04.04.2012

Wednesday Night — 04.04.12 — “We didn´t come out of nowhere” — Swarms, multitude, and activism in a time of monsters

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Wednesday Night — 04.04.12 — “We didn´t come out of nowhere” — Swarms, multitude, and activism in a time of monsters

Contents:
1. About Wednesday Night
2. About Ana Méndez de Andés
3. Useful Links
4. Related Links
5. Monday Bluestockings Event

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1. About Wednesday Night

What: Talk with Ana Méndez de Andés
When: Wednesday, April 4th, 7:00pm
Where: 16 Beaver St. 4 floor
Who: Free and open to all

New political cultures foment new political densities. Underlying these densities, of relationships, knowledge, capacities, and resources, is the question of organization.

We investigated the circulation of new organizational forms during our gathering “For General Assemblies in Every Part of the World” in the summer in an attempt to understand by first-hand account recent experiences in local and global struggles. It was also an exercise in internationalist political imagination in which we asked:

“What does a democratic multitude look like? And how does it invent a new vocabulary for praxis? How does this general intellect, and idea that has been strengthened over the last few decades, transform into political action?

On what grounds can this emergent politics be conjoined across disparate sites and struggles? How have we been affected by the events in Tunisia or Egypt, for example? How do those struggles and approaches get
translated elsewhere? How were they put into play in Spain? And how did the events in Spain inspire a resurgence of political strategies in the most recent developments in Greece?”

The evolving circuit of struggle now looks like an expanded loop, of interconnected struggles producing and reproducing each other both across transnational fissures and new linkages: the 20th February movement in Morocco and the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia…the Jasmine Revolution and Tahrir Square in Cairo…Tahrir and the Generacao a rasca in Portugal…Generasao a rasca and the acampadas in Spain…the acampadas and
Syntagma in Greece…Syntagma and Occupy Wall Street in NYC…the Occupy movements in the U.S. and… We convene on Wednesday evening to continue the spirit of these discussions of organization in the field of new political cultures just on the heels of the General Strike in Spain.

Ana Méndez de Andés from the Madrid-based Observatorio Metropolitano and Traficantes de Suenos, will join us for a closer look into the strike in the context of the May 15th movement and the #spanishrevolution, its new
organizational forms, dispersions of power, and militant re-articulations in process. This transatlantic inquiry aims to share experiences in New York City and in Madrid as we build toward our own general strike in one month.

Related to and incipient of our forms of organization is knowledge production and the invention of activist devices with which to produce collectively militant knowledge and militant subjectivities. The act of
exposing conditions in order to transform them is related to what George Caffentzis, Silvia Federici and the friends and comrades around Midnight Notes have called “reading the struggles,” a militant practice of investigating the general conditions in which resistance, refusal, and revolt emerge from the technical and political composition of work and social life.

On Wednesday, we will organize our discussions around a series of questions that aim to trigger thought on the question of research militancy, organization, and production:

(1) How can we know the exposition of social needs and desires
constituting everyday life in order to intervene and facilitate a
generalization of assemblies, strikes, recompositions, alliances,
antagonisms, collective reproductions? How do militant research practices
produce knowledge differently? How can such practices help us listen,
speak, share, learn, and act in common?

(2) What metaphors and basic images do we utilize in our organizational
imaginations? What is the role of the individual in the informal group,
affinity group, formal organization, milieu, tendency, or assembly? And
where to place friendship? How do we imagine and connect with the social
world beyond our small networks of relations?

(3) What constitutes urban production in the present context? Which are
the processes of capital accumulation that can be short-circuited,
sabotaged, or neutralized?

(4) How has May 15 altered or informed the practice of an autonomous
initiative like Observatorio Metropolitano? What kinds of questions has
May 15 raised for those who identify themselves as radicals, militants, or
activists? What new doors, if any, have been opened? And what remain its
greatest challenges?

(5) Can we still rely on the notion of “movement” or is it, like the
party, or union, a category that requires today, further scrutiny and
rethinking?

(6) How have the shifting forms of political organization and struggle
altered the terms of political actions such as the most recent General
Strike?

These are questions that have been sharpened by new experiences organizing
assemblies, actions, and our affinities in recent months. All of this will
have to be put to test during the next phase of actions, both in NY and on
the other side of the Atlantic. We hope you may join us to consider the
collective intelligence articulating its political vocation through
experiments with general assemblies everywhere, and today looks to reclaim
and rethink the potential of striking everywhere.

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2. About Ana Méndez de Andés

Ana Méndez de Andés is an architect and urban planner who has been working
as a landscape designer in Amsterdam, London and Madrid and is currently
teaching Urban Design at the Universidad Europea de Madrid. Her main field
of interest is the question of urban commons and the re-apropriation of
public space.

She is part of the collective Observatorio Metropolitano, a militant
research group that utilizes investigations and counter-mapping to look
into the metropolitan processes of precarious workers, migrants, and
militants taking place in Madrid, brought on by crisis, gentrification,
speculation and displacement. Ana collaborates with the publishing house,
bookshop, independent distribution and design project Traficantes de
Sueños and has also been involved in different projects regarding
collaborative mapping, urban commons and the conditions of production of
public space such as car-tac, areaciega, and urbanaccion; as well as
linked to organizing assemblies within the 15M-Acampada movement.

These events co-sponsored by ‘This Is Forever’ autonomist events and
discussion series.

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3. Useful Links

Observatorio Metropolitano
http://www.observatoriometropolitano.org/

Car-tac
https://n-1.cc/pg/groups/2601/cartac

Areaciega
http://areaciega.net

Urbanaccion
http://subur.urbanaccion.org/?cat=65

Traficantes de Suenos
http://www.traficantes.net/

This is Forever
http://thisisforever.org

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4. Related Link

Something more on Research Militancy, Colectivo Situacciones
http://www.ephemeraweb.org/journal/5-4/5-4colectivo.pdf

Social centres: monsters and political machines for a new generation of
movement institutions, Pablo Carmona, Tomás Herreros, Raúl Sánchez
Cedillo, Nicolás Sguiglia
http://eipcp.net/transversal/0508/carmonaetal/en

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5. Monday Bluestockings Event

Please note, Ana will also be speaking at 7pm at Bluestockings tonight.

Monday, April 2nd | 7PM
Bluestockings Bookstore
172 Allen Street
http://www.bluestockings.com

Urban Commons in the new #SpanishRevolution

The social wave that has taken over the squares in Spain, in the middle of
the first economic crisis of the 21st century, has developed new forms
socialization, imaginary and political action that are reshaping the
relations between what we consider to be public, private or collective.
Starting from this essential shift, Ana Mendez will discuss the possible
articulations of urban commons.

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16 Beaver Group
16 Beaver Street, 4th fl.
New York, NY 10004

for directions/subscriptions/info visit:
http://www.16beavergroup.org

TRAINS:
4,5 — Bowling Green
2,3 — Wall Street
J,Z — Broad Street
R — Whitehall
1 — South Ferry