common on rev in 21

common on rev

(2019) by Pierre Dardot & Christian Laval

[on common\ing et al]

Christian Laval (born 1953) is a French researcher in the history of philosophy and sociology at the University of Paris X Nanterre . His works focus on three main themes: the history of utilitarianism, the history of classical sociology and the evolution of educational systems.

intro’d here:

The pandemic as political trial: the case for a global commons | ROAR Magazine
(excellent piece, strongly recommended)
with link:
Original Tweet:

Is the public service indissolubly linked to state sovereignty? This question deserves particularly careful consideration because it is one of the central arguments deployed by the proponents of state sovereignty.

Let us begin by examining the very nature of state sovereignty. Etymologically, sovereignty means “superiority” (from the Latin superanus), but superiority in regard to what? In brief, it is superiority in regard to any laws or obligations that threaten to limit the power of the state, both in its relation to other states and in relation to its own citizens. The sovereign state places itself above any commitments or obligations, which it is then free to constrict or revoke as it pleases. But as a public figure, the state can only act through its representatives, who are all supposed to embody the continuity of the state over and above the daily exercise of their specific governmental functions.

The superiority of the state therefore effectively means the superiority of its representatives over the laws or obligations that impinge upon them.

“One and Indivisible Republic” — an expression that, once again, references the sacrosanct principle of state sovereignty. Ultimately, expressions such as these are little more than alibis that allow state representatives to exempt themselves from any obligation that might legitimate citizen control over the state.

sovereignty et al

It is important to keep this last point in mind, for it is crucial in terms of understanding the public character of the so-called “public” service. The precise meaning of the word “public” demands our full attention here, because it is too rarely recognized that the concept of “public” is absolutely irreducible to the “state.” The term “publicum” designates not merely the state administration, but the entire community as constituted by all citizens: public services are not state services, in the sense that the state can dispense these services as it pleases, nor are they merely an extension of the state: they are public in the sense that they exist “in the service of the public.” It is in this sense that they constitute a positive obligation of the state toward its citizens.

Public services, in other words, are owed by the state — and its governors — to the governed. They are nothing like a favor that the state generously extends toward the governed, despite the negative connotations years of liberal polemics have imposed upon the phrase “the welfare state.” .. The public service is a mechanism by which the governors become the servants of the governed.

This is why the public service is a principle of social solidarity, one which is imposed on all, and not a principle of sovereignty, inasmuch as the latter is incompatible with the very idea of public responsibility.

This conception of the public service has largely been suppressed by the fiction of state sovereignty

public ness

Two relations must therefore be carefully separated here: the citizenry’s attachment to the public service, and healthcare in particular, in no way suggests adherence to public authority or public power in its various forms, but rather suggests an attachment to services whose essential function is to meet the public’s need. Far from disclosing an underlying identification with the nation, this attachment gestures toward a sense of a universal that crosses borders, and accordingly renders us sensitive to the trials our “pandemic co-citizens” are enduring, whether they are Italian, Spanish, or live beyond European borders.

there are plenty of reasons to think that the drastic economic measures currently in place will eventually share the same fate as those enacted during the 2008 economic crisis: we will likely see a concerted effort to “return to normal” — i.e., return to our otherwise uninterrupted destruction of the planet amidst increasingly conditions of social inequality. And we fear the enormous stimulus packages designed to “save the economy” will once again be borne on the backs of the lowest-paid workers and taxpayers.

pierre’s book: – get from prospector when library opens

Two conclusions are fast dawning on millions of people. First, the importance of public services as common institutions capable of facilitating vital human solidarity. And secondly, the most urgent political task now confronting humanity is the necessity of instituting the global commons. Because the major risks to humanity are now resolutely global in character, mutual aid and solidarity must also be global, politics must be coordinated, infrastructure and knowledge must be shared, and cooperation must become the absolute rule.

Health, climate, economics, education and culture can no longer be *considered private or state property: they all must be conceptualized as global commons, and they must be politically instituted as such..t

or *considered separate.. begs we go deep enough to get/back to common\ing

ie: cure ios city

One thing above all is now certain: salvation will not come from above. Only insurrections, uprisings and transnational coalitions of citizens can impose the common on states and on capital.

corona & commons [article in progress via michel et al..adding same day/focus as to (virus) leap]


reviews and table of contents from bloomsbury:

The Common: A Political Principle
Chapter 1: Archaeology of the Common
PART 1: The Emergence of the Common
Chapter 2: The Communist Burden; or Communism Against the Common
Chapter 3: The Great Appropriation and the Return of the “Commons”
Chapter 4: Critiquing the Political Economy of the Commons
Chapter 5: Common, Rents, and Capital
PART 2: Law and Institution of the Common
Chapter 6: The Law of Property and the Unappropriable
Chapter 7: Law of the Common and “Common Law”
Chapter 8: The “Customary Law of Poverty”
Chapter 9: The Workers’ Common: Between Custom and Institution
Chapter 10: Instituent Praxis
PART 3: Nine Political Propositions
Postscript on the Revolution of the 21st Century

“If we accept the authors’ repeated contention that our present and future are profoundly bleak, we must equally recognize that a new way of engaging our present and future in common is required. This new way of engaging is precisely what Dardot and Laval offer under the name the common-the political principle that informs the collaborative, deliberative activity whereby new customs and institutions may be formed to transcend the social and political conditions threatening humanity and our world itself.” –  Confluence: The Journal of the AGLSP

“The common has emerged as a key concept in 21st century struggles for justice. Dardot and Laval not only explain why, they also inspire us to build and strengthen commoning movements. An important intervention.” –  Jodi Dean, Professor of Political Science, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, USA and author of ‘The Communist Horizon’,

not common\ing.. if  part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake

let’s build on that

“In the past few years, movements across the planet have fought bravely for the re-appropriation of plundered and privatized goods, while revitalizing the critique of property, understood as the legal form structuring our political economy and everyday life. Common is a sweeping, erudite and combative attempt to draw the theoretical *balance-sheet of these movements and critiques, to anatomize their spontaneous philosophies, and to transform ‘common’ into a political principle for a new model of revolutionary politics that could break through the impasses of contemporary radical thought and practice. An indispensable contribution to one of the central debates of our time.” –  Alberto Toscano, Co-director of Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK and author of ‘Fanaticism’,

not common\ing.. if  any form of measuring/accounting

“What do you do after you have written one of the most devastating criticisms of neoliberal reason? Dardot and Laval’s answer is to turn to the exact opposite to neoliberalism’s reduction of nature to private property and society to competition, to the common. The common is framed here not as something lost in precapitalist mists, or something that only appears sporadically in moments of revolt, but as that which must be instituted and created by practices. There are no shortages of criticisms of the existing order, but Common is the rare book that takes the next step, not just imagining a new world, but showing us the conditions for its creation.” –  Jason Read, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Southern Maine, USA, author of ‘The Politics of Transindividuality’,

conditions: 2 convers as infra

because: ‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows

“After their massive tome on Karl Marx, Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval strike again, this time with an even more wide-ranging militant investigation into the common. Combining long-term legal and conceptual history with classical and present-day political theory, they invite us to leave behind the habitual focus on either the tragic story of the enclosure of the commons or the heroic example of the Paris Commune and instead argue for an all-encompassing understanding of the common as the pivotal ground for a future politics. This is a must-read for each and everyone interested in the shared practice of instituting new forms of life in common.” –  Bruno Bosteels, author of ‘The Actuality of Communism’,

all encompassing is key.. has to be everyone.. or dance won’t dance.. (and we can’t seem to let go enough to give that a legit try.. so we keep crying wolf – aka: tragedy)

“This new and exciting translation of Dardot’s and Laval’s Common: On Revolution in the 21st Century is the best account of the communal idea available in contemporary theory and criticism. Philosophically rich and archeologically exhaustive, it stands as a founding text in the growing field of commons studies that will appeal to a wide variety of teachers, scholars, and activists who share a commitment to exploring a new reason of the common in everyday activities and practices.” –  Davide Panagia, Professor of Political Science, University of California Los Angeles, USA,

rev of everyday life


reading intro via academia edu.. since libraries closed and no ebooks.. from download page:

Around the globe, contemporary protest movements are contesting the oligarchic appropriation of natural resources, public services, and shared networks of knowledge and communication. These struggles raise the same fundamental demand and rest on the same irreducible principle: the common.

In this exhaustive account, Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval show how the common has become the defining principle of alternative political movements in the 21st century. In societies deeply shaped by neoliberal rationality, the common is increasingly invoked as the operative concept of practical struggles creating new forms of democratic governance. In a feat of analytic clarity, Dardot and Laval dissect and synthesize a vast repository on the concept of the commons, from the fields of philosophy, political theory, economics, legal theory, history, theology, and sociology.

Instead of conceptualizing the common as an *essence of man or as inherent in nature, the thread developed by Dardot and Laval traces the active lives of human beings: **only a practical activity of commoning can decide what will be shared in common and what rules will govern the common’s citizen-subjects. This re-articulation of the common calls for nothing less than the institutional transformation of society by society: it calls for a revolution.

hmm.. i do think it’s *already in us.. to be common\ing et al.. otherwise we’d need to be trained et al.. which is an enclosure et al (ie: literacy and numeracy as colonialism/control/enclosure)

*i do think it’s a verb.. but i think emphasis on rules/citizens will keep us from that doing/being ness.. (ie: common\ing as an undisturbed ecosystem..‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows)


notes/quotes from academia edu 24 pg pdf:

preface – imre szeman

nothing is going right, or, for that matter, ever has.. given the state we’re in, what is to be done?

this is possible the best account of the communal idea that exists in a single book.. plato/aristotle thru proudhon/marx up to ostrom/hardt/negri..

ostrom 8, hardt, negri, .. proudhon, marx, ..

isn’t intended as exercise in compiling new recipe of the political out of bits/pieces of old ideas.. the critical exploration undertaken here is meant instead to grapple w the political and conceptual missteps that have hitherto impeded the development of the common..

comes down to: 1\ we keep trying part\ials  2\ we haven’t ever let go enough to give it an unconditional go

2 key insights:

1\ stop theorizing the common as a socio political formation produced by capitalism ie: marx – common/communism has to pass thru capitalism.. common (the book) owes a debt to the groundbreaking work of hardt/negri whom dardot and laval see as the first thinkers to directly take up the challenge of systematically re imagining the common for the 21t cent..

they too haven’t let go enough

yet if they see hardt/negri’s theory of common as problematic, it is because they see it as repeating a spontaneism endemic to the left thought: the view that history will generate those new modes of coop and socialization that will bring about he conditions necessary for a new common..  dardot/laval write: ‘we are less sure about the proposition that the capitalist institution of forced cooperation and mechanization will ultimately produce a fully socialized individual who has developed all his faculties as  a result of an increase in free time’..

yeah.. but not because natural/free human beings are incapable of that.. it’s because we’re currently all like whales in sea world.. so .. we need a detox embed in the transition/leap.. as we are freed

2\ limit of approaches that view common negatively/defensively, whether knowingly or unknowingly.. ie: absorbed by capitalism as in tragedy of commons.. positions commons in relation to capitalism.. imagined as what capitalism isn’t..  this view of the common ultimately affirms the legitimacy of the state as it si currently exists.. and also positions property as central to the commons too

ah.. hope this is going where it appears now..


hardt/negri property law

wilde property law

doctorow property law


though they find a great deal of merit in david harvey’s description of neolib as being engaged in a practice of ‘accumulation thru dispossession’ – dispossession of common or public property – dardot and laval argue that this view of capitalism misses ‘a more general accumulation thru an expanded and deepened subordination of all elements of the populations’s existence – consumption, transportation, leisure time, ed, health, the use of space and time, social and cultural reproduction and ultimately subjectivity itself’..  any politics of the common that views it as something lost that needs to be recovered (as in peter linebaugh’s account of the long process of the ‘enclosures of the common’) can only generate a defensive politics, one that positions the people as endlessly running after the capitalist state in the hopes of undoing its work or taming its more aggressive tendencies

yeah.. i don’t see/agree-with that

i mean .. that’s what we’ve been doing.. no doubt.. running after in defense.. responding.. et al.. but it’s not what we’re capable of doing/organizing today

so just what it si that dardot and laval understand as the common? – call for construction of alt form of reason ‘reason of common’ ‘the common (singular) is a political principle thru which we are able to build/maintain/sustain the commons.. a political principle that defines a new system of *struggles on a global scale’

*struggles sounds like chasing after and

for dardot and laval.. common needs to be understood as verb.. as a practice or process of commoning.. the common is not simply a situation of co belonging (property divvied up in equal measure), which are evoked by the use of the plural term ‘the commons’ .. rather, the common is activity, the collective process of fashioning a new political subjectivity; it is a task that has some clear aims (bringing about the end of property, for instance) but which in most ways is as interminable (endless) as history itself..  the common is about coming together and creating, *equally and collectively, a new world from the old..

common\ing et al

rev of everyday life

key is to let go of any form of measuring/accounting.. so *equally is an issue

in part 2 – ‘if the common isn’t directly immanent to the social itself – or even a ‘tendency’ of the social that we need only stimulate to bring into existence.. it’s because the common is first and foremost a *matter of law, and therefore a determination of what must be’

oh dang.. of course.. coming form ed .. what did i expect..  dang

ie: supposed to’s.. of school/work


dardot and laval argue that the common has to be org’d around a radical challenge to and elimination of private property..  they outline a process they name ‘instituent praxis’.. neither a recognition of laws that already exist, nor a creation of laws from scratch, instituent praxis generates revolutionary social and political change on the basis of what exists.. the law need not be imagined as limiting, violent and dangerously determinate; indeed, only a law of the common can radically challenge and overturn the reign of the law of property..

let’s just go with a 33 min/day law.. ie: 2 convers as infra

the subjects of the common, it seems, are produced thru the very activity of the making of the common, but how these subjects begin their transformation in first place is somewhat of a mystery.. dardot and laval do what they can to move past these limits by placing their faith in the inhabitants of the planet to, in common, generate the principles and prospects of a collective planetary life..

dardot and laval believe that the *self govt of the common is accessible to everyone, everywhere, and now. we shouldn’t look for the capacities of ‘the people’ in faux games of democracy, like the vote over the exist of uk from eu, but in challenges to status quo that emerge when public are actually allowed to openly **voice their opinions

**opinions are too reactionary..  if we want legit common\ing .. have to go with curiosity over decision making.. begs a mech (ie: tech as it could be) that listens to every voice.. everyday.. and uses that data to augment our interconnectedness (aka: our innate common\ing ness)

intro – the common: a political principal

cause of despair (bleak future) not because of capitalism’s eternity, but rather arises from the fact that capital has et to encounter sufficient counter force.. indeed, capital’s hold over society seems to strengthen the more its consequences and crises continue to unfold.. t

2 (9 in pdf)

this new system transformed the social into a generalized field of competition wherein our relationships to ourselves/others now function according to a logic of continual self overcoming and unlimited performance.. this competitive normativity did not arise spontaneously from w/in, as if it were a natural part of our psychology or biology, but is rather the predictable outcome of deliberate policy.. geared  toward goals/pace of capitalist accumulation..

joel kovel: ‘neolib capitalism turns everyone into an ‘enemy of nature’

saving the world today it is not so much a matter of isolating and protecting some natural ‘good’ or ‘resource’ considered fundamental to human survival, as it is a matter of profoundly transforming the econ and the society by overthrowing the system of norms that now directly threatens nature and humanity itself.. in other words, effective political ecology can only come from a radical anti capitalism..

perhaps let’s try/code money (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence

ie: ubi as temp placebo.. (people thinking they have money when really just getting whatever they need)


the repeated failures of the various international summits on climate change only underscore the fact that our econ and political leaders remains ensnared w/in the logic of global econ competition.. the idea that humanity now shares a common destiny has failed to take hold, and the paths toward indispensable cooperation remain blocked. we are living the tragedy of the non common..t

indeed.. for some time.. whales in sea world

thurman interconnectedness lawwhen you understand interconnectedness it makes you more afraid of hating than of dying – Robert Thurman (@BobThurman)

tragedy of the non common

5 (10 in pdf)

we are living in a moment in which the ‘common’ is a term that designates a regime of practices, struggles, institution, and research all dedicated to realizing  non capitalist future

perhaps we let go of the struggles, institutions, research..

the purpose of this book is to contribute to this larger effort by re casting the concept of the common in a more theoretically rigorous fashion..

6  (11)

the analysis we offer here is thus an attempt to ‘get to the bottom of things all the way down to the genealogical roots of western law and political econ..  we interrogate the meanings of terms like wealth, value, property and thing..

let’s go deeper.. ie: interrogating meanings is defense..  waste of energy

let’s go do ie: roots of healing.. focus on 2 basic needs that could get us back/to commoning

herein lies the basis of a radical political reversal: whereas the common was hitherto conceived as a great threat to property, which was propagated as both the means and reason for living, it is this same institution of private property that has now become the most serious threat to the very possibility of life itself…

the aim of this book is to show the political principle of the common already at work across a range of contemporary political movements, struggles, and discourses.. across the globe..

but none of them are deep enough.. only partial.. so tragedy of the non common.. key too.. keep using ‘struggle against ie: neolib’.. that’s defense.. not commoning

thus, in contrast to the misunderstanding that the concept of the common is new, our analysis does not start from scratch. rather, we will *build on a long history of institutional and juridical creativity that has defied bourgeois society and its proprietary logic, and we still d raw from multiple contributions in the fields of history, legal theory, political philosophy, as well as the socialist tradition , that seek to formulate a new conception of the common, on that is capable of illuminating the meaning of contemp struggles by more accurately determining their context and the specific challenges they face..

wasting energy.. *building on history of whales in sea world

let go

1 – archaeology of the common

9 (12)

the aim of this intro chapter is to id the initial discourses from which the concept of the common emerged, in order both to determine what the common i not as well as begin to intro the specific concept of the common we want to develop in this book

10  (13)

heading: co activity as basis of political obligation

red flag – obligation ness..

and why we need to start with 8b daily curiosities .. rather than some co activity (aka: school curriculum; agenda; et al)

etymological root provides w an initial bearing and direction for research.. according to root.. term designates a particular type of performance and counter performance concerning honors and benefits associated w an office or a position of status.. the term thus speaks to the inseparability an office, a function a job, a task or a charge, and that which is reciprocally given in the form of gifts and rewards..  what we find in the terms’ etymological meaning is thus the janus-face of the debt and the gift, of obligation and recognition

wow.. so tragedy of the non common

red flags: gift ness, reciprocity, ..

marsh exchange law et al

literacy and numeracy as colonialism/control/enclosure.. and why we even need to let go of research ness.. et al

this root also demos how the terms communis, commune, communia and communio are all formed thru the same articulation of cum and munus.. that not only designates that which is pooled or ‘shared in common’ but also, and perhaps esp, designates those  subjects who have ‘duties in common’ .. *the common – or the latin commune – therefore always implies a certain obligatory reciprocity related to the exercise of public responsibilities

*totally tragedy of the non common

let go

the term ‘common’ is particularly apt, then, for designating the political principle of co obligation of all of those engaged in the same activity..

in a strict sense.. we define the political principle of the common: ‘obligation only exists between those who participate in the same activity or the same task’.. we consequently hold that such relations of obligation do not exist on the basis of mere belonging or membership that is independent of such co activity..

yeah.. i don’t think so.. not deep enough.. compromises any co activity ness

11  (13)

according to the aristotelian take on the concept it is the citizens who collectively deliberate in order to determine what is appropriate for the city and what constitutes a just course of action

waste of energy.. let’s try curiosity over decision making

for aristotle ‘living together’ is not simply a matter of ‘sharing the same pasture’ et al, nor is it merely a matter of pooling everything together. ‘living together’ is more fundamentally based on the *’sharing of conversation and thought'” it is to produce, thru deliberation and legislation, similar customs and rules of living for all those who pursue the same end..

let’s try *2 convers as infra.. sans agendas (of ie: production, deliberation, legislation, rules, ..) that always bring us back to ie: inspectors of inspectors et al.. too much ness

let go

for aristotle, that which holds for a *small community of friends pursuing a common purpose also holds at a larger scale for a city oriented toward the ‘sovereign good’..  constitutes our own conception of the common: it makes the practice of ‘sharing in common’ the basic **pre condition for every common, ..

problem is.. we’ve never tried (perhaps never had means to try?) small enough.. (jo freeman ness et al).. ie: as *small a community as 8b daily curiosities; as small a **pre condition as 2 basic needs; et al

yet the primary limitation of this aristotelian perspective, which we cannot ignore, it its advocacy for the private ownership of property under the condition that what is privately owned is put to common use.. for while the distinction between ownership and use is theoretically useful .. the reality is that the common use of private property always depends on the ‘virtue’ of legislation and ed, and thus such an arrangement seriously underestimates the real force of an institution like *private property and tis ability to compel certain kinds of conduct

same is true for *institutions like: obligation, reciprocity et al ie: all keeping us like whales in sea world (we have no idea what we – natural/free people – are really like)

the concept of common activity we have drawn from aristotle is absolutely irreducible to much of the recent discourse that makes use of the adjective ‘common’..  characterized by a politics that tries to bring about the ‘common good’ thru production of ‘common goods’ that are viewed as the ‘common heritage of all humanity’..

first tradition – theological: superior norm of common good (singular) as principle that guides action/conduct of those burdened w bodies/souls

2nd tradition – juridical: manifests in the classification of goods (plural) .. qualification for certain types of material things..

3rd tradition – philosophical: universal, common to all,

we will examine each in order to better show how this muddled agglomeration of ideas hinders the development of a truly political concept of the common

13  (14)

1\ all .. esp leaders.. must act in interest of whole rather than self.. also authorized the wise to confiscate property of the injurious mans who acts as parasite..

but in an undisturbed ecosystem.. act in interest of self.. which is what keeps us from being injurious (too busy doing the thing we can’t not do to be injurious et al) ie: ‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows

servicing the common utility continues to fall to the virtuous man who must always subordinate his own interest to the utilities communis

and that’s where we fall into trouble.. even w the most virtuous.. energy/wisdom runs out if not listening to own heart first.. ie: not meant to solve other people’s problems.. not an expert at knowing that.. only experts at our own curiosity

it will not be until the rise of utilitarianism in the 18th cent that this ciceronian model will be upended and self interest will be transformed into the very defn of human nature itself, and thus the basis of an entirely new system of norms

yeah.. but that self interest.. is not legit self interest.. it’s interest of ie: whales in sea world

this confusion (intertwining of public and common) is due to the fact that the term ‘public’ has 2 diff meanings.. public is opposed to private as the *common is opposed to what is individual

*i don’t think the common is opposed to what is individual.. we just think that because we only every tried/saw the individual whales in sea world

(2 defns of public): 1\ opposed to everything private.. but not synonymous w state  2\ state institutions and functions

so via roman political doctrine – means both 1\ citizens and 2\ state institution domination over citizens

14  (15)

esp remarkable to observe how term ‘public benefit’ is increasingly attested in codes/institutions for signifying specific interest of the state as distinct from society..

once the interest of the community were subordinated to he interest of the state

public consensus always oppresses someone(s)

concepts.. splits off into two major modes: statisization  and spiritualization (state and church)

(1st – state) .. eventually leads to modern doctrine of sovereignty.. state monopoly over common will.. sovereignty defines the full powers of the state.. placed at very cent of public law.. ‘common good’ conceived as a state institution..

15  (15)

so too into a major theological category.. common benefit now id’s w ideals of christian society..  possessions always subject to needs of the common.. but legitimating admin (beyond god, ie: prince).. produces a very diff understanding of common utility

(2nd – spirituality).. church monopoly over defn of supreme good.. divine order in which everything has its place.. and everyone must assume proper station and pursue proper end.. salvation of soul.. via public service..  celebration of hierarchy and submission to divine order.. a reordering according to god’s plan, a responsibility that falls to the spiritual/temporal authorities..

16  (16)

while state and church disputed each other’s monopoly over common good.. they gradually came to a consensus on a division of powers..

far from serving as an emblem of emancipation, the concept shields and justifies archaic forms of domination..  (ie: state vs church on which of their respective leaders truly knows common good)

ie: accommodate theory of divine origin .. on condition that property is used for common good

heading – the reification (treat something immaterial as real) of the common

the legal concept ‘things in common’.. ie: air and water

17  (16)

‘things in common unappropriable by very nature.. should not be confused w things simply unowned and have not yet been appropriated and can therefore be appropriated by first claimant’

2 distinctions into law: things that can be and things that can’t be owned

hardt/negri property law et al

18  (17)

this conceptual separation did not, however, prevent a certain imprecision as regards the distinction between that which is public and that held in common.. ie: seashore often both ‘common’ and ‘public’.. yet.. possible to differentiate according to 3 criteria: 1\ no overlap  2\ cause of unappropriability by law not same  3\ intensity of unappropriability by law not same

waste of energy.. inspectors of inspectors et al

we must not ignore the extent to which this pre juridical enclave fulfilled a very specific legal function – it was the model for the management of much that was ‘publicly’ held.. use open to al..

measuring as managing et al

literacy and numeracy both elements of colonialism.. we need to calculate differently and stop measuring things

19  (17)

the continual difficulties involved in juridically qualifying natural entities that pre exist the law

rather.. in trying to keep track of things..

let go

20  (18)

we must renounce the very idea, once and for all, that there are natural objects that are unappropriable by their nature..

ngos linked to the un are for instance determined to codify many of the above objects as belonging to the ‘heritage of all humanity’.. this inflation of the category only leads us toward a pernicious naturalism, which is precisely what we refer to here as the reification of the common.. legal recognition bestowed upon more and more phenom  (that don’t run out.. or can’t capture)

21  (18)

the law ‘merely endorses a reality over which it is powerless’..

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given obvious limitation of this naturalist approach.. tempting to grown new politics of common in universalistic essence of humanity itself.. and it is precisely this route that has been chosen by those who would make the essence of humanity basis of both a new universalism and new humanism

heading: the common: between the vulgar and the universal

in contrast to its ancient counterpart.. this inverted iteration of essentialism subs the material id of things for the inner id of the human

yet at certain moment in history, philosophy also sought to dissociate the common and the universal.. going so far as to devalue the former in favor of the later.. heaping contempt upon the word ‘common’ was accepted philosophical practice.. begins to denote the idea of the ‘ordinary’.. around 1160 .. and proximity to adjective ‘bulgar’ used during same period to refer to ‘the people’..

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‘common man’.. emerges in 17th cent and quickly enshrined in language of philosophy..

and descartes and distinguishing good sense (understanding) from common sense (imagination)..

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as she (arendt) herself admits.. the actual pov kant refers to when eh speaks of ‘the enlargement of the mind’ is really nothing more than the spectator who judges

important thing.. while kant has merit of rehabilitating the common .. the concept remains almost entirely dissociated from the dimension of activity

26  (21)

hegel.. general will (universal) vs will of all (common)

rousseau: will of everyone is ‘sum total of individual wants’..

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it (the common) is not some interiority that we have in common, even w the qualification that this commonality ‘should not be interpreted in terms of belonging’.. in words of catherine colliot-thelene: ‘the individual human does not belong to humanity in the way that one belongs t a family, a tribe, a caste, ora  nation state, the individual is its humanity, which it shares w the rest of its species, which is an entirely diff thing’..

as we will argue though out this book, the common must rather be thought of in terms of co activity and not co belonging, co ownership or co possession.. 

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nietzsche: ‘we must do away w the bad taste of wanting to be in agreement w the majority.. ‘good’ is no longer good when ti comes form your neighbor’s mouth.. and how could there ever be a ‘common good’.. the term is self contradictory: whatever can be common will never have that much value’

heading: common and praxis

against these essentializing conceptions of the common, and against all those critiques of the common (kantian or neitzschean) that reduce the common to the quality of a judgment of a personality type, we forcefully assert that only practical activity can make the common..  if there is some ‘universality’ to the common, it can only be the practical universality that arises when each individual at any give time .. engages in same task..

one should avoid, at all costs, speaking of ‘common goods’ or even ‘the common good’ in general.. the common is not a good, and the plural changes nothing in this respect, because the common is not an object  of the will, whether a as a possession or as that which is constituted by the will.. the common (singular) is a political principle thru which we are able to build/maintain/sustain the commons.. it is a political principle that defines a new system of struggles on a global scale

why struggles?

we also refuse to link the common to some value and mysterious sense, which is already clearly manifest in public opinion today.. that things are not as they should be.. we prefer to use a concept like the ‘moral econ of the crowd’ or the ‘moral econ of the poor’.. .. to signify the set of practices/values aimed at defending the interest of the community against aggression by the dominant classes..

i thought we weren’t going for defense..?

the common is no more an abstract moral principle ta a personality type. those who would work to construct a common cannot allow themselves to be defined in advance by an identifiable psych type, not a social category w pre defined contours: they are what their practices make them

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generally speaking and in accordance w one of marx’s most profound ideas.. we insist on the idea that practices make people what they are..  as marx put it.. society is ‘the product of men’s reciprocal activities’

no.. that would be whales in sea world

we do not, therefore, conceptualize the common as the equiv of the abstract principle of ‘solidarity’ that is only permitted in childhood games and military combat..

but neither sociology nor socialism, despite some remarkable insights.. have ben able to draw out all the political implications from their underlying intuition that human activity is always co activity and co obligation, cooperation and reciprocity..

perhaps co activity.. because all interconnected.. but not co obligation/reciprocity .. those are cancer

and finally, we refuse to exclude the domains of the ‘social’ and the ‘economic’ from the institution of the common, as is characteristic of many strains of ‘republican’ or democratic’ political philosophy..

for these political traditions, rational political praxis should not mingle w the activities of production or exchange: the latter tend to be viewed as animalistic or mechanical proclivities that either belong to a sphere of sheer necessity or are dominated by a form of instrumental rationality, as if the supposed imperviousness of politics from economics bore any resemblance to actual realities of our contemp neolib societies..

the separation of the economic form the common (ie from politics) as we find in both hannah arendt and jurgen habermas, tends to be explained by the experience of 20the cent totalitarianism..  for these authors then, the only possible alt left open given the ongoing demise of rational deliberation, seemed ot reside int eh rather desperate attempt to protect some separate sphere of ‘action’ or ‘communicative action’ outside  surging wave of econ colonization..

today.. the sheer scale of capitalist expansions has put an end to any such hopes.. the very nature of our epoch obliges us to start over.. but this time to start at the root of things..

yea.. let’s go that deep.. we can’t not

part 1 – the emergence of the common

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the principle of the common emerged out of various democratic struggles and social movements at beginning of 21st cent.. its emergence signals a new era of emancipation..

only if we don’t miss it..

only if we let go enough..

despite the weight of this historical burden (state communism et al), we are currently witnessing a marked tendency toward invention – or more precisely, a tendency toward the creation of a common that is more than mere rhetoric..

in next chapter we insist that the supposed ‘realization’ of the common thru the model of state ownership consistently led to the destruction of the common by the state..

since (destruction) neolib orthodoxy has relentlessly hammered home the message that capitalism is the only imaginable form of society.. during 90s however, new groups of militants and intellectuals picked up the thread of protest against the dominant order and began to challenge capitalism’s ‘appropriation’ of natural resources, public spaces, and state properties.. ‘expropriation’ and ‘dispossession’ by organized oligarchies..

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