Sunday/Monday — The City / The University — For Sale or For All — Week 11

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Sunday/Monday — 11.24/25.13 — The City / The University — For Sale or
For All — Week 11

0. About Sunday (6:00pm)
1. About Monday (CUNY Protest)
2. About Monday (Common/s Course 5:15-7:15)
3. Suggestions for Monday
4. Note for Sunday

0. About Sunday

What: Conversation
When: 6:00 November 24, 2013
Where: 16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor
Who: Free and open to all

We would like to invite you to a conversation with Hungarian homeless
activist Jutka Lakatos, from “The City is for All”.

Jutka will talk about the conditions of criminalization of homelessness in
Hungary, including the new laws recently written into the constitution
that make it punishable in large areas of Budapest. Moreover, she will
discuss how homeless and their allies are organizing themselves.

We are happy to also have Rob Robinson of Take Back the Land and volunteer
in the Human Right to Housing Program at the National Economic and Social
Rights Initiative to join Jutka, reflecting on Hungary and elsewhere.

We will attempt to place Jutka and Rob’s presentations and conversation in
relation to our recent inquiries into the urban common(s), struggles
around housing and toward commoning the city.

1. About Monday (CUNY Protest)

What: Solidarity Action / March on the CUNY Machine
When: Monday, November 25 (from 12:00 to 4:45)
Where: CUNY (different locations, see below)
Who: Free and open to all

In solidarity with the continuing actions of students associated with the
closing of the Morales/Shakur Center at City College, administrative
actions to suppress free expression, and increasing militarization across
CUNY campuses, we invite those who have been participating in the money
and commons seminar to join us for a day of actions — March on the CUNY

As an extension of our previous discussions on the financialization,
militarization, and privatization of the university in relation to the
City University of New York’s (CUNY) attempts to limit assembly on campus,
Monday afternoon will provide those interested with a moment to connect
with a possible “transversal” organizing action — a city-wide call for a
student walk-out ahead of the CUNY Board of Trustees meeting Monday at

The schedule of actions and events for Monday at CUNY are as follows:

12pm – NYC-wide students solidarity walkout
1:30pm – Press Conference at CUNY Central Offices (42nd street & 3rd
avenue, Manhattan).
2pm – March down 3rd avenue to Baruch College.
3pm – Rally/speak-out against the CUNY Machine outside the Baruch Vertical
Campus building (E 25th street between Lexington and 3rd avenue) through
the early evening.
4pm – CUNY Board of Trustees Business Meeting, 14th floor.

To get involved, email harlemuniversitystudentunion@gmail.com
Twitter: #cunymachine
Text @stopcunymachine to 23559 for updates

Sign and circulate the petition against the “CUNY Policy on Expressive


2. About Monday (Common/s Course)

What: Common(s) Course Meeting / Conversation
When: Monday, November 25 (from 5:15 to 7:15)
Where: CUNY Graduate Center (365 5th avenue @ 34th street, Room 6107, 6th
Who: Free and open to all (bring some form of ID)

This week, we will meet at CUNY Graduate Center, room 6107 (365 5th avenue
@ 34th street)
This week we will NOT be meeting at 16 Beaver.

As a continuation of a day of CUNY-wide actions, we would like to invite
you to join us at CUNY graduate center instead of 16 Beaver.

This week, we would like to continue our discussions around the social
power of money shaping life both inside and outside the contemporary city
and university.

Rather than try to directly address the questions we began asking
concerning knowledge common(s), undercommons, and struggles over the means
of our everyday reproduction – something we hope to take up again in
subsequent discussions; we thought this occasion and a visit by Michael
Taussig, may merit a step toward thinking about the magical and near
sacred powers afforded to money.

How to begin to speak of the animating powers “afforded” to money today?
And how to understand all the sacrifices and austerity measures which are
made in its name and at its alters?

To state it in another way, what gets lost in so many of our struggles
against the near dictatorial force of money over life today, is that
behind all of the capitalist “doses of reality” and its consequent forms
of violence, lay a host of fictions and fetishisms.

So while the chancellors of universities and mayors and governors of
cities and states join their corporate patrons to gather at the alters of
capital, to once again pray for money to continue its magical powers to
beget more money; we can try to understand how an analysis of the fetish
character of money may aid us in our struggles to common the city and
withdraw from the community of money.

3. Suggestions for Monday

David Harvey
Swindlers and Prophets: Facts, Fictions, and Fetishisms

Michael Taussig
The Baptism of Money and the Secret of Capital

Additional Reading:
David Graeber
Fetishism as Social Creativity – Or, Fetishes Are Gods in the Process of

William Pietz
Death of the Deodand – Accursed objects and the money value of human life

4. Note for Sunday

(Letter from Mariann of The City is for All)

Dear Friends,

We are members of a Hungarian community organization, The City is for All,
in which homeless people and their allies work together for the dignity of
homeless people and fight for the right to housing.

We would like to draw your attention to the amendment of the Act on
Misdemeanors passed by the Hungarian Parliament on September 30 (and took
effect on October 15) that criminalizes homeless people. According to the
amendment, people face community work, fines and ultimately imprisonment
if they reside habitually in public premises that are qualified as world
heritage sites, or are designated by a decree of the Budapest City
Council. The law also penalizes the building of shacks without permission
and thus jeopardizes many homeless people who live in their self-built

As a consequence of the law, all world heritage sites have automatically
become prohibited areas for homeless people, which practically cover the
entire downtown area of both Budapest and Pécs. The City Council of
Budapest has also proposed a decree that would designate extensive public
areas in the capital zones where “habitual residence” is penalized. The
proposed area includes all public transport stops and their 50-meter
perimeter, most major underpasses and their 50-meter perimeter, all
playgrounds and their 200-meter perimeter, all public cemeteries and their
50 meter perimeter, the 200-meter perimeter of all child welfare
institutions, schools and universities, all bridges, overpasses and their
adjacent stairs, all public roads under the control of the City Council,
and all covered sidewalks. In addition, district mayors may also designate
prohibition zones in their ownership, which the City Council must include
in its final decree, which will be adopted in November, 2013.

These measures have to be viewed in light of the fact that homeless people
in Hungary (approx. 30,000 people) far outnumber the places provided in
homeless shelters (close to 11,000). These shelters are mostly
overcrowded, especially in the winter, and provide inappropriate living

Resorting to the means of law enforcement to remove homeless people from
public spaces is not an appropriate way of tackling homelessness. It
endangers people living on the streets by forcing them to flee from the
authorities, which also makes it more difficult for social workers to find
them. This is especially dangerous as cold winter months are approaching.

Importantly, a very similar law previously adopted by the Hungarian
parliament was condemned by the UN, the FEANTSA and many other
international organizations, along with several Hungarian NGOs. Later, the
Hungarian Constitutional Court annulled that legal provision, arguing that
the criminalization of a social status amounts to the violation of human
dignity. In response, the government pushed for the fourth modification of
the Constitution in March 2013, which re-introduced the criminalization of

The current legislation – just like the previous one – is in violation of
the right to human dignity, physical and mental integrity, the prohibition
of inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the prohibition of
discrimination. Therefore, we call on you to condemn the criminalization
of homelessness in Hungary, and use all available means to put pressure on
the Hungarian government to revoke this legislation.

For more on the background of the criminalization of homelessness in
Hungary, please visit:

A chronology of the criminalization of homelessness in Hungary

A recent statement of The City is for All exposing misleading
communication by the government

Budapest, November 3, 2013.

Mariann Dósa
The City is for All