Person of the Day: Ugo Mattei on the privatization of common goods and spaces in the European Union

Michel asked me to search in the Italian part of the Internet interesting quotes from, or comments about, Ugo Mattei and his work and thoughts about the Commons.

I’m surely not expert enough to answer such a request in the best way. This said, what I found more interesting among Mattei’s recent writings or interviews available online in Italian, is what he wrote about corporate personhood in Europa, occupiamo lo spazio comune (Europe, let’s occupy the common spaces). Here are some quotes from that piece that summarize (I hope!) his point of view:

The political outcomes of the process of European integration have been characterized by the gradual transfer of power in places farther away from the people, leading to dispossession of participatory democracy. It’s not too early to say that Europe has given and keeps giving a very strong ideological and political contribution to the transformation of citizens into consumers which results in passivity, consumerism, isolation and participation in the dominant rhetoric.

[at the same time], Europe has structured itself as an order based on the protection of private property as a fundamental right to the unlimited accumulation of finite resources, both for individuals and (which is much more serious) for legal persons. This choice unavoidably brings and implements a process, that may already be irreversible, of privatization of common goods and spaces.

Such a structure overwhelms the core of public sovereignty and political representation (which has been itself privatized) and subjects them to the ever more immense power of the corporation (legal person) who, being immortal, can exercise its right to accumulation infinitely, growing without any limit (when it wins the increasingly violent struggle against other corporations) in wealth and power.

Without breaking this legal and constitutional mechanism of privatization of sovereignty, it does not make sense to even speak of which route Europe should follow.

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