This academic article is concerned with precariousness and cultural work. It aim is to bring into dialogue three bodies of ideas – the work of the autonomous Marxist ‘Italian laboratory’; activist writings about precariousness and precarity; and the emerging empirical scholarship concerned with the distinctive features of cultural work, at a moment when artists, designers and (new) media workers have taken centre stage as a supposed ‘creative class’ of model entrepreneurs
As mainstream discourse again shifts towards a discussion of automation, @Aut_Omnia examines its mechanics, human cost and utopian potential.
Man as Machine.
“The man of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys:
Power, like a desolating pestilence,
Pollutes whate'er it touches, and obedience,
Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,
Makes slaves of men, and, of the human frame,
A mechanised automaton.”1
In this 2006 lecture, Miguel Amorós depicts the previous twenty years as a period of radical changes for the emancipatory project, beginning with “the disappearance of the workers milieu” in the 1980s and the simultaneous rise of a new youth movement which, because it “started from zero” as a result of its lack of historical memory, was in part drawn to violence (“immediate confrontation”), and in part to the practice of “neo-contestatory”, “festive” forms of simulated struggle (“In the society of the spectacle protest is a form of leisure”), only to be “absorbed by the dynamic of survival in a hostile environment” as “the fifth wheel of the electoral bandwagon of social democracy”.
The Last Twenty Years of Social Liquidation – Miguel Amorós
Concerning the Degeneration of Revolutionary Ideals after the End of the Working Class in the West
In this article Paul Bowman draws a line between revolutionary class analysis and universalist utopianism and goes on to explore the history of different ideas of class and the elusive revolutionary subject. After exploring the intersecting lines of class and identity, he poses the challenge that we as libertarian communists face as we strive to create “cultural and organisational forms of class power [that] do not unconsciously recreate the... hierarchies of identity and exclusion” that are the hallmark of the present society.
Against universalism, against utopianism
The term class divides people into two camps. One which seems to uphold its validity with an almost cult-like intensity, and a much larger camp that is at best undecided, but mostly turned off entirely by it – and especially so by the apparently religious fervour of the small minority in the first camp.
A short history of the refusal of work as a revolutionary strategy.
A strange delusion possesses the working classes of the nations where capitalist civilisation holds sway. This delusion drags in its train the individual and social woes which for two centuries have tortured sad humanity. This delusion is the love of work, the furious passion for work, pushed even to the exhaustion of the vital force of the individual and his progeny.'
A harrowing intellectual biography and review essay devoted to the life and works of Giorgio Cesarano, interwoven with an account of the Italian “radical current” of 1968-1978, when revolutionary expectations ran high but, for the few consistent revolutionaries caught between the terrorism of the state and the armed groups, the hostility of the Stalinist and crypto-Stalinist political formations, and a ruthless and sweeping repression, the results were often madness, prison, suicide and a wave of disillusionment that devastated the revolutionary milieu.
Apocalypse and survival: Reflections on Giorgio Cesarano's book, Critica dell’utopia capitale, and the experience of the radical communist current in Italy
By Francesco Santini (1994), Spanish translation by Carlos Lagos P. Original text in Italian at: http://www.autprol.org/public/news/apoeriv.htm
English translation from Spanish completed January 2013
Fire and Flames is no detached academic study, but a passionate, hands-on, and engaging account of the beginnings of one of Europe's most intriguing protest movements of the last thirty years. An introduction by George Katsiaficas, author of The Subversion of Politics and an afterword by Gabriel Kuhn, a long-time autonomous activist and author, add historical context and an update on the current state of the Autonomen.
Fire and Flames was the first comprehensive study of the German autonomous movement ever published. Released in 1990, it reached its fifth edition by 1997, with the legendary German Konkret journal concluding that "the movement had produced its own classic." The author, writing under the pseudonym of Geronimo, has been an autonomous activist since the movement burst onto the scene in 1980-81.
The Imaginary Party on the NUS, the prospects for higher education and students and how the latter can organise around their material interests.
We all know what’s happening. The NUS has called its annual demonstration today just like it has done every single year since 1997 – with the exception of course of 2011, probably the one year when such an event could of had an impact. It’s what they do with disarming regularity. The NUS has no intention of fighting for anything at all, let alone winning.
Nanni Balestrini was born in Milan in 1935. Known both as an experimental writer of prose and verse and as a cultural and political activist, he played a leading role in avant-garde writing and publishing in the sixties. His involvement with the extra-parliamentary left in the seventies resulted in terrorism charges (of which he was subsequently acquitted) and a long period of self-imposed exile from Italy.
Let A Thousand Hands... is an extract translated from the novel La Violenza Illustrata (Einaudi, 1976). Using one of Balestrini’s favorite techniques, it is a montage of newspaper reports of the death of Mara Cagol, one of the founders of the Red Brigades.
FIAT (1977) is a first-hand account of work (or its refusal) at the infamous FIAT plant in Turin, Italy.