What Is Convivialism?
Convivialism is a political philosophy as well as an international intellectual and social movement, which strives for a just, peaceful and sustainable coexistence of people with each other and of people and nature.
Thousands of civic organizations, social movements, initiatives and networks currently reinvent social and economic relations, politics, and culture and consequently try to make another world possible and tangible. But often they do not know each other. Here’s the place to learn about initiatives aiming at conviviality, to set up networks, and to comment on what others do.
We urgently need to develop – theoretically and practically – a new social, moral and political philosophy. We think it is critical to expose values likely to be shared by all people and movements that are convinced that democracy and ecological survival cannot rely any longer on the idea of infinite economic growth. Thus, we have to oppose the global hegemony of finance capitalism and look for various forms of prosperity without growth. A first draft of this philosophy has been sketched out by the Convivialist Manifesto (2013), initially written or endorsed by around 100 well known French speaking intellectuals and academics, and adopted by many activists and civic organizations.
Convivialism, a resolutely relational philosophical approach to the world, sets out five principles and an overarching imperative to guide the reconstruction of our societies. The Second Convivialist Manifesto presents them and gives directions in which to move towards a post-neoliberal world. If liberalism has brought freedom and modernization, convivialism will bring conviviality, individual and collective emancipation. It is signed by 275 personalities from 33 countries: a nascent Convivialist international.It is about time to go further and to call for the active transnational participation of all intellectuals, academics, and activists willing to contribute to this development.
« Better living, together » – A Brief Summary of the Manifesto
This text is a very condensed presentation of the Second Convivialist Manifesto. For a post-neoliberal world, published in French in February 2020 by Actes Sud, under the collective name Internationale convivialiste. Translations into German, English, Brazilian, Catalan, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Portuguese have already been made and are due to appear very soon.
Because no collective action can succeed if all those who commit themselves to it are not animated by a set of clearly shared common values. Inherited religions or political doctrines (liberalism, socialism, communism, anarchism) are no longer sufficient guides today because they do not tell us anything decisive about the finiteness of natural resources, about the globality and plurality of cultures, or, finally, about the right way to ward off the infantile aspiration to omnipotence (hubris) inherent in human desire. Innovation is therefore needed.
Convivialism, the political philosophy of living together (of conviviality), of the art of cooperating in opposition without killing each other, makes explicit the ultimate values that animate all those, from very diverse ideological backgrounds, who are not resigned to giving up control, and therefore the survival of the world, neither to the champions of neo-liberal globalization, nor to the prophets of a neo-fascist nationalism (the two sometimes go hand in hand). The former, who advocate the planetary extension of a rentier and speculative capitalism, play on the aspiration to economic omnipotence, to ever more wealth (pleonexy). They are ransacking the planet. The latter mobilize the desire for political omnipotence and identity. They secrete hatred and murderous impulses.
Five principles + one categorical imperative
The intellectual, associative and political personalities (300 from 33 different countries) who co-signed the Second convivialist manifesto agreed on five principles:
- The principle of common naturalness affirms that we are not masters and possessors of nature (Descartes) but share a common destiny with it. It is at the heart of ecological thinking.
- The principle of common humanity (which evokes communism) condemns all discrimination, of sex, skin colour, belief or religion.
- The principle of common sociality (dear to socialism) affirms that the wealth for humans is first and foremost that of their social relationships.
- The principle of legitimate individuation (particularly claimed by anarchism) states that the primary motivation of humans is the quest for recognition.
- The principle of creative opposition is the one that animated the first liberalism. It is the one that made it possible to put an end to absolutist monarchies and despotisms.
These five principles must be tempered and balanced by each other, in line with the prime categorical imperative to fight against hubris, against the desire of omnipotence.
Four minimum political implications
From these five principles and this imperative flow four minimum general policy orientations:
- A convivialist policy aims for a triple-zero objective by 2040-2050
- zero net emissions of greenhouse gases
- zero consumption of fossil fuels
- zero highly toxic and high-risk waste
- It leads a resolute struggle for a significant reduction of inequalities. This implies the introduction of an unconditional minimum income and of a maximum income and wealth level, however high it may be.
- It gives new life to the democratic ideal by systematically articulating parliamentary representative democracy, democracy of opinion and direct and participatory democracy (via citizens’ conferences and citizens’ initiative referendums).
- It promotes a plural universalism (pluriversalism) that allows different cultures, cultures, religions or philosophies to dialogue by opposing without massacring each other.