Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike

On Tuesday we were blessed with the presence of three women campaigners talking about the Global Women’s Strike and in particular proposed new legislation from the US fighting for wages for house work and caring.

Below you can view the livestream. Apologies for the poor phone-quality, my laptop wasn’t cooperating. It’s definitely still a good watch!

 

Capitalism: “We hit ya and we give ya some”

A guest blog post on capitalism, globalisation and cyber-atomisation by a friendly by the name of Fulano de Tal.

 

Capitalism: “We hit ya and we give ya some[1]

One of the core contradictions of capitalism since its earliest phase of ‘primitive accumulation’ has been the need to bring together disparate individuals and populations while maintaining their atomisation and isolation from each other. For example, in the 19th century industrial cities of Britain, this entailed dispossession of the indigenous rural poor by means of land enclosure etc, and the importation of overseas labour, specifically from Ireland, while bringing together unprecedented numbers of hungry people in one place, namely the early modern city. In these circumstances, the potential for proletarian cohesion was undermined by conditions of grinding deprivation on the one hand, which made individuals’ and families’ physical survival an absolute priority, and on the other, the promotion of racism and sectarianism among the English and directed towards the Irish.[2]

 

Such aggregation gave industrial enterprises ready access to high volumes of ‘living labour’, ie, workers, but also generated an anxiety and a genuine risk in relation to the power of large, insurrectionary populations. Hence the promotion of conditions that prioritised individualism and the creation of sub-group identities based on ethnicity, culture, and religious persuasion.

 

This early tendency of capitalism to ‘bring the world together’ was presciently noted by Marx, and what is now labelled ‘globalisation’ has continued to develop as both symptom of and catalyst for the wider advancement and sophistication of the capitalist project. In particular, we note it as a feature of cyber-communication, which eliminates space far more effectively than the telephone or air travel, and enables instant communication among groups and individuals across the globe.

 

As a telling aside, we should note the sense of palpable unfairness evident in complaints by the British police following the summer 2011 riot wave that, for the first time on this scale, the communication technology available to rioters was more sophisticated than that of the State.

 

It could be argued that, when weighed in the overall balance of profit and loss to capital, such local defeats are worth conceding when compared with the opportunities for profit maximisation supplied by the increased mobility that cyber-technology offers corporations across the planet. However, there is some schadenfreude to be had by watching the contortions of the Chinese state in its attempts to stop the air escaping from the punctures to the balloon of communication caused by internet access.

 

Leaving aside such ham-fisted attempts to suppress free(r) communication, how does capital otherwise ensure that the ‘gift’ of cyber-communication carries out the functions of a Trojan horse? The short answer is that cyber-technology refines the capitalist process of atomisation by promoting the role of the image over the object to a degree unimaginable, say, in 1945. Even Guy Debord, master theoretician of the Situationist International, would have been likely to raise a wry toast of “touché” to these recent developments.

 

People travel in order to bring back footage of their destinations rather than to experience what they are filming. Friends meet up in order to spend an evening texting absent third parties to tell them about what they are [not] doing. Individualism is further advanced by the trivialisation evident in much cyber-communication.

 

When all that people spend their spare time doing is communicating, there is nothing to communicate. For example, my teenage daughter watches a US blog site called “What is in my purse?”, whose content is also symptomatic of the fact that when there is nothing else to recount about one’s life, all one can talk about is the nature of one’s commodities.

 

This is not an argument either in favour of stodgy localism or against technology. Instead, it advocates a judicious use of the latter in the service of the human project, where communication will be unmediated in order to deserve the designation of the term.

 

Fulano de Tal


[1] From lyrics to Rebel without a Pause, Public Enemy.

[2] It is believed that the first Orange Lodge in England was established in Manchester, followed by Liverpool.

Interviews with speakers from Monday

We did some interviews with speakers on Monday, and here they are. I think they’re summarising their events, but they may do more or less or different, I can’t check because Ken Loach is talking and I don’t have earphones! Bon appetit.

Chris – Biofuel Watch from Cuts Cafe TV on Vimeo.

 

Ewa – Unite & Cuts Café on organising your workplace. From Cuts Cafe TV on Vimeo.

 

Sara Callaway, GWS : Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike. From Cuts Cafe TV on Vimeo.

 

James – Radical London from Cuts Cafe TV on Vimeo.

La Vie est Belle à Cuts Café

Experience last weekend at Cuts Café with us, float around our amazing reclaimed space, from sun-kissed rooftop to the focused energy of our events rooms.

Hear some thoughts from participants, organisers, speakers. Remember your (all too?) brief time here, or wish you could have made it.

N.B. the video’s only actually 7 minutes long, the last 50 minutes are… well, nothing. Don’t be scared by the length!

cuts cafe bon from Cuts Cafe TV on Vimeo.

TRANSCRIPT OF THE VIDEO

[Deep voice] So… The Cuts Cafe has been open… since… er, two weeks before the TUC demonstration was when the space was opened by a lot of people but the space hasn’t been open for events until Thursday just gone, so four days after the space was opened. Er… because we wanted to make sure that the space was fully accessible before we started holding events and workshops. We’ll, like, since that’s happened, we’ve been doing two full days of workshops and events so far and all of them have been really well attended. We’ve had about 100 people through the doors on the first day, about the same sort of number, maybe a little bit more, on yesterday, the Friday. Today, we’ve got an eight hour session on capitalist economics which people have still turned up to, an eight hour session, on a Saturday on some really dense economic theory and that still brought ten people. So, I think it’s going pretty well. So, this has been organised by a group of people, it’s not been organised by a trade union or a pre-existed campaign group. It’s been organised by a lot of people that were united around the, united around the worry that the anti-cuts movement was getting a bit separated, so we thought it’d be good if the two weeks coming up to the TUC demonstration we would have a space where people could come together and talk to other bits of the movement that they don’t normally talk to; like, there’s loads of local anti-cuts groups in London but they don’t necessarily talk to each other that much and trying to get those sort of projects working so that the TUC demonstration on the 20th of October wasn’t the end. [indeterminate poetry, laughing, talking, applauding open mic poets]

[chanting from audience] Cuts! Cuts! Cuts!
[poet] Bleed! Bleed! Bleed!
[audience] Bleed! Bleed! Bleed!
[poet] Stop! Stop! Stop!
[audience] Stop! Stop! Stop!
[poet] Fight! Fight! Fight!
[audience] Fight! Fight! Fight!

[Poet] You tell me when’s the last time we cut out a recession? How do you treat a failing heart by doing a dissection? The thoughts in our heads will dry up, don’t you know, if you kill imagination by cutting the blood flow [makes a money gesture with right hand]. Thousands of us marched just to get our voice heard but you BEAT us and kettle us to tame us like a herd. And why are you so surprised when we yell, ‘off with their heads!’? Unless you have the monarchy pay for us instead. This thing called democracy is rotten to the core – [cuts to applause]

[Close up of a woman’s face as she speaks] How do we envisage a future that works? That actually works as an alternative to the one we’re now facing. And then everybody, erm, will have a cardboard box [she lifts a small, plain brown box cut in half], we’re preparing those at the moment. And on the inside of that cardboard box everyone will create their impression of a future that works.

[deep voice from beginning, voice over] It’s really important that people who are coming together from different parts of the anti-cuts movement, that’s one side of it, is people that were already engaged in the anti-cuts movement. And it’s important that those people are coming together and talking and making sure that they are sharing resources and working together and planning campaigns together and all that sort of stuff. And the other side of it is, those people that are being affected by the cuts but that aren’t involved in what would classically be classed as action against the cuts. So it’s trying to get people that basically- people that hate the cuts, they know they hate the cuts and the sort of know why they hate the cuts, to come in and give them a space where outside of the daily work and looking after kids and all that sort of stuff, giving them a space where they can actually think about it. So, I think, the energy of the space has been really good so far. It was, there was a problem initially in the first few days because, obviously, we had a space where we had events scheduled and we weren’t- we decided, we actively decided to not put them on because the space wasn’t accessible and we didn’t want events that not everybody could get to  because that’s not really what we’re about. The phrase we keep using is that if you can’t get a wheelchair in, it’s not my revolution. The energy is really good. I think, one of the good things is the fact that the space is non-hierarchically organised, means that a lot of people have been coming in and just getting involved. So for the whole time that the Cuts Cafe is on we’re having, we’re gonna try to have a general meeting every day at 9pm. We’re gonna try and also document all the events that are happening, we’re gonna be putting them all up online. There’s going to be audiostreams and summary blog posts and guest blog posts from other people that have been affected by the cuts and we’re gonna be doing all sorts of stuff.

But also, crucially, the other aspect is coming down to the space and getting involved. We’ve got such a wide range of events on. You can read the whole events list which is constantly being updated on our website. You should come down, you should check us out, you should read stuff on our blog, you should follow us on facebook, you can sign up to our email list but, if you can get down to some of our events, the ones that we’ve done so far have been really good and we’ve still got another week of events which are all going to be amazing – we’ve got Ken Loach coming, we’ve got loads of events on, like, social media and how to use it in campaigning, we’ve got practical things, we’ve got organising workshops, we got talks, we got discussions, we got film showing and there’s a lot of shit going on; there’s probably something there that everybody would like. So, come on down.

[quiet speaker answering a question] … the Palestinians for decades now, using them as human shields, so you can see a lot of this transfer, the fight back gets harder and I think we need to start studying it a bit more…

[Different speaker] I think it basically speaks for itself but it’s really only a real glimpse of the horrors that, er, y’know, our family’s been through the last four years, um, I think I said that, y’know, you kind of expect that they would go into action and do what needs to be done to kind of bring, er, y’know, any culprits or anyone that’s done anything wrong to justice. And, oh, obviously that was a huge shock, er, when we find that they do nothing or they do the right things and then the evidence, which they have collected, er that, which came to light in the inquest http://covered%20by%20shuffling%20and%20a%20cough%20in%20the%20audience Erm, but all the evidence was basically there, y’know, er, and we, we became investigators and very skilled investigators as well by the end of that time. Erm, so, y’know, a lot of experience that we gained we’ve tried to pass that on to other families through united with friends and family campaign, which Ken [speaker looks to man in next to him] and others set up a few years ago.

[cut to question from audience] What sort of system for investigating the police do you personally think would work?

[speaker and man next to him (Ken?) are now seated] What we want is what you would expect in any, er, criminal investigation, murder investigation or someone dying in suspicious circumstances which is, er, good quality, robust investigators, y’know, that that basically will leave, leave no stone unturned, will follow the leads until the end. [cut] The stuff that was in there that, omitted is the crucial stuff, is the evidence on them and the IPCC listened to the tapes, they, they heard them themselves and if I’m able to pick it out, how come they can’t pick it out? [cuts to Ken?] …coming and talking and sharing, I think that’s the main thing for us to get together and organise, that’s how we change. So thank you, all of you. [New voice, off screen] And I think some dinner’s being cooked downstairs so…

[Loud traffic noise as picture cuts to an outside scan of the building, homemade banner that says ‘cuts cafe’ hanging from a window]

 

Videos from last weekend (12th & 13th October)

We had some great events last weekend – as we do every day! – and for your digestible pleasure we were able to pin down some of the speakers for some short sharp snippety interviews, asking them what they think of Cuts Café (we’re narcissists and proud). And without further ado…

Open mic, improv, & poetry against the cuts at Cuts Café 12/10/12 from Cuts Cafe TV on Vimeo.

Noel Douglas – OCCUPY ART WORKSHOP from Cuts Cafe TV on Vimeo.

Murray Worthy from War on Want from Cuts Cafe TV on Vimeo.

Wayne Rigg from Cuts Cafe TV on Vimeo.

UPDATE: space not yet accessible

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of those preparing the space, we are not yet wheelchair accessible; entry only via stairs. The DPAC workshop has been postponed and will be rescheduled, please keep an eye out. We hope to be wheelchair accessible by Wednesday. The Crypto workshop will still be happening at 6.30pm today; and all are welcome to come and help with final set ups.

Cuts Cafe opens 5pm tonight! DPAC TALK MOVED

So, this is it: 1 Stamford Street, SE1 9NT. Doors opening to public at 5pm. If you fancy helping with last minute clean up, please come earlier.

Workshops starting this evening with Crypto Party and DPAC coming to speak. See you all down here!

IMPORTANT UPDATE: we are not yet wheelchair accessible, entry only via stairs. The DPAC workshop has been postponed and will be rescheduled, please keep an eye out. We hope to be wheelchair accessible by Wednesday. The Crypto workshop will still be happening at 6.30pm today; and all are welcome to come and help with final set ups. Obviously we’re massively sorry about this, and will endeavour to help anyone that still wants to come.