Commons as counterhegemonic projects
It is striking, that so many current reactions to the failures of ostensibly self-regulating neoliberal markets are dismissive of the state, and turn instead to communities and common property as potential remedies to market failures. This article briefly explores possible reasons for this shift. It also notes, however, that such proposed reconfigurations of property relations still rely upon the unique role of the state even as they attempt to repudiate it, a phenomenon that echoes O'Connor's arguments regarding new social movements. Finally, it examines how questions of scale, membership, and radical politics play out in representative calls for new commons. It gives several examples of recent calls and proposals for commons as a way to ground and explore these questions. I use examples imagined at three different scales - global, national, and local - and in several different domains: the discourse of progressive activists contesting the terms of 'globalization,' proposals to create a new discourse of the commons and a public trust to commodify atmospheric pollutants in the United States, and proposals to make New England suburbs more sustainable by renewing the tradition of local commons. The third and final section of this article provides a sympathetic critique of these and other examples as a way of drawing out broader analytical considerations widely applicable to contemporary calls for commons. This is not to suggest that the examples chosen here are representative in any strict sense, or that any analysis of them is necessarily generalizable. Nonetheless, each raises issues present in many similar calls. Therefore, close readings of them, paying particular attention to some of the same variables in each, are useful entry points into understanding broader contemporary struggles over the governance of nature under neoliberal capitalism. © 2005 The Center for Political Ecology.
Capitalism, Nature, Socialism
McCarthy, James, "Commons as counterhegemonic projects" (2005). Geography. 177.