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Criminalization of philosophy in Uruguay

A star
whose vertices shape the pentagon
circumscribed in the cosmic cycle,
ecce homo.

Finally, the police intelligence apparatus has achieved what it wanted long ago: to know
what happens inside House of Philosophy, what we do and what we think. In fact, on
Tuesday, April 4th, we have suffered a search with illegal procedures, whereby the police
removed our computers, external disks and other work equipment.

House of Philosophy expresses a tendency to the establishment of different forms of


sensitivity and understanding of the collective experience. This multiple and diversifying
implantation of knowledge within the society is an effect and, in turn, prohija a
transformation of the conditions that determine the power relations and their formal
expressions. Since then, the nucleation of humanists, artists and creators has gained
significance and projection in order to elaborate an alternative to the instrumental
trivialization of interpersonal bonds.

In this space, various movements of social and political criticism have been generated: we
have organized information and discussion activities on extractivist megaprojects, we have
promoted international colloquia, research workshops, art exhibitions, philosophy seminars,
film cycles, courses and conferences, a vast humanistic library has been created,
presentations of books, music cycles, Spanish courses for immigrants, links with the
neighborhood, etc. In such activities, institutions such as Paris 8 Saint-Denis University,
Foundation for Argentinean and Iberic-American Thinking (F.E.P.A.I.), Faculty of
Humanities and Educational Sciences, GLOBALE FESTIVAL, Permanent National
Assembly and others have participated.

A fundamental part of the House of Philosophy project is its Maderamen Publishing House,
which has published three books of complete internal development, two of which,
Contragobernar by the Uruguayan philosopher Ricardo Viscardi, and Readings of Progress
published a few days before the raid, are critical works with the Government policies in
various orders.

These are times when carrying forward the thought business becomes dangerous. What is
most worthy of thought, says Heidegger, is the fact that we do not think. The development
of capitalism in Uruguay has reached its global phase during the Frente Amplio
government. As a consequence, the strategies of mercantilism have flooded all forms of
knowledge production. The University itself has been a victim of the epistemological
capitalism that these governments have imported and installed. In such a way, the social
dynamics are reterritorialized to end up always being functional to the system. The Vice
President of the Republic, also a victim of epistemological avatars, declared in 2014, before
the national elections: "We have to go more and more towards a more controlled society".1

Faced with such a state of affairs, criticism, as an active condition of the human being, is
updated through the intervention of knowledge as a key to social participation, and it is
only enriched by that path with the permanent differentiation of individuals and groups.
Correlatively, the equilibria of the community demand, once raised in the perspective of
intellectual activity, the permanent incorporation of criticism, through the circulation of
inclinations and sensibilities that guide the communities, outside and within each society.

A functional policy for economic exploitation and marginalization from a part of society
guides its discursive strategies through a single meaning for thought, a monotheistic
conventionality entangled in a mediated phantasmagoria that contravenes the varied
expressions of life and culture.

In the last decade, the government has tended to monopolize all forms of culture by
nationalizing the structures of the production of art and thought, that is, disciplines or forms
of critical thinking. Although the humanistic creation in Uruguay has long been
impoverished by political power itself, it must be pointed out that the government, through
its policy of nationalizing and systematizing artistic production, has consolidated itself as a
manager and instigator of aesthetic ideas.

As counterpart to this homogenizing process of thought, numerous autonomous and self-


managed projects have spontaneously emerged in Montevideo and also in the interior of the
country. Through them, collectivities of different nature have sustained independent
manifestations in art, the humanities and philosophy. Thus, House of Philosophy is a space
through which we have separated from any form of knowledge production that condition
their access, guarantee only commercial effects or have as only purpose what should be
known. It is for this autonomy that this government considers us dangerous spaces, because
it cannot control over them. In such a state of Exception, the unconditionality of philosophy
and critical thinking - as Derrida argued - become urgent.

As part of a political orientation whose motives are alien to the collective House of
Philosophy, in recent years the Executive has deployed a policy of institutional placement
and media stigmatization of different expressions of education and students of our country.
From this perspective, educational demands and youth manifestations are identified as
activities that are contrary to social balance and to the development of the national
community. As part of this police and media offensive, the premises of our group were
raided in an action that culminated in the release, by order of the acting judge, of the
members of our collective the day of their arrest. However, on the way back, we discovered
the illegal kidnapping of our computers, external disks, cameras, and books from our
publishing house, elements that are foreign to the very purpose of the legal investigation.
These equipment are our working tools, in which we study, prepare our courses, and carry
out our research work. In one of the computers there is a final project for the Faculty of
Architecture, another one is exclusively used for the postproduction of a film.

1 Interview in Cdigo Pas 9/4/14.


The collective of House of Philosophy claims from the Executive Power in the person of its
top representative, President Tabar Vzquez, the immediate reinstatement of the
instruments subtracted from our collective and makes him responsible for the moral and
material damages that implies the alteration of the work in progress. It is also proposed to
disseminate, as much in the national community as in the international academic
environment, these effects of criminalization of the criticism that spill over in the present of
Uruguay.

House Commission of Philosophy.

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