The SF Tenants Union and the San Francisco Community Land Trust Present:

May 02, 2018
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
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The Green Arcade
1680 Market Street @Gough
San Francisco, CA 94102
Venue website

Provoked by mass evictions and the onset of gentrification in the 1970s, tenants in Washington, D.C., began forming cooperative organizations to collectively purchase and manage their apartment buildings. These tenants were creating a commons, taking a resource—housing—that had been used to extract profit from them and reshaping it as a resource that was collectively owned by them.

In Carving Out the Commons, Amanda Huron theorizes the practice of urban “commoning” through a close investigation of the city’s limited-equity housing cooperatives. Drawing on feminist and anticapitalist perspectives, Huron asks whether a commons can work in a city where land and other resources are scarce and how strangers who may not share a past or future come together to create and maintain commonly held spaces in the midst of capitalism. Arguing against the romanticization of the commons, she instead positions the urban commons as a pragmatic practice. Through the practice of commoning, she contends, we can learn to build communities to challenge capitalism’s totalizing claims over life. 

“Through interviews and historical research, Amanda Huron gives us an in-depth description of the formation of a housing cooperative in Washington, D.C. in the ’70s and develops a theoretical structure enabling us to generalize this experience to other cities.” --Silvia Federici, author of Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation

“Amanda Huron illuminates new ways of thinking what social justice in the City can look like. Her writing is rigorous yet upholds the dignity of the people she studies and their attempts to stake out a right to their city. Carving Out the Commons will be a go-to both for academics and organizers in the coming years.” --James Tracy, author of Dispatches Against Displacement: Field Notes from San Francisco's Housing Wars