mercredi 17 novembre 2010
The End of CPE
Since the publication of the CPE course catalogue and the opening proposal which addressed itself to student control of the university and the educational process in general, we, its authors, have been involved in an intense and painful period of self-criticism. The line of thought which resulted in the essay “Ideas Are No Man’s Property” has continued to a point which is in some ways a logical extension of our original thinking, yet its conclusions radically differ from our original proposals.
In the interests of developing revolutionary clarity, we would like to share our self-criticism with you. We will present below a fairly systematic critique of our original ideas, followed by a new proposal.
Our introductory presentation of the functions of the university is a description of what happens rather than why it happens. But its accuracy left a gap between what we could see and what we could see to do to change it.
Our conclusion — that the educational process and our roles as students are dehumanizing — leads us to further consider all activity in the capitalist spectacle in the same way. We now see that our life lived as time which is not our own (not consciously directed by our desires) necessarily becomes a network of roles which we assume in order to survive in a way compatible with the positively reinforced structures of the social “order.” The separation and objectification of this time-beyond-our-control owes its structure and origins to alienated labor. This labor is a way of “doing time,” of surviving, while simultaneously perpetuating by our own efforts the system which enslaves us. In order to end our alienation we must refuse to act out roles which further separate authentic human need from appearance.
Thus our conclusion in the catalogue — “The nature of this political process . . . must be developed by us, by students as students” — was insufficient. Though our anger was correctly placed, we did not go far enough. We should refuse to accept the role of student. We should reject our specialized functions completely. We will ourselves be total assholes if we accept the obvious fragmentation of our lives. Our project is not to “encompass the construction of new roles for ourselves” but to destroy the purely subjective categorizations which keep us from transcending the poverty of automatic behavior, of alienated labor, of the voluntary slavery of reformism.
We thus come upon a new (for us) view of social relations which goes beyond our conception of a counter-institution. We have come to see any “new” institution as the creation of another obstacle to unmediated human activity. “Institutions” in their very nature become an artificial collectivity whose importance is independent of individual desire expressed collectively. What is necessary is the destruction of institutions and unnecessary restrictions of human activity, and the substitution of a spontaneous and freely chosen form of social organization whose initial project must be the abolition of class society and therefore of labor. The goal and process of such activity is the continued transformation of daily life. We will accept nothing less and therefore we proclaim AN IMMEDIATE END TO ACADEMIC REFORM. We can then pursue the only real educational reform: THE TOTAL DESTRUCTION OF THE UNIVERSITY.
We are leaving the University, and urge our sisters and brothers to do the same. Naturally, we will no longer serve as bureaucratic functionaries for the “alternative” institution (CPE). Our knowledge of bureaucracy leads us to believe that our withdrawal from its key positions will cause it to fall apart. This is our hope.
[Mulman and Sunar — whose names were falsely signed to this leaflet — were anarchist founders and functionaries of a “Committee for Participatory Education” at the University of California in Berkeley. This leaflet was distributed at CPE registration, March 1970.] www.bopsecrets.org