This pamphlet was created as a project for a graduate class called Introduction to Marxian Economics taught by Harry Cleaver at the University of Texas at Austin. It is also written for an audience of family, friends, and associates. It may be of greater interest to people who already know something of my perspectives and it is not necessarily for a wider audience, but it can be.
I should say that while I have come to borrow certain concepts from
Marx, that I am not a Marxist. As more of an anti-authoritarian or anarchist
I have traditionally veered away from Marx's work. In fact, until recently
I had on blinders and believed that Marx was of little value. However,
much of critical social theory that I've been exposed to while a graduate
student in communication originates with Marx. It is a mistake to ignore
his ideas or to think that because of the fall of the Soviet Union and
collapse of communism that automatically Marx should be shoved into the
dustbin of history.
The primary ideas from Marx that are expanded upon and used as a basis for explaining more contemporary phenomena are his notions on enclosures expressed in the section of the first volume of Capital called "So-Called Primitive Accumulation." This section is useful because of its examination of the origins of capitalism. But as capitalism is a constant process of conquest and control, the notion of the enclosure of the commons has equal applicability today as we see commonly used cyberspace being taken over and commodified.
The title of this piece "Enclosures Old and New" refers to this historical continuum of commonly held social space being run over and destroyed by capital. This social space can be real land or virtual cyberspace, but it is all social territory or terrain. Because capitalism is not a total system, there is still social terrain that has not been assimilated. This common space has never been completely wiped out and exists to varying degrees depending on the levels of domination and resistance. Sometimes their are cracks and fissures on capital's surface through which ruptures can explode. Other times capital casts a seamless web.