Crises in the Food Commons

POSTED ON February 5, 2013 BY admin



A conversation with best-selling writer, and valued comrade, Raj Patel.

CLP is thrilled that Raj has managed to find some time to spend with us on 16th March while he is in South Africa for the “Time of the Writer Festival”. With the working title “Crises in the Food Commons”, Raj will link up his interest in the ongoing uproar about food prices and global food rebellions with forthcoming work about the Black Panthers movement and food sovereignty – and possibly test “some new ideas around education for commoning” he says. Over the years, Raj has been an indispensable resource for us, and many others, thinking politically about a range of issues around land, food, markets, politics and the emancipatory trajectories in the movements and militants that shape and resist them.

Raj Patel is a writer, academic and activist. He has degrees from Oxford University, the London School of Economics and Cornell University, and is both a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley’s Center for African Studies, and is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in Durban, South Africa. He is the author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, and the New York Times and international bestseller, The Value of Nothing. He has also published widely in the academic press, with articles in peer-reviewed philosophy, politics, sociology and economics journals.

Raj will be talking about his most recent book The Value of Nothing during the Time of the Writer Festival. Well-known activist and writer, Naomi Klein, says of the book:

“With great lucidity and confidence in a dazzling array of fields, Patel reveals how we inflate the cost of things we can (and often should) live without, while assigning absolutely no value to the resources we all need to survive. This is a deeply thought-provoking book about the dramatic changes we must make to save the planet from financial madness – argued with so much humor and humanity that the enormous tasks ahead feel both doable and desirable. This is Raj Patel’s great gift: he makes even the most radical ideas seem not only reasonable, but inevitable. A brilliant book.”
Diarise this unique opportunity now, and join us at CLP on March 16th, from 3 for 3:30pm. Please RSVP: by email to: ; or by phone with Cindy at CLP ( 033 2644 380).Note that there may also be other public events talking about the book itself in ‘Maritzburg earlier on the 16th – we’ll let you know when we have any details.For more on, about, and by Raj, check out his great website and blogging at’s most recent article that concerned our Southern African region was penned during September last year when ‘food riots’ engulfed Maputo and other Mozambican cities. In the article (see attached), Patel argued that “[t]he violence in Maputo is just the latest manifestation of the crippling shortcomings of the global economy”, and concludes “[t]he action on the streets isn’t simply a protest about food, but a wider act of rebellion”.

Read the Attachment – Patel Mozambique’s food riots