On the weekend before the March 4th state-wide UC strike, we invite you to participatein a two-day theory convergence, a “Continental Drift” seminar with the Paris-based theorist, Brian Holmes. Past Drifts has taken a variety of forms in its manifestations at 16 Beaver (2004-2006) in New York, or through the Midwest’s radical culture corridor (2008); and here in Los Angeles it will confront a California whose infrastructure is crumbling, whose government is disfunctional, and whose public education is in crisis from the space of an autonomous education alternative.
Although this Continental Drift is situated here, in a time of occupations and walkouts, it will connect the changes occurring at our universities to the emergence of a neoliberal control society over the past few decades.
The structure of the weekend will be two-days in four parts. Most parts will be structured as participatory conversations, guided by an interlocutor; togetherwe will explore these themes.
On the first day, we try to understand the massive economic and psychological shifts that have occurred since the end of the 1960′s.
And on the second day, we will locate possible territories for resistance, autonomy, or invention. Continuing in the spirit of our collective conversations so far, we are leaving the lecture-Q&A format aside for themed discussions.
facilitators: Liz Glynn, Marc Herbst
facilitators: Aaron Benanav, Zen Dochterman
facilitators: Cara Baldwin, Nathan Brown, Maya Gonzalez, Evan Calder Williams
facilitators: Brian Holmes, Solomon Bothwell
2:00 Autonomous Spaces
facilitators: Sean Dockray and Christina Ulke
facilitators: Ava Bromberg and Jason Smith
Cara Baldwin will facilitate a critical discussion on material and cultural responses to economic collapse, collective action and debate with contributors to the international occupations movement Gopal Balakrishnan, Nathan Brown, Maya Gonzalez and Evan Calder Williams. This is discussion will bridge both theory and praxis, including theoretical analysis and debate alongside material and tactical considerations.
Day 1 Discussion: Class Collapse, or why do the media always come closer?
Let’s take time at the end of the day to look at the big economic picture and how it lives in our bodies. The gradual personalization and miniaturization of the media now seems to be heading for a subcutaneous destination. Why is that happening?
Keynesian policies formerly tried to create effective demand for capitalist production through state investment in the well-being, or at least the consuming-being, of the entire population. Neoliberal policies replaced investment with loans, credit cards and fictional assets (formerly called homes) that have now evaporated in the crisis. The intensification of the control society, both on the advertising and surveillance sides, betrays an immense anxiety over an utter failure to resolve the real problem of overaccumulation. Even the opulent facade of southern California will no longer be able to cover what is already a gaping class divide.
Several unblinkered suggestions will be made about possible developments over the next decade, in order to open up the debate. Let’s try to imagine together where the excluded middle will go. Opportunities? Projects? Dead ends? Dangers?
Brian Holmes: The Flexible Personality
In the late 1990s, many of us gave a try at “weaving the electronic fabric of struggle” (Harry Cleaver). The idea was to use the new communications networks to awaken a social movement on a global scale. But the hero of pop culture in the Internet era turned out to be a sleepwalker: the figure of Morpheus, from The Matrix. The meshwork was much more densely woven than we thought, and the promise of the Swarm became the reality of the Drone.
The proposal from many people today focuses on singular territories: urban gardens, neighborhood spaces, discussion groups, rural experiments, self-organized schools, and so on. Instead of calling it a retreat or a regression, maybe it’s better to use Raul Zibechi’s term, and think of it as “crecimiento interior” (growth inside). What he’s talking about is a kind of intensive questioning that has to be done in relatively smaller groups, in order to figure out how to respond to changed conditions when past experience is no guide to future conflicts and creations.
As a discussion tool and a way to relate to our own weekend microcosmos at The Public School, let’s look at Guattari’s fourfold map of existential Territories, aesthetic Universes, social Flows and conceptual Phyla. The point is not to get fascinated with the verbiage, but to think about how to intensify certain compact experiments in which we are involved, to the point where they overflow their limits and affect, or let themselves be affected, by other experiments. All four zones on the map represent strategic areas where the former left can be reinvented, in the realms of everyday life and reproduction, social movements and collective projects, scientific and epistemological invention, and last but not least, the imaginary, the vision thing.
A note on facilitation:
For us, a facilitator is someone who can understand the potential of the conversation to be had and figures out a way to get the group to walk in that direction. We have questioned with some detail the relationship between the exchange value of speakers and the reception of their words. We decided to run the planning of the drift as an open class through the Public School so as to create a horizontal and transparent process; ideally to bring the act of theoretical creation from mystery to into a practice done by those who set themselves out on a thought-task. We hope that this is mirrored in the facilitation.
Organized by Zen Doctherman, Cara Baldwin, Jason Smith, Sean Dockray, Liz Glynn, Solomon Bothwell, Christina Ulke, Marc Herbst, Robby Herbst
The Continental Drift is a nomadic seminar organized collaboratively between Brian Holmes and DIY spaces. The first Drift occured at 16 Beaver in NY (2005) and has been held there and elsewhere since. The Drift is a conversation around particular elements of neoliberalism.
The Public School Los Angeles is a school with no curriculum. It is not accredited, it does not give out degrees, and it has no affiliation with the public school system. It is a framework that supports autodidactic activities, operating under the assumption that everything is in everything.