A Communiquè from the University of Utopia

I just found the following email in my inbox:

May we offer you this communiqué:

Anti-Curricula. A Course of Action
http://www.universityofutopia.org/

in which we attempt a brief critique of ‘sharing’ in Higher Education
and issue a statement on ‘Common Sense, Mass Intellectuality and the
General Intellect’.

If you would like printed copies of the leaflet for yourself or to
share with others, we will send them to you:

http://www.universityofutopia.org/sharing/receiving

Our work is free from the fetters of copyright; a contribution to the commons.

If you wish to subscribe to future communiqués from The University of
Utopia, you can do so here:

http://www.universityofutopia.org/subscribe

Yours in solidarity,

The students and faculty of The University of Utopia

When you follow the links you get a full-blown manifesto for sharing that speaks directly against so many of the issues of the prevailing, compromised logic by which we have accepted a corporate-driven, bowlderized, and hand-cuffed version of how the internet can truly radicalize the idea of sharing. We’re still working off a broken paradigm, and the more we try and fit a radical idea of sharing into a broken model of profiteering the sooner the radical possibilities of the web will be relegated to the status of subscribtion television.

Here are a couple of gems from the manifesto:

We have been objectified as Teachers and Learners. These are illusory concepts.  Sharing is to resist the commodification of our lives and escape the measures of Capital, its controls of ‘quality’ and its life-support machine of ‘efficiency’.

Sharing brings curricula to life as a flow of ideas, an unstoppable, irrepressible mass intellectuality that recognises no disciplines and responds to every act of discipline.

The institutionalisation of sharing is the absorption of sharing into the alienating processes of the institution. As a flight for freedom, it is in vain. The Crisis remains.

The locus of struggle is not exchange but production. In the sphere of production, sharing as a revolutionary act becomes a recognition of what is common. There is nothing revolutionary about acts of exchange.

The desire for communism is a productive desire that finds nothing lacking. We express this desire by sharing, understood as a social force, or a curricula of action against a world that is being destroyed.

I love the idea of “finding nothing lacking,” it brings the most revolutionary idea of the Whitman-inspired act of creating and sharing  to life, just as a new undersanding of sharing in the most radical ways brings curricula to life as “a flow of ideas, an unstoppable, irrepressible mass intellectuality.”

And the other section of this manifesto, termed “the outside” defines terms like “mass intellectuality” as follows:

As intellectual workers we prefer to share our work with others inside and outside of the university. As intellectual workers we refuse the fetishised concept of widening participation, and engage with teaching, learning and research only so far as we are able to dissolve the institutional boundaries of the university. Not mass education or education for the masses but mass intellectuality. Mass education is based on the assumption that people are stupid and must be made not-stupid (i.e. Educated). Mass intellectuality recognises that education maintains the population in a condition of stupidity (i.e. Intelligence Quotient) regulated through examinations and other forms of humiliations (i.e. Grades and Assessments). Mass intellectuality is based on our common ability to do, based on our needs and capacities and what needs to be done. What needs to be done raises doing from the level of the individual to the level of society. In the society of doing, based on what needs to be done, my own needs are subsumed with the needs of others and I become invisible (i.e. Free).

I want to be part of a society that recognizes the value of doing; a culture that recognizes the various “forms of humiliations” we have brokered our idea of education through as anathema to any sense of a community. A vision wherein education is central to community and society more generally, and is not understood as a space wherein to alienate a population from one another through a series of tests, castes, and pre-determined rules which mentally shape the perceived impossibility of changing anything.

When did it come to pass that we all increasingly accept the ostensibly undeniable reality that we can change nothing?

It heartens me that someone refuses that logic, and continues along a course of action.

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1 Response to A Communiquè from the University of Utopia

  1. Ed Webb says:

    See also: http://spherecollege.wordpress.com/about/ – Richard has not bought the idea that we can do nothing, but is going ahead and doing something potentially very powerful.

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