Commons against and beyond capitalism

George Caffentzis* and Silvia Federici*

Abstract This essay contrasts the logic underlining the production of ‘commons’

with the logic of capitalist relations, and describes the conditions under

which ‘commons’ become the seeds of a society beyond state and

market. It also warns against the danger that ‘commons’ may be co-

opted to provide low-cost forms of reproduction, and discusses how

this outcome can be prevented.


‘Commons’ is becoming a ubiquitous presence in the political, economic and

even real estate language of our time. Left and Right, neo-liberals and neo-

Keynesians, conservatives and anarchists use the concept in their political

interventions. The World Bank has embraced it requiring, in April 2012,

Zapatista women working in a common garden (photo by George Caffentzis)

*Address for correspondence: email: (S.F.); (G.C.)

& Upping the Anti doi:10.1093/cdj/bsu006

i92 Community Development Journal Vol 49 No S1 January 2014 pp. i92– i105

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that all research conducted in-house or supported by its grants be ‘open

access under copyright licensing from Creative Commons—a non-profit

organization whose copyright licenses are designed to accommodate the

expanded access to information afforded by the Internet’ (World Bank,

2012). Even the Economist, a champion of neo-liberalism, has nodded favour-

ably to it, in its praise of Elinor Ostrom, the doyen of commons studies, as

indicated by the eulogy in its obituary:

It seemed to Elinor Ostrom that theworld contained a large bodyof common

sense. People, left to themselves, would sort out rational ways of surviving

and getting along. Although theworld’s arable land, forests, fresh waterand

fisheries were all finite, it was possible to share them without depleting

them and to care for them without fighting. While others wrote gloomily of

the tragedy of the commons, seeing only over-fishing and over-farming in a

free-for-all of greed, Mrs Ostrom, with her loud laugh and louder tops, cut a

cheery and contrarian figure. (Economist, 2012)

Finally, it is hard to ignore the prodigal use of ‘common’ or ‘commons’ in the

real estate discourse of university campuses, shopping malls and gated com-

munities. Elite universities requiring their students to pay yearly tuition fees

of $50,000 call their libraries ‘information commons’. It is almost a law of con-

temporary social life that the more commons are attacked, the more they are celebrated.

In this article we examine the reasons for these developments and raise

some of the main questions facing anti-capitalist commoners today:

† What do we mean by ‘anti-capitalist commons’? † How can we create, out of the commons that our struggles bring into

existence, a new mode of production not built on the exploitation of


† How do we prevent commons from being co-opted and becoming platforms on which a sinking capitalist class can reconstruct its for-


History, capitalism and the commons

We start with a historical perspective, keeping in mind that history itself is a

common even when it reveals the ways in which we have been divided, if it

is narrated through a multiplicity of voices. History is our collective

memory, our extended body connecting us to a vast world of struggles that

give meaning and power to our political practice.

History then shows us that ‘commoning’ is the principle by which human

beings have organized their existence for thousands of years. As Peter

Linebaugh reminds us, there is hardly a society that does not have the

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commons at its heart (Linebaugh, 2012). Even today, communal property

systems exist in many parts of the world especially in Africa and among indi-

genous people of Latin America. Thus, when we speak of the principle of ‘the

common’, or of commons, as imagined or existing forms of wealth that we

share, we do not only speak of small-scale experiments. We speak of

large-scale social formations that in the past were continent-wide, like the net-

works of communal societies that existed in pre-colonial America, which

stretched from present-day Chile to Nicaragua and Texas, connected by a

vast array of economic and cultural exchanges. In England, common land

remained an important economic factor until the beginning of the twentieth

century. Linebaugh estimates that in 1688, one quarter of the total area of

England and Wales was common land (Linebaugh, 2008). After more than

two centuries of enclosures involving the privatization of millions of acres,

according to the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, the amount

of common land remaining in 1911 was 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 acres,

roughly 5 percent of English territory. By the end of the twentieth century

common land was still 3 percent of the total of the territory (Naturenet, 2012).

These considerations are important to dispel the assumption that a society

based on commons is a utopia or that commons must be small-scale projects,

unfit to provide the foundation of a new mode of production. Not only have

commons existed for thousands of years, but elements of a communally based

society are still around us, although they are under constant attack, as capit-

alist development requires the destruction of communal properties and rela-

tions. With reference to the sixteenth and seventeenth century ‘enclosures’

that expelled the peasantry in Europe from the land – the act of birth of

modern capitalist society, Marx spoke of ‘primitive’ or ‘originary’ accumula-

tion. But we have learned that this was not a one-time affair, spatially and tem-

porally circumscribed, but is a process that continues into the present

(Midnight Notes Collective, 1990). ‘Primitive accumulation’ is the strategy

to which the capitalist class always resorts in times of crisis when it needs

to reassert its command over labour, and with the advent of neo-liberalism

this strategy has been extremized, so that privatization extends to every

aspect of our existence.

We live now in a world in which everything, from the water we drink to our

body’s cells and genomes, has a price tag on it and no effort is spared to ensure

that companies have the right to enclose the last open spaces on earth and

force us to pay to gain access to them. Not only are lands, forests, and fisheries

appropriated for commercial uses in what appears as a new ‘land grab’ of un-

precedented proportions. From New Delhi and New York to Lagos and Los

Angeles, urban space is being privatized, street vending, sitting on the side-

walks or stretching on a beach without paying are being forbidden. Rivers

are dammed, forests logged, waters and aquifers bottled away and put on

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the market, traditional knowledge systems are sacked through Intellectual

Property Regulations and public schools are turned into for-profit enter-

prises. This explains why the idea of the commons exercises such an attraction on

our collective imagination: their loss is expanding our awareness of the significance

of their existence and increasing our desire to learn more about them.

Commons and the class struggle

For all the attacks on them, commons have not ceased to exist. As Massimo De

Angelis has argued, there have always been commons ‘outside’ of capitalism

that have played a key role in the class struggle, feeding the radical imagin-

ation as well as the bodies of many commoners (De Angelis, 2007).

Nineteenth-century mutual aid societies are examples of it (Bieto, 2000).

More important, new commons are constantly created. From the ‘free soft-

ware’ to the ‘solidarity economy’ movement, awholeworld of newsocial rela-

tions is coming into existence based on the principle of communal sharing

(Bollier and Helfrich, 2012), sustained by the realization that capitalism has

nothing to give us except more misery and divisions. Indeed, at a time of per-

manent crisis and constant assaults on jobs, wages, and social spaces, the con-

struction of commons – ‘time banks’, urban gardens, Community Supported

Agriculture, food coops, local currencies, ‘creative commons’ licenses, barter-

ing practices – represents acrucial means of survival. In Greece, in the last two

years, as wages and pensions have been cut on average by 30 percent and un-

employment among youth has reached 50 percent, various forms of mutual

aid have appeared, like free medical services, free distributions of produce

by farmers in urban centres, and the ‘reparation’ of the electrical wires discon-

nected because the bills were not paid.

However, commoning initiatives are more than dikes against the neo-

liberal assault on our livelihood. They are the seeds, the embryonic form of

an alternative mode of production in the make. This is how we should view

also the squatters’ movements that have emerged in many urban peripheries,

signs of a growing population of city dwellers ‘disconnected’ from the formal

world economy, now reproducing themselves outside of state and market

control (Zibechi, 2012).

The resistance of the indigenous people of the Americas to the continuing

privatization of their lands and waters has given the struggle for the commons

a new impulse. While the Zapatistas’ call for a new constitution recognizing

collective ownership has gone unheeded by the Mexican state, the right of in-

digenous people to use the natural resources in their territories has been sanc-

tioned by the Venezuelan Constitution of 1999. In Bolivia as well, in 2009, a

new Constitution has recognized communal property. We cite these examples

not to propose that we rely on the state’s legal apparatus to promote the

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society of commons we call for, but to stress how powerful is the demand

coming from the grassroots for the creation of new forms of sociality orga-

nized according to the principle of social cooperation and the defence of the

already existing forms of communalism. As Raquel Gutiérrez (2009) and

Raúl Zibechi (2012) have shown, the ‘water wars’ of 2000, in Bolivia, would

not have been possible without the intricate web of social relations which

the ayllu and other communal systems regulating life among the Aymara

and Quechua provided.

Grassroots women’s initiatives have played a special role in this context. As

a growing feminist literature has demonstrated,1 because of their precarious

relation to wage employment, women have always been more interested than

men in the defence of nature’s commons and in many regions have been the

first to come forward against the destruction of environment: against logging,

against the selling of trees for commercial purposes and the privatization of

water. Women have also given life to various forms of pooling of resources

like the ‘tontines’, which have been one of the oldest and most widespread

forms of popular banking in existence. These initiatives have multiplied

since the 1970s when in response to the combined effects of austerity plans

and political repressions in several countries (e.g. Chile, Argentina) women

have come together to create communal forms of reproduction, enabling

them to both stretch their budget and at the same time break the sense of par-

alysis that isolation and defeat produced. In Chile, after the Pinochet coup,

women set up popular kitchens – comedores populares – cooking collectively

in their neighbourhoods, providing meals for their families as well as for

people in the community who could not afford to feed themselves. So power-

ful was the experience of the popular kitchens in breaking the curtain of fear

that had descended over the country after the coup, that the government

forbid them, sent the police to smash the cooking pots and accused the

women setting up the comedores of communism (Fisher 1993). In different

ways, this is an experience that throughout the 1980s and 1990s has been

repeated in many parts of Latin America. As Zibechi (2012) reports, thou-

sands of popular organizations, cooperatives and community spaces,

dealing with food, land, water, health, culture, mostly organized by women

have sprung up also in Peru and Venezuela, laying the foundation of a co-

operative system of reproduction, based on use values and operating autono-

mously from both state and market. In Argentina as well, faced with the near

economic collapse of the country in 2001, women stepped forward ‘common-

ing’ the highways as well as the barrios, bringing their cooking pots to the

1 For an overview of the role of women in the construction of cooperative forms of reproduction see

Federici (2010). Also see Shiva (1989, 2005) and Bennholdt-Thomsen and Mies (1999).

i96 Silvia Federici and George Caffentzis

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piquetes, ensuring the continuity of the roadblocks, also organizing popular

assemblies and city councils (Rauber 2002).

In many cities of the United States as well, e.g. Chicago, a new economy is

growing under the radar of the formal one, as partly due to necessity and

partly to the need to recreate the social fabric that economic restructuring

and ‘gentrification’ have torn, women in particular are organizing various

forms of trading, bartering, and mutual aid that escape the reach of commer-

cial networks.

Co-opting the commons

In the face of these developments, the task for us is to understand how we can

connect these different realities and how we can ensure that the commons that

we create are truly transformative of our social relations and cannot be

co-opted. The danger of co-optation is real. For years, part of the capitalist

international establishment has been promoting a softer model of privatiza-

tion, appealing to the principle of the commons as a remedy to the neo-liberal

attempt to submit all economic relations to the dictate of the market. It is rea-

lized that, carried to an extreme, the logic of the market becomes counterpro-

ductive even from the viewpoint of capital accumulation, precluding the

cooperation necessary for an efficient system of production. Witness the

situation that has developed in US universities where the subordination of

scientific research to commercial interests has reduced communication

among the scientists, forcing them to be secretive about their research projects

and their results.

Eager to appear as a world benefactor, the World Bank even uses the lan-

guage of the commons to put a positive spin on privatization and blunt the

expected resistance. Posing as the protector of the ‘global commons’, it

expels from woods and forests people who lived in them for generations,

while giving access to them, once turned into game parks or other commercial

ventures, to those who can pay, the argument being that the market is the most

rational instrument of conservation (Isla, 2009). The United Nations too has

asserted its right to manage the world’s main eco-systems – the atmosphere,

the oceans, and the Amazonian forest – and open them up for commercial ex-

ploitation, again in the name of preserving the common heritage of humanity.

‘Communalism’ is also the jargon used to recruit unpaid labour. A typical

example is British Prime Minister Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ programme

that mobilizes people’s energies for volunteer programs aimed to compen-

sating the cuts in social services his administration has introduced in

the name of the economic crisis. An ideological break with the tradition

that Margaret Thatcher initiated in the 1980s when she proclaimed that

‘There is no such thing as Society’, ‘The Big Society’ programme instructs

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government-sponsored organizations (from day-care centres, to libraries and

clinics) to recruit local artists and young people who, with no pay, will engage

in activities increasing the ‘social value’, defined as social cohesion and above

all reduction of the cost of social reproduction. This means that non-profit

organizations providing programmes for the elderly can qualify for some

government funding if they can create ‘social value’, measured according

to a special arithmetic factoring in the advantages of a socially and environ-

mentally sustainable society embedded in a capitalist economy (Dowling,

2012). In this way, communal efforts to build solidarity and cooperative

forms of existence, outside the control of the market, can be used to

cheapen the cost of reproduction and even accelerate the lay-offs of public


Commodity-producing commons

A different type of problem for the definition of anti-capitalist commons is

posed by the existence of commons producing for the market and driven

by the ‘profit motive’. A classic example is the unenclosed Alpine meadows

of Switzerland that every summer becomes grazing fields for dairy cows, pro-

viding milk for the huge Swiss dairy industry. Assemblies of dairy farmers,

who are very cooperative in their efforts, manage these meadows. Indeed,

Garret Hardin could not have written his ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ had he

studied how Swiss cheese came to his refrigerator (Netting, 1981).

Another often cited example of commons producing for the market are

those organized by the more than 1000 lobster fishers of Maine, operating

along hundreds of miles of coastal waters where millions of lobsters live,

breed and die every year. In more than a century, lobster fishers have built a

communal system of sharing the lobster catch on the basis of agreed upon

divisions of the coast into separate zones managed by local ‘gangs’ and self-

imposed limits on the number of lobsters to be caught. This has not always

been a peaceful process. Mainers pride themselves on their rugged individu-

alism and agreements between different ‘gangs’ have occasionally broken

down. Violence then has erupted in competitive struggles to expand the allot-

ted fishing zones or bust the limits on catch. But the fishers have quickly

learned that such struggles destroy the lobster stock and in time have restored

the commons regime (Woodward, 2004).

Even the Maine state’s fishery management department now accepts

this commons-based fishing, outlawed for decades as a violation of anti-trust

laws (Caffentzis, 2012). One reason for this change in official attitude is

the contrast between the state of the lobster fisheries compared to that of

the ‘ground-fishing’ (i.e. fishing for cod, haddock, flounder and similar

species) that is carried out in the Gulf of Maine and in Georges Bank where

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the Gulf connects with the ocean. Whereas the former in the last quarter

century has reached sustainability and maintained it (even during some

severe economic downturns), since the 1990s, one species after another of

ground-fish has been periodically overfished, leading to the official closure

of Georges Bank for years at a time. (Woodward, 2004) At the heart of the

matter are differences in the technology used by ground fishing and lobster

fishing and, above all, the difference in the sites where the catches are

taken. Lobster fishing has the advantage of having its common pool resource

close to the coast and within the territorial waters of the state. This makes it

possible to demarcate zones for the local lobster gangs, whereas the deep

waters of Georges Bank are not easily amenable to a partition. The fact that

Georges Bank is outside the 20-mile territorial limit has meant that outsiders,

using big trawlers, were able to fish until 1977 when the territorial limits were

extended to 200 miles. They could not have been kept out before 1977, contrib-

uting in a major way to the depletion of the fishery. Finally, the rather archaic

technology lobster fishermen uniformly employ discourages competition.

In contrast, starting in the early 1990s, ‘improvements’ in the technology

of ground-fishing –‘better’ nets and electronic equipment capable of detect-

ing fish more ‘effectively’ – have created havoc in an industry that is

organized on an open access principle (‘get a boat and you will fish’). The

availability of a more advanced and cheaper detection and capture technol-

ogy has clashed with the competitive organization of the industry that had

been ruled by the motto: ‘each against each and Nature against all’, ending

in the ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ that Hardin envisioned in 1968. This contra-

diction is not unique to Maine ground-fishing. It has plagued fishing commu-

nities across the world, who now find themselves increasingly displaced by

the industrialization of fishing, and the might of the great trawlers, whose

dragnets deplete the oceans (Dalla Costa, 2005). Fishermen in Newfoundland

have thus faced a similar situation to that of those of Georges Bank, with

disastrous results for the livelihood of their communities.

So far Maine lobster fishers have been considered a harmless exception con-

firming the neoliberal rule that a commons can survive only in special and

limited circumstances. Viewed through the lens of class struggle, however,

the Maine lobster common has elements of an anti-capitalist common in

that it involves workers’ control of some of the important decisions concern-

ing the work process and its outcomes. This experience then constitutes an in-

valuable training, providing examples of how large-scale commons can

operate. At the same time, the fate of the lobster commons is still determined

by the international seafood market in which they are embedded. If the US

market collapses or the state allows off-shore oil drilling in the Gulf of

Maine, they will be dissolved. The Maine lobster commons, then, cannot be

a model for us.

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The commons as the ‘third sector’: a peaceful coexistence?

While commons for the market can be viewed as vestigial remnants of older

forms of work cooperation, a growing interest in the commons also comes

from a broad range of social democratic forces that are either concerned

with the extremes of neo-liberalism and/or recognize the advantages of com-

munal relations for the reproduction of everyday life. In this context, the

common/s appears as a possible ‘third’ space besides and equal to the state

and the market. As formulated by David Bollier and Burns Weston in their

discussion of ‘green governance’:

the overall goal must be to reconceptualize the neoliberal State/Market as a

‘triarchy’ with the Commons—the State/Market/Commons—to realign

authority and provisioning in new, more beneficial ways. The State would

maintain its commitments to representative governance and management

of public property just as private enterprise would continue to own capital

to produce saleable goods and services in the Market sector (Bollier and

Weston, 2012, p. 350).

Along the same lines, a broad variety of groups, organizations and theorists

look today at the commons as a source of security, sociality and economic

power. These include consumer groups, who believe that ‘commoning’ can

gain them better terms of purchase, as well as home-buyers who, along

with the purchase of their home, seek a community as guarantee of security

and of a broader range of possibilities as far as spaces and activities provided.

Many urban gardens also fall in this category, as the desire for fresh food and

food whose origin is known continues to grow. Assisted living homes can also

be conceived as forms of commons. All these institutions undoubtedly speak

to legitimate desires. But the limit and danger of such initiatives is that they

can easily generate new form of enclosure, the commons being constructed

on the basis of the homogeneity of its members, often producing gated

communities, providing protection from the ‘other’, the opposite of what

the principle of the commons implies for us.

Redefining commons

What then qualifies as ‘anti-capitalist commons’? In contrast to the examples

that we have discussed, the commons we wish to construct aim to transform

our social relations and create an alternative to capitalism. They are not

intended to only provide social services or to act as buffers against the de-

structive impact of neo-liberalism, and they are far more than a communal

management of resources. In summary, they are not pathways to capitalism

with a human face. Either commons are a means to the creation of an egalitar-

ian and cooperative society or they risk deepening social divisions, making

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havens for those who can afford them and who can therefore more easily

ignore the misery by which they are surrounded.

Anti-capitalist commons, then, should be conceived as both autonomous

spaces from which to reclaim control over the conditions of our reproduction,

and as bases from which to counter the processes of enclosure and increasing-

ly disentangle our lives from the market and the state. Thus they differ from

those advocated by the Ostrom School, where commons are imagined in a re-

lation of coexistence with the public and with the private. Ideally, they

embody the vision that Marxists and anarchists have aspired to but failed

to realize: that of a society made of ‘free associations of producers’, self-

governed and organized to ensure not an abstract equality but the satisfaction

of people’s needs and desires. Today we see only fragments of this world (in

the same way as in late Medieval Europe we may have seen only fragments of

capitalism) but already the commons we build should enable us to gain more

power with regard to capital and the state and embryonically prefigure a new

mode of production, no longer built on a competitive principle, but on the

principle of collective solidarity.

How to achieve this goal? A few general criteria can begin to answer this

question, keeping in mind that in a world dominated by capitalist relations

the common/s we create are necessarily transitional forms.

(i) Commons are not given, they are produced. Although we say that

commons are all around us – the air we breathe and the languages

we use being key examples of shared wealth – it is only through co-

operation in the production of our life that we can create them. This

is because commons are not essentially material things but are

social relations, constitutive social practices. This is why some

prefer to speak of ‘commoning’ or ‘the common’, precisely to

underscore the relational character of this political project (Line-

baugh, 2008). However, Commons must guarantee the reproduc-

tion of our lives. Exclusive reliance on ‘immaterial’ commons,

like the internet, will not do. Water systems, lands, forests,

beaches, as well as various forms of urban space, are indispensable

to our survival. Here too what counts is the collective nature of the

reproductive work and the means of reproduction involved.

(ii) To guarantee our reproduction ‘commons’ must involve a ‘common

wealth’, in the form of shared natural or social resources: lands,

forests, waters, urban spaces, systems of knowledge and commu-

nication, all to be used for non-commercial purposes. We often

use the concept of ‘the common’ to refer to a variety of ‘public

goods’ that over time we have come to consider ‘our own’, like pen-

sions, health-care systems, education. However, there is a crucial

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difference between the common and the public as the latter is

managed by the state and is not controlled by us. This does not

mean we should not be concerned with the defence of public

goods. The public is the site where much of our past labour is

stored and it is in our interest that private companies do not take

it over. But for the sake of the struggle for anti-capitalist

commons it is crucial that we do not lose sight of the distinction.

(iii) One of the challenges we face today is connecting the struggle over the

public with those for the construction of the common, so that they can

reinforce each other. This is more than an ideological imperative.

Let us reiterate it: what we call ‘the public’ is actually wealth that

we have produced and we must re-appropriate it. It is also

evident that the struggles of public workers cannot succeed

without the support of the ‘community’. At the same time, their ex-

perience can help us reconstruct our reproduction, to decide (for

instance) what constitutes ‘good health-care’, what kind of knowl-

edge we need, and so forth. Still, it is very important to maintain the

distinction between public and common, because the public is a

state institution that assumes the existence of a sphere of private

economic and social relations we cannot control.

(iv) Commons require a community. This community should not be

selected on the basis of any privileged identity but on the basis of

the care-work done to reproduce the commons and regenerate

what is taken from them. Commons in fact entail obligations as

much as entitlements. Thus the principle must be that those who

belong to the common contribute to its maintenance: which is

why (as we have seen) we cannot speak of ‘global commons’, as

these presume the existence of a global collectivity which today

does not exists and perhaps will never exist as we do not think it

is it is possible or desirable. Thus, when we say ‘No Commons

without Community’ we think of how a specific community is

created in the production of the relations by which a specific

common is brought into existence and sustained.

(v) Commons require regulations stipulating how the wealth we share is to be

used and cared for, the governing principles being equal access, reci-

procity between what is given and what is taken, collective deci-

sion making, and power from the ground up, derived from

tested abilities and continually shifting through different subjects

depending on the tasks to be performed.

(vi) Equal access to the means of (re)production and egalitarian decision

making must be the foundation of the commons. This must be stressed

because historically commons have not been prime examples of

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egalitarian relations. On the contrary they have often been orga-

nized in a patriarchal way that has made women suspicious of

communalism. Today as well, many existing commons discrimin-

ate, mostly on the basis of gender. In Africa as the land available is

shrinking, new rules are introduced to prohibit access to people not

originally belonging to the clan. But in these cases non-egalitarian

relations are the end of the commons, as they generate inequalities,

jealousies, and divisions, providing a temptation for some com-

moners to cooperate with enclosures.


In conclusion, commons are not only the means by which we share in an

egalitarian manner the resources we produce, but a commitment to the cre-

ation of collective subjects, a commitment to fostering common interests in

every aspect of our life. Anti-capitalist commons are not the end point of a

struggle to construct a non-capitalist world, but its means. For no struggle

will succeed in changing the world if we do not organize our reproduction

in a communal way and not only share the space and time of meetings and

demonstrations but put our lives in common, organizing on the basis of

our different needs and possibilities, and the rejection of all principles of

exclusion or hierarchization.


The authors wish to thank Upping the Anti: a Journal of Theory and Action for

permission to reprint this article which first appeared in that journal N.15

(Sept. 2013), pp. 83–97.

George Caffentzis is a founding member of the Midnight Notes Collective. He is also an Emeritus

Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern Maine. He is the author and editor of many

books and articles on social and political thought. His latest book is In Letters of Blood and Fire:

Work, Machines and the Crisis of Capitalism.

Silvia Federici is a long-time feminist activist, teacher and writer. In 1991 she was one of the foun-

ders of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa. She has been active in the anti-globalization

movement and the anti-death penalty movement. She is the author of many essays on political phil-

osophy, feminist theory, cultural studies, and education. Her published works include: Revolution

at Point Zero (September 2012); Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accu-

mulation (2004); A Thousand Flowers: Social Struggles Against Structural Adjustment in

African Universities (2000, co-editor), and Enduring Western Civilization: The Construction

of Western Civilization and its ‘Others’ (1994 editor). She is Emerita Professor at Hofstra Univer-

sity (Hempstead, New York).

Commons against and beyond capitalism i103

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de Angelis, M. (2007) The Beginning of History: Value Struggles and Global Capital, Pluto

Press, London.

Bennholdt-Thomsen, V. and Mies, M. (1999) The Subsistence Perspective, Zed Books,


Bieto, D. (2000) From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State: Fraternal Societies and Social Services,

1890–1967, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC.

Bollier, D. and Helfrich, S. (2012) The Wealth of the Commons: a World Beyond Market and

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