Last night saw the Really Open University host the launch of the Free Association’s publication of their anthology, Moments of Excess. Around 40 people, attended to hear members of the Free Association discuss their work, which is the product of years of collaborative discussion and writing aimed at intervention in ongoing struggles and analysis of the conditions of contemporary capitalism.
Moments of Excess, subtitled Movements, protest and everyday life, is a collection of articles written by the Free Association which reflect on the authors’ involvement in the ‘movement of movements’. It addresses ‘questions concerning the character of anti-capitalist movements, and the very meaning of movement; the relationship between intensive collective experiences – ‘moments of excess’ – and ‘everyday life’; and the tensions between open, all-inclusive, ‘constitutive’ practices, on the one hand, and the necessity of closure, limits and antagonism, on the other.’
Members of the Free Association gave a talk in which they discussed, among other things, an idea they have been riffing with recently: ‘fairy dust’. Fairy dust, they argued, could be a metaphor for that ‘magic’ element which enables struggles to resonate beyond their immediate circumstances. After their talk open marxist John Holloway, who described himself as a ‘happy footnote’, gave a short response to some of the they ideas raised, and then the talk was opened up for wider questions and comments.
There is a clear affinity between the political aims and analyses of those involved in the Free Association experiment, and the transformative praxis of the ROU. The ROU is partly about trying to enact the alternative forms of education which we would want as alternatives to the current hierarchical, commodified form which so dominates in capitalist society. As such we hold ‘concept meetings’ where we aim to have open and inclusive discussion on various topics. The next events are on The possibilities and limitations of activism in and beyond Web 2.0 and What is means to be ‘In and agains tthe university’.