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NYC: Action in Solidarity with California Occupations (and comments)

And some comments:

At some point a critique of some of this is in order, because these occupations are only interesting when they go outside of merely being “actions” that address a growing assemblage of issues regarding the management of capital. Certainly there are people within this who share a similar critique and are attempting to push these struggles past their allotted boundaries.   Although what is at issue most importantly about the generalization of an antagonistic practice is the possibility that while in the process it deconstructs the separate categories of student, worker, individual, etc, rather than reifies them further.  Do we dare flirt with student activism?  Or is it something to hide within?  Maybe a temporary invisibility cloak?

There are some people who want to only see activism and apply the traditional anti-political critique.  It’s so easy.  But what they miss is the student acting.  And in this acting lies the possibility of their no longer being simply students.

On a tangential note, there is a tendency of much writings coming out of the recent student movement to appropriate situationist jargon, which then has an emptying relationship on the concepts themselves.  As the SDS activist so often thinks to don the fatigues of the leftist guerrilla as did their 1960s predecessors whose image they have brought back from the dead to build the organization, the more sophisticated activist speaks in anti-activism and pro-situationist jargon.  They read The Coming Insurrection in an attempt to use new words to give life to practices that will always be dead.

Maybe this is too harsh?  There’s plenty of room for both excitement and suspicion.  Could we be so naive to think of conflict not as a force developing, but of another tendency to critique?  While at the same time it seems the only space left where anything interesting or new can happen is built within a healthy pessimism and hostility.  Where there is nothing left for us but a shared total hostility to our conditions we can finally be constituting of something different.

If you have anything to add, please do.

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12 Comments so far
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what next?

Comment by laozi

What next for critique, the student movement, or in general?

Comment by toutniquer

the “what next?” from the intro to everyone to the streets! (that new book by 56a)

Comment by laozi

I’m still not understanding you. Are you asking if this text is from “what next?”, asking if we have it, or referencing the text?

Comment by toutniquer

so sorry. after the occupation has secured itself…what next? after the occupation is over…what next? after an insurrection…what next?

this is in response to your sentiment that what is just happening is student activism + coming insurrection (might i add… + endnotes + camatte + so on, etc)

it seems to be a matter of generalization of these forms of communization without demands. you are correct to point out that there still seems to be a tension between liberal and “ultraleft” (ucsc/berkeley) and or “situationist” (new school/nyu) currents.

it seems to this observer though that the rapid spread of occupation as a tactic and the adoption of the general assembly format by even among the more liberal/autonomous tendencies is at least a step forward. but still the question is, what next?

Comment by laozi

Precarity+life-on-credit. Two modalities of valorization impunging the student-thing to be a properly invested (sublimation as investment) object. What for the overdetermining capital-labor dialectic… exodus, withdrawal, abandonment.

Whither the intelligentsia… fictive revolutionary games…
One mustn’t critique, rather, one must shit on everything, including upon the pataphysical excrement of ‘student radicalism’.

Proposition 1: Burn the University.

Theses 1: To abandon the master-slave dialectic ['the university discourse'], to abandon the student (identity) condition, one has only recourse to emptying the structures of dead labor (material+immaterial) through looting and burning. Attack, withdrawal. Abandon and render the dialectic null.

On to cannibalism, knee-capping, obscenity, and other dirty tricks!

Comment by Yadira Lopez

Laozi,

After the occupation occupy again. Some who are thinking about this more (especially New School writings) have argued for a means without end to be shared, to demand nothing and be constituting of a force by generalizing these practices which contest and take space while making them open for experimentation.

I didn’t intend to imply that what I was seeing was “just” student activism or student activism + coming insurrection, but felt the need to comment critically on some of the more problematic trends within the wave of occupations that have been happening and the new excitement regarding TCI and related texts.

What next? Expand beyond the University and the student. Attach like a parasite to various institutions where resources can continuously be sucked out and communized. Spread contested territories. Etc.

Comment by toutniquer

Let us thank the students for DOING something (or anything at all for that matter) that can be critiqued by those not directly involved.

Yadria-I have no idea how serious your post was, but… Nothing needs to be burned or physically destroyed to be transformed or recreated. The volume and shape of the building are not the problem. The problem is how it is being used and who is using it.-

Doing something different than the norm for any liberatory reason is better than simply criticizing actions until the one you desire to see from others happens. Remember- empire exists everywhere nothing is happening.

Comment by F7

F7, did you read this post? Why create this silly “doing things” versus “critiquing things” dichotomy?

The activist strawman can always reply “at least we’re DOING something.”

It is also perhaps a wrong usage of the quote from “Call” as most of the rest of the text would not argue for blindly doing something, anything, just so long as it isn’t nothing.

If this is not the case please explain.

Comment by toutniquer

I’m aware that the text isn’t advocating blindly doing nothing so long as it isn’t anything. I created no dichotomy between thought and action in any way as you’ll notice I used the phrase “by those not directly involved”.

The point I was attempting to make is that it’s kind of useless to critique these actions if the people who were part of them can’t view our critiques or if no suggestions of improvement/alteration are present. Criticisms are more likely to effect future actions if they’re constructive as well.

I have no idea what an “activist strawman” is. but I still see nothing wrong with acting and then allowing (or encouraging) critique. Please explain.

And I completely agree with your (toutniquer) answer to “what next”, but then why aren’t we making this happen? Or if you are, then why aren’t more people hearing about it.

Comment by F7

The dichotomy is created with the strawman presenting the false argument that if one is critical that they are doing nothing.

“The point I was attempting to make is that it’s kind of useless to critique these actions if the people who were part of them can’t view our critiques or if no suggestions of improvement/alteration are present. Criticisms are more likely to effect future actions if they’re constructive as well.”

You didn’t actually attempt this, because it wouldn’t have been entirely absent from your comment. But regardless, why should a critique be only limited to the people whose actions are being critiqued? This blog does participate within a discourse that would include those being critiqued and in a rhyzomatic way it is a part of a network that is in some way connected to those being critiqued.

You also seem to dismiss this note also as solely negative. This is why I asked you if you read it?

There’s this:

“There are some people who want to only see activism and apply the traditional anti-political critique. It’s so easy. But what they miss is the student acting. And in this acting lies the possibility of their no longer being simply students.”

Or this:

“Maybe this is too harsh? There’s plenty of room for both excitement and suspicion. Could we be so naive to think of conflict not as a force developing, but of another tendency to critique?”

The activist strawman in this case says “we’re doing something, but you’re only critiquing” and thus assumes that the other isn’t or that this is acting isn’t actually just another way of doing nothing. I don’t know if that helps as an explanation.

The answer to “why aren’t more people hearing about it” is an entirely different conversation, but one I think you could guess at.

Comment by toutniquer

“Yadira-I have no idea how serious your post was, but… Nothing needs to be burned or physically destroyed to be transformed or recreated. The volume and shape of the building are not the problem. The problem is how it is being used and who is using it.”

VERY SERIOUS.

The problem is not of content (of use, of an ideology of the user), but of form.
Architecture as panopticism…

Yes, poetry will devour the walls, and some drugs and paint and holes and accoutrements may liven up a building, a jail cell, or a terminus. As form, the university will never be liberated, what will be of interest however, is revolt (sacrificial and hence sacred), by arson and withdrawal. Perhaps, when there are no longer students, some buildings can be inhabited for some specific, quaint, reason.
LET’S NOT BE HOPEFUL.

Form is always at stake, rarely content or use.

Recreate nothing, transform nothing, sabotage everything.

Comment by Yadira Lopez




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