Direct democracy and autonomy:

Mobilising the past for transforming the present. The case of the 1871 Paris Commune

Christos Zografos
Monday 3rd July, 10.00-11.30, Cerbère

In this class, we will introduce the concept of direct democracy and its relevance for degrowth. Furthermore, we will discuss the importance of a renowned case of direct, popular self-rule, namely the 1871 Paris Commune. Finally, we will collectively reflect on the political implications and practical relevance that this case may have upon contemporary experiences of self-organising for pursuing degrowth and other radical socio-ecological transformations.

For this class, students should read the Introduction, Chapters 1 and 4 of Kristin Ross’ book Communal Luxury (attached) and answer the following question: “According to Ross, what aspects of the Commune story are important and why?” Students should bring their answers to the classroom so that we discuss them during the class (answers don’t need to be fully developed, they can be in the form of bullet points, etc.).


Readings: Ross, Kristin. 2015. Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune. London: Verso. Pp.7-22 and 44-54.