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Better, Not More — aka Buen Vivir

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David Bollier
29th April 2015


Here is an inspiring five-minute video about the quest for a new post-growth economic system.  “Better, Not More,” was produced by Kontent Films for the Edge Funders Alliance, and was released last week at a conference in Baltimore. The video is a beautiful set of statements from activists around the world describing what they aspire to achieve, especially by way of commons.

The vocabularies and focus for the idea of “better, not more,” obviously differ among people in one country to another. Buen vivir is the term that is more familiar to the peoples of Latin America, for example. But as the growth economy continues its assault on the planetary ecosystem, cultivating an ethic of sufficiency — and developing the policies and politics to make that real — is an urgent challenge.

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Posted in Collective Intelligence, Commons, Commons Transition, Culture & Ideas, Ethical Economy, Featured Video, Original Content, P2P Lifestyles, Sharing, Videos | No Comments »

100 Women Co-Creating the P2P Society: Ana Von Teschenhausen

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Rachel O'Dwyer
23rd April 2015


Ana is an independent researcher currently working on two projects: knowledge as a ubiquitous commons, a topic she will discuss as part of the Citizen Science Track at Ouishare 2015, and a project proposal for community-based forest monitoring, which is to be 100% driven by a p2p and commons rationale. This project has been developed as a final work for the UNEP international post-graduate course on environmental management for developing countries, which Ana is currently attending.

Ana’s Master’s research explored the role and challenges of crowdsourcing and citizen science in the context of the data revolution, as well as platforms for sustainability and social innovation. You can find the full document here. Below is an extract from Ana’s abstract:

“Despite persistent efforts on the part of organizations aiming to solve or to alleviate the world’s most challenging issues, there are limitations to the current problem-solving system based on hierarchical bureaucratic models. These are mainly related to the powerlessness of the professional sector when, alone, facing global issues of ever increasing complexity and uncertainty. The current context, often called “the network age”, has in turn, supported and enhanced systems which serve as a means for coping with these complex and uncertain scenarios, such as the concept of distributed cognition that leads (in its positive aspects) to collaborative, participatory and peer-to-peer common oriented processes, including the emergence of decentralized systems as well as the gradual empowerment of the civil society (overlapping with the latter); forming altogether, the background of latent paradigm shifts. Concurrently there is the political discourse (driven by the UN) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and of a Data Revolution, where the claim is that the latter is indispensable for achieving the former. The Data Revolution’s main purpose is to fill data gaps in order to leave no one behind and its realization is also crucial for unlocking other latent paradigm shifts.

This thesis introduces the core concepts of such a paradigm shift, whilst focusing on two collaborative approaches for data collection and analysis: crowdsourcing and citizen science – most specifically on their role and challenges in the context of the current data revolution. Crowdsourcing and citizen science (also citizen journalism and other participatory monitoring activities) are not just part of the context of latent paradigm shifts, but do play a major role for the realization of a data revolution, once professionals and machines do not currently suffice to fill those data gaps. This hinders proper accounting, planning and distribution of resources and hence spoils efforts to tackle the critical issues involved in the SDGs. Unfortunately there is wide reluctance from the part of the institutions (UN, INGOs and governments) in adopting these approaches as valid data/information sources.

The main goal of this MA thesis is to identify the reason behind this reluctance, shedding light on deadlocks hampering the consolidation of a data revolution. In order to do so, the problematic was approached from multiple perspectives, characterizing a truly interdisciplinary inquiry, which, based on the approach of the “informed grounded theory”, presents the main challenges of crowdsourcing and citizen science in multiple levels and from multiple perspectives. From a pragmatic perspective, issues related with data quality as well as the issue of little understanding have been the most cited. Withal the fact that both issues are not exclusive to crowdsourcing or citizen science has shown to be crucial for the present inquiry, although widely neglected in the literature. Thus for this and other important reasons to be further discussed throughout chapters 3 and 4, an alternative to the “quality-centred” approach towards crowdsourcing and citizen science is appropriate, nevertheless the quality issue should not be disregarded, as it is reasonable, but eventually addressed in a different manner as part of the problematic, but not as “the problematic” itself.

In addition, prejudice from the part of professionals has been cited by some expert interviewees as the “real” reason behind the reluctance vis-à-vis crowdsourcing and citizen science as valid data/information sources. Analysis has shown that prejudice is omnipresent with regards to new technologies or any novel approach. For there is no time to wait for wider acceptance, given the urgency of matters, and as prejudice shows to result from ignorance linked to the clash of paradigms, this thesis also focuses on the question of what lays behind prejudice. In order to answer this question, other crucial parts of the problematic encompassing constrained profes-sional autonomy, risk and blame aversion are discussed throughout the thesis, forming altogether a hypothesis advocating that the resistance from the part of institutions towards crowdsourcing and citizen science is not just rooted on prejudice, but also on lack of trust in society; being both resultants of excess of accountability which has been ultimately delineated by public discourse. After a rough analysis, the latter has shown to be in unbalance, overemphasizing the need for accountability and consequently (based on the premise of a necessary balance between trust and control/accountability), inadvertently, undermining trust. Paradoxically the overdose of accountability in public discourse reflects an attempt to restore trust in society. This paradox can be found also within the discourse on the data revolution, hindering this and other latent paradigm shifts of thriving, as for them all mutual trust is a requisite. If there is no trust from the part of organizations towards the public, there will be no room (acceptance) for approaches relying on citizen-generated data, leaving data gaps and many people and countries behind. The outcomes of this analysis are useful for those stakeholders contributing to the discourses on the fundamental role of a data revolution, as they should reframe the latter giving more weight to “top-down” trust, if we are to see the realization of such a shift.”

 

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University protests around the world: a fight against commercialisation: London School of Economics #UK

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Kevin Flanagan
23rd April 2015


LSE occupation
‘LSE is the epitome of the neoliberal university. It is managed and organised around corporate interests, which promote elitism and perpetuate inequality.’ Photograph: Alex Kurunis

This week we are serialising extracts from an article by  at the Guardian looking at how students around the world are fighting back against the commercialisation of University education.

London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

What’s happening? A central administration room has been occupied by students since 18 March.

What caused the protest? The occupation is a reaction against the marketisation of education.

Natalie Fiennes is an MSc student studying political sociology and Ellen Lees is an undergraduate student studying social anthropology at LSE.

LSE is the epitome of the neoliberal university. It is managed and organised around corporate interests, which promote elitism and perpetuate inequality. OccupyLSE proposes that students, lecturers and workers should run a university – and we have named this project the Free University of London.

We are occupying the main administrative meeting room to symbolically disrupt the management of the school, which is responsible for the neoliberalisation of our education. We have used the space to reclaim our education and encourage political participation by teaching and learning from each other. This is a rejection of the commercialisation of education – we are learning for free and we are learning freely.

The space and workshops are being used to focus and refine the demands we are making as a movement on issues of free education, workers’ rights, university democracy and governance, liberation and ethics. The power of occupations is that they create a domino effect: this is only the beginning.

Continue to Read the Full Article – http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2015/mar/25/university-protests-around-the-world-a-fight-against-commercialisation

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University protests around the world: a fight against commercialisation: University of Toronto #Canada

photo of Kevin Flanagan

Kevin Flanagan
21st April 2015


This week we are serialising extracts from an article by  at the Guardian looking at how students around the world are fighting back against the commercialisation of University education.

University of Toronto, Canada

What’s happening? Graduate students at the University of Toronto have been on strike for three weeks.

What prompted the strike? Graduate and teaching assistants are essential to the University of Toronto’s teaching. But they are paid a minimum financial package of C$15,000 – far less than is needed to meet the cost of living.

Omar Sirri is a PhD student studying political science at the University of Toronto –

“The basic graduate student funding package has not seen any increase in more than seven years, leaving graduate students doing teaching and research to live more than C$8,000 below the poverty line. Sessional faculty, course instructors and teaching assistants do more than 60% of the teaching at the University of Toronto, but only 3.5% of the university’s budget is allocated to them.

To address this, graduate students should be guaranteed a minimum amount of funding that sits above the poverty line and increases as inflation and the cost of living rises.
Instead, management have sought to increase undergraduate and graduate student enrolment – particularly international students – in order to increase profits to the university. Rather than addressing the serious financial needs of its students, the university administration team spent weeks refusing to return to the negotiating table. A recent offer failed to address the negative impacts of precarious work in academia that have allowed for the exploitation of lower level and non-tenured academic staff.

To prevent further labour action and disruption for all students across university campuses in Canada, university administrators will have to address these serious structural deficiencies that have decayed the quality of education and research at public universities in Canada and across North America.”

Continue to Read the Full Article – http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2015/mar/25/university-protests-around-the-world-a-fight-against-commercialisation

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Another Life is Possible – Homage to Catalonia

photo of Kevin Flanagan

Kevin Flanagan
19th April 2015


Stories about the construction of a sustainable, solidary and decentralized economy

I spent much of the past month visiting and meeting with people and projects across Catalonia. There is no doubt something resilient in the Catalan spirit that has enabled them to respond to the current crisis with what are some of the most creative and inspirational expressions of social solidarity to be found in Europe. This documentary represents part of that.


 

“A documentary, a research project, a story of stories about the construction of a sustainable, solidary and decentralized economy. Weaving nets that overcome the individualization and the hierarchical division of work. Thousands of people every day all over the world. Here and now.

“Homage to Catalonia II” is a documentary that is part of an academic research project. We investigate new economic cultures, new forms of living and of understanding the economy. For the IN 3, the High School Institute of Research of the University Open to Catalonia.

We study the social impact of the economics|economies that do not follow the patterns of the market, where profits are the priority, and that have the satisfaction of the needs and the desires for the persons as a goal.

A project of Joana Conill, Manuel Castells and Àlex Ruiz produced by IN3 under a Creative Commons license. This is the English version, there are also versions in Catalan and Spanish.

“Homage to Catalonia II” is a tool for research. Not a finished, conclusive and closed work, but a work in progress. We want this documentary to be open to everybody, in and out of the university realm, that’s why it has a Creative Commons license.

See Also – “Come Back” – the Story of Enric Duran’s action and its aftermath

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Essay of the Day: Italian Operaismo and the Information Machine

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Michel Bauwens
18th April 2015


‘machines don’t explain anything, you have to analyze the collective apparatuses of which the machines are just one component’

* Article: Italian Operaismo and the Information Machine. Matteo Pasquinelli.

From the abstract:

“The political economy of the information machine is discussed within the Marxisttradition of Italian operaismo by posing the hypothesis of an informational turn already at work in the age of the industrial revolution. The idea of valorizing information introduced by Alquati (1963) in a pioneering Marxist approach to cybernetics isused to examine the paradigms of mass intellectuality, immaterial labour and cognitive capitalism developed by Lazzarato, Marazzi, Negri, Vercellone and Virno since the 1990s. The concept of machinic by Deleuze and Guattari (1972, 1980) is then adopted to extend Marx’s analysis of the industrial machine to the algorithms of digital machines. If the industrial machine can be described as a bifurcation of thedomains of energy and information, this essay proposes to conceive the informationmachine itself as a further bifurcation between information and metadata. In conclusion, the hypothesis of the society of metadata is outlined as the current evolution of that society of control pictured by Deleuze (1990) in relation to the power embodiedin databases.

* Excerpt: Some Hypotheses on the Society of Metadata

In conclusion, as a set of provisional hypotheses within the risingsociety of ‘big data’, metadata are said to be used for: 1) measuringthe value of social relations; 2) improving the design of machines andmachinic intelligence; and 3) monitoring and forecasting massbehaviours.

1. Metadata as the measure of the value of social relations. The accu-mulation of information via the mediation of digital machines mirrorsand measures that production of those social relations which Marx himself considered the very nature of value (‘capital is not a thing, but asocial relation between persons which is mediated through things’; Marx,1867: 932). Digital technologies like social networks provide today apunctual cartography of these productive relations (see, for instance,how Facebook and Twitter turn collective communication into attentioneconomy). As much as thermo-machines have been used to measurevalue in terms of quantity of energy per time, info-machines appear tomeasure value in terms of number of links per node. This is evident, forexample, in the case of Google PageRank algorithm and in many rankingand rating techniques employed today (see Pasquinelli, 2009). The extrac-tion of metadata describes here a ?ow surplus value (Deleuze andGuattari, 1972: 233) or a sort of network surplus value.

2. Metadata as implementation of machinic intelligence. The extractionof metadata provides also precious information to optimize machinicintelligence at any level: from software programs to industrial manage-ment, from advertisement campaigns to logistics. In this sense the digitalsphere is still very similar to Alquati’s computer factory: the ?ows of information are used to improve its internal organization and to createmore e?cient algorithms. Also within the infrastructure of the internet,the ?ows of valorizing information are transformed into ?xed capital;that means that knowledge is transferred and incarnated into machinery.See once again Google’s PageRank algorithm and the way it has beenevolving according to data tra?c and the collective behaviours of theglobal audience. Metadata describe here a code surplus value (Deleuzeand Guattari, 1972: 233).

3. Metadata as new form of biopolitical control (dataveillance). Ratherthan pro?ling individual inclinations, metadata can be used for crowdcontrol and prediction of mass behaviours, as happens today with anygovernment tracking usage of social media, spin doctors mapping polit-ical elections, city councils measuring tra?c ?ows and companies follow-ing supply chains. Online real-time statistics of speci?c search keywordscan map the spread of diseases across a country as much as social unrest(see Google Flu and Google Trends services, for instance, and imaginethe same algorithms applied to political and social issues). If Deleuze(1990a) had already warned against the speci?c techniques of a society of control based on the power virtually embodied in the collective infor-mation of databases, today the new regime of dataveillance can bedescribed as a society of metadata, as it is no longer necessary to targetindividual behaviour but just collective trends (see the PRISM scandalin 2013).

An analysis of the new political dimensions of metadata or ‘big data’ isstill to come. In conclusion, the algorithms governing the new society of metadata have been properly illuminated thanks to one of operaismo’s most important intuitions: applying the theoretical and political point of view of valorizing information (that is living labour) rather than the perspective of a mere technological determinism. As Deleuze reminds us in the interview with Negri quoted at the beginning of this essay:‘machines don’t explain anything, you have to analyze the collective apparatuses of which the machines are just one component’.

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Movement of the Day: Breaking The Frame

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Michel Bauwens
17th April 2015


Breaking The Frame is a growing network, which aims to democratise decisions about technology. We are bringing together different campaigns in order to learn from each others’ experience and strengthen our work.

They explain:

“Breaking the Frame started around the Breaking the Frame Gathering in 2014, aimed at a deeper understanding of the politics of technology. This was organised by a group of organisations including Corporate Watch, Luddites200 and Scientists for Global Responsibility, with funding from some charitable trusts.

We called the gathering Breaking the Frame for two reasons. Firstly we want to change the way that political issues such as how our food is produced, internet freedom and nuclear power are framed as separate debates: we believe there is an underlying politics of technology which connects them, so they need to be discussed together. Secondly, ‘breaking the frame’ alludes to the tactics of the Luddites – in the early 19th century, machines were called ‘frames’. You don’t have to call yourself a luddite to come to the gathering (see the list of organisations that sponsored the 2014 gathering). And luddism is not about being ‘against technology’ (that is a history written by the victorious industrialists) – the Luddites broke machines which they thought were ‘hurtful to Commonality’, ie to the common good. For more on Luddism, see www.luddites200.org.uk.”

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Essay of the Day: Theorising and Analysing Digital Labour

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Michel Bauwens
16th April 2015


* Article: Theorising and analysing digital labour: From global value chains to modes of production. By Christian Fuchs. The Political Economy of Communication, Vol 1, No 2 (2013)

From the abstract:

“This paper considers the following question—where do computers, laptops and mobile phones come from and who produced them? Specific cases of digital labour are examined—the extraction of minerals in African mines under slave-like conditions; ICT manufacturing and assemblage in China (Foxconn); software engineering in India; call centre service work; software engineering at Google within Silicon Valley; and the digital labour of internet prosumers/users. Empirical data and empirical studies concerning these cases are systematically analysed and theoretically interpreted. The theoretical interpretations are grounded in Marxist political economy. The term ‘global value chain’ is criticised in favour of a complex and multidimensional understanding of Marx’s ‘mode of production’ for the purposes of conceptualizing digital labour. This kind of labour is transnational and involves various modes of production, relations of production and organisational forms (in the context of the productive forces). There is a complex global division of digital labour that connects and articulates various forms of productive forces, exploitation, modes of production, and variations within the dominant capitalist mode of production.”

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Movement of the Day: The Immaterial Labour Union

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Michel Bauwens
15th April 2015


The ILU wants to be “a decentralized labour union which occupies the space of the “social factory” (Facebook, Google, Twitter etc ..) the profit of a privileged few”.

Rosie Gram explains more:

“The Immaterial Labour Union is a decentralized labour union which occupies the space of the operaista “social factory”: Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, etc, where we’re being stripped off of our data for the profit of a privileged few. Labour feels different, but it is still labour and to think or act otherwise is to let capital win once more!

The choice to constitute a union when labour as we know it is changing in advanced capitalist societies is an ideological one: Against the tendency in the lowering power of the union, against the tendency in alienating the produsers from their statuses as workers, the union rises to create a blockade against extreme individualization.

We need you to join the organizing committee of the union! We need your ideas and suggestions to dynamize what aims to be the workshop of the Immaterial Labor Union. We envision it as a network of variable architecture which tactically meets to bring to life different, concrete components of the toolkit for the liberation of the multitude! How can we negotiate terms of service? How can we re-imagine collective bargaining within the social factory?

We need you to help us answer those questions! We need you to organize with us!”

Here is a discussion of the topics they particularly care about developing:

“The Immaterial Labor Union was born out of a desire to escape from the atomization of the individual into the collective, to think about alternatives to the neoliberal grey area of the multitude and its permanent state of insulation, to negotiate terms of service and push for the protection of personal data on a transnational scope. Framed within the context of social media monopolies such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+, the Union aims, on a short-term basis, to reddress privacy abuses and unfair working conditions perpetrated through the processing of our online data, and on a long-term basis to conceive and shape alternative social networking solutions.

* Data Rights

For the time being, the EU Data Protection Directive still doesn’t accomodate for globalization phenomena and the advent of social networks; plans are being traced for the adoption, in 2015, and implementation, in 2017, of a General Data Protection Regulation. This Regulation is expected to bridge the Directive’s gaps regarding the network society. In the meanwhile, it is important to trace the collective demands of the digital multitude in regards to control of personal data and negotiate the terms of the current information economy at work in popular social media websites. To give the example of Facebook, which is the most flagrant by the brazen arrogance of its terms of service, it is important to question to which degree do we really have a choice. While it is true that we only accept such outrageous conditions which deeply violate basic human rights if we choose to sign into Facebook, the only other option is opting-out the social loop of your friends and acquaintances. Such abusive demands only go mostly unchecked due to Facebook’s monopoly status. You’re commodified by default.

However, even when not on Facebook, information can still be gathered about you whenever a friend tags you in a photo, refers to you in a comment, etc.

The Union strives for user data control and transparency from a bottom-up perspective, where users push for data controllers to respect their rights by means of negotiation, rejecting the fake binary approach upholded by social media monopolies.

* Data Labour

Increasingly, information is becoming the means of production of the digital age. The blurrying of lines between work and leisure time means the commodification of the latter, and the monetization of our relationships and online activities becomes the rule. The business model of large social media monopolies reduces us to a graph, easily mined, craftily designed. Their strategy makes clever use of the ‘network effect’ (where the number of users determines the value of a service) for marketing purposes, extracting profit from user activity. According to Maurizio Lazzarato, the production of subjects and social relations coincides, then, with economical power. Where the current mode of exploitation is now being labeled under the “social” tag, the user becomes further alienated from the perception of his/her condition as a worker.

Based on this assumptions, equating social media activity with labour and stating this correspondence clearly becomes key to framing the necessity of a Union which can effectively state its their demands in the context of digital economy.

* Toolkit

I hope to gather a few interested people with whom I can then develop the toolkit for the liberation of the multitude. Capable of critically disrupting social networking paradigms, the exact components of such toolkit remain yet to be decided – ranging from cultural jamming strategies to software bundles with a guerrilla mindset, its goals are to empower the digital multitude by means of promoting actions and campaigns, not only translating traditional activist strategies (such as strikes, pickets and protests) to their digital correspondent but also exploring tactical new media methodologies for creative action.”

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Book of the Day: 21st Century Re­Alignments in Art and Politics

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hartsellml
14th April 2015


* Book (in preparation): A STATE OF PRE­: 21st Century Re­Alignments in Art and Politics. An anthology of art and theory. from the Re­Aligned Project. Ed. by Ivor Stodolsky and Marita Muukkonen. Sternberg Press, 2016.

URL = www.Re­Aligned.net

Description

“A State of Pre­” is a pluridisciplinary investigation into the conditions, subjectivities and agencies provoking a realignment of art, thought and politics in the 21st century.

Drawing on its diverse participants while inviting new contributors this anthology gathers together essays, theory and art related to the past three years of the Re­Aligned Project.

As a thematic umbrella­ project dedicated to art and political movements advocating change, resistance, rebellion or revolution in their respective societies, the Re­Aligned Project has been defined by an ongoing series of workshops, exhibitions, artist­in­residencies, seminars, conferences, street and public art festivals. An interactive map of the project is found at www.Re­Aligned.net, which documents three years of engagement across Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Northern Africa.

Future historians will judge whether the wave of revolts of our time bear comparison to 1640, 1789, 1848, 1968, or perhaps, following further major convulsions, will be seen as the capitalist antipode to the communist collapse of 1989. What is clear today, is that we live in a time of worldwide instability, where hegemonic government by consent is under intense pressures due to the crises of transnational elites above, and the discontent of vast majorities below, which are forced to bear the brunt of the ensuing problems. Next to the economic and ecological crises of mondial scale, there are political conflicts being played out in widely differing arenas which show remarkable structural similarities.

The notion of a non-­aligned ?positionality, which invokes the refusal of multiple mainstream positions, describes one such common structural feature. An Egyptian, Russian, Chinese or Cuban oppositional intellectual, for example, will reject (local) authoritarianism while often simultaneously maintaining a highly critical stance vis­ a vis (global) western forms of historical and/or current expansion and oppression. A European or US Occupy activist, as much as an African or Latin American intellectual, will similarly reject an authoritarian conception of communism while fighting the rapacious logic of neoliberal capitalism. In all cases, concomitant with a clear non­alignment with the outmoded mainstream social paradigms of the 20th century, we see what we call re­alignments. Although a term kept deliberately open to multiple readings, re­aligned ?initially describes a re­engagement with and re­merging of activist and intellectual currents that are replacing the apathy and disillusionment, apolitical irony, particularism, single­issue and identity politics of the previous epoch. It describes the “third”, “fourth” or “fifth” ways being sought between vertical and horizontal forms of organization, between particularist identities and unarticulated hybridities, between difference and universalism, and so on.

The period preceding our current era, sometimes called postmodernity, saw a sustained focus on cultural­ethnic issues, post­colonial and national­independence narratives, post-­communist nation­building and religious revivals, gender related liberation movements and also numerous new ways of reading popular and commercial culture and society. While subverting and superimposing and making these configurations clash, many power relations which postmodernist theory and art engaged with and critiqued, however, were often paradoxically strengthened and reproduced in this same period, rather than overcome.

Explanations for this require a re­orientation of perspectives. It has been argued that precisely postmodernism’s aversion to “meta­narratives”, the “universal”, “reality” and similar overarching conceptions, furnished the atomizing “conditions of ignorance”, so to speak, for the macroeconomic neoliberal depredations of the past decades. Discussion of general social and political structural movements remained out of fashion, suspect, even unspeakable, in an environment where collective convictions and ideals were ridiculed as simplistic, dangerous and antiquated, often forced to be couched in obscure jargon, while the power­relations they decried took their heavy toll.

Over the past years, the clarity of the need for common agency has led us to speak of the re­aligned approach as engaged in multilectic?thinking. Careful to avoid reversions to single­issue, single­culture, single­tradition thinking, that is, abandoning diversity or falling into undifferentiated universalism, this likewise multivalent term describes the aim, amidst the maddening multiplicity of our times, to redevelop models for holistic worldviews. The plethora of currents and movements which constitute re­alignments we speak of, are a type of globalisation ‘from below’. Due to their undeveloped, still­localised nature, we hence describe them as having a pre­mondial?agency?. This is an agency for which politics, art and thought are only now beginning to imagine structures for and give a language to.Following the near­collapse of global markets in 2007-8, multiple waves of resistance and rebellion against diverse forms of oppression, enslavement and injustice have washed the world. From dramatic battles for basic freedoms and human rights, to forceful anti­corruption movements, to rising rejection of corporate and state control and disenfranchisement, to angry demands for advanced forms of equality and justice, not dissimilar grievances and claims have been brought to “the square” in a wide range of societies. Although nothing is certain, the chances are these grievances, and bold proposals for solutions to them, will again cross critical thresholds with the amplitude of ongoing ecological, financial, social and cultural crises.

In short, we wish to investigate the horizon which lies before us. We are in a state of “pre­”. Contrary to the fin de siècle pessimism of what may be called the non­aligned generation of the “post­”, re­aligned movements are part of a quest for a wider mondial commons. Going beyond the ubiquitous “post­” of the outgoing epoch (post­war, post­modern, post­Soviet, post­communist, post­ideological, post­history, post­colonial, post­human, etc.) what may be called a re­aligned generation of the “pre­” ­ naturally defined not by age but vision ­ seeks the proliferation of common orientations, desirables and initiatives in face of mondial crises. The Re­Aligned Project has set its focus on these currents of antecedent, not to say antediluvian predicament.”

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