by Fred Moten

About Fred Moten

Fred Moten is Professor of Performance Studies at New York University. He is co-author (with Stefano Harney) of The Undercommons and All Incomplete.


Democracy is the name that has been assigned to a dream as well as to certain already existing realities that are lived, by many people, as a nightmare. The dream is of government by the people, government in which the common people hold sway; in which the dispensation of the commons—“the universality of individual needs, capacities, pleasures, productive forces, etc., created through universal exchange” that Karl Marx called wealth—is collectively determined; in which the trace of any enclosure of the commons is an object of the severest vigilance, since such dispensation will have been understood as ending not in tragedy but in romance (Marx [1858] 1993, 488; Hardin 1968). This is the fantasy of democracy as fantasy, as the contrapuntal arrangement of the many voices of the whole. The materialization of this dream will have been real democracy.