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

The NYU Department of German and Deutsches Haus at NYU present “The Fate of the Commons: A Trotskyite View” with Slavoj Žižek as part of NYU Skirball’s “On Your Marx” festival in celebration of Karl Marx’s 200th birthday.

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, Ph.D., is a Hegelian philosopher, Lacanian psychoanalyst, and Marxist social analyst, and is a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and a visiting professor at a number of American Universities (Columbia, Princeton, New School for Social Research, New York University, University of Michigan). He obtained his Ph.D. in Philosophy in Ljubljana studying Psychoanalysis. He also studied at the University of Paris.