Reclaiming collective life

I’m back in Tierra Verde, enjoying the sound of Spanish conversation in the room next door. The picture shows the table I most enjoy working at at the moment – bright and sunny, slightly removed from the to and fro of the other room, but close enough for the conversation to provide a pleasant backdrop of sound.

Last time I was here, I was thinking about sharing space, and was prompted later on, to check out an article by Silvia Federici called Feminism and the Politics of the Commons. In it Federici reviews some of the ways that “the many proliferating commons are being defended, developed, and fought for” and critiques the ideas proposed by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt in Empire, Multitude, and more recently Commonwealth for bringing them together so that they “can form a cohesive whole and provide a foundation for a new mode of production”.

She highlights the importance of the growing number of urban gardens that “thrive under the radar of the
money/market economy” and goes on to provide a fascinating criticism of our atomised lives from a feminist perspective, outlining ways that women have – and can – reclaim collective life and ourselves as common subjects in communities that are based on a “principle of cooperation and of responsibility to each other and to the earth, the forests, the seas, the animals.”

We cannot, she argues “build an alternative society and a strong self-reproducing movement unless we redefine our reproduction in a more cooperative way and put an end to the separation between the personal and the political, and between political activism and the reproduction of everyday life.”

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