Dossier: Patterns of Commoning

Dossier: Patterns of Commoning

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After The Wealth of the Commons the second volume of a planned series of three books is out now. In Patterns of Commoning a special series of essays explores the inner dynamics of commoning - its ethics, social practices and worldview. Here you can find a selection of nine texts across chapters to stimulate your appetite for more.

The book

Cover: Patterns of Commoning

More than sixty frontline activists, academics and project leaders from twenty countries explain how commoning is empowering people to challenge the deep pathologies of contemporary capitalism and invent powerful, participatory alternatives. A special series of essays explores the inner dynamics of commoning - its ethics, social practices and worldview - to explain why the building of new worlds starts from within.

From the Book

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Nichlagarh, an adivasi village in the forest region of Southern Rajasthan, is caught between the bureaucratic regime of the Forestry Department (FD) of India and progressive legislation that claims to restore the traditional rights of commoners.

Informal settlement in Durban, South Africa
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In 2005 Black shack revolted because they felt betrayed by the government. After that they started to organize their protest. Their demand for recognition goes beyond the liberal tradition of “inclusion” in a political or legal system.

Boats in Dakar, Senegal
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Making commons come alive again in everyday life seems like a revolution that can be interpreted through two lenses. Is it a rediscovery of precapitalist and prestate organizational principles or is it a break with the current political order?

Commons

An epoch in modern history has ended. The growth imperative of market capitalism is evidently endangering the ecosystem. Confidence in governments as reliable steward of people's interests has been shaken. Therefore, a new path forward is coming into focus: The commons! The commons is about reclaiming, sharing and self-governing resources that belong to everyone. As a form of governance it is defending traditional or building new social and institutional systems for managing our resources – water and land, knowledge and seeds, genes and the atmosphere – based on the principles of equity and sustainability. The commons is a practical means for re-inventing society in ways that markets and governments are unable or unwilling to entertain. Commons does not mean resources alone are centre stage, of higher importance are the relationships among us, the commoners, our ways of commoning!

Market in Venezuela
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Cecosesola is a network of about sixty cooperatives and grassroots organizations in Venezuela, with about 20,000 members. The cooperatives sell at weekly markets and provide community-backed loans, among many other services.

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Andrea J. Nightingale points out that emotional attach­ments to land, seascape and community can help subjectivities to foster successful commoning.

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Up to 4.000 potato varieties are growing in Peru in a high-altitude Sacred Valley of the Incas. Six Quechua communities have been able to maintain the integrity of their biocultural traditions and fragile ecosystem.

Historical Archive of the City of Cologne
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Civilization can't affort to lose archives and libraries. Free, unrestricted digital access is the key, and the creativity and action of citizens is what turns it in the lock. From the book "Patterns of Commoning"

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In 2011, a community of farmers, designers, developers, engineers, architects, roboticists and open source thinkers came together in Boston, Massachusetts, to explore a simple yet radical idea – that great improvements in agriculture could be achieved by reducing barriers to knowledge exchange.

The Bangla-Pesa a commons-based currency
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What if a poorer community created its own currency to foster social exchange? We interviewed Ruddick, the founder of the Bangla-Pesa to learn more about his remarkable experiment in community-based money.