Monthly Archives: October 2011

How can you be at home in an alien world? (Call for participation)

How can you be at home in an alien world?             

On the occasion of SKOR’s symposium Social Housing – Housing the Social, the members of Chto Delat and Ultra-red invite you to participate in a two-day seminar prior to the symposium and to perform a collaborative learning play on the first evening of the symposium.

DATES OF SEMINAR: 2–3.11.2011 (from 10 AM till midnight)

Learning Play on 4th of November at 9 PM

DATES OF SYMPOSIUM: 4–5.11.2011

LOCATION: Felix Meritis, Amsterdam

  … the metropolis is now the point of massive collision—dare we call it class struggle?—over the accumulation by dispossession visited upon the least well-off and the developmental drive that seeks to colonize space for the affluent . . . democratization of [the right to the city], and the construction of a broad social movement to enforce its will is imperative if the dispossessed are to take back the control which they have for so long been denied, and if they are to institute new modes of urbanization.

– David Harvey

The conditions within which Chto Delat and Ultra-red will take up their work on the theme of the social are those of the global financial crisis. The latter is often used to justify the dismantling of welfare states and the withdrawal of commitments to the notion of the commons that underlay their development in the first place. Now it is every atom for itself, situated in a vortex driven by the fatal master-slave dialectic between the private and the common.

The social is currently acknowledged as being a luxury we simply cannot afford. Thus, it must be sacrificed along with other public goods including education, health care, infrastructure and housing. This is more than simply a retreat from the social. It also permits the commodity value of former public goods to be realized and circulated within the systems of capitalist speculation. Volunteerism and self-help, once signatures of the social, are now co-opted to fill gaps resulting from the privatizing of property and services. In reaction to these dispossessions, citizens of cities in countries across the globe are occupying strategic urban spaces. These occupations – temporary productions of common space by the deterritorialized and expropriated on enemy terrain – are to be understood as an emphatic reclamation of rights repressed for decades. They direct us toward some fundamental questions. What is the social today? How has its construction changed? Why has it become so vulnerable to the attacks of capital and privatization? Why are ideas of the social so indispensable for the imagination of freedoms? How can we be at home in an alien world?

This seminar breaks with the conventions of discussions and conferences in order to promote a dialogical and investigative relationship to knowledge production. As we eat, talk and rehearse together, we will address and investigate ideas around collectivity and the politicized subject of “the social.” We will explore what political stakes may serve to bind us in solidarity to each other. And we will turn our surroundings into what Henri Lefebvre called a “representational space configured and changed to underscore our temporary occupation.”

The seminar will culminate in a staging of a Brechtian learning play during the first evening of the symposium. Using Bertolt Brecht’s learning-play model, Chto Delat and Ultra-red invite participants to collectively develop an educational didactic performance. Centered around the theme of the social but without fixed texts, participants are asked to develop and articulate their own position through the process of acquiring and advocating their attitudes.

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ABOUT THE ARTISTS COLLECTIVES

Chto Delat (What is to be done?)

The platform Chto Delat was founded in early 2003 in Petersburg with the goal of merging political theory, art and activism. The platform’s activity consists in developing a network of collective initiatives in Russia and setting them into an international context. The platform is coordinated by a workgroup of the same name. The collective initiatives developed inside the platform engage in a variety of art projects, including video works, installations, actions in public space, radio programs, and different forms of artistic research. During this seminar the platform will be represented by David Riff, Tsaplya (Olga Egorova) and Dmitry Vilensky.

Ultra-red

Founded in 1994 by two AIDS activists, Ultra-red has expanded to include artists, researchers and organizers from different social movements including the struggles of migration, anti-racism, participatory community development, and the politics of HIV/AIDS. By exploring acoustic space as enunciative of social relations, Ultra-red utilizes sound-based research to directly engage political struggle. With ten associates working in North America and Europe, Ultra-red pursue a dynamic exchange between art and political organizing producing radio broadcasts, performances, recordings, essays, and installations. Ultra-red members are currently conducting investigations in Los Angeles, New York, London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Berlin and Oslo. During this seminar Ultra-red will be represented by Elliot Perkins, Robert Sember and Leonardo Vilchis.

NOTE: The seminar is limited to 20 participants. Participants must commit to attending the full seminar, which includes discussions, rehearsals and the staging of a learning play as a collective act on Friday, 4th of November. The organiser will provide only food for the duration of the seminar and entrance to the symposium. Sorry, but no support for accomodation is available because seminar is focused on local participants.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: October 23, 2011

Please send your motivation letters to:

Robert Sember: robert.sember@gmail.com (Ultra-red)

Dmitry Vilensky: dmvilen@gmail.com (Chto Delat)

Fleur van Muiswinkel: fleurvanmuiswinkel@gmail.com (curator affiliated with SKOR)

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Tom Morello: This Land Is Your Land

(Via Luna17)

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Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

(Via Common Dreams)

Declaration of the Occupation of New York City
by NYC General Assembly

This document was accepted by the NYC General Assembly on September 29, 2011, with slight adjustments in wording on October 1, 2011:

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.

They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.

They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.

They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.

They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.

They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.

They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. *

To the people of the world,

We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!

*These grievances are not all-inclusive.

New York City General Assemblies are an open, participatory and horizontally organized process through which we are building the capacity to constitute ourselves in public as autonomous collective forces within and against the constant crises of our times.

Please read the Principles of Solidarity working draft.

Interested in starting your own General Assembly? Here is a quick guide from Takethesquare.net.

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