<agu> how to build up a global autonomous university?

info at edu-factory.org info at edu-factory.org
Sun May 11 15:47:50 CEST 2008

Dear all,

This is the first message of a new list: Global Autonomous
University. The project is a development of edu-factory. So
far edu-factory has organized two rounds of list discussion
with many contributions on the questions of conflicts in the
knowledge production, labor market hierarchisation and the
university, and the networking of autonomous universities
and auto-education initiatives. As rich as the list
discussion and its transnational diffusion have been, we
think it is now time to take some more pragmatic steps
toward the establishment of what has become known, during
the edu-factory experience, as a Global Autonomous

The title of this initiative, particularly the word global,
needs a preliminary clarification. We do not intend this
project as the invention of an institution that is truly
worldwide in scope. As one contributor to the list
commented: who would be the audience for such an initiative,
what languages would be used, would ideas/proposals travel
seamlessly from one context to another? But we do think it
is possible to bring together some existing auto-education
projects, which have sprung up in various places in the
world, to cooperate in research, the offering of courses and
perhaps even degrees. Thus global doesn’t mean the
proposition of a universal model of resistance and the
alternative university. On the contrary, with this title we
want to highlight the necessity of approaching the
transnational level as space of debate and action. In this
sense, the Global Autonomous University project aims to
connect, on a global scale, different forms of
auto-education, struggles, and autonomous knowledge
production situated in the university, or better along its
borders. The project is not about proposing a unique model
of alternative education. Rather, following a very important
debate on the edu-factory list, it aims to construct a
common translation tool to move between singularities. This
tool would allow the empowerment of intellectual, political,
and union activities in different sites and situations.

The Global Autonomous University list will be devoted to
practical planning and organization for the invention of new
institutional forms. The participants in this list comprise
members of the edu-factory collective, protagonists from the
previous two rounds of discussion as well as strategic
contacts who can assist with issues of design, networking,
infrastructure, translation, etc. The purpose here is not
further theorization, although we recognise the inherent
value of this as well as its necessary connection to
practice: in fact, the participants share a common
perspective and interest in the ambitious project of
building up an autonomous institution. The objective of the
list is the planning and making of concrete moves toward the
establishment of cooperative networked activities between
autonomous university initiatives.

To start the discussion, we have identified some central
points in the attempt to realize the project:

•	The questions of curriculum of the new institutional
form, of academic labor, and their conflictual collocation
within intellectual property system;

•	The legal question about the possibility of obtaining
accreditation as official university (we do not think that
the recognition is the aim of an autonomous institution, but
it does provide the possibility to open a conflict around
the accreditation system, the measurement of quality, and
the award of degrees); 

•	The obtainment of the funds in order to support the

•	The role of socio-technical networks such as the
Internet, as well as open access and open source
technologies (we know that e-learning and distance learning
are part of the corporate lexicon, often used to precarize
labor power and to dematerialize the relations between
teachers and students; our problem is to use the
technological tools in order to experiment with
transnational autonomous connections, to build up
‘organized networks’); 

•	The proposal of a free newspaper (which would be made
available in pdf format on the Internet so that edu-factory
participants around the world can print it up and distribute
within their various political contexts) and
video-interviews as research materials

We propose to focus and organize the list discussion on
these points. We propose also to imagine collectively the
time and calendar of our debate, in order to trace out the
steps to realize the strategic project of the Global
Autonomous University.

edu-factory collective

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