Private and public aspects of Trespass : problems of theorising law
The need for the concrete analysis of Trespass is dictated by current struggles over the conditions of land possession in the conjuncture. Whilst only a Marxist approach is capable of accounting for the complexity of the totality of Trespass and related law, the principal general theories of law and the State are prevented from doing justice to this task by their common rationalist conception of the abstract/concrete relation and their consequent inability to satisfactorily ground concrete socio-legal analysis. The proper understanding of Marx's method of investigation in Capital, however, can provide the basis for such analysis, through the specification of a concrete-abstract- concrete methodological trajectory which respects the specificity of the particular object of study. The point of departure for the analysis of Trespass is its simplest and most irreducible expression in concrete social practice: The equal right to exclude the world from interference with the possession of land. The concrete particular is analyzed through scientific Abstraction, which further accompanies the movement from simple to ever more complex aspects of the object until the concrete totality of law securing relations of ownership, possession and separation is explained in its complex form and function. Finally the broadest Concrete Totality of Trespass and related law is revealed in the full context of its political and socio-economic determinations in the conjuncture: The fundamental pre-condition of the transformation of Trespass in the 1970's is the crisis of capital accumulation, as mediated through domestic and industrial crises and the phenomena of squatting and factory occupations which have threatened existing relations of possession and the institutions of exclusive property right. Law is ultimately revealed as a terrain of struggle that has enabled the greater possessors to resolve the legal and socio-economic crisis to their own advantage at the expense of lesser possessory interests.