Catalonia Integral Cooperative Commons Transition Proposals

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The CIC's non statist Commons Transition Plan is currently being developed and adapted by a working commission of CIC and P2P Foundation peers. To get a glimpse of the direction the project will take, read the extracts from our interview with Enric Duran on Commons Transition.

Enric Duran on Commons Transition and the CIC

The CIC as a non-statist transition movement

You are one of the co-founders of the CIC, the Catalan Integral Cooperative. Can you tell us a little bit about the CIC, and in what ways it already embodies Commons Transitions, and how it will continue to do so in the future?

Yes, the Catalan Integral Cooperative is a transition movement to build an autonomous system of organizing our lives, outside of the government and capitalism, and in that sense it is building not only alternative economics but also alternative politics and alternative public spaces. It’s already working on building commons as a central priority of different actions, yet it’s not so connected to other global commons that are being created. So, one step for the future is to connect this local and regional work to the global, world-related commons.

Why do you think it’s important to carry out this work outside of government?

Well, there are a lot of things that are important. It’s important to put together people with knowledge, people who are skilled, to do what needs to be done. Also, economic resources are needed in order to share these things for the commons, and not for private profit. It needs to be done in a sustainable way, so that it won’t be broken after beginning a broad process. We need to have sustainable ways of funding and making it all possible.

The CIC and Commons Transition

Let’s talk about the CIC and FairCoop as related but different things. How did they each relate to Commons Transition and what are the differences between the CIC, FairCoop, and Commons Transition?

Well, regarding the CIC, I think that the first four years have been very focused on the local and regional levels and not so much on the global. That’s okay for the physical network of people and connections that we have in Catalonia, but at another level it’s not so okay – at the level of sharing technological tools and knowledge tools with people that are on the same path around the world. So, one of the things I see as important for the CIC is to take in the vision and the knowledge of other people working on the same things, and also to share better, or in easier ways, ideas about things that could work from the CIC to others – to share both ways.

Back to the CIC and its adoption of the Commons Transition Plan, what led the CIC to incorporate the plan and in what way it is being modified?

We’ve seen the Commons Transition Plan work done in Ecuador with the role of the partner state. Because we’re not thinking of this kind of relationship with government, one of the main changes was to eliminate this partner state and to see this as a creation of autonomous institutions that can work at the local and regional level as well as in relation to other regional or global institutions around the world that can help. So we are thinking here, perhaps part of the process of the CIC could be…to be not only physical assemblies based on physical consensus, but also to have some of the tools more distributed in a way that could be more easily extended to people that are not organized politically, but people that want to change their way of living but for different motives; maybe they are not so political, or, so involved in being in assemblies. That is one of the problems we have with the CIC, there is a big difference today between the people who go to assemblies and people that only use the services.

Why was the Commons Transition Plan chosen?

I think the values in this plan are very close to the values of the CIC. We also saw that the main ideas are related to the self-management and self-organization that the CIC supports. For this reason, the work is very connected; we can benefit from it and adapt and enrich it with our work. It was also a good excuse to make this connection with the P2P Foundation and to see how from a grassroots level, from the bottom up we can make this kind of process possible.

What are the next steps both for the CIC’s adoption of the Commons Transition Plan, and the ongoing relationship with the P2P Foundation?

I think that the short term steps are to decide on how to work the collaboration, what are we going to do when we are working together on the Catalan situation. Next steps will be organizing this work: how we are going to research, how to start having discussions and reaching conclusions at some point about the roadmap we can create for this Commons Transition Plan.

On the Partner State

What do you think of the concept of the partner state, do you think it’s possible that with new initiatives like Podemos or Syriza, something like this may happen? Or do you think it will be a totally grassroots, bottom-up process through initiatives like the CIC…or, maybe a combination halfway point between both?

I don’t see the states becoming partners at the levels of innovation because they are working for the majorities, they are working for success. Sometimes they are populist, and what is populist is not so innovative, because people don’t understand it. So, at this level, these innovations are going to be autonomous; sometimes we are working in a commons-based way and at other times, in private enterprise, in order to be innovative. But after this, it depends if we are going to expand, if we’re going to achieve more mass at some point – if we can have more relationships, but I think this is still very far off. So I don’t see…perhaps at the level of research in universities things are working, but that doesn’t really have any direct relation with the government, it’s related to public funds but not really with how the government is. And to have more direct relationships and to think about public in the hands of the government, political relations to the commons, perhaps we will need bigger success stories at the global level with the commons, no? Perhaps before, we will need some kind of Facebook or Twitter or more kinds of Wikipedias – although Wikipedia is a commons – in different sectors, not only knowledge but also economics, that are successful and create change.