Saturday Afternoon / Evening — 5.5.12 — Todos Somos Japón / Todos nos estamos volviendo militantes investigadores

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Saturday Afternoon / Evening — 5.5.12 — Todos Somos Japón / Todos nos estamos volviendo militantes investigadores

0. Introduction
1. Afternoon (Celebratory Action)
2. Evening (Spontaneous Seminar)
3. Inquiries
4. Additional Note for Commoning Central Park

0. Introduction
These two events on Saturday come together through separate but related threads.

In the afternoon, there will be a celebratory action marking the closure of the last nuclear plant in Japan. Our picnic will be followed by an informal assembly.

In the evening, we have pulled together very spontaneously a seminar with a rich group of guests, some announced and others who have yet to confirm, thinking and planning together around efforts to network autonomous learning initiatives regionally and globally.

Both events come on the back of experiences from and in preparation for May 1st General Strike. Both also revolve around the deterioration of common(s), material, ecological, as well as intellectual, social.

More details follow below for each of the events.

1. Afternoon (Celebratory Action)

Todos Somos Japon/Commoning Central Park It’s a Celebration and by Any Means Necessary!– Toward an Indefinite Process of a Total Nuclear Abolition

n.o.n.u.k.e.s. PARTY
What: A Celebratory Action at Central Park NYC
When: May 5th at 2:00 pm
Where: Central Park (Enter at East 67th Street)
Who: everyone is invited!

Come May 5th, Tomari Unit 3, the last remaining nuclear reactor in Hokkaido Japan will be offline, at which point there will be zero nuclear power supplied in Japan. This is a significant victory of the anti-nuclear struggles since the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown in March 2011. Todos Somos Japon in NYC would like to share this joy together and invite all to a communal picnic, a general assembly to celebrate this day.

During the past year, as each nuclear reactor shut off and stayed shut due to people’s resistance, the people in Japan have realized that they no longer needed nuclear power; they have never needed it, and the threat of ‘electric insufficiency’ posed by the pro-nuclear force was merely a fabrication. This is a revolutionary shift of mindset that could decompose the nuclear myths; that we cannot live without nuclear energy and a nuclear disaster is something we can overcome!

But…behold! Their government, electric companies and financial circles are employing all possible means to resume the reactors. In addition, the people there still continue to live under extreme hardships of radiation exposure, ever expanding beyond Fukushima and national boundaries. So this is just a beginning of a long and broad struggle. And we believe that the “we don’t need it” awakening amongst ourselves is the real beginning of the end of nuclear power on the planet.

On this remarkable occasion we invite all for a gathering to share food, our experiences and wisdom. Let us gather and begin a conversation. Come join us!

whose interests it is serving?
what and whom the production of nuclear energy involves?
relation to planetary activities like earthquakes?
relation to nuclear weaponry?
relationship with the global power structure?
what we really need to do to terminate it?

*This event will be held in conjunction with Commoning Central Park, an initiative of the Central Park Exploratory Committee. Please read their political tract at the bottom of this email.

2. Evening (“Spontaneous Seminar”)

Toward an Autonomous Network of Space, Knowledge, and Subjectivity

What: A Seminar for Molecular Knowledges and Networked Militancy
Where: 16 Beaver Street, 4th floor
When: Saturday, May 5th 6PM to 10PM
Who: Organizers and participants of the 16 Beaver Group with David Harvey, Miguel Robles-Duran, friends from Edu-Factory, Making Worlds, and friends and organizers involved in actions for the May Day General Strike, other autonomous learning initiatives, and anyone interested
How: Collectivize our intelligence on the politics and strategic questions of organizing networked militancy, autonomous knowledges, and practices.

Just days after May Day, with its joys, passions, as well as limitations still reverberating, we call for a spontaneous seminar around the theme and title of “Organizing Molecular Knowledges and Networked Militancy.”
From the perspective of variegated and evolving processes of organization in the last months and years, the seemingly contrasting notion of a “spontaneous seminar” is meant to invoke a time for us to think and organize anew, starting from the most recent irruptions of energy in which we’ve found ourselves. These include a series of convergences from which we’re advancing where the space of the city and the space of autonomous education combine. Thus, the seminar seeks to organize our collective intelligence and investigate the processes that make the city a site of struggle and a site of autonomous learning.

We approach the city as the site of divisions and hierarchies, but also the site of common composition and horizontal organizing. We therefore want to think about the class forces of both commons and capitalist accumulation, and advance forms of militancy that build alliances and new political compositions that enable us to take initiative in the protracted struggles over our city, our education, and our future.

Months of organizing for the May Day demonstrations brought together new working groups, assemblies, affinity groups, organizations, and loose associations in order to reorient the strategic field of alliance across the city’s many workers. The experiences of “The Free University” in Madison Square Park on May Day opened a day-long portal to a commons of education, space, and militancy, wherein a collective vision of autonomous learning was built, elaborated, and animated. In a gathering called “The University is Ours!” in Toronto last weekend, militants took stock of the conflicts that surround the neoliberal university in North American and globally, “through a series of debriefings on experiences of resistance and the creation of a cartography of local and global struggles.” Their gathering was a linking of struggles and a call to develop a North American network that can deepen our relationships and advance our struggles.

This call to network suggests one pathway for combining our organizational energies in NYC and for building powerful transnational circuits of struggle.

On Saturday, we have the opportunity to collaborate with visiting Italian comrades Gigi Roggero and Anna Curcio from the militant research networks Edu-Factory and Uninomade, who have built up processes of collaboration, inquiry, and organizing across Europe in the last years precisely through networked forms of militancy. We will also be joined by David Harvey, Miguel Robles-Duran, Making Worlds, friends and organizers from May Day and others who are organizing or interested in autonomous learning initiatives who will be reading this.

3. Inquiries

The city and the university are two sites on a common plane from which we assess our present situation and ask “what next?” in the organization of our autonomy. Some basic organizing questions we have before us:

(1) How do we understand the space of the city as the site of capitalist accumulation as well as the site of the production of our commons? What is the analytic reach of ‘the urban’ or ‘the social factory’ in understanding how our daily lives, relationships, and subjectivities are entwined in both practices of resistance and autonomous creation, as well as exploitation, command, and accumulation of money and power over us. What does “knowing the urban” help us know about ourselves, our struggles, and our vision for autonomy?

(2) While the “network” has become the primary form for linking social movement organization, we know that networks are not necessarily enough to build power and reorganize daily life. What common forms does a network take, and through what practices, does it emerge? How do we understand the network as both everyday institutions of our cooperation, sociality, and mutualism but also sites of command, domination, appropriation? That is, how do we organize ourselves and our struggles by transforming the networked social factory into a militant organized network of struggles? What is a “organized network,” and what does it mean to equate the “organized network” with the “autonomous institution”? Upon what bases, principles, and politics does a network become organized into a common? How can we organize networks of flight from the institutions that capture our common intelligence, work, and relations and how can we reappropriate resources, time, and relationships in the process?

(3) What is the dual role of knowledge and subjectivity in both the present political economy and in organizing revolutionary transformation? How can research and education open political processes and practices? How can militant research and learning practices reshape/modify/transform traditional notions of “movement building”? In other words, from this perspective it is not a question of how to use education to build some sort of conscience, that helps to movement to “attract people”, “become political”, etc. but rather a question of how the interaction established in an educational/research process is already a way of political participation which empowers people and, at the same time, transforms the movement itself in this very operation.

Through presentations and discussions we aim to think about the organization of autonomous knowledges within and beyond the university as well as the terms of networked organizing in the urban field/social factory. A relatively dense set of alternative practices and solidarities within and beyond the university already exists, and more are emerging. They have been important in our collective attempts to amass knowledge for our struggles in a new militant context. Our organizational, work, and learning experiences in the pores of the university, whether public, private or ‘free’, comprise an uneven field of politics, from city to city, from institution to institution, and from our varied subjective experiences of governance.

In this context, what does “organizing the common,” mean?

The seminar seeks to build upon the experiences of people and projects currently undertaking the work of plotting, planning, and scheming autonomous networks of space, knowledge, and subjectivity. We view this as an opportunity to think and organize into a network of autonomous practices across the city, within and outside the university system. We take both the city and the university to be a physical setting but also a set of elaborate power-knowledge relations that are diffuse across the urban terrain and social factory. We aim to use our time together to collaboratively, and spatially, think of our role in the aggregation of new knowledges and subjectivities in our urban struggles.

We therefore pose the question of organizing and aggregating the common, so that we may think more clearly about what it means to organize our cooperative networks beyond the borders of the urban/knowledge economy. Join us in thinking about (1) the stakes of autonomous education and inquiry into urban processes, and (2) how it can build power in the organization of networked militancy. Your thoughts, experiences, and wagers are welcome and necessary.

Please contact events [the at sign] thisisforever.org if you need childcare.

4. Note on Commoning Central Park

The Central Park Exploratory Committee has been imagining the different modalities and proposals for Commoning in Central Park. In the previous drifting assemblies and meetings, the committee explored different potential common uses of the park and locations of convergence.

A free store, a non-electrified music hall, patches and zones for urban gardening, a resource center for reconnecting to radical histories, spaces for practicing non-capitalist social relations, learn-ins, anti-universities, programs for mutual aid initiatives, a free child care center, skill sharing, collective meals, picnics, opening up considerations of the commons and the necessity to rethink how an urban context like New York, can orient more toward a subsistence perspective.

Discussions also grew out of different histories of the park, from its uses before the arrival of settlers, to Seneca Village, to Hooverville, to the Be-ins of the late 60’s, the anti-nuclear gatherings of the 80’s, the informal uses of the park throughout the last century, the many unwritten histories which could begin another potential imaginary for one the arteries of New York City. The committee also explored it as a site of convergence for May 1st, but given the many different proposals already planned, a decision was made to defer for a moment more suitable and necessary.

Reconvening after May 1st and gathering on the occasion of the closure of the last nuclear plant in Japan is important on several levels.

First, as a point of absolute clarity that the discussion around the common(s) is first and foremost not a theoretical promise for a better world, another world, etc… but a necessity, the premise of our very possibility to live, to co-habit this planet with other life forms. Even when confronted with nuclear disaster, the current economic paradigm does not know how to stop the machine, even when it is evident it no longer works. Its only response is how to get the machine back running. But the acknowledgement that the breakdown of the machine spells and spills permanent and irreversible destruction into the very ground and air and water which sustains life is not part of the analysis. It is just given a name, cost, price, corporate collateral damage, and a number, namely, what a company will pay to a circumscribed and symbolic group designated as ‘victims’ as settlement. These designations of ‘victims’ and the ensuing ‘settlements’ are done to erase the immeasurable damages perpetrated and the expansive deterioration caused to plants, other animals, entire ecologies, economies, social relations, habits, habitats, and forms of life.

The recognition that this destruction cannot and must not be quantified, but must be stopped, escapes the prevailing ideology. Instead, efforts are made to naturalize the disaster of Fukushima, just as the labor to naturalize capitalist values as intrinsic to “human nature.” But there is nothing natural to nuclear devastation and there is nothing natural to “continuing as before,” “getting back to normal,” when what it really means is the continuation of the destruction of all life forms for the accumulation and concentration of capital.

Second, most of the committee’s thought process about May 1st was about the days that could come after, if indeed the call for a General Strike was not just heard, but taken up, listened to, translated into daily life. So, this gathering is a way to acknowledge the depth and expansive field of events that one would have to take into account in lucidly responding to a call for a strike; moreover, that such a strike would implicitly evoke and bring into full light the necessity for emergent practices of commoning and reclaiming commons in our cities.

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

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