Friday, August 31, 2012

Life in the Higher Sausage Factory - The Paper


Dr. Glenn Rikowski, School of Education, University of Northampton
Guest Lecture to the Teacher Education Research Group
22nd March 2012, The Cass School of Education and Communities, University of East London

At last, I have found the time to html code 'Life in the Higher Sausage Factory' and put it on The Flow of Ideas website.
I have added a short Preface to explain the provenance and development of the paper.

Here is the link to the paper:

Here is the full reference:

Rikowski, G. (2012) Life in the Higher Sausage Factory, Guest Lecture to the Teacher Education Research Group, The Cass School of Education and Communities, University of East London, 22nd March, online at:

If you would like a Word version of this paper then send an email to and I will send it via email attachment.

Best wishes
Glenn Rikowski, London, 28th August 2012.

“Capitalist production is not merely the production of commodities, it is essentially the production of surplus-value. The labourer produces, not for himself, but for capital. It no longer suffices, therefore, that he should simply produce. He must produce surplus-value. That labourer alone is productive, who produces surplus-value for the capitalist, and thus works for the self-expansion of capital. If we may take an example from outside the sphere of production of material objects, a schoolmaster is a productive labourer, when, in addition to belabouring the heads of his scholars, he works like a horse to enrich the school proprietor. That the latter has laid out his capital in a teaching factory, instead of a sausage factory, does not alter the relation. Hence the notion of a productive labourer implies not merely a relation between work and useful effect, between labourer and product of labour, but also a specific, social relation of production, a relation that has sprung up historically and stamps the labourer as the direct means of creating surplus-value. To be a productive labourer is, therefore, not a piece of luck, but a misfortune” (Karl Marx, Capital, Volume I).


‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:  

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sustaining Alternative Universities


UK Free University Network (FUN)
Sustaining Alternative Universities
Collaborative Research Conference
1–2 December 2012
Oxford, UK

They will admit that little is to be expected from present-day governments, since these live and act according to a murderous code. Hope remains only in the most difficult task of all: to reconsider everything from the ground up, so as to shape a living society inside a dying society. [People] must therefore, as individuals, draw up among themselves, within frontiers and across them, a new social contract which will unite them according to more reasonable principles.’ (Albert Camus, ‘Neither victim nor executioner’, 1946)

Following on from the inaugural meeting of the UK Free University Network held in early 2012, we are calling out to representatives of all free universities and to all those who wish to participate in a conference with a more focused objective.

In recent years, we have witnessed the accelerated neoliberal capitalist colonisation of the university. In the UK (and far beyond) many students are now priced out of higher education and the academic finds him/herself subservient to the logic and interests of capital. In response to this intolerable reality, many groups of scholars, students, and others have come together independently to create alternative, ‘free’ universities.

The ‘Sustaining Alternative Universities’ conference, as a space for coordinating research and sharing knowledge and experience, seeks to support these projects in taking further decisive steps towards the creation of a national movement of individuals and organisations dedicated to the construction and development of alternative democratic, critical, and ultimately sustainable higher education communities.

Sustainability: history, dialogue, and practice

The successes of this movement hinge on its sustainability. ‘How can we build, develop, and maintain truly sustainable educational communities outside the existing institutional frameworks?’ is the question upon which our collective investigations and discussions should be founded. Therefore, our collective task is to conceptualise, research, imagine, and, ultimately, cultivate a sustainable movement based on a network of locally-based, sustainable, free universities. We believe that this conference can help us to successfully undertake this task through a three-step process.

Step one: history. An intrinsic element of building sustainability today must surely be to learn from the history of previous projects of popular, democratic and radical education here in the UK, and beyond. Therefore, we invite representatives of each free university to conduct and present research into the history of these traditions in their specific locality, drawing on their own particular influences. Researchers should keep in mind the practical purpose driving this research and consider issues such as: Who participated in these efforts? How were they structured, organised, and sustained? What was the significance of their historical and spatial context? What lessons can be derived from these efforts for our own endeavours today?

We hope that this shared research effort will allow us to both map out a history of popular / democratic / radical higher education in the UK, and to identify ways these can inform our own current projects. Ultimately, this collaborative research endeavour could also help us trace the roots of our network.

Step two: dialogue. The next step is to engage in dialogue with one another, and with our histories. We need to both imagine our ideals and talk freely and openly about the challenges and obstacles that impede our ambitions and objectives today. We need to name the material, social and subjective conditions that constrain the actualisation of our imagination and hopes. At the conference, we aim to draw on our collective experiences in democratic education to create a supportive, democratic space in which participants feel able to share their thoughts, feelings, and ideas in these areas.

Step three: practice. Finally, we need to take the lessons and ideas derived from our historical research and dialogue and put them into practice. The conference will culminate in a session in which we all make plans for practical action to take things forward on a local and national level.

Affinities and collaborations

We invite collaboration and co-operation with all. Beyond the Free University Network itself, we particularly welcome collaboration from members of the following groups:

Academic members of the ‘For a Public University’ working group and Campaign for the Public University. We at FUN have not forsaken the mainstream university, and many of our members are not only academics or students, but also active in defending the public university. We recognise the rich traditions of critical pedagogy within the university and the enduring possibilities of its democratic promise. We welcome contributions from all academics.

Members of the Co-operative Movement. Clearly, the co-operative model of organisation offers much for free universities today to draw on, and at least one in the UK is explicitly organised upon co-operative principles. We welcome members of the Co-operative Movement who might contribute to our historical and contemporary understanding of co-operative education, and/or who would like to build bridges between these two movements.

University workers who are not academics. All too often, non-academic staff working in universities are marginalised within or excluded from these discussions. Their contributions, knowledges, experiences and possibilities are overlooked. We seek to redress this situation and invite all those making invaluable contributions to higher education in ways that are not specifically ‘academic’ to participate in this conference.

Students and all those desiring to learn. Critical pedagogy aspires to break down hierarchical boundaries between students and teachers, and to expand the right of learning to everyone whether they occupy the role of ‘student’ or not. In the democratic universities we envisage, students shape their own learning experiences. We welcome contributions from students, past, present, and future.

All others who share our principles, and who are active in creating alternative institutions in other areas of social life, particularly in education. There is much we can learn from each other.

An open, democratic, egalitarian, anti-elitist intellectuality

This is a critical pedagogical and political project. This conference is not intended to be a typical academic conference based exclusively on theoretically dense papers and presentations. There is validity, truth, importance, and profound insight in many other methods and ways of expressing knowledge, and we open our conference and minds to these. We believe that narrative – telling stories – is a particularly important means for reaching the personal and social heart of the obstacles and challenges that confront us in our ambitions to create democratic and sustainable learning communities.

Where and when

In the spirit of the Occupy movement, we have decided to host this conference on higher education in Oxford for obvious historical reasons.

We propose that the conference will be held on the weekend of 1–2 December 2012.

We recognise the high cost of transport and accommodation and ask those in a position to do so to offer contributions to help unwaged participants to attend. A system will be created to make this transparent and possible.

Impact and output

Only joking! 

We want this conference to be the turning point at which we really begin to cultivate a sustainable and flourishing free university movement. We hope you can join us for this conference.

If you are interested in participating in the conference and/or in its planning of and preparation, please contact either Sarah Amsler ( or Joel Lazarus (

We aim to have a coordinating committee established by 13 August.


The location of the conference venue will depend on final numbers. However, what is certain is that this conference’s organisation will be guided by fully inclusive principles. This means a family friendly venue with park/playground nearby and a safe indoor space for children of all ages to play. Childcare duties will not preclude participation at this conference. Equally, we will ensure that the venue is fully accessible and that all dietary requirements are catered for. Please contact us if you have any concerns, ideas, or requests.


‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:  

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The Flow of Ideas:

MySpace Profile:  

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Critical Theories in the 21st Century: A Conference of Transformative Pedagogies


Second Annual West Chester Critical Theories Conference

Call for Papers

Due to the success of last years’ inaugural event, we are very excited about the upcoming Critical Theories in the Twenty-First Century conference at West Chester University. Due to the deepening crisis of global capital and the anti-capitalist movement in embryo (since last November), this year we added a special theme: Critical Education Against Capitalism. As many reactions to the ravages of capital are reformist in nature, failing to identify and target the true causes (i.e. private property as a complex historical process) of exploitation, injustices, war, educational expansion as well as educational budget cuts, ideological indoctrination, and so on, especially in critical pedagogy, this discussion targeting the root capitalist cause of life at the present moment is particularly relevant and needed.

Consequently, whereas last year “the call for proposals” was “general enough to be inclusive of many critical approaches to transformative or revolutionary pedagogies and theory,” this year we ask the critical pedagogy community to present their works in a way that demonstrates how it contributes to achieving a post-capitalist society. As such, we can suggest a few relevant themes for proposals: Marxist educational theory, Anarchist pedagogies, austerity/educational budget cuts, ignoring poverty, racialization and hegemony, (anti)settler-colonialism/imperialism, indigenous critical theory/autonomous governance, anti-capitalist eco-pedagogy, atheism and education, queer theory against capital, etc.

While this conference will include important presentations and debates between key figures in critical pedagogy, it will not be limited to this focus. In other words, as critical theory becomes more inclusive, global, and all encompassing, this conference welcomes more than just academics as important contributors. That is, we recognize students and youth groups as possessing authentic voices based on their unique relationship to capitalism and will therefore be open to them as presenters and discussion leaders (as was done in 2011). While this inclusivity is obviously designed to challenge traditional distributions of social power in capitalist societies, it will not be done romantically where participants’ internalized hegemonies are not challenged. Put another way, while students will be included as having something valuable to contribute, they will both be subjected to the same scrutiny as established academics, as well as invited to share their own critiques. All participants will therefore be included in the discussions of why and how to achieve a post-capitalist society.

November 16th and 17th

Friday evening and all day Saturday

West Chester University, West Chester, PA

To contribute to the wide and deep network of critical educators throughout the world; working with students and workers building a vast coalition of critical thinkers who know that a meaningful life after capitalism is possible.

While we are securing small in-house grants at WCU to help cover the cost of meals and keynote speakers, we will ask for conference fees using the following sliding scale:
$20: students
$100: professors and teachers

Our goal is to set up a scholarship fund for out of town graduate students unable to travel due to financial restraints. This fund might not begin to produce opportunities for a year or two, but we want to start it right away. While this goal was established last year, we have yet to establish any funding here.

Non-traditional proposals
Traditional paper presentations where 500+ word proposal summaries of papers are submitted
Submissions are due October 19th, 2012.
Please submit proposals to:  

Further details at:  


‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:  

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:  

‘The Lamb’ by William Blake – set to music by Victor Rikowski:  

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski
All that is Solid for Glenn Rikowski:  
The Flow of Ideas:
Online Publications at: