Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Void Network express solidarity to the struggle of the people of Palestine for Freedom and Self-Determination. We introduce the statement of the activist's group "Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine (APJP)
Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine (APJP) is an independent international pressure group of design professionals. We are seeking international support for an ethical and just practice for our professions in Palestine and the Occupied Territories. We oppose the building of such projects as the illegal settlements, check points, settler–only highways and above all the Separation Wall. Palestinian land has become so fragmented that a viable Palestinian State has been rendered impossible. The map of Palestine, for the indigenous Palestinians, has shrunk from being 97% of the land in 1917 to 44% in 1947(see maps below) Today only 13% of the former Palestinian lands are being recognised by Israeli unilateral ‘convergence’ policies, and that small part is being further divided by planning and architectural devices and the matrix of control.
Since 1947 Israeli kibbutzim, towns and cities have been built over the ruins of Palestinian, villages, houses and heritage that were wiped from the map by a form of architectural erasure. Israeli architects and planners, knowingly or not, have become a part of this situation. Israeli settlements built after the 1967 War, considered illegal under international law, could not have been realized without their help. Professional ethics, long enshrined in architectural and planning codes, demand that we confront these unwelcome truths and not remain silent or complicit. It is with this in mind that we are supporting particular campaigns that challenge this unprofessional conduct.
1. Currently, on the slopes of east Jerusalem, in the village of Silwan some eighty-eight Palestinian homes are under threat of demolition. This is part of a master planned development on annexed land for the benefit of Israeli citizens, which would consolidate the presence of illegal settlers to the exclusion of the current Palestinian inhabitants. The clearance is made under the pretext of gaining a large green space.
2. A further campaign includes what is called Israel’s E1 Plan. This master plan aims for the expansion of the largest illegal Israeli settlement, Ma’ale Adumim, linking it with the Jerusalem metropolitan area. This plan would dissect the northern and southern areas of the West Bank, destroying the possibility of contiguity for a future Palestinian state.
APJP calls on Israeli and international architects, planners and those in the construction industry to express their concern in each and every instance of unjust action in annexing Palestinian land, and the projects to be built on them. The future security and justice, in both Israel and Palestine, are at stake.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The Minimum Definition of Intelligence (Theses on the Construction of One’s Own Self-theory) by For Ourselves
This booklet is for people who are dissatisfied with their lives. If you are happy with your present existence, we have no argument with you. However, if you are tired of waiting for your life to change...
Tired of waiting for authentic community, love and adventure...
Tired of waiting for the end of money and forced work...
Tired of looking for new pastimes to pass the time...
Tired of waiting for a lush, rich existence... Tired of waiting for a situation in which you can realise all your desires...
Tired of waiting for the end of all authorities, alienations, ideologies and moralities...
...then we think you’ll find what follows to be quite handy.
One of the great secrets of our miserable yet potentially marvellous time is that thinking can be a pleasure. This is a manual for constructing your own self-theory. Constructing your self-theory is a revelutionary pleasure, the pleasure of constructing your self-theory of revolution.
Building your self-theory is a destructive/constructive pleasure, because you are building a theory-of-practice for the destructive/constructive transformation of this society.
Self-theory is a theory of adventure. It is as erotic and humorous as an authentic revolution.
The alienation felt as a result of having had your thinking done for you by the ideologies of our day, can lead to the search for the pleasurable negation of that alienation: thinking for yourself. It is the pleasure of making your mind your own.
Self-theory is the body of critical thought you construct for your own use. You construct it and use it when you make an analysis of why your life is the way it is, why the world is the way it is. (And ‘thinking’ and ‘feeling’ are inseparable, since thought comes from subjective, emotive experience.) You build your self-theory when you develop a theory of practice — a theory of how to get what you desire for your life.
Theory will be either a practical theory — a theory of revolutionary practice — or it will be nothing... nothing but an aquarium of ideas, a contemplative interpretation of the world. The realm of ideals is the eternal waiting-room of unrealised desire.
Those who assume (usually unconsciously) the impossibility of realising their life’s desires, and of thus fighting for themselves, usually end up fighting for an ideal or cause instead (i.e., the illusion of selfactivity or self-practice). Those who know that this is the acceptance of alienation will now know that all ideals and causes are ideologies.
Whenever a system of ideas is structured with an abstraction at the centre — assigning a role or duties to you for its sake — this system is an ideology. An ideology is a system of false consciousness in which you no longer function as the subject in your relation to the world.
The various forms of ideology are all structured around different abstractions, yet they all serve the interests of a dominant (or aspiring dominant) class by giving you a sense of purpose in your sacrifice, suffering and submission.
Religious ideology is the oldest example, the fantastic projection called ‘God’ is the Supreme Subject of the cosmos, acting on every human being as ‘His’ subject.
In the ‘scientific’ and ‘democratic’ ideologies of bourgeois enterprise, capital investment is the ‘productive’ subject directing world history — the ‘invisible hand’ guiding human development. The bourgeoisie had to attack and weaken the power that religious ideology once held. It exposed the mystification of the religious world in its technological investigation, expanding the realm of things and methods out of which it could make a profit.
The various brands of Leninism are ‘revolutionary’ ideologies in which their Party is the rightful subject to dictate world history, by leading its object — the proletariat — to the goal of replacing the bourgeois apparatus with a Leninist one.
The many other forms of the dominant ideologies can be seen daily. The rise of the new religiomsyticisms serve the dominant structure of social relations in a round about way. They provide a neat form in which the emptiness of daily life may be obscured, and like drugs, make it easier to live with. Volunteerism (shoulder to the wheel) and determinism (it’ll all work out) prevent us from recognising our real place in the functioning of the world. In avant-garde ideology, novelty in (and of) itself is what’s important. In survivalism, subjectivity is preempted by fear through the invocation of the image of an impending world catastrophe.
In accepting ideologies we accept an inversion of subject and object; things take on a human power and will, while human beings have their place as things. Ideology is upside-down theory. We further accept the separation between the narrow reality of our daily life, and the image of a world totality that’s out of our grasp. Ideology offers us only a voyeur’s relationship with the totality.
In this separation, and this acceptance of sacrifice for the cause, every ideology serves to protect the dominant social order. Authorities whose power depends on separation must deny us our subjectivity in order to survive themselves. Such denial comes in the form of demanding sacrifices for ‘the common good’, ‘the national interest’, ‘the war effort’, ‘the revolution’....
We get rid of the blinders of ideology by constantly asking ourselves... How do I feel?
Am I enjoying myself?
How’s my life?
Am I getting what I want?
What’s keeping me from getting what I want?
This is having consciousnessof the commonplace, awareness of one’s everyday routine. That Everyday Life — real life — exists, is a public secret that gets less secret every day, as the poverty of daily life gets more and more visible.
The construction of self-theory is based on thinking for yourself, being fully conscious of desires and their validity. It is the construction of radical subjectivity.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
"All Power to the General Assemblies? Or, the Strange Case of Take Artists Space" by Trevor Owen Jones from ViewPoint Magazine
After the raid on Zuccotti Park early this morning [ http://www.nycga.net/ ], what remains of Occupy Wall Street? The library was destroyed and thrown in the garbage; the kitchen and commune that fed and housed hundreds now gone. But what about the general assembly?
The police violence demonstrates that the relevance of Occupy Wall Street as a political situation is by no means in its attempts, failures and very real successes at direct democracy. It is instead a question: what is beyond democracy in the spirit of Occupy Wall Street?
This is not some terrible, reactionary deconstruction of the importance of consensus, discussion, and the camaraderie of equals; I merely mean to pinpoint tactics of affinity that force platforms of sharing and leveling to occur in the first place. As Rosa Luxemburg [ http://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1918/russian-revolution/ch06.htm ] said,“freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently” – to not discuss this, and bring it forthwith, is to say only endless opinions matter.
Why should mere “opinions” be interesting? Why should anything like Occupy Wall Street be supposed to be a monolith of practices and ideas? Even if it were, why should it continue as it is? The power of Occupy Wall Street is in its multiplicity of democratic forms, not endless rote assemblies. The recent raids on Oakland, Portland and New York (most likely coordinated) are forcing Occupy Wall Street to radicalize its formations – autonomous affinities are necessary to propel the “movement,” but in order to do this, they cannot be wholly identified with it.
At 5PM on Saturday, October 22, a group of activists, artists and others occupied Artists Space [ http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/25/nyregion/occupy-wall-street-splinter-group-occupies-art-gallery.html ], a project of the New York State Council on the Arts which had the goal of assisting young and emerging artists. Deemed “Occupy 38” (for 38 Greene Street, Soho), over the course of the next 28 hours they drew dismissive comments, if not outright venom, from every would-be analyst of Occupy Wall Street. Village Voice feigned confusion. Anonymous decried it with “this ‘occupation’ sucks !!!” On Twitter, the hashtag #occupy38 was bizarrely filled with vitriol against the action, with numerous New York bloggers and journalists claiming understanding and sympathy with Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park and the movement as a whole, but eager to denounce “Take Artists Space” as “immature” and “stupid.” Despite holding open general assemblies, Occupy 38 was quickly construed as “elitist.” Though they did not try to promote exclusivity, it is true that their goal was to circumvent the General Assembly – with its undercover cops, wet blanket liberals, and bleating obsessions with process – in order to advance the movement.
Trees for the Forest
Of course, those behind Take Artists Space were well aware of their actions – the committees and process of Zuccotti were becoming overwrought and stifling, and it was a necessity to take indoor space, especially before the cold weather began, to renew the radicality of OWS’s initial gestures. In other words, to continue a serial composition of what occupation is, not defensively and hysterically crying out “quid juris?” [ http://conservapedia.com/Questio_quid_juris ]
Occupying a more community-oriented art gallery was a calculation to avoid an immediate crackdown – Artists Space failed in this regard, eventually snitching on the occupiers, because by all anecdotal reports, they were, in summary, mean.
Why does any of this matter? The obvious response was included on the Take Artists Space tumblr [ http://artistsspaceoccupation.tumblr.com/ ]. They found themselves “amidst accusations of moral deficiency and political immaturity, the same accusations wielded by the owners of Zuccotti Park at the start of its occupation.” But this critique was unfortunately lost on the liberals of the blogosphere.
The liberals felt that Take Artists Space drew attention away from the main struggle of Occupy Wall Street and its Zuccotti Park origin story, implying that if the talisman of that place were to be taken away, the “movement” would somehow cease to grow. As though the power of the general assemblies were in their unity, and not their multiple elements! The occupations symbolically uphold their occupied spaces, but any aberration is deemed “poorly organized” adventurism by people who insist on symbols alone. The “friendly,” “radical” media relished in calling out the perceived turpitude and audacity of Take Artists Space, and effectively did the work of the police’s PR department.
But never mind that. Given the real arc of affairs supplying the backdrop to the drama that is OWS – the breakdown of global capitalism as a world system – why not support emancipatory revolt in all its forms? Given the very realistic long-term consequences of today’s events, why stunt the transformative potential of everything that emerges from capitalism’s structural contradictions?
The mistake today is to look at Greece, Spain, London, Chile, and elsewhere, and hold them in relief as parts of a whole, a single phenomenon. Actually, this is what a single phenemenon looks like as it is being ripped apart. We should participate in its coming apart – it’s not as if we could do anything to prevent it! Are there some people – even those who claim support for Occupy Wall Street – who still believe a return to the status quo is possible, but with maybe a little more democracy and jobs thrown in?
The general assemblies, while exciting and resonant, are not sacred cows. The general assemblies sustain a refusal of today’s dismal situation not only inasmuch they do just that – sustain the refusal. They must meet at the intersection of revolutionary sequence and insurrectionary act: where they are a process, they should also be an act of transgression, and where they are transgressive, they should also move toward a real goal. When they are neither, they should be scrapped for something else. They do not represent anyone, and do not speak for the movement, strictly because there is not a movement, but thousands of movements, in full floral bloom.
Still Not Getting It
Simply put, there isn’t any stopping what is under way – what is important is to foster the creation of groups, agitate and educate in and out of the workplace, and splinter whatever unity the present possesses into many other factions and affinities. Forcing encounters – those moments when business does not go as usual – is the prerogative for new assemblies and methods. Global capital preserves a situation in which there are no encounters, because business must always go as planned, and nothing exists but business. Take Artists Space was an attempt at creating an encounter – to draw out the consequences of haste and audacity, and adhering not to schisms in general, but to generating schism and playing it out until the music stops. If experimentation rubs people the wrong way when its happening, this is the symptom that something new is occurring.
The last communiqué from Occupy 38, or Take Artists Space [ http://artistsspaceoccupation.tumblr.com/post/11857646857/the-occupation-at-38-greene-street-ended-at-8pm-on ] , affirmatively reads,
We battle with saboteurs, camouflaged socialists, intellectual skepticism; and we say: Let’s occupy something else. Now we know who we can invite. The ones that don’t wish only for progress to our movement, but the efforts of our bodies to expose and threaten, to break structures and clichés which are not bound only in the arena of a bureaucratic village. In this process we are educated about tactics of friend and enemy.
It is Pollyannaish to continue to assume that everyone will be Occupy Wall Street’s friend, just as it is obtuse to believe there are enemies around every corner. We must continue to discover who our friends really are.
The first sequence of the Occupy movement, as events in Oakland and Chapel Hill attest, is over. On Take Artists Space tumblr log, the key to the action was in the language used: “Take That Which is Already Yours.” It’s impossible to “occupy” something that is already yours – but it must be taken back, indefinitely. Zuccotti Park and Oscar Grant Plaza must not be just “reoccupied” in response to this recent wave of state repression. They must be taken permanently. Now the real work begins. We must change the political situation. “Occupy Everything” is literal, and because of that, stop saying “Occupy.”
text first appeared in November 15, 2011 at ViewPoint Magazine
Monday, November 7, 2011
Many people wonder what it is that these new 'occupy' protests can accomplish, and have trouble envisioning the so-called "ends" of the movement. But the beauty of what is happening is not found in the "ends", but the "means" that has been chosen. Politics is changing, and we can and should push it to be more localized.
Politics, as many of us are accustomed to thinking of it, usually boils down to what has been called the 'politics of demand'. The politics of demand can be understood as the coming together of three interlocking ideas
1. Asking someone else to solve something
A group with grievances ‘demands’ that a specific existing institution ‘fixes’ the problem, sometimes with minor input from the grieved group. This reinforces the authority and power of the institution in question, whether that institution is a corporation, government agency, or whatever else. *These institutions exist to silence these demands in any way they can that alters the status quo as little as possible* The more we ‘demand’ from them, the more we rely on them, and the more power they will have. It also has a tendency to hide, exacerbate, or multiply the source of those grievances.
2. Vertical organizing
In order for the aggrieved group to interact "efficiently" with authority, representatives are chosen and given negotiating powers, goal making powers, and general decision making abilities that are not afforded to the rest of the group. Internal power structures quickly form and become entrenched, keeping the large majority (99%, anyone?) from actually participating in anything but being a warm body at an event, or possibly a signature or a vote… anything but a meaningful and engaged participant.
3. Education before action
There is a very high tendency, in this normal mode of politics, to assume that everyone doesn't agree with (x) or doesn't know how to understand or do (x) correctly because they need someone to tell them what's "really wrong" with whatever…. which, when you think about it, is kind of insulting.
On the other side of the spectrum we have the Occupy Everything movement. Or, at least this is what I think makes Occupy so much more engaging than anything else that has happened in contemporary politics. These diffuse movements currently exemplify what has been called the 'politics of the act', which can also be understood as three interlocking ideas.
1. Acting without begging for permission
Instead of asking for an institution to solve some grievance, the aggrieved group acts in creative ways in order to begin solving it's own problems. This may lead to some ‘demands’ being met, but does not start from making ‘demands’, and therefor cannot be told to sit down and be quiet when (x) demand is supposedly met. Occupying wall street without a permit is a prime example of this. It is a beginning, a call out to those who would like to build something better. It comes down to the idea of building alternative (horizontal) networks to the obviously corrupt (vertical) system we have, without asking permission from that very system.
2. Horizontal organizing
Horizontal' refers to an idea of equality, that we should all be interacting on a level playing field, a horizon. So horizontal organizing is a reference to organizations that prioritize no particular personality, but allow for anyone to participate how they can, when they can. This creates a network that has no ‘leaders’, but where everyone is capable of acting in temporary leadership (spokesperson) roles. Equality in organizing. Once again, the way that the Occupy movement has been acting is a prime example of this, with the general assemblies, the human mic, and the generally 'open-source' type network building online and on the ground.
3. Equality of action
We are all equally alive, and have our own experiences, which do not negate the experiences of others. It is from these personal experiences that we must act, not from external commands or teachings. We are individuals. We all have the capacity to act, when and how we see fit, guided by our own experiences. These experiences are what have inspired thousands of people, many of whom had never bothered with a protest before or had given up, to come out and Occupy Everything. If we continue to act from our own experiences in this way, and build up an individualized yet communal experience of building and of resistance to corrupt systems, we can change everything, and we can do it ourselves.
The strength of the Occupy Everything movement so far is how closely it has generally stuck with the politics of the act and rejected the politics of demand. My hope in pointing this out is to add to and expand our collective experiences, hopefully in a way that pushes us farther and farther towards those better worlds, because other worlds truly are possible, as long as we act to make them. We are not asking for a new world. We are not demanding a new world. We are creating it.
Concepts that can be useful:
Being forced into a group can certainly improve ones skills in some senses for some people, but nothing seems to work better than a group that simply seems to 'click', when people just decide to get together themselves, without being directed. No-one knows who you get along with and what you do better than yourself.
Life is not static, and who we act and discuss with should not be either. Free association is the ability to freely enter and leave groups according to preference
When someone acts in order to further their ideas and goals without resorting to another group for mediation. Direct action simply refers to our capacity to act directly in achieving goals and resolving issues. It is an older and possibly narrower way of talking about the politics of the act
Though many seem to think that we are inherently and strongly competitive, we are in fact what biologists call a 'social' species, we have evolved to work in groups. Competition, of course, occurs within and between the groups we form, but a high tendency for cooperation is what got us through most of the problems we've historically encountered as a species. Mutual aid refers to this capacity for cooperation with others, a capacity that we would be wise to act on.
text found: http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20111025114601766
photo-colaz found: http://friendsofibnfirnas.blogspot.com/
more info about Occupy Everything: http://occupyeverything.org/
text found: http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20111025114601766
photo-colaz found: http://friendsofibnfirnas.blogspot.com/
more info about Occupy Everything: http://occupyeverything.org/