Life in Common

Network and Journal Proposal (Last Updated 12 February 2011)

(PDF available here.)

Across the globe the creation of common movements and new ways of living are widely recognised as urgent tasks. ‘Life in Common’ is an invitation to come together, to share ideas, practices and struggles. We hope to develop an autonomous network of collaborative resistance to capital and to create a space for people from a variety of political perspectives to work together, developing new ways of working collectively while respecting one another’s differences. At the recent From Empire to Commonwealth conference, held in Wollongong in November 2010, participants discussed a proposal for an autonomous research network. Various views on this proposal were expressed and a number of those involved in the discussion expressed an interest in developing an on-going network, organising further conferences and producing a web journal.

We would like to begin with the establishment of an autonomous research network based in the Asia–Pacific and the publication of an online journal of radical theory and practice. At some time in the future we will consider organising another conference. We hope that both the network and journal can be non-sectarian spaces where different approaches can be evaluated: not as an academic exercise of theory for theory’s sake, but as a way of judging their usefulness to the further understanding and development of proletarian self-organisation.

Understanding that the construction of non-capitalist sociality is an important task, having made connections during the conference and discovered that we share some important commonalities, we are keen to establish a network that can assist us to stay in touch and to produce common projects. Our aims are to establish spaces and events for connection and affinity while respecting and accommodating differences, to assist knowledge production struggles and projects of liberation as a part of the growing transnational linking of autonomous education initiatives.

We are proposing the formation of an autonomous research network to enable better communication and to assist in the creation of a vibrant culture which brings colour and joy to our lives and engages a broad range of knowledge workers in common activity. Through such a network we wish to create a transnational space to develop our collective political capacity to build new futures, generate our own ideas and critiques and contribute to the development of liberatory and rebellious theories of the world. We are interested in all aspects of class struggle including the documentation of autonomous struggle and organisation around the globe, discussions around key topics such as autonomous knowledge production, self-education, networking struggles, transnational political organisation and the common.

 

Such an autonomous research network would assist the self-organisation of publishing and communication among radicals within the academy and the extension of these networks outside the academy walls. We wish to challenge both the demarcations which separate the university from the rest of society and struggle within the university to open up the horizon of what and how we can think, breaking the boundary which separates the university from society, attacking the mysticism and prestige which enables ‘expert’ knowledge to have higher value than knowledge produced by the proletariat in all aspects of social life.

 

To assist in our ongoing reflections on class struggle and in order to communicate these reflections, we would like to establish a transnational journal. We choose this medium as a means of self-empowerment, the creation of a project that we can control and the production of a common project, because it will assist the continuity of our network, provide an outlet for our knowledge production and because it offers a platform for continuing connections among critical research, autonomous education experiments, and a wide variety of proletarian struggles. We see the journal as an avenue for innovative discussion and debate where we can experiment with alternative forms of intellectual production that emphasise cooperation and self-organisation and as a creative form of mutual assistance and support.


We are proposing two types of content within the journal: one part consisting of web magazine/journal articles which includes news and commentary on activism and knowledge work in the Asia-Pacific and the second part consisting of peer-review web journal articles. Our Japanese comrades have suggested that we publish, at least in part, in both English and Japanese. We have also had some expressions of interest from comrades in/or connected to Chile and India. As raised at From Empire to Commonwealth it is proposed that the papers presented at the Conference form the content of the first issue of the journal. The publication of the journal will be organised by an editorial sub-committee.

The proposed network will be organised through a website which will provide a portal to information related to the network and the journal. Future conferences will also be organised through this website. The Open Journal System, developed by the Public Knowledge Project (http://pkp.sfu.ca/), is a free, open access software platform designed to publish online journals and would be suited to this project.

We are presently in the process of investigating and discussing the nuts and bolts of this proposal and all assistance, suggestions, etc. are appreciated.

If you are interested in being part of the network or helping publish the journal please contact: Alexander Brown, alexandersragtimeband@gmail.com