In March 2010 we published Herbert Reid & Betsy Taylor’s new book Recovering the Commons: Democracy, Place, and Global Justice, which culls key concepts from grassroots activism to hold critical social theory accountable to the needs, ideas, and organizational practices of the global justice movement. Activism around the coalfields of Appalachia is a key component of this study.
Malaprop’s Bookstore & Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina, will host an author event September 21 at 7:00 pm.
Huffington Post contributor (and previous University of Illinois Press author) Jeff Biggers interviewed Herbert Reid and Betsy Taylor about Recovering the Commons.
Q: In light of the floundering climate justice movement, how do you see public spaces playing a role today?
BT and HR:
Much of the book is about how justice movements are mobilizing to take back public spaces so that they can defend their commons. We’ve watched many marvelous events when ordinary grassroots people have risen up to insist that they have a right to the kind of public spaces where the scripts get written about how our societies do (or do not) get hinged into the great cycles of the ecological commons.
This kind of uprising has been happening in the Appalachian coalfields, as some courageous grassroots leader have spoken up against Mountaintop Removal (MTR) mining – which is a violent near annihilation of life commons in some of the most biodiverse forests in the world. The coal industry is so powerful that it controls most public spaces (local, regional and national). In areas where corporations own between 70-90% of the land, grassroots, anti-MTR organizations have even had trouble finding office space, and have been intimidated or assaulted in public forums. However, these tenacious networks are holding a mass demonstration in Washington DC, September 25-27 – “Appalachia Rising”– to literally take back the national public stage.