Stop, Thief!


“I’ve been robbed! I’ve been robbed by the capitalist system!”

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The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance

By Peter Linebaugh
Spectre and PM Press

In this majestic tour de force, celebrated historian Peter Linebaugh takes aim at the thieves of land, the polluters of the seas, the ravagers of the forests, the despoilers of rivers, and the removers of mountaintops. Scarcely a society has existed on the face of the earth that has not had commoning at its heart. “Neither the state nor the market,” say the planetary commoners. These essays kindle the embers of memory to ignite our future commons.

From Thomas Paine to the Luddites, from Karl Marx—who concluded his great study of capitalism with the enclosure of commons—to the practical dreamer William Morris—who made communism into a verb and advocated communizing industry and agriculture—to the 20th-century communist historian E.P. Thompson, Linebaugh brings to life the vital commonist tradition. He traces the red thread from the great revolt of commoners in 1381 to the enclosures of Ireland, and the American commons, where European immigrants who had been expelled from their commons met the immense commons of the native peoples and the underground African-American urban commons. Illuminating these struggles in this indispensable collection, Linebaugh reignites the ancient Wobbly soap-box cry, “STOP, THIEF!”

“There is not a more important historian living today. Period.”—Robin D.G. Kelley, author of Hammer and Hoe

“E.P. Thompson, you may rest now. Linebaugh restores the dignity of the despised luddites with a poetic grace worthy of the master… [A] commonist manifesto for the 21st century.”—Mike Davis, co-author of No One Is Illegal

“Through his books, Peter Linebaugh has transformed our understanding of the commons, the Atlantic proletariat, and eighteenth-century thanatocracy. Stop, Thief! is the first collection of his essays to be published, and it is a great addition to our conceptual tool chest. It allows us to see Linebaugh’s revolutionary historical method in action in shorter pieces, but with more concentrated application. The essays range spatially from London to the Adirondacks, temporally from medieval times to the present, and thematically from machine-breaking to indigenous American struggles for land. The are worlds here, but there is also Linebaugh’s poetry and passion for those he writes about, as he shares their desire for the commons and hatred for oppression, in a living example of participatory history at its best.”—Silvia Federici, author of Re-enchanting the World: Feminism and the Politics of the Commons

Additional information

Weight 11.9 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 0.75 in



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