— bureaux de vizKult

Letter from OWS Arts & Labor’s Alternative Economies Group posted on Embros website along with others like Raoul Vaneigem and Jenny Marketou. It goes without saying that any government that seeks to criminalize and arrest artist along with members from the supporting community is a government that should be declared illegal and it’s acts of repression should be condemned. For culture is the one thing in life that requires nothing and gives everything. And perhaps this is one of the most threatening aspect of art which governments seek to crush within its citizen.  Furthermore it is through cultural platforms like Embros that the people and culture will persist in this transitional anti-capitalist period of Athenian history as well as in other parts of the world…

 

Letter in Support of Embros  from Arts & Labor Alternative Economies
November 12, 2013, New York

We stand in solidarity with the Embros Theater community and condemn the persecution of the two performers arrested for rehearsing in the theater on October 31, 2013.  All charges brought against these individuals should be dropped and their court cases should be dismissed. [1]

Artists Against The Police State

The work that is currently being done at Embros embodies some of the most fundamental aspects of fostering a creative and responsive cultural space in which alternatives to the current system can be explored [2]. In this time of urgency and economic crisis around the world, Embros is forging new directions that should be enthusiastically supported and celebrated by the local and national government rather than aggressively repressed and threatened.

Culture is a basic sign of being alive, a space of reflection and growth, and most importantly it is the place where the processes that define democracy such as freedom of speech,  expression, and criticality, is apparent in more ways than a set of law books can ever describe. Governments from Russia to China, United States and Europe [3] seek to crush within its citizens the freedom of cultural expression. It has become apparent that the democratic, life-expressing aspects of art are being systematically repressed and commodified into pure spectacle and entertainment by these governments, institutional bureaucrats, and their capitalist cohorts. We will not stand-by as they reduce culture to an admission fee, VIP bonus, or something you can buy at the gift shop. We wish to dance, to perform, to visualize, to speak, all without being restricted by the amount of money we have or the so-called credentials and permits that these institutions have invented. Because for us, this is true freedom, this is true a democracy that no currency can equate.

Embros helps to provide much needed free and open community space that brings people from all walks of life together to learn, engage, and create. Therefore, we ask artists and communities around the world to look closely and continue to follow these events as you would a canary in a coal mine, so that we may provide support for artists and cultural spaces when similar events that arise. Furthermore, these instances should provide a lens to reflect on the situation in our cities and to better understand the mechanisms of cultural control, repression, cooptation, and exploitation so that we can continue, through this solidarity network, to expose and ultimately overcome this political, economic, and cultural crises that has become the marker of our times.

Arts and Labor Alternative Economies
Maria Juliana Byck, Emily Baierl, Antonio Serna and Laurel Ptak
www.whatdowedonow.info
www.artsandlabor.org/alternative-economies

[ photo above: Arts & Labor March in Solidarity with Quebec Students (March Against Anti-Protest Laws) and Protesting the Arrest of Takeshi Miyakawa (‘I (heart) NY’ light artist) May 22, 2012. Photo by: Stacy Lanyon]

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[1] Communique from Embros on the Arrest of 2 performers. October 30, 2013
www.embrostheater.blogspot.gr/2013/10/blog-post_31.html

[2] On October 19, 2013, as part of ‘What Do We Do Now?’ the first annual Alternatives Fair in New York City, we invited members of Embros Theater to participate in an international panel on autonomous spaces along with members from other autonomous spaces in Mexico. Through this panel we hoped to learn how autonomously run cultural spaces function to provide a more horizontal way to operate while remaining inclusive to all members in the community. From this exchange we learned how Embros’ organizing by way of a weekly general assembly has become a dynamic and invaluable community-run space in which creativity and innovation is encouraged to thrive.

‘What Do We Do Now? Alternative Fair’ was organized by Alternative Economies, a subgroup of OWS Arts and Labor. Alternative Economies working group explores alternative methods of sustaining the livelihood of artists, art-workers, and other communities interested in alternatives to the current system. We view the concept of labor through the lenses of time, choice, and value, and we research the ways that ideas like the commons, solidarity economies, precarious worker centers, and participatory budgeting can nurture more sustainable art worlds. Believing that vibrant creative communities come from the bottom up, we encourage relationships based on mutual aid rather than competition, and we advocate for cultural institutions rooted in a framework of social, economic, and environmental justice.

[3] Links to similar crack down on autonomous cultural spaces and artists:
- ZAM is Culture, Eviction of ZAM by Milan Police, May 2013
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2013/05/zam-e-cultura/
-Footage of Police Eviction of ZAM w/ minute by minute account, May 2013
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2013/05/zona-autonoma-milano-eviction-today
- Missing Pussy Riot Inmate Turns Up at a Tuberculosis Hospital, Nov 14, 2013
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/missing-pussy-riot-inmate-turns-up-at-a-tuberculosis-hospital-20131114
- Extreme show of force by of Swiss police at Basel, May 2013
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2013/06/artists-activists-make-art-come-alive
- “Art Makes Money” Communique from ‘Basel Will Be Occupied’ after the Art Basel raid:
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2013/06/communique-art-makes-money
-NY Police Arrest of artist in Brooklyn for Decorating the Street  “I (heart)nyc” bags, May 2012
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2012/05/ny-goes-hard-on-street-art/

October 16, 2013

Dear Suzanne Lacy, Nato Thompson, Catherine J. Morris and volunteers and staff of Brooklyn Museum and Creative Time,

We are artists, scholars, activists, feminists, wage laborers and mothers performing in Between the Door and the Street. While there are many merits to this piece, and we are hopeful about the public conversations we will engage in, we raise issue with the lack of payment for performers and the lack of childcare options for participating mothers.

As feminists, we believe not paying the 350 women participants perpetuates labor inequality, devalues women’s time and assumes that all women in this piece are financially able to volunteer time, energy, emotional and political content for free. We believe that assuming and relying on free/unpaid contributions of our time for your project continues to perpetuate a standard of capitalist economy that systematically underpays and disenfranchises us, and devalues our time, our bodies, our energies, our histories and our intellects through tactics such as “professionalization.” “volunteerism” and more. This is a mainstream standard that has never worked for us, and does not serve us now. A culture of “volunteerism” assumes that all participants have the means to volunteer and perpetuates the very real reality of poverty and scarcity for many artists and activists. Compensating us would address, in a small but important way, the material realities and economic oppressions impacting many of our lives.

As women who come from different socio-economic and racial backgrounds, we understand that not all activism can or should be paid. However, we do think that the arts community has an imperative to try harder to set a better standard of compensating women for their labor, and for practicing solidarity economies that support women’s participation instead of exploiting them. Additionally, we feel that poor public framing of the unpaid “volunteerism” and time commitments required for Between the Door and the Street create a high barrier to entry. Most of the women participating are non-profit professionals, or women attached to high-visibility non-profits discussing the prompt questions of: “who will take care of the nannies children?” but can the “nanny” bring her own children to this event and participate in an equitable manner, given that she will not be paid, and there will be no childcare? We think not.

We are familiar with, and respectful of Suzanne Lacy’s art, and it is in the spirit of compassionate solidarity and loving community engagement,that we are bringing up these issues. We believe that art and artists benefit from honest critique and that a piece such as Between the Door and the Street that aims to open up space to talk about feminism and women’s work must take on these issues.

Respectfully yours,

Leina Bocar ( performer )

artist, activist, member of Occupy Sunset Park and Arts and Labor

Anonymous performer 1

Anonymous participant 2

* We are in no way attempting to speak on behalf of the other women performers or for their organizations. We are respectfully signing as individuals.

 

_________________________________________________________

 

Supporters, signing in solidarity,

 

1. W.A.G.E. (Working Artists in the Greater Economy)

2. Laurel Ptak, curator, member of Arts and Labor

3. Marisa Holmes, activist, filmmaker, Occupy Wall Street

4. Andrew Ross, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University

5. Julieta Salgado, activist, sociologist, Brooklyn College

6. Saar Shemesh, artist, activist, Free Cooper Union

7. Sarah Quinter, artist, activist, Occupy Sandy

8. Zoltan Gluck, Doctoral student, Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center

9. Kressent Pottenger, activist, Murphy Institute for Labor studies, CUNY, member of Arts and Labor

10. Mike Andrews, Occupy Wall Street, Strike Debt, Copy Editor e-flux

11. Katherine Ramos, activist, mother

12. Noah Fischer, artist, activist

13. Samantha Demby, social justice activist

14. Matthew Tinker, activist, All in the Red

15. George Caffentzis, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Southern Maine

16. Peter Walsh, Intern Labor Rights, member of Arts and Labor

17. Hector Agredano, CCNY Instructor

18. Elena Schowlsky-Fitch, Public health educator, community activist, Occupy Sunset Park, mother

19. Rachel Higgins, artist, activist, member of Arts and Labor

20. Steve McFarland, Doctoral Candidate, CUNY Graduate Center

21. Sarah Newgaard, CUNY Hunter College alumni

22. Darrah Martin, Free University, Postdoctoral Fellow, Columbia University

23. Lauren Suchman

24. Igor Rodriguez Calderon, Doctoral Candidate, Cultural Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center

25. Jerry Goralnick, activist, actor, War Resisters League, The Living Theatre, Strike Debt

26. Emily Baierl

27. Rob Robinson, housing justice activist, Take Back the Land, NESRI

28. Helen Panagiotopoulous, CUNY Graduate Center

29.  Brad Young, Doctoral student, Political Science, CUNY Graduate Center

30.  Amy Starecheski, Columbia University

31.  Susan Jahoda, professor at UMASS Amherst , Rethinking Marxism Collective

32. Simon Leung, artist and Professor, UC Irvine

33. Maureen Connor, artist, Professor at Queens College, Founder of Social Practice Program

34. Jessica Feldman, Doctoral candidate, Department of Media, Culture, Communication, New York University, activist

35. David Spataro, activist, Doctoral Candidate, CUNY

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To Be Added to the list email x(at)vizkult.org

SoulsBeenSoldAgain-BlackEmergencyCulturalCoalition-1969

 

Flyer produced by The Black Emergency Cultural Coalition 1969. Previously on November 17, 1968,  a protest was initiated as this exhibition was being planned [1]. This flyer appears to be calling for the boycott of the actual preview of the show.

The Black Emergency Cultural Coalition had about 15+ years of art and activism and still not one book (1968-1984). We will be uploading more of this history as we come across it.  Stay turned!   & any information about BECC appreciated, email x(at)vizkult(dot) org .

Continue reading…

The Statement of Autonomy is perhaps the most overlooked statement by the NYC General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street. So many good points in there that we had to put it up and bring it to light again as the 2nd year anniversary approaches. n.b. the video below is a completely autonomous project not brought before the general assembly, at least not to my knowledge ;)

 

Occupy Wall Street Statement of Autonomy (video)

 

STATEMENT OF AUTONOMY

Passed by the General Assembly at Occupy Wall Street. November 10, 2011
and passed revision by the General Assembly at Occupy Wall Street, March 3, 2012

Occupy Wall Street is a people’s movement. It is party-less, leaderless, by the people and for the people. It is not a business, a political party, an advertising campaign or a brand. It is not for sale.

We welcome all, who, in good faith, petition for a redress of grievances through non-violence. We provide a forum for peaceful assembly of individuals to engage in participatory democracy. We welcome dissent.

Any statement or declaration not released through the General Assembly and made public online at www.nycga.net should be considered independent of Occupy Wall Street.

We wish to clarify that Occupy Wall Street is not and never has been affiliated with any established political party, candidate or organization. Our only affiliation is with the people.

The people who are working together to create this movement are its sole and mutual caretakers. If you have chosen to devote resources to building this movement, especially your time and labor, then it is yours.

Any organization is welcome to support us with the knowledge that doing so will mean questioning your own institutional frameworks of work and hierarchy and integrating our principles into your modes of action.

SPEAK WITH US, NOT FOR US.

Occupy Wall Street values collective resources, dignity, integrity and autonomy above money. We have not made endorsements. All donations are accepted anonymously and are transparently allocated via consensus by the General Assembly or the Operational Spokes Council.

We acknowledge the existence of professional activists who work to make our world a better place. If you are representing, or being compensated by an independent source while participating in our process, please disclose your affiliation at the outset. Those seeking to capitalize on this movement or undermine it by appropriating its message or symbols are not a part of Occupy Wall Street.

Foucault & Deleuze

The intellectual’s role is no longer to place himself “somewhat ahead and to the side” in order to express the stifled truth of the collectivity; rather, it is to struggle against the forms of power that transform him into its object and instrument in the sphere of “knowledge,” “truth,” “consciousness,” and “discourse. “ 

[...] It seems to me that the political involvement of the intellectual was traditionally the product of two different aspects of his activity: his position as an intellectual in bourgeois society, in the system of capitalist production and within the ideology it produces or imposes (his exploitation, poverty, rejection, persecution, the accusations of subversive activity, immorality, etc); and his proper discourse to the extent that it revealed a particular truth, that it disclosed political relationships where they were unsuspected. These two forms of politicisation did not exclude each other, but, being of a different order, neither did they coincide. Some were classed as “outcasts” and others as “socialists.” During moments of violent reaction on the part of the authorities, these two positions were readily fused: after 1848, after the Commune, after 1940. The intellectual was rejected and persecuted at the precise moment when the facts became incontrovertible, when it was forbidden to say that the emperor had no clothes. The intellectual spoke the truth to those who had yet to see it, in the name of those who were forbidden to speak the truth: he was conscience, consciousness, and eloquence. In the most recent upheaval (3) the intellectual discovered that the masses no longer need him to gain knowledge: they know perfectly well, without illusion; they know far better than he and they are certainly capable of expressing themselves. But there exists a system of power which blocks, prohibits, and invalidates this discourse and this knowledge, a power not only found in the manifest authority of censorship, but one that profoundly and subtly penetrates an entire societal network. Intellectuals are themselves agents of this system of power-the idea of their responsibility for “consciousness” and discourse forms part of the system. The intellectual’s role is no longer to place himself “somewhat ahead and to the side” in order to express the stifled truth of the collectivity; rather, it is to struggle against the forms of power that transform him into its object and instrument in the sphere of “knowledge,” “truth,” “consciousness,” and “discourse. “(4)

In this sense theory does not express, translate, or serve to apply practice: it is practice. But it is local and regional, as you said, and not totalising. This is a struggle against power, a struggle aimed at revealing and undermining power where it is most invisible and insidious. It is not to “awaken consciousness” that we struggle (the masses have been aware for some time that consciousness is a form of knowledge; and consciousness as the basis of subjectivity is a prerogative of the bourgeoisie), but to sap power, to take power; it is an activity conducted alongside those who struggle for power, and not their illumination from a safe distance. A “theory ” is the regional system of this struggle.

[...]

- – - -

Excerpt from a transcript of a 1972 conversation between the post-structuralist philosophers Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze, which discusses the links between the struggles of women, homosexuals, prisoners etc to class struggle, and also the relationship between theory, practice and power.

This transcript first appeared in English in the book ‘Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: selected essays and interviews by Michel Foucault’ edited by Donald F. Bouchard.

Via: Critical Theory >  Libcom.org 

Operation Ghetto Storm-2012-Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

“Trayvon Martin was never going to get justice from a courtroom of the United States government. Justice for Trayvon and for the hundreds of other Black women, men, and children executed by someone employed or protected by the US government on a daily basis will only come from our people and the power we are able to wield through the strength of our organization and the resolve of our will.” -MXGM July 15, 2013

In light of the Trayvon/Zimmerman verdict The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement has initiated the Every 28 Hours Campaign that advocates for the building of Black Self-Defense Networks, People’s Self Defense Networks, the institution of Police Control mechanism coupled with BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanction) tactics, and finally the forming of Peoples Assemblies.

In addition the MXGM offers three supporting resources 1) Operation Ghetto Storm, a full report on the 2012 extra judicial killings; 2) Let Your Motto Be Resistance, an organizing handbook for self-defense; and 3) We Charge Genocide Again!, a curriculum for the Every 28 Hours Campaign.

from MXGM…
The Every 28 Hours Campaign proposes a model for organizing:

  1.  The formation of Black Self-Defense Networks to defend our people and combat police terrorism. These Networks should seek to build Copwatch programs, engage in mass rights based education trainings for the community, serve as first responders to acts of Police Terrorism, and help coordinate mass resistance to these acts via mass mobilizations and direct action. These Networks should also be encouraged to engage in offensive campaigns, such as referendums to institute Police Control Boards.
  2. The formation of People’s Self-Defense Networks to defend the lives and interests of all oppressed peoples’ and exploited classes against various forms of state terrorism. These People’s Self-Defense Networks would work as multi-national alliances to engage in a broad manner all of the tasks mentioned above to defend oppressed peoples and targeted communities, such as LGBTQ2GNC communities, against institutionalized racism, white supremacy, institutionalized sexism, patriarchy and state repression be it racial profiling, gender profiling, stop and frisk, mass incarceration, or mass deportations.
  3. Waging campaigns for local referendums to institute Police Control mechanisms – i.e. community based structures that have the power to hire, fire, subpoena, and discipline the police on the local level. And waging massive, non-compliant campaigns of resistance employing BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanction) strategies and tactics on statewide, regional, and national levels.
  4. Forming People’s Assemblies, on local, citywide, and regional levels to engage in program and demand development initiatives that will enable the people to engage in the broad implementation of people’s programs for self-defense and mutual aid.

 

Read entire post with links to addtional resources for the Every 28 Hours Campaign:
http://mxgm.org/zimmermanverdictstatement/

vizKult.org announces:
Ambassador Jerry Maguire’s AlterNative EcoNomiEs

A new Alternative Economies Affinity Group inspired by Ambassador Jerry Maguire plans to go beyond the typical activist handbook and dialectical double-speak of both the ‘left’ and ‘right’. In the coming months and perhaps next decade, the affinity group is set to unleash alternatives to lift us into a new lucid dimension of economic play with ‘Workers’ Saunas’, ‘Autonomous Yoga Zones’, ‘Community Supported Tropical Agriculture’, ‘Local Kwon Currency’, ‘Time-Warp Banks’, and other ‘Open Sourcery Projects’…

In the meantime, vizKult invites you to attend Arts & Labor’s Alternative Economies monthly meetings held on the last Sunday’s of every month. Next meeting is today!:

Sunday July 28th
6pm-8pm
Washington Square Park*
South-east grassy area,

*nearby rain location:
Think! Coffee
248 Mercer St
between 3rd and 4th St
NYC