12/12/2022: The conference was quite a success! A big thank you to all of the presenters and attendants. The sessions were recorded, and we will link to them once they are made available.
December 11, 2022
Joseph Déjacque was a major nineteenth-century communist anarchist political theorist and visionary utopian writer. He was born in Besançon, France on December 27, 1821, so we are now celebrating the bicentennial year of his birth. La Terre Institute for Community and Ecology and Yes We Cannibal are therefore convening a Déjacque Bicentennial Conference for December 11, 2022.
PROGRAM (All Times CST)
10:00 AM: La Terre Institute (New Orleans, Louisiana)
10:15 AM: Ronald Creagh (Montpellier, France)
“Déjacque’s Place in the History of Anarchism”
11:00 AM: Stephen Duplantier (San Ramón, Costa Rica)
“The Déjacque Event — An Orphic Reading of the Humanisphere as a Plasma Electromagnetic Cosmopolis”
11:45 AM: Antony Martel (Port Elizabeth, South Africa)
“Belonging to Each and All: Joseph Dejacque As Dao-Socialist”
12:30 PM: Interlude with readings from Déjacque
1:15 PM: Penelope Rosemont (Chicago, Illinois)
“A Surrealist Perspective, Exploration and Appreciation of the Life and Work of Joseph Déjacque”
2:00 PM: Heather Luna (Bogotá, Colombia), Carrie Sanders (Northampton, UK) and Others
“Déclarez l’Humanité en danger”
2:45 PM: Ben Blohowiak (Charlottesville, Virginia)
“Déjacque: Of and Ahead of his Time”
3:30 PM: John Clark (New Orleans, Louisiana)
“Déjacque’s Dialectic of Reason, Passion, and Imagination”
4:15 PM: Yes We Cannibal (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
Déjacque was a strange, compelling, challenging, and strikingly creative thinker, and his work has strong literary, poetic, and visionary dimensions. It remains provocative today for anyone interested in free thought, radical creativity, and social and ontological exploration.
From 1856 to 1858, Déjacque lived in New Orleans, where he wrote his greatest work, The Humanisphere. Of it, he says:
This book is not a literary work, it is an infernal work, the cry of a rebellious slave. This is a book of rage; it is a book of love!Joseph Dejacque on The Humanisphere
He begins this extraordinary work with what he calls the “Geological Question.” Noting that many have studied the external and internal structures of the Earth, he asks “who has occupied themselves with its psychological organism?” Déjacque volunteers to do this.
Déjacque goes on to describe a world in motion, striving toward the emergence of a planetary utopia of desire. “The human, like the universe, is one and not double: not body or soul … but animated and passional substance, susceptible of thousands and thousands of metamorphoses and constrained by its animation and its passionality, by its attractions, to a perpetual upward movement.”
Déjacque sees the social goal of this passional movement as a cooperative community that is free from all forms of domination, and which realizes a condition of “Harmonic Anarchy.” Moreover, he envisions a world in which many such communal Humanispheres will join together into networks of Continental Humanispheres, and, ultimately, into a Universal Humanisphere.
It was also while he was in New Orleans that Déjacque wrote his famous text, “On the Male and Female Human Being: A Letter to P.J. Proudhon.” In it, he introduced the term libertaire or libertarian into political discourse. He asserted that the Proudhon was not a true libertarian, above all because of his defense of patriarchal domination.
On December 11, 2022, an online and in-person conference will be held in which participants will discuss Déjacque’s life, work, and historical significance.
The Déjacque Bicentennial Conference is sponsored by La Terre Institute for Community and Ecology (New Orleans, LA and Bayou La Terre, MS) and Yes We Cannibal (Baton Rouge, LA), with the support of the Anarchist Political Ecology Group and the Dialectical Social Ecology Group.
The Déjacque quotes shared here are from Shawn P. Wilbur’s translations.