Nanterre, Here, Now
The events at Nanterre University during the general strike of May 68' in Paris is somewhat well documented. The continuation of the struggle in and around this specific university for a few years following May, is less remembered, if at all.
Jean-Francois Lyotard is hardly remembered as a subversive; little more than a few books of literary analysis and more philosophically centered documents are even read today, usually within the confines of the university, and steadily less so after his death a few years ago. There is another side, one that was engaged with far left communist groupings (Socialisme ou Barbarie, Pouvoir Ouvrier) throughout the early 1950's until the mid 1960's, and heavily engaged with some of the Enrages of the Nanterre student milieu in the late 60's to early 70's. After the 1970's, the more explicitly extremist 'political' pieces by Lyotard tend to be little found, beyond solemn remembrances of former comrades in these communist groupuscules, vague calls for artistic terrorism and general revolt, and a potential theoretical critique which was, and is, easily recuperated by the academy and even certain questionable political groupings.
I have decided to format this little known piece owing to the more recent and interesting renewal of struggle within and against the university (thus far in NYC, potentially elsewhere). This is a zine meant to historically ground our understanding of university occupations, as well as theoretically ground a critique of how systems of bureaucratic domination function, how they can be subverted in the immediate ("Here, Now"), as well as offer a trenchant analysis of reformists in the university, as well the university structure itself, and its relation to other social nodes of capitalism.
A selection from the text:
"The struggle at Nanterre is not “political”: it in no way aims to seize power in its present form, even political power. It is even less interested in introducing new interlocutors to the conference table. Its reach extends beyond the regime and the surface on which it pretends to act and invites us to join in discussion. The struggle directly attacks the system. In the sphere of the university, attacking the system cannot mean demanding supplementary credits or a “democratization” of teaching or an increase in the number of scholarships. The university belongs to the system insofar as the system is capitalist and bureaucratic."