Kristin Ross on the political ecology of ZADs and free communes

Here is the video of a recent talk by Kristin Ross at an event organized by the Critical Theory Workshop in the University of Pennsylvania. Ross focuses on the experience of the ZAD (Zone à défendre, Zone to be defended) in Notre-Dame-des-Landes—a self-managed camp against the development of a new airport near Nantes—and explores the connections with other liberated sites dating back to the 1871 Paris Commune, emphasizing their political ecological implications.

There is plenty of material about the ZAD-NDDL and similar initiatives on the website of the Mauvasie Troupe Collective, which also published a book on this experience and struggles against the high-speed railway between Turin and Lyon with a preface by Ross last year: The Zad and NoTAV: Territorial Struggles and the Making of a New Political Intelligence (Verso, 2018). You can also see the documentary ‘Notre Dame des Luttes’ (Jean-François Castell, 2012) here with lots of interviews and footage of earlier attempts to evict the entire community. The camp was razed in 2018 after the cancellation of the airport project, but the movement is still active and new autonomous projects for the site are currently in progress.

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