self-education in Constant 2016
that the political emancipation finds itself on a defensive fighting again for this material base of
pedagogy against the rising forces of privatization. Not only has mass education become
accessible only under the condition of high fees, student debt and adjunct peonage, but the
useful knowledge that the labour market and reproduction of the neoliberal capitalism
demands has become the one and only rationale for education.
No wonder that over the last 6-7 years we have seen self-education, shadow libraries and
amateur librarians emerge again to counteract the contraction of spaces of exemption that
have been shrunk by austerity and commodity.
The project Public Library was initiated with the counteraction in mind. To help everyone
learn to use simple tools to be able to act as an Amateur Librarian – to digitize, to collect, to
share, to preserve books and articles that were unaffordable, unavailable, undesirable in the
troubled corners of the Earth we hail from.
self-education in Dean, Dockray, Ludovico, Broekman, Thoburn & Vilensky 2013
form and functionality
of the newspaper, which is not merely a means of information distribution.
It is noteworthy in this regard that the Occupy movement (which has been a
constant throughout this conversation) has been producing regular printed
newspapers from the precarious sites of occupation, when an exclusive focus
on new media might have been more practical.
So, I would like to ask you some questions about the appeal of the media
form of the newspaper. First, Chto Delat?’s emphasis on self-education is
influenced by Paulo Freire, but on this theme of the newspaper it is the
pedagogical practice of Jean Oury and Félix Guattari that comes to my mind.
For Oury and Guattari (building on work by Célestin Freinet on ‘institutional
pedagogy’) the collectively produced publication works as a therapeutic ‘third
object’, a mediator to draw out, problematise, and transversalise social and
Materialities Of Independent Publishing 175
15. Gary Genosko,
Félix Guattari: A
and Félix Guattari,
What Is Philosophy?
G. Burchell and H.
libidinal relations among groups, be they psychiatric associations or political
collectives. Gary Genosko has published some fascinating work on this aspect
of Guattari’s praxis, and it comes across clearly in the Dosse biography of
Deleuze and Guattari.15 With this question of group pedagogy in mind, what is
the role of the newspaper in the self-organisation and self-education practice
of Chto Delat?
DV The interrelations between all forms of our activity is very important, Chto
Delat? is conceived as an integral composition: we do research on a film project
and some materials of this research get published in the newspaper and in
our on-line journal (which is on-line extension of the newspaper); we start to
work on the publication and its outcomes inspire work on a new installation;
we plan an action and build a collaboration with new actors and it triggers a
self-education in Dockray, Pasquinelli, Smith & Waldorf 2010
School is not a new model and it’s not going to save the University. It is not
even a critique of the University any more or less than it is a critique of
the field of art or of capitalist society. It is not “the next university”
because it is a practice of leaving the University to the side. It would be a
mistake to think that this means isolation or total detachment.
Today, the forms of university governance cannot allow themselves to uproot
self-education. To the contrary, self-education constitutes a vital sap for
the survival of the institutional ruins, snatched up and rendered valuable in
the form of revenue. Governance is the trap, hasty and flexible, of the
common. Instead of countering us frontally, the enemy follows us. We must
immediately reject any weak interpretation of the theme of autonomous
institutions, according to which the institution is a self-governed structure
that lives between the folds of capitalism, without excessively bothering it.
The institutionalisation of self-education doesn’t mean being recognized as
one actor among many within the education market, but the capacity to organize
living knowledge’s autonomy and resistance.
One of the most important “new pedagogical models” that emerged over the past
year in the struggles around the implosion of the “public” university are the
occupations that took place in the Fall of 2009. Unlike other forms of action,
which tend to follow the timetable and cadence of the administration, to the
point of mirroring
self-education in Graziano, Mars & Medak 2019
ical in nature, while, on the other hand, it also exposes academicized
critical pedagogy and intellectuality as insufficiently political in their relation to lived
social reality. Situating our own stakes as both activists and academics in the present
debate, we explore some ways in which the radical politics of #Syllabus could be supported to grow and develop as an articulation of solidarity between amateur librarians
and radical educators.
#Syllabus in Historical Context: Social Movements and Self-Education
When Professor Chatelain launched her call for #FergusonSyllabus, she was mainly
addressing a community of fellow educators:
I knew Ferguson would be a challenge for teachers: When schools opened across
the country, how were they going to talk about what happened? My idea was simple, but has resonated across the country: Reach out to the educators who use
Twitter. Ask them to commit to talking about Ferguson on the first day of classes.
Suggest a book, an article, a film, a song, a piece of artw
created by social movements to support processes of political subjectivation and the
building of collective consciousness. Activists and militant organizers have time and
again created and used various textual media objects—such as handouts, pamphlets,
cookbooks, readers, or manifestos—to facilitate a shared political analysis and foment
mass political mobilization.
In the context of the US, anti-racist movements have historically placed great emphasis on critical pedagogy and self-education. In 1964, the Council of Federated Organizations (an alliance of civil rights initiatives) and the Student Nonviolent
Coordinating Committee (SNCC), created a network of 41 temporary alternative
schools in Mississippi. Recently, the Freedom Library Project, a campaign born out
of #FergusonSyllabus to finance under-resourced pedagogical initiatives, openly
referenced this as a source of inspiration. The Freedom Summer Project of 1964
brought hundreds of activists, students, and scholars (many of
self-education in Mars, Medak & Sekulic 2016
processes of commodification themselves
that had begun with the rise of trade in
books. As early as the French Revolution,
the confiscation of books from the libraries
of clergy and aristocracy and their transfer
into national and provincial libraries signalled that the right of access to knowledge
was a pre-condition for full participation
in society. For its part, the British labor
movement of the mid-19th century had to
resort to opening workers' reading-rooms,
projects of proletarian self-education and
the class struggle in order to achieve the
establishment of the institution of public
libraries financed by taxes, and the right
thereby for access to knowledge and culture for all members of society.
SHAD OW P U B L I C L I B R A R I ES
Public library as a space of exemption from
commodification of knowledge and culture
is an institution that complexifies the unconditional and formulaic application of
intellectual property rights, making them
conditional on the public interest that all
self-education in Sekulic 2018
ment 'Gang Territories' map in Mike Davis' book City of Quartz, which
made him understand gang violence in L.A. was a product of institutional
violence, structural racism, and systemic dispersal of community support
networks put in place by the Black Panther Party.
The books in Herman's library can be seen as a toolbox of “really useful
knowledge” for someone who has to conceive the notion of freedom. The term
“really useful knowledge” originated with workers' awareness of the need for
self-education in the early-19th century, describing a body of 'unpractical'
knowledge such as politics, economics, and philosophy, workers needed to
understand and change their position in society, and opposed 'useful
knowledge' – knowledge of 'practical' skills which would make them useful to
the employer. Like in the 19th century, sustaining the system relies on
continued exploitation of a population prevented from accessing, producing and
sharing knowledges needed to start to understand the system that i
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