Rediscovering Precarity Slogans, Memes, and Chants

Photo: Saverio Massaro

Yesterday I had the pleasure to talk about entrepreneurialism and precarity at La Scuola Open Source, a new energetic, convivial, and brave reality located in Bari, which is very close to my hometown.

One of the issues I dealt with was the possibility to construct social cohesion under precarity through the dissemination of "slogans, memes, and chants". Although controversial, one inspiration in this sense is the Pepe Magick that informed the Alt-right and fostered the ascent of Trump (coincidentally this was one the topics of the second speech by Tommaso Guariento).

Before delving into novel proposals, I wanted to focus on the pre-existent communication artifacts linked to the struggle against precarity. Therefore I showed San Precario, whose cult and anti-authorial emergence is not so far away from the more esoteric cult of Kek, Pepe, and so on. San Precario took full advantage of the deep Catholic roots of Italy becoming an icon with its own liturgy.

I concluded my talk by reading an excerpt of the Manifesto Bio/Pop del precariato metroradicale written in 2004 (the year of the first appearance of San Precario) between Milan and Barcelona. My aim was to somehow measure the distance between the discourse on precarity taking place a decade ago and the one taking place today. I found the text in the useful book Anarchy in the EU by Alex Foti, available online for free. Personally, I don’t fully relate with the whole manifesto, but I find it extremely fascinating because of its sci-fi terminology and some radical demands that appear so distant nowadays. I take the chance to repost the excerpt here both in Italian and English (translation is mine).


Sul saper vivere: tracce Bio/Pop da mixare in condivisione PreCog singolare/comune

Il precario/cognitario non si accontenta di essere nel giusto ma vuole una buona vita. Vogliamo essere felici!

Non si può vivere d’incertezze ma neanche di tempo indeterminato. Vogliamo nuovi diritti! Vogliamo reddito!

Per un@ precari@, è insopportabile dover destinare l’80% del reddito all’affitto. Occupiamo! Squattiamo! Liberiamo!

Dato che le loro paghe reali si sono ridotte del 20/30%, i PreCog gradirebbero fare la spesa con meno euri. Autoriduciamo la spesa in centri commerciali e ipermercati!

I PreCog non smettono mai di muoversi nelle metropoli per lavorare. Accesso gratuito alla mobilità collettiva!

I PreCog la sanno più lunga: liberano l’informazione, producono conoscenza. Diffondiamo ricerca, autogestiamo saperi!

Informazione e conoscenza devono essere universalmente riproducibili, scambiabili, condivisibili: il software progredisce se è libero e aperto al lavoro mentale di tutte e di tutti. I PreCog collettivamente creano e quindi rifiutano di pagare cultura, tecnologia, informazione.

Open Source, p2p, mp3, DVX: copiamo, masterizziamo e diffondiamo liberamente, passiamo di mano in mano, di testa in testa!

La comunicazione dai pochi ai molti ha i giorni contati: Murdoch e Gates perderanno il controllo delle menti. Creiamo media! Moltiplichiamo reti! Facciamo la tv!

I PreCog producono a partire dai mondi di vita eteronomi delle metropoli, non c’è più la città-fabbrica sincronica, neanche le quattro mura dei centri sociali bastano più per contenerne le passioni e la nomadicità. Lo spazio globale dei flussi di merci, denaro, informazioni, desideri è lo spazio dello sciopero metropolitano, dello sciopero del precariato. Riprendiamoci la città! Riprendiamoci l’Europa!


On Knowing How to Live: Bio/Pop traces to mix in singular/common PreCog sharing

The precarious worker/cognitarian is not satisfied with being right, they want a good life. We want to be happy!

One can’t live of uncertainty but neither of indefinite contract. We want new rights! We want income!

For a precarious worker, having to allocate 80% of their income to rent is unbearable. Let’s occupy! Let’s squat! Let’s liberate!

Since their real wages fell by 20/30%, PreCogs would like to buy grocery with fewer euros. Let’s autoreduce the cost of shopping in malls and superstores!

PreCogs never stop moving in the metropolis to work. Free access to collective mobility!

PreCogs know it better: they liberate information and produce knowledge. Let’s disseminate research, let’s manage knowledge autonomously!

Information and knowledge should be universally reproducible, exchangeable, shareable: the software progresses if it is free and open to the mental labor of each and everyone. PreCogs collectively create and therefore refuse to pay culture, technology, information.

Open Source, p2p, mp3, DVX: let’s copy, burn CDs and spread them freely, let’s pass from hand to hand, from mind to mind!

One-to-many communication has had its days: Murdoch and Gates will lose control of the minds. Let’s create media! Let’s multiply networks! Let’s make TV!

PreCogs produce starting from the heteronomous lifeworlds of the metropolis, the synchronic city-factory is no longer there, even the four walls of cultural centers are no longer sufficient to contain passion and nomadism. The global space in which goods, money, information, desires flow is the space of the metropolitan strike, the strike of the precariat. Let’s take the city back! Let’s take Europe back!

 

Silvio Lorusso

Silvio Lorusso is a Rotterdam-based artist, designer, and researcher. His current research focuses on the relationship between entrepreneurship and precarity, i.e. entreprecariat. His work was shown at Transmediale (Berlin, Germany), NRW- Forum (Düsseldorf, Germany), Impakt (Utrecht, Netherlands), Sight & Sound (Montreal, Canada), Adhocracy (Athens, Greece), Biennale Architettura (Venezia, Italy). He holds a Ph.D. in Design Sciences from the School of Doctorate Studies – Iuav University of Venice. His writing has appeared in Prismo, Printed Web 3, Metropolis M, Progetto Grafico, Digicult, Diid, and Doppiozero. His work has been featured in, among others, The Guardian, The Financial Times, and Wired. Currently, he works as a mentor at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences’ PublishingLab.

 

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