Antithese #5

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When we started Antithese a year ago, during the Maagdenhuis occupation, we aimed to fill a void. We somehow felt that a platform to share our thought and experience was missing. Our voices were heard, but the urgency of the occupations left us with such a short time to develop and reflect on what was actually happening around us. Over the year, we shared in the pages of this zine many texts having as main focus the disintegration of universities. But our involvement in social change goes far beyond the institution. Indeed, we all share the student’s identity, whatever that means. We recognize each other as part of the same academic community, and we fight to liberate this community from neoliberal, capitalist oppression. But one shouldn’t neglect the fact that, despite of our unity, we are subjected to different forms of oppression that intersect. Therefore, we believe in a student struggle that takes this intersectionality into account and embraces diversity.

Intersectional solidarity: a work in progress!
If feminist, decolonial, gender or class issues are progressively taking more space in the academia’s curriculum, our experiences in the institution show us that this institutionalisation is highly problematic. Yes, critical theories find their ways into some disciplines, but does it make the university an inclusive, safer space? Just as in society, institutional forms of oppression are deeply rooted and internalized within the
academia. They are mirrored in our activist sphere as well, where male dominance for instance, and especially the macho behaviour, tends to reproduce patriarchal dynamics.

While we want to embrace marginalized people’s struggles inside and outside the universities, one main pitfall of such solidarity is actually the reproduction of practices that are oppressive. In fact, becoming good allies is a process that isn’t easy at all. It needs sensibility, self-reflection and open minds. It requires leaving space for the marginalized to speak and emancipate themselves, which is only possible if we constantly reflect on our own internalized behaviour and privileges, and sometimes adjust our tactics. In order to foster such reflection, we propose to have a look at what is being done by feminist student activists in Québec, where non-mixed committees came up as a potential solution, or at least as a necessity to cope male dominance. We also chose to publish the reflection of an affinity group from Amsterdam that questions the notion of intersectional solidarity in relation to the last noise demonstration in support of undocumented people at Schipol detention center.

Besides these self-reflective contributions, this issue of Antithese aims to offer an overview of actual social struggles which are beyond the scope of the main student issues that has been raised last year. Led by a diverse collective consisting of queers, women, former refugees, non-white people, squatters and men involved in the student movement in Amsterdam, this zine addresses a large range of topics, from the feminist response to Geert Wilder and the anti-fascist mobilization against PEGIDA, to the accelerated gentrification of Amsterdam and the Academic for Peace movement in Turkey.

We invite you to read this diverse set of articles and texts and to reflect upon your own experiences and surroundings. Because the only way we can grow and maintain our movement is by reflecting on our actions and those of the people closest to us.

  – Antithese

March 18th, 2016

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Arguments for a Universal Access to Education

Education is the basis of a society: it allows the transmission of knowledge and culture, and it teaches critical thinking. Increasingly, this fundamental right has become a commodity that students can buy and income has become a major factor deciding the scope of studies or their continuation. Those who can afford it are spoiled for choice while others are being forced to forgo some options to enter the labour market as soon as possible. A long university education is supposed to result in a prestigious degree, yet often this degree does not guarantee a job, especially not a job that would pay off the debts that have become necessary.

It’s a fundamental right

Higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education.

UN, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,

article 13c. (Ratified by The Netherlands)

Above all, free education is necessary in respect to the right to education. Everyone should have access to higher education, regardless of their social origin. Tuition fees are forcing students from less affluent families to work harder in order to finance their education. The difficulty to combine work and study tends to interfere with academic success. As a result, students coming from poorer backgrounds are often penalized academically, while the privileged ones (mainly from white middle-class background) have the opportunity to put all their energies on studying. They will then be in a better position to gain grants based on academic results and to apply for post-graduate opportunities.

Free education would therefore:

  • Increase post-secondary attendance of young people from less affluent families and increasing the overall participation of young people to university;
  • Increase the chances of economically disadvantaged people to succeed in post-secondary education;
  • Restore the balance between people of all origins, as international students

Fight the knowledge economy by restoring the university’s mission

To us the university is meant to learn its students to be critical, to think for themselves and to question the status quo. To become ‘competente rebellen’ so to say, and emancipate themselves. This is necessary to make progress possible in any way, not only economically but also culturally. In the neoliberal system, this goal of the university has been (partially) lost. Now, the programs perceived as lucrative tends to receive more funds and students are encouraged to participate in those programs. Thereby reducing the popularity of fundamental research, humanities and art programs and creating another argument to reduce funding those programs which eventually leads to a stagnation in progress. We won’t be able to react to cultural changes, to invent new techniques, if there are no more people who can think beyond the immediate creation of things.

In the neoliberal market of education, tuition fees constitute a disciplinary integration of young citizens into market logic. By presenting education as a personal investment and asking young people to take up debt in order to increase the value of their labor power on the market, the students are forced to do a cost-benefit calculation in the choice for their programs. For the next semester the change is already noticeable, application-numbers for studies that are deemed to have a higher economic reward after graduation are relatively higher than in previous years.

For students, this vision of education creates a significant debt problem. Entering the labor market indebted in the tens of thousands of euros is an important incentive to work. Instead of prioritizing an interesting job or working fewer hours, young graduates are required to maximize their income, in order to pay off their student debt. Free education is a guarantee against the implementation of this neoliberal model of the knowledge economy.

What does free education mean?

Free education means that the full cost is contributed by the state. This policy therefore requires a major reinvestment in education from the state in question, which have often used tuition fee increases in order to reduce their participation. Not only for universities but also for educations teaching a profession (in the Netherlands: HBO and MBO educations). Governments need to realise that precisely because of education’s status as a fundamental right it is their duty to provide its citizens with uniform access to it. But just as much do we – the citizens, the students – need to realize that we can take this right, we can enforce our governments and universities to listen to us and to step out of our way towards a better education system.

Adapted from ASSÉ’s website

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Antithese #4


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It has now been more than half a year that we saw the consequences of disillusion students organising themselves. The Bungehuis and Maagdenhuis occupations, done by a group of staff and students under the name of De Nieuwe Universiteit, shook awake the governing organs of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and change was demanded. With the new academic year about to begin, this fourth edition of Antithese offers new students a glimpse into the world of student activism. It aims to introduce key concepts with which we have fought for months now and tries to elucidate them where possible. We then aim to explore how we should set about achieving our demands and reflecting upon what kind of tactics we and other movements are using to empower ourselves.

We invite you to scour through this zine and conceptualise your own thoughts on the university, the education system, and politics in general. It also explains the relation and importance of squatting to student activism. You can find a guide to these spaces in the centre-fold map of Amsterdam’s social squats and centres. In addition to this, we are presenting articles discussing the need for and meaning of democratisation in the university as well as an explanation (taken from the Québec student movement) of the right to free education.

What’s going on at the UvA?

At the beginning of last academic year, many of us had no experience or interest in student activism. However, when the Spinhuis (former and unused anthropology and sociology faculty) was squatted in September 2014 and offered a vast array of activities it so happened that more and more students felt invited to join the struggle. Sometimes this meant just occasionally showing up to lectures or events and sometimes it meant participating in meetings to try and figure out how we could – collectively – make the university (and society) a better place. In November 2014 a similar sentiment to the dissatisfaction that caused the Spinhuis also culminated in the formation of the Humanities Rally action group which began organising demonstrations on a regular basis against the severe and absurd budget cuts to the humanities faculty. From this followed that the mentioned occupations which introduced the concept of direct action to even more people and brought us together in a radical criticism of neoliberal management. During our time in the Maagdenhuis the teachers and staff of the UvA organised themselves into ReThink UvA and together we tried to find ways out of this neoliberal mess. We fought for direct democracy, decentralization and a full decolonization of the university, and we still are. We wanted to redistribute the power from the top to the bottom, and this is still to be done. We wanted that real-estate speculation with regards to university buildings to halt, but it hasn’t. We wanted to stop the corporatisation of the university itself, yet Bungehuis is still sold to SOHO Hotel. Most of all we thought that we could be heard and listened to, but our criticisms and ideas were simply tolerated for public spectacle.

In the end, the UvA’s board of directors tried to pacify us with empty gestures such as having a student representative present at board meetings, installing committees which we believe won’t have any managerial power in the end, and, finally, pressuring Louise Gunning into resigning. But none of these superficial measures are enough. We will not be satisfied with empty gestures, we must enact real, structural change in order to have a truly democratic university – which means that the fight cannot remain confined to the ivory tower of the academy. Let’s take it to the street.

– Antithese

September 2015



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Antithese #3


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After months of protests, it seems the student movement that emerged from the series of occupations at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) has reached a turning point and could benefit from some in depth self-reflection. The summer is coming, and next September will be a crucial moment in order to see where we are and how we can continue our struggle against the mismanagement of our universities. This third issue of Antithese proposes some starting points to envision the sustainability of the movement. Where our two previous issues clearly aim to document the recent events and reach a broad audience, this third one aims to speak directly to the members of De Nieuwe Universiteit (DNU), hopefully engaging the core group of the movement in a self-critical process.

In order to do so, we publish A post-Maagdenhuis analysis, an essay about the last developments of the movement and some of the pitfalls we are now facing. The text from Ewout van den Berg, concerning other social movements (Occupy Wall Street, Indignados and the student movement in Québec), can be fruitful to look further and plan the sustainable future of DNU. Our editorial team interviewed a member of DNU-Utrecht, to shed light on the development of other DNUs factions. You can also find the speech by Jos Scheren, former occupier of the Maagdenhuis in 1969, held inside the walls of De Verrekijker, the brand new autonomous café opened up by DNU-VU. Lastly, you can follow the updates on the current student struggles worldwide.

We hope this issue will help to situate the movement in a broader context and wish to all “professional” activists a peaceful summer. See you around the Climate Games and surely for the next round of our struggle, starting in September 2015!

– Antithese
June 19th, 2015

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Antithese #2


Antithese #2 (cover)

Printable & readable version (to print, select the “booklet” template on PDF) : Antithese2_FINAL


Antithese is a new platform run by and for student activists involved in the recent protests at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and abroad. In our inaugural issue, the main focus was on the eleven days of the Bungehuis occupation, in order to collect and share testimonies, reflections or creations related to this preeminent moment of the current student struggle. This second issue builds further on what directly proceeded from the eviction of the Bungehuis: reclaiming the administration building of the UvA, the Maagdenhuis. It recalls the (re)appropriation from its very beginning, when hundreds of angry protesters broke the doors of the building in a burst of spontaneity, to its brutal end: an unnecessary intervention of riot police, violently interrupting the opening of the Festival of Sciences and Humanities, what was already decided upon to be the closing of the occupation.

It is not exaggerated to remember the phase of the Maagdenhuis (re)appropriation as strong in emotions. The speech held by Rudolf Valkhoff a few minutes before the breaking of the doors on February 25 and the auto-ethnography of the eviction on April 11 written by Julie McBrien, both included in this edition of Antithese, are two great capsules of memory giving a taste of the heat of the moment. Neither is it an overstatement to call those 45 days of community living a real social experiment. It shaped De Nieuwe Universiteit (DNU) over the course of an ongoing series of lectures, workshops, debates, seminars, film screenings, concerts, general assemblies and direct actions that merged with everyday life.

The tactic of (re)appropriation in itself can be seen as more inclusive and lasting than the barricaded occupation, and brought protesters and authorities on an unknown terrain. This concept is addressed from a theoretical perspective by helios guia in the following pages. While the reclaimed but open administration building became the domicile of a core group of “professional activists” (as the mayor of Amsterdam said in an attempt to delegitimize DNU), its function was enlarged by the daily presence of different supporters and action groups springing forth from the student movement. Rethink UvA, a collective of concerned staff members, used the Maagdenhuis as their headquarters to establish an alternative to the current top-down governance structure. In the text on Rethink by Umut Kibrit we even see their reflection taking account of their own horizontal participatory structure. Particularly substantial for our movement is the rise of the University of Colour, a group emerging from the lack of diversity in our movement itself and paving the ways toward an intersectional struggle. Their call to decolonize universities together with social movements is also figuring in this Antithese issue.

Immediately following the Maagdenhuis takeover, repercussions were already perceptible outside of Amsterdam, and continue to expand to this day. Many factions of DNU are growing in Utrecht, Rotterdam, Maastricht, Groningen, Nijmegen and Tilburg. A delegation of DNU was directly involved in the recent wave of occupations in London and brought ‘red square solidarity’ as far as Istanbul. More than 8000 academics around the world (including Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler and Simon Critchley) signed a support letter and over 70 lectures were held inside the Maagdenhuis, bringing many international critical thinkers like David Graeber and Jacques Rancière to the epicenter of our movement. This outgrow shows the significance of what happens here, and proves that our movement is not restrained to Amsterdam. What was initiated here at the UvA embraces the global struggles for the liberation of universities from neoliberal management.

In this context it is furthermore not astonishing to witness an increase of repression against these empowered student movements, here as well as abroad. The board of directors (CvB) of the UvA showed with disgrace how far the managers of the neoliberal university will go to silence the contestation by abusing their authority, intimidating the dissent community members, lying in court and in the media and using racist arguments to delegitimize the Maagdenhuis occupants. Fortunately, the solidarity within the academic community, offended by the outrageous eviction, forced the president of the CvB Louise Gunning to resign from her position.

Even though this resignation can be seen as a small victory for our movement, we cannot ignore the worrying use of state repression against us: a total of 67 students and staff members were jailed following the Bungehuis and Maagdenhuis evictions. Six students had been transferred to foreign detention, thereby pressured to identify themselves, while Dutch laws are supposed to safeguard anonymity. Many of us are now monitored by police forces, if not followed in the streets by silent cops. This continued adherence to state repression as a tool to enforce the neoliberal agenda of the administrators of universities ignites disorder on campuses around the globe. Their intolerance to dissent leaves us no choice: when injustice becomes law, resistance is a duty.

Taking part in this resistance, the texts compiled in this current issue of Antithese each shed light on and raise awareness of the recent events in Amsterdam. They will, hopefully, inform and inspire new front lines of the global student struggle.

– Antithese

May 8th, 2015

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Call for Submissions Antithese #2: The Maagdenhuis Appropriation

Since the 25th of February De Nieuwe Universiteit is reclaiming the Maagdenhuis as an autonomous space to rethink the university’s model. While the protests started at the UvA, for a big part against the budget cuts on the Humanities faculty, our struggle is becoming much broader: everywhere in the Netherlands people are grouping themselves under the banner of De Nieuwe Universieit. This historical moment has already inspired lots of students from abroad and Amsterdam has become a new front line of the international student struggle.

For the second issue of Antithese, we invite critical and creative submissions that engage this transition from the occupation of the Bungehuis to the Maagdenhuis’ appropriation. We are looking for :

• critical analysis
• abstracts of in-depth articles on the global struggle
• short personal stories concerning the Maagdenhuis
• poetry, creative writings, artworks
• pictures

Your contributions (1 500 words) will be published in the new Antithese DIY magazine and online blog. Note that you can write in the language of your choice.

Deadline : Sunday 4th of April 18:00
Send your submissions to :

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Voor een problematiserende academische gemeenschap

Beste actievoerende Amsterdamse academici,

Jullie hebben je de afgelopen tijd verenigd in bewegingen (Humanities Rally, De Nieuwe Universiteit, Rethink UvA), meerdere keren gedemonstreerd, alsook het College van Bestuur (CvB) geconfronteerd met een aantal eisen die betrekking hebben op de organisatie van de Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA). Dat betekent dat er een cultuuromslag in die organisatie dient te komen: bestuur moet op een zo laag mogelijk niveau plaatsvinden. Tegelijkertijd problematiseren jullie niet de hoge mate van institutionalisering, oftewel formalisering, binnen de universiteit. De afgelopen maanden hebben jullie vooral aangetoond dat de gewenste verandering wordt gebracht met het aankaarten van problemen. Er zijn echter – niet alleen aan de UvA, niet alleen binnen het hoger onderwijs, niet alleen in Nederlandse instituties – vele verbonden problemen, maar welke daarvan heeft jullie grote energie eigenlijk aangewakkerd?

In oktober 2014 werd De Nieuwe Universiteit opgezet, en na de aankondiging van bezuinigingen binnen de geesteswetenschappen aan de UvA (FGw) in november ontstond ook Humanities Rally (HR) als studentencollectief van studenten van de FGw. In beginne was het voor HR volstrekt onduidelijk waar de financiële problematiek precies vandaan kwam. Tegelijkertijd meende het faculteitsbestuur al in overleg met verschillende partijen over mogelijke oplossingen te hebben gesproken. Binnen HR werd vervolgens in kleinere taakgroepen hard gewerkt, er kwam een machine op gang. Telkens werd geprobeerd het gesprek met het bestuur van de FGw aan te gaan; steeds bleek informatie nog ontbrekend. Daarom werden beleidsstukken boven water gehaald en bestudeerd, en werden er over de inhoud van die stukken, alsook over de voortgang van het dialoog – of het gebrek eraan – opiniestukken geschreven. Op facultair, universitair en landelijk niveau leken alle rechtvaardigingen voor de door de bestuurders beoogde veranderingen voort te komen uit “het rendementsdenken”, alsof de universiteit beoordeeld en bestuurd zou kunnen worden op basis van enkel kwantitatief meetbare factoren en financiële rendabiliteit. De uitdaging was allereerst echter om te tonen hoe dit idee zich in de praktijken binnen de FGw actualiseerde. Het ministerie betaalt universiteiten per op tijd afgestudeerde student; opleidingen met weinig studenten zijn daardoor niet rendabel. Het financieel verdelingsmodel was en is allesbehalve onproblematisch. Aan de FGw hadden tot slot veel minder eerstejaars studenten zich ingeschreven, en er viel daardoor een gat in de begroting. De decaan stelde daarom voor om de FGw ofwel om te vormen tot een “liberal arts college”, ofwel een eerste jaar als “brede bachelor” op te zetten voor alle geesteswetenschappen.

Na een paar maanden waarin discussie op niets uit zou lopen, waarin bestuurders naar elkaar zouden blijven wijzen wat betreft hun verantwoordelijkheden, werd er, nu ook met steun van studenten van andere faculteiten en universiteiten, steeds meer een pleidooi gehouden voor openheid van de kant van het bestuur van de UvA. Op 13 februari 2015 bezette De Nieuwe Universiteit ’s ochtends het Bungehuis, en ’s middags sloten sommigen van Humanities Rally zich na een nieuwe protestactie bij hen aan. Eis van de bezetters: stopzetting van bezuinigingsplannen, het aftreden van en referenda voor het universiteitsbestuur, en medezeggenschap in de faculteiten. Niet iedereen deelde dit verlangen naar radicale verandering. Maar nadat het Louise Gunning namens het CvB in een kort geding eiste dat de bezetters op straffe van een dwangsom van 100.000 euro per bezetter per dag zouden vertrekken en zo de burgerlijke ongehoorzaamheid criminaliseerde, en in Nieuwsuur verkondigde dat slechts “een kleine groep studenten” de Bungehuisbezetting steunde, volgden er vanuit vele docenten en verschillende maatschappelijke groepen uit het hele land juist steunbetuigingen aan het adres van de bezetters. Op 24 februari werd het Bungehuis ontruimd, en de volgende dag protesteerden ongeveer 1500 studenten, docenten en sympathisanten naar het Maagdenhuis, waar actievoerders na een uur de deur openschopten. Sinds 25 februari wordt met horten en stoten het gebouw als publieke ruimte toegeëigend en zijn er verschillende lezingen en evenementen georganiseerd. Er zijn vervolgens door DNU, HR en Rethink verschillende eisen opgesteld, waaronder democratisering van organisatie, decentralisatie door besluitvorming op een zo laag mogelijk niveau van organisatie, en het bieden van zo veel mogelijk vaste aanstellingen aan docenten. Het CvB heeft in reactie op de gebeurtenissen en op deze eisen gereageerd met een 10-puntenplan m.b.t. het bestuur en de institutionele cultuur aan de UvA. Met haar reactie wekte het CvB de indruk een flinke omslag te hebben gemaakt, en een handreiking te doen naar de academische gemeenschap. Echter, de punten werden te abstract bevonden, en alsnog zou het aan de academische gemeenschap zijn om de universiteitscultuur te veranderen. Ondertussen lijkt de toeëigening van het Maagdenhuis tegen z’n einde te lopen. Humanities Rally gaat opnieuw in gesprek met de decaan van het FGw. Andere faculteiten herorganiseren zich ook. En Rethink UvA blijft in gesprek met het CvB. Kortom: men stuurt aan op concrete veranderingen binnen de bestaande onderwijsstructuur, die allereerst maar eens formeel moeten worden vastgelegd.

Al die actie, voor wat? Voor meer… (1) democratisering, (2) decentralisatie en (3) zekerheid van contracten? Hoe kun je daarmee niet alleen de voorgestelde bezuinigingen van tafel krijgen en de bestuurscultuur veranderen, maar óók de financialisering, de vastgoedprojecten en verdere bureaucratisering tegengaan? Het lijkt mij dat je, hoe concreet je die drie eisen ook maakt, je (1) alsnog aanstuurt op formalisatie, op verdere institutionalisering, en (2) alsnog volledig instemt met de wensen van de de competitie binnen en tussen universiteiten, en aan de financiële eisen die aan de universiteit worden gesteld. Moeten we terug de institutie, de universiteit in, het vertrouwen in de top van het hiërarchisch georganiseerde geheel herstellen, en weer aan de slag? Of kunnen jullie aantonen dat jullie horizontale vorm van organisatie levensvatbaar is, en steeds weer laten zien dat een dergelijk bij de praktijk betrokken, egalitaire organisatievorm noodzakelijk is voor de gezondheid van het hoger onderwijs?

Hoe bestuur (gedeeltelijk) te deïnstitutionaliseren? Gaan democratie, bureaucratisering en institutionalisering niet juist hand in hand? Zouden we de aandacht niet moeten verleggen naar horizontale organisatie van groepen die anders leven, die begrijpen dat er verschillende vormen van kennis zijn, en die van ieder altijd al de capaciteit om sociaal problematische ideeën te bespreken toekent?

Enkele kanttekeningen bij de notie van bureaucratisering, zoals David Graeber het op 7 maart in het Maagdenhuis besprak. Graeber beschouwt bureaucratie als de schakel tussen de markt (“privé”) en de staat (“publiek”); het fuseert nationaal bestuur en de macht van bedrijven. Na jaren van opbouw van verschillende verzorgingsstaten nemen natiestaten nu steeds vaker op directe wijze, door middel van bureaucratische middelen, het welzijn juist (weer) af van de individuen die zij gedeeltelijk hebben geproduceerd. In Nederland wordt de economie wellicht niet voor 80% gedreven door financiën en vastgoed, maar het is wel duidelijk dat het in steeds grotere mate onze verschillende manieren van leven probeert aan te tasten. In Amsterdam wordt al het niet-economische leven verwijderd uit het centrum; het wordt een gebied van toerisme, financiën, en vastgoed. Ieder wordt geacht zich als consument te beschouwen, wordt gedreven om producten te kopen en om te investeren in bedrijven en hun producten; ondertussen is het normaal dat iedereen een schuld opbouwt. Het verschil tussen de staat, markt en maatschappelijk middenveld is volledig verdwenen; kapitaal circuleert en regeert, het investeert in zichzelf, schulden maken ons meester.

Jullie vormen precies een vorm van organisatie, een in de praktijk strijdende organisatievorm die dit soort circulatie en sturing van kapitaal en verlangens kan blokkeren. We leven niet in een perfecte disciplinerende samenleving. In het proces van institutionalisering, van formalisering, van de productie van zekerheid, gaat ook een hoop mis. Niet langer zijn het niet-economische codes, bv. van reproductie, die de verlangens van een bevolking, een gemeenschap of groep sturen. Instanties verwijzen nu naar mathematische wetten, naar axioma’s, wiens sturende kracht als vanzelfsprekend worden geacht. Ieder verkoopt zijn arbeidskracht, aan een bedrijf, aan de staat, aan een institutie, of als zelfstandig ondernemer – en wordt zo alsnog een onderdeel van de maatschappelijke machine. We accepteren de axioma’s als vanzelfsprekend: onze privé-existentie, onze overtuigingen, gedachten en verlangens, vormen in steeds grotere mate een “privatisering” van de publieke onderwerping en subjectivering. In de realisatie van het kapitalisme participeren we dus, maar de bevrijding van normen, van codes, creëert ook genoeg problematische situaties.

Gesteld dat (1) op allerlei niveaus voortdurend verlangens worden geproduceerd, (2) verschillende uitingen van macht er juist het historisch contingente resultaat van zijn, (3) op ieder discours een ander volgt dat het voorgaande problematiseert, en misschien wel idioot doet lijken, (4) men beter niet kan hopen op een grote revolutie… is het niet zaak het ongelijk van marxisten en heideggerianen op het punt van de massa aan te tonen en telkens te laten zien dat collectieven het vermogen hebben om vragen te stellen en problemen uit te lichten? Er gaat veel fout; is het niet de affirmatie van problemen die ons als veranderlijk collectief sterkt, en die op een vruchtbare manier weet af te wijken naar de “zoektocht” naar al vooraf gedefinieerde, al bestaande oplossingen?

Jullie strijden lichamelijk, driftig, met affectie én verstand, en kaarten herhaaldelijk de specifieke problemen van de kapitalistische axiomatiek aan. Dat kan iedereen in collectief verband, en zo’n praktijk zelf kan onmogelijk geformaliseerd of geïnstitutionaliseerd worden.

Gertjan Buijs (masterstudent filosofie aan Université Paris-8)


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Antithese #1

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Editorial : The Bungehuis Revolutie!

 Antithese was formed by a group of concerned students and academics from different faculties who represent de Nieuwe Universiteit movement. What started as opposition to Humanities Faculty reforms at the UvA (Profiel 2016) and the reorganisation of the Beta faculties at the VU and UvA became a new front line of the international student struggle. On Friday the 13th of February, this group of students decided to occupy the Bungehuis (Spuistraat 210) and oppose the reforms enacted by the Board of Directors of the University of Amsterdam.

De Nieuwe Universiteit’s demands oppose the transformation of the higher education landscape in the Netherlands into a corporate structure where profit triumphs over the quality of education and research. Our main demand is the democratisation and decentralisation of university governance. These goals are pursued through direct action (i.e. occupations), the purpose of which is to embody the ideals that we seek to achieve in our own actions. For instance, the occupation of the Bungehuis (and the subsequent appropriation of the Maagdenhuis) have allowed its participants to learn and practice direct democracy (consensus model) and self-organise a whole community in an autonomous, non-commercial space.

The Bungehuis occupation also opposed the sale of this iconic building (and others in central Amsterdam) to the tourist industry. This beautiful building was recently sold off to Soho House, who will transform it into a hotel and membership-only club for people from the creative industry to enjoy. This non-transparent real estate speculation is also a symptom of the neoliberalisation of universities.

Coverage of the Bungehuis occupation has died down since the Maagdenhuis Appropriation. The Bungehuis experience, however, was essential to the growth of the students’ movement and deserves some emphasis. The first edition of Antithese is entirely devoted to these eleven days of occupation. You will find in those pages a series of archives, stories and poems from Bungehuis occupiers and sympathisers. The articles provide some analysis but also convey the emotions experienced by those involved. This format shifts the discourse from that presented by the media and public institutions to the activists’ own perspectives.


– Antithese

March 2015


























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Call for Submissions

Antithese : Bungehuis Revolutie!

Call for submissions

In the last weeks, The Netherlands has witnessed an escalation of actions that can be framed in a global struggle against the neoliberalization of universities. Although many voices had been heard in the mainstream media, we find it necessary to create a platform to share our own narrative about the recent events. For the first issue of Antithese, we invite critical and creative submissions that engage the Bungehuis occupation. We are looking for :

• critical analysis
• abstracts of in-depth articles on the global struggle
• short personal stories concerning the Bungehuis
• poetry, creative writings, artworks
• pictures

Your contributions (max. 1500 words) will be published in the new Antithese DIY magazine and online blog. Note that you can write in the language of your choice.

About Antithese

This independent project has been initiated by a group of activists based in Amsterdam and involved in local and international student struggles. If you want to join this collective, please email us!

Deadline : Sunday 15th March 18:00
Send your submissions to :


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