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Commons, Commoning, Communism

Tue, September 26, 2023 @ 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Event Series Event Series (See All)
Free – $80
Various forms of commoning, some traditional and some not, provided the proletariat with means of survival in the struggle against capitalism. Commoning is a basis of proletarian class solidarity, and we can find this before, during, and after both the semantic and the political birth of communism. –Peter Linebaugh

Before the advent of capitalism, much of humanity produced their immediate livelihoods on lands and with tools to which they either had rights of use or held as individual property. All that came to a violent end with what Marx preferred to call the “original expropriation” (often misleadingly termed “primitive accumulation”) whereby the producers were deprived of access and the commons were enclosed. Peasants and artisans mounted strong resistance over centuries but in the end a propertyless proletariat emerged in countryside and city in England and other countries where capitalism triumphed. Such struggles continue down to the present, however, as working people continue to challenge new forms of expropriation such as intellectual-property laws, private patents on seeds and other life forms, displacement of urban communities, extortion through petty fines and regressive taxation, and seizures of land and water for mining and other profitable purposes. This reading group will explore the historical roots and persistence of such crimes and resistance by reading together The War Against the Commons, by Ian Angus; Stop, Thief! by Peter Linebaugh; and related texts.

Facilitated by Fred Murphy and Steve Knight of the MEP’s Ecosocialist Study Group.