From Commoning the Alternatives to Commonism as an Integral Alternative to Capitalism
S A Hamed Hosseini
Knowledges of the inner nature, deep structures and conflictual dynamism of capitalism potentially constitute a transformative cognitive Commons. Likewise, to achieve an inclusive understanding of the existing post-capitalist praxes and the imaginary visions of utopian futures require cumulative, collective and cooperative learning. Thus, theories of capital and the post-/counter-capital alternatives can be generated and treated as the Commons. In this paper, I argue that although there is no single/exclusive line of historical progress beyond capital, it is possible to create integral frameworks for orchestrating common actions across different alternative praxes. This becomes a strong possibility if our knowledge of the existing or imminent post-capitalist experiences is liberated from the disintegrating forces of the corporatized intellectual institutions. A transformative scholarship in collaboration with communities of struggle is therefore vitally needed today to generate educational Commons as a means for establishing organic unities among alternative praxes. This in itself is a prefigurative movement.
The political goal should then be to go beyond the localized fragmented radical struggles without reducing their multiformity in order to challenge the totalizing effects of the capitalist markets and states. The process of building organic unities or what we may call ‘Commoning the alternatives’ requires ‘organic intellectuals’ to help post-capitalist initiatives to self-reflectively explore and address their limitations.
Therefore, Commoning the knowledge and experiences of alternatives is a self-rectifying endeavor that translates paralyzing assortments into collective learning processes through which each movement becomes capable of traversing (rather than transcending) their self-inflicted ideological boundaries and developing integral macro-political projects with the purpose of transcending capitalism; i.e. a Commonist project.
Commonism, in general, is about developing: (1) self-sufficient modes of livelihood/existence independent from the detrimental forces of private capital and undemocratic authorities, based on egalitarian self-sustaining socio-ecological systems of redistribution and re/production that promote well-living (being and living); (2) Co-determining modes of governance that effectively translate internal conflicts and divisive disparities into cohesive solidarities, consensus building processes and collective will-to-freedom (willing and enabling); (3) transversal modes of sociality capable of producing cooperative solidarities and egalitarian systems of mutual recognition (learning and liaising); and (4) transformative modes of praxis to de-commodify social relations and to realize post-capitalist utopian dreams (becoming and begetting).
Thus, to common our knowledge of the various alternative ventures, we need to start with examining their capacities with respect to each one of the above four components of Commonism. Out of such systematic examinations, investigative frameworks can be drawn to explore ways of overcoming limitations and actualizing potentials to pave the way for the emergence of dynamic integral projects out of such commoning processes.
S. A. Hamed Hosseini, PhD in "Sociology and Global Studies" from the Australian National University (ANU), is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Anthropology (School of Humanities and Social Sciences, UON), lead CI of The Alternative Futures Network, first editor of The Routledge Handbook of Transformative Global Studies, and the co-founder and chief editor of Common Alternatives website (http://thecommonalts.com/). As a political and economic sociologist, Hosseini’s main field of research is shaped around the studies of Alternative Futures beyond Carbon / Capital / Growth (post-capitalist policy development and Eco-Commonism)
Alternative Futures and Regional Prospects Symposium
Working across Differences, beyond Carbon, Capital and Commodity
Thursday 22nd & Friday 23rd of November 2018
Organizers: The University of Newcastle Alternative Futures Network, Common Alternatives Network (http://thecommonalts.com/); hosted by The University of Technology Sydney
To find more information about the symposium: http://thecommonalts.com/alternative-futures-and-regional-prospects-symposium-working-across-differences-beyond-carbon-capital-and-commodity/
About the network (Alternative Futures), see: https://www.newcastle.edu.au/research-and-innovation/centre/alternative-futures-regional-prospects-research-network
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