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?

Date Time Title Details With Link
, 2008 The Magna Carta Manifesto The Magna Carta Manifeto: Liberties And Commons For All . Peter Linebaugh
, 2008 Time, Tide & Money Clipped Coins: John Locke's Philosophy of Money and Dangerous Lasses & The Lumpen Classes. George Caffentzis,
Steve Higginson
, 2008 The Commons The Incomplete, True, Authentic And Wonderful History Of May Day. Partition And Prejudice: ‘The English Arrangements Of Place And Space’. The Commons Panel Debate . Peter Linebaugh,
Steve Higginson,
George Caffentzis,
Massimo De Angelis,
David Graeber (1961-2020)
, 2008 New Enclosures The New Enclosures. The Indian Enclosures George Caffentzis,
Rich Grove
, 2008 A Picnic In The Forest Join us in the forest for a picnic and "Warren James, Free Miners And The Forest Of Dean" Ian Wright
, 2008 The Beautiful Game? The Ball Is Round Why is football is the world game? What kind of world does it show us? David Goldblatt surveys the ‘beautiful game’ and ‘goes in hard’ on the money men who increasingly dominate what […] David Goldblatt
, 2008

Opening The Archive Veiw primary source material from the archives. Dawn Dyer,
Jane Bradley
, 2008 The Kett Rebellion The Kett Rebellion was a sudden explosion of popular feeling against the enclosure policies of the Tudor government that swept through Norfolk in the summer of 1549. 20,000 people led by Robert Kett […] Peter Clark
, 2008 The Battle For Bristol Packers Field: A Victory? Castle Park: The Town Green. Stokes Croft & Old Market: Sanitising The Underground . Roger Ball,
Kevin Davis,
Mary Bannerman
, 2008 The Real England Economic globalisation, an increasingly intrusive State and the power of consumerism are conspiring to scour the colour, character, independence and eccentricity from all corners of the English […] Paul Kingsnorth
, 2008 Kings, Commoners & Corporations The Crown And The Commons: Holding Monarchy To Account In 18th Century England - Steve Poole Eighteenth century English men and women understood their allegiance to the Crown in contractual terms. […] Steve Poole,
Steve Mills,
Daniel Bennett
, 2008 The Virtual Commons Open Source Software: Interactive Workshop. And a shoeing of 'Revolution OS'
, 2008 Gentrification In New York Gentrification In New York.
DWTF programme - outside
DWTF programme – outside
DWTF programme - inside
DWTF programme – inside
DWTF poster
DWTF poster

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