Category Archives: university

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

a letter in the N&O on the university in crisis

A 3Cs member has a letter to the editor in today’s News & Observer on the crisis in the university:

The controversy surrounding Mary Easley’s appointment is indicative of a much deeper problem in higher education today. Universities are spending increasingly more funds on administrative and managerial costs, while proportionally much less money is spent on teaching and learning, the supposed objectives of higher education.

At UNC-CH, for example, lecturers, often responsible for three courses a semester, receive less than $40,000 a year with little job security and few benefits, and graduate students, responsible for much of the teaching and direct interaction with undergraduates, receive less than $20,000. Class sizes are rising, students’ tuition is increasing and adjunct faculty are often forced to teach at multiple schools to make ends meet. Yet our universities continue to pay administrators hundreds of thousands of dollars despite the budget crisis.

This is not a problem that can be rectified by a handful of resignations, but rather a problem that requires systematic change in the way our universities operate. Universities must be run transparently and democratically by those who make them up: the students and faculty. As long as universities are run as businesses, controlled by politicians and the corporate elite to generate profit and prestige, we will continue to see these conflicts on our campuses.

See it in the N&O here

3Cs goes to the beach

3Cs recently returned from a week long retreat at North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Besides enjoying the beach and the (slightly cold) water and eating delicious food, we started work on our new project – a sequel to the disOrientation Guide looking at the university and the cris(is/es). Themes we plan to focus on when looking at the university include: immigration, housing, labor, organizational transformations, and struggles for autonomy. Leave comments if you have thoughts on our new projects or if you’re interested in working with us (or email: countercartographies(at)gmail.com).

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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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audio from edu-factory panel!

On February 24, 3Cs hosted a panel discussion at UNC on the theme of “We Won’t Pay for Your Crisis!”

We’ve finally got the audio from that event edited and posted. Click through each speaker’s name to download an mp3 of their talk, or click here for the group Q&A session. Apologies for the poor audio quality…

Speakers, and their talks, were:

  • Anna Curcio: postdoctoral associate, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University, founder member of the edu-factory collective and co-editor of Global University. Hierarchies and Self-education in the Knowledge Market (Autonomedia forthcoming).
  • Brett Neilson: associate professor in social and cultural analysis, University of Western Sydney, founder member of the edu-factory collective and co-editor of Global University. Hierarchies and Self-education in the Knowledge Market (Autonomedia forthcoming)
  • Michael Palm: assistant professor of communications, UNC-CH, co-editor of The University Against Itself: The NYU Strike and the Future of the Academic Workplace, and organizer of the 2005 NYU graduate employees strike.

Here’s how the original flier described the event:

Is the current financial crisis affecting the university? University of Arizona is apparently over the brink, Princeton is bankrupt, and university job offers are being erased in the NY area. Is the crisis accentuating a threatening tendency in higher education towards a university model as “post-fordist knowledge factory + corporate research laboratory”, as some are claiming? At the same time, is there a better place to be than a university in times of crisis? how can we defend that space? what opportunities might this crisis open?


Join us to hear how others have been organizing in and around the university. How people have blasted open the narrow vision of the university as an ivory tower to demand rights to a just livelihood and access to education. Speakers from New York, Sydney-Australia and Rome-Italy will join us to discuss new ways that students, faculty and employees are taking the university to task for what it is- a tower of power not ivory.

SDS, Tancredo, Free Speech and Police Violence

The protests at Tom Tancredo’s speech earlier this week have been getting quit a bit of attention. The “objective” media (including our wonderful DTH) has conveniently forgotten to talk to anyone besides the police and UNC administration.

Read the statement from SDS here
Sign a petition to support the students from SDS here

The use of violence by the police force, including the use of pepper spray and tasers (potentially deadly weapons), should be a cause of concern for everyone on this campus. There needs to be an immediate investigation into the police’s actions and steps taken to ensure students’ safety.

The violent disruption of this protest and the targeting of SDS by the administration and the press is yet another step to delegitimize protest and political action on this campus. Too often, the only speech protected on campus is that of political conservatives (and usually white males) (i.e. people who get heard all the time anyway), while already marginalized voices are not only not listened to, but are violently repressed. Despite his friendly demeanor, Chancellor Thorp seems to be going even further than his predecessor to silence dissent on campus (on top of his response to these events look at his other responses to protests and the decision to press charges against those arrested in the DSP sit-in last spring). We must take steps to maintain students’ rights on this campus – rights to organize, to assemble, and to free speech (for everyone in the campus community – including SDS).

-lmd

“WE won’t pay for YOUR Crisis!” event at UNC

“WE won’t pay for YOUR Crisis!”: New Struggles in the University Economy

When: Tuesday, Feb. 24: 7pm
Where: Saunders 220, UNC-CH

With Anna Curcio, Brett Nielson and Michael Palm

Is the current financial crisis affecting the university? University of Arizona is apparently over the brink, Princeton is bankrupt, and university job offers are being erased in the NY area. Is the crisis accentuating a threatening tendency in higher education towards a university model as “post-fordist knowledge factory + corporate research laboratory”, as some are claiming? At the same time, is there a better place to be than a university in times of crisis? how can we defend that space? what opportunities might this crisis open?

Join us to hear how others have been organizing in and around the university. How people have blasted open the narrow vision of the university as an ivory tower to demand rights to a just livelihood and access to education. Speakers from New York, Sydney-Australia and Rome-Italy will join us to discuss new ways that students, faculty and employees are taking the university to task for what it is – a tower of power not ivory.

anna curcio: postdoctoral associate, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University, founder member of the edu-factory collective and co-editor of Global University. Hierarchies and Self-education in the Knowledge Market (Autonomedia forthcoming).

brett neilson: associate professor in social and cultural analysis, University of Western Sydney, founder member of the edu-factory collective and co-editor of Global University. Hierarchies and Self-education in the Knowledge Market (Autonomedia forthcoming)

michael palm: assistant professor of communications, UNC-CH, co-editor of The University Against Itself: The NYU Strike and the Future of the Academic Workplace, and organizer of the 2005 NYU graduate employees strike.

related links:
The Anomalous Wave (www.uniriot.org)

Co-sponsored by the Counter Cartographies Collective and the Social Movements Working Group

NYU occupied

Take Back NYU! has occupied the Kimmel Center with the following statement:

We, the students of NYU, declare an occupation of this space. This occupation is the culmination of a two-year campaign by the Take Back NYU! coalition, and of campaigns from years past, in whose footsteps we follow.
In order to create a more accountable, democratic and socially responsible university, we demand the following:
1. Amnesty for all parties involved.
2. Full compensation for all employees whose jobs were disrupted during the course of the occupation.
3. Public release of NYU’s annual budget and endowment.
4. Allow student workers (including T.A.’s) to collectively bargain.
5. A fair labor contract for all NYU employees at home and abroad.
6. A Socially Responsible Finance Committee that will immediately investigate war profiteers and the lifting of the Coke ban.
7. Annual scholarships be provided for thirteen Palestinian students.
8. That the university donates all excess supplies and materials in an effort to rebuild the University of Gaza.
9. Tuition stabilization for all students, beginning with the class of 2012. Tuition rates for each successive year will not exceed the rate of inflation. The university shall meet 100% of government-calculated student financial need.
10. That student groups have priority when reserving space in the buildings owned or leased by New York University, including, and especially, the Kimmel Center.
11. That the general public have access to Bobst Library.

More news

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