That Might Be Right

Theft is Property! —READING GROUP

Resuming its activities in 2024, That Might Be Right continues its trajectory of supporting alternatives to the present. Let’s get together to read, talk, and think about the challenges of this current moment in history, and let’s collectively try to look for strategies and practices to meet them.

Over the course of six meetings, we will read Robert Nichols’ book Theft is Property! Dispossession and Critical Theory. Taking its cues from anti-colonial struggle, Nichols examines the notion of dispossession as a historical and present-day mode of governance that ties together issues of law, property, race, and rights. Dispossession, for Nichols, designates “a unique recursive process whereby systematic theft is the mechanism by which property relations are generated.” In this book, debates about property in anarchist, black radical, feminist, Marxist, and postcolonial theory are joined by voices from various Indigenous thinkers and activists engaged in the fight against settler colonialism. As such, this reading group follows up on earlier such groups organized by That Might Be Right, particularly those focused on Brenna Bhandar’s Colonial Lives of Property and Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s Abolition Geography.

These collective reading sessions are not meant for specialists or insiders: everyone brings the knowledge and experience that they have to the table so that we may work toward a shared understanding of the issues at hand—which does not have to imply consensus. For sessions II-VI, the reading group will be joined by invitees who will respond to the text from the perspective of their own thinking or work. These invitees, too, are not experts, but rather share their reading of the text with the group. Theft is Property! is written in English, and English will be the main language of conversation, though contributions in other languages are possible and appreciated. It is advised to read the assigned chapter for each session beforehand, so that we can focus on jointly discussing and re-reading the text.

Through our readings That Might Be Right will build up a public library around what is called primary accumulation — the historical and continuous expropriation of people from common land, resources and relations (See — Reconstituting Geographies)

Concept: That Might Be Right
Initiative: Steyn Bergs, Rob Ritzen

Hosted by: Celador

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