Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Meandering on the Semantical-Historical Paths of Communism and Commons

by Peter Linebaugh, The Commoner

In the 1840s, then, ‘communism’ was the new name to express the revolutionary aspirations of proletarians . It pointed to the future, as in ‘historic tasks’. In contrast, the ‘commons’ belonged to the past, perhaps to the feudal era, when it was the last-ditch defense against extinction. Now in the 21st century the semantics of the two terms seems to be reversed with communism belonging to the past of Stalinism, industrialization of agriculture, and militarism, while the commons belongs to an international debate about the planetary future of land, water, and subsistence for all. What is sorely needed in this debate so far is allegiance to the actual movements of the common people who have been enclosed and foreclosed but are beginning to disclose an alternative, open future.

The full article can be downloaded at The Commoner.