Meaning of Magna Carta, Commons and Law in Our Time

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  • Lecture: Who May Use the King’s Forest? The Meaning of Magna Carta, Commons and Law in Our Time. By David Bollier.


This year leaders of government, business and the bar are celebrating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the landmark affirmation of individual rights and law as a check on the power of the king. But when the sovereigns of our time – the nation-state and transnational corporations – so eagerly praise the Great Charter and the rule of law, what exactly are they celebrating? In a public talk on September 8 at 7 pm, commons scholar and activist David Bollier explores the significance of Magna Carta today as a legal guarantee that people shall have access to resources fundamental to human life. Now that the “King’s forests” are controlled by the market/state and neoliberal economic policies, often excluding commoners from their own resources, it is fair to ask whether Magna Carta’s great principles are truly being fulfilled today, and how. Bollier describes the rise of an international movement of commoners attempting to enact Magna Carta’s vision by reinventing Law for the Commons in our time.

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