“After the experience of authoritarian socialism, we can no longer pretend that it is impossible to paint pictures of the envisaged world. Instead, the left is faced with the task of how to distinguish its pictures of the future from the familiar pictures of the past. How to prevent their dream from turning into a nightmare”

Bini Adamczak

In the 20th century, many leftist dreams turned out to be nightmares. So today emancipatory leftists are challenged to learn from mistakes and successes and to seek answers to one of the most difficult and unpopular questions: ‘But how else?’. Many leftists argue that left alternatives in China, Russia or Yugoslavia were state capitalist systems. They continued to be based on the labor principle “to each according to their performance” and extortion of labor via wage labor not the communist principle “each according to their needs” and the collective, voluntary organization of labor. And still today two of the three alternatives the left advocates – market socialism and state-socialist plan economy 2.0 – are wage-labor-based. This workshop is dedicated to the third alternative and wants to bring together representatives of planning beyond class, state, and abstract labor (council communism, communist anarchism, libertarian socialism, commonism, post-money & post-work approaches etc.). 

Participation: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/9195321982?pwd=ygyrZes2ep7DJLIabbbkaOkLLy7KqS.1; Meeting-ID: 919 532 1982


08:30am EST/ 2:30pm CETFriederike Habermann: Three Paths of Transformation
10:00am EST/ 4:00pm CETJohn Holloway: On Revolution
11:30am EST/ 5:30pm CETBreak
12:00am EST/ 6:00pm CETA. Benanav & S. Sutterlütti: Antiauthoritarian Communism 
02:00pm EST/ 8:00pm CETAnitra Nelson: Postmonetary Commoning
03:30pm EST/ 9:30pm CETB. Akbulut, S. Elias-Pinsonnault & S. Tremblay-Pepin: Planning for needs and limits in an open international context


Friederike Habermann: Three Paths of Transformation

The economic system that dominates our world is reaching its limits. The answers of even progressive parties do not go beyond ‘we’ll make it a little less bad’ and leave the field to right-wing populist efforts. Yet there is an alternative that makes a good life possible for all, including what we call the environment: replacing competition by mutuality. The three paths that have become evident for this change are: aligning the economy with the common good and thus dismantling the market, democratising the society comprehensively and creating commons. 

Works: Ecommony (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3jeKros4Yk); https://now-net.org/en/home/;  Next year her first English book “Overcoming Exploitation and Externalisation – An Intersectional Theory of Hegemony and Transformation” will be published. 

John Holloway: On Revolution

How could the relation of revolutionary and reformist political work look like? What is the importance of reform, revolution and the construction of alternatives and how may they be linked? Which struggles were and are successful in an anti-authoritarian-communist sense? How might we fight them better? What can we learn from Rojava and the Zapatistas?

Works: Change the World Without Taking Power (2002), Crack Capitalism (2010), Hope in Hopeless Times (2022)

Aaron Benanav & Simon Sutterlütti: Antiauthoritarian Communism – Coordination, Planning and the Question of Rewards

Benanav and Sutterlütti have both put forward models for decentralized communism: Commonism and Association Socialism. Here they compare and discuss their approaches, focusing on two sets of questions: 1. Does communism need a transitional phase with a reward for work and how does this affect communist society as a whole? 2. What is the concrete planning process? How does such a society achieve global commitment, e.g. on climate issues, and how does it prevent new power structures? Who owns the means of production and who distributes the products?

Works: Benanav: Automation and the Future of Work (2020), Benanav: “Socialist Investment, Dynamic Planning, and the Politics of Human Need”, Rethinking Marxism 34 (2022), Benanav: Future Histories Podcast (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLtCc0x_xwc); Sutterlütti/Meretz: Make Capitalism History (2023, https://commonism.org), Sutterlütti: Antiauthoritarian Planning (https://youtu.be/CONm8-ED9nw)

Anitra Nelson: Postmonetary Commoning – A World Based on Real Values

Nelson presents her vision of a real value economy (humane and ecological values) beyond money, beyond the market and the state. In such an economy localised economies would be networked globally but remain substantially locally collectively sufficient. Production is primarily collective but also delegated to individuals through a participatory decision-making and volunteering process. Community members are active in production a number of hours or engage in piece-work according to the community plan — all within a commoning framework. 

Works: Beyond Money (2022), Beyond Money: YENOMON (https://vimeo.com/722765718

Bengi Akbulut, Sophie Elias-Pinsonnault & Simon Tremblay-Pepin: Planning for needs and limits in an open international context

The research group has worked on overcoming limitations to modern, non-autocratic planning approaches (esp. Albert/Hahnel, Cockshott/Cottrell & Devine) regarding three aspects: respect of planetary boundaries, a politicized and democratized notion of human needs and interaction at the international level. Their talk will briefly present their work and conclude with a modular approach aiming at de-centering research preoccupations from coherent models towards a more flexible and adaptable vision of democratic planning.

Works: Akbulut/Adaman: The ecological economics of economic democracy (2020); Beaucaire/Saey-Volckrick/Tremblay-Pepin: Integration of approaches to social metabolism into democratic economic planning models (2023); Dufour/Elias-Pinsonnault/Tremblay-Pepin: An international interface: democratic planning in a global context (2024, under revision).

The workshop will be recorded. We want to organize more of these workshops. If you want to participate in the next one or help organizing it, contact us: contact æ commonism dot org