”). In American education schools, it’s possible to get a doctorate without having been assigned a single book from outside your field. Education is such an intensely social process (think of any classroom vignette, all the forces at play) that this intellectual swamp could only survive by a sheer will to isolation. Educationalists need this privacy partly because it allows them to ignore the core contradictions of their practice. The most important of these contradictions is that they have to uphold public schooling as a social good, and at the same time face up to the fact that schooling is one of the most oppressive institutions humanity has constructed. It has to be built up as much as it needs to be torn down brick by brick.

This dilemma bedevils the majority of writing by the most active educationalists. The redoubtable Deborah Meier is a good example—good, because she really is. Meier is the godmother of the small school movement in the United States. She has dedicated her life to making schools more humane and works with more energy than entire schools of education put together. Her philosophical base is one of Dewey’s pragmatism and American-style anarchism. She is also in a unique position to understand the contradictions of schooling, because she has built alternative schools and then watched them lose their momentum and revert to traditional models. What’s more, Meier can write. But when she writes, her books take titles like Keeping School and In Schools We Trust. In which schools, exactly? Not the same ones through which most of us suffered, I assume; rather, the progressive, semi-democratic ones on the fringes of the public system. The problem, apparently, is not schooling itself. It’s just that, inexplicably, the vast majority of schools fail to get it right. The “reformed school” is a sort of sublime object: something that does not quite exist, but whose potential existence justifies the continuation of what is actually there.

We are all familiar with this type of “we oppose the war but support the troops” liberal double-talk, a pernicious language game that divests all ground agents of responsibility—as if there could be a war without soldiers (though we seem to be moving that way) or bad classrooms without teachers. Now, it wouldn’t be fair to place the blame squarely on the teachers’ shoulders—considering the poor education they themselves receive in the first place—but we must also expose this kind of double-talk for what it really is: an easy out. And it is an easy out that abandons the oppressed: in this case, those students who actively resist teachers, those last few who have not been browbeaten or co-opted into submission. ((When Michelle Rhee, the (former) chancellor of public schools in Washington D.C., began shutting down schools, liberals tore their shirts and pulled their hair and finally ousted her. Very few people mentioned that those schools—a veritable prison system—should have been shut down. The problem was not the closures—the problem was that Rhee, like other Republican spawns of her generation, is a loudmouth opportunist who offered no plan beyond her PR campaign. What’s striking is that Rhee was using the exact same language of “crisis” and “reform” as progressives, and nothing in the language itself made her sound ridiculous. Since then, progressives have eased up a little on the crisis talk.))

Because the phenomenon of student resistance to education so blatantly flies in the face of the prevailing liberal mythology of schooling, it is a topic that continues to attract some genuine theorization. ((For a review of literature and some original thoughts, see Henry Giroux’s Resistance and Theory in Education (1983). For a more readable discussion of the same, see Herbert Kohl’s I Won’t Learn From You (1991).)) It’s also a topic that is closely tied to another intractable bugaboo of the discussion: the staggering dropout rate, in the US at least, among working class and immigrant students, and particularly among blacks and Latinos. Education is the civil rights issue of our time—Obama and Arne Duncan’s favorite slogan—was originally a rallying cry among black educationalists. ((The latter, in case you don’t know, is Obama’s Secretary of Education. A (very thin) volume could be written on the absolute lack of political and intellectual gumption that he epitomizes. To the Bush-era, bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act (a severe and ineffective set of testing requirements), Duncan added the Race to the Top initiative, thus bringing much unintentional clarity to the discourse: education reform is a race in which no one’s left behind.)) But if we understand a “civil rights struggle” to be, fundamentally, the story of the disenfranchised and the marginalized classes’ resistance to structural oppression, then this seemingly simple phrase is haunted by a kind of dramatic irony—since a great deal of research shows that what many black and working class students actively resist is schooling itself. Further studies showed that even those underserved students who succeed in schools persevere by dividing their identities; by cordoning off their critical impulses; by maintaining their disaffection even while they keep it well out of the teacher’s sight."



"A fundamental problem is that education demands a scientific foothold … [more]
education  unschooling  canon  houmanharouni  2013  criticaleducation  theory  eleanorduckworth  deborahmeier  jeanpiaget  paulofreire  ivanillich  karlmarx  society  schooling  oppression  class  liberals  progressive  progressives  theleft  paulgoodman  sartre  theodoreadorno  michellerhee  reform  edreform  nclb  rttt  radicalism  revolution  1968  herbertmarcuse  power  policy  politics  teaching  learning  jaquesrancière  arneduncan  foucault  louisalthusser  deschooling  frantzfanon  samuelbowles  herbertgintis  jenshoyrup  josephjacotot  praxis  johndewey  philosophy  criticaltheory  henrygiroux  herbertkohl  jeananyon  work  labor  capitalism  neoliberalism  liberalism  progressiveeducation  school  schooliness  crisis  democracy  untouchables  mythology  specialization  isolation  seclusion  piaget  michelfoucault  althusser  jean-paulsartre 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Wed 8.14.13 | Memory and the Radical Imagination | Against the Grain: A Program about Politics, Society and Ideas
"Global capitalism, far from being only an economic phenomenon, affects and influences how we think, including what and how we think about the past. Max Haiven reveals how neoliberal-era initiatives frame human cooperation and collective action; he also emphasizes the importance of what he calls "commoning memory.""
capitalism  memory  economics  maxhaiven  neoliberalism  cooperation  collective  collectiveaction  collectivism  commoningmemory  2013  history  radicalimagination  radicalism  well-being  labor  work  commodification  colonization  conviviality  biopoliticalproduction  via:caseygollan  walterbenjamin  communism  politics  utopia  possibility  past  present  future  humans  human  optimism  society  imagination  complexity  unfinished  pessimism  fascism  courage  1968  patriarchy  socialmovements  revolution  change  activism  utopiandream  struggle 
august 2013 by robertogreco
A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming Collapse | David Graeber | The Baffler
[Now here: http://www.thebaffler.com/salvos/a-practical-utopians-guide-to-the-coming-collapse ]

"What is a revolution? We used to think we knew. Revolutions were seizures of power by popular forces aiming to transform the very nature of the political, social, and economic system in the country in which the revolution took place, usually according to some visionary dream of a just society. Nowadays, we live in an age when, if rebel armies do come sweeping into a city, or mass uprisings overthrow a dictator, it’s unlikely to have any such implications; when profound social transformation does occur—as with, say, the rise of feminism—it’s likely to take an entirely different form. It’s not that revolutionary dreams aren’t out there. But contemporary revolutionaries rarely think they can bring them into being by some modern-day equivalent of storming the Bastille."



"Revolutions are thus planetary phenomena. But there is more. What they really do is transform basic assumptions about what politics is ultimately about. In the wake of a revolution, ideas that had been considered veritably lunatic fringe quickly become the accepted currency of debate. Before the French Revolution, the ideas that change is good, that government policy is the proper way to manage it, and that governments derive their authority from an entity called “the people” were considered the sorts of things one might hear from crackpots and demagogues, or at best a handful of freethinking intellectuals who spend their time debating in cafés. A generation later, even the stuffiest magistrates, priests, and headmasters had to at least pay lip service to these ideas. Before long, we had reached the situation we are in today: that it’s necessary to lay out the terms for anyone to even notice they are there. They’ve become common sense, the very grounds of political discussion.

Until 1968, most world revolutions really just introduced practical refinements: an expanded franchise, universal primary education, the welfare state. The world revolution of 1968, in contrast—whether it took the form it did in China, of a revolt by students and young cadres supporting Mao’s call for a Cultural Revolution; or in Berkeley and New York, where it marked an alliance of students, dropouts, and cultural rebels; or even in Paris, where it was an alliance of students and workers—was a rebellion against bureaucracy, conformity, or anything that fettered the human imagination, a project for the revolutionizing of not just political or economic life, but every aspect of human existence. As a result, in most cases, the rebels didn’t even try to take over the apparatus of state; they saw that apparatus as itself the problem."



"In retrospect, though, I think that later historians will conclude that the legacy of the sixties revolution was deeper than we now imagine, and that the triumph of capitalist markets and their various planetary administrators and enforcers—which seemed so epochal and permanent in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991—was, in fact, far shallower."



"In fact, most of the economic innovations of the last thirty years make more sense politically than economically. Eliminating guaranteed life employment for precarious contracts doesn’t really create a more effective workforce, but it is extraordinarily effective in destroying unions and otherwise depoliticizing labor. The same can be said of endlessly increasing working hours. No one has much time for political activity if they’re working sixty-hour weeks.

It does often seem that, whenever there is a choice between one option that makes capitalism seem the only possible economic system, and another that would actually make capitalism a more viable economic system, neoliberalism means always choosing the former. The combined result is a relentless campaign against the human imagination. Or, to be more precise: imagination, desire, individual creativity, all those things that were to be liberated in the last great world revolution, were to be contained strictly in the domain of consumerism, or perhaps in the virtual realities of the Internet. In all other realms they were to be strictly banished. We are talking about the murdering of dreams, the imposition of an apparatus of hopelessness, designed to squelch any sense of an alternative future. Yet as a result of putting virtually all their efforts in one political basket, we are left in the bizarre situation of watching the capitalist system crumbling before our very eyes, at just the moment everyone had finally concluded no other system would be possible.

Work It Out, Slow It Down

Normally, when you challenge the conventional wisdom—that the current economic and political system is the only possible one—the first reaction you are likely to get is a demand for a detailed architectural blueprint of how an alternative system would work, down to the nature of its financial instruments, energy supplies, and policies of sewer maintenance. Next, you are likely to be asked for a detailed program of how this system will be brought into existence. Historically, this is ridiculous. When has social change ever happened according to someone’s blueprint? It’s not as if a small circle of visionaries in Renaissance Florence conceived of something they called “capitalism,” figured out the details of how the stock exchange and factories would someday work, and then put in place a program to bring their visions into reality. In fact, the idea is so absurd we might well ask ourselves how it ever occurred to us to imagine this is how change happens to begin.

This is not to say there’s anything wrong with utopian visions. Or even blueprints. They just need to be kept in their place. The theorist Michael Albert has worked out a detailed plan for how a modern economy could run without money on a democratic, participatory basis. I think this is an important achievement—not because I think that exact model could ever be instituted, in exactly the form in which he describes it, but because it makes it impossible to say that such a thing is inconceivable. Still, such models can be only thought experiments. We cannot really conceive of the problems that will arise when we start trying to build a free society. What now seem likely to be the thorniest problems might not be problems at all; others that never even occurred to us might prove devilishly difficult. There are innumerable X-factors.

The most obvious is technology. This is the reason it’s so absurd to imagine activists in Renaissance Italy coming up with a model for a stock exchange and factories—what happened was based on all sorts of technologies that they couldn’t have anticipated, but which in part only emerged because society began to move in the direction that it did. This might explain, for instance, why so many of the more compelling visions of an anarchist society have been produced by science fiction writers (Ursula K. Le Guin, Starhawk, Kim Stanley Robinson). In fiction, you are at least admitting the technological aspect is guesswork.

Myself, I am less interested in deciding what sort of economic system we should have in a free society than in creating the means by which people can make such decisions for themselves. What might a revolution in common sense actually look like? I don’t know, but I can think of any number of pieces of conventional wisdom that surely need challenging if we are to create any sort of viable free society. I’ve already explored one—the nature of money and debt—in some detail in a recent book. I even suggested a debt jubilee, a general cancellation, in part just to bring home that money is really just a human product, a set of promises, that by its nature can always be renegotiated."
debt  economics  politics  revolution  work  labor  davidgraeber  power  society  revolutions  2013  grassroots  punk  global  conformity  bureaucracy  feminism  1789  frenchrevolution  1848  1968  communism  independence  freedom  1917  thestate  commonsense  fringe  ideas  memes  socialmovements  war  collateraldamage  civilrights  gayrights  neoliberalism  freemarkets  libertarianism  debtcancellation  fear  insecurity  consumerism  occupy  occupywallstreet  ows  sustainability  growth  well-being  utopianism  productivity  environment  humanism  ideology  class  classstruggle  abbiehoffman  slow  supervision  control  management  taylorism  virtue  artleisure  discipline  leisurearts  globalization 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Adbusters’ War Against Too Much of Everything - NYTimes.com
"It was 1968, and a left-wing student rebellion in Paris resonated worldwide. He says he imbibed the spirit of rebellion, and it changed him.

“Until Occupy, the greatest political movement I’d ever seen was the uprising of ’68. It really inspired me, and I’ve been running on that energy — and have been trying to recapture it — ever since.”"

"He [Aiden Enns] describes himself as a “progressive Mennonite” and says his approach is a “pretty mellow campaign not driven by high-energy organizers.”

Advocating a life of material simplicity and spiritual richness, Mr. Enns urges people to “make things for others themselves, not to just go out and buy.” He says he and his wife make gifts like wooden figurines and animal dolls for children, and salsa and relish for adults."

MR. LASN freely acknowledges that he is inconsistent… doesn’t make gifts for friends and family; he buys them… says his lifestyle isn’t really sustainable…"
handmade  consumerism  buynothingchristmas  buynothingday  sustainability  politics  aidenenns  ows  occupywallstreet  1968  2012  adbusters  kallelasn 
december 2012 by robertogreco
GRAPHIC AMBIENT » Blog Archive » 1968 Mexico Olympics, Mexico
"The starting point was the mandatory five-ring logo that identifies the modern Olympic Games. It was the realisation that the geometry of the five rings could be expanded to generate the number ’68′, the year of the games and with the addition of the word ‘Mexico’ the logotype was created.
 
Mexico 68 clearly identifies the country, the year and the event. The distinct geometric forms suggest early Mexican cultures and Mexican folk-art, and the final design references 1960′s Op Art."
mexico68  branding  graphicdesign  1968  olympics  mexico  design 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Iain Sinclair » IMPROVING THE IMAGE OF DESTRUCTION
"Cities can be mapped by missing cobblestones: Paris in ’68, London at the burning of Newgate Prison, Budapest, Belfast. Streets are dug up in reverse archaeology. The stones redistribute themselves, flying through the air, like Magritte’s loaves, in the direction of Plexiglas shields and visored helmets."

[via: http://nomadicity.tumblr.com/post/10247187412/cities-can-be-mapped-by-missing-cobblestones ]
iainsinclair  history  atemporality  cities  london  paris  belfast  1968 
september 2011 by robertogreco
The Beach Beneath the Street by McKenzie Wark – review | Books | The Guardian
"British situationists of late 60s thought Debord & others had taken a wrong turn. SI apostate Christopher Gray, whose band of London-based provocateurs King Mob included future Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, opined: "What they [Debord et al] gained in intellectual power & scope they had lost in terms of the richness & verve of their own everyday lives." The SI, Gray argued, "turned inward". "Cultural sabotage" & "drunken exuberance" had been replaced by theoretical austerity.

But that turning inward didn't prevent the Parisian situationists from exerting the most profound influence on the French student movement in May 1968. More than 300,000 copies were printed of a pamphlet, On the Poverty of Student Life, written by an SI cadre named Mustapha Khayati. & it was a protégé of Debord's, René Viénet, who was responsible for some of the more memorable of the graffiti that appeared all over Paris during that tumultuous month – including one Wark has taken for title of book."
situationist  guydebord  malcolmmclaren  doing  psychogeography  france  1968  uk  marxism  ralphrumney  books  reviews  alexandertrocchi  attilakotányi  dérive  détournement  art  latecapitalism  capitalism  spectacle  class  willself  derive  mckenziewark 
august 2011 by robertogreco
BOMB Magazine: Claire Fontaine by Anthony Huberman
"Claire Fontaine lives in Paris. Her “assistants” are Fulvia Carnevale and James Thornhill, an Italian-British artist duo. With a readymade name—taken from a popular brand of French stationery—Claire Fontaine also describes herself as a readymade artist who finds herself working within the context of a politically impotent contemporary society. As her assistants, Carnevale and Thornhill make her objects, paintings, neons, videos, and, in the case of this interview, answer questions about her work. Written texts are also at the core of her work and accompany each exhibition.

Exhausted by the ruins of authorship, of political activism, of the May ’68 rebellion in Paris, and of strategies of opposition, Claire Fontaine prefers what she calls the “human strike,” a subjectivity that gets rid of itself, a whatever singularity. By exemplifying readymade and stereotypical identities imposed by social or cultural superstructures, she becomes an empty vessel…"
art  interviews  clairefontaine  fulviacarnevale  jamesthornhill  artists  situationist  guydebord  1968  2008 
august 2011 by robertogreco
UbuWeb Sound :: Jorge Luis Borges
"These are the six Norton Lectures that Jorge Luis Borges delivered at Harvard University in the fall of 1967 and spring of 1968. The recordings, only lately discovered in the Harvard University Archives, uniquely capture the cadences, candor, wit, and remarkable erudition of one of the most extraordinary and enduring literary voices of our age. Through a twist of fate that the author of Labyrinths himself would have relished, the lost lectures return to us now in Borges' own voice."
literature  borges  lectures  1967  1968  via:robinsloan  poetry  metaphor  ubuweb  sound  tolisten 
august 2011 by robertogreco
"To Hell with Good Intentions" by Ivan Illich
"Next to money and guns, the third largest North American export is the U.S. idealist, who turns up in every theater of the world: the teacher, the volunteer, the missionary, the community organizer, the economic developer, and the vacationing do-gooders. Ideally, these people define their role as service. Actually, they frequently wind up alleviating the damage done by money and weapons, or "seducing" the "underdeveloped" to the benefits of the world of affluence and achievement. Perhaps this is the moment to instead bring home to the people of the U.S. the knowledge that the way of life they have chosen simply is not alive enough to be shared."

"I am here to entreat you to use your money, your status and your education to travel in Latin America. Come to look, come to climb our mountains, to enjoy our flowers. Come to study. But do not come to help."

[via: http://twitter.com/johnthackara/status/88500793115815936 ]

[Update 6 May 2013: An article came up today that brought me back to Illich's lecture: http://www.pioneerspost.com/news/20130410/letter-young-social-entrepreneur-the-poor-are-not-the-raw-material-your-salvation ]

[Update 27 July 2013: new URL for "Letter to a Young Social Entrepreneur: the poor are not the raw material for your salvation" http://www.pioneerspost.com/comment/20130410/letter-young-social-entrepreneur-the-poor-are-not-the-raw-material-your-salvation

and a pointer to Robert Reich's "What Are Foundations For? Philanthropic institutions are plutocratic by nature. Can they be justified in a democracy?" http://www.bostonreview.net/forum/foundations-philanthropy-democracy? ]

[Also available here: http://schoolingtheworld.org/resources/essays/to-hell-with-good-intentions/ ]

[Update 6 April 2016: referenced again http://www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/missionary-go-home
and an alternate link http://ciasp.ca/CIASPhistory/IllichCIASPspeech.htm ]
education  culture  politics  travel  activism  ivanillich  1968  humanitariandesign  designimperialism  mexico  do-gooders  goodintentions  middleclass  us  latinamerica  poverty  hypocrisy  blindness  self-importance  deschooling  charitableindustrialcomplex  liamblack  robertreich  gatesfoundation  plutocracy  democracy  robberbarons  power  control  warrenbuffet  billgates  georgesoros  foundations  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  capitalism 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Henri Lefebvre - Wikipedia
"Henri Lefebvre (16 June 1901 – 29 June 1991) was a French sociologist, intellectual and philosopher who was generally considered a Neo-Marxist.[1] He first coined the phrase The Right to the City as an idea and a slogan in his 1968 book Le Droit à la ville."

"His Critique of Everyday Life, first published in 1947, was among the major intellectual motives behind the founding of COBRA and, eventually, of the Situationist International."

"Lefebvre dedicated a great deal of his philosophical writings to understanding the importance of (the production of) space in what he called the reproduction of social relations of production."

"Lefebvre argued that every society - and therefore every mode of production - produces a certain space, its own space. The city of the ancient world cannot be understood as a simple agglomeration of people and things in space - it had its own spatial practice, making its own space…"
architecture  culture  history  cities  urban  urbanism  marxism  neo-marxism  1968  situationist  space  place  social  meaning  rights  antoniogramsci  spatialization  urbantheory  henrilefebvre 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Whole Earth Catalog: Access to Tools and Ideas
"In 1968 Stewart Brand launched an innovative publication called The Whole Earth Catalog.It was groundbreaking, enlightening, and spawned a group of later publications. The collection of that work provided on this site is not complete — and probably never will be — but it is a gift to readers who loved the CATALOG and those who are discovering it for the first time."
1968  wholeearthcatalog  stewartbrand  culture  technology  activism  reference  magazines  tools  environment  green  singularity  history  sustainability 
december 2008 by robertogreco
May 1968 Graffiti
"These graffiti are drawn primarily from Julien Besançon’s Les murs ont la parole (Tchou, 1968), Walter Lewino’s L’imagination au pouvoir (Losfeld, 1968), Marc Rohan’s Paris ’68 (Impact, 1968), René Viénet’s Enragés et situationnistes dans le mouvement des occupations (Gallimard, 1968), Maurice Brinton’s Paris: May 1968 (Solidarity, 1968), and Gérard Lambert’s Mai 1968: brûlante nostalgie (Pied de nez, 1988).

Some were written by the situationists or the Enragés, or are quotes from SI writings, but many of the others clearly reflect a more or less situationist spirit, whether they were directly influenced by the SI, or because situationist ideas were in the air, or simply because the liberated reality was generating situationist-style feelings and insights."

[French here: http://www.bopsecrets.org/French/graffiti.htm ]
situationist  anarchy  french  france  psychogeography  paris  quotes  anarchism  activism  politics  culture  history  graffiti  1968  via:preoccupations  revolution  protest  slogans 
november 2008 by robertogreco
In Which We Were All Situationists Once « This Recording
"It wasn’t until college that I found a number of other guys — always guys — who’d been equally enamored of Paris ‘68 and the Situationists as adolescents. Our infatuations were comparably superficial: we weren’t practicing daily acts of resistance and we certainly couldn’t tell you much about Marxist critical theory, but we did think those guys in the pictures building barricades in the streets of Paris looked cool. How depressing: we went ahead and proved Debord right. The Spectacle appropriates all; we young would-be Situationists were entranced by images and slogans; the revolution was a bunch of dandies chucking rocks. In my case, at least, those nights reading Situationist graffiti eventually led down some worthwhile roads, aesthetically speaking, even though those roads are populated almost exclusively by dead French dudes. Moreover, there are a few of us, tattooed psychogeographists mostly, who’ve managed to take those youthful leanings and turn them into something good."
situationist  via:adamgreenfield  psychogeography  activism  music  politics  society  1968  anarchism  marxism 
november 2008 by robertogreco
In Defense of the ‘60s -- In These Times
"By 1968...advances that a technologically oriented industrial society had opened up were...revolutionary...For the first time in history, the possibility of achieving the full goals of the 18th century revolution existed"; "immediate needs of those still struggling for the basics &...hopes for a fuller, richer life that others, largely better positioned, want to pursue...together constitute a call to implement the "inalienable right to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness" that the Declaration of Independence claimed...that...protesters of 1968 were after & that Obama must succeed in unifying if he is to advance the change he is talking about. "
via:preoccupations  utopia  sixties  1968  barackobama  society  politics  history  change  failure  boomers  revolution  us  economics  elections  2008  gamechanging  babyboomers 
august 2008 by robertogreco
The Mazda 110S L10A brochure
"craziest brochure you've ever seen is ahead. It's for the 1968 Mazda 110S, otherwise known as a Cosmo. It was picked up at the Toyo Kogyo factory by my father after a thorough tour of the Hiroshima plant. He later owned two RX-4s, and now both he and I d
design  cars  history  1968  mazda  vintage  ads  graphics  illustration  advertising 
february 2008 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read