Boundary Commoning

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Benjamin J. Birkinbine:

"The coupling of commons circuits of value with capital accumulation circuits, whether willingly or out of necessity, still does not overcome many of the contradictions of the commons. De Angelis’s formulation, then, seems to leave us with a picture of a “long social revolution”, which would proceed primarily through the autonomous development of an emergent alternative value system from within capitalism. Such a value system would privilege commons value rather than capital accumulation. But there is another element in De Angelis’s work that he draws from systems theory and cellular biology, which seems to contain the possibility of linking diverse commons movements. That is the concept of “boundary commoning”, which is defined as the commoning that exists at the boundaries of the commons systems and that creates social forms of any scale, opens up the boundaries, establishes connections, and sustains commons ecologies, or that could reshape existing institutions from the ground up through commonalisation and create new ones. (De Angelis 2017, 24) Boundary commoning has the potential to provide an organisational model for how diverse and distributed commons-based movements can work together toward a common goal. Through the multiplication of commoning activity and the interweaving of commons-based communities through boundary commoning, a commons movement could potentially lead to a tipping point at which social transformation is possible. In addition, De Angelis claims that commons movements could link with social movements to form a hybrid movement with the combined power to bring about social revolution. As he explains, these “are not movements of fragmented subjectivities sharing a particular passion, but movements of connected subjectivities whose connection is further increased by their social movement” (Ibid., 387)."