This book begins and ends with scenes of violent execution: it opens with the
beheading of King Charles I in Whitehall in 1649 and closes at the moment
when twenty-six protestors and bystanders were gunned down by police in
the streets of New York City at the Astor Place Riot in 1849. What do these
I n t r o d u c t I o n
The Performative
a n d t h e
Aesthetic Atlantic
We live in a world in which
the traces of the colonial modern
are not just haunting shadows
but are part of the everyday
technologies of rule.
—Anthony Bogues,
Empire of Liberty
The production of commons
requires first a profound trans-
formation in our everyday life, in
order to recombine what the social
division of labor in capitalism
has separated. . . . No common is
possible unless we refuse to base
our life and our reproduction on
the suffering of others, unless
we refuse to see ourselves as
separate from them.
—Silvia Federici, “Feminism and
the Politics of the Commons”
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