Philosophy Department

George Caffentzis

Prof. George Caffentzis presents a report on:

The MobilityShifts Conference at The New School, Open Forum of Occupy Wall Street & Occupy Maine Teach-Ins

On Friday, October 14, 2011 I presented a paper entitled “Breaking Bakunin’s Curse” in the panel entitled “Mobilizing the Shift: Edu-factory and the Struggle Over Knowledge in an Age of Cognitive Capitalism” at the MobilityShifts Conference at The New School, in New York City. My paper addressed the following question: “Is the value of knowledge measurable?” My answer was in the affirmative and the paper was part of a larger critique of the notion of “cognitive capitalism” I have been engaged in for some time.

The other panel members, Max Haiven and Elise Thorburn, came from Canada and are members of the Edu-factory Collective, an organization that is involved in coordinating struggles in “the knowledge factory” throughout the world aiming to transform universities into autonomous, self-education institutions.

The aim of the conference--“MobilityShifts, an International Future of Learning Summit”--was to explore how a “combination of educational and technological changes provide a stark incentive for students to step outside the academy to meet their learning goals.”

I also was involved in an actual examples of such “learning platforms outside the academy” offered by the Open Forum at Occupy Wall Street in Liberty Square, New York on Saturday, October 22 and at two Occupy Maine teach-ins on Monument Square, Portland on Monday, October 10 and Saturday, October 29.

In the Occupy Wall Street open forum I gave a talk on student loan debt on the Square and discussed with the audience different proposals circulating within the movement in order to bring student loan debtors together to call for a cancellation of their debt.

In the Occupy Maine teach-ins my first talk focused on the purpose of demands in political movements and in the second I spoke on the student loan debt crisis.

Speaking in these open squares surrounded by people who are practicing direct democracy and vitally concerned about crucial political issues provided a "learning platform" that freed my tongue and mind.