The Common in Communism

Michael Hardt
The common must be the foundation of any communist hypothesis today. This is true due primarily to two interconnecting and conflicting conditions of the common with respect to capitalist production. First, contemporary capitalist production relies ever more centrally on the production and productivity of the common. And, second, the common, since it must be shared and open to free access, is antithetical to property. In other words, the common and its productivity are destroyed when relations of property (private or public) are imposed on it; and, in turn, the affirmation of the common implies the destruction of property. The dynamics of class struggle today and the project to overcome class society develop on the terrain of the common.

I generally agree with the efforts of Alain Badiou and Slavoj Zizek to renew the idea of communism and the communist hypothesis. The concept of communism, like that of democracy, has been corrupted so that today in standard usage it has come to mean its opposite, that is, state control of economic and social life. I would like to shift the discussion slightly, however, or recenter it from Badiou’s and Zizek’s focus on the political decision to the critique of political economy and the project for the abolition of property. To realize the communist hypothesis for our times we need to move, so to speak, from Lenin to Marx. Indeed one of the reasons that the communist hypotheses of previous eras are no longer valid is that the composition of capital – as well as the conditions and products of capitalist production – have altered. Most importantly the technical composition of labor has changed. How do people produce both inside and outside the workplace? What do they produce and under what conditions? How is productive cooperation organized? And what are the divisions of labor and power that separate them along gender and racial lines and in the local, regional, and global contexts? In addition to investigating the current composition of labor, we also have to analyze the relations of property under which labor produces. Along with Marx we can say that the critique of political economy is, at its heart, a critique of property. “The theory of the Communists,” Marx and Engels write in the Manifesto, “may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.”1

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Jerry Mander, Seven corporations control 70% all global media

Jerry Mander is an American activist best known for his book “Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television” (1977), and for his contribution to a book on an unrelated topic, “The Great International Paper Airplane Book” (1971).Mander worked in advertising for 15 years, including five as partner and president of Freeman, Mander & Gossage in San Francisco. In 1971 he founded the first non-profit advertising agency in the United States, Public Interest Communications, which worked on campaigns to prevent dams in the Grand Canyon, found Redwood National Park, and stop the American project to build a supersonic transport. He is currently the director of the International Forum on Globalization and the program director for Megatechnology and Globalization at the Foundation for Deep Ecology.

Deuda externa y tercer mundo – Eric Toussaint

Deuda externa y tercer mundo – Eric Toussaint from AttacTV on Vimeo.

Entrevista realizada por AttacTV a Eric Toussaint, presidente del CADTM-Bélgica (Comité por la Anulación de la Deuda del Tercer Mundo), miembro del Consejo Científico de Attac Francia y miembro del consejo internacional del Foro Social Mundial, hablando de la deuda externa.

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