Revolutionary Commoning: A Vision from the Eighteenth Century

Marcus Rediker (University of Pittsburgh)

The seminar will be held on Zoom. Registration required (open until 27.01.2021) via the application form on our website. We will e-mail the link to the meeting to registered participants. After the lecture, we are planning a discussion which will be streamed on our Facebook and YouTube channels, as well as recorded and archived on YouTube and in Resources on our website. If you don’t consent to making your image public, we ask you to keep your camera and microphone off throughout the entire event. You can send questions on the chat. We encourage everyone to join the discussion.

Marcus Rediker’s lecture will revolve around his latest book in which he presented the character of “The Fearless Benjamin Lay” – Quaker, sailor, abolitionist, free thinker, and bookseller who drew on his experiences from England, the Caribbean, and America, formulated and put to action a radical criticism of power and privilege. Unequal by nature – derided as a “dwarf” and “hunchback”, he demanded equality for all creatures: he reviled the hypocrisy of the wealthy, fed enslaved Black people, wrote pamphlet, performed in a popular street theatre and with his wife, he created an egalitarian , self-sufficient, vegetarian household. No wonder that his famous friend, another Benjamin – Benjamin Franklin – was afraid to publish his writings and did so anonymously. Benjamin Lay will be of interest to us due to the practices of “revolutionary commoning”. In the history of plebeian commons, the fearless Benjamin turns out to be their important theoretician and practitioner, and his legacy inspired generations of American radicals.

The meeting will be held in English, without interpreting. It will be streamed on our Facebook channel.