• Academic freedom is in crisis ; free speech is not

    In August 2020, the UK think tank The Policy Exchange produced a report on Academic Freedom in the UK (https://policyexchange.org.uk/publication/academic-freedom-in-the-uk-2), alleging a chilling effect for staff and students expressing conservative opinions, particularly pro-Brexit or ‘gender critical’ ideas. This is an issue that was examined by a 2018 parliamentary committee on Human Rights which found a lack of evidence for serious infringements of free speech (https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201719/jtselect/jtrights/1279/127904.htm). In a university context, freedom of speech is protected under the Human Rights Act 1998 as long as the speech is lawful and does not contravene other university regulations on issues like harassment, bullying or inclusion. Some of these controversies have been firmly rebutted by Chris Parr (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/free-speech-crisis-uk-universities-chris-parr) and others who describe how the incidents have been over-hyped.

    Despite this, the government seems keen to appoint a free speech champion for universities (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/feb/15/tories-war-on-the-woke-ministers-statues-protests) which continues a campaign started by #Sam_Gyimah (https://academicirregularities.wordpress.com/2018/07/06/sams-on-campus-but-is-the-campus-onto-sam) when he was minister for universities in 2018, and has been interpreted by some commentators as a ‘war on woke’. In the current climate of threats to university autonomy, many vice chancellors wonder whether this might be followed by heavy fines or reduced funding for those institutions deemed to fall on the wrong side of the culture wars.

    While public concern has been directed to an imagined crisis of free speech, there are more significant questions to answer on the separate but related issue of academic freedom. Most university statutes echo legislation and guarantee academics ‘freedom within the law to question and test received wisdom, and to put forward new ideas and controversial and unpopular opinions, without placing themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs or privileges they may have at their institutions.’ [Section 202 of the Education Reform Act 1988]. In reality, these freedoms are surrendered to the greater claims of academic capitalism, government policy, legislation, managers’ responses to the pandemic and more dirigiste approaches to academics’ work.

    Nevertheless, this government is ploughing ahead with policies designed to protect the freedom of speech that is already protected, while doing little to hold university managers to account for their very demonstrable violations of academic freedom. The government is suspicious of courses which declare a sympathy with social justice or which manifest a ‘progressive’ approach. This hostility also extends to critical race theory and black studies. Indeed, the New York Times has identified a right wing ‘Campaign to Cancel Wokeness’ (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/26/opinion/speech-racism-academia.html) on both sides of the Atlantic, citing a speech by the UK Equalities Minister, Kemi Badenoch, in which she said, “We do not want teachers to teach their white pupils about white privilege and inherited racial guilt…Any school which teaches these elements of critical race theory, or which promotes partisan political views such as defunding the police without offering a balanced treatment of opposing views, is breaking the law.”

    This has now set a tone for ideological oversight which some university leaders seem keen to embrace. Universities will always wish to review their offerings to ensure they reflect academic currency and student choice. However, operating under the cover of emergency pandemic planning, some are now seeking to dismantle what they see as politically troublesome subject areas.

    Let’s start with the most egregious and transparent attack on academic freedom. The University of Leicester Business School, known primarily for its disdain of management orthodoxy, has announced it will no longer support research in critical management studies (https://www.uculeicester.org.uk/redundancy-briefing) and political economy, and the university has put all researchers who identify with this field, or who at some time might have published in CMS, at risk of redundancy. Among the numerous responses circulating on Twitter, nearly all point to the fact that the critical orientation made Leicester Business School distinctive and attractive to scholars wishing to study and teach there. Among those threatened with redundancy is the distinguished former dean, Professor Gibson Burrell. The sheer volume of protest at this anomaly must be an embarrassment to Leicester management. We should remember that academic freedom means that, as a scholar of proven expertise, you have the freedom to teach and research according to your own judgement. When those in a field critical of structures of power have their academic freedom removed, this is, unarguably, a breach of that expectation. Such a violation should be of concern to the new freedom of speech champion and to the regulator, the Office for Students.

    If the devastation in the School of Business were not enough humiliation for Leicester, in the department of English, there are plans to cancel scholarship and teaching in Medieval and Early Modern literature. The thoughtless stripping out of key areas that give context and coherence within a subject is not unique to Leicester – similar moves have taken place in English at University of Portsmouth. At Leicester, management have offered the justification that this realignment will allow them to put resources towards the study of gender and sexuality. After all, the Vice Chancellor, Nishan Canagarajah, offered the keynote speech at the Advance HE conference in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion on 19th March (https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/programmes-events/conferences/EDIConf20#Keynotes) and has signalled that he supports decolonising the curriculum. This might have had more credibility if he was not equally committed to extinguishing critical scholarship in the Business School. The two positions are incompatible and reveal an opportunistic attempt to reduce costs and remove signs of critical scholarship which might attract government disapproval.

    At the University of Birmingham, the response to the difficulties of maintaining teaching during the pandemic has been to issue a ruling that three academic staff must be able to teach each module. The explanation for this apparent reversal of the ‘lean’ principle of staffing efficiency, is to make modules more resilient in the face of challenges like the pandemic – or perhaps strike action. There is a consequence for academic freedom though – only the most familiar, established courses can be taught. Courses that might have been offered, which arise from the current research of the academic staff, will have to be cancelled if the material is not already familiar to other colleagues in the department. It is a way of designing innovation and advancement out of courses at the University of Birmingham.

    Still at Birmingham, UCU is contesting a proposal for a new ‘career framework’ (https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/strike-warning-over-birminghams-or-out-probation-plan) by management characterised as ‘up or out’. It will require newly appointed lecturers to achieve promotion to senior lecturer within five years or face the sort of performance management procedures that could lead to termination of their appointment. The junior academics who enter on these conditions are unlikely to gamble their careers on academic risk-taking or pursue a challenge to an established paradigm. We can only speculate how this apprenticeship in organisational obedience might restrain the pursuit of discovery, let alone achieve the management’s stated aim to “develop and maintain an academic culture of intellectual stimulation and high achievement”.

    Meanwhile at the University of Liverpool, Vice Chancellor Janet Beer is attempting to apply research metrics and measures of research income over a five-year period to select academics for redundancy in the Faculty of Life Sciences. Staff have been threatened with sacking and replacement by those felt to hold more promise. It will be an unwise scholar who chooses a niche field of research which will not elicit prime citations. Astoundingly, university mangers claim that their criteria are not in breach of their status as a signatory to the San Fransisco Declaration on Research Assessment (https://news.liverpool.ac.uk/2021/03/08/project-shape-update). That is correct insofar as selection for redundancy by grant income is clearly such dishonorable practice as to have been placed beyond contemplation by the international board of DORA.

    It seems we are reaching a pivotal moment for academic freedom for higher education systems across the world. In #Arkansas and some other states in the #USA, there are efforts to prohibit the teaching of social justice (https://www.chronicle.com/article/no-social-justice-in-the-classroom-new-state-scrutiny-of-speech-at-public).

    In #France, the education minister has blamed American critical race theory (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/france-about-become-less-free/617195) for undermining France’s self-professed race-blindness and for causing the rise of “islamo-gauchisme”, a term which has been cynically deployed to blunt any critique of structural racism.

    In Greece, universities are now bound by law to ensure policing and surveillance of university campuses (https://www.crimetalk.org.uk/index.php/library/section-list/1012-exiting-democracy-entering-authoritarianism) by ‘squads for the protection of universities’ in order to suppress dissent with the Orwellian announcement that the creation of these squads and the extensive surveillance of public Universities are “a means of closing the door to violence and opening the way to freedom” and an assertion that “it is not the police who enter universities, but democracy”.

    Conclusion

    It occurs to me that those public figures who feel deprived of a platform to express controversial views may well be outnumbered by the scholars whose universities allow their work to be suppressed by targeted intellectual purges, academic totalitarianism and metric surveillance. It is telling that assaults on academic freedom in the UK have not attracted comment or action from the organisations which might be well placed to defend this defining and essential principle of universities. I hereby call on Universities UK, the Office for Students and the freedom of speech champion to insist on an independent audit of academic freedom and autonomy for each higher education institution.

    We now know where intervention into the rights of academics to teach and research autonomously may lead. We also know that many of the candidates targeted for redundancy are UCU trade union officials; this has happened at University of East London and the University of Hull. Make no mistake, this is a PATCO moment (https://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/05/reagan-fires-11-000-striking-air-traffic-controllers-aug-5-1981-241252) for higher education in the UK as management teams try to break union support and solidarity in order to exact greater control in the future.

    Universities are the canary down the mine in an era of right-wing authoritarianism. We must ensure that they can maintain their unique responsibility to protect against the rise of populism and the dismantling of democracy. We must be assertive in protecting the rights of academics whose lawful and reasoned opinions are increasingly subject to some very sinister threats. Academic freedom needs to be fought for, just like the right to protest and the right to roam. That leaves a heavy responsibility for academics if the abolition of autonomy and academic freedom is not to be complete.

    http://cdbu.org.uk/academic-freedom-is-in-crisis-free-speech-is-not
    #liberté_académique #liberté_d'expression #UK #Angleterre #université #facs #justice_sociale #black_studies #races #race #approches_critiques #études_critiques #privilège_blanc #économie_politique #Leicester_Business_School #pandémie #crise_sanitaire #Birmingham #Liverpool #Janet_Beer #concurrence #Grèce #Etats-Unis #métrique #attaques #éducation_supérieure #populisme #démocratie #autonomie #canari_dans_la_mine

    ping @isskein @cede

    • The Campaign to Cancel Wokeness. How the right is trying to censor critical race theory.

      It’s something of a truism, particularly on the right, that conservatives have claimed the mantle of free speech from an intolerant left that is afraid to engage with uncomfortable ideas. Every embarrassing example of woke overreach — each ill-considered school board decision or high-profile campus meltdown — fuels this perception.

      Yet when it comes to outright government censorship, it is the right that’s on the offense. Critical race theory, the intellectual tradition undergirding concepts like white privilege and microaggressions, is often blamed for fomenting what critics call cancel culture. And so, around America and even overseas, people who don’t like cancel culture are on an ironic quest to cancel the promotion of critical race theory in public forums.

      In September, Donald Trump’s Office of Management and Budget ordered federal agencies to “begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on ‘critical race theory,’” which it described as “un-American propaganda.”

      A month later, the conservative government in Britain declared some uses of critical race theory in education illegal. “We do not want teachers to teach their white pupils about white privilege and inherited racial guilt,” said the Tory equalities minister, Kemi Badenoch. “Any school which teaches these elements of critical race theory, or which promotes partisan political views such as defunding the police without offering a balanced treatment of opposing views, is breaking the law.”

      Some in France took up the fight as well. “French politicians, high-profile intellectuals and journalists are warning that progressive American ideas — specifically on race, gender, post-colonialism — are undermining their society,” Norimitsu Onishi reported in The New York Times. (This is quite a reversal from the days when American conservatives warned darkly about subversive French theory.)

      Once Joe Biden became president, he undid Trump’s critical race theory ban, but lawmakers in several states have proposed their own prohibitions. An Arkansas legislator introduced a pair of bills, one banning the teaching of The Times’s 1619 Project curriculum, and the other nixing classes, events and activities that encourage “division between, resentment of, or social justice for” specific groups of people. “What is not appropriate is being able to theorize, use, specifically, critical race theory,” the bills’ sponsor told The Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

      Republicans in West Virginia and Oklahoma have introduced bills banning schools and, in West Virginia’s case, state contractors from promoting “divisive concepts,” including claims that “the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist.” A New Hampshire Republican also proposed a “divisive concepts” ban, saying in a hearing, “This bill addresses something called critical race theory.”

      Kimberlé Crenshaw, a pioneering legal scholar who teaches at both U.C.L.A. and Columbia, has watched with alarm the attempts to suppress an entire intellectual movement. It was Crenshaw who came up with the name “critical race theory” when organizing a workshop in 1989. (She also coined the term “intersectionality.”) “The commitment to free speech seems to dissipate when the people who are being gagged are folks who are demanding racial justice,” she told me.

      Many of the intellectual currents that would become critical race theory emerged in the 1970s out of disappointment with the incomplete work of the civil rights movement, and cohered among radical law professors in the 1980s.
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      The movement was ahead of its time; one of its central insights, that racism is structural rather than just a matter of interpersonal bigotry, is now conventional wisdom, at least on the left. It had concrete practical applications, leading, for example, to legal arguments that housing laws or employment criteria could be racist in practice even if they weren’t racist in intent.

      Parts of the critical race theory tradition are in tension with liberalism, particularly when it comes to issues like free speech. Richard Delgado, a key figure in the movement, has argued that people should be able to sue those who utter racist slurs. Others have played a large role in crafting campus speech codes.

      There’s plenty here for people committed to broad free speech protections to dispute. I’m persuaded by the essay Henry Louis Gates Jr. wrote in the 1990s challenging the movement’s stance on the first amendment. “To remove the very formation of our identities from the messy realm of contestation and debate is an elemental, not incidental, truncation of the ideal of public discourse,” he wrote.

      Disagreeing with certain ideas, however, is very different from anathematizing the collective work of a host of paradigm-shifting thinkers. Gates’s article was effective because he took the scholarly work he engaged with seriously. “The critical race theorists must be credited with helping to reinvigorate the debate about freedom of expression; even if not ultimately persuaded to join them, the civil libertarian will be much further along for having listened to their arguments and examples,” he wrote.

      But the right, for all its chest-beating about the value of entertaining dangerous notions, is rarely interested in debating the tenets of critical race theory. It wants to eradicate them from public institutions.

      “Critical race theory is a grave threat to the American way of life,” Christopher Rufo, director of the Center on Wealth and Poverty at the Discovery Institute, a conservative think tank once known for pushing an updated form of creationism in public schools, wrote in January.

      Rufo’s been leading the conservative charge against critical race theory. Last year, during an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, he called on Trump to issue an executive order abolishing “critical race theory trainings from the federal government.” The next day, he told me, the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, called him and asked for his help putting an order together.

      Last month, Rufo announced a “new coalition of legal foundations and private attorneys that will wage relentless legal warfare against race theory in America’s institutions.” A number of House and Senate offices, he told me, are working on their own anti-critical race theory bills, though none are likely to go anywhere as long as Biden is president.

      As Rufo sees it, critical race theory is a revolutionary program that replaces the Marxist categories of the bourgeois and the proletariat with racial groups, justifying discrimination against those deemed racial oppressors. His goal, ultimately, is to get the Supreme Court to rule that school and workplace trainings based on the doctrines of critical race theory violate the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

      This inversion, casting anti-racist activists as the real racists, is familiar to Ian Haney López, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who specializes in critical race theory. “There’s a rhetoric of reaction which seeks to claim that it’s defending these higher values, which, perversely, often are the very values it’s traducing,” he said. “Whether that’s ‘In the name of free speech we’re going to persecute, we’re going to launch investigations into particular forms of speech’ or — and I think this is equally perverse — ‘In the name of fighting racism, we’re going to launch investigations into those scholars who are most serious about studying the complex forms that racism takes.’”

      Rufo insists there are no free speech implications to what he’s trying to do. “You have the freedom of speech as an individual, of course, but you don’t have the kind of entitlement to perpetuate that speech through public agencies,” he said.

      This sounds, ironically, a lot like the arguments people on the left make about de-platforming right-wingers. To Crenshaw, attempts to ban critical race theory vindicate some of the movement’s skepticism about free speech orthodoxy, showing that there were never transcendent principles at play.

      When people defend offensive speech, she said, they’re often really defending “the substance of what the speech is — because if it was really about free speech, then this censorship, people would be howling to the high heavens.” If it was really about free speech, they should be.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/26/opinion/speech-racism-academia.html

      #droite #gauche #censure #cancel_culture #micro-agressions #Trump #Donald_Trump #Kemi_Badenoch #division #critical_race_theory #racisme #sexisme #Kimberlé_Crenshaw #Crenshaw #racisme_structurel #libéralisme #Richard_Delgado #Christopher_Rufo #Ian_Haney_López

    • No ‘Social Justice’ in the Classroom: Statehouses Renew Scrutiny of Speech at Public Colleges

      Blocking professors from teaching social-justice issues. Asking universities how they talk about privilege. Analyzing students’ freedom of expression through regular reports. Meet the new campus-speech issues emerging in Republican-led statehouses across the country, indicating potential new frontiers for politicians to shape campus affairs.

      (paywall)
      https://www.chronicle.com/article/no-social-justice-in-the-classroom-new-state-scrutiny-of-speech-at-public

  • Un média participatif poursuivi pour avoir publié un texte favorable au sabotage
    https://reporterre.net/Un-media-participatif-poursuivi-pour-avoir-publie-un-texte-favorable-au-
    + « Demain matin mercredi 7 avril, notre tribune de soutien et de défense de la liberté d’expression et de débat va être publiée sur #RICOCHETS (avec possibilité pour tout le monde de la signer) et sur de nombreux autres médias. »
    https://ricochets.cc/REPORTERRE-publie-l-article-traitant-de-sabotages-vise-par-le-prefet-de-la

    Le texte avait déjà circulé sur plusieurs sites et pages Facebook, sans déclencher une quelconque réaction des autorités. Celles-ci se sont réveillées avec Ricochets. Une enquête a été ouverte dès la publication de l’article sur le site. Un des membres de l’équipe d’animation a été perquisitionné et placé en garde à vue pendant vingt-huit heures. Entre-temps, la police a fouillé de fond en comble son domicile et emporté ses ordinateurs, son téléphone portable, ses clés USB et ses disques durs. Elle s’est aussi attardée sur sa bibliothèque. « Ils ont pris tous les livres qui avaient trait à l’écologie radicale, raconte à Reporterre ce bénévole. Je suis artiste, je fais des montages vidéo. En se saisissant de mon matériel, la police m’a privé de mon outil de travail », ajoute-t-il.

    D’impressionnantes investigations ont ensuite été engagées, menant les enquêteurs jusqu’en Belgique, où ils ont interrogé l’hébergeur du site. L’Office central de lutte contre les crimes contre l’humanité, les génocides et les crimes de guerre (OCLCH) aurait même apporté son expertise juridique aux enquêteurs.

    #repression #medias #automedias #liberté_d'informer #droit_d'informer

  • Greece, #Chios island : Fire destroys 15 tents in the #RIC of #VIAL

    Today, April 5 2021, 15 tents were completely destroyed after a fire broke out in the Reception and Identification Centre of Vial, on the Greek Island of Chios. The fire caused serious damage to 4 others.
    The fire service of Chios, which intervened to extinguish the fire is investigating the causes of the fire. Fortunately, there were no injuries to either refugees or firefighters.
    Such incidents are all too common and destroy scarce possessions, threaten lives and re-traumatize vulnerable populations. The frequent outbreak of fires is undeniably a consequence of a border policy which traps people in such inhumane, overcrowded living conditions.
    The new camps under construction are the not the ’answer’ and will not ensure safe and dignified living conditions where people can flourish and thrive.

    https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=746121826047999

    –—

    Κάηκαν ολοσχερώς 15 σκηνές στην ΒΙΑΛ, ζημιές σε άλλες τέσσερις

    ΕΝΗΜΕΡΩΣΗ 13:23 Δεκαπέντε σκηνές ολοσχερώς κατεστραμμένες είναι ο τελικός απολογισμός της πυρκαγιάς που ξέσπασε στο κέντρο υποδοχής και ταυτοποίησης της ΒΙΑΛ, την Δευτέρα 5 Απριλίου 2021. Από την φωτιά προκλήθηκαν σοβαρές ζημιές σε άλλες τέσσερις σκηνές.

    Από τη πυροσβεστική υπηρεσία Χίου, που επενέβη για την κατάσβεση της φωτιάς με 15 άνδρες και πέντε οχήματα, διερευνώνται τα αίτια της φωτιάς, ενώ επισημαίνεται ότι εκείνη την ώρα επικρατούσε ηρεμία στον χώρο του ΚΥΤ.

    Από την πυρκαγιά δεν υπήρξαν τραυματισμοί μεταξύ προσφύγων και μεταναστών ή των πυροσβεστών.

    ΕΝΗΜΕΡΩΣΗ 12:53

    Φωτιά ξέσπασε μετά τις 12 το μεσημέρι της Δευτέρας, 5 Απριλίου 2021, σε σκηνές στο κέντρο υποδοχής και ταυτοποίησης της ΒΙΑΛ, χωρίς να έχει γίνει μέχρι στιγμής η αιτία από την οποία ξεκίνησε η φωτιά.

    Για την κατάσβεση της φωτιάς επενέβησαν ισχυρές δυνάμεις της πυροσβεστικής υπηρεσίας Χίου.

    Σύμφωνα με τα πρώτα στοιχεία κάηκαν έξι σκηνές, ενώ έγινε γνωστό ότι στο ΚΥΤ επικρατούσε ηρεμία εκείνη την ώρα μεταξύ των προσφύγων και μεταναστών που διαμένουν στο ΚΥΤ.

    https://astraparis.gr/kaikan-apo-fotia-exi-skines-stin-vial

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #camps_de_réfugiés #feu #incendie #vidéo

    –—

    ajouté à la métaliste des incendies dans les camps de réfugiés, notamment en Grèce :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/851143

  • #Lasagne de #Légumes
    https://www.cuisine-libre.org/lasagne-de-legumes

    Feuilles de lasagnes Faites bouillir une grande casserole d’eau salée puis faites cuire les lasagnes en suivant les instructions de l’emballage. Ajoutez quelques cuillères à café d’huile d’olive à l’eau pour que les feuilles ne collent pas entre elles. Égouttez-les puis posez-les à plat sur une feuille de papier d’aluminium. Préparer la sauce aux légumes Faites chauffer le #Four à 180°C. Huilez légèrement un plat de cuisson de 30 x 20 cm ou vaporisez-le d’un aérosol de cuisson antiadhésif. Faites chauffer… Légumes, #Ricotta, Lasagne, #Italie / #Sans viande, Four

  • Le retour de Richard Stallman à la FSF irrite.
    A l’occasion d’une conférence, le chantre du logiciel libre a indiqué discrètement avoir réintégré le conseil d’administration de la FSF (Free Software Foundation) qu’il a fondé en 1985. Il l’avait quitté en 2019 après des propos sur l’affaire Epstein et la défense d’un chercheur du MIT. Le retour du gourou du libre a du mal à passer pour certains qui ont lancé une pétition pour l’éviction définitive de Richard Stallman jugé comme « une force dangereuse pour la communauté du libre ». L’ambiance risque donc d’être électrique lors de la prochaine réunion du conseil d’administration.

    https://www.lemondeinformatique.fr/actualites/lire-telex-retranscription-live-pour-teams-le-retour-de-stallman

    #logiciel-libre #sexisme

  • Le #travail de la fête
    https://laviedesidees.fr/Le-travail-de-la-fete.html

    À propos de : Ashley Mears, Very Important People, Status and Beauty in the global party circuit, Princeton University Press. Le circuit mondial des fêtes de la Jet-Set est le théâtre de stratégies de consommation ostentatoires visant à affirmer le statut social de nouveaux riches. Cette extravagante économie de la fête repose sur l’exploitation de mannequins que des promoteurs parviennent à faire travailler gratuitement.

    #Économie #reconnaissance #richesse #exploitation #sociologie_du_travail
    https://laviedesidees.fr/IMG/pdf/20210304_fete.pdf
    https://laviedesidees.fr/IMG/docx/20210304_fete.docx

  • The Danger of Anti-Immigrant Extremism Posing as Environmentalism—and Who Funds It

    With President Joe Biden in the White House and Vice President Kamala Harris providing the deciding vote in the Senate, a range of long-sought Democratic policy goals are back in play, albeit just barely. That includes ambitious agendas on immigration and the environment.

    Could this be the administration that pushes through comprehensive immigration reform after decades of failed attempts? Will youth activists and the burgeoning movement for a Green New Deal provide a pathway to major climate legislation? If so, advocates and their funders alike face a tough road ahead, including an obstructionist congressional minority and opponents on both fronts that will look to appeal to the public’s darkest impulses to build opposition.

    At this inflection point, a report this month from the Center for American Progress, “The Extremist Campaign to Blame Immigrants for U.S. Environmental Problems,” offers a timely overview of the history of how opponents of immigration falsely portray it as a threat to the natural world—a strategy we’re likely to see more of in the months ahead. The report offers a valuable review of these efforts, ranging from the past anti-immigrant stances of some of the nation’s best-known environmental groups to the funders that have bankrolled the nation’s largest anti-immigration groups.

    Four years of an administration defined by its opposition to immigration, plus growing attention to climate change, breathed new life into the toxic and racist narrative of immigrants as a cause of environmental degradation. As the report lays out, this argument—often part of a right-wing, white supremacist ideology known as ecofascism, though CAP’s report does not use the term—found allies in the top echelons of government and media, including a former head of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and conservative commentators like Ann Coulter and Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

    In contemporary politics, this strategy is mainly seen as a right-wing phenomenon or an artifact of the racist and Eurocentric early history of conservation. Yet the fact that anti-immigrant sentiment found a home within top environmental groups, including Earthfirst! and the Sierra Club, which had a major faction in support of these ideas as late as 2004, is a reminder that it has found fertile soil in a variety of political camps. That makes the narrative all the more dangerous, and one against which funders working in both immigration and the environment ought to take a firm and vocal stance.

    Who’s funding anti-immigration work in the name of the environment?

    Although not comprehensive, the report highlights three funders as key backers of anti-immigration groups: Colcom Foundation, Weeden Foundation and Foundation for the Carolinas. The first two are, in their branding and language, environmental funders—and make those grants in the name of preventing further damage to the natural world.

    Colcom, founded by Mellon Bank heir Cordelia Scaife May, is far and away the largest funder. With a roughly $500 million endowment, it has provided a large share of the support for a network of groups founded by John Tanton, a Sierra Club official in the 1980s, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) calls “the racist architect of the modern anti-immigrant movement.”

    Recipients include NumbersUSA, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), and the Center for Immigration Studies, which we once called “Trump’s favorite immigration think tank.” The latter two are classified as hate groups by the SPLC, a designation the organizations reject.

    In keeping with the bending of reflexive political categories, it’s worth noting that May—who died in 2005—was also a substantial funder of Planned Parenthood due to her prioritization of “population control” as a means of achieving conservation. In 2019, the New York Times documented May’s dark journey to becoming a leading funder of the modern anti-immigrant movement, and the millions her foundation continued to move, long after her death, in support of ideas that gained a receptive audience in a nativist Trump administration. May’s wealth came from the Mellon-Scaife family fortune, which yielded several philanthropists, including another prominent conservative donor, Richard Mellon Scaife.

    Weeden, led by Don Weeden, has funded a similar who’s who of top anti-immigration groups, as well as lower-profile or regional groups like Californians for Population Stabilization, Progressives for Immigration Reform—which CAP calls the “most central organization in the anti-immigrant greenwashing universe”—and the Rewilding Institute.

    Both Weeden and Colcom, as well as the groups they fund, generally say they are neither anti-immigrant nor anti-immigration. Aside from restrictionist policy positions and racist comments by former leaders, it is revealing that the groups they fund are the favored information sources for some of the most virulently anti-immigrant politicians, both historically and among those who rose prominence during the Trump administration. For a deeper dive on Weeden and Colcom, see my colleague Philip Rojc’s excellent 2019 piece on these grantmakers.

    Finally, there is the Foundation for the Carolinas, which in many ways is a typical community foundation, with initiatives on topics from COVID-19 relief to local arts. But it also hosts a donor-advised fund that has supported several anti-immigration groups, including Center for Immigration Studies, FAIR and NumbersUSA. That fund channeled nearly $21 million to nine such groups between 2006 and 2018, according to the report.

    There’s a connection here to a larger problem of private foundations and DAFs, some of which are housed at community foundations, supporting 501(c)(3) nonprofits identified as hate groups, according to a recent analysis from the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Foundation for the Carolinas also made its list of top donors to these groups.

    An ideology funders must fight against

    As the debates over both immigration and climate policies move forward under this new administration, and the opposition marshals efforts to defeat them, this report offers a helpful guide to this enduring and noxious myth. It’s also an important reminder that if these ideas are not called actively combated, they can take root within well-intentioned efforts. Though it seems only a small number of foundations directly fund groups advancing these ideas, anti-immigrant sentiment is insidious.

    For example, while some commentators are suggesting that acceding to Trump-fueled demands for a border wall is how Congress could reach bipartisan action on immigration reform, the report notes how the existing sections of wall are ineffective against furtive crossings, disruptive to species migration, and in violation of Indigenous sacred sites. These facts—and more broadly, the connection to white supremacist and fascist movements—should put foundations on guard, whether they support grantees pushing for immigration reform, action on climate or both.

    With the United States and other nations facing greater and greater pressures from climate change—particularly as it forces migration from regions like Latin America and the Middle East—philanthropy would do well to be proactive now and draw a bright line in countering this ideology’s propagation.

    https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2021/2/24/anti-immigrant-environmentalism-is-resurgent-new-report-looks-at
    #extrême_droite #anti-migrants #USA #Etats-Unis #environnementalisme #environnement #migrations #nature #dégradation_environnementale #écofascisme #éco-fascisme #suprématisme_blanc #extrême_droite #Ann_Coulte #Tucker_Carlson #racisme #Earthfirst #Sierra_Club #deep_ecology #fondations #Colcom_Foundation #Weeden_Foundation #Foundation_for_the_Carolinas #Mellon_Bank #Cordelia_Scaife_May #mécénat #John_Tanton #NumbersUSA #Federation_for_American_Immigration_Reform (#FAIR) #Center_for_Immigration_Studies #Planned_Parenthood #démographie #contrôle_démographique #néo-malthusianisme #néomalthusianisme #protection_de_l'environnement #philanthropie #Richard_Mellon_Scaife #Weeden #Don_Weeden #Californians_for_Population_Stabilization #Progressives_for_Immigration_Reform #Rewilding_Institute

    • The Extremist Campaign to Blame Immigrants for U.S. Environmental Problems

      With growing frequency over the past four years, right-wing pundits, policymakers, and political operatives have fiercely and furiously blamed immigrants for the degradation and decline of nature in the United States. William Perry Pendley, who temporarily ran the U.S. Bureau of Land Management under former President Donald Trump, saw “immigration as one of the biggest threats to public lands,” according to an agency spokesperson.1 A handful of right-wing anti-immigration zealots, including Joe Guzzardi, have repeatedly misused data published by the Center for American Progress on nature loss to make xenophobic arguments for anti-immigration policies.2 This so-called “greening of hate”—a term explored by Guardian reporter Susie Cagle—is a common refrain in a wide range of conservative and white supremacist arguments, including those of Ann Coulter, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, and the manifestos of more than one mass shooter.3

      The claim that immigration is to blame for America’s environmental problems is so absurd, racist, and out of the mainstream that it is easily debunked and tempting to ignore. The scientific community, and the little research that has been conducted in this area, resoundingly refutes the premise. Consider, for example, the environmental damage caused by weak and inadequate regulation of polluting industries; the destruction of wildlife habitat to accommodate wealthy exurbs and second homes; the design and propagation of policies that concentrate toxic poisons and environmental destruction near communities of color and low-income communities; the continued subsidization of fossil fuel extraction and trampling of Indigenous rights to accommodate drilling and mining projects; and the propagation of a throw-away culture by industrial powerhouses. All of these factors and others cause exponentially more severe environmental harm than a family that is fleeing violence, poverty, or suffering to seek a new life in the United States.

      The extremist effort to blame immigrants for the nation’s environmental problems deserves scrutiny—and not merely for the purpose of disproving its xenophobic and outlandish claims. The contours, origins, funding sources, and goals of this right-wing effort must be understood in order to effectively combat it and ensure that the extremists pushing it have no place in the conservation movement. The individuals and organizations that are most fervently propagating this argument come largely from well-funded hate groups that are abusing discredited ideologies that were prevalent in the 19th-century American conservation movement in an attempt to make their racist rhetoric more palatable to a public concerned about the health of their environment.

      While leaders of the contemporary, mainstream environmental movement in the United States have disavowed this strain of thought and are working to confront the legacies of colonialism and racism in environmental organizations and policies, a small set of right-wing political operatives are trying to magnify overtly xenophobic and false environmental arguments to achieve specific political objectives. In particular, these right-wing political operatives and their deep-pocketed funders are seeking to broaden the appeal of their anti-immigration zealotry by greenwashing their movement and supplying their right-wing base with alternative explanations for environmental decline that sidestep the culpability of the conservative anti-regulatory agenda. In their refusal to confront the true reasons for environmental decline, they are hurting the people—immigrants, Indigenous peoples, and people of color—who bear a disproportionate burden of environmental consequences and are increasingly the base of the climate justice and conservation movements.

      (...)

      https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/reports/2021/02/01/495228/extremist-campaign-blame-immigrants-u-s-environmental-problems

  • Antiracist History, Crisis Theory, and University Workers’ Struggles. Interview With #Rick_Kuhn

    The struggle against #oppression is an intrinsic feature of #Marx and #Engels’ politics, along with the conviction that the capitalist tiger can’t be skinned claw by claw. The second volume of #Henryk_Grossman’s Works, edited and introduced by Rick Kuhn, was published recently in the Historical Materialism book series. Grossman is best known for his recovery and development of Marx’s theory of capitalist breakdown. But this latest book contains political writings by him that focus on Jewish workers’ organization and mobilization in eastern Europe before the First World War, as well as the revolutionary politics of the early Communist International. Spectre’s Charles Post recently talked with Rick about Grossman’s relevance today, as well as some major, ongoing struggles by university workers in Australia.

    Rick has been a union militant and a member of the largest Marxist organization in Australia, Socialist Alternative (and its predecessors) since 1977. He’s been a campaign and solidarity activist and organizer for even longer than that. His biography Henryk Grossman and the Recovery of Marxism (University of Illinois Press, 2006) won the Deutscher Prize in 2007. He also wrote Labor’s Conflict: Big Business, Workers and the Politics of Class (Cambridge University Press, 2011) with Tom Bramble about the Australian Labor Party, and he edited the collection Class and Class Conflict in Australia (Addison Wesley Longman, 1996).

    Late last year, in the middle of jobs carnage at the Australian National University, management there refused to renew Dr. Kuhn’s (unpaid) status as an honorary associate professor. In solidarity with Rick, the editors of Spectre urge our readers to sign and share the petition calling for his reinstatement.

    What led to you to work on Grossman?

    I became a Marxist and experienced the end of the long, post-World War II boom as a young adult while participating in struggles for a more radical and relevant economics curriculum at Sydney Uni in the mid 1970s. Crisis theory has interested me since then. The origins of my Grossmania lie in a great 1978 essay “An Introduction to the History of Crisis Theories” by Anwar Shaikh. The political current to which I belonged and still belong, like Grossman, identified the tendency for the rate of profit to fall as the most important element in Marx’s theory of economic crises. There was little information available about Grossman or his work at that time. Australia and much of the world went into another recession in 1991.

    Mainly prompted by the fall of the Berlin Wall, I studied German seriously, having heard the language spoken with my grandparents when I was a child and suffered a very poor education in it for 3 years in junior high school. That study equipped me to embark on the biography of Grossman.

    Finding out about Grossman’s dramatic experiences, revolutionary politics, and growing knowledge of his economic ideas maintained commitment to the project. So did a feeling of affinity, not only because we shared a commitment to working class self-emancipation but also because we both became atheistic Jews, and because of my mother’s family’s background in Galicia during the period when Grossman lived there. I only discovered my own connection with Galicia by using skills developed for the Grossman project. That discovery also came as news and even a shock to my Mum. For me, and hopefully readers of the biography, Grossman’s life is a window onto the important radical movements and struggles during the first half of the twentieth century.

    Over a decade ago, after the biography was published, Sebastian Budgen suggested that the next logical step was to work on a collection of his works. It seemed like a good idea at the time. And that venture has helped me deal with having multiple myeloma (a kind of blood cancer). Family, friends, and comrades have been extremely indulgent and supportive of my Grossmania. Socialist Alternative’s perspectives have influenced its specific inflection.
    Why should we pay any attention to the writings of Grossman on politics? He was primarily an economist, wasn’t he? And his account of capitalist crises has long been characterized as a mechanical theory of capitalism’s breakdown.

    Yes, Grossman is best known as an economist. In fact, he was the most important Marxist economist of the twentieth century. But he was also politically engaged and active from an early age and wrote works with important political content. The theory of breakdown is what Grossman is famous for. Of course Rosa Luxemburg also insisted that capitalism’s tendency to breakdown is a core feature of Marxist theory. But her explanation of the tendency was underconsumptionist, focused on the ultimate lack of markets for capitalist commodities.

    Marx located capitalism’s fundamental economic contradiction in the heart of its process of production. The very mechanism that has led to the repeated and dramatic increases in the productivity of human labour under capitalism, through greater application of improved technologies, machinery and equipment than deployment of more workers (that is, an increasing organic composition of capital), gives rise to the tendency for the rate of profit to fall and hence crises. This is at the root of capitalism’s tendency to break down.

    Grossman was the first person to systematically develop Marx’s discussion of both the tendency for the rate of profit to fall and its countertendencies, in his The Law of Accumulation and Breakdown of the Capitalist System, Being also a Theory of Crisis. The first full translation of that book, which Jairus Banaji and I translated, is the third volume of Grossman’s Works and should be published soon. I’m impatiently waiting for the page proofs.

    When it was first published in 1929, The Law of Accumulation attracted more attention than any other work by a member of the Institute for Social Research, which gave rise to the Frankfurt School, until the late 1940s. Most of that attention was hostile. Social democrats, Communists, and some council communists dismissed it as a theory of capitalism’s automatic breakdown, without the need for class struggle.

    Paul Sweezy conveyed this complete distortion to an English reading audience in his judgement that Grossman was guilty of “mechanistic thinking.” Anyone who bothered to read not only that book carefully, but also essays published by Grossman both before and after it appeared, would find that he expressed his view that revolutionary action was necessary to overturn capitalism, with reference to Lenin, quite explicitly.

    For example, check out his essay Fifty Years of Struggle over Marxism, a penetrating history of Marxist ideas from Marx’s death until the early 1930s. It concludes with a summary of Grossman’s recovery of Marx’s breakdown theory. The translation, by Einde O’Callaghan and me, is in the first volume of Grossman’s Works but has also been issued as a short, very cheap ebook that I strongly recommend.
    So his main contribution to Marxist economics was in the area of crisis theory, the tendency for the organic composition of capital rise and the rate of profit to fall?

    Yes, but not only that. In The Law of Accumulation and other publications, which are collected in the first volume of his Works, he made other important contributions too. He identified the logic of the structure of the 3 volumes of Marx’s Capital as a journey from the abstract, the core of the analysis, identified by temporarily setting aside less important aspects of capitalism, to the concrete, as those aspects were successively incorporated into the discussion. So there was no contradiction between the first and third volumes of Capital as various critics argued.

    On this issue and other questions, Grossman demolished Marx’s critics and developed Marx’s analyses which were accurate when Marx wrote, when Grossman wrote, and remain accurate today, contrary to those bourgeois ideologues as well as self-identified Marxists who have distorted or attempted to refute them.

    Some genuinely Marxist critics of the economic ideas of Marx himself or Grossman, notably Rosa Luxemburg but also John Bellamy Foster, have made important contributions to other areas of Marxist theory. Rosa Luxemburg provided us with brilliant accounts, for example, of reformism as an essentially capitalist ideology and the dynamics of working class struggle. But she mistakenly held that Marx’s presentation of the reproduction schemes in volume 2 of Capital was flawed.

    Grossman dispatched that criticism, which underpinned her unsatisfactory theory of breakdown and imperialism. In economics, Foster is an epigone of Sweezy’s underconsumptionism but his (and Paul Burkett’s) recovery of Marx’s ecological thinking is tremendously valuable. His The Return of Nature deservedly won the Deutscher Prize last year.

    In explaining the tendency to break down, Grossman also highlighted that a satisfactory analysis of capitalism has to take into account both the value and use value aspects of production and accumulation. This was one of the foundations of his devastating refutation of marginalist theory which underpins the bourgeois ideology called “economics” taught at universities, sometimes alongside its underconsumptionist half-brother, Keynesianism, which is supposedly and misleadingly regarded as the basis of government policies (as opposed to naked capitalist self-interest).

    In 3 major studies and a shorter article, Grossman traced the historical origins of some of Marx’s key concepts in the work of earlier French, Swiss, and English writers, as well as the way in which Marx transformed these ideas. They’re in Works volume 1. In the area of economic history, Grossman wrote an essay refuting Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and undertook a major project on the origins of capitalism in Galicia. They will be published in Works volume 4. Then there are his contributions to the history of the modern scientific worldview that are in The Social and Economic Roots of the Scientific Revolution, edited by Gideon Freudenthal and Peter McLaughlin (Springer, 2009).
    But he also had interesting things to say about the fight against oppression?

    That’s right. The second volume of his Works primarily contains Grossman’s political writings. The hardback is horrendously expensive, but Haymarket has published it in paperback. Since Marx and Engels, Marxists have been fighting racism and the oppression of women, as well as exploitation, although you wouldn’t know it from some discussions among socialists.

    In his early 20s just after the start of the twentieth century, Grossman was a leader of Jewish workers, in Galicia, the Austrian occupied province of partitioned Poland, in their struggles against exploitation and antisemitism. Having helped organize them into socialist unions and associations, he was the founding theoretician and secretary of the Jewish Social Democratic Party of Galicia. At the outset this Party had 2000 members and intervened in Jewish workers’ and wider industrial and political struggles, on the basis of revolutionary Marxist politics.

    Grossman’s first writings, collected at the start of the second volume of his Works, provide the justifications for the JSDP’s existence and outline its activities and perspectives. He argued that Jewish workers themselves were the crucial “subjective” factor in the struggles to achieve equal rights for Jews, in accord with the Marxist principle that “the emancipation of the working class must be the act of the working class itself.” The Bund, the General Union of Jewish Workers of Poland, Lithuania, and Russia was the prime, contemporary, political inspiration for Grossman and his Party. Until 1906, the Bund was the largest Marxist organization in the Russian Empire.
    So he was essentially a Bundist? How is that relevant today?

    He was a Bundist but against some of his inclinations. He was initially a member of the Polish Social Democratic Party of Galicia (PPSD), the main socialist organization in the province. It was also a Polish nationalist party, aligned with the Polish Socialist Party (PPS) on Russian territory, rather than with Rosa Luxemburg’s Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania. Grossman helped smuggle material for Luxemburg’s party into the Russian Empire.

    For a while he was also the editor of a journal hostile to the PPS but open to other socialist currents. The PPSD neglected Jewish workers. The immediate trigger for the formation of the JPSD was the PPSD’s decision to abolish the Jewish workers’ unions and associations. Grossman and his comrades were faced with the choice of giving up on the Jewish working class or splitting from the PPSD. The new Party immediately sought affiliation to the general Austrian Social Democratic Party, which was a federation. Its application was turned down.

    Grossman abandoned Bundism under the impact of the Bolshevik revolution, if not before. When he moved to Warsaw, in 1919, he joined the Communist Workers Party of Poland, an illegal organization. As a consequence, he was arrested on several occasions, and he was an organizer of at least 1 of the Party’s above ground fronts. He wrote an introduction, on the earliest reception of Marxism in Poland, to his translation of Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program and related documents. The introduction drew attention to the continued opportunist current in German social democracy and was issued by a publishing house which was a Communist front.

    So Grossman embraced the revolutionary Marxist perspective of organizing all those committed to the working class’s overthrow of capitalism in a single party because the struggle against all oppressions is in the interests of the working class as a whole and is therefore a responsibility of a revolutionary organization if it is to be effective. The idea, peddled by proponents of identity politics, that the oppressed must always organize separately is an obstacle to successful resistance to capitalism. That idea reinforces oppression because it implicitly or explicitly asserts that oppressed people are politically homogenous.

    The strategies and tactics for the campaigns around the issues that affect oppressed groups are often highly contested within those groups. Revolutionary organizations have to take up and intervene into the struggles of the oppressed, to both enhance their chances of success and so that they contribute to the fight against the capitalist system as a whole.
    Where did Grossman express his revised views about political organization?

    I’m glad you asked, because it was in a peculiar place.

    Grossman’s old friend and boss at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, where he went in qualified exile from Poland, was Carl Grünberg. When a stroke incapacitated Grünberg, Grossman took over his job of updating old and writing new entries on socialists and socialist movements for the fourth edition of Ludwig Elster’s Dictionary of Economics. It was really an encyclopedia, in 3 thick volumes issued between 1931 and 1933. Heavy too, as I experienced in schlepping them around. Some of the entries were just a couple of paragraphs, others were very long. Grossman, for example, wrote over 21,000 words for the entry that was also published separately as Fifty Years of Struggle over Marxism. Apart from that one, all his other entries are translated in the second volume of his Works.

    The most substantial of his biographical entries was on Lenin. It outlined and endorsed Lenin’s role in the Bolshevik Party, Russian Communist Party, and Communist International. It contains much to learn and apply today, concerning questions of organization, orientation, and practical politics. His longer entries on Bolshevism and the Communist International express the same perspective. And that perspective is apparent in his very substantial contributions to the Dictionary on anarchism, Christian socialism, social democratic and Communist parties, and the Second International, as well as various socialists prominent in the history of the movement.
    Sounds like you’re a bit of a Grossman fanboy…

    I am. But not an uncritical one, as anyone who reads my introduction to the Works volumes will see.

    My survey and evaluation of criticisms of The Law of Accumulation, just out in Marxist Left Review, identifies some which are valid, although they do not invalidate his theoretical framework or main conclusions.

    And, whatever the circumstances that explain his Bundist politics, they had their limitations. The notion that the achievement of the Bundist demand for “national cultural autonomy” could itself contain and neutralize national divisions inside the working class is an illusion.

    Of particular significance, he was not immune from Stalinism. Grossman’s assessments of developments in Russia in the late 1920s, notably the first 5 Year Plan, were wrong. Like many members and sympathizers of Communist parties around the world, he did not recognize that by the end of that decade the revolution had been definitively defeated. But the passivity of the KPD in the face of the Nazis’ accession to power, with the support of the bulk of the German bourgeoisie, did shake him up.

    For a while, he had a more critical assessment of the role of the Communist International under Russian leadership. But apparently influenced by Russian support for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War, he again became sympathetic to the official Communist movement from the mid 1930s.

    That’s clear in his correspondence. But even though The Law of Accumulation attracted the ire of Stalin’s lieutenant in economic matters, Jenö/Eugen Varga, and were criticized in Communist publications, Grossman never repudiated its arguments. And he continued to make them, even as he made further important contributions to Marxist economic theory. That’s why none of his works were ever republished in East Germany, even though he took up a professorial chair and joined the Socialist Unity (that is, Communist) Party there in 1949, the year before he died.

    So there were some slip-ups in his book on capitalist crises and breakdown; there were shortcomings in some of Grossman’s early treatment of the Jewish question; and his assessments of the Soviet Union’s foreign policies after the early 1920s and the 5 Year Plans were profoundly false.

    On the other hand, if you want insights into the situation of Jewish workers in early twentieth century eastern Europe, into capitalism’s economic trajectory that arise from Marx’s theoretical breakthroughs and what those innovations were, into the inadequacies of bourgeois economics, into the role of a revolutionary party, or into the relationship between production and early modern scientific thought, then he’s your guy.
    You’ve recently been putting some of the ideas you write about into practice?

    That’s right. Despite and because of the COVID crisis, there was the biggest ever mobilisation by university unionists in Australia last year. I have been more involved in actual class struggles than for ages. The crisis has seen managements across Australia attacking the pay and conditions of university workers. Unfortunately, the initial response of the leadership of the National Tertiary Education Union, which represents most of the academic and non-academic workforce, was complicity with the attacks. So we have had to campaign against the vice chancellors (university presidents), the federal government, and policies of our union’s leaders.
    But didn’t you retire years ago?

    I did, at the end of 2013, after working at the Australian National University for 27 years. At that point, having been active in the union and its predecessor since my first academic job, I was made a life member. The Australian National University also made me an honorary associate professor. Despite differences with the NTEU’s leadership, my life membership has continued. ANU bosses, on the other hand, decided not to renew my honorary status last November without any official reason explanation. After a petition protesting this started, they did concede me access to the university library for a few more years.
    Can you tell me a bit more about the struggles in the universities?

    First some background. The COVID crisis hit Australian universities particularly hard because they have been very reliant on very high fees from international students. Over 1/5 of all university enrollments were international students in 2019. They have been treated as cash cows by university managements. Meanwhile, both Conservative and Labor federal governments have been underfunding universities for many years.

    The pandemic led to a collapse in revenue from international students. The Conservative government, which provided support for employment in all other industries, refused to do so for universities. Then last October, it cut universities’ per student funding, so that public money will be less than half of their income for the first time.

    University bosses responded to the onset of the crisis by sacking casual workers, some of whom had been working without even fixed term contracts let alone as continuing employees for years. The first response of the NTEU leadership was not to organize resistance, but to offer the vice chancellors reductions in members’ pay (of up to 15 percent!) and in conditions of employment, in return for flimsy undertakings about minimising job cuts. Negotiations over a national deal along these lines went on behind members’ backs.
    How did unionists respond?

    There was outrage. That was promoted and provided with ammunition – in the form of evidence, arguments, advice about how to resist, and effective practical interventions in the most unionized universities in the country – by NTEU Fightback. That is a rank and file organizing center in the union, initiated by Socialist Alternative. I’ve been active in NTEU Fightback from the start. There’s a very good article that goes into more detail.

    One of the first signs of resistance to the NTEU leader’s proposed deal was at Sydney University, the best organised and the most industrially militant campus in the country. A motion to oppose such a deal was carried at a union meeting by 117 to 2. It was moved by Alma Torlakovic, a member of NTEU Fightback and Socialist Alternative.

    We argue that a concessionary approach is disastrous. It not only results in worse wages and conditions; it also undermines members’ self-confidence and weakens the union’s capacity to fight. The alternative is to devote resources to resisting employers’ attacks. Much of the time that may mean using “proper channels” but in ways that mobilize members in collective action, to build solidarity and the union – like organizing protests alongside formal appeals or consultations with management. That’s the path to recruitment and more militant and effective mass action, that is strikes, in the future.
    What’s the explanation for the behavior of your union’s officials?

    Very briefly: union officials are bargaining agents. They are not exploited by bosses. Their job is to do deals over the terms under which their members’ ability to work is sold. They are under pressure from their members below, who want to defend and improve wages and conditions, and from employers and governments above, who want to maximise profits and the economic growth it generates. Their prime interest is in maintaining their role as intermediaries. So union officials are essential for unions, but they don’t have the same interests as workers. I wrote a newspaper article that develops this argument in relation to our union.

    Recognizing the weakness of the NTEU, its leaders decided that it would be easier for them to stay relevant by offering concessions than leading a serious fight. A comrade put it this way: they are desperate to get their shiny black shoes (though, in some cases, it may be their natural leather Birkenstocks) under the bargaining table, even if that means being involved in implementing wage cuts and the erosion of conditions.

    There are a few differences between what university workers and metal workers do on the job. But NTEU Fightback’s perspective is summed up by the stance of the Clyde Workers Committee, which led the struggles of metal workers in Scotland during World War I:

    We will support the officials just so long as they rightly represent the workers, but we will act independently immediately [if] they misrepresent them.

    How did the campaign develop?

    We started a petition against the deal to spread the arguments against it and encourage local organizing. We built an email list of over 1500 university workers, to which we send out bulletins. During the height of the campaigns against the deal and the vice chancellors’ attacks, NTEU Fightback was issuing almost daily emails and Facebook posts. We set up a website, which now includes extensive resources about the situation in the universities and the union, the history of rank and file struggles, and the practicalities of organizing. We provided support for our members and others who were fighting the attacks at their unis. And we also convened public meetings about the current and past rank and file struggles in Australia and abroad. The transformation of the Chicago Teachers Union has been a reference point for us.

    Resistance built, and there were record-breaking union mass meetings at many universities. All this happened in the unfamiliar world of Zoom.

    Eventually, faced with this unprecedented rank and file revolt, the NTEU’s officials gave up on their proposed national deal. But they still pushed local sellouts along similar lines. NTEU Fightback has backed resistance to accepting these deals. Where they were adopted, none of them prevented widespread job cuts. Rather, they ensured that job cuts were accompanied by cuts in the pay and conditions set out in enterprise agreements (union contracts).
    So what’s next?

    University managements are using the crisis and union officials’ display of weakness, to impose their previous wishlist of increased workloads, increased casualization of work, course and job cuts, restructures, outsourcing, and reducing the research time of academics who are both teachers and researchers. So the struggle goes on, sometimes alongside the officials, sometimes despite them.

    Many contracts expire this year. We are pushing in workplaces and the union’s structures for the NTEU to adopt demands, especially around job security, workloads, and pay, that can inspire members and, crucially, to organize around these towards sustained industrial action. Today, mere threats or Duke of York tactics (marching the troops to the top of the hill and back down again) – that is, token work stoppages – won’t cut it. Determined, disruptive strikes with mass support are currently the only way to effectively defend and improve workers’ lives. That’s what he have to build towards.

    Grossman’s contributions to Marxism are highly relevant here. Because, while building towards that kind of action, as socialists we also point out to militants that the underlying problem is the crisis-prone system of capitalism and that the working class won’t succeed in overturning it in the absence of a revolutionary party which supports all struggles against oppression and exploitation.

    https://spectrejournal.com/antiracist-history-crisis-theory-and-university-workers-struggles

    #marxisme #matérialisme_historique #syndicalisme #histoire

    • Contexte de cet interview:

      Late last year, in the middle of jobs carnage at the Australian National University, management there refused to renew Dr. Kuhn’s (unpaid) status as an honorary associate professor. In solidarity with Rick, the editors of Spectre urge our readers to sign and share the petition (https://www.change.org/p/professor-brian-schmidt-anu-vice-chancellor-and-restoration-of-dr-rick-kuhn-) calling for his reinstatement.

      #université #Australie #censure

      –—

      Restoration of Dr Rick Kuhn’s honorary status at the Australian National University

      Please sign this petition, calling for the restoration of Dr Rick Kuhn’s honorary status at the Australian National University. As a life member of the National Tertiary Education Union, he has, most recently, been outspokenly involved in campaigns against the attacks on university workers’ pay, conditions and job security across the Australian higher education sector.
      We the undersigned call on the Australian National University to restore the honorary status of Dr Rick Kuhn and therefore his full access to the University’s library resources. This will enhance his ability to continue his research and publishing activity, and to contribute to the international scholarly and ANU communities.
      Unique skills and expertise are the basis of Rick’s international reputation. One of the most prominent scholars working on Marxist theory in Australia, he won the international Deutscher Prize in 2007. He is currently the editor and co-translator of the 2,500 page, four volume, project of Henryk Grossman’s works, for each of which he has written substantial introductions. The first two volumes have been written and manuscripts of the last two have been prepared.
      Rick has published extensively on the history, policies and sociology of the Australian Labor Party, ALP governments, the broader Australian labour moment and Australia’s political economy, as well as writing about Marxist theory, German and Austrian politics. Recent articles, entries in reference works and introductions to other books have evaluated aspects of Grossman’s life and work. He has also contributed articles and commentary – on fascism, Israel/Palestine, antisemitism, union issues, the ALP and health policy – to the daily and specialist press and other mass media.
      Over 33 years, the ANU has benefitted from Rick’s paid and, since retirement, unpaid labour in research and publishing, teaching and public commentary. This labour has been sustained despite a period of chemotherapy and during his current condition of partial remission from Multiple Myeloma, which has significantly reduced his life expectancy.
      Rick also has decades of experience as an activist and unpaid organiser in a wide range of social movements and campaigns, including the union movement, campaigns for LGBTIQ and women’s rights, in solidarity with the struggles of Aborigines and the Palestinians, as well as the anti-war and peace movements. This involvement has provided many insights of academic relevance.
      The trivial sum saved by not renewing Dr Kuhn’s honorary status cannot justify the harm it has done to the ANU’s and international scholarly enterprise.

      Shortly after this petition was initiated, ANU management condescended to grant Rick access to the university library for a few years. It still does not acknowledge his continuing scholarly achievement over decades or provided access to other university facilities associated with honorary status, which would aid his research.

      https://www.change.org/p/professor-brian-schmidt-anu-vice-chancellor-and-restoration-of-dr-rick-kuhn-
      #pétition

  • Alexeï Navalny et le nouvel avatar russe de la post-vérité
    https://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2021/01/26/alexei-navalny-et-le-nouvel-avatar-russe-de-la-post-verite_6067585_3232.html

    Analyse. Interrogé après l’arrestation d’Alexeï Navalny, le 17 janvier, et le rocambolesque déroutage de son avion, Dmitri Peskov, le porte-parole du Kremlin, haussait les sourcils : « Pardon ? Navalny a été arrêté… en Allemagne ! ? Je ne suis pas au courant… » La réponse, livrée comme une performance de stand-up, n’a rien à voir avec les habituels démentis compassés du porte-parole. Le message est clair : le sort du principal opposant russe, empoisonné cinq mois plus tôt, ne mérite guère plus qu’un sarcasme.

    Au même moment, à l’aéroport de Vnoukovo, où M. Navalny était initialement attendu, ses partisans sont maintenus hors du terminal par la police, certains arrêtés. A l’inverse, des « fans » d’une vedette de la télé-réalité, dont certains reconnaissent qu’ils ont été payés, sont autorisés à y manifester bruyamment. L’objectif est le même : la réception de l’opposant ne peut pas être un moment historique, ni même digne, mais seulement une farce.
    Article réservé à nos abonnés Lire aussi Entre Vladimir Poutine et l’opposant Alexeï Navalny, un duel sans merci

    Le ricanement et le trolling se sont depuis longtemps échappés des réseaux sociaux pour investir la « vraie vie ». La scène politique russe a toujours eu ses clowns. Et l’arme principale, face aux contestations, reste la répression et son corollaire, la peur.

    Mais il est ici question d’autre chose : d’une stratégie délibérée de l’Etat russe pour jeter le discrédit sur tout discours dérangeant, d’une façon d’utiliser le ricanement comme instrument d’effacement des faits au moins aussi efficace que la censure.

    #Fake_news #Post_verité #Russie #Censure #trolling

  • A #Saint-Moritz, exil doré pour clients fortunés

    Deux grands #hôtels de cette station huppée helvétique ont été placés en #quarantaine cette semaine en raison de cas de Coronavirus. Début janvier, un journaliste allemand était allé enquêter dans cette région où les milliardaires des pays voisins n’hésitent pas à se réfugier.

    https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/suisse-saint-moritz-exil-dore-pour-clients-fortunes

    #Suisse #riches #richesse #covid-19 #coronavirus #Cresta_Palace #tourisme #Celerina #pandémie

    #paywall

  • Production

    Jean Robert

    https://lavoiedujaguar.net/Production

    Don Bartolo habite une masure derrière ma maison. Comme beaucoup d’autres personnes déplacées, c’est un intrus, un « envahisseur » ou un « parachutiste », comme on dit au Mexique. Avec du carton, des bouts de plastique et de la tôle ondulée, il a édifié une cabane dans un terrain au propriétaire absent. S’il a de la chance, un jour il construira en dur et couronnera les murs d’un toit d’amiante-ciment ou de tôle. Derrière sa demeure, il y a un terrain vague que son propriétaire lui permet de cultiver. Don Bartolo y a établi une milpa : un champ de maïs ensemencé juste au début de la saison des pluies afin qu’il puisse donner une récolte sans irrigation. Dans la perspective de l’homme moderne, l’action de Bartolo peut paraître profondément anachronique.

    Après la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, le Mexique, comme le reste du « Tiers-Monde », fut envahi par l’idée du développement. La popularité de ce concept doit beaucoup au président Harry Truman, qui en fit l’axe politique de son discours de prise de pouvoir en 1949. Selon Truman, la politique du développement consiste à « appuyer tous les peuples libres dans leurs efforts pour augmenter la production d’aliments, de textiles pour l’habillement et de matériaux de construction de maisons, ainsi que celle de nouvelles forces motrices pour alléger leur effort physique ». Il ajoutait que « la clé du développement est la croissance de la production et la clé de celle-ci, l’application ample et vigoureuse des connaissances scientifiques et techniques ».

    #Jean_Robert #Mexique #milpa #développement #production #Kant #Goethe #Defoe #Adam_Smith #valeur #Ricardo #rareté #Marx #économie #progrès #destructivité #croissance #Keynes #maïs

  • « Bir Başkadır », la série turque de Netflix que les Français seraient bien avisés de regarder | Slate.fr
    http://www.slate.fr/story/198277/bir-baskadir-serie-netflix-turquie-istanbul-fracture-islamisme-regarder-france

    La série parle d’#identités et d’incapacité à communiquer entre les milieux #laïcs aisés (les « Turcs blancs ») et les milieux #conservateurs #populaires, entre les #générations ou même encore au sein d’une même famille entre deux sœurs ayant renié –on pourrait même dire refoulé, puisque l’une des deux est psychiatre– leur identité #kurde, de deux façons radicalement opposées, l’une adoptant les codes religieux conservateurs, l’autre ceux du monde intellectuel libéral.

    « Jamais aucune série n’a été autant débattue et de façon aussi passionnée que Bir Başkadır : parce qu’elle traite de la #Turquie d’aujourd’hui, de la #polarisation entre erdoganistes et kémalistes, entre #riches et #pauvres, entre monde #rural et monde #urbain, entre les marges et le centre. Or ces #fractures occupent tous les esprits, et chacun peut se projeter dans l’un ou l’autre des personnages », nous explique depuis Istanbul la journaliste culturelle Nazlan Ertan, qui a consacré un article à cette série.

    • Ne me dites pas que la bourgeoisie américaine ne soutiendra jamais le fascisme parce que la démocratie libérale fonctionnerait suffisamment bien. Ne me dites pas que le fascisme ne prendra pas pied dans une société où la gauche est faible depuis des décennies et où une grande partie du mouvement ouvrier est presque en état de mort clinique. Ces points sont hors sujet.

      Le fascisme ne se développe jamais en premier lieu parce que la classe capitaliste se mobilise derrière lui. Il grandit parce qu’il attire autour de son noyau ceux que Clara Zetkin a décrit comme « les sans-abri politiques, les déracinés sociaux, les indigents et les désillusionnés ». Et le fascisme naissant a montré, de l’Inde aux Philippines, qu’il n’a pas besoin d’un communisme fort pour réagir : l’hypothèse d’Ernst Nolte était erronée.

      #extreme_droite #USA #brutalisation #fascisme #Richard_Seymour

  • Top UK bosses are paid 115 times more than average worker, analysis finds | Business | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jan/06/top-uk-bosses-are-paid-115-times-more-than-average-worker-analysis-find

    Bosses of top British companies will have made more money by teatime on Wednesday than the average UK worker will earn in the entire year, according to an independent analysis of the vast gap in pay between chief executives and everyone else.

    #graphiques_en_colère #inégalités #riches #pauvres
    The chief executives of FTSE 100 companies are paid a median average of £3.6m a year, which works out at 115 times the £31,461 collected by full-time UK workers on average, according to research by the High Pay Centre thinktank.

  • Les hyper-riches mettent la crise à profit - regards.fr
    http://www.regards.fr/politique/article/les-hyper-riches-mettent-la-crise-a-profit

    Mais il n’y a pas que ceux qui se sont fait la malle (Hermès) et ont pu jouir des entorses offertes par leur statut social pendant le confinement : celles et ceux qui sont restés dans leur résidence principale se sont parfois affranchis de certaines règles imposées par les décrets successifs. Ainsi de celle de la distanciation sociale liée à la présence de personnel de maison. Parce que, lorsqu’on a désappris à se faire à manger depuis des années, il n’est pas possible, une fois le confinement venu, de réapprendre d’un coup d’un seul… Se faire chauffer tous les jours de l’eau pour ses pâtes paraît insurmontable, tout comme l’est étendre son linge ou pis, le repasser.

    C’est donc un secret de polichinelle que certains n’ont pas arrêté de se passer de ces services à la personne, pourtant totalement interdits. Confidences recueillies par Regards auprès d’un des plus grands patrons français : « Avec les enfants à la maison, on a déjà un travail de fou pour leur faire faire les devoirs et pour les occuper. Alors tout ce qui est alimentation et ménage, on a préféré garder le système d’avant » – c’est-à-dire du personnel de maison. Une pensée pour le reste de la population qui ne peut pas jouir de ces avantages ? « Oui, bien sûr, ça doit être très dur. » Point. À la ligne.

  • Il est temps - Y a-t-il une femme pour sauver la planète ? - Regarder le documentaire complet | ARTE
    https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/093802-003-A/il-est-temps
    https://api-cdn.arte.tv/api/mami/v1/program/fr/093802-003-A/940x530?text=true

    Les résultats de l’enquête participative « Il est temps » réalisée en France et en Allemagne. L’écologie est-elle plus féminine que masculine ? 70 % des femmes, et 59 % des hommes ayant répondu estiment que l’urgence est maximale en matière d’écologie.

    Cet écart d’environ dix points se retrouve sur la quasi-totalité des questions d’environnement. Les pratiques quotidiennes (l’alimentation, la consommation, le traitement des déchets) évoluent plus vite chez les femmes que chez les hommes. Dans la sphère publique, celles-ci se révèlent plus militantes et soucieuses d’une transformation sociétale. Elles questionnent également davantage le fait de faire des enfants, mais cela n’est plus une évidence pour une grande majorité de participants, hommes et femmes confondus. Au-delà de l’écologie, les femmes sont également plus concernées par les questions de racisme et de genre que les hommes. Subir une forme de domination sociale pourrait-il renforcer la sensibilité aux inégalités et aux enjeux climatiques ?

    Nouveaux choix de vie
    En France et en Allemagne, les 400 000 participants à l’enquête « Il est temps », lancée en mai 2020, ont répondu en ligne à 133 questions, permettant à un collectif de sociologues d’analyser plus de 42 millions de réponses. Cinq thématiques ressortent de cet océan de données : l’émergence d’une écologie populaire, le rôle prépondérant des femmes, le rapport à la viande et à la consommation, les solutions et les visions du futur. Ponctuée d’infographies ludiques, d’images d’archives et d’interviews, cette série d’animation décrit les mutations en cours, laissant émerger de nouveaux choix de vie et mettant fin à bons nombre d’idées reçues.

    • Dans le documentaire, les femmes sont plus nombreuses que les hommes a ne pas vouloir avoir d’enfants. Un autre point genré, sur le végétarisme et la consommation de viande que la plupart des hommes ne veulent pas remettre en question.
      #virilisme

      Et du coup, je trouve la question posée totalement à côté de ce qui ressort en faisant fi du pouvoir masculin comme carcan mental.

      Subir une forme de domination sociale pourrait-il renforcer la sensibilité aux inégalités et aux enjeux climatiques ?

      j’aurai plutôt renversé la question

      Exercer une domination sociale permet-t-il d’être insensible aux inégalités et aux enjeux climatiques ?

      Et du coup, dans cette catégorie, tu peux coller les #riches et la politique du #capitalisme

      #hommes

  • Les « #instant_cities » – Villes réimaginées sans histoire, sans avenir

    Le thème des « instant cities », ces villes bâties du jour au lendemain, revient dans les débats des urbanistes et architectes, inspirés par l’expérience des campements et autres zones à défendre (ZAD). L’anthropologue #Michel_Agier nous entretient du sujet dans un texte publié sur le site AOC : https://aoc.media/opinion/2020/09/28/utopie-dystopie-non-fiction-faire-ville-faire-communaute-3-3

    #Utopie, #dystopie, #non-fiction#Faire_ville, faire communauté

    Le thème des « instant cities », ces villes bâties du jour au lendemain, revient dans les débats des urbanistes et architectes d’aujourd’hui, inspirés par l’expérience des #campements et autres #ZAD. La ville est ré-imaginée sans histoire et sans avenir, comme marquée d’abord par l’#immédiateté, l’#instantanéité et la #précarité. Des réflexions qui rejoignent celles de l’ethnologue qui se demande ce que « faire ville » veut dire, elles permettent de penser la ville en se libérant de la contrainte du réel et du présent, comme le font le plus librement les fictions post-catastrophe.

    Avec la montée des #incertitudes et des formes de vie précaires dans toutes les régions du monde et plus particulièrement dans les contextes migratoires, le thème des instant cities (villes « instantanées », bâties « du jour au lendemain ») revient dans les débats des urbanistes et architectes d’aujourd’hui, et peuvent aider à penser la ville de demain en général. Le thème est ancien, apparu dans les années 1960 et 1970, d’abord avec l’histoire des villes du #far_west américain, nées « en un jour » et très vite grandies et développées comme le racontent les récits de #San_Francisco ou #Denver dans lesquels des migrants arrivaient et traçaient leurs nouvelles vies conquises sur des espaces nus.

    À la même époque, des architectes anglais (Peter Cook et le groupe #Archigram) s’inspiraient des lieux de #rassemblements et de #festivals_précaires comme #Woodstock pour imaginer des villes elles-mêmes mobiles – une utopie de ville faite plutôt d’objets, d’images et de sons transposables que de formes matérielles fixes. Troisième forme desdites instant cities, bien différente en apparence, celle qui est allée des villes de l’instant aux « #villes_fantômes », à l’instar des utopies graphiques des #villes_hors-sol construites en Asie, dans le Golfe persique et au Moyen-Orient principalement, sur le modèle de #Dubaï.

    Nous sommes aujourd’hui dans une autre mise en œuvre de ce modèle. En 2015, la Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine montrait l’exposition « Habiter le campement » qui réincarnait très concrètement le concept à travers les rassemblements festivaliers (la « ville » de trois jours du festival #Burning_Man aux États-Unis), mais aussi les campements de #yourtes pour les #travailleurs_migrants, les #campings et #mobile_homes pour touristes et travellers, ou les #camps-villes pour réfugiés. Allant plus loin dans la même démarche, le groupe #Actes_et_Cité publie en 2018 l’ouvrage La ville accueillante où, inspirées de l’expérience du « #camp_humanitaire » de la ville de #Grande-Synthe, différentes solutions d’espaces d’#accueil sont étudiées (quartiers d’accueil, squats, campements aménagés, réseau de maisons de migrants, etc.), leur rapidité de mise en œuvre (quelques semaines) et leur coût réduit étant des critères aussi importants que leur potentiel d’intégration et d’acceptation par la population établie.

    On pourrait encore ajouter, pour compléter ce bref tour d’horizon, le géant suédois du meuble #Ikea qui, après une tentative d’implantation dans le marché des abris pour camps de réfugiés en association avec le HCR dans les années 2010-2015, a lancé en 2019 « #Solarville », un projet de #Smartcity fondé sur l’architecture en bois et l’énergie solaire.

    L’idée de la #table_rase permet de penser la ville en se libérant de la contrainte du réel et du présent, comme le font le plus librement les fictions post-catastrophes.

    Le point commun de toutes ces expériences d’instant cities est leur ambition de réduire, voire de supprimer l’écart entre le #temps et l’#espace. Immédiateté, instantanéité et #précarité de la ville, celle-ci est ré-imaginée sans histoire et sans avenir. Sans empreinte indélébile, la ville se pose sur le sol et ne s’ancre pas, elle est associée à la précarité, voire elle-même déplaçable. Ce seraient des villes de l’instant, des #villes_présentistes en quelque sorte. Dans tous les cas, l’idée de la table rase, image du rêve extrême de l’architecte et de l’urbaniste, permet de penser la ville en se libérant de la contrainte du réel et du présent, comme le font le plus librement les #fictions_post-catastrophes. Dans leur excentricité même, ces images et fictions dessinent un horizon de villes possibles.

    C’est cette ville à venir que j’aimerais contribuer à dessiner, non pas pourtant à partir de la table rase de l’architecte, mais à partir de l’ethnographie d’une part au moins du présent. Un présent peut-être encore marginal et minoritaire, et donc hors des sentiers battus, quelque chose d’expérimental pour reprendre le mot très pragmatique de Richard Sennett, peu visible encore, mais qui a toutes les chances de s’étendre tant il sait répondre à des besoins croissants, dans cet avenir qui nous inquiète.

    C’est dans un « #présent_futuriste » que j’ai trouvé quelques éléments de réponse, un futur déjà là, quelque peu anachronique donc, mais aussi inédit, tout à fait décentré de la ville historique, notamment européenne, à laquelle nous nous référons encore trop souvent pour penser l’universalité des villes. Je me suis familiarisé avec la vie quotidienne des zones de #marges ou frontières, de #borderlands, et avec celles et ceux qui les habitent ou y passent. Rien d’exotique dans cela, rien d’impossible non plus, ce sont des lieux quelconques réinvestis, détournés, occupés pour un temps plus ou moins long, des déplacements et des attachements plus ou moins profonds aux lieux de résidence, de passage ou de refuge, et ce sont des événements – politiques, catastrophiques ou artistiques, prévus ou fortuits – créateurs d’échanges, éphémères ou non, et nous faisant occuper et donner un sens à des lieux parfois inconnus. Ces formes sociales, ces moments partagés, toutes ces situations rendent les espaces fréquentés plus familiers, partagés et communs, même sans en connaître le devenir.

    Loin d’être exceptionnelle, cette expérience de recherche m’a semblé expérimentale et exemplaire d’un certain futur urbain. Cela résonne avec les propos des urbanistes rebelles qui pensent comme #Jane_Jacob ou #Richard_Sennett un urbanisme pratique – ou « pragmatique », dit lui-même Sennett, qui ancre depuis longtemps sa réflexion dans l’#homo_faber, dans le faire de l’humain. Il faut, écrit-il, « placer l’homo faber au centre de la ville ». C’est ce que je ferai ici, en poursuivant cette interrogation sur le faire-ville dans sa double dimension, qui est de faire communauté, créer ou recréer du commun, et de faire la ville, c’est-à-dire l’inventer et la fabriquer.

    Une écologie et une anthropologie urbaines sont tout à inventer pour le monde à venir.

    C’est un présent futuriste fait d’étranges établissements humains : des armatures flexibles, modelables à volonté, des murs transparents, des cubes réversibles ou transposables. Curieusement, ces lieux font d’emblée penser à une ville mais précaire et #démontable, ce sont des #agglomérations_temporaires dont la matière est faite de murs en toile plastifiée, de charpentes en planches, en tubes métalliques ou en branchages, de citernes d’eau en caoutchouc, de canalisations et latrines en prêt-à-monter, prêt-à-défaire, prêt-à-transporter.

    Les lumières de la ville sont intermittentes et blafardes, fournies par des moteurs électrogènes mis en route à chaque nouvelle arrivée (fruit d’un désordre ou d’une catastrophe), devenue elle-même prévisible tout comme ses conséquences techniques – ruptures dans les flux et les stocks d’énergie, de nourriture ou de services. Les va-et-vient incessants de camions blancs bâchés emmènent des grandes quantités de riz, de boulgour et de personnes déplacées. Parfois, sur quelques terrains vagues, d’autres enfants jouent au football, ou bien des adultes inventent un terrain de cricket.

    À partir de la matière première disponible dans la nature (terre, eau, bois de forêt) ou de la matière résiduelle de produits manufacturés disponible (planches, palettes, bâches plastifiées, toiles de sac, feuilles métalliques d’emballage, plaques de polystyrène), des habitants bricolent et pratiquent une #architecture_adaptative, réactive, avec les moyens du bord, comme ailleurs ou autrefois une architecture des #favelas ou des #bidonvilles. Des maisons en pisé côtoient d’autres constructions en tissus, carton et tôle. Cette matérialité est en constante transformation.

    Malgré la surprise ou la perplexité qu’on peut ressentir à l’énumération de ces étranges logistiques urbaines, ce n’est pas de la fiction. Ce sont mes terrains d’#ethnographie_urbaine. On y verra sans doute une #dystopie, un mélange cacophonique de prêt-à-monter, de #récupérations et de #bricolages, j’y vois juste l’avenir déjà là, au moins sur les bords, dans un monde certes minoritaire (en Europe au moins), frontalier, à la fois mobile et précaire, mais terriblement efficace et qui a toutes les chances de s’étendre. #Ville_en_kit serait le nom de ce modèle qui viendrait après celui de la ville historique et rejoindrait, « par le bas », celui de la ville générique, dont il serait l’envers moins visible.

    Une écologie et une anthropologie urbaines sont tout à inventer pour le monde à venir, nous n’en connaissons encore presque rien si ce n’est qu’elles seront marquées par une culture de l’#urgence, du présent et de l’#incertitude, organisant et meublant des espaces nus ou rasés ou abandonnés, pour des durées inconnues. Ce qui est marquant est la répétition du #vide qui prévaut au premier jour de ces fragiles agglomérations, mais aussi la résurgence rapide de la #vie_sociale, de la #débrouille_technique, d’une #organisation_politique, et de la quête de sens. Cette ville en kit semble plus périssable, mais plus adaptable et « résiliente » aussi que la ville historique, qu’il nous faut donc oublier. Celle-ci était délimitée dans des enceintes visibles, elle était en dur, elle se développait de plus en plus à la verticale, avec ses voies goudronnées vite saturées de véhicules et de bruits. Cette ville historique maintenant implose, pollue et expulse les malchanceux au-delà de ses limites, mais elle continue de fournir le modèle de « la ville » dans le monde. Pourtant, le modèle s’écarte des réalités.

    On peut s’interroger sur le caractère utopique ou dystopique des #imaginaires_urbains qui naissent de l’observation des contextes dits « marginaux » et de leur permanence malgré leurs destructions répétées partout. Faut-il opposer ou rapprocher une occupation de « ZAD », une invasion de bidonvilles et une installation de migrants sans abri devenue « #jungle », selon le pourquoi de leur existence, toujours spécifique, ou selon le comment de leur processus, toujours entre résistance et adaptation, et les possibles qu’ils ont ouverts ? Si ces établissements humains peuvent être considérés, comme je le défends ici, comme les tout premiers gestes d’un processus urbain, du faire-ville dans son universalité, alors il convient de s’interroger sur ce qu’ils ouvrent, les décrire en risquant des scénarios.

    Ce partage d’expériences suppose une prise de conscience de l’égalité théorique de toutes les formes urbaines.

    Comment passe-t-on de cette #marginalité qui fait #désordre à de la ville ? Une pensée concrète, une #architecture_an-esthétique, un #habitat_minimal, évolutif, peuvent rendre #justice à ces situations et leur donner une chance d’inspirer d’autres expériences et d’autres manières de faire ville. Je reprends là en partie quelques-uns des termes de l’architecte grec et français #Georges_Candilis (1913-1995), pour qui l’observation directe, au Pérou, dans la périphérie de Lima, au début des années 70, d’un processus d’installation et construction d’une « #invasión » fut un choc. Dans la nuit, « des milliers de personnes » avaient envahi un terrain vague « pour construire une nouvelle ville », l’alerta son collègue péruvien.

    C’est moins l’invasion elle-même que la réaction de l’architecte européen qui m’intéresse ici. Longtemps collaborateur de Le Corbusier, Candilis a ensuite passé des années à concevoir, en Europe essentiellement, des très grands ensembles à bas prix, pour « les plus démunis ». Il voit dans le mouvement d’invasion urbaine à Lima un « raz de marée populaire », devant lequel les autorités cèdent et qui va « construire une maison, une ville, sans matériaux ni architectes, avec la seule force du Plus Grand Nombre et le seul espoir de survivre ». Le deuxième jour de l’invasion, sous les yeux de l’architecte devenu simple témoin, les maisons commencent à s’édifier avec des matériaux de récupération, des quartiers se forment et les habitants (« y compris les enfants ») votent pour désigner leurs responsables. « J’assistais émerveillé, écrit Candilis quelques années plus tard, à la naissance d’une véritable “communauté urbaine” », et il évoque, enthousiaste, « l’esprit même de la ville ».

    Je ne pense pas qu’il ait voulu dupliquer en France ce qu’il avait vu à Lima, mais certainement s’inspirer de ses principes. Il exprimait l’intense découverte que cet événement avait représentée pour lui, et surtout le fait que le faire-ville passe par un événement, qui est l’irruption d’un sujet citadin, porteur de l’esprit de la ville et faiseur de communauté urbaine. C’est ce sujet citadin et cette communauté urbaine qui font la ville et qui permettent de penser à nouveaux frais le modèle des instant cities, en le renversant sur lui-même en quelque sorte, contre l’idée qu’il puisse naître hors-sol et qu’il puisse produire des villes fantômes qui attendront leur peuplement.

    Ce partage d’expériences, pour devenir systématique et efficace sans être du mimétisme ni du collage formel, suppose une prise de conscience de l’égalité théorique de toutes les formes urbaines, que j’ai rappelée au tout début de cette réflexion. C’est une démarche qui ne demande ni exotisme ni populisme, mais une attention à ce qu’il y a de plus universel dans le #faire-ville, qui est une énergie de #rassemblement et de #mise_en_commun, dont la disparition, à l’inverse, engendre les étalements diffus et les ghettos qu’on connaît aussi aujourd’hui.

    https://formes.ca/territoire/articles/les-instant-cities-villes-reimaginees-sans-histoire-sans-avenir
    #villes_instantanées #urban_matter #urbanisme #présent #passé #futur

  • La pandémie les a rendus plus riches qu’avant
    http://cadtm.org/La-pandemie-les-a-rendus-plus-riches-qu-avant

    Alors que la crise actuelle augmente à toute vitesse les niveaux de pauvreté et d’indigence sur toute la planète, un groupe restreint de multimillionnaires voit croître ses richesses d’une manière impressionnante.

    Il s’agit des 2.000 personnes les plus riches de la planète. Exactement, 2.189 multimillionnaires (31 de plus qu’en 2017) qui, à la fin juillet 2020, déclaraient une fortune totale de 10.200 milliards de dollars US. Un chiffre équivalent aux revenus de 4.600 millions de personnes dans le monde entier.

    #sans_vergogne