Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Back in LDN

Paris was an exciting congregation. There now exists an international network, a plan for a coordinated three/four days of international action, and lots of fresh perspectives.

The one item I personally feel I should put up (there are many of us in our collective and this is a personal interest I suppose) is the piece 'Education's napster moment' by a friend of ours, which was read out in a workshop titled 'Autonomous Education.' This workshop had a great promise but seemed to fall on its head a little by the debated clash of 'the education we are fighting for' and 'the education of our fight.' For me this dualism does not exist, and it was a little frustrating to listen to many referential (if extremely well formed) arguments for different autonomous educational structures which took their foundation from already formatted conventions.

So this is the text;

Education’s Napster Moment
As a result of the emergence of a virtual marketplace that encourages the forming of community and the sharing of ideas, we have inadvertently been equipped with the tools needed to undo the current rules of engagement.
Ours is the first generation to be given the toolset by which to produce, collectively organise and display our message/ideology/product to a global audience; an audience that, like you, has an equal opportunity to subvert the current trajectory of our education system.
Universities are collapsing. Not as a result of dramatic cuts but because they represent an outmoded model for their primary function, the exchange of knowledge and research. Like the music industry, the education industry is about to experience the same death blow to its infrastructure and profit model that Napster issued to the music industry back in 1999.
Everyone within our generation is aware that the construction of ideas and the execution of research has shifted its locality to a sprawling virtual space that is open to collective input.
Let us not draw out the death rattle of our institutions by allowing concessions to be made and minor battles to be fought and ultimately lost – instead let us accelerate the pace of their demise.
Abandon the institution and declare it’s death, the point at which our apathy for the current state of play is declared, the better. With this change we will be able to destabilise the mediated control of our social trajectory, causing a genuine crisis for those that stand to profit both politically and financially from our existing system. It is the institutions and those that control them that need us.
Create a real crisis, torrent your syllabus, duplicate your id cards and give them to strangers, scan your entire library and post it on AAARG, distribute maps of your university online, relocate your seminars to a space outside of the institution. Invalidate the universities existence, so that together we can begin to build fresh foundations on its grave.
Invite anyone and everyone to participate, saturate your institutions and make them a true open space. The path to knowledge does not end on the day of graduation.
This document was put together on the spur of the moment as a direct response to this situation, its ideas are not fixed. Instead it seeks to act as a provocation or suggestion that we should consider the complete reformation of what we currently have. More money/Less cuts cannot cure the decline of our institutions. We have now a unique opportunity to create something new, independently and autonomously.
It would seem to me that considering the format of our collective educations, ie. an education seeking to produce yet more 'product individuals' (the term neo-taylorism was used in the meeting's inaugural speech by a facilitator) that our actions in defence of institutions are indeed conservative and self-sabotage.  The core of our movement is a generational energy which we all have stored for too long, and now must express itself, and force a wider change than simply that of 'saving' education/arts etc. However knowledge is currently subjugated by the demands of the market, and soon will be entirely funded and directed by the industrial demands of capital. If we can fight this process, and in turn generate alternatives for a form of education, it is then that we will start the wheel of wider social and economic change moving. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey, would be good if you could talk about Paris at really free school sometime. I'm sure tons of people would like to know what happened. Perhaps you're all miles ahead of me on this, cos the posted the napster article too. John x