Open Utopia is a complete English language edition of Thomas More’s Utopia that honors the primary precept of Utopia itself: that all property is common property. Licensed under Creative Commons, Open Utopia conveys this message and continues the tradition. But Utopia is more than the story of a far-off land with no private property. It’s a text that instructs us how to approach texts, be they literary or political, in an open manner: open to criticism, open to participation, and open to re-creation. Utopia is no-place, and therefore it is up to all of us to imagine it. Opinion polls, volatile voting patterns, and street protests demonstrate widespread dissatisfaction with the current system, yet the popular response so far has largely been limited to the angry outcries. But negation, by itself, affects nothing. The dominant system doesn’t dominate because people agree with it; it rules because we’re convinced there is no alternative. We need to be able to imagine a radical alternative – a Utopia – yet we are haunted by the disasters of “actually existing” Utopias of the past century, from fascism to authoritarian socialism. In this re-issue of Thomas More’s generative volume, scholar and activist Stephen Duncombe re-imagines Utopia as an open text, one designed by More as an imaginal machine freeing us from the tyranny of the present while undermining master plans for the future. In this volume Utopia is re-imagined and brought into the participatory digital age as a technology for undermining authority and facilitating new imagination.
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