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Down With The Fences

Down With The Fences!
The Struggle For The Global Commons

Thursday May 1st – Sunday May 11th 2008

Down With The Fences

To See The Full Programme Of Events Click Here

Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned ...

Marx and Engels: The Communist Manifesto 1848

This country has lost playing fields at the rate of one a day since 1998. What sort of a world do we live in where my kids go to schools that don't have grass playing fields? My old secondary school in Welwyn Garden City lost theirs to a private housing development. And where are kids supposed to exercise when the great outdoors is considered unsafe because of tabloids spinning fears about paedophiles, gangs and drug culture?

David James (England goalkeeper): The Observer Sunday October 8, 2006

Bristol Radical History Group present two weeks of events dedicated to the Commons then and now. The word ‘commons’ is derived from Latin "communis" and means the quality of sharing by all or many. The Commons are places, spaces or environments that are owned by no one but shared by all. As the world faces a wave of new enclosures spawned by neo-liberal globalisation we will be delving into the history of the commons, the enclosures and the resistance to them.

From Magna Carta to the enclosure rioters of the Forest of Dean; from the stripping of the oil commons of the 20th century to the enclosure of the peoples’ game in the Premier League; from the rise of the corporations to the massive gentrification programme launched in our cities, we will be examining the process of enclosure, the forces that drive it and some of the historical and current confrontations that have occurred as a result.

We will be trying to answer some of these questions over the two weeks of events. How do the struggles of yesteryear against enclosure relate to the present day? Were significant victories won or is it a one-way process as Marx described? Should we be defending our free spaces from our playing fields to the internet? If we want to encourage resistance, then how should we do this?


Most of the lectures are available as mp3 audio files. Click on the links below to listen to the lectures.

Date Time Title Details Venue
Thu. 1st May 7:30pm The Magna Carta Manifesto Peter Linebaugh - The Magna Carta Manifeto: Liberties And Commons For All The Cube*
Fri. 2nd May 4:00pm Time, Tide & Money George Caffentzis - Clipped Coins: John Locke's Philosophy of Money
Steve Higginson - Dangerous Lasses & The Lumpen Classes
Sat. 3rd May 1:00pm The Commons Peter Linebaugh - The Incomplete, True, Authentic And Wonderful History Of May Day
Steve Higginson - Partition And Prejudice: ‘The English Arrangements Of Place And Space’
Massimo De Angelis, Peter Linebaugh, George Caffentzis - The Commons Panel Debate
Sun. 4th May 7:30pm New Enclosures George Caffentzis - The New Enclosures
Rich Grove - My Holiday Snaps: The Indian Enclosures
The Cube*
Mon. 5th May 11:00am A Picnic In The Forest† Join us in the forest for a picnic and "Warren James, Free Miners And The Forest Of Dean" with Ian Wright Forest Of Dean
Tue. 6th May 7:30pm The Beautiful Game? David Goldblatt - The Ball Is Round The Cube*
Wed. 7th May 2 to 4pm Opening The Archives Veiw primary source material from the archives with Dawn Dyer and Jane Bradley CenRefLib
Wed. 7th May 7:30pm The Kett Rebellion Peter Clark - The Kett Rebelion Bridewell
Thu. 8th May 7:30pm The Battle For Bristol 2008 Kevin Davis & Roger Ball - Packers Field: A Victory?
Mary Bannerman - Castle Park: The Town Green
Roger Ball - Stokes Croft & Old Market: Sanitising The Underground
Fri. 9th May 4:00pm The 'Real England' Paul Kingsnorth - The Real England Bridewell
Sat. 10th May 1:00pm Kings, Commoners & Corporations Steve Poole - The Crown And The Commons: Holding Monarchy To Account In 18th Century England
Steve Mills - The Overnight House And The Kingswood Commons
Dan Bennett - Corporations: A Brief History.
Sun 11th May 5:00pm The Virtual Commons Bristol Wireless - Open Source Software: Interactive Workshop. St.W.Com
Sun 12th May 7:30pm Gentrification In New York Juan - Gentrification In New York. Bridewell

Bridewell = Island @ Bridewell Police Station, entrance on Silver Street between Nelson Street And Rupert Stet.
Cube = The Cube Microplex, entrance on Dove Street South.
Forest Of Dean = Meet at Hopewell Colliery, Speech House Rd., Coleford.
CenRefLib = The Bristol Room, upstairs at Bristol Central Library, college Green
St.W.Com = St. Werburghs Community Centre, Horley Road, St Werburghs. Just off the M32.

*The Cube is a membership only cinema. You will need to pay £1 for a life time membership the first time you visit. Remember to bring your membership card the every time you come to an event here.
†Bring your own picnic.

To download a copy of the pintables guide click the picture below (Adobe Acrobat File 300 KB). The guide prints on both sides of a piece of A4.

Down With The Fences Guide

To download a copy of the DWTF poster click the picture below (Adobe Acrobat File 900 KB). The poster prints on A4 or A3.

Down With The Fences Guide
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Not A Penny Off The Pay, Not A Second On The Day

This event art event is happening during the same week as Down With The Fences. To find out more click here.

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