Enclosures, New and Old

GODS & RADICALS

The armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on the already occupied land of the Paiute nation  by a white, Christian “militia” has tangled roots in capitalism’s violent origins.

The Bundy “militia” are part of a movement with strong ties to white supremacists  that has long used violence and threats of violence try to force public lands open for private profit.    For over forty years,  a loose confederation of right wing groups in the western U.S. have been using death threats and displays of armed force to pressure federal regulators to allow more mining, logging, and grazing on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands.

As at least one other commentator has noted, their actions, in many ways are an act of enclosure — the expropriation and privatization of public lands.   As such, they hearken back to the beginnings of capitalism, when European…

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