Convivialist International: The Art of Living Together
We are board members of Convivialist International, writing on behalf of the movement. In June 2013, the Manifeste convivialiste. Declaration d’interdependence (First Manifesto) was published in France, a text signed by sixty-four international French-speaking authors. It was followed by an expanded and more detailed version—the Convivialist Manifesto: Towards a Post-Neoliberal World, published in 2020 by University of Chicago Press. This second manifesto was cosigned by nearly 300 scholars and activists from 33 different countries, coming from a range of political ideologies from the humanist political center to various leftist movements like degrowth.
Convivialism is a political philosophy of living together in conviviality, yearning for a new path for humanity. It denounces the evils of hubris, which it views as a fundamental distraction from the combined benefits of the four doctrines of democratic modernity (liberalism, communism, anarchism, socialism). Convivialism is unique among many contemporary discourses for two reasons. First, it builds on specific underlying assumptions regarding humanism, and, second, it embraces a holistic and inclusive approach to communication, imperative to the coexistence of cultures.
Convivialism submits that the only legitimate policies and the only acceptable ethics, are those based on the following five principles: common naturality, common humanity, common sociality, legitimate individuation, and creative opposition. The principle of common naturality asserts that we do not live apart from nature but are independent with it and have a responsibility to take care of it. The principle of common humanity asserts that beyond differences of skin, nationality, language, culture, religion, wealth, sex, or gender, there is one humanity, which must be respected in each person. The principle of common sociality asserts that that we are social beings, and our greatest wealth lies in the richness of our relationships with associations, societies, and communities small and large. The principle of legitimate individuation draws an important distinction between individuation and individualism. Each individual should be able to develop their individuality to the fullest without harming others, a recognition of equal freedom and interdependence as against selfishness and struggle of all against all. The principle of creative opposition builds on these to explain that, because of our singularity, it is normal that we may find ourselves in opposition to each other, but such opposition is only legitimate if it still upholds the framework of common humanity, common sociality, and common naturality.
These five principles are subordinate to the absolute imperative of hubris control. They are the pillars of a convivialist democracy of tomorrow that will succeed and replace the nineteenth-century-oriented fledgling democracies of today. We contend that only a convivialist democracy can be fully democratic for, along the other principles, the principle of legitimate individuation offers everyone the possibility of being recognized in their singularity as long as they play the game of controlled opposition; and by outlawing both poverty and extreme wealth, the principles of common humanity and common sociality prevent oligarchic and plutocratic abuse.
We have tried in the past to connect with different organizations in hopes of creating a citizens world parliament, but to no avail due to a lack of sufficient response. Perhaps the time is ripe now.