This is a nice post-mortem analysis of an Occupy set at “a large ‘public’ university in Michigan.” The essay touches on a number of things but there are two main themes: analysis of the GA, and the future of campus organizing. To the first point, the authors thoughtfully dissect what didn’t work with the GA model. They examine it in specific terms of their particular group dynamic as well as in the context of the larger, generalized, consensus-based model of direct democracy. This is a deeper analysis than Wendy Brown offered–though I don’t fault her since her thoughts on Occupy were one small part of a larger interview. And it is a far better nuts-and-bolts interrogation of Occupy than David Harvey offered in his fluffy few pages–for which I do fault him as he had the space of a book to look into the matter.

As to the second point, the authors “believe that university campuses are logical and essential sites of struggle.” Toward that end, they offer their thoughts on how university administrations quell revolutionary potential through the bureaucratic apparatus. They subsequently offer some thoughts on how to make campuses more potent sites of struggle, including some direct calls to us academics to stick our necks out. I really wish they had darkened a few more pixels on this section since it was quite interesting to hear their thoughts.

In the end, I found this essay far more informative and valuable than any of the other Occupy pieces that we have read… especially *grumble* David Harvey.

The Third Coast Conspiracy

A short reflection on the meaning of democracy and our experience at Occupy organizing at a large “public” university in Michigan.

Occupy Detroit's general assembly meeting Friday evening in Grand Circus Park.


The three of us first began organizing together under the aegis of Occupy in 2011 at the university where we work (though we were also involved in other regional/local Occupies). While the GAs on our campus initially drew more than a hundred students, our numbers quickly began to decline and we ultimately turned into a sort of affinity group that, while consistently active, became a closed space with little potential for movement building. Looking back, we remain convinced that universities are an under organized space in anticapitalist struggles but that the dominant organizing models, in particular their emphasis on democracy, require some fundamental rethinking. In what follows, we detail our experience with the GA and sketch out some of the reasons why it failed to serve as…

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Let me start out by saying I have mixed feelings about this post. On the one hand, it’s pretty banal: link and cite more! Duh. On the other hand, sometimes the obvious needs articulation. Additionally, we’ll need to justify to our deans, bursars, and chain-yankers why we are sitting around all day and blogging. So it seems that I had some deep-down visceral dis-ease that apparently needed expression. (“Tell me about your desiring-machines, Amy.”) There are reasons enumerated in the post for its genesis. Yet there is perhaps another reason beyond those, a reason which compels me to repost here. In one of our earlier meetings, Branden mentioned that somebody should be writing, in meta fashion, about what’s happening here in Nomad Scholarship: namely the appearance of collaborative discourse across institutional boundaries and geography, the transverse blending of two individual traditional face-to-face seminars into some new discourse all it’s own. I’d like to think that this post is somewhat of a tangential start to that reflective process.

the Urban Archivist


Plate 76. A well-crafted blog post. Note lines of flight
into and out of the vaguely-circumscribed post.

I was having some “meta” thoughts about writing this evening. Specifically, I was thinking why academics need to blog (or otherwise publicly write) and why it is as important, as a parallel project, as traditional publishing. These thoughts were prompted by a whole host of reasons and one blog post.

Something the comes up frequently in Becoming Poor meetings, especially when we read from The Europeans (which *cough* is most of the damned time), is how they all seem to be referencing one another without bothering to tell us that. As they are so thoroughly well-versed of each other, it’s almost like an in-joke among them. Still, it would be nice to know sometimes where all that is coming from. Relatedly, we’ve talked on occasion of various citation styles which make it easier…

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Better late than never, I suppose. I’m finally jumping into the pool… starting with a response to the Holland/Harvey readings.

the Urban Archivist

This started as a reading response for Becoming Poor, a theory reading group at the UW that I’m part of, but it sort of ran away and became bigger and perhaps of interest to a larger group. If that’s true, I’d appreciate comments in hopes of following up in greater depth. Transdudes, I speak only from my transfeminine position; I’d love to hear your take(s). In any case, I have cross-posted to both Becoming Poor as well as our cross-country collaboration with OSU, Nomad Scholarship.

On the face of the Earth, spreading like disease
Contaminating, Infiltrating like a horde of bees.

–“Raising Hell”, Run D.M.C

Having made a guest appearance in Holland’s paper, the ages-old conundrum of “reform or revolution?” seems to have played out in the set of Harvey and Holland readings. As to David Harvey I found his Rebel Cities far less rebellious for my tastes, what…

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