Exco Newsletter: January 2010

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Spring class applications due January 18
Share your feedback
Website update
Winter Carnival skillshare opportunity
Help Save MCTC’s EXCO!

Beneath the University, the Commons
Thoughts on Education: Education for Transformation
Upcoming events


Spring class applications due January 18
Every Exco session brings something new!  Share your expertise or explore new ideas by creating your own Exco class this spring.  Apply online at http://www.excotc.org/create_class.  Exco has also started the creation of community workshops. Workshops are akin to classes, but are usually one-time events that people can RSVP to. Workshops must be free, open, and educational in nature -- and anyone can create them. Check it out! http://www.excotc.org/workshops

Share your feedback
Please take a few moments to give us feedback and share your Exco experience.  Let us know what you liked and didn't like, what we could do better next time, and what you'd love to see happen in the future! http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MR28V75

Website update
The Exco website is on it's way to becoming a great tool for community building, brainstorming and organizing.  If you have suggestions about things you would like to see on the website to make it more user-friendly, please share that feedback!  If you are a developer who is interested in helping us bring our website to the next level, we need you!  Contact [email protected]

Winter Carnival skillshare opportunity
On the afternoon of February 13 the Exco community (that means you!) will be celebrating the newest round of classes with our very own Winter Carnival.  We are still in need of more activities for the day.  This is a perfect opportunity for you to lead a short skill share or discussion. Skill shares could be anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour long on any subject, just keep in mind that the event will be held outdoors.  Do you have something you could share? Contact [email protected]

Help Save MCTC’s EXCO!
This last Fall saw a new organizing group start at MCTC (Minneapolis Community and Technical College), a student organization was continued, and people were excited to build a strong center for free education at the most diverse school in Minnesota. Unfortunately, the project failed to find sufficient traction and has since collapsed. Do you go to MCTC? Do you know people who go to MCTC? Do you live in the neighborhood? Are you willing to step up and help make an EXCO Organizing Group happen there? If so, we can expect it to work, if not we are grateful for the experiences we have had but goodbye MCTC EXCO, at least for now. Please contact David at [email protected] or call 651-315-4222 if you are willing to step up and make EXCO happen at MCTC.

Beneath the University, the Commons
A conference at the University of Minnesota, April 8-11, 2010. 

“Beneath the University, the Commons” builds on the work accomplished by activists, organizers, artists, and academics at the “Re-thinking” and “Re-working” the University Conferences of 2008 and 2009 (www.reworkingtheu.org), while expanding the scope of our discussions and bringing together more international scholars in order to address an increasingly volatile global situation.  Our goal is to aggregate and accelerate our knowledge of university conditions and our collective acts of resistance to them, including alternative forms of engaging with each other and with the world.  To this end, the 2010 conference will draw together a diverse set of people committed to exploring how we can understand, create, and experiment with the commons beneath the university.  Our questions include but are not limited to:

  • How do we create and sustain occupations of the university, not only in the spectacular times of mass demonstrations, but everyday and across all of its spaces?
  • How can we maintain subversive positions as actors within the university without becoming parts of the university’s corporate institution?
  • How can unionization projects and student movements learn from and collaborate with one another?
  • How do we deal with the tensions between the stability of our projects and their transformative effectiveness?
  • How do we open up sustainable and livable spaces for radical research, education, and scholarship without feeling overwhelmed by the pressures to speed up in our precarious working positions??
  • How can we collaboratively map and share research, information, tactics, and cultures?
  • In recognition that our conditions are a part of a larger set of global occupations and injustices, how do we link with social movements outside of and across the university?
  • How can we link struggles against the corporatization and institutional racism of the University of Minnesota, with struggles against segregation, racism, and xenophobia in the surrounding metropolitan area?

This four-day event will consist of two days of conference sessions bracketed by two days of workshops, writing collaborations, skill
shares, and plenty of time for sustained conversations among participants.  We are accepting proposals both for formal papers and for non-conventional forms of participation.  Deadline for proposals is February 1. For more info, see http://beneaththeu.org.

Thoughts on Education: Education for Transformation 
Paolo Freire, a philosopher and practitioner of education, melded transformative theories of education with powerful actions of liberation in Brazil and greatly influenced change within many other communities of the Global South. He helped to form a foundation on which radical education movements have developed, and encouraged us to keep these larger questions in mind: What is the purpose of education? Who does education benefit? How does education take place? Freire understands the responsibility of education as the development of conscientizaçāo (critical consciousness) or “learning to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions, and to take action against the oppressive elements of reality”.1

EXCO brings together a community of people that see education, not solely as the credential-building, status quo-keeping, tool for the maintenance of the hierarchical labor economy, but as a Frierian process of critical dialogue, community-building, and critical consciousness-raising. Education’s inherent role in the world is to catalyze change, in its many manifestations. Regardless of the topic of the course, our EXCO community challenges the notion that education is the uncritical banking of concepts or facts, but understands it to be a process that builds relationships and community, builds our identities, and, at its root, humanizes us. 
1.  Freire, Paolo. 1970. Pedagogy of the Oppressed, p. 35

Upcoming events
January 18: Application deadline
January 30: Facilitator forum
February 4: Alternate facilitator forum
February 13: Winter Carnival
February 22: Winter/spring session begins!

Send February newsletter submissions to [email protected] by February 1.


Sincerely,
Callie and the Exco organizing team

Experimental College of the Twin Cities
Where everyone can teach and take classes, and all are free!
[email protected] | www.excotc.org | (651) 998-9268