Accumulation by Dispossession is the phrase David Harvey uses to discuss contemporary, so-called Primitive Accumulation: the commodification and privatization of goods, for the benefit of the bourgeoisie, and to the detriment and subjugation of all other classes. Primitive Accumulation, in turn, is the term Karl Marx used to describe the process of ‘enclosing the commons,’ forcing workers off of their relationship to the land and into the ranks of waged labor, the necessary factor of production that capitalists remain in need of, after they have accumulated and come into control of their machines of production. Here’s a link to a nice video by David Harvey discussing Primitive Accumulation, and here’s one discussing Accumulation by Dispossession.
I introduce these terms in order to contextualize the two videos below. Both are examples of Primitive Accumulation, perhaps obviously so. One takes place in the highlands, and the other takes place in a formerly middle-class neighborhood in the capital city. Both involve violence – both police and vigilante – and the law. Primitive Accumulation and Accumulation by Dispossession are taking place simultaneously in Cambodia; it occurs to me now, that this might need to be paid closer attention to.
Both videos below are from the Asia Media Lab.