Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Reclamations Journal has launched a new blog

In the fall of 2009, a few graduate students at UC Berkeley who were active in campus anti-privatization politics founded Reclamations Journal, which was conceived as a forum for debates and analysis emerging out of struggles to reclaim the educational commons in California. Since then, the editorial collective has expanded and has published three issues. In the fall of 2011, the editors decided to move away from full-length online issues, publishing their first political pamphlet (concerning student debt). Now, in order to have a more temporally immediate relation to ongoing campus struggles, the collective has shifted most of its activity to a new blog, which was just launched today.

The blog features two new posts, the first an interview with Ricardo Dominguez entitled: "On Electronic Civil Disobedience." Here's an excerpt:

Zach Blas: On March 4, 2010, during the mass student protests sweeping across many University of California campuses and the US, the b.a.n.g. lab led a virtual sit-in in solidarity with these protests against the University of California Office of the President. Could you describe what this action entailed and its legal ramifications? Why, considering that you have led previous virtual sit-ins against various institutions within the UC system, did this particular one instigate an FBI investigation of yourself, the b.a.n.g. lab, and the threatening your tenure?

Ricardo Dominguez: Well, the Transborder Immigrant Tool was already under investigation starting on January 11, 2010 by UCSD (the entire group of artists working on it were under investigation); then, I came under investigation for the the Virtual Sit-In performance against the UC Office of the President (UCOP) on March 4th, 2010 (which, as you pointed out, joined the communities state wide against students’ fees in the UC system and the dismantling of educational support for K – 12 across California). That was then followed by an investigation by the FBI office of Cybercrimes. The FBI was seeking to frame the performance as a federal violation, a cybercrime, based on UCOP stating that they lost $5,600 U.S. because of the disturbance–it is important to know that the cost had to be over $5000.00 U.S. for it to be a crime. So UCOP tacked on $600.00.U.S. to push the performance into cybercrime territory. In the end, I think that the event of all the actions on the streets of California, the occupations and protests across all the UC’s by students and faculty, and the on-line actions by students and faculty created a space where they could not fail to notice its impact on multiple scales – and our work was already under investigation for TBT, the Mark Yudof resignation site that we hosted, plus the ECD gesture was just too much for the frail imaginary of UCOP.

The other new entry on the blog is the first installment of a compilation post, which brings together 50 or so essays written by public education organizers in California over the course of Fall 2011. The Reclamations editors have annotated all of essays -- reading through the annotations actually allows for a rich recollection of last fall's campus struggles, and indicates the degree to which these struggles were wrapped up in and enabled by the broader occupy movement that took shape over the last few months. Each day this week, another installment of the compilation post will be published.

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