– via n +1: This piece first appeared in the third issue of the OWS-inspired Gazette: OCCUPY!

RACHEL SIGNER, Dec 26, 2011
I arrived at the New School in the fall of 2008 to do a master’s degree in anthropology. Tuition was $23,000 per year—this did not include room or board—but the opportunity to be in a great intellectual community eased my anxiety about the cost. A little bit.

Tuition was high for a reason: the school, I soon learned, was on shaky financial footing. Founded in 1919 in part by Columbia professors disgusted by their university’s support of World War I, then expanded in 1933 as a refuge for scholars fleeing Fascism and Nazism in Europe, it wasn’t the sort of place that produced the sort of people who turned around and gave their alma mater millions of dollars. The endowment was meager, and the school relied on tuition for revenue.

The New School needed to improve its financial situation and its status, and it was going to do it, like any New York institution, through real estate. It owned an old two-story building at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 14th Street—a former department store whose slogan had been “Fifth Avenue Values at 14th Street Prices”—that it was going to tear down and replace it with a state-of-the-art gleaming sixteen-story tower, home to studios for designers and artists studying at the New School’s profitable design institute, Parsons, and laboratories (for whom, no one could tell you; the New School offers no courses in hard sciences), retail food vendors, apartments, and—most insulting of all, I think, to the symbolic heirs, as we liked to consider ourselves, of refugees from fascism—a fitness center. At the time, the building, at 65 Fifth Avenue, was a multi-purpose meeting place where graduate students could read quietly, have lunch in the café, or find books in the basement library. There had been classrooms upstairs, but at that point they had already been relocated to the Minimalist-style building a few blocks away where my department, Anthropology, was crammed together with Sociology.

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Denouement

November 27, 2011

211. IN THE LANGUAGE of contradiction, the critique of culture manifests itself as unified: unified in that it dominates the whole of culture — culture as knowledge as well as culture as poetry; unified, too, in that it is no longer separable from the critique of the social totality. It is this unified theoretical critique that goes alone to its rendezvous with a unified social practice.

Occupiers Evicted From the New School; Graffiti Is Left Behind
November 26, 2011, 3:49 PM
via nytimes

A weeklong occupation at the New School in Greenwich Village ended with a whimper on Friday morning when university officials evicted the handful of remaining protesters from a campus gallery that was defaced sometime before they left.

But the events leading up to that point were uncertain, as some of those who had participated in the occupation said they did not know who the evicted demonstrators were or why slogans were scrawled on the walls of the ground-floor gallery. (One read, “Spoiled New School Anarchists.”)

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808. However, the other aspect of spirit’s coming-to-be, history, is that mindful self- mediating coming-to-be – the spirit emptied into time. However, this emptying is likewise the self-emptying of itself; the negative is the negative of itself. This coming-to-be exhibits a languid movement and succession of spirits, a gallery of pictures, of which each, endowed with the entire wealth of spirit, moves itself so slowly because the self has to take hold of and assimilate the whole of this wealth of its substance.

 

One Divides into Two

November 25, 2011

Hegel's Dialectic

A lively new polemic about the concepts ‘one divides into two’ and ‘two fuse into one’ is unfolding on the philosophical front in this country. This debate is a struggle between those who are for and those who are against the materialist dialectic, a struggle between two conceptions of the world: the proletarian conception and the bourgeois conception. Those who maintain that ‘one divides into two’ is the fundamental law of things are on the side of the materialist dialectic; those who maintain that the fundamental law of things is that ‘two fuse into one’ are against the materialist dialectic. The two sides have drawn a clear line of demarcation between them, and their arguments are diametrically opposed. This polemic is a reflection, on the ideological level, of the acute and complex class struggle taking place in China and in the world.” Red Flag (Beijing), 21 September 1964

Autonomous  – http://ninetyfifthavenueoccupation.wordpress.com/

or

General  – http://allcitystudentoccupation.com/

Which one will you choose?

Hegel via Aaron

The planning for this “action”, for logistical and pragmatically necessary reasons was, in its initial stages, kept as quiet as possible. For this reason it was frequently referred to as “the action” in correspondence and conversation. Now we have acted and the abstract concept is apparently no less determined. What does it mean to have engaged in or accomplished this “action”? The “action”, of course, is not accomplished, not terminated with the taking of space, but not for that reason, any less an action. In taking the space, in acting, we have created the condition for further instantiations of “action.” In creating a space for the further development of the movement we create space and opportunity for “action” previously lacking. The “action” is, in this way, a continuous development out of and beyond itself. It does not bleed into something different, but is itself further determined by what it becomes. Only through the process of progressively unfolding in ever richer determinations can we come to understand the meaning of the action we have taken. The determination of all actions is future oriented, that is, they are essentially the possibilities they open by what becomes thinkable and doable as their result. In this radical break from normal relations, we advance in an as yet undetermined dialectic. In recognizing our constitutive role in the process of determination we simultaneously acknowledge our freedom, our freedom to create freely. To continue acting is to continue in the manifestation of free meaning by increasing the horizon of possibilities, and in this way we simultaneously challenge both reified consciousness and the persistent foreclosure of opportunities for a truly rational, socially integrated society.

Arendt via Marianne

“No chaos resulted from the actions of people without leadership and without previously formulated program…instead of mob rule there appeared immediately the same organization which for more than a hundred years now has emerged whenever the people have been permitted for a few days, or a few weeks or months, to follow their own political devices without a government (or a party program) imposed from above.” So said Arendt, over fifty years ago, about the Hungarian revolution. She went on, in that article, to point out tat “the councils were born exclusively out of the actions and spontaneous demands of the people, and they were not deduced from an ideology, nor foreseen, let alone preconceived, by any theory about the best form of government. Wherever they appeared they were met with utmost hostility from leaders from right to left ant with the unanimous neglect of political theorists and political scientists. The point is that these councils have always been undoubtedly democratic, but in a sense never seen before and never thought about.” Such is our General Assembly. It is the next form of politics and freedom – one coming blessedly, just in time.

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On Identity

November 23, 2011

There’s been a lot of talk about identity at the occupation.

May we propose a formula from an old philosopher?

The truth of identity is the identity of identity and non-identity.

 

Totality, Disinherited

November 21, 2011

A vampire chops garlic in a Creole kitchen.  The masked Michael Myers checks his email: no new messages.  Such are the subtle antagonisms of our daily dread.

Yet without this banality of conflict we lose the plot.  Fancy-freedom is the life of a coward.

It has been nearly three years since the false dawn of the student occupations.  Meantime we have kept abreast of political happenings.  None has merited our input.  Just before we insinuated ourselves into the affairs of the Middle East, their groundhog saw its own shadow, ushering in a longer Arab Winter than previously expected.

We were pleased to see that the first project of the Libyan Transitional Council, for example, was to set up a national bank, but, honestly, we prefer our revolutionaries with a little more stink.  A respectable nose-bone ratio.  Gamey taste.

Elsewhere, American politicians have been learning to play musical instruments at astronomical rates, Anarchists have insisted on debating whether a hermaphrodite who becomes intoxicated before an episode of self-intimacy is operating by consensus, and Jim Miller has continued to have more hang-ups than a mute telemarketer.

Like our mortal enemies of the vortex left, we disagree with Comrade Miller in his latest piece in the New York Times: “Will Extremists Hijack Occupy Wall Street?”  Three years ago we defended the tract on which the New School in Exilers publically defecated.   Democracy is not in the latrine.

The famous 99% that have been occupying Wall Street and other abstractions need to keep rule-by-consensus.  It is the best way to ensure they are fettered by their own ideology.  Fingers wiggling all the way to the cell block.

Rule-by-party or a herd of progressive non-profits would be equally desirable from our end, but that is not the beast we are encountering, by and large.  The present creature has a billion heads and a black hole for an anus.   We enjoy seeing all those heads up its ass, fingers wiggling.

In fact, we saw them coming a mile away. Allowed them a box to soap, a twitter to feed, a stream to live. It makes no difference to us. Every crisis at their doorstep only makes them weaker. Their self-appointed managers are as good as ours. Their police are better.

“Can we join a working group? Can we voice our frustration?” they ask themselves.

No need to infiltrate what is already ours.

“I’d like a tofu and arugula sandwich, please. Spread the democracy evenly.  Hold the arugula.  See you at the Assembly tonight? Nah, I have to do my econ homework. Don’t worry, the minutes will be online. Alright, tweet me later. Wait, what? Can you update the Facebook page? We got some wingnuts posting comments about you-know-who again. You got it. And make sure to record Tom Morello’s acoustic piece tonight. He’s so down.”

Our hopes are not high for a good old-fashioned melee, though for the record we would like to collaborate on some motherfuckers.  Colder weather will soon hush the uproar, and our lives will return to the minute creativities of small business ideas, like hangOVER, an intravenous saline slurpee that heals even the most vulnerable morning after.

30 bucks a pop.  Enya’s Greatest Hits on the speakers.  Storefront in a hip neighborhood.  Eggshell white interior.  Enya.  You want B Vitamins in that?  50 cents extra.  Smoothies and shots of wheatgrass at the counter.  Brochures for the new co-op that’s opening up around the corner.  The Resident Nurse? She’s a person of color.  Are “you” in?

-The Collaboration