I Network Description
As once was the factory, so now is the university. We start with this plain and apparently unproblematic statement, not to affirm but to interrogate it. We want to radically rethink this assertion by means of both theory and politics. From here the edu-factory project begins.
Edu-factory is a transnational mailing-list for discussion of transformations to the university, the production of knowledge and forms of conflict (email@example.com). About 500 militants, students and researchers have participated since the beginning of 2007. Rejecting the notion that networks necessarily institute horizontal and spontaneous relations, we proceed with the view that networks must be organized if they are to operate as political spaces. The model has involved two temporally circumscribed and thematically identified rounds of discussion: the first on conflicts in the production of knowledge and the second on hierarchization of the market for education and the construction of autonomous institutions. After each round of discussion, the list closes to await a new opening in a successive cycle. In this way, edu-factory moves from an extensive to an intensive mode of organizing networks.
Not surprisingly, the edu-factory process has not been without tensions and conflicts. The opening and closing of the list in particular has led to debates with participants and onlookers regarding the openness and the ownership of networks. Despite these tussles, the project has assumed a life beyond the list. Not only a website (www.edu-factory.org) but also participation in and organization of events in three different continents (Europe, Australia, and North America) have become part of edu-factory. Materials from the list have been collected and translated for a book publication in Italian: L’università globale: Il nuovo mercato del sapere (Roma: Manifestolibri, 2008). This volume became a central reference point in the ‘anomalous wave’ movement of students, researchers, parents and teachers that swept Italy in late 2008. Autonomedia Books will publish an English version of the text in early 2009.
II Goals during Winter Camp
Edu-factory is now at a critical turning point where the question of its political application becomes paramount. A central interest is the transnational linking of variously existing autonomous edu-initiatives, but this brings up problems and politics of translation, scale and resources. Has edu-factory lived beyond its life as a list? Or must its continued organization involve the reinvention of the list and its modulation with other forms of practice and action? There is a proposal to begin a new transnational journal as a means of opening out the organising collective and redirecting the discussion. At the Winter Camp meeting, edu-factory participants will engage in cooperation and debates with other networks to design the structure and form of the project’s next life. At all times the question of political application, conflicts and collaboration will be stressed.
Brett Neilson, Sydney
Gigi Roggero, Rome
Paolo Do, London
Claudia Bernardi, Rome
Gerald Raunig, Vienna
Carlos Prieto del Campo, Madrid
Anja Kanngieser, Berlin/Melbourne
Andrea Ghelfi, Bologna
Matteo Pasquinello, Amsterdam
Jon Solomon, Taipei
Ranabir Samaddar, Kolkata
Camillo Imperore, Rome