chapter  Chapter 5
15 Pages

Urban commoning and the right not to be excluded

WithNicholas Blomley

As a “counterhegemonic project” the commons has become pervasive, celebrated from many quarters, including Marxists, autonomists, political ecologists, and feminists. The concept of property, as a general set of state sanctioned relationships between people in regards to valued resources, has become subsumed within a narrow conception of private property, Macpherson notes. Squatting reflects a fundamental need, reflecting the dominance of a regime of territorialized private property, and a landscape of capitalist exclusion. The homeless are those who are forced to experience only the exclusionary territorialization of private property, without any compensatory right to territory of their own. Labour-based struggles and activism, and associated forms of regulation, also turn on property relations and the territorial dimensions of the workplace. An uncritical and affirmative language of “community” endangers idealizing the commons in a way that obscures its messy lived realities, given that “[t]he different ways that commoners interact with the commons can develop into specific relations of unevenness and privilege”.