‎Discussion

← Older revision Revision as of 08:14, 12 January 2019
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Thus, maybe then we can see the common referring to Marx’s idea of “an association of free men, working with the means of production held in common”. (Let’s add here that the concept of common seems also to give a whole new and open, if you like, perspectives to read Marx’s texts). Then the question arises, how far are we to understand common as a property or property relation at all? Or can it be defined something as a concept beyond the idea of property, as Hardt seem to vision? Can the “world of common” be the world of use values beyond the very idea of property and the separation of the producer from the means of production?"
 
Thus, maybe then we can see the common referring to Marx’s idea of “an association of free men, working with the means of production held in common”. (Let’s add here that the concept of common seems also to give a whole new and open, if you like, perspectives to read Marx’s texts). Then the question arises, how far are we to understand common as a property or property relation at all? Or can it be defined something as a concept beyond the idea of property, as Hardt seem to vision? Can the “world of common” be the world of use values beyond the very idea of property and the separation of the producer from the means of production?"
   
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==The Common(s) as Meta-Ideology==
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From an interview by Pascal Gielen and Sonja Lavaert of Antonio Negri:
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Q: When we speak of meta-ideology, we refer to the tendency of transcending the traditional party political differences between left and right. It is a trend that can be seen clearly today, wherever the theme of the common is picked up or where common-initiatives are being developed. And elsewhere as well: liberal politicians write books about the importance of the basic income; neonationalism presents itself as a longing for social cohesion; religiously inspired political parties emphasize communion and the community, et cetera.
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Negri: Common is not the exclusive property of the left, that much is clear. Looking at history from a Marxist perspective, we see how it was precisely the commons that were transformed by capitalism to be financially profitable. Capitalism’s attitude towards the commons is about expropriation, exploration, creating surplus value, and the dominion that is founded on these things. The common exists in two major forms: there are natural commons and social commons and, as Michael and I put forth in Assembly, these can be subdivided into five types: the earth and ecosystems; the immaterial common of ideas, codes, images and cultural products; material goods produced by cooperative labour; metropolises and rural areas that are the domain of communication, cultural interaction and cooperation; and social institutions and services that provide housing, welfare, healthcare and education. Now the essential characteristic of the present-day economy and society is that the social production of the commons is being exploited by capital. The struggle of the commons therefore is working people re-appropriating that of which they were robbed by capital. Re-appropriating what was taken from them and putting it to work for the benefit of the common: that is the meaning of liberation and emancipation. This also means that the fiction of ‘post’ or ‘meta’ is debunked and eliminated. There is no meta. The struggle of the commons is the possibility of eliminating an ‘outside’ (meta [above], post [after]). This struggle is exclusively fought in the domain of immanence, meaning: here and now, at the heart of the reality in which we find ourselves, because there is no ‘outside’. By the way, we can only speak in the abstract about common as a general unitary, singular and exactly definable concept, because in reality the common is always twofold, just like labour is.
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There is much talk about ‘common’ nowadays; studies are undertaken, and various movements and schools of thought have emerged around the theme. Here in France, for example, there is the school of the economist Benjamin Coriat, editor of Le retour des communs (2015); we have Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval, who posit the common as a demand and alternative in their Commun (2014), and Carlo Vercellone and other comrades – and Michael and myself are two of them – who regard the common as something that can be used ontologically, can be annexed, and for whom the struggle therefore consists of re-appropriating the common. This also ties in with David Harvey’s reading of Marx. In Assembly we concern ourselves in great detail with his analysis and for the most part we agree with him. However, whereas Harvey focuses on capitalism as a continuous primitive accumulation, we see it as a developmental phase and therefore prefer to speak of formal and real subsumption, but this perhaps is a different theme.
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What I’m trying to say is: my distrust of the term ‘meta’ is that it suggests that there is no difference or antithesis anymore between left and right. Well, of course left and right are inaccurate concepts, but to put it more plainly: it means that capitalism is no longer recognised and that being liberated of capitalism is regarded as something that could easily happen or would even be a battle that is already won.
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To give a concrete example of how we use the term ‘meta’: the occupation of Syntagma Square in Athens in 2011 was predominantly organized by the left, but people from quite different ideological backgrounds are also joining the movement and are developing new initiatives, out of necessity, for their daily survival. For that reason, this movement, which is really more of a patchwork of initiatives, is sometimes ‘accused’ of being apolitical. In that sense we call commonism a practice-based ideology and we call it ‘meta’ because it brings together people from various, traditionally opposed political currents, and does so out of necessity.
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I fully agree with that conclusion and analysis, but I would still be wary of using such an ambiguous term. The word ‘meta’ covers a political concern aimed at reconciliation with regard to the profound rift between, to put it bluntly, the bosses and those who are exploited."
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(https://www.onlineopen.org/the-salt-of-the-earth)
   
 
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