NOTES ON Roggero, G.  (2011) The Production of Living Knowledge: the crisis of the university and the transformation of labour in Europe and North America, translated and with a foreword by Enda Brophy.  Temple University Press: Philadelphia

[This is quite a difficult read.  It has a scholarly Marxist style, with some unusual idiom, although the translator has modified some of that.  It cites all sorts of Italian writers that are unfamiliar to me.  Above all though, the first chapters presents a Marxist gloss on postFordism which is never really appeared in the Anglo literature, certainly not the stuff I read as part of my leisure studies courses.  This Italian take sees postFordism as a result of capital's ongoing struggles with the proletariat, and discusses a substantial Italian response—workerism, or, later, autonomism.  This analysis follows the demise of that response and draws some theoretical lessons.  It argues persuasively that an analysis of the modern university provides a good example of the new forms of cognitive capitalism with all that it implies.  Apart from anything else, it focuses attention on the Bologna Process or Agreement, which initially came over into British universities as yet another feeble attempt to make courses 'relevant' to industry.  We first realized the sinister nature of this Agreement when Gordon Brown's Labour Government announced it would not be funding courses that did not follow this agenda.  The Conservative government carried out this promise and withdrew funding for the social sciences and humanities altogether, forcing them to rely on student fees and the market. In general, I have freely glossed the text, reducing it to terms I can grasp,and no doubt reducing its original poetry and power]

Translator's Foreword

Changes in the university must be understood as part of the general changes in work and labour, as suggested by the notion of cognitive capitalism.  The instabilities of this approach towards accumulation are detectable on a global scale.  The response to workerism (post-operaismo) insists that the driving force in the relations with capital is labour's resistance and search for autonomy: this is the theme that can help understand all the relations with capital—'a conflictual genealogy' (viii).  It is also a dynamic struggle, aimed at the continual 'production of the common' in unfamiliar circumstances.

Universities have converged with firms and corporations, and one consequence is been to make academic work more intensive and precarious.  Universities are also in the forefront of globalization.  From the other direction, corporations are increasingly knowledge intensive, but this also makes them 'collective and flexible', and they can rely on things like the 'free productive activity of open source enthusiasts'.  Universities lose their monopoly on knowledge, and on elite closure within nation states.  Another convergence is between students and workers, seen in their partial alliances in various global revolts.  There is also 'endless job retraining in a process of "lifelong learning"' (ix), and, similarly, university graduates appearing in 'the dead-end precarious jobs of the service economy'.  There is a contrast between the collective nature of the university, and the eventual marginality of graduate work.

Student dissatisfaction also fuels a number of revolts against insecurity and devaluation, and lifelong debt.  Precarious graduates find increasing affinities with the others in the service sector, including those who work in universities to clean and maintain them.  There have been a number of struggles strikes and occupations as a result, and a growing interest in autonomous education activities outside of universities.  This is what Roggero calls living knowledge, and it involves the production of the common.

He has been a part of these movements himself, including founding the Edu-Factory Collective (EFC), and taking part in the struggle against the imposition of the Bologna process—'the construction of a pan European market for post secondary education' (x).  Roggero pursues an Italian project, which he calls 'co-research'[conricerca], based on the worker enquiries into labour in the 1960s, and contemporary knowledge produced by various resisting groups.  Co-research 'is at once the production of knowledge and organization, in which the boundary between the researched and the researcher dissolves [I must say I'm skeptical about this]…  transforming the object into a subject, and turning subjectivity into the new terrain of struggle just as it becomes a site for capitalist accumulation'(xi) [Roggero's use of the royal 'we' in this book indicates his acknowledgement of collective authorship]

A conference took place in London in the late 1960s between Italian workerists and some American militants—'the Johnson - Forest Tendency'.  Both were anti Stalinist, both for engage and struggles with fordism and its attempts to impose collective agreements.  Both saw the future in organist autonomy, extending to feminist and anti colonial militants, and involving self organisation in factories and universities.  These days, fordism has indeed collapsed, but capitalism has extended itself still further into formerly inaccessible regions, including subjectivity and social relations.  Hence post workerism, and the emergence of new concepts—'multitude, precarity, subjectivity, biopolitical production, and the common' (xii).  There is an international dimension as well, leading to a discussion of Black Power and post colonial literature.  This has led to new links between Italy and North America, sometimes clustered around the EFC [in 2013 its online presence looks a bit quiet].


Neo liberalism is no longer seen as a coherent system, and the notion of the end of ideology or the end of history, or the domination of '"mono logical thought"'is over (1).  This indicates a deeper crisis of capitalism itself.  Crisis is not just a phase, but a permanent status, since both production and labour have been transformed extensively.  Cognitive capitalism in particular is unstable and offers possibilities for subversion.  We can draw on Marxist concepts of living labour to analyze this state.  We have to take on other theorists discussing the transition from Fordism, like Harvey or Beck.  There are implications for the left as well, especially their 'cult of knowledge'(2), where knowledge is always seen as emancipatory: instead it is a battlefield. 

The crisis of the university is an aspect of this general crisis: there is no longer a productive dialectic between public and private, as corporatization indicates; universities no longer provide social mobility, but rather regulate access even to precarious jobs; modern disciplines are no longer divided by strict borders, for example economics is in particular crisis.  Ironically, government regulation tries to maintain boundaries in the form of codes and classifications, for example in quality reviews—they are even now trying this with 'interdisciplinarity'.

The Italian university system is a mix of feudal and corporate organization, while the American system is differentiated.  However, both can be explained by the development of transnational trends, when nation states are exceeded by flows of labour and capital, but still have a role in controlling their populations.  National borders are as fragile as disciplinary ones—real but unproductive, aimed at limiting and fragmenting knowledge and experience.

There is no new neoliberal consensus, but rather a combination of global trends translated in different contexts, and producing conflict.  Bologna shows this—despite its attempts to develop transnational governance of universities, it is still in crisis.  Ironically, the USA seems to be about to develop its own version across its own states.  Another example is the debt system, part of a general process to financialize welfare, including education, but also an important route of crisis.  Again, despite failures in some countries, systems are appearing in others.

This particular book is based on field work, including interviews on both sides of the Atlantic, and direct involvement in various political struggles.  It has developed co-research as a method, to break down conventional distinctions between research and politics, university and other kinds of work, and so on.  Post colonialism reminds us that the production of knowledge is always political and based on particular points of view.  That includes accounts of the transformation of capital, and we need to begin again with the class struggle as fundamental—'the vindication of the irreducible autonomy and partiality of the working class' (6), against the notion of working classes as victims or dependents, with social change imposed on them. [This is the much-discussed class-derivation notion of capitalism as opposed to capital-derivation]  The struggles of the 1960s are the original source for this view.

It is important to see that workerism is the movement of thought [in Deleuze's phrase!], not something with fixed categories that can become an academic discipline or theoretical field, and hence become domesticated.  It uses categories pragmatically, based on militant inquiry, through co-research.  It has produced a new understanding of class composition, drawing on Marx, avoiding economism and expressing class struggle as process, resisting categorization.  Class and other identities must be rejected.  Subjectivity instead is always a battlefield.

We can use the concept of singularity to point towards 'the common as a field of multiplicities' (7) [citing Empire] and while we are here, reject the logic of property and identity based on it.  We need to reject politics based on the traditional mass worker in fordism, and investigate the new composition of labour.  Concepts such as Marx's 'general intellect' can help here [see the entry in Grundrisse on this], as well as autonomy, cognitive capitalism, multitude and the common.  In particular, the common is both historical and situational. 

Different commons refer to a common heritage in nature and the environment, but also in information and knowledge.  In particular, knowledge in cognitive capitalism must be seen as a result of a non-natural transformation—common knowledge really has a basis in living labour.  The multiplicity which produces singularities is not humanity itself, but specific social relations, including conflicts as well as cooperation.  Seemingly natural assets, like water, need to be grasped as politically common.  The common has to be organized, used to understand existing relations in order to subvert them.  The common itself produces the singularity of ownership, and also makes possible communism.  Public forms in capitalism must be used to transform capitalist conceptions and institutions of the common.

As an aside, Badiou or Zizek work with abstractions such as events to galvanize opposition and struggle.  That is too abstract, and we are interested here in how the common is embodied in actual subjects and certain 'institutions of the common'(9) [marginal emancipated communities, often found on the borders of universities].  These institutions indicate tension between autonomy and subsequent capture by capital—as in the term self-education [better understood as 'independent study' in the British context, which either means autonomous study, or self-financed, unsupervised, free or cheap versions following university agendas]. In its radical version, it cannot be managed by neoliberal universities, but represents living knowledge.  However, universities are perfectly capable of incorporating radical theories and translating them 'into the language of value'.  Another example is academic freedom, which either preserves universities or attempts to fracture them.

There is an intersection between the transformation of capitalism, knowledge, labour and the university.  This has taken the form of struggles 'within and against the global university' (10) [with some interesting examples of recent student revolts, including some in North Africa].  Precariousness [precarity is the exact specialist term but my voice recognition software doesn't like it, so I use precariousness throughout] is at the heart of this struggle, and it links to other forms of the devaluation of labour.  There is also a struggle over welfare, which has influenced conflicts over salary by leading to demands for social incomes and free access to social needs, including education and housing [the old stabilizing mechanism of 'the social contract' for social democracy pre-Thatcher].  An aspect includes refusing to repay debts, including mortgages as well as student fees.  It can take the form of 'a right to bankruptcy'(10).  It also takes the form of struggles over open access to universities, and those attempts to impose quantified measures within them.  One result might well be a new university without borders.

The key issue is whether singularities can be traced back [theoretically, but especially politically] to 'a common transnational space' (11).  This is discussed in terms of 'the category of translation'. It is important to see that the common is not an abstract universalism.  However, capitalist elites also deny universalism, and so do some theorists who see no connection between different struggles.  It is universalism as defined in the usual definitions of modernity that has to be rejected, and inverted—partial struggles create universality, rather than depending on them.  This has an objective basis to contrast with the 'noble ideal of internationalist solidarity'.  Labour and capital are being transformed in a way which will generate commonness.

Common production means we can now 'think through the actuality of revolution', rejecting conservative nostalgia, utopian hopes for the future, and 'the postmodern apologia for the status quo' (12).  The modern situation is dense and complex, and we have to find elements of subversion, 'starting from the immanent and radical partiality of the perspective of living labour'.  The point is not just to celebrate fragmented local or micro politics, but to see how these can be composed in the common, to connect tactics back to strategy, to see class organization as immanent in everyday struggles.

There is no teleological process or guarantee.  Segmentation and fragmentation among workers persists.  Objections to precariousness and proletarianization take the limited  form of appeals to justice or crusade against corruption.  This only preserves the system itself.  Nor does an appeal to meritocracy go far enough, since this is only an 'artificial system of measure that creates hierarchies within and segments the composition of living knowledge' (12).  There are some signs of rebellion which insist that the notion of meritocracy can be turned into that of collective knowledge, that struggles against corruption can be generalized into struggles against debt, arguments about salaries can turn into debates about social wealth, disillusion with conventional politics 'into a radical politics of the common'.

[An optimistic example to end.  The 1905 demonstration in St Petersburg was launched in the name of the Russian people, but the repression of it broke the ideological concept of nation, and lead to a more accurate discussion of class struggle.  This shows for Roggero the potential of conventional protest.  He finds the same trend in a 1962 large demonstration in Turin, allegedly predicted by Italian autonomists [40 years after the event!].  There is some reason to hope that existing struggles in universities can also become generalised into a struggle for 'the soviet of living knowledge—that is…  the organization of institutions of the common'(13)]

Chapter one: The Future Is Archaic

We need to understand the recent transformations of labour and capital beginning with the 1970s, from the point of view of workerism—'the search for the partisan sign within…  [a genealogy of the present]…  or the analysis of capitalist relations from the perspective of living labour' (15).  In effect, we have to clarify analyses based on the social sciences.  What does seem to be agreed is that we have moved from large factory production to the production of services and knowledge organised in networks, including transnational ones.

Globalization is one way to understand this, although it is not a master key, which is how it is sometimes used.  All the ideas of the national state and its sovereignty were once seen as a necessary for capital or an element of resistance to it, but this has lost force, especially when there are global economic crises.  Nation states still have functions, however, in 'control and administrative regulation' (16).  The term 'transnational'is better to describe this combination.

Some social scientists prefer to talk about labours in the plural, given the complexity and flexibility of modern labour, but Roggero prefers to continue to think of labour as a multiple subject, which can experience the common.  Fragmentation is therefore contingent, not irreversible, and its consequences appear in definite political discourses designed to diminish the idea of the collective.  In particular, the concept of new types of labour really depend on the idea of a normal form—actually fordist salaried labour.

This implicit concept still informs a lot of analysis today.  Flexible labour certainly makes us realise that the classic fordist work has gone, together with all of its 'classic dichotomies: work time and free time, employment and unemployment, formality and informality' (17).  There is no dichotomous term outside of production anymore.  In particular, the process of becoming precarious is not just an exclusion from normal work, but a technique in its own right to produce 'segmented inclusion and hierarchy'.  Paradoxically, full employment has been achieved, but not in the form of universal normal work, rather the emergence of a new form of exploitation, 'permanent precariousness and impoverishment' (18).

It is this precariousness that underpins Beck's risk society—'flexible, pluralized decentralised underemployment' rather than alternations between work and unemployment as in the past.  Beck knows that progress and poverty are combined.  However, Beck still seems to believe that these factors are simply obstacles on the path of an eventual ('liquid') modernity. which will be completed, although he is not nostalgic for the past.  More typically, analysts draw upon some notion of absent rights or protection, an absence of the state which can no longer protect its citizens, a growing number of wasted lives.  Often there is a model of centre and periphery, both globally and within metropolitan areas.  However, post colonialism has noticed the breakdown of this model, when people at the margins migrate to the centre, and do so in order to realise value for capitalism, despite their impoverished and marginalised lives: such people are not miserable dependents of victims but productive of social wealth.  Their victim status simply deprives them of subjectivity and political possibilities, and can even become 'a defensive reaction by the "centre"'(19) [I think the argument is that these people have upset the former equilibrium and have lost whatever rights they might have had as colonial subjects]. 

The notion of precariousness [precarity] has become central in various descriptions of modern labour, as a reaction against all those claims of the benefits of flexibility that used to be around in the 1990s.  Precariousness is now entered political discourse in America and France, sometimes in terms of the human cost of flexibility.  However, this runs the same risks as victimhood, becoming and abstraction, a non-subject, leaving capital as 'the only real actor'(20).  The better analysis is offered by Boltanski and Chiapello, on the emergence of the category of flexibility in management discourse, as 'the recipe for salvation as far as labour policies were concerned' (20).  The point is that this category shows the conflict inherent in the notion of flexible employment: it is not just something with side effects that can be managed.

These argument show that we have 'an ambivalent genealogy of cognitive and flexible labour as internal to capital understood as a social relation' (21).  We are not arguing for a dialectic notion of contradiction here, and ambivalence is a better description of the genealogy, not a linear progress of history,  but a 'subjective matrix of a process determined by a field of antagonistic forces'.  There is no determinism, but rather contingency and historicity.  Labour must not accept the view that we are witnessing simply an evolution of events, but restore the notion of worker struggle to gain autonomy against subordination.

The university is a good site to pursue this issue.  Corporate organization and precariousness are visible, and there was the same struggle to see this in terms of conflict, not just natural development [or a simply necessary response to financial crisis in the British case].  Bologna had guided reform in Italy and was used as a justification for an apparently pure model.  Since Italian universities had hardly been studied, American universities emerged as a kind of yardstick.  Italian academics had always had a precarious phase at the beginning of their careers, as they worked their way towards tenured employment, and there had long been an academic periphery, such as an adjunct faculty.  But now, there is a much expanded development.  And there have been struggles against it, in Italy and the USA [some examples on page 23.  The struggles of graduate students to organise any union and demand rights for graduate assistants is particularly interesting].  There has also been a diversion into identity politics, or institutional politics, lobbying for a place within an accepted hierarchy.  This political process was seen in terms of becoming conscious of the opportunities emerging from the university
transformation.  A workerist orientation would see the composition of a potential class movement has blocked by these notions, themselves linked to technical developments.

The university is therefore a good site to understand 'cognitization', as an element of general transformation, which can be used to understand much wider changes and the composition of labour and the development of hierarchy.  We can also grasp cognitive labour at a more specific level, in a specific context.  This offers us different ways to understand the general relationships, but we are not arguing that the university itself is somehow hegemonic in the transformation of labour.  The task is to analyse the specifics and also develop 'a homogenous image of class composition' (24).

Although there is no simple relationship between technical and political competition, that does not mean that they are not connected: a connection is to be researched.  We can do this by investigating the production of living knowledge.  This concept recalls the Marxist notion of living labour as opposed to dead labour objectified in machines.  It points to the new qualities of cognitive labour, and new connections between the relations of production and the forces of production.  For Marx, knowledge had become objectified in capital, separated from labour, and even used in the struggle against labour, while making capital look like the most productive element.  Our analysis is interested in how a science and knowledge can also be incorporated in and by living labour.  For example, intellectual labour has become embedded in productive labour, but it is also a basis for autonomy, especially autonomy from machines.  The new 'general intellect'is therefore not completely objectified, but still depends on social cooperation and the production of knowledge.  It is thus 'inseparable from the subjects that compose it' (25).  Capital certainly struggles to turn all living labour into abstract labour, for example by insisting on measuring it, even if the units of time are entirely artificial—and the university offers many examples [doesn't it just!  The ludicrous simplifications of the quality assurance regulators, or the banalities of educational management spring to mind].  It is therefore important to see cognitive capacity as exceeding these limits—as an example of the tension between autonomy and subordination, 'self-valorization'against capitalist enclosure and domestication.

So the idea of producing living knowledge means both explaining how it arises, and how it can be productive, not just for capital but to lead to autonomy.  We need to research the material conditions in which either capitalist capture or collective autonomy might emerge.  One encouraging aspect is that these days, the reproduction of labour power as a commodity inevitably means the production of living knowledge as well.  Students are not just being formed up as labour power, but are cognitive producers in their own right [I wish this were generally true].  The production of living knowledge does not take place only in universities, but they are useful sites to study, especially since they now reveal 'a systemic crisis'(26), where modern universities are unrecognisable compared to the recent past, and where the old relationships with the state are at an end.  It is not just that corporate capital has penetrated academic life, more that universities must themselves become firms, capturing labour in order to compete: in some ways, university labour points the way to the future.  Thus we can move away from the usual analysis of universities as factories, to see general implications for the whole transformation of labour and capital.

Of course, universities are not uniform.  They still demonstrate apparently archaic or feudal relations and forms of government.  These are not just residues, but features of the transition as a complex and heterogeneous process, not going through simple stages.  We see this especially if we consider examples in other nations.  In Italy, Bologna is simply one aspect of a longer reform.  The specific principles have failed, and this is widely recognized, in popular discussions of the reduction of knowledge 'to the status of something purchased in the frozen food section of the supermarket' (28), and the continued failure to relate to work.  This unpopularity has also supported conservative views, however drawing upon a past academic world.  A better way to proceed would be to grasp the changes in the relations between public and private, seen in the move towards governance, as a flexible version of traditional forms.  Past and present features coexist, and the future is now a much more uncertain and precarious: there is no 'an accomplished project of "western" modernity to be brought to fruition' (29).  This helps us see that the conflict between living labour and capitalist capture is not one of different time periods.  The issues can be analysed in terms of an interest in the production of the common.  This is not just the old idea of cooperation.  It is about the production of subjectivity and social wealth, and the self organization of labour.  It is about attacking techniques of capitalists capture, forced now to deal with products rather than with regulating processes.  Financialization is only an aspect of the whole tendency to try to put a value, a measure, on that which cannot be measured.

We can search existing emancipatory fragments [the examples are black studies and self-education] in order to investigate the possibility of new forms of organization, autonomous cognitive labour, the 'institutions of the common', based on the excesses of modern cognitive labour beyond that which is required for capitalism.

Chapter two.  Coordinates of Capitalist Transition

The analysis of the transition has been much discussed in various accounts of 'posts'.  Beck has argued that we need new theories and apparatuses and habits of thought if we are to investigate '"second modernity"'(31).  Harvey referred to regimes of flexible accumulation, looking at the interdependence of various elements and hierarchies that form in different locations, borrowing from 'French Regulation' approaches.  These theorists broke with the idea of a simple development of capitalist rationality—for example, relations between consumption and accumulation have to be regulated, which usually means some control of salaries, and the development of other habits, laws and institutions. 

The contrast for Harvey is with the earlier 'Fordist - Keynesian system', with a different relationship between production consumption and political power.  As an aside, Fordism is not the same as Taylorism, since the latter is more abstract and disembodied, and focuses on production only, while Fordism regulated consumption as well. Fordism's rigidity did not survive the oil crisis of 1973 and the recession it brought.  However, an attempt to end rigidity was opposed by an organised working class, and it was this impasse which lead to new experiments in industrial organisation and new regimes of accumulation and regulation.  Flexibility, of productive processes and of the labour market, accompanies changing styles of consumption, while conventional space and time are compressed by technology and the new speed of communication.  Harvey borrows from Marxism to predict a cyclical crisis in the usual way, over- accumulation leading to the collapse of productive capacity and high unemployment, but there is a need to investigate how these cyclic trends are managed and absorbed so as not to threaten the social order: the usual responses are the 'devaluation of commodities, productive capacity and money; macroeconomic control through the institutionalisation of some systems of regulation…  and the absorption of this overaccumulation through the relocation of production' (34). 

Harvey builds on three different models to explain the transition—the role of entrepreneurial innovation overcoming rigidity; class struggle against organized capitalism leading to a disorganised capitalism, 'disintegration and incoherence'; a Marxist orientation to oppose technological determinism. However, Harvey still wants to operate with the centre periphery model, where intellectual labour is concentrated in the advanced nations.  However, there is no longer a convenient geographical or historical dimension to production and the creation of value [the particular example is the proliferation of sweat shops and near slavery conditions even in New York].  Conditions of labour are no longer different between centre and periphery, as we have seen with precariousness, which has deeply affected work relations in the west, including increasing stress and deteriorating relations with colleagues.  There is also a danger that we are back with some internal logic of capitalism, where the system resolves its own contradictions.  Instead, class struggle forces transitions, as it did with the transition from absolute or relative surplus value in the past.  There is even an Indonesian study of rainforest workers on so-called primitive accumulation, showing combinations of modern finance and 'archaic brutality' (36).  Capitalism is heterogeneous not neatly divided into spaces or time periods.

Silver has analysed transition between regimes of accumulation in terms of the effects of movements of workers and the development of specific class formations as the central variable.  In particular, transnationalism is the result of struggle, and reorganization follows conflict, including post Fordism.  Far from solving labour conflicts, postFordism simply led to the development of new ones in other areas of the planet: generally, labour is weakened in areas where production has emigrated, but strengthened in areas to which it has relocated.  It is a more complex picture than the simple idea of the race to the bottom. There may be patterns and overlaps, so that crises in one country can overlap with the beginnings of the same cycle in another.

The idea of linear progress through cycles of crisis is particularly criticized in post colonial studies, with its obvious underlying notion of liberal citizenship, and notions of victimhood discussed above.  Transitions to 'posts' do not end relations with colonial powers.  Colonialism appears at a global level, sometimes in a metropolitan form.  However, 'it cannot manage to become a system anymore'(38), so again anti colonial struggle has had an effect in producing a transition.  There are also processes of neocolonialism on the transnational scale.  Post colonialism therefore does not relate just to isolated geographical areas or spaces, but is a present force.

Overall, the transition is 'continually interrupted and rearticulated by forms of resistance', and it offers a complex 'differentiated synchronicity' (39) rather than linear progression.  The new forms are rearticulations of capitalist social relations in all their complexity, but this complexity itself is a qualitative matter, featuring friction, resistance, and destabilising tendencies—and thus 'the possibility of radical transformation'.

One way to consider the changes has been to talk about neoliberalism, using the administrations of Reagan and Thatcher as emblematic.  What is significant is that both of them were able to proceed only after having defeated two important strikes, air traffic controllers and miners respectively.  Apparently, both went on to develop monologic (pensée unique), apparently universal and totalizing categories.  This concept was useful to critique the moment of claims for the end of ideology, but it was flawed because
'it exclusively stresses capitalist initiative' (40), seeing the attack on workers' rights and globalization as some natural development.  Inside there was a nostalgic vision for the old nation state, and the concept of a pure society, which had to be defended against the economy [shades of Habermas and the life world].  It also underestimated the contradictions and currents of resistance, also taking the potential form of a global movement (for example the demonstration against the world trade organization in 1999—[note
that these are now, 2013, almost policed out of existence]).

Instead, we should see the transition to postFordism as the result of class conflict, and the innovation and mutation it provoked.  The conservative turn has not just turned back to the old regime, but is rather a necessary response to the conflicts of the sixties and seventies.  It was forced to incorporate some of the processes of innovation that were liberated by this struggle, and is therefore best seen as the product of the tension between capital and the resistance of proletarian and anti colonial groups.  These are not just local reactions to global changes either, because this also underestimates global capital as heterogeneous and conflict ridden.

Because a new forms of labour depends so much on knowledge language and communication, as a means of production, cognitive capitalism as a category offers some analytic progress.  For Lebert and Vercellone, the crisis of fordism included a critique of scientific management, and the growth of 'a diffuse intellectuality as a result of the "democratization of teaching"'(41), as well as greater demands for welfare and collective services.  It was not just a modernizing impulse from capitalism, nor can knowledge be seen in the positivist sense as somehow above social contradictions.  There is no technological determinism either, when considering the new information and communication technologies.  Instead, cognitive capitalism is seen as conflictual, with the persisting role of profit and the wage relation, aimed at extracting surplus value, in conflict with the new sources of valorization and conceptions of property.

Vercellone goes on to develop a whole new periodization of capitalism, with formal subsumption expressed in centralised manufacture, mercantile and financial mechanisms, and the strength of labour based on the role of craftsmen and trade workers.  Real subsumption accompanies industrialisation, stripping the skill out of labour by separating execution from conception, and developing a minority group of intellectual specialists: these go on to simplify labour, and develop fixed capital and organization, as in Fordism.  In the third stage, cognitive capitalism, the crises of fordism and rigid divisions of labour leads to a diffuse intellectuality, more immaterial labour: finance mechanisms are needed to coordinate such labour. 

We can use this model as long as we remember that the stages are not chronological, but coexist and intersect—and some Marxists have argued that this is the position for Marx himself.  In modern globalized capital, there are still underdeveloped regions with earlier forms of extraction of surplus value.  Marx apparently broke with teleological conceptions in the Grundrisse [as in the phrase that Izhave described elsewhere as an irritating metaphor—the capitalist mode of production in general is seen as an 'ether' which determines the 'specific gravity' of specific forms].

We must use this in a Marxist way, however, not just talking about simple complexity to attack simple models.  We need to analyze specific differences, but locate them in some general process.  When it comes to cognitive labour, we can see that it produces distinct class composition.  In particular, we should not accept that there is some long-term separation between manual and intellectual labour.  In this way, analysing cognitive labour helps us see coexisting relations in earlier forms [described as 'the becoming-
cognitive of labour'(45-6)].  For example, cognitive labour still requires the exercise of both mental and physical faculties, and is not confined to specific sectors of the labour force.  It should not be used as a category on its own, to somehow explains differences of income or forms of occupational discipline. 

As labour becomes cognitive, so does the response from capital in the form of measure and exploitation, regulating salaries, constructing new class hierarchies.  It is this that makes cognitive labour so important as 'a paradigm', or in the irritating metaphors in Grundrisse, '"a general illumination which bathes all the other colours and modifies their particularity"' (46).

The production of commodities like the Iphone cannot simply be explained by different specializations between first and third worlds: third world companies also play a role in technological innovation [but do they add cultural value, the key difference for people such as Goldman and Papson?].  We have to rethink the usual geographical and historical models of the international division of labour, as in advanced or developing regions, for example.  Instead, globalization can be seen to produce interpenetration between the regions, as it builds its networks.  An ethnographic study is cited, page 47, of the new forms of spatial divisions and connections appearing, as in the relation between China and Hong Kong.  There are still tensions between the increasing productivity of, say, Chinese labour, and the conversion of that productivity into valuable goods: this rise in productivity means that in Asia, 'employment in the manufacturing sector was diminishing' (47).

China actually is a good example of coexisting forms of production—hi tech and traditional labour.  The Chinese seem to be developing their own technological innovations without importing them from elsewhere.  Internal markets are as important as exports.  There has been a large investment in education.  Chinese innovation is therefore transforming the existing notion of globalization.

Generally, cognitive labour appears in metropolises, but the growth of cities has changed the usual classifications again: some people have seen this as de-urbanisation.  We also see in cities the importance of migrants, 'the paradigmatic subjects of the process of transformation' (49).  At the same time, new borders are being drawn, based on salary, for example, and it is these new borders that are now important in the organization of labour for capital.  There is a growing multiplication of regimes of control accordingly.  Other classic boundaries, like the ones between skilled and unskilled labour are changing—a study of Indian engineers, for example, who have moved to the USA, sometimes to work in Silicon Valley, shows that such migrants are often forced to be flexible in occupational terms, often declassed [despite their skills] [the process of recruiting such skilled personnel is apparently known as 'body shopping'].  We also find that 'traditional' ways of life are reinvented [including dowry and arranged marriage], even in India itself as a result of investment and de-urbanisation.  In this way, local communities often do not resist, but become valuable for capital [compensating skilled people for poor conditions in high tech occupations].

This also blurs the distinction between production and reproduction.  The reproduction of the labour force in these cases clearly shows both material and cognitive or cultural factors, especially 'in the production of "affection"' (50).  We see this with poorly paid emotional labour in the caring services.  To see this as 'feminised labour'means not just employing women, but looking at the various emotional and relational qualities that are being used, those which were traditionally associated with women.

Thus Iphones are both designed and produced in Taiwan and the USA, the high tech workers are sometimes migrants, they often occupied mixed positions in terms of rewards, and it is necessary that they are 'sustained by the invisible net of caring labour' (51).  [To be pompous about it] 'space - time coordinates…  are completely different with respect to the past', continually being redefined at the level of both cities and individuals.  Really poor labour conditions are internal to high tech, and high level education.  What
used to be split between first and third worlds is now copresent.  Struggles over borders of all kinds are likely to become a central theme of conflict.

It is common to celebrate new forms of networking, not just among radicals, particularly those involving the Net.  Even rightwing economists can celebrate the development of '"commons-based social production", and have opposed the conventional intellectual property system.  This has produced criticism of the patent system, for example, seen as a way to encourage restrictive practices.  Some have recognized the value of tacit knowledge which can only be expressed in networks, and which is difficult to translate into explicit knowledge: as a result, firms themselves should be organized in order to share knowledges.  This will of course produce an excess, above and beyond that which can be measured and appropriated.  For right wing thinkers, this shows the superiority of the free market, and the dangers of conservatism, which is holding capitalism back and is the source of crisis.  However, we can get from Marx the idea that the real crisis would be the collapse of the ability to quantify and thus manage labour, control its productivity and so on, with the emergence of the general intellect.  This would release an excess [which would make the claims of capitalism look redundant?].  Right wing economists, however, imagine that the excess will simply lead to a better kind of contemporary capitalism [a bit like the old leisure society thesis].

Nevertheless, the relationship between fixed and variable capital is now a problem.  Knowledge can no longer be completely transferred to machines owned by the firm.  Human beings become a new kind of fixed capital, and the management of human beings becomes primary.  The educational sector in particular becomes important as the source of investment in human capital, while welfare and health sectors, and even cultural sectors have a role.

The objectification of knowledge still goes on, and it gets embedded in machines, but in 'much shorter segments of time, from which there escapes an excess of living and social knowledge' (55).  One analysis might be the relation between proprietary and open source software—early attempts to claim copyright of software threatened the spread of software itself, and blocked innovation.  Hence the alliance between IBM and Linux and Microsoft's making available some of its code, and the adoption by commercial companies of open source as producing more networking. The growth of the Net itself shows the restrictions of intellectual property, and we now see the phenomenon of large corporations opposing intellectual property rights.  There is convergence between right wing and left wing commentators in support for the idea of capitalism without property found in Web 0.2 firms [Netscape started that].  For Roggero, however, the issue is whether this is an alternative to the free market, or an indication that capitalism now has to appropriate the common in a new way. [The first example of creeping doubts about the eventual triumph of the commons -- head dominates heart just for a second].

Capitalism now has to operate 'downstream', trying to manage a flow of goods and other works after they have been produced.  One consequence is that profit becomes more like rent, [with knowledge generating value by being used not owned?], a kind of return to feudalism.  However, new versions of rent require cooperation [the example is a rather idiomatic one referring to 'the cool hunter', page 57.  The principle seems to be that various branding agencies try to valorise existing forms and styles of life, but in a cooperative way not parasitic one—this could be rather like the way in which Nike 'empowers' women?].  Other convergences arise with open source software, which despite its cooperative nature, still provides rent for web companies.  When corporations work with open source, Roggero says it's still possible to detect both formal and real subsumption (57). Firms have reorganised their productive structures, and made their boundaries more porous with social production.  They should not be seen by the punters as attempting to take over networks [since this would diminish the creativity of the network ].  Similarly, managers must encourage productive networks and patterns in the community, and not just exploit them for the benefit of the firm [too late for educational managers!].

Marx's scheme of transition seems to begin with primitive accumulation, which then comes to act as a kind of mythical starting point for capitalism.  Really, the process acts as an original separation of labourers from the ownership of the means of production.  The separation has to be continually repeated and extended, so capitalism has to reinvent itself every day.  We can have no simple linear progression, no simple periods or successions.  The transition has to be continually repeated, private appropriation has to constantly capture new appearances of the common.  There is no simple geographical division.  The economic has always been interwoven with the social and political.  The current attempt to appropriate knowledge is yet another appearance of this process.  However [and right at the end, the optimistic reversal] —'the production of the common nonetheless permanently reopens the reversability of the processes of transition'(59).

Chapter three.  Corporatization of the university

[Now we have got the basics of the class derivation view, we can crack on a bit faster]

We might be moving to a post fordist university, or towards academic capitalism [Italian and American terms respectively].  [I also like Ritzer's McUniversity] Academic capitalism has to be seen as not so much for private ownership, but as the increasing importance of market forces and capitalist definitions, such as human capital and entrepreneurship.  Again, this seems to happen at a global level, but it is useful to examine two case studies, the USA and Italy.

In the USA, the crucial date seems to have been 1980, the Bayh-Dole Act, which moved universities towards entrepreneurship, external funding, links with the corporations, and the use of terms such as stakeholder.  Intellectual property was also developed, for example in patenting certain DNA sequences.  This particular Act is only one in quite a long history of the development of corporate universities, private funding, corporate management, links with the market and industry, intellectual property, and 'the concentration of power in the hands of university administrations' (63), with a growing management function for academics.  In Europe, it was 1999 and Bologna, aimed at reforming the university systems in Europe, through a transformed curriculum structure [between initial general and specialized], the development of educational credits [as a solution to the issue of measuring student performance], and a certain 'diversification of educational offerings' (64).

Bologna also met resistance and inertia.  Apparently, the British were able to ignore it because they already had a model of higher education that was close to it.  In Italy, it was different, since the Process was intended to drive through reform.  It was implemented immediately to forestall resistance, while other European countries took a more gradualist approach—in Germany, there were two kinds of higher education organizations, old and new, and reforms were driven more by incentives. The reforms are widely understood to have failed, but they remain important to understand transformations of the university.

Comparing Italy with the USA is not easy, since in the USA there is no national regulation of universities, but a whole range, from ivy league to community colleges.  In Italy, the state can decide the shape of both curriculum and pedagogy, while individual institutions manage themselves.  Italian universities do not fit any of the three major models—Anglo Saxon, Humboldtian or Napoleonic'(66) [Lyotard is good on these].  Institutional autonomy is considered to be a major goal in reform.  The Italian State has tried to assume some 'procedural autonomy'(67), on the means to operate, but, more effectively, through insisting that universities come to see themselves as efficient businesses.  Italian companies, which tend to be small and specialized, are not interested in investing in education research, unlike the USA.  As a result, the state remains as the only real source of funds, and this limits the development of modern governance [management] in Italy [local autonomy within a capitalist system].

A number of commentators have noticed that the university in the sense they knew it no longer exists—for example, according to Readings, the university is in ruins, having lost its link with nation states and national culture, and becoming a bureaucratic transnational corporation working with global companies.  Instead of reason or culture, the university now pursues an abstracted 'excellence'.  These trends are exaggerated by the precariousness of academic workers who are also forced into producing 'dereferentialized' knowledge (68).

The notion of pursuing excellence turns universities into simulacra, responding to student demands of 68, and reflecting the turn to corporatization.  Universities now cultivate human resources, and operate with cost benefit analysis.  Education now becomes a matter of accumulating course credits.  Students are allowed as customers to express the degree of their satisfaction with the service they have purchased. The university now becomes not just an ideological state apparatus to produce the relations of production, but a generator of surplus value through the 'production of subjectivity'(69).

Corporatizaton does not just refer to the balance of private and state funds.  Often, these are combined, for example with private funding and public enrollment of students.  Italy has so little private investment in universities that it is scarcely appropriate as a term in this sense.  However, universities are operating according to corporate parameters—accountability, planning knowledge production, measuring outcomes, and now even measuring impact [Roggero says this initially meant the effects on economic development of the surrounding region].  The old debate about public or private is no longer adequate.

'The theory of "new public management"' (70) is both an intellectual movement and a philosophy of reform, borrowing techniques and logic from private organizations.  Specifically, it introduces competitive mechanisms in allocating resources, the reduction of state funding, a concern with customer satisfaction, ensuring the comparability of different values produced by teaching and research [through accreditation and quality criteria], a modification of internal governance, rethinking the mission according to corporate values, and undertaking competition.  Universities now operate as one corporation among others in the educational market, and there has been a proliferation of them.  One case study shows that in India, private institutions have provided the demand for high tech skills and accreditation.

In Italy, corporatization still seems remote, although the state is introducing its values.  The Italian route is best seen as an '"adaptive logic"' (71).  Different forms coexist, including feudal ones, 'artisanal research activity', precarious post fordist labour relations, even just in time organization delivering graduates to the market [Marjon meeting the short term demand for speech therapists] , and increasingly ferocious competition for the diminishing state funds.  Some Italian universities have formed an elite group, with international reputations, and they have resisted corporatism: the group now bargains for state funds in competition with an organization of Italian University Rectors [the feudal barons, Roggero calls them].  Again, we should not see these feudal elements as historical leftovers, but as playing an active role in developing complex kinds of knowledge factory.

This last category has been developed by Aronowitz among others, and again it has to be modified.  It certainly alludes to the current 'productive becoming of university'(72), including the way in which labour is now disciplined [and the examples are 'frenetic modularisation', and the 'vertiginous acceleration of the times and rhythms of study']. However, the term can not be pushed too far.  For example there is no equivalent of Taylorism, applied to assembly lines [ed tech got close, OU production makes it closer] .  It is even possible, that the link has gone the other way, that modern enterprises have become more like universities, with much more autonomy for employees, and their location on campuses.  Nevertheless, this contradiction between capitalist measure, and the creative potential of university relations, provides the possibilities for both conflict and transformation.

Measurements of process and output is crucial to capitalism, while education has become more 'plural and complex' (74).  Education also seems to provide an excess, beyond the traditional spaces which limit individuals, including the family and school as well as university and work.  Without measurement, the capitalist criteria for exchange and the allocation of value cannot proceed, and there is no way of grasping products which increase their value as they are spread and shared.  Somehow, capitalism has to reimpose some
artificial scarcity. Credit transfer and accumulation systems are one attempt, where knowledge is simply reduced to a notion of time spent in HE.

We need to develop a 'political economy of knowledge'.  There has been a number of attempts to transform scientific knowledge into a commodity, but never in such an intense way [following the rapid application of knowledge, and the introduction of commercial agendas and time frames].  Universities themselves now market their own products, both directly, and through a longer term transformation of the utility of knowledge in terms of market factors.  This has now become permanent and institutionalized, working through the growth of intellectual property, new research groups set up to generate patents, and the encouragement of entrepreneurial spin offs.

The university and the firm are now interpenetrated, where 'the functions of various actors overlap'(75)—universities are entrepreneurs, firms take on educational functions.  Exploratory and applied research converge.  Science now becomes immediate in terms of its application, with no long-term.  The public interest is sometimes evoked to protect commercial secrets.  These have contradictory affects as argued above.

The autonomist line is to see knowledge as having been stolen, produced by cooperation, despite the appearance of managerial organization, and then captured, even the 'micro acts of resistance, refusal and sabotage'(76) [which are seen as worker inspired useful short cuts].  As an example, the result of biotechnology have become 'biocapital' —the whole set of social relations in which biotechnology can be valorized.

It is not that the genome itself has been patented, but rather how to produce knowledge of it.  As a consequence, 'life is produced as a data and knowledge sequence' (77), a transformation of what was earlier considered to be natural.  It is important that capitalist mechanisms exist to take risks in these innovations.  The genome has been abstracted just as has money.  Patenting the production of value avoids some of the rigidity of earlier forms, which focused on specific products.  Investment in the production of knowledge is sometimes called conversion, a similar process to translation, although of a particularly narrow kind, one which goes on inside an agreed language [for example in the ability to narrowly abstract as above].  Capitalism can be seen as continually translating heterogeneous knowledge into capitalist knowledge, which is linear and progressive, and abstract. This translation can operate upstream to complement to capture downstream. 

Another example is the notion of investment in human capital, based on calculations of possible productivity, using actuarial principles borrowed from insurance [apparently, such investment now includes investment in bodily health and social relations].  The concept therefore reduces human life to a term compatible with capitalism, and, since human capital is inseparable from the person who possesses it, the subject also becomes transformed into a kind of firm, or entrepreneur.  There is a link here with human capital interests in genetic research.

The university takes on a new role of credentializing, including the accumulation of human capital.  The process shows the contradictions over the notion of the subject discussed above.  Knowledge becomes abstract, and this is the object of a political struggle.  To analyze these conceptions of knowledge necessarily means 'the critique of the subject of modernity and of the uniform model of capitalist temporalization'(79).

Universities are also moving from exclusion to 'differential inclusion' (80), with different types of involvement in different types of university.  Tight selection has disappeared [Roggero wants to say this is partly the result of student revolts, at least in Italy].  European countries still vary in terms of their proportions of university graduates, one target of Bologna.  In the USA, the system has been institutionalized with its different levels of degree [the Ph.D. was invented in the USA] and the hierarchy of colleges, and the development of a series of attitudinal tests, persisting in the regulation of ambition.  In both America and Europe, selection is still suspected of being partisan, however.

The development of mass education 'and diffuse intellectuality' has produced a potential for crisis, however.  As a result, universities now have to focus on a more qualitative kind of inclusion and exclusion, including selection inside the institution [especially the kind we developed, with lots of friendly inclusive continuous assessment completely canceled out by nasty formal exams at the end, which apparently attracted only a small weight].  This is parallel to what has happened with the changes in 'normal work' discussed before, where unemployment is now an integral aspect of work.  In this operation, people encounter their first experience of precariousness, in forms they will meet in work.  The different qualifications produced by university systems actually contribute to exclusion, since everyone now needs them, and only high quality ones are accepted for less precarious labour.  At the same time, 'Degrees are a necessary but not sufficient condition for movements within the occupational system' (81).

The old demand for an education has been accompanied with devaluation of knowledge and degrees.  People now have to navigate a whole series of filters and divisions, between institutions and programmes, which effectively regulates them.  Some student movements have tried to struggle with these tendencies.  In America [and UK], students take on additional debt as well, while in Italy the family tends to bear the cost.  In the USA, a growing system of loans seems to be dependent on merit.  Nevertheless, early adult life is now characterised by substantial debts, the transfer of risk, where failure becomes a matter for individual guilt.  Precariousness becomes permanent, together with notions of risk or investment, and other forms of financial valorization.  Bologna can be seen as simply the transfer of regulatory principles in post fordism to universities.  It's possible to see that one of the implicit objectives was the development of general precariousness, as a disciplinary technique, rather than the narrower goals of vocationalism, and this objective has been achieved [apparently, the Bologna group openly recognised this outcome, defining it the institutionalisation of a power relation, becoming 'a genetic condition'(84), becoming part of the self perception of the individual].

So the university now is merely one of those metropolitan forms of labour power regulation, aimed at the production of knowledge.  Students become much more hybrid and precarious, as the education and labour market converge, assisted by internships and placements, and students who work during their studies.  The usual linear progression between present and future is changed, as the future increasingly intrudes 'for the normalization of the present' (84).  Students have become workers, even though they are still 'peculiar and unpaid'.  In Italy, resistance to Bologna was assisted by student practices continuing to move from general to specialist, perhaps 'prolong the form of life, to accredit themselves on the skills market, to put off, to explicitly refuse "normal" employment, or may be in some combination of these things' (85).  A new solidarity is emerging in the new conditions [one-line optimism as usual at the end].

Chapter four.  The Production of Living Knowledge

For some economists, the development of networks has weakened capitalist domination, while producers have become convergent with consumers.  There is an notion of self organization here, as a naturalist process.  Class becomes irrelevant in the face of individuals and communities.  Beck says something similar happens in second modernity—everything, including conflict, becomes individualised, and higher education has played a major role in weakening class culture.  He even sees Marx in terms of immiseration and alienation as blocking individualization, so that even for Marx class is an historical phenomenon, economically determined, and has now been surpassed.

This is an example of how class has been interpreted as stratification, referring to different occupational levels of income, combinations of different elements.  In some Marxist traditions, class is a matter of objective membership of a location.  Both approaches see class as fundamentally economic.  Analyses of knowledge work, like that of Drucker, follows this argument—knowledge workers emerge as the leading stratum.  Others have followed this view of knowledge workers as somehow in the vanguard.  We find the same view in accounts of the creative class, the creative sector, and so on, possibly internally divided into an elite group and others.  This leaves the declining working class.  It has even been possible to measure creative capital, on lines similar to that of human capital, although placing more emphasis on occupation rather than educational qualifications, because these are likely to be redundant. Other analyses of class restore the notion of conflict within the creative class, distinguishing between those who actually innovate, and those who monopolise information and its vectors—it follows that this creative group must become a class in itself and for itself, acquiring class consciousness, in order to fully developed capitalist innovation. These analyses are like those of the middle classes in the past, seen as a classically important stabilising and progressive layer for capitalism.  Any political activity will be limited to demands for recognition and appropriate rights, which justifies existing hierarchies and systems, including segmented labour markets.

How well does the workerist notion fit modern conditions?  The issue is the relation between technical composition and political composition of class.  There is no historical mission for classes, nor an automatic relation with production, 'because class does not ore-exist the material and contingent historical conditions of its subjective formation' (92).  Class formation is what is at stake in the struggle, as well as a precondition of it [and Althusser is cited in support of the preeminence of struggle—a kind of political-derivation theory].  For workerists, notions of class as produced and defined by capitalism have to be refused.  However, this analysis also depended on the factory system as central: new notions of productive and unproductive labour are required to analyse current compositions, including the role of cognitive labour.

Class emerges in the 'cleavage between labour power and working class' (93).  It is a split, as in  the notion of the citizen in Marxism.  The process can be described as 'becoming partial, in which the irruption of class interrupts and overturns universalist rhetoric', and this characterises subjectivity.  We have to follow Marx away from circulation into the "hidden abode of production".

Capitalist production requires cooperative relations in order to produce and reproduce.  How does this work with cognitive labour specifically?  Examining New York University can help—it is both a global university, and an important player in New York itself, especially gentrifying or studentifying the city.  It happens to be expanding into areas normally occupied by Puerto Ricans  [actually Nuyoricans].  The spatial boundaries of the university are much less clear, and university administrators are beginning to have a role in metropolitan development based on the university, not on the classic service sector.  The area being colonised used to be 'an mportant space for social movements and counter cultures' (95), and even spawned new York's hi tech area—'silicon alley'.  What we're seeing is the '"industrialisation of Bohemia"'.  The value of this cultural space is to preserve differences, which are important for economic development, just as the 1960s countercultures 'resides in the very DNA of the creative class'.  Tolerance is productive for economic growth, as long as it is domesticated.  This is just like the development of links with open source networks for companies.  New York University is helping to build a creative city, again with abstract knowledge, stripped from the actual social relations that produce them—'knowledge in general'(96).  [Nice autonomist take on city gentrification --useful complement to the usual British stuff]

This has similarities with the Marxist concept of abstract labour, which again appear to offer freedom and universal rights, but permitted exploitation.  [The argument seems to be that this is the source of the optimistic notion of eternal resistance].  Living labour stands as a contradiction to abstract labour. We need to go on to analyse subjectivity.  Here, Marxism used concepts like ideology and consciousness, located in a superstructure, or the product of an historical process.  The notion of subjectivity also offers more dynamism than that of culture which tends to be seen as essentialist.  It is not the case that subjectivity is just produced by the functioning of capitalism, including functional conflicts.  There is a permanent tension instead between capitalist subjectification and other forms [which does tend to look a bit like Habermas]: the other forms are excessive compared to capitalism's needs, and act as the basis of autonomy, 'multiplicity and resistance'(97).  Indeed, we can see struggles over subjectivity like this are as marking history itself, in the form of 'different becomings'.

Capitalism must try to stabilise the relation between social relations or social production, and market firms.  The modern university is a good example of such an interface, where a lot of blurring takes place, between productive and unproductive labour, between life and labour, between objective and subjective conditions of production.  A new form of productive labour appears in the constant 'artificial imposition of measure and of the regime of the salary', a process not without conflict.  [Rather like Habermas's veterans who can remember a premanagerial era], past histories can constantly appear to interrupt totalization.  Capitalism can not fully control living knowledge, but has to divide and capture it, enclose it, as in the example of the creative city above.  But 'these borders can never crystallise at the risk of losing the dynamic management of knowledge and excessive that is at the heart of innovation' (98).

The relations between cognitive labour and capital are dominated by this movement between autonomy and capture, open frontiers and rigid borders.  Marx's example of laborers deserting factories in America in order to develop land for themselves [and an hilarious account of British entrepreneurs finding the same thing when they relocated to Australia] shows how wage labour itself has to be manufactured.  The same goes with an account of leaving and protest in East Germany.  Initially, the options were voice or exit, but in the last days, the two combined to make the regime collapse.  Exit does not always weaken voice.

Cooperative labourers want to retain flexibility, but without the precariousness.  Mobility itself therefore becomes a key source of conflict [both the migration of capital and outsourcing].  Labour is no longer loyal either, and can cite back to their bosses the rhetoric of flexibility and post fordism.  Increasing loyalty is now the problem for transnational corporations, or '"worker selfishness"'(101) [long seen as a problem, dating back at least to the affluent worker studies of the 1980s—the cash nexus is no ground for a loyal relationship].  Why should not living labour be as flexible and mobile as capital?

There is also the problem of customer retention and the new 'spectre that haunts cognitive firms: knowledge theft'.  Because living labour can never be fully abstracted, it can also disappear from a firm: intellectual property laws have contradictory outcomes as we saw.  This is another example of an excess.  Exit and voice are strong enough to offer a thorough interruption of capitalist capture.  We also see 'a sort of excess of passion' (102), especially among precarious university workers.  There is a danger that such passion will simply help people put up with the otherwise unacceptable conditions, but it can also lead to a search for autonomy.  Even Bologna saw the need for such autonomy to guarantee self development and self training.

The clash between autonomy and subordination is essential to modern capitalism, rather than hierarchy.  It is a matter of 'the quality of inclusion', and the response to inadequate quality, the development of exit and voice.  This is the sense in which 'the material constitution of subjectivity' is the issue.  To some extent, it rewards talented individuals whose skill remains even if transnational companies come and go, since it can not be transferred.

The case of New York University is useful again, in the struggles that developed there.  It was forced to recognize the union of graduate students, although it then tried to marginalize or break it.  Graduates mobilised in response, offering 'demonstrations, acts of disobedience (with over 100 arrests),  and the proclamation of an ongoing strike' (104).  The University argued that graduates should be understood as students not workers, apprentices at most.  There is also the matter of academic freedom, 'the longstanding hobby horse of liberals' (105)—if graduates choose to be workers, they can no longer claim the rights of academic freedom.  This latter argument found a response in the self-perception of faculty as professionals not workers, and there is some value in claiming a traditional role.  However, the struggle did 'break with the usual imaginaries'.  In this way, the most precarious are often the most active—and most unionised in America.

This conflict over the meaning of academic apprentices indicated how the traditional relationship between graduate and professor has been broken, precisely by precariousness and lack of guarantees, as well as universities demanding to exercise the rights over any intellectual property.  Sometimes the debate used terms from former varieties of training, invoking the suspension of normal labour rights in apprenticeships, but the modern context of precariousness and graduate debt is combined with this formerly feudal notion.  Overall, Roggero thinks that forcing the issue meant by graduates exposed the class line quite clearly, and polarized faculty.

Mobility is important for graduates in American universities, and is even expected.  It can help the precarious, as we saw.  However, struggles like the ones in New York also show that individual strategies are difficult to turn into collective ones, and there was some interest in defending the traditional academic roles.  Nevertheless, the possibility of exit widens the options beyond demands for rights in particular organisations—in Italy, it certainly damaged feudal loyalties in universities.  It also makes people realise that academic conventions are often the result of informal codes, particular discourses, taking on the strength of an order of truth in Foucault's terms.

Some researchers have been content to demand a permanent position, validating hierarchy and competition, and have abandoned the construction of an alternative discourse.  Some have adopted a status identity which has also prevented them from liaising with students and others who are precarious.  Voice has not always questioned context [because exit is not available for all—this reminds me of the old studies on the apparent deferentialism of agricultural workers, who simply were powerless in the absence of any alternative work]. Some engaged in struggle have contented themselves with simple bread and butter demands.  This also leaves unchallenged techniques of control and capitalist operations. 

It is the concept of class that needs to be revived, to articulate differences, disjunctively of course, and trace back singularities to what they have in common.  Specifically, we should focus on technical composition as the basis for differential inclusion and various other kinds of capitalist articulations, but we should not restrict ourselves to struggles over technical composition, the politics of recognition, or the demand for difference within a hierarchy.  Instead, we should follow Rancière and argue for disidentification, a challenge to the supposed naturalness of positions in hierarchies, a challenge to capitalist articulation.  We're talking about 'becoming class'(110), something to be achieved in struggle, the more general mode of subjectification [still Rancière—Disagreement: Between Politics and Philosophy].  But the same time, we need to maintain the relations between technical and political composition.  Both the processes involve the production of subjectivity and the domination of capitalist valorization: both can be seen as snapshots of the processes of conflict at stake.  The issue is to try and develop a new individuated relationship between the two, building on the inherent tensions in them.  The old simplicities of fordism will not do.  Nor do accounts of individualization like Beck's stand up: mass education and a shift to cognitive production have not ended class formation, because there are still possibilities in the new context.  New forms of commonality will not result automatically, but must be struggled for.

Chapter five.  Borders and Lines of Flight

We can use the same analysis of how flexibility emerges as a form of discipline and response to struggles to understand some of the debate about the decline of political and trade union organisation.  The usual approach sees this decline as a result of the attack on labour rights, fragmentation, individualization and so on, often taking the existing forms of labour parties or  trades unions are somehow natural.  However, the network, so important as the technical form, can also be an organisational model, given its role in the development of collective cognitive labour and intelligence.  However, again, care has to be taken not to see this in capitalist terms, or idealist terms—networks are also uneven, striated, clustered, and hierarchical.

Networks should aim at overturning valorization and capture: the network is not simply the abstract opposite of hierarchy [a point against any simple oppositions between tree and rhizome].  Capitalist networks are techniques of governance, aimed at capturing productions downstream.  The issue is to organize a network of production.  At the same time, electronic networks have ceased to be simply useful for capitalism in objectifying human activity.  They are used in the search for freedom as well, and stand as a living
demonstration of the specificity of the factory as a site for work.

The same tensions are apparent in universities with e-learning and distance education technologies [fully developed in the USA, says Roggero].  They are designed to cut costs, especially labour costs, and to permit a widespread privatisation in the market through the for-profit university like the University of Phoenix.  It adds to precariousness and devaluation of knowledge, and helps manage conflict and social relations—the administration provide the only organised perspective.  However there is resistance by unions and other groups, and they sometimes use the web themselves to organise networks and special interest groups, circulating living knowledge among the precarious.  This idea has taken particular route in Italy, while in the USA, the traditional union is still a major player, as in the struggle for recognition described earlier.  However, in the USA, unions are dominated by organisations, and are actually chosen by them, and membership is based on specific interest.  Sometimes this produces unlikely alliances—'project based representation' (116).  This is suitably flexible, but again attracts no loyalty from members, and they can shift between unions.  Unions classically confine themselves to rights and privileges and bread and butter issues, and can even help in governments, as in the craft guild.

In Italy, there is a 'National Network of Precarious Researchers' (117), although this turned into a small lobby.  The polemical objective was good, but it was difficult to realise, and the network turned into a collection of issues rather than a well organized group.  This shows there is no necessarily emancipate read potential in networks.  An Italian ethnographic study [connected with the work of the legendary politician Beppe Grillo] showed that important factors included how the meetups were organized, who were likely to be activists [often young adult males with degrees], the extent to which virtual communities combat solitude, and the importance of telling life stories to build relationships.  Disillusion with traditional unions can become 'bitter populism'(118), based on a perception of exclusion from existing hierarchies.  There is even a respect for meritocracy, and criticism takes the form of condemnation of corruption.  There is no realisation that precariousness results from the normal workings of capitalism. 

Formally horizontal organizations need to become substantively horizontal, while managing 'the irreducible excess of singularities'.  It is important to engage in 'heterolingual translation', resisting abstraction and dominant ideology, and talking exclusively in 'the language of singularity and of multiplicity…  The language of the common' (119).

Capital is now so globalized that there is no geographical exterior, no central periphery, no historical elimination of earlier forms such as primitive accumulation.  There is a constant attempt to reduce everything to the language of value.  This is 'a "capitalist common"'.  The only frontier that matters now is not a natural one, but one that runs through social relations.  The notion of the commons includes that which exists in nature and 'that that must be defended from modification' (120). Polanyi is important here, in his analysis of the struggle between self regulated markets and social relations, 'utilitarian principles and communitarian cohesion'.  Capitalist analysis becomes something deviant, 'an "inhuman" utopia'.  Social ends must be reasserted against means.

The analysis has been applied to understanding the net economy, with free contributors on one hand and monopolies of information on the other.  Virtual communities have emerged to prevent commodification through alliances with hackers, or by trying to develop a new culture such as anarchocapitalism, or possibly just the empowerment of consumers.  This struggle is apparent in areas such as intellectual property or copyright.  [We have learned above that capitalists also want to attack this concept, though]. 

None of these subjects engaged in struggle can be reduced to social class, it is argued, and we can see the struggle is a matter of colonisation and counter colonization of markets.  Again, workerism and Marxism seem to be redundant. However, this is another kind of economism [shades of Althusser's Reply to John Lewis], which takes capitalism and its word, as simply an actor that must be regulated by society, separately from cultural struggles.

The issue again is what is the subject of the conflict—the preservation of something natural or uncontaminated against capitalism?  If so, subject or individuals and society, conceived classically as universal subjects and organic wholes respectively, both standing for humanity itself.  In the scenarios, class is abandoned, but these new identities are just as dubious, but have to be maintained for fear of an 'undifferentiated multitude' (122).  Similarly, the state and sovereignty are seen to be the representatives of society against the economy.  Politics becomes negative and defensive.  The only argument is a normative one about defending individuals from catastrophe.

Polanyi's views seem to be supported by the emergence of a number of networks, including open source and free software.  The web become seen as 'an uncontaminated space of cooperation', and participants think they have escaped to the market, ignoring issues of capture and exploitation.  In fact, these networks are a ' motor for capitalist accumulation' and forms that can even develop into 'free labour and self exploitation' (123).  There is been debate about whether a 'digitariat'is emerging, neither proletarianised nor marketized -- the return of a 'guild mentality'for Roggero.  Members can see themselves as a labour aristocracy, struggling against monopoly over issues such as copyright.  Bourdieu reminds us that intellectuals are 'a fraction dominated by the dominant class', so the struggle for open source is really a narrative of a class fraction—and another example of the production of modern subjectivities and attempts to control them.

The main requirement is 'to denaturalize knowledge'.  Knowledge is not itself necessarily opposed to capital, nor is it already a commons.  It must become one in the struggle for autonomy.  There is no abstract idea of humanity to unite singularities, but rather 'specific relations which are at every moment constituted in multiplicitous forms'.  Nature is not the same as biocapital, and there is a similar risk that identifying the commons as a matter of nature will expose it to capitalist juridical relations. 

Cognitive labour should concern itself with autonomy and corporation, which will immediately engage with struggles over exploitation.  Struggle should take both forms of struggles against proletarianization, and struggles over the whole organization of production—there is no linear history that connects the two, since capital is constantly engaged in valorization.

There are real immediate implications.  For example, we can see gentrification or studentification as capitalism colonizing existing communities, with 'extraordinary violence' (124) in which case we would struggle to conserve such areas.  However, communities are already inside a transformed social composition, while traditions are easily coopted as we saw in the development of high Tech Industries.  We need instead to connect studentification with the whole process of extending the system of rent based on exploiting precarious work in universities through high finance and investment.  There is a constant struggle between the mobile transverse crossing of borders, and attempts to recompose them and make them artificially natural.  However, the conditions of metropolises can often help participants see what they have in common and translate their conflicts [an example is given in New York where graduate students linked up with transportation workers and did common picketing—like those marvelous Italian examples where workers in power companies refuse to cut off those withholding their payments].

So the common arises out of conflict between collective production of subjectivity, and capital's continuing attempt to valorize it.  We need to go both beyond liberal notions of the individual and 'the socialist cult of the collective' (125).  The common is 'therefore not universal; singular, therefore not individual; multiple, therefore not natural' (125).

A lot of critics of the university display a nostalgia for the old ideals [Stoakes and Cooper say they yearn for the Humboldtiann University!], or apology for technocratic demands.  They want to energise critical thought against deferential versions, acting within the ruins to produce a detournement, operating on the borders to keep them as open frontiers.  American universities literally benefited from the existence of the frontier, developing a number of autonomous initiatives rather than cooperate with a hierarchy.  We have also seen the importance of the frontier when discussing exit and voice.  Capital must recapture this autonomous cognitive labour, which turns into a struggle over a voice.  We have seen that the existence of a frontier with flight does not always produce liberation— and new territories can also feature oppression and exploitation, but even slavery was the unwilling vehicle to circulate subversive political culture [the reference here is Gilroy].

The important issue about the production of an knowledge is that it is temporal and that this affects the spatial, so that exit is not necessarily geographical, and an 'outside', an arena for struggle, is not meant to be taken geographically.  The outside must be produced in living knowledge.  The struggle is often about time, as E.P. Thompson demonstrated in the early struggles about factory discipline, and the eventual demands for adequate payment for time. 

In universities, the issue becomes one of self education.  This can be incorporated in the production of the flexible individual.  Self education is not just courses organized by and for students, as in 1960s countercourses, but attempts to make people solve the contradictions of the system themselves, by building their capacities, including those for entrepreneurship.  This sort of self education became important in the 1970s.  Advocates of autonomous organisation need to take on this capitalist capture—one strategy appears to involve demanding credit for self education in such a way as to produce '"inflation" of its unit of measure' (128).  [one example here might be the way in which work experience or life experience gets credit in a way that completely demoralises university professionals].  The best of it goes for autonomous institutions and aims to construct autonomy.

An aspect might be the production of oppositional knowledges.  Black studies will be an important case study here [and gender studies].  They originated outside the academy, in social movements not academic specialisms.  They have been a central demand in student revolts, strikes and occupations.  Conventional attempts to include black students had failed to incorporate them.  One corporate strategy in response to their establishment in universities was to reward 'moderate' black leaders and students and[punish 'extremists'.  Another was to treat race in terms of an affirmative action programme, even a race industry, while changing the terms from 'black' to 'African-American', to remove any connection with Black Power.  [The agent of these strategies was a politician who was also chair of the Ford Foundation—McGeorge Bundy].  These counter strategies have been quite successful in recuperating black studies departments through a form of partial inclusion and affirmation, an example of how capital can feed off differences.  However, black studies have not been completely dominated, and are still capable of producing debates about legitimacy.

Thus we can see these moves towards autonomous education as fragments that can occasionally interrupt and question dominant narratives.  They are still immune to recuperation and domestication, especially in academic forms of governance.  They can even provide a certain energy to keep universities alive and operating to produce value.  Opposition is not enough—movements have to avoid being made compatible—'becoming-institution' (132).  However, this also means that governance never fully achieves control, and is open to a number of interruptions from a number of places.  Sometimes these interruptions can link up [demand for black studies, demand for women studies, and demand for queer studies?].  Concrete political forms are denaturalized.  Class composition is immanent.  As a result, 'the institutions of the common trace their line of flights from the crisis of the dialectic between public and private, and are continually traversed by the possibility of their subversion' (133). [pessimistic conclusion for a change].

Chapter six.  Brief Observations on Method

Three splits have affected Italian sociology – between disciplinarity and interdisciplinary, between theory and practice, and between macro and micro.  Big issues have included the difference between subject and objects, research and observer effects.  Sociology has also been undertaken by extra academic groups, including the workerists, who did research into the conditions at the end of fordism.  These were '"anarcho- sociologists"' (136) [especially the Quaderni Rossi lot].  They also introduced international comparisons.  This was the origin of coresearch [conricerca], both political and methodological as an approach.  Such research requires cooperation people in different positions with different knowledge and experience, and aims at transformation from the interior, including the constitution of alterity [I am glossing the definition on 136].  Disciplinary boundaries are no longer relevant, and theory is supposed to be united with practice, akin to Althusser's theoretical practice.

Observers enter the interior of the processes being analysed, and can become the subject of their own research, through realizing that knowledge is always linked to partial perspectives.  The apparently naive outsider of tradition ethnography is abandoned,  but nor is there a drift towards autoethnography.  The approach denies capitalist universalism and acknowledges that all spaces for observation must be partial.

There was an earlier version called worker inquiry, based on Marx's work of political economy, aiming to be rigorous and logically coherent.  The aim is to develop knowledge for political organization of the market.  However, it still flirted with the idea of neutral science, and with producing knowledge that someone else could use [this is rephrased pompously as introducing a temporal distinction between knowledge and use, a device to preserve the neutrality of science while blaming users for any evil effects]. 

Both these assumptions are challenged by coresearch.  There is a need to avoid empiricism, however as well as a phony egalitarianism between interviewer and interviewee.  However, both positions can be seen as singularities referring to a common process.  There is the same struggle to achieve 'horizontality and equality'(138).  The issue of subjectivity is raised right at the beginning, and all parties have to free themselves from idealism, such as classic notions of class consciousness. 

In particular, this is led to an understanding of worker passivity – not just the result of factory discipline, nor full integration into capitalism [and the Frankfurt school comes in for criticism here], but as the refusal of labour, as hatred for worker conditions.  Traditional socialists and communists found this difficult—when workers began demanding '"more money less work" rather than justice' (139).  Deterministic accounts invoking base and superstructure were replaced by examining actual relations between technical and political composition [reminds me of the work on working class images of society in Britain, all the more general work on the 'structuration' of consciousness at the level of the company].  Ideas of the linear progression to full consciousness had to be abandoned in favour of a more aleatory connection between the productive system, subjectivation, and the ability to develop antagonistic organisation [the reference is to Althusser again,, but it could be Deleuze].

Coresearch has criticised science in quite a different way from post moderns who have announced the end of grand narratives.  The issue turns on relating theory and practice within the overarching framework of living labour.  In this way, scientific truth is to be seen not as objective or absent altogether, but as emerging from 'a relation between forces'(140) 'the product of a process of cooperation and conflict, defined by the relationship between singularity and the common'. Coresearch is not to be confused with ('practical') action research intended to mediate conflicts, or market research.

Having said that, coresearch itself tends to lag behind the transformations that have been analysed in the text, and its methods need to be recalibrated.  Is useful to think about three axes: on the vertical axis of the location of subjects within the labour market, including hierarchies; the horizontal axis the dynamics of mobility and diffuse resistance in the name of self valorization; on the transversal axis the self perception of individuals and the likelihood of struggle transformation.  The new kind of coresearch will be interested in the combination of exit and voice in the new contexts of the metropolis and transnational space.  Overall it is necessary to get research to take sides, to resist the incorporation of intellectuality in production, and to trace exploitation and cooperation.  In this way, coresearch can assist the move towards autonomy and the construction of the institutions of the common.


The very building of New York University began in struggles with local stonemasons, and used the labour of prisoners in Sing Sing.  Now, the University is engaged in new struggles as we saw, although the old militant organizations of American labour are gone.  Newer forms, like the graduate union, restricted themselves to bread and butter demands.  However, the new figures of living labour can still be described ['represented'], and can even appear in struggles for recognition or identity.

However, the old forms have to be abandoned, and an effort made to develop 'the new language of the common' (144).  Heterogeneity of labour is not just a result of fragmentation or a development of capital, but shows the emergence of new partialities.  The struggle for black studies is an example— black militants clearly can be represented in conventional terms, but they cannot be reduced to the usual abstractions of workers and their needs.  The same goes for Indians students in the west and other migrants, who are not easily expressed in terms of the classic occupational skills based models.  Similarly, the idea of an knowledge worker might reforge the links between student conflict, demands for autonomous education and non-university workers.

The university students and precarious staff help us to see the links between technical and political composition [because of the heterogeneity described above, the old classifications based on technical composition no longer serve—it is now a 'disjunctive nexus' (145) between the two.  Differences are not always divisive, or reduced to identities: in the past, they have been a central way in which capitalism applied the law of value to people.  This capitalist translation is no longer effective, and this opens up a space for politics and the drive towards autonomy.

The old strategies of exit and voice for labour can still help us understand the conflicts in cognitive capitalism in particular, where they tend to be less limited by segmentation.  Capitalism exposes some of its limits here.  It still attempts to capture the products of autonomy, but autonomy is now gaining the upper hand and producing problems like the need to valorize 'downstream'.  Firms are now unusually vulnerable to the flight of cognitive labour, and struggle to encourage faithfulness: flexibility is no longer a technique confined to capitalism.  The chances of exit are more diverse, ranging from movements within the labour market, to attempts to develop autonomous institutions, and the problem now is to combine these strategies with political organization.  There is no appeal to bodies outside of capitalism as a kind of vanguard, but networking in corporations now has the potential to challenge capitalist governance, especially by breaking the monopoly of [fordist] capitalist production, and by generating an excess which can effectively challenge capitalism.  [I have done an awful lot of rendering in ordinary speech the flowing Marxist and technical rhetoric].

Global universities have long been composite in the struggle to translate differences into capitalist homolingual discourse, through different forms.  They should not be resisted by conservatism, such as the reviving the public - private issue.  Instead, we should see the university in particular as displaying the tension between the excesses of living knowledge and capitalist capture.  Ironically, universities cannot meet the needs of cognitive capitalism—it no longer monopolises knowledge, and has itself blurred the distinction between the campus and the metropolis.  Universities are corporations, but corporations have become universities.

The American System shows one way to restore a value through differential inclusion [artificial measures].  Universities are competing by accumulating various kinds of social capital including 'the presence of figures of some importance' (147): this kind of competition is also a sign of precariousness, which now have penetrates all levels.  Universities have to recruit or develop stars, and offload teaching to the precarious.  Other forms of precariousness include adjunct faculty, or the employment of graduate students.  There is a continual development of 'artificial indexes imposed conventionally' (148), apparently developing the idea of meritocracy. These must be opposed, a new forms of evaluation developed relating to production of the common.

In Italy, criticism has taken the form of nostalgia or attacks on corruption and malpractice—but these can only preserve the system overall.  There are feudal elements, with professors as barons, but this can still lead to corporatization as the only alternative.  Comparing the Italian and the American System reveals that different singularities can appear within general trends, and this also helps reveal the partisanship of reforms in the two systems.  In Italy, there is no developed educational market using evaluation techniques, but rather a nostalgia for the old public and private split.  In the absence of serious private investment, even the private institutions draw upon public money.

Current policy in Italy seems entirely negative, the submission to the idea of capitalist capture and for cognitive capitalism, competing internationally by producing cheap yet highly skilled labour, developing hyperspecialization to enter particular segments of transnational chains.  Liberal reform is not possible, only total transformation.  Any revival of the public has also come to grief with the contemporary economic crisis of neo liberalism—Keynesian remedies are not seen as credible in the new transnational era. 

However, there is a recognition that this is a systemic crisis.  The shift to finance capital seems to be the only option, despite reservations about it not being the real economy.  If it is ever fully developed, it will become a capitalist common, able to capture production in the form of rent [seen here as a kind of indirect form of exploitation rather than one revealing the direct intervention of capital].

There are some signs that knowledge based enterprises, including universities, are also turning to finance, and the profits in stock markets and rating agencies.  The emergence of student debt is a further sign of the growth of finance capitalism, with selective loans based on merit been discussed in Italy.  This makes students bear the burden of the crisis, and is a further step towards urging them to see themselves as human capital which requires investment for the future.  Debts like this already devalorizes labour power, and attacks future salaries in a further advance of precariousness.  Students are now fully inserted in the labour market.  They also experience attempts to valorize their efforts through educational measurement, including the reduction of their knowledge to the value of abstract labour. However, although the expansion of debt has financed educational expansion, there is a risk of insolvency, a version of the classic crisis between productive forces and relations of production.

Ironically, it is in the interests of capital now to restrict the production of wealth that cannot be captured, to block further creativity.  This includes attempts to increase the faithfulness of the labour force, despite the 'years of rhetoric surrounding flexibility' (151).

Indebtedness and a poor market position are techniques for producing subjectivity, needed now more than ever with the growth of living knowledge and its threat to finance capitalism.  Foucault needs to be revised, since struggles about regulation are 'immediately'connected to exploitation.  The struggles also show an underlying class struggle.  The old theme of freedom is also exploitable.  It used to mean freedom of opinion, and this is now crucial to accumulation, the source of creative identities.  It is also seen as a kind of reward so that knowledge workers can become distinct from other workers and feel superior.  Overall, this is accompanied with the lowering of salary, however. 

Nevertheless, it should be possible to see such freedoms as 'incarnated in the relation between the singularity and the common'(152), so that it forms the basis of radical critique of exploitation.  This is an example of how a partisan, partial, issue—freedom of expression—relates to the common freedom.

Debt brings risk, and the limits of freedom, introducing a new splits between experience and expectation [apparently considered as crucial to the 'formation of individual and collective biographies', 152].  But there are positive characteristics here two, and you ambivalence, no longer linear, are no longer filled with hope in progress or destiny.  All capitalism can offer now is something more stable in the future.  The future can no longer be seen as a way to neutralise conflict in the present [as a promise].  History itself seems more open.  The shift to finance capital has also broken the old rhythms of the economic cycle, including promises of an end to crisis.  As a result, it is hard to represent current economic crises—there seems to be 'a permanent plane of precipitation', rather than a watershed (153).  The transition now is no longer associated with waiting for improvement, and we now see 'the exercise of the violence of command'.

Post colonial politics seem appropriate, with their struggle against some historical notion of progress.  We know see 'the irruption of the "now" as the time of the subject that speaks up and seizes her political constitution' (154).  The Colonies no longer see themselves as prehistoric, but as 'genuine laboratories of modernity'.  In the same way, the figures of living labour need no longer be seduced by a prosperous future, given precariousness, or and this can turn into a new relation with the present.  Transition is no longer linear progress, and the production of suitably docile subjectivity and the capture of living labour are obvious.

We can engage in a struggle over concepts like revolution, once seen as linked to a linear perspective in history.  Now, it is immanent in present situations.  We no longer believe in regular cycles or even tendencies.  We understand instead that there are 'points of discontinuity that compose a new constellation of elements' (155), with all sorts of possibilities for new kinds of conflict over translations.  We have examined the code presence of different elements already.  There is a space for political action to replace 'fanciful naturalness'.

The present is now 'temporally full'.  Because the features precariousness, but there is also a possibility to develop the common in the present, without waiting for the future.  Living knowledge itself will produces institutions, including the recapture of 'cognitive and flexible employment', a new equality and freedom through cooperation.  Class composition takes on a new form, the struggle between autonomy and subordination, heterogeneity and capitalist homogenization.  The notion of autonomy is valued, but ambiguous, and a terrain of struggle.  Analysing it will lead to questions of hierarchy and the emergence of class subjects.  Political awareness no longer depends on technical development that will develop consciousness.  Instead, the new politics refuses technical composition, in the form of 'the rearticulation of labour power in the relations of exploitation' (156).  Capitalist capture of the common is both contingent and reversible. Cognitive labour is increasingly penetrating other kinds of work, as a co-presence rather than exclusion, a process of 'becoming - cognitive'.

The struggles are also found in the university.  They emerged when voice was blocked in the name of a technical recomposition.  The possibilities of exit are also affected by capitalist hierarchies, although unfaithfulness is still an option.  The sorts of resistances put up by students have had an effect, and forestalled Bologna in Italy, for example.  They extended to have rejection of capitalist knowledge, but also 'the refusal of labour in its classic sense' (157).  The university itself is no longer a stage in some linear progression to work, but rather 'a present without anticipation', and this again has focused attention on its actual operations.

Student mobilization increasingly looks and sounds like labour struggle.  There is no collective bargaining, although this is open to reformism.  The issues of autonomy are seen in discussions of the birth of new subjects such as black studies.  There is a strategy of using forms of inclusion and integration to domesticate protest, but there is now the emergence of a demand for opposition or knowledges and autonomy, although they risk being reduced to the politics of identity.  Again, they have to be turned into an institution of the common. 

Autonomous education can be developed on the basis of critiques of the emptiness of contemporary measures of value, compared to social wealth.  It is necessary to C the commons as produced, rather than as natural, as in some universal appeal to a right to nature.  In general, the struggle still takes an aleatory form.  There are still major attempts to impose value on cognitive labour, and to extend governance, but there is 'the permanent risk of the multiplication of points of rupture'(158), the emergence of the notion of dual power, excess, and autonomy.

Students and the precarious are refusing to pay for the crisis.  New subjects have emerged—pragmatic, fully at home in metropolitan productive contexts, and transnational or at least mobile.  These form the basis of a new European space, confronting Bologna.  Passivity does not mean that objections have been crushed.

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