By law of trespass, we are excluded from 92 per cent of the land and 97 per cent of its waterways, blocked by walls whose legitimacy is rarely questioned. But behind them lies a story of enclosure, exploitation and dispossession of public rights whose effects last to this day. The Book of Trespass takes us on a journey over the walls of England, into the thousands of square miles of rivers, woodland, lakes and meadows that are blocked from public access.

By trespassing the land of the media magnates, Lords, politicians and private corporations that own England, Nick Hayes argues that … More

OTD, August 1845, UK Parliament passed an enclosure act, taking away common land, & appointing enclosure commissioners who could enclose more land without submitting a request to Parliament. From the 17th to 20th centuries, the British government passed over 5,000 enclosure acts, enclosing 6.8 million acres of common land, which the public previously had rights to use. Often military force was used to crush anyone who resisted. The enclosures were a vital part of the development of capitalism, as they created a whole class of landless people who had no way of surviving other than selling their labour power – the working class.

“The law locks up the man or woman Who steals the goose off the common But leaves the greater villain … More

Book launch of ‘Plunder of the Commons’ with Guy Standing at The Printworks. Thursday 12th September. £2 OTD. We are losing the commons. Austerity and neoliberal policies have depleted our shared wealth; our national utilities have been sold off to foreign conglomerates, social housing is almost non-existent, our parks are cordoned off for private events and our national art galleries are sponsored by banks and oil companies. This plunder deprives us all of our common rights, recognized as far back as the Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest of 1217, to share fairly and equitably in our public wealth.

Guy Standing leads us through a new appraisal of the commons, stemming from the medieval concept of common land reserved … More

Born OTD in 1946, English writer and novelist, Jim Crace. Harvest tells the story of a remote English village as economic progress disrupts pastoral idyll following the Enclosure Act. The protagonist, Walter Thirsk, tells the story from his perspective, but in fact is rarely present when the events of the novel take place due to his injury that he sustains at the beginning of the novel. The story begins with the arrival of some strangers to the bounds of the village. Following the burning of the stables, a scapegoat is required as no-one wants to admit that one of their own was responsible. Hence a mob sets out in order to find evidence to blame these new arrivals. After a brief altercation with the three strangers, they are arrested by Master Kent and chained to the pillory for the week.

Throughout the novel the certainty of the land, the “busy, kindly, scented universe of crops and the unerring traces of … More

We are witnessing a new surge of interpersonal & institutional violence against women, including new witch-hunts. This surge of violence has occurred alongside an expansion of capitalist social relations. In this new work that revisits some of the main themes of Caliban & the Witch, Federici examines the root causes of these developments & outlines the consequences for the women affected and their communities. She argues that, no less than the witch-hunts in 16th-17th century Europe & the “New World,” this new war on women is a structural element of the new forms of capitalist accumulation.

These processes are founded on the destruction of people’s most basic means of reproduction. Like at the dawn of capitalism, … More