Review Of Radical Political Economics. 48 (1); str. 66-80

Exploring Commons Theory for Principles of a Socialist Governmentality

Dolenec, Danijela, Žitko, Mislav

Acknowledging that the concept of the commons is increasingly considered valuable for uniting left struggles, we develop the theory of the commons by strengthening its link with a Marxist critique of capitalism. In order to do so, we draw parallels between the work of Elinor Ostrom on principles of sustainable governance and Branko Horvat’s theory of self-management developed in the context of socialist Yugoslavia. We employ Foucault’s concept of governmentality to address the need for a socialist political rationale and governing principles, drawing our starting points from Ostrom and Horvat. First, we leave behind commons theorizing that relies on “exodus” strategies, instead drawing inspiration from Yugoslav self-management as an attempt of linking up the firm to wider social relations aimed at creating egalitarian, radically democratic, and materially sustainable societies. Second, we propose that the search for alternatives to capitalism and etatism goes beyond a change in ownership regime, and into principles of governance. While much of the contemporary progressive political agenda is concerned with distributional issues, we propose that devising governance principles to disable the formation of class control is the crucial innovation needed to advance a socialist governmentality. Finally, formulating the principles of socialist governmentality requires abandoning our reliance on indefinite economic growth which is seriously threatening the material base of human life.

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© Danijela Dolenec 2023
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