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The Commoner N. 14 – Winter 2010 – Property, Commoning and the Politics of Free Software

Volume 1 / Two Volume Special Issue

CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO VOLUME 2 — Property, Commoning and Commons

Download complete issue or click to download individual chapters below. All PDFs are in A5 page size, suitable for printing two pages per A4 page.

Massimo De Angelis and J. Martin Pedersen – Preface / Volume 1 [PDF]

J. Martin Pedersen – Property, Commoning and the Politics of Free Software

CHAPTER 0 — Introduction: Property, Commoning and the Politics of Free Software

CHAPTER 1 — Free Culture in Context: Property and the Politics of Free Software [PDF]

CHAPTER 2 — Properties of Property: A Jurisprudential Analysis [PDF]

CHAPTER 3 — Free Software as Property [PDF]

CHAPTER 4 — Conclusion: Property and the Politics of Commoning (including bibliography of the entire essay) [PDF]

From the preface

This is the first of a two volume Special Issue. Both volumes will have a focus on commoning and property. The essay in this first volume – divided in chapters, which can be read separately – is based on an inter-disciplinary PhD thesis titled “Property, Commoning and the Politics of Free Software” completed February 2010, by J. Martin Pedersen at Lancaster University. Volume 2 will further combine practical insights with theoretical perspectives.

See the separate call for contributions and http://commoning.wordpress.com for further details

Peter Linebaugh — Meandering on the Semantical-Historical Paths of Communism and Commons

The story begins at Blue Mountain Lake in the Adirondacks when, at a gathering of cultural workers for the commons and through no wish of their own, Peter and George Caffentzis were asked to speak about violence and the commons. Accordingly following dinner after what had been a chilly October day, they settled into armchairs by the fire and explained to the gathering that way back in the day (history) the commons was taken away by blood and fire and that, furthermore, as we all basically knew, it was still violently happening which ever way you happened to look. Indeed, this violent taking-away, or “expropriation,” was the beginning of proletarianization and thus of capitalism itself!
George added that he thought that there was a difference between the commons and ‘the tradition of communism’ which began in the 1840s. Peter (that’s me) wasn’t so sure about that, thinking that it was earlier, and that in any case there was considerable overlap. He said something about Cincinnati and promised to get back to everyone. So, making good on that promise, here’s what I had in mind.
Download full PDF meandering-linebaugh.pdf

George Caffentzis – A Tale of two Conferences. Globalization, the Crisis of Neoliberalism and Question of the Commons

In the last decade the concept of the commons has increasingly become the basis of anticapitalist thinking in the antiglobalization (or, as some now have it, “the global justice”) movement. It has been politically useful both as an alternative model of social organization against the onslaught of “there is no alternative” neoliberal thinking and as a link between diverse struggles ranging from those of agricultural workers demanding land, to environmentalists calling for a reduction of the emission of “hot house gases” into the atmosphere, to writers, artists, musicians and software designers rejecting the totalitarian regime of intellectual property rights. But, like any concept in a class society, it can have many and often antagonistic uses. Our paper will show that there is a use of the concept of the commons that can be functional to capitalist accumulation and it offers an explanation as to why this capitalist use developed, especially since the early 1990s. The conclusion of this paper will assess the political problem that this capitalist use of “the commons” (both strategically and ideologically) poses for the anticapitalist movement. Download full PDF here: