Assembly of the Commons

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Assemblies of the Commons are local or affinity-based association of citizens and commoners, bringing together all those who contribute and maintain common goods, material or immaterial. It is based on a social charter outlining the shared values and/or practices. An Assembly of the Commons can formulate policy proposals that enhance civic infrastructures for the commons, address and influence authorities or self-organize toward meaningful actions. These can range from town and village, to bioregional, national or continental levels, and are closely connected to the Chambers of the Commons.


Francophone site for updates: http://assemblee.encommuns.org/index.php?title=Accueil

Description

Michel Bauwens:

The Assembly of the Commons is a part of a double proposal by the P2P Foundation, to recreate civic power around the commons.

The Assembly of the Commons is a local or affinity-based association of citizens and commoners, bringing together all those who contribute and maintain common goods, material or immaterial. It is based on social charter outlining the shared values.

  • it is a forum to exchange experiences and aims to bring together commoners and bring commonality into diversity
  • it is an organisational entity that can organize events around Commons topics, such as a CommonsFest
  • it gives voice to the (re-emerging) field of the commons
  • through its social charter, it can support those social and political forces that bring forward an agenda for the commons ; it can promote and engage in public-commons partnerships
  • the commons reflects the social condition of networked workers that co-create common goods through their mutual engagement ; as such it has the potential to replace or augment 'labor' as the common glue for emancipatory forces in society
  • it aims to make common goods more inclusionary
  • the Assembly promotes the creation of an ethical economy that can create livelihoods around the commons and of partner state approaches that allow for the creation of civic and technical infrastructes that enable and empower social autonomy and the further creation of the common good and common goods in society at large
  • it is fraternally connected to the Chamber of the Commons, the sister assembly of ethical entities that create livelihoods for commoners and contributors to common goods
  • it can be connected to other Assemblies to operate at a larger scale and form regional, national, transnational federations of such assemblies
  • the Assembly is not linked to any particular political grouping but supports, pluralistically, all forces that favour the further strengthening of the commons
  • the Assembly us run democratically


Visualization

The place of this proposal in the context of our transformative strategy, via this overview side:

http://p2pfoundation.net/images/thumb/Diagram.png/180px-Diagram.png

Status

Towards the emergence of an “Assembly of the Commons” in Toulouse

Translated from the French from Bernard Brunet:

"Four work-streams will be put in place to implement this Assembly:

1/ Identify the commons existing at the local level, and which parties would be interested in gathering as an assembly (to be defined: what kind of resources, which organization to put in place for contributors and users, which rules do we need for common governance?)

2/ Draft a "Social Charter" that will define the basic objectives of the Assembly (ethics, shared values, inclusion in the local "ecosystem"). It will also tackle the issue of resources (as well as their users), the operating rules (rights and duties of the involved parties, the forms of governance and methods to manage resources, the methods of account used for measuring exchanges, as well as the criteria and evaluation process).

3/ Experiment and experience “commons-parties" (a CC BY-SA idea from Lilian Ricaud), which will propose practical initiation sessions to access commons resources (e.g. ethical banking, renewable energy, public domain works, the French version of Community Land Trusts, cooperative housing, free software, issues around Internet Citizenship, etc.).

4/ Consider the creation of a system of economic exchanges between peers (including: social currency, P2P currency, clearing house) that would allow reciprocal exchanges, but which would also allow to experiment ways to (partially) reward contributors to the commons through the participation of commercial enterprises who would benefit from this system.

The development of each of those 4 lines of enquiry will be driven by a self-organised working group, based on the model successfully experimented during the organisation of “Temps des Communs” (the Time of the Commons) in Toulouse.

A collaborative method, and tools shared between contributors, will allow the community to follow the progress of the working groups as well as to have a global overview of the project.

A call to register and join those working groups will soon be sent to the “[email protected]” mailing list.

We will suggest using a collaborative online project management tool, and in parallel to organise monthly phone meetings as well as quarterly “face-to-face” meetings."


Towards the emergence of an “Assembly of the Commons” in Gent, Belgium

[UPDATE 17 January 2016: A few days ago we launched our group blog "New Commons": http://new-commons.blogspot.be/ Our blog combines posts on general information about commons with news and reports about specific examples of commons, mostly in Belgium.]


The goal of our assembly is to unite, support and represent the commons in Gent and later beyond.

Unite: Many commons have spontaneously emerged independently. They often do not know each other, let alone realize their shared values.

=> We unite commons initiators around a set of shared values, which we help to articulate.


Support: Governance is the most important challenge for the survival of the commons.

=> We create and share practical tools and information for easier commons creation and governance, ranging from administrative plugins for carsharing platforms to legal advice.


Represent: Much regulation was created in a time when commons were marginal. Commons typically operate in legal grey zones or even illegality.

=> We inform and advize regulators on proposals to foster the commons.


There is currently a core team of six, mostly commons initiators with regular press exposure. We have applied for government funding expected to be granted early 2016 and will establish ourselves as a non-profit organization ("Vereniging Zonder Winstbejag" - VZW). Initially our main activity will consist in organizing monthly meet-ups for commons initiators to network and share information. Structure and rules will evolve as we go along.


Melbourne Assembly of the Commons

Jose Ramos:

"Darren Sharp, David Week and I (Jose Ramos) will be hosting a design conversation on August 30th about developing a Melbourne Assembly of the Commons [1]

Examples

  • Brest, France [2]


Assemblies of the Commons in France

Overview by Maia Dereva:

"In France, the theme of "commons" as a possible structuration for society re-emerged gradually since the late 90s and French books are published since the 2000s.

This question has been confined to the field of digital for a long time to expand more and more in recent years and to affect areas such as community gardens or food cooperatives.

Events clearly identified as related to commons began to be organized in 2009 ( "Brest in commons") and are scattered over thirty territories in 2013.

The same year, Michel Bauwens proposed the concept of “chamber of common”, quickly supplemented by the “assembly of commons”, in an appeal: 'Proposed Next Steps for the Emerging P2P networks and Commons.

It took two years for the idea to mature and to be prefigured in the national self-managed festival "Commons’ time" in October, 2015.

After this festival, several assemblies of commons begun to emerge explicitly in Lille, Toulouse, Brest and several other big cities in France.

They have a French wiki to document and exchange practices, and a website to communicate to the outside. One of the most active assembly is located in Lille (North of France) where meetings are held once a month. There, news from different commons of the territory are shared, but also skills, ideas and knowledge in the form of self-managed workshops organized by those who are present.

Despite the involvement of several people (also in Lille), the chamber of commons is still a concept because it seems easier to federate individuals than established structures which are often dependent on local political and civic institutions. There is nevertheless a website that offers explanations to better publicize this proposal. This is a very beginning…" (email, April 2016)

More Information

At the global level:


In French