Daybreak in dark times: the origins and vicissitudes of the village commune, the municipality, the nobility and the urban oligarchy in Catalonia - Miguel Amorós
A brief essay reviewing the social, economic, political and demographic changes that affected the urban centers of Catalonia during the period between the fall of the Roman Empire in the West and the consolidation of a united Spanish state in the 1400s, depicting the development and decay of feudalism from the perspective of the struggle of the common people for democratic rights of assembly and self-government against the engrossing tendencies of the competing feudal, royal and nascent bourgeois powers.
Six short texts from a book published in 2012 (Anti-developmentalist Perspectives) largely based on talks given in 2009-2010 on the topic of the need for a transition from the economically, environmentally and spiritually unviable city-centered system of globalized capitalism to a new territorial dispersal of human society and productive activities, attaining a higher synthesis of the restoration of the liberating aspects of the city (freedom, public space) and the traditional virtues of the “territory” (local production, self-sufficiency) that can only be brought about by an anti-capitalist revolution.
An explanation of the meaning of “territory”, illustrated in its historical, social, economic and political context from the times of Cleisthenes to today’s pathological “anti-cities” and mutilated rural areas, as the dynamic unity of humanity as transformative agent and nature as abstract totality, and its significance for the “anti-developmentalist critique” that seeks to reunify the these two aspects of the world in a two-pronged struggle to restore the emancipatory nature of the city (the agora, “city air makes one free”) and the salutary aspects of rural life (the commons, etc.), a struggle that goes by the name of “territorial defense”, the pivot of the modern social revolution.
Set in the time of tremendous religious and political upheaval caused by the Reformation in Europe, Q begins with Luther nailing his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg cathedral -- a historical flash point which would completely disrupt European society. The novel traces the adventures and conflicts of two central characters as they travel across Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. One is an Anabaptist, a member of the most radical Protestant sect. These are the anarchists of the Reformation who revolted against Catholicism and the emerging Reformation church. The other is a Catholic spy and informer.
The last essay completed by the veteran Vietnamese council communist, written in 2004 when he was 91 years old, is a brief introduction to the history of peasant revolts in China, with special emphasis on their Taoist origins and utopian and libertarian inspirations, and features many interesting quotations from historical and religious texts.