Class War University is a common project and informal network of cooperation—composing resources for anti-capitalist, decolonial, abolitionist, feminist, queer, anti-authoritarian movements on the terrain of universities and beyond.
‘UNIVERSITY’ or ‘U’ has a triple meaning here:
1) WHO WE ARE: the original sense of ‘university’ as the totality of a group of students who organized together as a kind of union to manage their own affairs and to protect themselves from the price-gouging activities of the townspeople and teachers. Likewise, we come together now as anti-capitalists who seek to learn how we can abolish capitalism. We can meet here to share reflections, push ourselves to ask better questions about our visions, goals, strategies, and tactics, and to help each other respond to these questions in practice.
2) WHAT WE STUDY and WHAT WE FIGHT: what universities have become in capitalism—so-called ‘higher’ education as the top strata in the hierarchy of the education system, key sites for capitalist production and reproduction, and sorting machines from which many students (on racial and economic lines) are marginalized into highly segregated, policed communities and funneled into the ‘schools-to-prisons pipeline.’
3) ‘U’ as YOU: the class war and interrelated conflicts striate our senses of ‘self,’ ‘identity,’ ‘individuality,’ and ‘subjectivity’ with ambivalences and tensions. Multi-fronted conflicts riddle the terrain of education, at all levels of scale: from the metropolitan, national, and international conflicts over the allocation of resources to the micro-political relations between students and teachers in a classroom. These conflicts pervade our subjectivities as well—such as between our desires to improve our work and study conditions collectively and our desires to survive within the given system by individualizing ourselves in competition for the scarce rewards of professionalization. This tension is articulated differently for different positions throughout the education system. For students and workers who are positioned lower in the hierarchical division of labor, survival might mean performing wage labor and obeying bosses so as to make enough financial capital to pay for the commodified necessities of life. For workers positioned higher—and for students who see themselves on an imagined career trajectory of rising higher in the class hierarchy—‘survival’ also means accumulating capital in the form of grades, student evaluations, publications, and recommendations that will allow them to increase the value of their labor-power when they commoditize it for sale on the job market. Not only do our ambivalent structural positions take different forms, but also we have different ways of understanding them, mediated by various political perspectives. The ClassWarU project seeks to promote critical, radical perspectives with which to view these tensions in more nuanced, movement-building ways.
Who are the ‘we’ who run this website? Sorry, but we aren’t going to tell you our names. From seeing class war on the micro-political level of our subjectivities, we are vigilant against the ways that radical intellectual work is so often recuperated into individualized careerism. Whether in academia, non-profits, unions, or political organizations, there is continual institutional pressure to commodify one’s work and identity to compete for status and jobs. Although we appreciate the difficulties of remaining outside those institutions and the need for sometimes engaging with them strategically through selectively gaining ‘credit’ for one’s work, we have decided against treating this project as such a ‘career-enhancing’ tool. To throw a tiny wrench in the gears of the ‘publishing-industrial complex’ and ‘academic capitalism,’ we will remain anonymous.
A primary goal of this project is to create tools for anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian, anti-oppressive movements on the terrain of universities.
Another goal is to gather the forces of our movements through having conversations and making media that connect us with each other and our resources, thereby expanding and strengthening our relationships.
Toward these ends, we welcome you to participate in any of several ways:
- Read the reflections, interviews, and other resources shared on this site
- Engage in discussions through posting comments. None of us has the answers for how to abolish capitalism, but we can push each other to ask better questions.
- Contribute your own resources (such as reflections, syllabi of classes you’ve taught, materials from organizing efforts, etc.)—email them to email@example.com.
- Be interviewed. A member of Class War U would be happy to interview you, eliciting your experiences and reflections on your attempts at radical organizing, pedagogy, and research (including your goals, curriculum design, tactics, context, tensions, obstacles, limiting and enabling conditions, questions, etc.). We welcome you to remain anonymous. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.
We hope you enjoy and find some use in these resources. To expand our movement and get more folks involved in these conversations, please share this page, whether through word-of-mouth, facebook, twitter, or by any means necessary.