Common Notions is a publishing house and programming platform that fosters new formulations of living autonomy. We aim to circulate timely reflections, clear critiques, and inspiring strategies that amplify movements for social justice.
Our publications trace a constellation of critical and visionary meditations on the organization of freedom. By any media necessary, we seek to nourish the imagination and generalize common notions about the creation of other worlds beyond state and capital. Inspired by various traditions of autonomism and liberation—in the US and internationally, historical and emerging from contemporary movements—our publications provide resources for a collective reading of struggles past, present, and to come.
Common Notions regularly collaborates with editorial houses, political collectives, militant authors, and maverick designers around the world. Our political and aesthetic pursuits are dreamed and realized with Antumbra Designs.
On the Concept of Common Notions
Common notions, as assemblages, are a practical pivot, building blocks that arise on the terrain of the imagination to constitute reason.
The production of common notions shows that there is a “curious harmony” between the imagination and reason.
However, there remains a real difference between them. No matter how strong or intense the imagination may be, we continue to regard it in a possible or contingent way. The specific property of reason is to consider things as necessary.
Common notions transform the fluctuation and contingency of imagination into the permanence and consistency of reason. Necessity, presence and frequency are the three characteristics of common notions.
Reason is the imagination that returns, the refrain. It is an intensified imagination that has gained the power to sustain its imagining by means of the construction of common notions.
Common notions are ontological mechanisms that forge being out of becoming, necessity out of chance. It is the ontological assemblage whereby the chance joyful encounter is made adequate; the joyful encounter returns. From the beginning, common notions and its process of assemblage are part of an ethical project (becoming active, becoming adequate, becoming joyful), but how can we recognize this process in properly political terms? —adapted from Michael Hardt, Gilles Deleuze: An Apprenticeship in Philosophy, 1993 (102–103, 107)