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Immanent Singularities


 

Immanent Singularities: A Minor Compositions Interview with Bruno Gulli

 

http://www.minorcompositions.info/?p=131l

 

 As a philosopher and academic worker, Bruno Gulli is nothing if not untimely. In an era when the labor of thought, the work that creates new concepts, finds itself squeezed by an ever-increasing array of restrictions (from journal and publisher limitations to lack of time from overwork and precarious employment), Gulli bucks these trends in a spectacular fashion. Rather than composing 8000 word chunks of pabulum, simply recycling tired clichés or niceties, Gulli has embarked on composing a three-volume inquiry into the relation between ethics, labor, and ontology. Such an approach might not have seemed all that remarkable fifty years ago, but today to carry out such a fundamental rethinking of our categories of political thought and discourse is paradoxically no longer appreciated, and therefore all the more necessary. Gulli’s first book, The Labor of Fire (2005, Temple University Press) led Michael Hardt to comment that the work of Gulli, along with others carrying out similar work, will renew the Marxist tradition. This renewal, he claims, will not be of a scientific, structuralist, or humanist Marxism, but rather a philosophical approach to Marx centered on the concept of labor its power of social transformation. High words of praise indeed. This interview was conducted shortly after the publication of his most recent book Earthly Plenitudes: A Study on Sovereignty and Labor (2010, Temple University Press).

 

 Minor Compositions: First off I wanted to ask you about what you describe as the “dignity of individuation.” In particular how does this indicate a shift in theorizing the relation between ethics and politics? Could this perhaps be connected to the Zapatistas’ notion of the dignity of revolt or Simon Critchley’s elaboration (2007) of an anarchic meta-politics based upon the infinite demand of the ethical?

 

 Bruno Gulli: “Dignity of individuation” provides a metaphysical (or ontological) grounding for both politics and ethics. Conversely, it says that metaphysical (or ontological) definitions cannot escape a political and (especially) ethical dimension. It is then a synthetic and poetic concept, à la Vico, where some of the most basic problems of the philosophical tradition are reflected and, at the same time, expanded. The concept has two parts: “individuation” refers to, and is drawn from, the principle of individuation (principium individuationis), which, in particular, I understand in terms of John Duns Scotus’ concept of haecceity (or thisness), that is, what makes something the something that it is (but it has a history that goes beyond Duns Scotus). The problem with the concept of the principle of individuation, as Paolo Virno (2009) has also recently pointed out, has to do with the term “principle” – not with “individuation.” The latter indicates a process, and thus individuation is really individuating; the former, I might say from the point of view of my book, is a sign (anticipation or residue) of sovereignty. Conjugating “individuation” with “dignity,” once the word “principle” is eliminated, was for me an act of piracy – an act of piracy within philosophy. Differently from individuation, which can be and is applied to anything, which names the ordinary and regular, dignity is usually reserved for something which, to some degree, is extraordinary, which has distinguished itself for some reason. Even when we speak of human dignity (vis-à-vis other forms of life), we use this type of logic. Thus, the dignity of X indicates a lack, or a lesser degree, of dignity in Y. To say that dignity lies in individuation is to counter this type of logic, and following Leibniz, whose work I use a lot in the first chapter of my book, it is also to affirm that nothing is extraordinary, nothing other than regular, other than orderly – though of an order we may not like, not understand.

 

 All this does not imply a move away from politics onto the terrain of ethics alone, as if ethics were the pre-political or non-political. Instead, it is a way of trying to rethink the categories of the political. This rethinking cannot distinguish between the political and the ethical – a distinction that I totally reject. I don’t know if I would call this meta-politics, following Simon Critchley. Indeed, I am not interested in giving it a name – I don’t think I would be able to do so. What I think is that calling attention to something like the dignity of individuation, that is, to the idea that worth is not determined by any relation of externality, but is intrinsic to the coming of whatever, to the fact of life, is already a way of rethinking the political outside of the logic of inclusion and exclusion, which, it seems to me, constitutes the most important problem in political thinking throughout history, as well as (and particularly) today. History then. You ask about a possible connection between the dignity of individuation and the Zapatistas’ notion of the dignity of revolt. Of course, there is one. History is for the Zapatistas “la palabra politica” – a history of conquest and subjugation, of sovereign crime and devastation. But it is also the history of revolt. The word “dignity,” the way I use it, comes directly from the Zapatista tradition, as well as from the tradition of philosophy, particularly from Kant. Dignity is then a political and ethical concept. Dignity of individuation reaches into the depths of history, shatters the ontological ground, and presents itself as a new singularity – by abandoning the false splendor of that history to its own destiny of decadence, and by creating a new essential difference.

 

MC: Following on from that, one concept that is key for in this book in the notion of singularity, which you come at drawing primarily from a medieval tradition of figures such as St. Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus. Can you elaborate on your usage of singularity. What does it bring to your consideration? And how might be older notion of singularity mesh with that which has been developed more recently in the work of Guattari, as a process of re-singularization, and in Bifo’s recent work?

 

BG: In the Grundrisse (1993), Marx says that the concrete is “the concentration of many determinations.” This can be accepted as a (very good) definition of singularity. Singularity is the concrete. Yet, as we also learn from Marx, the concrete is the point of departure in reality, not in thought. Thus, we arrive at the concrete through a process of abstraction – starting from the abstract. In its immediacy, the concrete yields a “chaotic conception.” Indeed, as a moment of synthesis, singularity is this con-fusion. And although Marx adds that the concrete is “unity of the diverse,” what really counts here is not the word “unity” but, precisely, “the diverse.” Singularity is difference.

 

In Earthly Plenitudes, I identify singularity with the dignity of individuation. In this sense, what I can say, to begin with, is that it is a metaphysical and political/ethical concept. What interests me in this is the relation of singularity to commonality on the one hand, but also to plurality and universality. As far as I know, in Duns Scotus we find the first most rigorous formulation of singularity as haecceity, or thisness. This is perhaps a sufficient reason for going back to him in this respect. What I find particularly interesting in his work is the necessary interplay of the singular and the common. In Labor of Fire, I use Scotus’ concept in a section called “The thisness of production,” in which I deal with Marx’s concept of “essential difference” – a mode of production as an essential difference. Communism would then be a new essential difference, a way in which the common is re-singularized. Thus, I don’t think there is any conflict with the notion of singularity worked out by Guattari or by Franco Berardi (whose recent, beautiful book, The Soul at Work (2009), I’ve    just finished reading). Obviously, the idea of communism as singularity, the idea of re-singularization, may be drawn from Marx’s work (or from other venues) without having to go back to the medieval tradition. But for me a proper understanding of the concept of singularity requires precisely that. In any case, I think that the work of Duns Scotus is, perhaps strangely, very much part of our contemporary tradition (notably, in and through the work of Deleuze) so that when we deal with concepts such as that of singularity a relation to Scotus is, however implicitly, (always-)already present.

 

 Given the approach I take in Earthly Plenitudes, in particular my examination of Leibniz’s thought in chapter one, the reference to Scotus acquires even more importance. Indeed, in his Discourse on Metaphysics, Leibniz explicitly refers to Duns Scotus’ haecceity when he works out his own notion of singularity as the notion of individual substance. In Leibniz, the singular is also the universal insofar as any individual substance expresses the whole universe in a different way. Here the concept of singularity, even more than in Scotus, is linked to that of contingency. The question is not only about the what and the how of a thing. Indeed, the main question is why this event happened and not another, which was, in principle (ex hypothesis), equally possible. What comes to be a one, “the concentration of many determinations,” is the end of the process of singularization.

 

 It is then evident that singularity is not simply a one; it is not individuality. Jean-Luc Nancy brilliantly shows the relation of singularity to plurality, and it is because of this that I rely so much on his work in my own book (at least in the chapter on singularity or the dignity of individuation). Singularity is plurality, and, in this sense, it is pre-individuality; it makes the individual, but it is not the same as the individual. This way of thinking is not altogether new. It can be found in Leibniz; it can be found in Marx – in different forms.

 

 MC: In this book you’re reconsidering and largely rejecting the notion of sovereignty, including Bataille’s attempt to formulate a radical notion of sovereignty. Your critique of Bataille is based around what you describe as his confusion of to be useful / to serve, and thus sovereignty cannot be equated with subjectivity. This strikes me as quite similar a move to that made by someone like Hakim Bey, who famously finds it quite difficult to decide in his politics between a position of anarchism and monarchism. This might seem quite bizarre at first until this Bataille-ian conception of sovereignty is acknowledged. When Bey says that we are sovereigns of our skins before the advent of the political (2003), this follows directly from this radicalized conception of sovereignty. I largely agree with your critique of Bataille’s distinction, particularly as it cannot seem to help but to develop in very problematic individualistic directions. But then you also that in the equation of sovereignty and subjectivity, sovereignty becomes ordinary and common, and thus “finds its truth in the concept of communism.” How do you make this move, going beyond Bataille’s formulation, but seemingly maintaining some elements from it?

 

 BG: This is actually Bataille’s move, but I don’t agree with it. Better: I think that at this point the concept of sovereignty is no longer necessary. Yet, Bataille chooses to retain it. In reality, it makes no sense to say that everybody is sovereign. This is the same problem we have with Kant’s concept of the kingdom of ends, in which precisely everybody is a legislator and sovereign. But we can apply to this the same type of criticism Maritain applies to the concept of people’s sovereignty: the people separated from, and dominating, the people; the people above the people. The sovereignty I have over myself, even over my skin (to use your reference to Bey), implies the same kind of contradiction: I would be over myself. But the truth is that both this “I” and this “self” are in question. If the singularities we come to be have, as Nancy says, “a plurality of origins” (2000), if our subjectivity and individuality is “an intersection of singularities,” what we have before the political, before the law, is the fact that there are “skins” – soon to be institutionalized. Sovereignty is the name for this process of institutionalization, for all institutionalization processes. Singularization is something different. I don’t want to say that it is the opposite of institutionalization. Rather, in the manner of Spinoza, I prefer to say that it is different from it. Indeed, when we consider singularization from the point of view of what we have become (i.e., institutionalized being, “docile bodies,” rights-bearing individuals, whose rights are more often denied than not, legal, political subjects, etc.), we must say that re-singularization, can only have the movement of a return. This return is not a going back to a previous, perhaps only hypothetical state before politics and the law; it is rather a return into the anarchy of the plural and common.

 

 

 MC: You argue for disposing of sovereignty within a radical ontology of labor, for producing a philosophy and ontology is not relegated to a marginalized position. This would be, to use your words, a labor that “forms and shapes the thing, is neither servile nor sovereign,” rather it is “the common, ordinary labor that founds new, immanent plenitudes.” Can you describe how you understand how this might be done, working from within the intersections of culture, labor, and politics? Or perhaps projects you know that show promising beginnings of such a process.

 

 BG: The labor that is neither servile nor sovereign follows from my analysis and critique, in Labor of Fire, of the category of productive labor. There I use the neither/nor logic to show that the categories of productivity and unproductivity are ‘invented’ by the system of capital. In Earthly Plenitudes, the critique of sovereignty joins that of productivity to show that categories of domination (e.g., servility, sovereignty) are also similarly constructed. The common and ordinary labor is not the labor that, typically, no one wants to do, the labor of the “vulgar craftsmen and hired laborers” in Aritostle’s Politics, of the illegal immigrants in Arizona, or the Africans in Rosarno. It is not, in other words, a labor that is common and ordinary as opposed to one which has status and dignity. Instead, the common and ordinary quality of this labor comes from the dismantling of all dichotomies of domination: productivity/unproductivity, servility/sovereignty, etc. It comes from the idea, to go back to Leibniz, that everything is ordinary, and that everything is common. This can be done in various ways. I give some examples when I address, in chapters four and five of the book, the questions of contingent labor and of the work of care. In relation to the first question, I can say that either no labor should be contingent or all labor should. If contingency simply named the fact that we worked when we wanted, or when the need arose (and then went back to other activities), it wouldn’t be a problem. I think you say the same in your excellent book, Imaginal Machines (2009), when you say that contingency started as a subjective re-appropriation of time, to be then co-opted by the system of capital. Thus, the problem today is that we are forced to work contingently. Contingency becomes a form of slavery, similar to (credit cards) debt. As Joe Berry says in his book, Reclaiming the Ivory Tower (2005), contingent workers experience “a permanent lack of permanence” – that is the paradox, whereby contingency turns into necessity. Yet, a labor that is neither servile nor sovereign is one that experiences the genuine, let’s say, philosophical, dimension of contingency, that is, the modality that names that which can be and not be, that is, again, freedom. Because, certainly, there is work to be done, work that has a social character (as Stanley Aronowitz and William DiFazio (1994) said years ago in The Jobless Future) – yet most of the work we do (we are forced to do) is either useless or harmful, or both. Thus, the work that “founds new, immanent plenitudes” is the work posited by real, organic needs and desires, not by those dictated by capital and its logic of oppression, alienation, and exploitation. The same is with the work of care, arising from facts of life, yet channeled into political and economic categories that make it, first of all, unproductive and, second, highly exploitable and exploited. But the work of care, just like the work of an artist (to paraphrase Kittay), also constitutes immanent plenitudes by bringing back into a life the chaotic and healthy plurality of possibilities which institutional isolation would quickly eliminate.

 

 MC: On the question of caring labor, you reject the notion that caring labor and activities of social reproduction are directly productive of value for capital. This is within a context of finding within the forms of caring labor the merging of non-alienated relations and production, or what you call as a mode of care. There seems to great value, no pun intended, in pursuing such an approach. But I wouldn’t want to toss aside the legacy of Marxist feminism, for instance in the history of movements such as Wages for Housework and figures such as Silvia Federici, which based their politics precisely on an argument of the value producing nature of social reproduction, housework and caring labor. Is it possible to hold together a position that caring labor might indeed be productive of value for capital, at least within some circumstances, but also contains the potential for creating post- capitalist relations and interactions?

 

 BG: Yes, absolutely. What I tried to say in the book is that caring labor and activities of social reproduction are, traditionally, not recognized as productive by the logic of capital. This is part of capital’s dubious distinction between productive and unproductive forms of labor and activities. What I say is that the distinction as a whole must be rejected, and that means rejecting the logic of capital. Obviously, within that logic, and as a temporary form of struggle, the notion that these forms of labor and activities should be recognized as productive, hence compensated accordingly by means of the wage, is also correct. And I agree with the notion that the struggle for the wage is a political struggle. But I wouldn’t want to say that the solution to the problem of the productive/unproductive dichotomy is to make all unproductive labor productive; also because productive labor itself (as productive of capital) must be thoroughly eliminated. Let me be very clear about this again: in themselves forms of labor are neither-productive-nor-unproductive (this is the, perhaps somewhat cumbersome, yet very important and fruitful, category I develop in Labor of Fire – one that is not truly grasped in general). Forms of labor become productive or unproductive only in relation to the position they occupy within the process of value formation, from a strictly capitalist point of view. Thus, I absolutely agree with the Marxist feminist contention that indeed these forms of labor and activities are essential to the making of value; it is evident that the reproduction of labor-power would be impossible without them. And they are more than simply productive (in the narrow, technical sense of political economy; that is, directly producing and increasing capital); they are highly useful and actually absolutely necessary to society, for without these forms of labor and these activities everyday life would not be possible, communities could not exist. There is a very serious and radical challenge to the system of capital made by movements such as Wages for Housework (and I often refer to the classic The Power of Women and the Subversion of Community by Selma James and Mariarosa Dalla Costa (1972) in the last chapter of my book). Of course, housework is work not recognized as such, and this lack of recognition only ensures stronger and more specific forms of social domination and oppression. But it is not recognized as work on the basis, precisely, of the dubious, yet almost unanimously accepted, distinction between productive and unproductive forms of labor. And while the wage is an important recognition of the fact that housework is also work, it constitutes, at the same time, the most basic and common instrument of social domination and oppression. Thus, my answer to your question is, emphatically, yes, caring labor is productive of value for capital, yet more importantly it contains the potential for creating post-capitalist relations and interactions. Under capital, caring labor is doubly exploited, or super-exploited, because while it is essentially productive, it is not recognized as such – it is instead called unproductive. In virtue of this situation, caring labor has the ability to show the inconsistency and falseness of the productive/unproductive dichotomy and accomplish what I call the return of labor to itself, its mode of neutrality as to the categories of the productive and unproductive alike, a whole new notion of “productive” if you will, which to avoid confusion I’d rather call “creative” – the mode of care.

 

 In the chapter on caring labor I also deal with the question of disability and, following Eva Feder Kittay (1999), of dependency as an inescapable fact of the human condition. In disability and dependency, it is easier to find instances of human activity more readily reducible and reduced to the category of the unproductive, and it is actually more difficult to argue (unless we take a heterodox standpoint) that these activities have inherent worth and should be respected and compensated accordingly because they are productive. Indeed, from the point of view of the logic of capital, with its requirements of efficiency, speed, avoidance of unproductive times, etc., they are unproductive. This shows the partial, only relative, importance of the logic of the wage, and the political struggle based on it. Indeed, the wage always operates within a logic of inclusion and exclusion. The fact that more forms of labor may be deemed productive and thus included within the system of the wage does not eliminate the essentially unjust and violent distinction between the productive and the unproductive. But how about, precisely, these unproductive forms? Where is their worth? If there is any. I think it’s the same problem we find with the category of the citizen, a category whereby that of the non-citizen is immediately called forth. The solution cannot be to include more people within the category of citizenship, but still leave many outside. Rather, the solution is to make the category all-inclusive and thus explode it. The same with productivity. If I am someone with a severe mental impairment and what I do is engage in activities that are evidently meaningful to me, but meaningless to most or all other people, shouldn’t I get a wage (if the issue is that of the wage), or more generally, shouldn’t my activities be considered productive? Evidently not, from the point of view of capital, of value as an economic category. Yet, if productivity becomes all-inclusive and the category itself is exploded (and again, to avoid confusion, I would call it creativity), then my performance is as important (as useful to society, the diversity of the social, and as worthy) as that of the engineer, the high-tech worker, the politician, etc. In any case, whether a person is productive or not, whether s/he works or does not work, s/he ought to have access to the means for the good life (that means can be money, if we stay within the logic of money, or any other thing). But, and in this I agree with an important point Berardi makes toward the end of his book, the dogma of the wage must be abandoned.

 

 MC: Lastly, I wanted to ask you a question or two about contingent academic labor, a subject which you discuss in the last chapter of the book, and also takes up a good bit of your working time personally. (As a side note, I’m still amazed that you’ve found the time to work on a trilogy of books given the constraints of working as a contingent member of faculty). Contingent academic labor is clearly marked by increased pressures, and contradictions, as it moves even deeper within the heart of academic capitalism. But perhaps there are also radical potentials within these contradictions, for re-grounding the very ontology and radicality of labor you describe. Or perhaps exhibited within the ongoing wave of student and campus radicalism that has been occurring in recent years. Perhaps it is, as described by the title of a recent conference in Minneapolis, “Beneath the University, the Commons” (http://beneaththeu.org). What potentials do you see for growing out of this politics of the edu-factory?

 

 BG: Yes, I agree that there are radical potentials within the contradictions of contingent academic labor, or of contingent labor in general. In fact, I use contingent labor in the academy as an illustration of a more general situation. Contingent labor is part of the labor of bare life. I’ve recently read Christian Marazzi’s important book, The Violence of Financial Capitalism (2010), so, together with the notion of bare life, I’d also like to make a reference to the notion of biocapitalism. Contingency is one of the modalities in which the violent logic of capital is applied to life in its totality. In Earthly Plenitudes I say, perhaps in a poetic way, that contingent workers are attached to nothing but their own shadow, or to their shadow as to nothing. But I think that this is actually very true, that is, it can be taken quite literally. What’s interesting is that the word contingency, as applied to labor in the post-Fordist and now biocapitalist economy, fully retains its original philosophical meaning: being able to be and not be, to do and not do, to work and not work. Contingency is freedom. However, this freedom is even more ironic and tragic than the double freedom of workers described by Marx in Capital. This is a freedom that from contingency goes all the way to the “valorization of the ‘free labor’ of users,” of which Tiziana Terranova (quoted in Marazzi) speaks. Or rather, the latter is contingency in its purest state.

 

 Of course, in real life things often stand otherwise. To quote Joe Berry again, this contingency is a “permanent lack of permanence,” and thus it turns into a necessity. In my book, I distinguish (even playfully, I must confess) between necessary and non-necessary (or contingent) contingency. It is evident to everybody that, with due exceptions, what we find in our societies is the former, and not the latter. And this is true in the academy, as is in all other work environments. This being attached to nothing of contingent workers, but being truly attached to it, became tragically clear, for instance, in the violent events that took place in Rosarno (Calabria), sadly a fifteen-minute drive from my hometown, this past January. There, African immigrants, who were super-exploited during the orange-picking season by the local mafia and lived in conditions of utter poverty and deprivation, became the victims of systematic and vicious attacks initiated by the employers themselves. When they reacted, the violence became widespread, and they were “evacuated,” that is, deported, elsewhere by the Italian State. They were forced to leave without being able to collect their meager wages and few belongings. They found themselves in other Italian towns and cities, really attached to    nothing but their own shadow. Contingency is this type of freedom, which resembles, paradoxically, a fact of nature (where freedom is negated), that is, the fact of bare life.

 

 Compared to Rosarno and other too many similar places in Italy and in the world, the situation in the academy isn’t so bad. But this is (should be) no consolation. Here, too, one finds super-exploitation, a different type of violence, and humiliation. I want to call attention, in the brief space of this interview, to a practice that is rarely talked about, even in the literature on academic contingent labor, but that I think is very important. I mean the so-called peer observation of contingents. It is in reality an inspection and a technique of control, which psychologically threatens and destabilizes the contingent workers, reminds them of their contingency (like the monk who periodically reminds his peers of the caducity and precariousness of life [brother, remember that you must die!] – but in the peer observation of contingents there is really no parity, and the observer is, or represents, the boss). This is a serious matter. In the CUNY [City University of New York] system, for instance, people are observed, not two or three times, but ten times, ten semesters in a row. If they work in different departments, they are observed in each. If they go from one college within the system to another, the process starts again. You have people who have years of teaching experience, who are published and respected, and yet are observed by any just- hired fulltime member, and so on and so forth. The system justifies this by saying that it is in the best interest of the contingent worker: the observation gives you grounds for a grievance in the eventuality of non-reappointment. But this isn’t true. First of all, because a college can justify non-reappointment in many ways; second, because an observation can go wrong for many reasons – and what are they going to do then? Let’s say a contingent worker has had six excellent observations, and the seventh, and the eighth aren’t good. What can the consequences be? Moreover, and this is a matter that logic and the philosophy of science teach us, an observation includes the observed and the observer: it is certainly not a situation of neutrality and objectivity. The truth is that this is a political question, of political control and discipline. Let me say that I am not speaking from a personal point of view. I have been observed at least twenty times within the CUNY system, and I have always had excellent reports, so I’m done with this. But I think that it is an offensive practice, an insult to the whole category of contingents within CUNY and similar university systems – and that is an insult to the super-exploited and damned majority of workers. I recently saw posts in the Edu-factory listserv about the inadequacy of academic peer review in journals. The situation is not that different, and the arguments that can be made against such practices are similar. It is important to recognize that in addition to economic super- exploitation, academic contingent workers also face a series of offensive practices that undermine their psychological and existential well-being, as well as their general health and their life: no good life.

 

 Yes, beneath the university, the commons. Just like they are beneath capitalist appropriation and accumulation in general. What I think is that a radical dismantling of the corporate university, as well as of the other institutions of capitalist society, is absolutely necessary. People want to learn and have a good life. The life of study, for Aristotle the highest type of life, is not a life of training – not training toward docility and productivity. It is rather the life in which there is an understanding of the order of things, and the possibility to modify this order for the sake of the good life, that is, of happiness. Probably, instead of the university, we need spaces of learning and care. Instead of institutional sadness (determined by stress, overworking, competition, and debt), we need spaces and moments of happiness. I think this is what the Edu-factory project also aims at, though I think that less emphasis should be put on research universities, and more on general, humanistic study. I teach in a community college where student radicalism is not too strong, also because most students work, have families, etc., and they come to school with the (perhaps to an extent illusory) idea that this can improve their lives and work situations. In other places, the student and faculty movement will certainly have a very positive impact on the way the university is run. Yet, even in the community college, most people have a genuine passion for studying and learning, and besides their focus on grades and the degree, they are exposed (certainly in some classes) to the possibility of thinking differently, of going beyond the institutional boundaries, reaching into life and thus, as I understand, the commons. Perhaps, this may contribute to social change as well, that is, to an understanding of the common character of    knowledge.

 

 That knowledge is common means that the university as we know it today has no legitimate claim to its administration. The non-university will be a place that has a free and open access policy. Paying so much money to study (as to get in deep debt for life), taking stupid standardized tests just to be able to finally study what you want, having to bother people for useless letters of recommendation (as if your word, your person, your life had no worth whatsoever, carried no weight) – all these are practices that run counter to the idea of the commonality of knowledge and must be eliminated. The commons may appear if the university is dismantled. And the process is underway, though there will be (as there has already been, and there is right now) a lot of institutional repression and violence. The transnationalization of the production of social knowledge, linking the common projects and struggles happening in different places of the world, is in itself a way of reshaping the university, or a path into the future of the non-university. Just recently, the strikes and occupations from California to Italy, from Middlesex to Puerto Rico are a clear indication of this. And so is Edu-factory’s important emphasis on the question of debt. But this is something that goes well beyond the university as such, so that the movement (of the commonality and singularity of knowledge) is one that tends toward the reshaping of society as a whole.

 

 References

 Aronowitz, Stanley and William DiFazio (1994)The Jobless Future. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Berry, Joe (2005) Reclaiming the Ivory Tower: Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education. New York: Monthly Review Press. Berardi, Franco ‘Bifo’ (2009) Soul at Work: From Alienation to Autonomy. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e). Bey, Hakim (2003) TAZ. Brooklyn: Autonomedia. Critchley, Simon (2007) Infinitely Demanding: Ethics of Commitment, Politics of Resistance. London. Verso. Dalla Costa, Mariarosa and Selma James (1972) The Power of Women and the Subversion of Community. Bristol: Falling Wall Press. Gulli, Bruno (2005) Labor of Fire: The Ontology of Labor between Economy and Culture. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Gulli, Bruno (2010) Earthly Plenitudes: A Study on Sovereignty and Labor. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Kittay, Eva Feder (1999) Love’s Labor: Essays on Women, Equality, and Dependency. New York: Routledge. Marazzi, Christian (2010) The Violence of Financial Capitalism. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e). Marx, Karl (1993) Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy. London: Penguin. Nancy, Jean-Luc (2000) Being Singular Plural. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Shukaitis, Stevphen (2009) Imaginal Machines: Autonomy & Self- Organization in the Revolutions of Everyday Life. Brooklyn: Autonomedia Virno, Paolo (2009) “Angels and the General Intellect: Individuation in Duns Scotus and Gilbert Simondon,” parrhesia number 7: 58-67.

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