Reading and discussion centering around George and Silvia's essay "Commons Against and Beyond Capitalism," Wed at 5 (online). After the reading, Vaida and Cindy will present two regional case studies, evaluated along the lines of Silvia and George's critique of the recuperation of commoning. Cindy will present on so called anti-gentrification work in Riga organised by a group calling themselves "Free Riga" https://freeriga.lv/ Looking closer at the initiative, we saw how they collaborate with real-estate developers and work together with a gentrification supporting initiative URBACT Knowledge Hub in the program "(Re)making the City".
Vaida will offer a short introduction about the new cultural complex Sodas2123 in Vilnius which has been established recently by the Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Artists' Association and is hosting artist studios, galleries, a communal cafe, etc. It is one of several recent cultural venues established under a municipal scheme for cultural operators to take up unused municipal buildings – until their leases run out.
note: The discussion afterwards engaged with the question of what the differences are between these two approaches for the commoning of unused/underused urban space. Whereas the Riga case provides short term agency to communities while critically lacking the regulations that would ensure the protection of the commons created, the Vilnius case was seemingly more sustainable. Regardless, there is an obvious risk that the city could seize the property from these cultural communities after the lease agreement ends, transferring them to private hands for commercial development. Anti-capitalist commoning, we concluded, cannot only be about temporary, localized, commoning practices but longer term visions and strategic horizons.