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vol 18 • 2015

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The democratic revolution of squares and network vs. algorithmic control, taking and acting in the social order

Raúl Sánchez Cedillo, fundaciondeloscomunes.net
pep aparicio Guadas, institutpaulofreire.org

Translation: Marina Aparicio Barberán

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Nothing presaged the political explosions new type, to which we attended in 2011, and continue today, like the Spanish case. If we think about the countries like Maghreb or Mashreq, and all the devastation and war that followed those explosions, we tend to scoff about the appellative “Arabic revolutions”. Appellative that was awarded from western media no without interest.

We saw in them also a democratic revolution, and from them we obtained a big inspiration whose effects did not fail to be noticed in the portuguese Geração à Rasca on March 12th 2011, and following that string of techno-political and emotional contagion, on May 15th 2011 in Spain. The revolutions are not defined by their success or their failure as Deleuze and Guattari point out; the ruptures and historic events that open up –and no repression can ever cancel them- define them. Immanuel Kant –in his idealistic sphere and fitting into thinking the sublime impact of the French Revolution- stated that this had signed new moral character in mankind, one indelible tendency towards emancipation.

Nevertheless, new cognitive capital forces –their corporations, labs and think tanks- receive with dialectical craftiness these explosions, embracing them as the difficult birth of a new era –the age of big data, deep learning and algorithmic governance, i.e. the age of cybernetic control of production and reproduction of individuals in network -. A new era that assimilates democracy to mere participation in a network environment in which the range of possibilities is predetermined by predictions and customizations options based on data mining activity of the subject in question and consecutive cartography and mapping that significantly and politically plotted horizons of activity, all of these without hope or minimized and monitored freedoms [1].

So, we can see the seeming paradox of Wael Ghonim –engineer and Google directive- being one of the leading figures in the Western media during the Egyptian revolution on February of 2011, while the corporation founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin not only works willingly with massive espionage world population exercised by the NSA, but is a pioneer in the control and exploitation of the most intimate nooks and crannies of individual and collective subjectivity. We say seeming paradox since the cognitive capital seeks to break the technical, cultural and political barriers to full implementation of the network society -while concentrating all their efforts on the creation of a vast field of capitalist valorization of general human activity, to the extent that it occurs as data on the web or as an online file pass activity-, and ensured the support and protection of the imperial powers of the planet. It is easy and complex –from logic of capital and with an educative, ethical and cares reactionary policy perspective- care and supervises the ownership of a planetary meat and silicon factory, which aroused and involves the capture and apprehension of human life in domain and power networks.

The consequences that this process has for the establishment of public, political and personal spheres are huge and difficult to calculate, and certainly as well for the strength or sharpness of their mutual distinction. But they are also unpredictable. An old tradition of critical thinking, which has its greatest treasure in the Frankfurt School and the negative dialectic of the historical process, finds in this process of generalized extractivism of the biosphere and subjectivity demonstration of the apotheosis of widespread and total domination and the value of utopia as the only refuge of resistance to the violence of history. If we look specifically to educational and transmission of culture processes, these positions emphasize not only in the privatization and commodification of knowledge, in its absolute submission to the imperatives of capital appreciation, but also and above all its features directly antihuman, of deep devastation of anthropological constants that allow give substance and reality to dimensions individuality, freedom, autonomy, creation, love, democracy or common good. At the root of all of this is located the destruction of the conditions of human experience in education and training –for all of these positions-: the active presence and recognition of other; inter-subjectivity experience; the body as a reference of the reality of experience and character situated in time and space –i.e. on the spot- of the act of learning.

However, beyond disputes over the meaning of postmodernism and the network society, 2011 big explosions have determined a practical challenge of this catastrophic diagnosis and his deep distrust of the autonomous power of the production of subjectivity. These explosions of democratic radicalism have shown that - far from determining a closure of the impossible in politics- political and anthropological paradigm of the Internet and social media in particular has broken -with the strength of the cre -action of the invention and the founding event- which appeared as deadlocks of a society of individuals indebted, frightened, isolated and disembodied. And it has done –and this is the decisive element- from the insurrectional contagious affections network strength and also the joyful passions that these affections generate and multiply, fertilizing learning itself and recombining the situation in context with relationships and mediations, with links and spaces... that the network itself traced by new subjectivities invents-creates-built –contrasting and deconstructing bans and proscriptions that occur therein.

The trans-individual, de-individualizing and empowering dimension of affect (reading Spinoza) -that increases the power of individual action- it is no longer a philosophical conjecture or a futuristic projection and it has become a reality inscribed in hybridization relations between bodies and machines, between brains and release algorithms. The indignation’s example as an affection that was stuck in a negative dimension, reactive and even reactionary as grazing policies of hatred and rancor, and this indignation, with the 15M movement, becomes a transitivism affection taking on new qualities and colors. It is the exemplary example of what has been started calling techno-politics, politics of politics that creates, (in) novates and generates new information, devices and technologies in the practice of social practice: popular, cheerful and combative, and inside this social practice the face learning process–in the social center, library, street, squares-. As we see, spaces that are impure,, multicultural, and those are the qualities that make real and possible the emergence of emancipatory, singular and universal learning, all at the same time, that involve and build practices of freedom –and those that are produced in an absence-present in multiple virtual devices, forums, agoras… – which aroused exchanges and relationships while they pass on line are able to empower women and men in the praxis of re- problematisation and systematization of liberating event. Real and/or virtual experiences that recombine relationships and mediations between them take place –or external to them too-, which enable us to make decisions and, at the same time, they give us the possibility of construction and reconstruction of the conditions and requirements that give us the same opportunity and put at our disposal, in an act of cre -action of new conditions and new opportunities for training, educational, political, ethical human experience...

And in these experiences is simple and loving make a gesture that creates the world… - perhaps this is the work that we can do-. A gesture that always unfolds and folds in the educational everyday where women and men are immersed, we plan our practices and, we materialize it, also, under matrix-motive power of our desires and that, at the same time, it shapes and configures the new contexts of lifelong education, as well as it indicates that any time past it is previous -and pregnant with experiences that we collect, systematize and get updated...-. And in this way, situate us and lifelong learning in the flow since last we guide-oriented towards this future; a present pierced and consisting of thin strands of everyday education and, above all, the life sustainability in any of the contexts and practices of lifelong learning, as the nano r evolution, micro... is but a permanent mobilization-rebellion and educational, among others, against everything that hinders, damage or prevents life and, at the moment, capital has put life to work - as well as the object of government, management and administration- and perhaps this is the maximum handicap for establishment and sustainability of life. Always with some real desire to enhance and create from inheritances received by the experiencing and learning, by universal and individual care... putting the sustainability of life in the center of our proposals. As Amaia Pérez Orozco point out collecting contributions of ‘ Precarias a la deriva ’: “ if you yearn to build a common and democratically discussed notion of good living you must politicize what often we live as daily problems (or successes) not only personal, but tinny. It is about starting from ourselves to not stay in ourselves , but politicizing the existence [and] get out from ourselves”. [2]

When we put ourselves in place and, at the same time, at play in the everyday education –far from instructive space-time (structured and structuring space-time), from tasks and academic teaching functions-, e.g. in any learning group emerges and flows (perhaps slow and hardly) a praxical perspective and dynamic enabling the flow-confluence of the testimonies that women and men are able to combine (in a singular and plural way) in a sample-expressing life testimonies received and/or lived that impel us to deepen the process of humanizing mankind [3]. Process that it is upgrading the praxis of education, politic and democratic and transforming ethic.

And we perceive this in the systematization and contributions from self-education groups [4], singular and common antagonists: those words, practices and shared contexts that are able to resist and/or create-build from autonomy, from existing beyond dialog and political representation. Those words, practices and shared contexts open for us times and singular/common places for self-education or collective learning [5] that we practice here and now [6]. This, ultimately, is praxis of testimony, a resistance and transformative practice (a singular and social type) that not only gives us food for thought but also builds (maybe spatially and temporally) such practices and contexts creating other conditions and requirements in such practices and contexts that allow us to putting our view, our hands… to work, the hole body, recombined with various devices and machines (that we find in social order) in a dawn of freedom and transformation.


[1] Perhaps we could remember the contributions of Jesús Ibáñez about this: “The consumer society citizen that moves like Brown said, and having freedom to use one's own body is level 0: real freedom would be level 3 (i.e. subversive citizen, who calls into question the net and trace his network; subversive because to question the law you should go beyond the law, walking around under the law, freedom is of the second kind or generalized, on the order of a script: choose elections or legislate) ad it will demand to taking and acting in the social order (and, it is now, when there are no signs in which focus on, for that reason, we can take and act in social order)”. Tiempo de Postmodernidad , incluido en La polémica de la posmodernidad, Ediciones Libertarias, Madrid, 1986.

[2] PÉREZ OROZCO, Amaia (2014). Subversión feminista de la economía. Aportes para un debate sobre el conflicto capital-vida. Traficantes de sueños. Madrid.

[3] We are not referring to the examples that so often we use, which only seek to mark the cognitive and affective development of women and men involved in the learning process, because those provide an endless value judgments loaded conservatively and these intersect roads and paths of freedom through the easy resource of instantiations and/or explanations, i.e. demonstrated instantiations and placed upon the level of significance of lifelong education, in this case.

[4] GARCÉS, Marina (2011). Dar que pensar. Sobre la necesidad política de nuevos espacios de aprendizaje. espai en blanc , número 7-8: EL COMBATE DEL PENSAMIENTO, en línea.

[5] AA.VV. (2009). Guia per als cercles de cultura. El procés d’ensenyar i aprendre en l’educació permanent. Edicions de l’Institut Paulo Freire d’Espanya. Xàtiva.

[6] “ Is consciousness arises at the site of a memory footprint? And, at this very moment, sometimes it’s a river other times a mirror. We all have observed how existential training processes (from the autobiography) are really complex, and them are within the complexity paradigm which collects the existential of the subject, the internal dimensions –i.e. cognitive, social, contextual, historic, scientific, and constellate dimensions-, profound transformations that allow you to reinforce their autonomy, self-esteem and self-determination capability, and these facilitate make sense of their life, i.e. make sense of their life together and in the process, with other women and men, in a lived experience, in a interpreted experience, in an understood experience, in a communicated experience… it is an experiential praxis that aroused enriching experience in a re-update”. AA.VV. (2013). Guia per a les històries de vida. Fer i pensar. Edicions de l’Institut Paulo Freire d’Espanya. Xàtiva.


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N. 18 • 2015

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N. 18 • 2015