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Commoning Property in the City: Building Power in Point St. Charles


Commoning Property in the City: Building Power in Point St. Charles

Kruzynski, Anna (2018) Commoning Property in the City: Building Power in Point St. Charles. In: The Great Transition, Montreal. (Unpublished)

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Gentrification is today recognized as a global force affecting urban communities across the world. As neoliberal and urban revitalization policies and practices contribute to increased capital flows, less privileged populations are displaced. At the heart this phenomenon is struggle around property. The analysis herein, following J.K. Gibson-Graham, will demonstrate how a non-capitalocentric framing of property can help open up the horizon of post-capitalist possibilities for fundamental social change. It will do so by bringing to light the existence of a diversity of commons-communities in Point St. Charles who are engaged in the practice of commoning of different types of property.

Point St. Charles, a post-industrial, traditionally working-class neighbourhood of Montreal, renowned as a bastion of strength, solidarity and resistance, has managed to slow down the forces of gentrification in ways that adjacent neighbourhoods have not. Well-known, for example, is the successful campaign run by grassroots community organisations in 2006 to stop the plans of a capitalist developer to move the Montreal Casino to Point St. Charles, along with a large-scale international conference center.

This presentation proposes to explain this David-and-Goliath phenomenon as resulting, at least in part, from the direct actions of contemporary commons-communities embedded in historical commons. Using three examples of contemporary commons – Le Jardin de la liberté (garden of liberty), a community mural and Building 7 - it’ll be shown how the associated commons-communities are constantly articulating assemblages, or, in other words, bringing into their midst humans and non-human elements that render them more durable, thereby generating power that is sustained over time. Will also be discussed the similarities, differences and complexities of commoning different types of property; in this case a city-owned plot of land, a stock-corporation-owned viaduct and a privately-owned industrial building who’s ownership was transferred to a non-profit organisation after many years of struggle by grassroots organisations.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > School of Community and Public Affairs
Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Authors:Kruzynski, Anna
Date:19 May 2018
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
ID Code:984660
Deposited By: Anna Kruzynski
Deposited On:07 Nov 2018 16:36
Last Modified:07 Nov 2018 16:36
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