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"How do we live a life?", Deep Discussions, Sat afternoon
ADOPTER(S) The Free Association/Leeds May Day Group -
FACILITATOR(S) it would be good to identify facilitators in advance! enter names here

We're in the process of writing a short pamphlet which will set out the area of the workshop, our notes so far are up on our blog:

We're interested in the idea of care in relation to social movements because it seems to relate to an emergent bio-political focus of struggles, an example might be the trauma group at the G8 and so forth. We think this bio-political emphasis is part of a wider movement towards an autonomist problematic amongst social movements.

The starting place for us is to see it as part of a working though of our experiences of the Gleneagles G8. We wrote a pamphlet in preparation to Gleneagles and then an article about our experiences there, (these are both on our website above) this next pamphlet and workshop is about reflecting how you return to daily life after such "moments of excess" and what all this tells us about how to live a life. It's also rooted in our experience in ongoing projects such as the current spate of social centres (we're involved in the Common Place in Leeds). There seems to be an ongoing discussion about what social centres are for or what role they can play.

The concept that seems to us to link these two experiences together is precariousness. The increased precariousness in our lives is how we experience the neo-liberalism that gave the counter-globalisation movement its point of commonality. It's also the context in which social centres seem to make more sense. The role back of state provision raises the prospect of a non-state public sphere and might account for a renewed focus on care and other bio-political issues by social movements.

Social centres and other projects like them could be seen as a way to manage our levels of precarity so that we can make precarity productive for us.

We might look at this as exodus or an orientation towards autonomist politics, where we aren't primarily focussed on conflict with the state, or attempting to capture it or (militantly) lobby it to do something. Instead the focus is on building our own worlds here and now. Expanding our sphere of freedom so that we can develop the capacities to push further. This will inevitably bring us into conflict with the state and capital but the primary problem then is on opening up (and keeping open) space for our experiments in exodus.

One of the problematics this brings up is how do we stop this turning into an accommodation with capital? When about rupture with the present world? This might be another way of looking at the old reform/revolution split but we don't think this is the best way to put it. Part of the problem is that we can't know in advance where out experiments are going.

There are also other problems involved such as the impulses to speed this process up, to take short cuts through vanguardism, triggered by the increasing rate of precarisation caused by climate change and an awareness of the finitude and fragility of an individual life that a focus on care brings.

The format we have in mind is that we'd talk for 5-10 minutes and find a couple of other people to talk for a similar length. An hour or so of discussion would follow this. We organised a workshop with this format at the Life despite capitalism event at the ESF in London and it worked really well. We are still thinking about other speakers depending on where we think these concepts will resonate.

That's all so far. Let us know what you think.