Category Archives: europe

Maribel on Struggles around Precarity

3Cs’ Maribel Casas-Cortés on Against the Grain talking about precarity

From the show’s description:

To many people and activist networks in Europe, “precarity” denotes the insecurity and vulnerability experienced by workers, immigrants, tenants, unemployed people, and others as attacks on labor protections and welfare supports continue. Maribel Casas-Cortés views precarity as a toolbox concept capable of uniting diverse struggles.

And, check out Maribel’s article “A Genealogy of Precarity” here

Part 2: what is acampada sol?

1. an encampment in the Puerta Sol

consisting of: tables for the different working groups and committees; 3 food stations; 2 infirmaries; a library (with a comfy couch and lots of books); a  children’s space (with matted floors, toys and books); an art space (where people make signs and other artworks for the encampment); a tent offering free massages and “psychological help”; numerous sleeping areas and tents; and a lot of other stuff i’m forgetting. basically, everything one needs to live here (except for showers).

(this is the most recent map i could find, but as it’s a few days old,
it’s no longer exactly accurate)

food comes from donations and the 3 kitchens cook and distribute it

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Cartographies of a “#revolution” (1)

(The first in a series about the protests in Spain. Disclaimer: I’m in Madrid, therefore my posts are from the perspective of Madrid. There are marches, camps and assemblies in cities and towns across Spain – I would love to hear reports from more of them. Also, the pictures are not mine but have borrowed from other sources.)

I had the good luck to arrive in Spain on May 14, the day before the “#spanishrevolution” was to begin. Of course, it wasn’t entirely luck, I had been inundated with tweets and FB posts about May 15 for months, mostly by friends from Barcelona. That was enough to get me to pay the $40 extra and very quickly move out of my apartment to get to Madrid by the 15th. (point 1 about social media: if it got me to go to Madrid from the US, think how many people were encouraged by social media to travel much shorter distances.)

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3Cs meets Carrotworkers

When in London recently, Liz met with the Carrotworkers’ Collective – a collective of ex-interns in the cultural sector, working largely around issues of free labor. Their work counters some of the myths surrounding free labor in the cultural sector, which are very similar to some of those that we’ve encountered in graduate school – it’s a rite of initiation (you have to suffer as a grad student to eventually make it into the ranks of tenured faculty), we do this work out of love (therefore we don’t need to get paid a living wage), etc.

We talked about different forms of militant research, including mapping and graphing, and ways of doing both quantitative and qualitative research. They emphasized the importance of having at least some quantitative data on the cultural sector, as well as documenting the subjective experiences of interns. One technique they’ve used is to have folks graph how they spend their time in terms of unpaid vs. paid labor and the trends and transformations over time and how people would ideally spend their time.
They are currently working on a Counter Internship Guide

We’re planning on doing a collaboration with the Carrotworkers and students at Queen Mary University in April and May of this year, more coming soon…

3Cs in Bologna

Liz recently got back from a visit to Bologna…

My first night in Bologna I gave a talk at Bartleby – an occupied space at the university and spoke about university struggles in the US and the edu-factory project. The talk was part of a week of events leading up to the strike on Friday that included other talks, meetings, music and parties. Some themes that came up in the discussion during my talk were:

– the relationship between autonomous movements and major trade unions
– the effects of student debt (universities in Italy are now beginning to charge tuition fees, forcing students to go into debt in order to study – like the US!)
– the effects of the Bologna Process and other efforts at standardization of university curriculum

The next day, I participated in the autonomous student & precarious workers’ march during the general strike, as part of the Yes We Cash campaign for a guaranteed minimum income.


Back in NC, our discussions focused on the importance and the pragmatics of having a space – in Bologna, as many other places around the world, taking over a space, not only as a temporary tactic, but to create a more permanent presence, an alternative space. These spaces are used for talks and discussions like the one I participated in, and also  more generally as meeting places, spaces to enact the kind of university we want. Could we do this? It seems much harder to permanently occupy spaces within our university campus. For one, there is much less unused space to occupy and secondly, the administration is much less willing to negotiate with students for the control of a space. Yet this shouldn’t serve as discouragement, but rather open up new lines of inquiry and action. In Italy and other places, it is the strong base of student power that forces the administration to negotiate with students – building this power from below must be one of our starting points. Some questions that might merit further research – how are spaces used and controlled on our campus? What would we like that to look like? How might we begin to go about occupying university spaces differently? What about creating alternative spaces of knowledge production outside of the university?

the wave cannot be arrested

The Anomalous Wave cannot be arrested! Let’s support the students against the repression of the italian governement!
Please sign and circulate the call in solidarity with the students arrested (add also your affiliation): http://www.PetitionOnline.com/wave/petition.html

At dawn this morning, in the framework of an investigation ordered by Torino’s Public Prosecutor office, Italian police made dozens of unwarranted house searches against students and activists. 21 of them are under arrest: 15 in prison, 6 under house-arrest.

This is the unjust response of the government and the Public Prosecutor Giancarlo Caselli to the mass demonstrations in Torino on 18-19 May against the G8. This is a clear suspension of any form of democratic right: the charges don’t justify remands after two months. Therefore, we are facing a direct attempt of intimidation against the Wave just a few days before the G8 in L’Aquila, a forum which clearly no longer has any democratic legitimacy now.

The answer of the Wave is instant. Immediately, students from all Italian cities have organized demonstrations, occupations, city blockades and meetings against the police’s heavy-handed operation. The slogan is one: freedom for all now! In the Wave there are no good or bad students: it’s one huge movement that expresses the main form of social opposition in this country in the last months.

We demand an immediate, clear and unequivocal statement by the university institutions against these arrests. Otherwise, deans and their offices will be under remand by the Wave. For this reason we have begun to occupy the dean’s offices of our universities and we’ll not stop until the last student is released.

Let’s generalize the Wave, generalize freedom! Freedom for all now!

Anomalous Wave

Anomalous Wave against the G8 University Summit

news from our friends in Italy:

The Anomalous Wave has invaded the streets, and blocked the cities again, and again has conflicted on the link education-work, starting from the protests against the unsustainable and illegitimate G8 University Summit. In Turin, ten thousands students, moving from the Block G8 Building,decided to march across the centre, sanctioning banks and temporary employment agency, crying again that “We won’t pay for your crisis”. The whole Wave decided to break into the red zone, not to accept prohibitions to the freedom of movement, and to try to reach the venue of the illegitimate summit of the chancellors’ baronial lobby: we protected the demonstration from the charges and we denounce the massive and excessive use of tear gas thrown at eye level against students. Yet another Wave that subverts the G8 University Summit, once again we demonstrate our dissent, day after day in every faculty we build up the autonomous university by the “self reform”, we build up the reappropriation of income and the autonomous production of knowledge!
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Call for mobilisations in european universities March 18-20

European call to action for March 18-20 in defense of higher education and research…

We do not want any «market of knowledge»!
Call for a European mobilisation against the Lisbon strategy in higher education and research

The next spring summit of the heads of state and governments of the European union will take place on March 19th ‐ 20th ,2009. One of its priorities will be the assessment of the Lisbon strategy initiated in 2000, which frames the policies currently engaged in the Member States so as to “modernise” the national research and education system (primary, secondary and higher education, lifelong learning).

The declared ambition of a “knowledge‐based society” should be encouraged, as far as it consists in a collective ambition to promote education and research as public goods, a guarantee of democratisation of knowledge, and an opportunity for citizens to possibly criticise scientific and technical choices. But the current orientation is different, and reduces this project to the building of a “market of knowledge” whose harmful influence can be observed everywhere, with consequences such as the weakening of the scientific independence, the deconstruction of the public research system and the strengthening of the private sector, the increase of precarious working and studying conditions, the deepening of inequalities in the access to knowledge and the widening of the gap between citizens and technical and scientific choices.

For a few years, large‐scale mobilisations of increasing intensity have been initiated by students, workers in education and research, and by social movements in general all around Europe. These protests strongly express a demand for a public sector of education and research which would not be built without any democratic debate, nor driven by the laws of the market.

That is why we call for a mobilisation of European citizens on March 18th, 19th and 20th 2009 in every member state and beyond, within universities, laboratories and in the streets,
AGAINST the marketisation of scientific and educative activities,
AGAINST the generalised competition of people and territories,
FOR an emancipating and democratic public service of higher education and research.

First signers :
> Association pour la Taxation des Transactions financières pour l’Aide aux Citoyens – Attac
> Fondation Sciences Citoyennes
> Sauvons La Recherche – SLR
> Sauvons L’Université – SLU
> Syndicat National des Chercheurs Scientifiques – SNCS
> Syndicat National de l’Enseignement Supérieur – SNESUP
> Union des Familles Laïques – UFAL