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Communs - Dardot Laval

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Du communisme aux communs ? Les communs (« commons » en anglais) sont indéniablement au cœur de nombreuses revendications : les communs globaux (climat, diversité biologique etc.), les communs de la connaissance (internet, wikipédia etc.) etc.

Du communisme aux communs ?

Mais que sont les communs, exactement ? Une hypothèse couramment avancée (par exemple par Naomi Klein [1]) est que cette problématique réactive de manière plus générale la question des « enclosures », cette privatisation des communs au 19e siècle décrite par Karl Polanyi (1944) comme étant l’un des actes inauguraux du capitalisme. L’analogie est-elle exacte ? Et, du côté des partisans des « communs », avons-nous alors un au-delà possible, tant du « cosmocapitalisme » que des communismes étatiques ? Le commun et les communs. Recensé : Pierre Dardot et Christian Laval, Commun.

Le commun et les communs

Essai sur la révolution au XXIe siècle, Paris, La Découverte, 2014. 593 p., 25 €. Pierre Dardot et Christian Laval ont deux ambitions : d’une part, ils cherchent à livrer un état des lieux des pratiques et de la réflexion sur les communs ; d’autre part, ils entendent développer une théorie originale « du commun », faisant de celui-ci une sorte de méta-principe politique orientant les actions de transformation sociale en cours et à venir. Dans ce livre riche et documenté, le « principe du commun » se donne ainsi comme une revendication de démocratie radicale, à laquelle on peut adresser quelques questions que j’essaie de détailler ci-après en m’appuyant notamment sur l’exemple des logiciels libres. Le commun contre l’État néolibéral.

Recensé : Pierre Dardot et Christian Laval, Commun.

Le commun contre l’État néolibéral

Essai sur la révolution au XXIe siècle, Paris, La découverte, 2014, 593 p., 25 €. Le livre de Pierre Dardot et Christian Laval introduit en France la question du « commun » qui était jusqu’ici absente du débat hexagonal, alors qu’elle irrigue depuis les premiers travaux d’Elinor Ostrom il y a vingt ans le champ des sciences humaines anglo-saxonnes. Translated Interview – Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval: “The challenge of the politics of the common is to move from representation to participation” Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval This is a translation of an interview with Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval, conducted by Amador Fernández-Savater, and originally published on the Interferencias blog at eldiario.es on 3rd July, on the topic of their new book Commun.

Translated Interview – Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval: “The challenge of the politics of the common is to move from representation to participation”

Essai sur la révolution au XXIe siècle. First, a translation note. One of the difficulties with translating from Spanish is that English does not have a neuter article. Hence the term ‘lo común’ in Spanish (‘le commun’ in French), is most closely translated to English as ‘that which is common’. Laval & Dardot: “The challenge of the politics of the common is to move from representation to participation” Some months back, we interviewed French intellectuals Pierre Dardot (a philosopher) and Christian Laval (a sociologist) on the topic of their penultimate work: The New Way of the World.

A few months later, their latest book appeared in Spain. From neoliberal reason to the reason of the commons. Christian Laval. 12. Building the Common: nine political propositions from Dardot and Laval. In an earlier post (here), I summed up Dardot and Laval’s position on how we should think the common.

Building the Common: nine political propositions from Dardot and Laval

What I want to do now is focus on the nine key political propositions about how to build the common to which their thought leads them. I have inevitably had to condense their writings and leave out many of their key references but have done my best to convey the spirit of what they propose faithfully. Proposition 1: it is necessary to construct a politics of the common: Although the politics of the common builds on the tradition of 19th century socialist associationism and 20th century workers’ councils, it can no longer simply be thought in an artisanal context or in that of the industrial workplace. Nor will it emerge from some sort of encirclement of capitalism from the outside, nor from some mass desertion. There can be no politics of the common without a rethinking of property rights concerning the land, capital and intellectual ownership. Thinking about the common with Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval. Best known outside of France for their important book on neo-liberal governance, Dardot and Laval have more recently (2014) added another important work to their output, a work whose breadth and ambition is clearly indicated by its title, Commun: essai sur la revolution au XXIème siècle (Common: An Essay on Revolution in the 21st Century).

Thinking about the common with Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval

The use of common in the singular also casts light on one of the main thrusts of their argument. When one talks of ‘the commons’ in the plural one tends to view contemporary initiatives through the frame provided by the agricultural commons. At the same time, one tends to see the common(s) as a thing rather than as a set of practices. Both tendencies lead us in unhelpful directions for reasons that should become clear below. At the same time, and as the authors also note, we currently find ourselves in a political impasse and desperately need to find ways to move forward.