‘“On Your Marx”: The Fate of the Commons: A Trotskyite View’ by Slavoj Žižek


Video recording of a paper delivered by Žižek titled “On Your Marx”: The Fate of the Commons: A Trotskyite View by Deutsches Haus and the Department of German at New York University as part of NYU Skirball’s “On Your Marx” festival in celebration of Karl Marx’s 200th birthday at Skirball Center for Performing Arts on 22nd October 2018, supported by DAAD—German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst). Video by laiacabreraco.com

From the Marxist standpoint, “Communism” refers to the multiple versions of our commons (the commons of nature, the commons of our biogenetic inheritance, the commons of our intellectual substance) which are all threatened by today’s global capitalism. Perhaps the most important version of our commons is the world-wide digital grid which more and more controls and regulates our lives. How can a new emancipatory movement fight for the public control of the digital commons? In preparing and executing the October Revolution, Trotsky showed us the way when he focused on the seizure of power over the technical and material base of a state (electricity, railways, phone, etc.). How can we apply this Trotsky’s insight to our contemporary predicament?


Slavoj Žižek is a Philosopher and psychoanalytic social theorist. He is Senior Researcher at the Department of Philosophy, University of Ljubljana; Professor at the School of Law and Director of the Institute for the Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London; Distinguished Scholar at the Kyung Hee University, Seoul; and Visiting Professor at the German Department, New York University. His field of work comprises Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, dialectical-materialist metaphysical interpretations of German Idealism and Marxian critique of ideology. His more than sixty books in English have been widely translated. His latest publications include Pandemic! & Pandemic! 2, Hegel in a Wired Brain, Sex and the Failed Absolute, Like A Thief In Broad DaylightReading MarxIncontinence of the Void, and The Day After the Revolution.

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