As a district behind the train station in Vilnius Lithuania enters first stages of a developer directed municipality-backed gentrification plan, a movement space (Luna6) in the district is confronted by a number of urgent questions: How to make resistance to gentrification more than just localized disruptions of systematically coordinated investor-municipality planned development strategies? And how, in turn, to move from defensive tactics of resistance – wherein protests emerge in the latest stages of capitalist urbanization – to transformative, strategic, revolts that not only combat symptoms but attack root causes and propose alternative models for urban life?
One proposal for an alternative to capital-led urban development has been the urban commons: an equitable vision of urban space wherein inhabitants communally control the multi-faceted conditions that make up their daily reproduction. From housing to kitchens, from health-care to gardens, and on to solidarity economies, the urban commons is not only a tactic for disrupting the omnipresent structures of capitalist political-economy, but a possibly transformative strategy for the reimagining of social life. Embraced conceptually and identified in practices around the world, commoning and the commons holds a certain appeal for urban movements in post-socialist regions where simple oppositions between good public property and bad private property have been complicated by the experience of ‘Communist’ party- state controlled “publics” and rapid neoliberalization.
And so, through a series of collective readings, actions, workshops and discussions the Naujininkai Commons Collective hopes to not only participate in district level commoning, but to also join a trans-local conversation where experiences may be critically compared and broader movement strategies propagated as a common, international, horizon.