Peter Linebaugh: Commons at the Crossroads
Organisation: Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Brussels
Contact: Renato Sabbadini
"Does communism belong to the field of politics while ‘the commons’ belongs to the field of economics? Is communism a theory contrived by intellectuals and utopians while the practices of commoning are widespread, unlettered and unrecognized?” (Peter Linebaugh, Ned Ludd & Queen Mab)
The Magna Carta Manifesto: Liberties and Commons for all
within the framework of a course in "Ethics and the Economy" which focuses on issues of equality and freedom within current economic institutions, by referring to the main theories of justice (esp. Rawls). Professor Linebaugh will connect the contents of his book “The Magna Carta Manifesto: Liberties and Commons for All” with how current capitalist institutions limit liberty. The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation wishes to thank Professor Yannick Vanderborght for the support to this initiative.
Time and venue:
Monday 26 November, 11 am - 1 pm, Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis, Boulevard du jardin botanique 43, ROOM 3, Brussels
Commons at the crossroads
The notion of common goods has been increasingly at the centre of a heated debated between social movements activists and “older” socialists with a marked Marxist background in Europe. Some maintain that the success of the common good concept is not necessarily a sign for the better, as on the one hand it betrays a lack of knowledge among the younger generations of the principles of socialism (hence the sense of discovery of something “new”), and on the other hand has an aura of vagueness which makes it too easy for everything to be included in it (from water to employment, from health to ideas, etc.), thus making it unpractical for political purposes. On the other end of the debate, some insist that the re-discovery of common goods does represent a novelty in the history of movements, exactly because it provides the largest possible common denominator among all groups. By comparing moments of the history of the commons and the history of socialism professor Linebaugh will explore whether the two ends of the debate can be reconciled or not.
Time and venue:
Monday 26 November, 6.30 pm, The International Auditorium, boulevard du Roi Albert II 5, Brussels
Peter Linebaugh is an American Marxist historian who specializes in British history, Irish history, labor history, and the history of the colonial Atlantic. He is a member of the Midnight Notes Collective. Linebaugh was a student of noted British labor historian E.P. Thompson, and he received his Ph.D. in British history from the University of Warwick in 1975. He has taught at University of Rochester, New York University, University of Massachusetts-Boston, Franconia College, Harvard University, and Tufts University. Linebaugh currently teaches at the University of Toledo, Ohio, and joined the faculty of that institution in 1994. Linebaugh's books have been generally well received within the discipline of history, and several of his books have demonstrated popularity among general readers. Historian Robin D.G. Kelley praised Linebaugh's most recent book, arguing in a review of The Magna Carta Manifesto (2008, Berkeley, University of California Press) that there is "not a more important historian living today. Period."
In late April 2012, Occupy Ypsilanti published and began to distribute throughout Ypsilanti, Michigan, free of charge, Linebaugh's Ypsilanti Vampire May Day. The full text of the book is available online at CounterPunch (counterpunch.org), a journal to which Linebaugh is a frequent contributor. His writing also appears in New Left Review, the New York University Law Review, Radical History Review, and Social History. Linebaugh’s latest book is “Ned Ludd & Queen Mab – Machine-Breaking, Romanticism, and the Several Commons of 1811-12” (2012, Oakland, PM Press)
>> Video of Lecture by Peter Linebaugh on Youtube