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Brian Holmes

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I'm an activist and a cultural critic who lived in Europe for twenty years and participated in the counter-globalization movements and in the Deleuzo-Guattarian autonomous Marxist journal Multitudes. Coming back to the States to live in Chicago, I have felt the need to participate in self-organized cultural and intellectual projects, politicized ones which are about the expression of grassroots philosophical potentials. With Claire Pentecost and the 16 Beaver group we organized the Continental Drift seminars in New York from 2005 onwards. They became itinerant, went to Croatia and Argentina and China, and along the way a new collective called the Compass group emerged, in the course of a Continental Drift through what we call "the Midwest Radical Cultural Corridor."

Meanwhile I got interested in the recent student movements in the UC system, which is where I had done my graduate studies. I wrote some encouraging and polemical things about the occupations, which put me in touch with various people on the West Coast. I came out to do talks at various campuses for the March 4th walkout in 2009, initially at the invitation of Cara Baldwin. Then with her and others from the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest and The Public School we organized a weekend event in LA on the university crisis, entitled "Continental Drift; Control Society/Metamorphosis." This was extremely interesting, particularly at the very end of the weekend when questions started to arise about how the Public School could develop further and actually replace or at least productively rival with existing forms of university education. This is why I wanted to come back to focus specifically on that subject, which we did in "The Future of the Public School."

Since then, and on the basis of those experiences, I have co-organized an extended seminar in Chicago at a self-organized cultural center called Mess Hall, on the subject "Three Crises: 30s-70s-Today." Beyond the thematic focus on capitalist crisis, the aim was to experiment with a far-reaching, semester-long collaborative seminar. The results of that work -- lesson plan, source materials, original written texts and audio recordings -- are archived at


Member for
7 years 11 months


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