AUTONOMY: A Reading Group

The group will run on four  Tuesdays, 7-9pm, throughout July and early August. Tuesdays 5th July,  12th July and 26th July and 2nd August. 

Venue: The Free Hetherington, 13 University Gardens, Glasgow University, Glasgow.

Autonomy is a concept much discussed, but perhaps less well understood. This may well be due to the relative neglect of autonomist thought in the UK compared to other European countries such as Italy, France and Greece. This reading group aims to make inroads into that neglect by exploring in detail four classic texts from the movement of Italian Autonomist Marxism; a movement widely considered as the most advanced expression of autonomist thought in the 20th century.

The reading group will explore key selections from Mario Tronti, Antonio Negri, Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Sergio Bologna. We introduce a broad sweep of theoretical innovation from 1964 to 1977, covering such key ideas as the mass worker; the refusal of work and the autonomy of the class; the critique of the Keynesian planner-state; feminism, reproduction and the social factory, and class composition as a mode of radical research and transformative activity.

The group is not afraid to be caught learning: our aim is to encourage an open collective learning process for working through some of the fundamental texts of autonomism and autonomia. The group aims to develop deeper critical engagement with some of what we regard as the most important revolutionary writing of the last century. To make the discussion more participatory, reading the texts before each session is encouraged, but this is not mandatory. The group is open to all.

DATES AND READING MATERIAL:

Week 1 Tuesday, 5th, July, 2011, 7.00-9.00pm:

Mario Tronti, The Strategy of Refusal, Italy: Autonomia. Post-political politics. Ed. Sylvere Lotringer and Christian Marazzi, Semiotext,1980,pp. 28-35.
Week 1_Tronti_1965_ Strategy of refusal

Week 2 Tuesday, 12th July, 2011, 7.00-9.00pm:

Toni Negri, Keynes and the Capitalist Theory of the State Post-1929, Revolution Retrieved: Selected Writings on Marx, Keynes & New Social Subjects, 1967-1983. Ed. Ed Emery, London: Red Notes, 1988.
Week 2_Negri_1967_Keynes

Week 3 Tuesday, 26th July, 2011, 7.00-9.00pm:

Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James. The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community, Bristol: Falling Wall Press, 1972. With an introduction by Selma James (optional).
Week 3_Della Costa & James_ 1972_The power of women

Week 4 Tuesday, 2nd August, 2011, 7.00-9.00pm:

Sergio Bologna, The Tribe of Moles, Italy: Autonomia. Post-political politics. Ed. Sylvere Lotringer and Christian Marazzi
(New York: Semiotext, 1980), 36-61.
Week 4_Bologna_ 1978_Tribe of moles

BACKGROUND READING (optional)

Sylvere Lotringer and Christian Marazzi, eds. Italy: Autonomia. Post-political politics. Ed. Sylvere Lotringer and Christian Marazzi, New York: Semiotext, 1980.
http://www.generation-online.org/t/ppp.htm

Harry Cleaver. Introduction, Reading Capital Politically, Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1979, pp.3-66.
http://libcom.org/library/reading-capital-politically-cleaver-intro

Steve Wright, Storming Heaven: Class Composition and Struggle in Italian Autonomist Marxism, Pluto Press, 2002.
http://libcom.org/library/storming-heaven-class-composition-struggle-italian-autonomist-marxism-steve-wright

The Empty Plan

3:30pm, Saturday 2nd July, Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), Glasgow.

The Strickland Distribution host a special screening of The Empty Plan (2010) by Anja Kirschner and David Panos. The screening is public and will be followed by an open discussion.

Shifting between documentary, historical reconstruction and melodrama, The Empty Plan interrogates the relationship between theory and practice in the theatre of Bertolt Brecht. The film contrasts scenes from Brecht’s exile in Los Angeles (1941 to 1947) with productions of his 1931 play The Mother in the late Weimar Republic, New Deal America and post-war East Germany, exploring different modes of performance and their relation to changing historical and political circumstances.

The title of the film is taken from Brecht’s Messingkauf Dialogues, an unfinished theoretical work written during his exile, which considers the possibilities of ‘committed art’ and its practical, theoretical and formal limits at a time when revolutionary mass movements had been defeated and theatre was supplanted by Hollywood cinema as the dominant form of popular entertainment.

Through the figures of Brecht, his collaborator Ruth Berlau and his wife, the actress Helene Weigel, the film reflects on conflicting personal, artistic and political ambitions, raising questions about the nature of art and the unrealised dream of its supersession through revolutionary practice.

Funded by Arts Council England through Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network, co-produced with City Projects and supported by Focal Point Gallery, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and Kunsthall Oslo.

http://www.anjakirschner.com