Open PEI seminar organised by Francesco Berardi

The accumulated effect of thirty years of application of neoliberal ideology has caused a collapse of economic life and is destroying the social fabric of European countries. Over the last three decades a neoliberal strategy has reduced the cost of labour, expanded the life-time submitted to work, postponed the age of retirement, increased productivity, and cut social spending. This is slowly eroding the welfare state and destroying the very foundations of civilised life. The financial class has taken hostage the political class and society at large, up to the point of catastrophe. The first collapse arrived in 2008, after the American subprime crash. In its wake, every reasonable person expected to see some changes, particularly an expansion of social spending in order to counteract recessive tendencies. None was forthcoming. The failed Neoliberal philosophy has been dogmatically reasserted, and the Maastricht dispositive, a cage that is throttling European societies, has been reinforced.

As a result unemployment is on the rise, social structures are crumbling, despair is growing, and the European Union is on the verge of a final collapse. Meanwhile, the financial class has not lowered the pressure. The more national governments cut social spending for education, research, transportation and civil life in order to pay the debt accrued by the financial class, the more the financial class raises the stakes, deploying its speculative tactics against weak national states, so that governments are forced to cut again. A huge robbery is underway, a huge displacement of resources from the large majority of the population to the pockets of a class of gamblers. What next? In the next months European society is going to fight back, this is crystal clear. From the Spanish acampadas, to the Greek protesters, to the London street rioters, people everywhere are preparing for insurrection. Financial power is destroying the public structures of teaching and learning, and submitting research to private interests, so we have to transform the coming upheaval into an insurrection of collective intelligence.

The cognitarian class – students, researchers, artists, engineers, therapists, teachers – are the most productive force in a highly developed Europe. They are the heirs of five centuries of humanist civilisation and scientific revolution. They are the promise of a future of progress, and freedom, but they are under attack, because the financial class wants to submit their labour to the speculator's greed. The crisis is intermingling with the precarisation of work and daily life, leading to the problem of a first generation of the cognitive precariat whose psychic life is suffering. This is why the cognitarians are the leading force of the coming European insurrection. They are not only defending their interests, they are defending civilisation, the legacy of humanistic values, and the pleasures of life.

Our task – as artists, philosophers, scientists, teachers and students – is to reanimate a social imagination that has been subjugated by the advertising machine and cramped by economic dogma. We call on all artists, philosophers and poets to imagine a future freed from the dogma of the Dark Age of financial speculation.

Organised by the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) in collaboration with the European School for Social Imagination (ESSI)


Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd December from 5 to 9 pm; Saturday December 3rd from 10 am to 2 pm

December 1st Thursday

5 pm Presentation

5.30 pm Franco Berardi: Right to insolvency, how to disentangle present potency of the general intellect from the dogma of financial capitalism

6.30 pm Mark Fisher & Alexandra Odette Kiprio: A different "timestate" zone of being

7.30 pm Francesco Salvini: Knowledge commons: notes for collective project of research on knowledges, conflict and crisis in Europe

8.30 pm Discussion

December 2nd Friday

5 pm Federico Campagna: Recurring dreams: Debt and fascism

6 pm Francesca Martínez Tagliavia: Body-image and general intellect

7 pm Andrew McGettigan: The process of financialisation of higher education

8 pm Pedro Leytao: About the Portuguese situation

9 pm Video projection: Rock the Cradle, video by Ernie Larsen & Sherry Millner, Occupy Wall Street New York city

December 3rd, Saturday

10.30 am Valerio Monteventi: Italian political catastrophe in the framework of the European crisis and the emergence of a new movement

11.30 am Amador Fernandez Savater: 15-M: a politics of either

12.30 pm Conclusion: What if Capitalism is dead?
Autonomy of knowledge and self organization of the general intellect. The European School for Social Imagination (Scepsi): politics in the age of post-democratic governance and the creation of the institution of common knowledge.

Mark Fisher, professor at East London University and founding member of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit at Goldsmiths College, author of Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?

Francesca Martínez Tagliavia, lecturer in aesthetics and communication at University of Paris 3 - Sorbonne Nouvelle.

Federico Campagna, regular contributor to Verso Books in London and Italian magazine Alfabeta, founding member of the website

Amador Fernández-Savater, co-director of the magazine Archipiélago and Acuarela publishers.

Francesco Salvini, KLF activist and researcher at Queen Mary, University of London.

Valerio Monteventi, journalist, writes the "Diary of Collapse and Uprising" section of the website, a weekly chronicle of the European situation from the point of view of finance, economics, politics and social movements.

MACBA Public Programs
Tel. 93 481 79 00
pei [at] macba [dot] cat




A different "timestate" zone of being
A different "timestate" zone of being
Right to insolvency, how to disentangle present potency of the general intellect from the dogma of financial capitalism
Conocimiento en común: notas para un proyecto de investigación colectivo sobre conocimiento, conflicto y crisis en Europa
SON[I]A #141. Franco Berardi. Deleted scenes
Son[i]a #141. Franco Berardi
Son[i]a #148. Mark Fisher