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Double pincer, or, what’s next

Just to centralize the email discussions:

Becoming Poor: 2/8, 2 pm, Gould 442. Reading Chapters 5 and 7 of Harvey’s Rebel Cities, and Holland’s essay on the Occupy movement and the slow motion general strike. I emailed this to everyone but won’t post it here since it has yet to be published, but email me if you need a copy. We’ll also take a look at the responses the OSU students post and will discuss and respond, as per the discussion last time. Holland is sending me their contact info early next week, so we can get a website up and running.

BP2: 2/15, 2 pm, Gould 442. Reading the first 50 pages of Anti-Oedipus.

Free Activity

I ended up on Wikipedia a few minutes ago, in a search for some information on the “Seattle Process” or the “Seattle Way,” and I found this:

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I saw the attribution of that first quotation and thought, wait a minute, that’s the title of Mark’s first book. I moved the cursor over the end note call-out, and sure enough, they were citing his book. So I created a wikipedia account and realized why the error occurred: unbeknownst to me, Hamilton is Mark’s middle name, and either some little quirk in the wiki software or a misreading by the person who created this entry resulted in an incorrect appellation. Anyway, I fixed it, and now the common is in better shape.

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Path to the Possible

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Virno, P. (1996) “Virtuosity and revolution: the political theory of exodus,” In P. Virno and M. Hardt, Radical Thought in Italy, University of Minnesota Press, pp. 189-210, translated by E. Emory.

Virno joins the chorus of those theorizing a politics beyond the state (and beyond capitalism).  He offers a radical anti-Hobbesian perspective that seeks to return continually to Hobbes’ original moment when we agreed to surrender our own power to an “artificial person” outside ourselves.  Virno wants to return to this moment in order to disavow it, he wants us to resolve to act as if the purported social contract never existed.  It is this acting as if there never was any contract that I think best captures his idea of exodus.  The political action appropriate to exodus is both a refusal of “the baleful dialectic of acquiescence and transgression” that is our relationship with the sovereign state, and…

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Larval Subjects .

9781844679546_Communist_HorizonThis evening I found myself reading The Communist Horizon by Jodi Dean.  As always, the writing is lively, clear and I find myself agreeing with much that she says.  However– and here my remarks will be brief –I find myself disturbed by the defense of “the party”; or rather, to be more precise, the underdetermination of her concept of the party.  To be clear, while my sympathies lie in the direction of anarchism, I agree with Dean in holding that some sort of organization is necessary in order to accomplish any political change.  In my view– and I realize this will be controversial to some –“communism” and “anarchism” are synonymous.  Anarchism denotes a social form that is no longer alienated in the figure of a state, party, or leader, but where people directly rule themselves and organize their social world.  Communism means precisely the same thing.  However, both communism…

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Next meeting

Friday, 1/18, 1:30 PM, in Gould 442.

The two essays we’re reading are available for download under the readings tab above.

I think we should make time at the end of the meeting to talk about our next reading and if and how we’re going to collaborate with Holland’s seminar at OSU; check your email for his reading list.

A revised history

We started this group in the summer of 2010 after two of us had taken Mark’s “Urban Democracy” course. Over the past two years we’ve had quite a few participants from within the two Ph.D. programs in the College of Built Environments, but have also had participants from Geography, Education, and Nursing.

One of the challenges facing us is to figure out how to be inclusive but also to not let the number of participants reach a point where it begins to feel like an overcrowded seminar Then, of course, there is the perennial challenge of scheduling a time that works for everyone. Earlier this quarter, another professor offered to set up an alternate time for other willing participants who could not meet with the larger group. No one took him up on the offer this time around, but what seems important now is that these types of alternatives are beginning to emerge. And it may sound simple, but I’ve never been involved with trying to self-manage a small group of people with diverse and overfilled schedules, and I think the fact that we’ve done it with some degree of success for two years is noteworthy.

Summer 2010

Lefebvre, The Urban Revolution

Autumn 2010

Lefebvre, State, Space, World

Rancière, The Emancipated Spectator

Winter 2011

Arendt, The Human Condition

Spring 2011

Hardt and Negri, Empire

Plato, The Republic

Summer 2011

Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus

Autumn 2011

Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus

Winter 2012

Aristotle, The Politics (we had planned to read this after Plato, but shifted it to accommodate interested students and two of us who had D&G on our general exam bibliographies)

Spring 2012

Harvey, Social Justice and the City

Summer 2012

The Invisible committee, “The coming insurrection”

Agamben, The coming community

Nigel Thrift, Non-representational theory: space, politics, affect

Autumn 2012

Latour, Reassembling the Social

Holland, Nomad Citizenship

Winter 2013

Virno, “Virtuosity and Revolution: The political theory of exodus”

Benjamin, “Critique of violence”

My Desiring-Machines

From the third part of Thus Spoke Zarathustra:

“Verily it is a blessing and not a blasphemy when I teach: ‘Over all things stand the heaven Accident, the heaven Innocence, the heaven Chance, the heaven Prankishness.”

“‘By Chance’ — that is the most ancient nobility of the world, and this I restored to all things: I delivered them from their bondage under Purpose.”

He continues to argue that “a little reason” is “mixed in with all things,” as is a little wisdom. Nevertheless, he still asserts that “this blessed certainty I found in all things: that they would rather dance on the feet of Chance.”

When I finished reading this, I started walking, and the lyrics to the The Books’ song “Smells like content” came rushing into my head. I was lucky enough to see them perform at Neumos years ago and this song was one of the highlights, but…

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