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Stop Thief: the Commons Enclosures and Resistance
by Peter Linebaugh (2014)
Free download at https://libcom.org/library/stop-thief-commons-enclosures-resistances
Occasionally you come across a book that totally turns your worldview on its head. This book is definitely one of them.
Stop Thief is about the loss of the Commons through enclosures,* which author Peter Linebaugh maintains is the essence of capitalism. Until 200 years ago, communally owned moors and forests were fundamental to all human civilization. In Europe, the Commons included specific customary rights, including gleaning, grazing rights, and access to the forest for medicines and wood for fuel, housing and tools. These rights had been guaranteed for thousands of years (they’re mentioned in both the Old and New Testament) and were codified in the Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest. Thanks to the Commons, which provided for the basic subsistence needs of the population, there was virtually no crime…
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