The Anti-Capitalist Archive

29 09 2010

The subjective realm is an archival topic because body-memory is a record of the socialized body–the body that participates in action.  What information do we put in to ourselves to facilitate particular behaviors? Capitalism has operated through disempowering others into its narrative of objectifying and commodifying self into monetary culture. Value is in what can translate into market demand.  Standard is the market value determined by mass producers, consumers, politics of which trend can circulate to allow certain things to be produced, bought and sold en masse.

The self measures itself to an outside standard–not what it is, what its talents are from organic, local processes of becomng. Why industrial and post-industrial society has led to disenfranchisement of local areas for centralized development of cities. To focus on environmental justice frameworks is to bring back life back to local places, ignored and abused by the capitalist development process.  Bring back to the value of the self as in relation to its surroundings. How the self must come to face its subjectivity, and assess and appraise its own narratives of truth. To transform how its bodily behavior, previously configured toward industrial labor practices and culture, toward a more locally aware of being that seeks to understand how global process of industrialist expansion has creeped into the local, ecological, biological networks that the self has been embedded in.

Centralized Archive to Decentralized Archive
Archive and knowledge production are similar in that there is a parallel dynamic of leaving localities to go to four-walled institutions with records en masse, or big cities with buildings en masse, to learn. This led to the loss of value for local knowledge, specific to understanding the specific ecology of place.  When bodies become archives, knowledge is everywhere, around where the body lives.  The body makes connections between emotions and landscape, history and present.  Why sad places are polluted, with the scent of violent behaviors, and its stifling air of traumatic histories colonization and institutions of militarism.  The way knowledge of time and place are configured by industrialist mindsets that allowed the physical and tacit structure of our worlds to be that way.

Social movements, like Ethnic Studies in particular, made the connections, crossing the borders between university and community, to decenter sources of “truth” and validate that knowledge existed in community.  The body as archive articulates this decentralization of knowledge processing its own history, space, present becoming, to reconfigure the whole notion of truthful order, that governs according to old paradigsm of ctities as center, rural as periphery, policy as truth, and community practice as untruth.

Anti-Capitalist Archive
Postcolonial/indigeniety. Subjectivity and action. Decolonization of subjectivity is awareness of colonial and industrial past as constructing present issues of self-esteem and local disenfranchisement.  What do we use our socio-technical systems for? Whose networks do we empower? The anti-capitalist archive does not live in a structure funded by the capitalist paradigm.  The anti-capitalist archive is the decolonizing mind that walks through dominant institutions and disenfranchised streets, feeling the records of memory remind the self to transform and rupture unjust orders, breathing in and exhaling imaginations for new ones.  These new orders are not “new,” but repressed memories emerging from the fractures of the industrial, capitalist subjectivity, like weeds growing out the cracks of hegemonic cement.


archiving, movements, chaos theory

20 09 2010

My research is to study the community produced digital records of women who are part of demilitarization movements that span the Asia-Pacific, U.S. and Caribbean.  The purpose of research is not to report on women’s movements way of thinking. The digital realm is subject to surveillance. To articulate this worldview could subject it to appropriation by actors who may be threatened by internet communication and agency of people seeking a more democratic and sustainable world. There are people who want to know the “other,” not to change the world for the better, but to understand how to improve their tactics of free-market ideology, militaristic development, and other forms of institutionalized violence and cultures.

So, what is the purpose of my research?  It is to discuss the responsibility of listening to what women’s movements are saying, and how does the listener transform the self to respond.  I am a researcher located in both the university and the community.  I have been brought up by people on the front lines of social movements seeking demilitarization, sovereignty and self-determination.  But, I have also had the privilege to enter higher education, in contradictory spaces that can both advance the agendas that community movements resist, or advance the agendas that community movements advocate.  The act of speaking is contingent on context, and interpretation of what is heard is not uniform across speaker and listeners.  What is ingested by users and those out to collect information is interpreted and framed according to culture, history, power, identity, memory, issues of context that are self-reflexively defined by the user/information collector.  It is important to situate this user/information collector in society, as the development of that society situates his/her context and way of seeing reality.

The way of seeing reality, or worldview, is foundational to what that individual decides what is knowable, what can be represented, how that can be arranged, and how it can be interpreted and communicated to others outside of the self.  This is the art and science of Archiving.  My focus is understanding the self, society, development, worldviews, from social justice perspectives. Thus, I will need to begin where I am, an Ilocana in diaspora. What is my worldview, and how has it been constructed through relations with people and cultures from the Philippines, Hawaii, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, to other places I have been? It is not to be sollipsistic, but to empower future archivists of color to name the different parts of theirselves, who they are, and how their very being has been constructed through relations with multiple peoples, cultures and places.  The self becomes disaggregated, and one sees the need for cross-cultural solidarity, because the intersection of complexity is the becoming of the self.

When I speak of communication outside of the self, I speak of processes of community building. How does one name the threads that connect one with another, one with the collectives of people that relations have been built?  How does one transmit information of this connection in ways that are meaningful and relevant?  Community building is the process of creating shared meaning across groups.  As an archivist working in an information capacity for women’s movements, the shared meaning of our relations need to be constantly created and recreated as their views have largely been suppressed, and constantly change as issues on the ground shift and are fluid.  This context creates a radical departure for traditional archiving that is based on fixing, collecting and hoarding records into a singular space for future access and preservation.  What if the archivist is not to take information, but to illuminate the information that always exists around us, in everyday spaces, in the communities where the information is being dreamed and uttered?

I am inspired by Foucault’s belief that resistance exists whereever oppression exists.  In any institution, class, ethnic background, gender, age, country, ability, sexual orientation, etc, there are people working for social justice, as well as people who are afraid of justice because its threatens the power they have over the status quo.  We cannot change those who are not ready to change, but we can work with those who believe that change is possible.  It is the illumination of these dreamers and actor’s possibilities that is the work of Archivists focused on social justice.  The work is to illuminate their knowledge, and how that knowledge is represented, and to construct ways for that knowledge to connect with other knowledges.  This system will be complex, diverse, contradictory, and synergistic. It depends on how we practice our relationship to different ideas, value schemes, and how we can frame and reframe agendas so that reasons to be sustained thinking and action-based relationships can be prolonged.  But it is in this diversity of activity and actors that will mirror the entropic balance that Earth requires in order to maintain itself well being.  Why is it that indigenous languages have always been diverse across landscapes? Why is it that monocultural agriculture is not as ecologically balanced as diversified agriculture?  It is because in complexity and chaos, there is a system of collaboration that occurs where each plays a role in maintaining an aspect of balance, in the complex ecological-social-economic-spiritual-physical-geological-cosmological system that is this planetary existence.

The Dream of the Third World College

6 03 2010

On March 4, 2010, students and workers mobilized at UCLA to defend public education. This act was connected to nation wide mobilizations of workers and students, and is continued resistance that was preceded by November 2009 against the regents meeting that took place in UCLA, Covel Commons.

There are transformations occurring in U.S. academies. In February 26-27, 2010, UC Berkeley hosted the Decolonizing the University: Fulfilling the Dream of the Third World College.  This gathering of revolutionary thinkers and leaders commemorated the 40th anniversary of Ethnic Studies.  As a participant in this gathering, I have witnessed that archiving of Third World Liberation Front Movement work, and contemporary student movement records, have become of importance.  It is crucial that we preserve the past and present work, in order to build continuity across our struggles of university and community.

A theme of focus was “what does it mean to decolonize the university?” Given that higher education is facing huge budget cuts, and experiencing the backlash of state and national priorities of prison and military industrial complexes, how can we continue the legacy sparked by TWLF in 1968?

The March 4 movements and each student and worker movement preceding them has shown that the process of learning through struggle, movement building within campus, and connections with communities and laborers is the decolonial education that we need.  Learning through action and critical research while we are within the institutions that seek to suppress freedom of thought and liberatory knowledge is moving toward the dream of the Third World College.

Student Movements: Archive your Records

6 03 2010

Students organizations at UCLA can preserve the history of their work.  This is relevant for the student and worker movements that have been mobilizing to defend public education this March 4, 2010.

Yesterday, I was helping the Samahang Pilipino Collective (a Pilipino-American student organization at UCLA) process their records in the University Archives. We met with University Archivist Charlotte Brown.

As we went through the boxes, news articles of the past showed similar issues of budget cuts and attacks on minority students and programs. The struggles today have a history. By keeping track of the events we hold, documenting speakers, the papers we write, the artwork we create, we can create a body of knowledge to study the lineage of university privatization and how students and workers have actively resisted this through time.  We can study and correct our blindspots, we can think about new strategies, we learn about our allies in the past and present. From here, we can stay united, diverse, knowledgeable and powerful student movement.

Tips I learned:

For UCLA students, contact Charlotte at the University Archives.  All other schools, check with your school’s archives and/or libraries, and see if they are willing to preserve student organization records because they are part of your academic institution’s history.

Start somewhere. Work with records, papers, pictures, flyers, videos, audios, anything that has been created to document events or student organization life.

At UCLA, student organizations own the copyright of their records, not the UC. Student orgs can devise their terms of copyright and how they would want access to be granted.

Student orgs can process their own archival records to control the context. This shapes how people interpret your records in the future.

Preserve student movement work in your academic archives so we can build continuity of critical thinking, action and movement building for future students.

Listen to the archival processing workshop here:

March 4, 2010: UCLA Fights Back

6 03 2010

In coordination with UCs and other academic institutions throughout the nation, UCLA’s student and worker movement showed their fearlessness and commitment to demanding equity in public education.  People with love for education and care for the future are not standing silent to the nation and state’s priorities on prison funding, military funding and bank bail outs. This movement continues the struggle since the Civil Rights era. The solutions to our economic, political, social and ecological crisis lies within communities.  On March 4, students and workers stood in solidarity with movements all over the world, demanding that U.S. education be affordable and accesible, so that people from under-repesented communities can share their knowledge about how to address the issues we all face today.

Listen to the oral testimonies of people who spoke at the rally.

A. C.

J. C.

H. S.

L. B. and S. H.

Skilled Trade Worker

Bruin Feminists

Grad Student UCLA

UCLA Worker

University Professional Technical Worker

H. and L. (Students)

D. (Community Worker)

UCLA Spartacus Youth Club

UC Clericals and M. S.