The political agitation often associated with large anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-patriarchal, anti-carceral/militarized policing mobilizations as well as those against feminicides, fascism, and the multiple violences against migrants and folks of color more generally seem to share a common, increasingly visible element, namely a reliance on critical spaces of learning, research, documentation, and performance. The growing visibility of these spaces invites new inquiries about what has been at the roots of our struggles but also what is currently emerging. More importantly, these spaces erupt in a conjuncture notable for the increased prominence of knowledge production as part of innovative anti-capitalist struggles. This added emphasis on knowledge production reflects deliberate efforts to counter dominant forms of knowledge production especially those generated by dominant institutions more visibly complicit in processes of colonization, criminalization, and pathologiziation of targeted groups. More importantly, it also reflects the knowledges, often referred to as vernacular knowledges, that have sustained autonomous projects and spaces, the undercommons, etc. Thus, these autonomous spaces of learning, although often taken for granted, seem to be increasingly essential if at times not so deliberate in the confrontation against reactionary forces, especially those contributing to the current catastrophe of this late stage of racial patriarchal capitalism.
The Center for Convivial Research and Autonomy (CCRA), a transterritorial research collective, in collaboration with the Global Latinidades Project at University of California, Santa Barbara, (UCSB); Academy of Media Arts, Cologne, (KHM); New York University (NYU); and Universidad de la Tierra, Oaxaca, Mexico will convene an autonomous summer learning space, or ateneo, to be held virtually (via Zoom) and in person in Oaxaca. This unique convergence brings together researchers, public intellectuals, and grassroots activists for reflection and action engaging critical issues associated with what the Zapatistas theorize as the 4th World War, understood as a longstanding counterinsurgency, ongoing war against subsistence practices and knowledges, and imposed forgetting and oblivion. Specifically, we want to collectively share experiences and insights pursuant to effective theories and practices that challenge elements of the 4th World War that include, for example, counterinsurgency, militarized policing and border enforcement, the international carceral state and other forms of informalized gendered violence while also engaging the co-construction of autonomous, convivial alternatives to the endemic violences of late racial patriarchal capitalism.
Our goal in this autonomous learning space will be to support and activate convivial research and insurgent learning projects, e.g. tequios de investigación, or collectively determined community-based convivial research projects, that engage across struggles confronting the violences of the current conjuncture. By convivial research and insurgent learning we mean an approach to knowledge production that refuses to objectify communities of struggle while also listening and sensing for convivial tools, or collectively generated apparatuses that regenerate community by insuring the full interdependent participation of each member such that all participants can realize their fullest potential.
Our goal during our virtual and in person meetings, beginning with sessions in April leading up to and during our convergence in August, will be to share the convivial devices and disqualified knowledges forged in struggle. The formal consistent spaces we will convene will include four monthly virtual ateneos (April 16; May 21; June 18; and July 16) leading up to a ten-day in-person program in Oaxaca (August 1-11) that will include a primary ateneo along with an additional tertulia, or informal gathering, as well as talleres, or workshops, and various excursions as collectively determined. Our efforts will weave together a social fabric made up of a network of temporary autonomous zones of knowledge production. In addition to the core group of conveners from the above-named universities, we will be joined by invited guests and additional friends who may drop-in from a range of active autonomous projects and spaces across the globe. Our goal will be to hold an open accessible consistent space that will interface with already established projects and spaces in and throughout Oaxaca.