Collaborative Meeting Notes on Europe Commons Deep Dive Workshop

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Notes by David Bollier et al.

Original at




Morning session

Stefano Rototà: The commons means for me: ... inside the modern world and opposed to the narrative of the taxonomy of the economy is a narrative of fundamental rights - and commons means for me that there are some goods which are so fundamentally related to those rights, that they must be commons goods

David: Commons present a different way of seeing and acting different form what i call market-state

Difference between resource and Commons

governance in liberal state versus commoning ontology, epistemology, world view legal, economic, context Idea of the Commons in the Western Law individual, private property, rights versus collective rights


Silke: The question is: What do we need for production? Resources (rival and not rival) Labor Infrastucture Money or means of exchange Spirituality/Attitude

Normatives: - natural/limited resources require limited access/fair share - digital resources require open access - respect of human rights

Access issue (to code, information, knowledge): Commons-based peer production (ref: Benkler) --How to marry both notions? is the challenge

different from limited natural resources better understood in subsistence economy - femminist approach

How to convert commons-based production to commons-creating production?

How to answer the question with 3 guidelines:

Human rights Limit to resources/fair share Open access to nonrivalrous resources

Can we combine/blend these three points of access to commons? Different commons worlds do not necessarily appreciate the dynamics of others, e.g., digital commoners not understanding ecological limits or problems of capitalist production.

new post-capitalistic potentials emerging from digital and intangible production

Encourage those from ecologically-aware stance of the potential of peer-production Encourage peer-production projects of the need to work within ecological limits Example of


Importance of local design & action is critical to approaching the commons (Hess). Perhaps larger abstractions do not work, therefore.

How/why to generate new directions within/related to the market oriented civilisation. Instead of a new framing, shouldn't we focus on new sets of institutional practices as a way to move forward? Adress design problems in an open-source way rather than propose a new theoretical construct. (Davey)

Importance in focusing on how commons are relevant now in Europe. Focus on public goods being privatised. Why/How commons are now relevant in Europe?.

Another wish in the list: urban context of the Commons. Focus has been often on rural commons, and much work needs to be done. What institutional/fields of practices can be introduced that encourage commoning in urban life?

Impossible to have a general theory; you must focus on particlar countries and cultures -- specific context. But there is a common legal framework in EU, in terms of property. Any work that than create new forms of property can be applied across many countries.

Silke: My approach is that commons is a different mode of production. We should first discuss the ontological issues. What are the patterns of commoning? We must start with the patterns -- and build the institutions and legal forms on top of them (each differing in local context).

Problems into focusing in the commons as a new model of production. From the Marxist approach everything is produced collectivelly. How do we collectively decide how to allocate the surplus of our production?

Importance of the social interaction, focus the question around separated entities that Capitalism allocates to produce. Difference the "private mode" (separated from ecah other) with what happens before production: "what do we need" is the core question of the commons. Commoning as a mode of production vs. markets, which externalize needs. commons calculate internalizing the "externalities" and need to decide the priorities. Private production can mean "collective," but it is separated from others and mediated by the market.

Enrice: Which instruments can be identified in the discussion, and these could be mapped out, to give resource, set of tools, facilitate comparitative approach. A map/matrix of examples would be useful, as a legal instrument, a pressure group, a panel at the conference, an educational resource, a political platform, a software tool... What can be needed to go further? Example of solidarity-concept mapping (Ethan Miller):

It is hard to start from systemic questions like the new mode of production. It is complicated to conflate three streams: defending traditional commons, emergine commongs/new frontiers of innovations, and social energies that were once focused on socialism are now shifting to commons.

Saki: Issue of the global and the local. Ideological problems as well, are the kind of questions we're stuggling. Common challenges certain common "enemies" regardless of where you are in the world. Commonalities in global transformations, like the threat of neoliberal policies. Expansion of the economy in every aspect of life. Outside interventions of global nature WILL enter into all local contexts. So our discussion need to take account of that.

Saki: So what is neoliberalism? Legal, economic, social. We need to look at origins of this school of economic thought. Replace political/constitutional rule with an economic constitution of sorts. Government role limited to managing the economy, intervening only for narrow purposes, such as competition law. But this order failed to appreciate the extraordinary power of the corporation (in creating centers of collective production, and in generating private profit). So the issue is WHO is deciding what the purpose of production is? Why are corporations so successful? Means of production and profit.

We should ask specific questions of ourselves about Commons. The commonalities among commons cannot be reduced to "common enemies." In particular places there are particular ways of making decisions (which disempower) and doing things together.

How we deal wth a general theory of the Common. At same time strategic problem.. Commons (the paradigm) and commons (plural) are not the same thing -- and how do we produce both in the context of the market/state reality? Example of theaters being occupied in Italy by people now with very different institutional approaches. How do we become effective in actual contexts? How do we identify the relevant community of reference? when some are on internet & some are in pavilions/public squares. We have to deal with the nature od the good.

"Community" vs. "common good" are not opposed to each other, but aspects of the same thing -- because the nature of the good is affected by the community. But this logic may not apply to certain types of goods -- because they might be so large or dispersed, etc. we have to distinguish between common andf commons. a general theory and concrete experiences

In one case a community of reference approach works, in the second case the criteria is the good and how it is shaped in order to be universally accessible

What does it mean to give free access to resources -- e.g., the "romance of the public domain," which actually privileges those with the superior means to access and use the resource. Problem of the digital divide, when it comes to considering the Internet and "opening". Example of "catastre" info in India, generating opportunities to only the most informed/educated, etc.

Problem in speaking in large generalities, because each commons is different, especially based on the resources being stewarded. Issue of community governance: Also, which community is in charge, and how does it exercise governance? And how does enclosure affect a given commons?

Nature of goods, nature of governance (internal or external). How it can be enclosured, effect of enclosure. What can be protected.

Commons is a contact langauge for the movements around the world, but it doesn't have a common signification (like a boundary object?). Challenge: How to inscribe interests of commons in law? Imagining the Antarctic as a commons forces us to ask, Which communities of interest? Which governance regime? Who decides? The issues go up to multinational level, between countries?

Each commons is one of a kind, managed by a specific community, with specifics & particularities. Each commons is a social commons (whether a natural one or a digital or knowledge one). WE ALL AGREE WITH THAT

We need to develop SOME type of general language or categories that speak to how we relate to each other, and how do we define the reproduction of our livelihoods, and the purpose of production? Ask why the commons is a language of convergence among different social movements, so that we can identify the commonalities? Silke suggests that three key points are human rights, access to imited resources, and open access to knowledge.

In the commons production and reproduction is not separated any more. Debates about basic logics of commons and commons in the capitalist society and power relations are diffferent. Importance of when what has been collective produced its captured/extracted by others.

Replace the question of "how do we generalize abstractly about very different commons?" with "how do we make the alliances with different kind of commons struggles?". (Lohmann) Practically there are potential for alliances. What are the bases for new alliances, esp. between peer producing and ecologically based commons? One basis: shared opposition to neoliberalism. An immediate, practical response that might lead to greater collaboration in the end.

We need a common ground. Social practice is a powerful force for forging this. Example of Facebook changing it's privacy conditions because of collective awareness > action > pressure on a statement from its "owner" that users didn't have rights over their privacy data

There is a rivalry between rivalrous and non-rivalrous commons. Let us talk on that and clarify

After coffee break morning session:

Trying to figure out consensus and points of tensions and list of points for further discussion (visualised, photos of sheets could be taken later). Also let's identify points for further discussion.

Trying theoretical input and clarification and combine it with very concrete examples

Stefan: rivalrous/nonrivalrous commons, gap or not, traditional/historical commons basically aim at maintenance of resources. They also produce knowledge, but they are not focused on that. Emerging commons bring into the debate production. Three key peer production principles:

1. Contribution instead of exchange: driven by common taks/goals. "What can I contribute". 2. Possession instead of property: Property gives legal right to exclude others from usage of the legal entity of property, whether or not it is actually used. Possession means the concrete use of the resource -- which is closely related to sharing because multiple people can use the resource. 3. Free cooperation: Self-organized cooperation rather than command and control, self organisation of different types. "Peer" means cooperating on the same eye level.

Peer production introduces the new element of producing new things (vs. historical commons, which are more focused on maintaining and caring for shared resources).

Traditional and new commons are essentially doing the same thing, but with different types of resources. The same thing: Creating and maintaining a world in which we want to live in, and creating and maintaining our livelihoods. However, this takes place in the real world, which will affect different commons in different ways.

Andrew: An example from Finland-Estonia-Russia cooperation around Gulf of Finland/Baltic Sea: Pedagogical materials produced and shared by organisations connected to natual commons in order to use them in educational contexts (schools, youth clubs). Materials produced have to be adapted, have different platorms/tools when used in their particular contexts (note: information commons have to connect with natural commons). Issue of which open/libre licenses to use, to make them freely available for others to share & spread campaign, but this approach is also in conflict with how for example environmental agenda-based NGOs communicate. Importance of encouraging to bringing older advocacy & NGO-made materials & knowledge to the common digital pool. Additional notes by Andrew: What are appropriate ways of encourage this opening/pooling of information resources or knowledge commons about natural commons? For example in ? ..Will this help raise awareness of ecological limits (bioregional perspective for example) in knowledge production.. Sustainability of knowledge, data (in folders, archives, servers).

The point about the digital commons embeded in a very material process. This sort of production always has a limit. Conection with material basics and concept of unlimited growth, when it's digital is also connected to material-material sources. Point of producation and reproduction: emerging commons more producting, but not completely correct, eg. Watersheed management, water also productive functioning in the ecosystem, involved with the flows of this ecosystem, in digital system there is also need to reproduce, maintain infrastructure, and information or code, for example.

Brian: Energy efficiency of Internet was increasing by ten times every five years. But precisely because of that, the Internet's energy consumption was doubling every five years. Over a lifetime, at current rate of usage, that trend would result in all of the world's energy being used by the Internet. Obviously can't work. So when do Internet users/commoners begin to recognize such eco-limits?

Atmosphere is often talked about as a commons, but it is in fact not a commons. It's a common pool resource. There is also a problem of scale in managing it. How to get beyond digital commons monitoring or documenting eco-problems, to actually deal with them?

We'e starting to look to things which were always there but we didn't consider, and now struggle to frame them and regulate them.

Issue of scaling: tha problem is there. Also a political power issue. The UN is not working, those problems like the air/atmosphere space have to be solved not by politicians but other organised legal frameworks.

Is atmosphere a commons or not? (Herve). The UN even imperfect its a governance mechanism.

Commons are something that we are entitled to as a human right according to the definition we have coverged upon. Doesn't that make the atmosphere a commons? (Saki)

Hervé: Fundamental right of using the atmosphere is confronted with capitalist mode of use of even the atmosphere, there is no automatic fair share of usage,

Silke:the atmosphere is a common pool resource and needs to be managed as/turned into a commons, how can be build institutions to manage the commons if we do not have a clear notion of comons and differentiate commons(as a governance system) from common pool resources, the big institutional challenge is to convert it into a commons, but the link between digital and natural comomons is to reproduce our livelihoods within the limits tearth provisioning system.

Need to overcome these categorisation and distinctions.

Cultural commons have existed for the last 5000 years commons are only a recent type of cultural commons.

It is useful to distinguish between Commons and commons pool resources (which is economic terms). Property rights do not determine whether there is a commons or not because property consists of more than alienability of a resource; it entails other rights such as usage, access, etc.

Charlotte: the real problem is in what format knowledge is in

Charlotte: Commons share resources that are vulnerable to enclosures and "social dilemmas," meaning that getting people to comply, not over-use, not free ride, etc., require participation and cooperation. The threat is not just privatization. E.g., a power outage. Shaping the system to manage a commons.

What are conditions for participation in the commons? What about the problem of social and economic inequalities which limit access? For example in South African townships young people especially, have a clear imagination of what might possible though having access to the internet and a strong desire to use it but major problems of access. (can't afford personal computers, lack of nearby internet/community facilities - along with other services. (This experience points perhaps to the the importance of social and economic underpinnings of knowledge as a commons.And the need to distingush between commons as they are and as they could be).

Saki: Commons is what community decides they are based on shared resources defined by the community. Commons are where it is commonly managed. Need to differentiate positive description and what we are opening up as potential space for politics and democratic decision what and where commons are.

Share collective action. Close to Stefano´s notion: collective action that is fundamental to human life, we need to converge on different notions,

"Aspirational commons" (David)

It is misleading to define a commons on the characteristics/types of a resource, analytically wrong. If we define a commons as something that a community decides is a commons BECAUSE the resource is fundamental to human life and livelihoods, then the analytic distinctions about public goods, club goods, etc., don't matter.

Peer production is important because it shows that commons-based production can scale so quickly in that context. E.g., Wikipedia. So it could be more effective to focus on modes of production than of modes of governance.

Wikipedia example for "out cooperation".

Importance of commons and shared resources which are "non-critical" or fundamental to human life, but a good entry point and learning opportunity about how they have been produced. Example of cultural goods under open/libre licenses that can be enjopyed but also represent an example of how to create and share things in a different way.

Nicole: How can we introduce the idea of history into the definition of the commons? Charlotte: New commons are created every day. There are a lot of "public good" free to everyone, often owned by governments. But a neighborhood playground cold be considered a commons if local parents reclaim a playground from a drug gang. At that moment a commons is created, and it is not just a "public good." In addition: we need to reassess some goods that have been privatized that should no longer be considered private property. Therefore, community moral norms of *what should be a commons* are relevant.

Question of the constitution of a community: a matter of conciousness.

Market versus state 50s Samuleson etc. public goods Normative approach is a necessity but there are limits, You need to guarantee the norms which is often not possible. Need to recognize the limits of normativity. Which are those limits for us? They compromise actions/decisions in the future.

Rodota: Define commons as a social and political process -- not normative only. The community defines normative goods and must be capable of such a process. All those things, although complex, should be addressed too. Marco: But we shouldn't ignore nature of the resource, either.

Marco: The significant contribution of the commons is its pluralism of examples, rather than a universal reductionism. We can't conflate everything into one approach. We need multiple understandings and institutions. Think about the "anti-rival" nature of some resources, such as language or open source software commons. This suggests an inability to have a *general* discussion about the commons. Moreover some of these commons - think again about the language - show a 'strange' relationship between community borders, conscious claim and organization of the resource, clear rules, etc. Not clearly formalizable. Not fitting with the Olstrom's criteria, neither fully with the identification of commons with processes of commoning. Thus my suggestion is to keep the research on both sides: the general framework and the particular examples.

Market versus State 50s Samuleson etc. public goods

We should not cancel the dimension of the nature of the good. We need to combine the need to know what commons is and the creation diversity of institutions, sollutions, etc.

Nicole: without a community related to the commons, they are in danger...

Saki: Ostrom's achievement was demonstrating the pluralism of commons through rigorous empirical research, which the mathematical formulae of economics could not do. We need to unveil economic decisions as political choices.

Afternoon session

What is the novelty of the commons as a mode of production -- and a way out of the crisis? Also world view?

Danijela: After collapse of Yugoslavia there was a complete vilification of socialist practices, and the adoption of capitalism. Commons as a political project in Croatia -- a way of resurrecting socialist values of equality and democracy. But, considering that the objective of this session is not the formulation of the political project but rather an attempt at formulating philosophical or normative foundations of the commons, let me share my understanding of the: Key principles of the commons in my perspective are: understanding humankind as inherently cooperative and human beings as inherently social actors /human beings are "more than rational." (the implicit addressee being the critique of the homo oeconomicus); this focus on mutuality leads towards a needs-based philosophy as opposed to an interest based one / as a profoundly equalitarian principles - to each according to need; i understand this as a deeply egalitarian principle of social and political equality. This is important because it acknowledges the necessity of economic conditions for political participation; next, the focus on needs reminds us of the material base of our lives, leading to the third principle- acknowledging environmental limits and the material basis of human society - integrating this perspective into all human practices and governance systems democratic horizontal self-governance/ participative rule-making (people affected are those who participate); broadening the realms of our lives based on self-management; democracy as both a method and an end (by the people for the people)

Heike: Resurrection of socialist values resonates with my experience.

Hervé: But it also resonates in the west and in latin american societies.

Stefan: Communist vs. commoners vision is "THEIR" categorization, it depends very much what everybody understands by "communism"/ commonism - it very much depends of what every notion needs.

David: But socialism and communism are always associated with state governed societies.

Stefan: But this had nothing to do with the notion of communism. Shall we really discuss it anyway?

Brian: I am really nervous about the equation communism - commonism.

Heike: It is precisely not about equation but about distinction.

Nicole: CIte George re coexistence of different modes of order -- state (redistribution), market (exchange), and commons (reciprocity) -- which are not pure. Coexistence of different mechanisms in society

Marco: Two aspects of the crisis we are living in.. Crisis of the system of value (that is the crisis of the spècific contemporary capitalistic form of value) Crisis of the state as we knew it This doble crisis probably began in the 70s and we are now at the final period of the crisis of both these instituional orders Commons help us name this crisis and reframe it to help identify solutions.

Giacomo: for the last 200 centuries capitalist market has been the hegemonic form of production and exchange, while the reciprocity before and than the State has been shrinking in importance. If we want to create a Commons Based Society we should convert the commons as the hegemonic system of produce and exchange in the society but leaving room for market/competition and also the role of the state.

Silke: There is competition in the commons as well - we should avoid those distinctions like competion in the market vs. cooperation in the commons. there is a conflict in the commons debate: what does "commons beyond market and state" mean? WITHOUT market and state or sth. MORE than market and State? Need of defining roles, reframing the State under the commons ideas, something that has meaning in the discussion about the Commons. Not an either/or thing in terms of commons and state, or commons and market? Agreed?

Stefan: No. I wish to distinguish between abolishing and replacing the market & state with something new. "Without state" does not mean without institutions. It means with commons institutions -- types of organizations that we need for services, etc. But how do we organize and control them? Do we need a general layer above these commons institutions -- a kind of "alien" level with its own set of rules? Or can we imagine a commons-based societies with its own organic institutions? There is no logical reason to have markets as a mode of production and distribution when you can have commons-based ways. The real economy of production and distribution don't require it. But of course the state and the market exist today and we have to deal with them.

Michael: Commons as a cultural project. How do we find space for this new narrative? Opportunity is that narratives of market and economic growth are failing, its a broken story, at the same time as anti-communism/socialism, so these narratives should be avoided. A 3rd way for new economic model? But is this done on basis of strategic reasons or systemic understanding?

Marco: We need autonomous, descentralized, organic rules for governing the Commons.

Larry: Re coexistence of different kinds of coordination in the same society. Levels of abstraction that regards state, market, and commons as monolithic entitites. Lots of concrete examples. The firm as a "mode of commoning" to avoid the market. "Capitalists as commoners" in cooperating to figure out how to distribute their capitalist surprlus. Dangerous to say commons should replace the state, or even that commons should go "beyond the state."

Hilary: If we think about the commons in terms self-government then the idea of the commons can perhaps help to reclaim, remake the state.What changes have taken place which has made desire for self-government more ubiqitous nowadays ? The expansion of mass education, the legacy of feminism and other liberation struggles of the 70's, the culture of co-operation associated with the internet, the experience including the frustrations of recent movements like the movement, the 'second superpowe' against the war in Iraq, for example. As a result of such changes, we can think more readily about re-thinking the market and state. To be less abstract , we should perhsps link discussions of the commons with other tendencies of self-government or self-organisational practices. Is there something distinctive about the framing the commons that can help to make these links?

Brian: A way to deal with abstraction is to ask: What is happening anyway whether we like it or not? The breakdown of both state and market as effective in providing the services they previously did. The commons, then, is trying to deal with such problems. metaphor of 'Lifeboats' - resilient strategies for staying afloat

Nicole: If we agree with situation that there are dominating ones and others who are dominated, organising the commons where the community decides, is an alternative to individual or state doing so.

Charlotte: Stuck by a language thing.. self government vs. self-governance <-- This emphasises a process. It is hard to imagine the commons as an ideology, if so, then it is no longer the commons.

Saki: Is Commons a critique of representative democracy/ and the public? The narrative tells that the state has failed us. If commons is not a path for reinvigorating a sense of democracy, then it would be a reversion of a kind of tribalism and it would be frightening, this is not what we are promoting. It is not only about creating autonomous sites for resource management but a common horizon of a better functioning democracy.

Silke: How can we develop strategy if there are so many different ideas about what is "novel" about the commons? The commons as "beyond market and state"; the commons as a substitute for market and state; the commons as "common goods." I see the commons as a principle-based method for moving forward.

Larry: Can we really exclude, in our definition of the commons, what the commons is for? definition of success of the commons in Ostrom in terms of preservation of the resources, is too narrow

Frederic: Do we think we have to justify the commons because of the crises? Brian: Commons is a good way of managing in respect of these crisis

MIchael: Talking about the end objective of a world without markets makes me nervous because it will be difficult to buld large constituencies across the political spectrum this way. In the idea of the Great Transition institutions have to be re-intervented and this includes domcratic institutions.

David: commons as a way to move forward better than a model and grand abstractions more productive. A way to have a new conversation and social practices that can create new types of governance institutions.

Herve: Commons is an old narrative, which has be anchored with historical movements. The new narrative is the ecological one, which we have to try to add to the older one. We have very different levels of public jurisdiction and governance (municipal, regional, state, multi-state).. Inserting new model within the old one. Questions to be raised: public economy (taxes), infrastructural economy, transition (permaculture), resilience. How to manage & share such resources?

Heike: If we aren't going to talk abstractions, then how do we move forward? If diversity of pursuits, we still need some sort of clarity.

Nicole: Common(s?) production is appropriated in firms. Are commons a critique of capitalist organizations (just as it may be a critique of representative democracy)?

Saki: I agree with Larry's earlier remark about Ronald Coase's observations on the firm and the commons. Firms are involved in commons: public corporations, cooperatives, ppp etc. The critique is not on a special type of legal form (like "the firm" or more commonly referred to as the corporation) - the problem is the purpose of such firm like organization. The big problem we face is that No non-market collective legal organziation form has been able to compete with the corporate form in production.

Marjorie Kelly book: "Owning Our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution".. The organization of corporation is not the problem, it's the purpose -- i.e., private profit. UK department store/coop that is organized to serve the happiness of its employees. Rooted membership is another approach to altering the effects of the corporate form.

challenge is to change your purpose from a profit purpose to a living purpose (Kelly) if corporations are required to have rooted membership (i.e. have a link to the community) it is not necessarily the enemy or firms can link their production to the idea of "enough" another problem is that corporations are now treated as human beings with human rights but unlike human beings the never die (they don't have this limit)

Stefan: I think it is very hard to change the purpose. A firm f.i must be able to afford to change the purpose within the current model of production which is very difficult.

Marco: I've being studying for some time what I call "unconventional competitive advantages". My thesis is that there are many novelties emerging in economical organizational models which depend on a undergorund change in the mode of production- This is particularly visible in certain sectors, such as in the sectors where communication, information, knowledge, creativity and innovation are at the centre of the processes of production. Basically there are various aspects in the nature of the resources (intangible and more and more digitalized), in the organization of the cooperaative labor process, in the forms of exchange, in the processes of consumption and diffusion, and so forth which challenge and destabilize the traditional capitalistic, fordist firm, in radical ways. The success of "enterprises" like Wikipedia, which - with all its wierd forms of organization - dramatically outcompeted (or outccoperated, as Stefen prefers to say well funded and expert companies, is a radical exemplification of these emerging "unconventional competitive advantages".

Stefano: The very conversation about the commons raises deep questions about representative democracy, and that is one value of the commons discourse. we have various models of transitions (or is it a fracture?) - Polanyi - Ostrom - Castells (on web production/culture) - Enclaves (COMMENT: understood it as the germ-form way of thinking) working within the existing system

a risk is communitarism -- as if "communities" were something separated inside of society. Spurious idea of community as Amatai Etzioni and others discuss.

Enric: Need consensual institutions that are flexible, but connected to the state. Which rule what to adopt/extract from the commons, but also forces to compensate excess/abuse from corporations/firms when they approach the commons.

Second session afternoon:

Commons activism organised around 'natural resource management' or 'digital commons' vs. Commons activism organised around 'anti-commodification' or 'anti-capitalist' movements

Danijela: there are two parts to the commons movement, which we should see as complementary, not opposite: 1. nurturing the commons as a domain outside the state or market exchange; very important because it develops the practice of deliberation, self-governance, democratization – important as a source of strength that 'another world is possible', a reservoir of valuable practices and of empowement 2. however, another part of the commons movement is focused on the systemic level – to use the same example as earlier – all factories can be worker-owned but if they operate within a capitalist mode of production then they are still stuck in the imperative of accummulation, and sources of social injustices and environmental unsustainability – so here the focus is on confronting the state and markets more directly, challenging existing institutions, through legal and political mean The point I want to make is that we need both strands of the movement - the grassroots activism and the systemic critique and political partice that directly confronts the state and market.

Saki: Reflection on discussion with Brian.. Reference to retail cooperative from UK (John Lewis) meeting the happiness of their employers.. Brian suggested that this cannot be a commoning action. Are we redefining the commons as something outside the market activity? Are we saying commoning is not a market activity? The community and the production process may be open but the output oriented to the market. Is this a viable mode of realizing use value over exchange value?

George: does think that the open-source car is commoning, because the decision-making process is not determining the direction of the end product ??

Silke: Commons is not about organizational form or property rights -- it's about the purpose. Commoning is something *I* decide on my own, not something someone else decides to alienate for market purposes. If commoning ends with a sale on the market, then what about the others who have a stake in the commons-based production process? That's why we need a shift from commons-based peer production -- to commons-creating peer production: Not producing for the market but for the commons

Cites Venezualan commoners who produce lots of food for the market: Cecosesola co-operative ( It's all about building trust and social relationships -- which are hard to do in an alienated structure (such as a market). Using a cash register in the produce market undermines the social trust that the commoners otherwise want to engender. The lack of a cash register sends the signal, "We must trust you." We must be able to influence the logic. We can influence how we produce for the market.

Larry: Interest from the World Bank in commons. Why? Because they saw the commons as a way of mitigating some of the more dangerous effects of their own neoliberal doctrines. E.g., "escape hatches" to help unemployed people subsist, something the commons could promote. This is just one of many examples that will appear -- e.g., social data on Facebook surveillance, biological info. eco-digital commons. Important for alliance building, to take this into account. That's why issues of political process are important.

Stefan: There's another example of a firm in Germany, who released all informations about the firm to the employees, and implemented liquid democracy (software:, wikis, mailinglists and other cooperative tools. They pass the crucial question to their employees: what are we going to produce for the market? They use all the tools we use in the commons. Peer production works perfectly, without hierarchy. They hava a kind of an "internal commoning" for completely alienated products and goals. Such a firm is not a commons.

Every commons acts in a commons-unfriendly environment for different purposes. Capitalism cannot survive without using non-market cooperation. (Giacomo: this is the Rosa Luxemburg's understanding of capitalism)

Try not to add a property to an entity, ..

George: Debian Linux is from the community, but then of course you have Linux distributions that are sold by companies. Both use value and exchange value. Who do we see to join in alliance?

David: Things are more fuzzy and blended. Many commons we participate are not ideological, or have not a strong pollitical identity. pre-political.

George: Example of wikispeed car ( compared to OS Ecology ( The first one closing the development initially in order to get a market advantage for sales, while the second project encoucouraging participation from the beginning. "Same old market story." There is ambiguity here.

Marco: The stream is how to build a movement of the commons in terms of producing commons and protecting them from enclosure. Importance of not following a line of "purity". I agree with David. We have to deal with a world in which markets, states and commons are and will be overlapped, hybridized related. We have to stay into the contradictions. By the way the same commons have internal power relations and forms of oppression or exclusion. I don't find usefull to search for the idea of the "purity" of a commons. Take what's emerging in the frontiers of "Innovation". New logics of production are emerging. and the same of protection from enclosure, arising sometimes by pragmatic productive paths and sometimes becoming struggles.It is not easy to deal with this complexity of changes searching for pure good and bad approaches,because we still see a lot of experiments and problems, that still need to be better understood. (And yes, of course, there are also new forms of capitalism, exploitation and power centralization emerging in these conditions.)

Heike: Blurriness has manifested itself today in the discussion, and this is a reality. But we are not sayinging that we are striving for purity and exclusiveness. It is about clarity. We need clarity. This requires that we re-imagine a lot of realities around us, and loosen our attachment to some of our particular historical practices. Somehow we have to imagine and invent a new paradigm. The commons have to be imaginged as being able to re-create commons -- or otherwise the future will be lost. Purpose of production is key.

Brian: Is it blurry because we are talking about the edges of the commons that are ceasing to be viable.. Viable means that the surrounding environment is willing to acknowledge them, and are nested .. What we are looking for is higher-level organisation which will make commons viable at the smaller level. You give to people you have a relationship with..trying to build up trust.

Silke: Fear of purity is a real problem, an issue that arises when clarity is desired. We need to identify the "watershed" between the commons and market. Ostrom principles may help describe small-scale commons, but not enough to invent a new commons-based society. The principle of drawing limits and respecting boundaries is the first principle. And if we don't address this, we will indeed have an "alliance problem." (i.e., new collaborations between "digital" and "ecological" commons).

David: About principles: we don't quite know all or new ways of creating commons, even with Ostrom's principles to guide us. We have to generate those large institutions that can at least help us establish commons and have those principles applied.

Importance of defining the local geovernance (for example Wikipedia or Free Software) in relation to larger ones. It's difficult to define what big communities are, and how they act. Problems defining a community. Who are "we"? How can we define external activity, a big techno-science issue now in different fields. We have to find a new narrative about how different communities interact. Compared to the online world, urban, energy or other types of issues, those mechanisms are different to adapt.


Morning session

Silke: Two major issues from yesterday:

First issue: A challenge from the commons perspective to representative democracy, and more broadly, to the state. Citizenship itself is now compromised within this context. And which state? We need to look at more specific instances. I propose that we have a broader discussion of this.

Second issue for discussion: State-Commons relationship. Variety of political cultures behind commons practices: a challenge, esp. because some ways of thinking are more based on the culture of liberalism. That's okay -- because one of the strengths of the commons is in taking account of liberalism and other modes of commons thinking. Having said that, there are conflicts between liberalism and commons. Can we use liberal political thinking (e.g., P2P world) in a time when we need to pay attention to the limits of nature? Or is there a deep, unresolveable conflict?

Confronting this issue is critical to our potential ability to forge alliances. Cultural divisions among commoners.

Marco: Among the political cultures, communitarianism - the one critically raised by Rodotà - should be put into this discussion as well.

Silke: The history of political ideas is relevant to this discussion.

Brian: We may have different ideas about what purpose we wish the commons to serve. So it's not just about our respective political and philosophical traditions, but about the ends to which we want the commons to serve. P2P = to advance production, for example. Me: to use the commons to address social inequality and ecological limits. Re-create some sense of community within an ecological context.

Challenge from the commons perspective to representative democracy and the State

Stefano: Idea of commons is challenging the post westfalia notion of the State; where the modern notion of the Nation-State was forged with very clear boundaries and governed by the senator - this is the contribution of the idea of the French revolution about the state. Second challenge is, that the modern state is directly built on the notion of private property Property belongs to the citizen, souveranity to the State... So national souveranity and property are the pillars of the Nation State and step by step also public property

So the questions is can we:

The challenge is producing discontinouties of this two basic "items" by the citizens/commons.

I share the question: Which is the final project, if we continue this way step by step. And from a realistic point of view we have to ask: What is possible to do as a next step?

1. New Citizenship

May we use the idea of citizenship as directly conected to the notion of Nation-State as a mean for going beyond the state ? Doubts! The idea of citizenship has great changed. We talk about rights of citizenship. But what does it mean? It means that there is a bundle of rights related to the people, this means that wherever they are - health, culture, education, to be married, to have to possiblity to recognize children and many others have to be respected -- irrespective of their relationship to a particular nation-state. We are going beyond those boundaries.

It means that we have to look at an older idea of citizenship and if this older idea challenges the notion of rights as it is used today and if from this perspecte the notion of citizenship can be used to frame the world as being/becoming a commons -- even if the nation-state still has its boundaries. New citizenship is an important means to improve equality, because one of the biggest problems of today is the tragedy of inequeality if we look EU from this point of you, fighting for commons can become ????

2. Local government

State is not only a central state , we have experiencies of commons at the local level, Example Italy: it is possible, that at a local level the municipality - as formal revference

Example of the water: resource owned by the municipality, but from "outside" autonomous movements controles by citizens, capable of control and interveining in the rule making.

Example of culture: how cultural infrastructures can be used and controlled by/for people, organized. Producing culture in another way, besides the traditional ways of producing culture for profit.

All the urban space can be organized directly by the citizen, municipalities can give new means to citizens to intervene in the planning and use of urban space. Means, that the urban space at large can be the object of continuous attention by citizens. So, citizen living in Milan would have the same rights to intervene in environmental distruction in Sicilia as the Sicialians would have / we have to entitle them (by law) to do that.

We need to look at the idea of citizenship BEYOND territorial space or the place where people are living. We need a formal possibility of legal action. E.g., Amazonian forest as a resource for the global ecosystem. Not just an issue for Amazonian citizens, but for the world as well. Forests of Indonesia as well, because there is a general responsability from the "global citizenship perspective" as tied to the notion of the world as the commons. There's responsibility or obligation of intervention when there are local threads to resources, but also having the right to compensation there, due to common responsibility. The idea of commons changes the relationships of people towards the resources - based on the idea of common respoonsability.

So, the question is: can the municipalities step by step be a network of commons? In the mid term - not long- term perspective? This would be strategally important. And it would help to give a new shape to municipalites itself. Citizens would have the right to intervene and change the character of the municipality itself in the process.

3. Representative democracy

Idea of direct democracy as connected to the new modes of participation by ITC Treaty of Lisbon Article 10 talks about .. Art 11 says that 1 million of european citizen have the right to intervene on issues that matter to them. Several initiatives going on, f.e. on water management. So, even in the traditional treaties /as the Lisbon treaty) there is something saying that representative democracy is not enough so we gain some space for participatory democracy in the framework of representative democracy- which is now losing legitimacy. And participatory democracy could help improve the legitimacy of representative democracy.

What is happening now? We are passing to a world enhanced by new techonolgies that allows for continuous democracy, with possibility of interventions, public monitoring, and attention to manipulation. The movement of public opinion reshapes, but being also a danger when people surrend to the "dictatorship" of polls. The idea of consensus, and opinion itself can be manipulated and polls can be manipulated. And they can be used to be ignored/ to be change the own political programme or to do whatever people want irrespective of the problem on the ground.

We are *beyond* representative and participatory democracy. There is now the possibility for continuous intervention in the political process.

Example: Constitution in Island: what is the result of a procedurale change in which people can IMMEDIATELY intervene in a parlamentary discussion (DID I GOT IT CORRECTLY?) representative democracy can be changed even if the traditional instsitutions from repres demo remain in place as municipalicities if this change is generated by society?

Example of the European parliament refusing the ACTA treat, something that under pressure of firms and comercial interests put also citizen action transnationally, representing a crucial issue for net neutrality, but also the clash between lobbyes / citizens. ACTA rejection an example of the power of networked communities in intervening in representative democracy. The person to person contact and the use of electronic means was crucial for this success i.e. there is an INFORMAL POLITICAL COMMON (continuous democracy). There is another spontaneous community around water, or on freedom on the net, but they are commons interaction with the State.

Recommended Book: Property Outlaws, Eduardo M. Penalver-- about "propertarian disobedience": How can rules of property law can be changed through social action for social aims.

Nicole Alix: How can we define commons?

Stefano: Commons means: Looking first of all at the way people are acting.

The first step towards a definition of common good is: Commons is the opposite of property Cites James Boyle essay in 2003 on commons as "the opposite of property."

Second step: Everyone can get acess but no one can be excluded.

Third step: Definition of commons must be linked with fundamental rights. but it is a dialectical: Common goods are produced by fundamental rights and the other way round, commons are producing fundamental rights.

Fourth element: Who controls? Who is/Which are the subjects entitlted to intervene? Who makes the decisions? Answer: All people have standing. People must therefore organize themselves into communities to perfect this right.

Herve: It comes from the rights of Mother Earth:

Silke: "but Earth won't go to court." - This debate was also raised in the Mexico City deep dive. For Silke what Stefano was mentioning is not Mother Earth Rights

Charlotte: James Boyle's work is wonderful, but I don't think that it is limiting as well -- because it denies what commons have been for most people throughout history, i.e., limited resources. (He focuses on open access to all resources.) Cites the destruction of forests in Mozambique when everyone was granted open access to forests. Commons need the right to manage their resource. Not everyone has the right to come in and use a commons. Commons are another way of living and managing resources between private and public property.

Stefano: Agrees, although the work of Boyle was very important 10 years ago in asserting "the opposite of property." Still examples in many places where local communities like in Sardinia, where poor people in a situation of having a great natural resource accepted the interest of destroying their local environment for generating profit.

Giacomo: In relation to 'Property Outlaws', it would be relevant in opposition to civil society, that according to Putnam can guarantee the development of democracy andincrease the rate of economic growth, It would be interesting to consider "uncivil society" as the subject that can spur the commons. Example of uncivil society would be the case of Can Batlló ( in Barcelona, where citizens occuppied an old factory and are generating commons in urban areas, avoiding the appropriation by profit-led civil society.

here you have the link to the book: Property Outlaws, it is not exactly the book but i think the first draft of it!

Saki: Creation of the modern state and property belongs to citizens and sovereignty to the state. Modern constitutionalism, social contract -- citizens cede national rights to state for legally enforceability of fundamental rights. Problem: the fundamental right to commons could be appropriate for certain contexts, and in Europe there is a long-standing right of liberal constitutionalism. Consider the damage that liberal constitutionalism has inflicted on the world. Colonialism, e.g., Charlotte's Mozambique example. Nation-state and liberal constitutionalism have been the vehicle by which private individual appropriation has occurred. The individual rights model has been essential to the breakup of collective management, as in Native Americans and First Nation peoples.

Even within Europe, as Hardt & Negri point out, the relationship of sovereign to the people (via social contract) was to effectuate the conquest of property on the continent by feudal lords. The reduction of "the multitude" to one voice, via representative democracy, for the purpose of robbing people of their property rights.

Changing nature of citizenship. The "fundamental rights" approach was imported into the European Union project, too, although the political union remains limited to a monetary/economic union basically, but yet have not constituted a citizen "union" in terms of constitution/rights. The earlier European Citizen's Initiative referred to by Stefano seems to be an extremely limited tool in effectuating this political relationship as the competence of European Commission is extremely narrow and cannot deal with issues of subsidiarity like property which is reserved to nation states.

The state as a network of commons: a great idea. But the difficulty is the role of representative democracy in a global commons. What would that look like? How would you effectuate the relationships between a global government and global citizens. We must answer this if only because global forces are already governing at the global level -- WTO, etc. which intervene in the sovereignty of nation-states. "Economic constitutionalism" from the top-down with no articulation of the relationship between citizens and this governance.

Enric: Maybe ther's a need for a new/formal institution acting as a counterpower between citizens and the state/market.

Saki: A trans-national community of the commons does appear to exist. They are linking together with the alterglobalization movement. And some counter-forums like WSF. But these are not really linked or formal.

Wojtek: Stefano mentioned the french tradition, between the state & the citizen, there is nothing.. IF today the modern citizen is presented as homo economicus, ... There are currents of social movements which involve self-organisation, cooperative, self-help, mutual insurance.. Today in France there such backbones of society are run by representatives of trade-unions, employers.. When we think about what the commons are for, it is part of this history, resilience and participation in the public sphere..

Larry: To return to Charlotte/Stefano dialogue, I was struck by Stefano's "common goods are produced in effect by fundamental rights." The right to survival/subsistence has been one of the things that produces common goods, esp. in the global south and, particularly in pre-19th century times, Europe. That was the struggle in the 17th an 18th centuries -- Cf. John Locke and Thomas Malthus, who held that people *don't* have a right to survival, citing nature. Malthus's is an anti-commons tradition that runs all the way down to Garrett Hardin, whose main missions was also to provide an ideological justification for the extinction of the right to subsist, and most if not all of today's technocrats and orthodox economists, as well as political figures like Mitt Romney. An important historical struggle that the commons has always engaged in, to say, everyone has the right to survival. This has produced common goods.

And yet, I think we also have to pay attention to Charlotte's point, that a universal right to survival may seem under a certain framing not necessarily compatible with the right to exclude that is necessary to commons. A seeming tension that we need to acknowledge. Yet at the same time, there is a common thread: The right to exclude is also based on the right to survival (and not on the technocratic idea of "limits", for example, or "carrying capacity"). E.g., forestry commoners in rural Thailand struggling against the state and against commercial timber companies, etc., did not talk about "limits" or "carrying capacity" when they explained their right to exclude. They talked instead about capitalism: "If would-be appropriators come in with a pickup truck and hired laborers and sweep through our forest and try to take the mushrooms to sell on the market, we're going to resist. But if a vagabond or even tourist looking for something to eat were to try to take mushrooms for her own use, that would probably be okay, though in all cases we would have to discuss it."

Additional note by Andrew: Consider in relation to Finnish Everyman's rights?: and indeed also to Thai economic migrants working in Finnish forests as "self-employed entrepreneur-tourists", contracted and brokered by Thai-government supported agencies to Finnish berry-picking companies, causing many issues of Thai farmer debt, labour exploitation, and increased debate in Nordic countries about if the rights to pick is extended to include temporary immigrants: | more:

Brian: If we are talking about rights, then they must be enforceable. Can we make alliances with coastal communities to take action against fossil fuel companies for their plans to sell fuels that would result in climate change and flooding of coastal communities. If we have fundamental rights to survival, and these rights to bring into existence common goods, then perhaps the courts will recognize such rights.


Three tensions to explore: right to exclude & universal fundamental rights (entitlements to use) networked social action & representative democracy digital commons & ecological commons

Silke: I suggest to elaborate on the sentence: "The common goods are produced by fundamentl rights and rather say: "The common is co-produced by fundamental human rights. It has been said, that the right to exlusion is based on the right tosurvival or existence, but I would suggest to connect it to the "contributions" - i.e. We should have right to exclude because "we" are the ones who have historically protected the commons (and therefore have shown commitment and investment in the commons). This has obvious implications for indigenous peoples as stewards of ecosystems. So we must think in terms of contributions to the commons as conferring an entitlement.

Fundamental rights to the commons and the idea of "global citizen would be entitled to intervene sbd. else's territory - because f.i. environmental issues are at stake", social movements in LA are very afraid of that position. They would respond: "So now that the resource is getting scarce (Amazon forest), you in the North want access to OUR commons? " (they see it as new form of colonialization:)

Developing citizenship in terms of global commons: It's all about cultural shift, not institutional. And in terms of strategy I would not see any entry point there.

Hilary: What would a Commons- sense/oriented government do? They would ask, for example: How are the forests managed at the moment? If we see knowledge as being crucial to help protect and work in collaboration with the Commons.. it is important to see labour (and human creativity), as products of a society, also as a Commons.. Labour as a fundamental source of value, which is under-appreciated even by leftist governments.

Brian: The problem of scale matters here. Local people vs. potentially everybody. Some people are aguing that problems acrross scale could be approached in the commons through nesting using the ideas of Stafford Beer ( //, an expert on cybernetics, has been working with the government of Salvador Allende organizing the Chilean Economy, nesting 15 levels, the decision were always taken at the lowest possible level exept those decisions have impact at the highest level - so that there has to be a connection between scale to sort out conflicts,

One result would be creating synergy through coordination between levels. but there are also issues related to the fact that you don't share the same value system across scales. If the forrest is a commons nested within a wider set of systems, then it is an identity problem.but you also need institutional arrangements. Not necessarily "levels" in terms of superiority or hierarchy but rather nested/polycentricity.

Herve: How the commons can protect multiple activity. Vs one product, one market, etc

What do people actually in the field: The can produce crops and byproducts and look for herbs. The difference to "conventional production" is that only the main product (crop) is valued and as a consequence people cannot feed their families.

Example from Suman Sahai (, with career in the field of genetics and alliance to NGOs, provided the example in India where related to agriculture only men are allowed to sell on the market, while women are discriminated... [I LOST THE REST OF THE CASE :( ]

The modern world obliges us to take decisions for mono-activiest, so strategically we should take desicions against mono-activities just like Land-grabbing: It is the new form of colonialization

67 % of biomass are not yet commodified and is in the global commons, but there is an ongoing process of biomass-grabing through new technologies, the main impact is, that this will change the multifunctionallity of biomass .. Who is in charge of this biomass?

Nicolas: Example of the bear population in the Pyrenees between Spain and France, threat to the work of local producers of cheese in the region, From other regions they feel thay have something to say (for example around preservation of animal species). An heritage instituion was created to manage together interests of herders, activists, local politicians, farmers. 11Got agreement that bear was part of the common heritage of the region which needed to be taken care of. Problem now: This institution doesn't have the state support that it needs (due to the economic crisis) even though the citizens wanted to carry on. An institutional problem. Need for a legal framework.

Marco: I would like to suggest that we frame the crisis of the nation state, about which Rodotá talked, connecting it with the crisis of the representative democracy and of the new role of decentralization. I would call it as the crisis of the "system of states" as we know it. This is an approach that the braudelian school developed. The approach of Arrighi can be useful (Braudel School): In his framework each "long cycle of accumulation" is accompanied by a specific international and social hegemony and a specific system of states. The specific form that the State took after the wars, for example, was the result of the new hegemony of the USA and of the new social compromise which gave substace to the specific form of representative democracy we knew in this period. Acoording to his understanding we entered into the crisis of this hegemony in the 70s and now we're entering into the end of it. Will it be the end of the Westphalian System - that is the end f the nation-states and the formation of an Empire for example - or will it be a transition toward a new system of states? It is an open question. Another element to consider is the double movement, in terms of centralization and decentralization at the same time (typical in the history of modernity). Nation states are suffering processes of dispossession of power, legitimacy and influence in favor of subnational/local powers as well as to various forms of supranational powers. It is something already happening nd it will not probably stop to continue in both directions. We need to discuss about these transformations.

The second point I wnat to raise is about the new challenging forms of self-organization and "democratic" collective action and organization, in a context characterized by a multilayer and complex system. Wikipedia is an interestig example of how the commons can offer new solutions in this field of reserach. Wikipedia is one of the most interesting and complex cases where governance emerges from the digital world. But trying to analyze it, we observe that it is extremely challenging in terms of traditional categories. As Wales, the founder, uses to say, Wikipedia has elements of monarchy, aristocracy, of representative and direct democracy and of anarchy at the same time, yet being no one of each of these. But if we go further other important elements emerge. For examplethe critical influence of the technology in setting rules, shaping the relationships, fixing conditions of possibility, and os forth. Another aspect is the in thgis community, few people care of the whole project or even of the complexity of the international dimension of Wikipedia. Most people engage and colaborate on lower levels with very specific, limited and different interests. So it is an example of complex and multiple aggregations, decrentralized and autonomous living and cooperating, sometimes involuntary and indirectly, within the same world. Or from another side, it is ecology of forms of participation, as Mayo Fuster puts it. Which are fundamental to the success of the project, However all these arrangements radically challenge, under many perspectives, the traditional forms of representative democracy.

Enric: Motivations of people on WIkipedia: Intrinsic motivations (values) - and extrinsic (how they relate to others). Also the "They do as I do philosophy" - you can see tracks of activities and can see what has to be done (stigmergy: as well as examples of has already been done - so, Wikisystem - allows for coordination at a very complexe level and for massive participation, which is challenging other formal democratic forms of online but also offline participation (example of stigmergic informational displays leading to governance in "15M squares":

Charlotte: Question of knowledge is crucial regardless of what kind of knowledge we are talking about and in this sense the distinction betewwen traditional commons and digital commons is pretty artifical. Traditional commons cannot work in the world without sharing knowledge. It comes down to the nature of the resource, those are the things that determins the management rules.

Silke: It is the nature of resources, I would even say - it is the rivalry issue, that determines the differences in management rules/ access rules etc at the level of institutions. Beyond those institutions there are more commonalities than differences in the commons. Where we really have difference is "in the purpose". What is a commons for.

Herve: Not so big difference between historical/traditional and digital commons, but one commonality is the gender gap. There are only 15% women in Wikipedia. This has consequences for the content. It is not only writing articles, but maintaining articles, which is mostly done by women. Framing the commons through the lens of "multiactivity" (ie. how to make people participate in the multiactivites in the commons and how reproduce multifunctionality in the commons) is a major strength - and it could help to close the gender gap...We have conflicts /power relations in the commons - we also have to address - those differences are even reproduced in the commons - so we don't have to mystify the commons.

Marco: The gender gap is even bigger in Free Software (below 10%).

Charlotte: Many traditional commons were also anti-feminist, while others are strongly feminist.. It is necessarily to look at the 'local' example.

Stefano: Intercultural approach is very important -- Can we nonetheless use ideas like fundamental rights? A sound criticism. But we can make the same criticism with reference to the state. E.g. Europe - there were terrible wars and it was also meant to pacify Europe.

Issue of the fundamental rights: in relation to the commons, I don't see fundamental human rights as protected by the liberal constitution as producing the commons.

Atlantical Ache France - EEUU (76 - 89, the historical subject of produciong human rights was Bourgeiosie, so the idea of fundamental rights comes out from liberal constitution. but we had a second revolution of hr, after the First World War, Weimar Constitution was the first one recognizing the social rights (and its subject: the working class), we cannot understand the modern state without this reference. When we look now at the consittuions of modern states, can we encounter a subject which would be the subject of this new era of fundamental human rights?

So, what happened in different areas of the world, f.i in the South -- Brazil, South Africa, India. You can see a connection there between fundamental rights and commons. Ex. pharmaceutical coorporations and patents on medicions --> oblige them (/through the courts) to compulsory licences (generic drugs). "New generation of rights" concept: Fundaemtnal rights being reinterpreted from another culture and tradition outside of Europe. Emerging not just from social practices. We can define the "constitution of needs" outside of the liberal constitution.

Formal equality was a fiction when first announced following the ancien regime. That is not so now.

Property and individual isolation Revolution of social rights and labor We most go beyond: Not just right to survive or subsistence, but a right of existence. We need to connect the right of subsistence with the right for dignity..

We need to reflect on how creativity and labor are INSIDE the commons. Also in the digital dimension. There are new ways of explotation and extracting surplus value in the digital domain. Production of economic profit around creativity and work online means we should also consider rights there.

We cannot evaluate the european dimension only making reference to what is now happening with the reduction of all politics to the economic politics..

We have been underlying an multi-level approach, considering scale.. A new transversal, cooperative approach..

the link to the first draft of the book: Property outlaws, quoted by Stefano


Brian: Reference Kevin Anderson - climate crisis & the speed at which carbon emissions need to be brought down to avoid catastrophic climate change (Videos here: + ). 4-6 degC change ? And the need to deal with it urgently. So far there has not been something in our discussions which deals with creating an atmospheric commons.

How to scale up local commons? New and interesting production relationships -- e.g., digital spaces -- are worth exploring, but not the full answer they may make things even worse + there is the rebound effect

New knowledge & peer-production has created efficiency, but hasnt really addressed the globally-limiting framework necessary to address above climate crisis.

How are we going to use the commons to take smaller commons to scale and rescue ourselves?

Development of a global commons movement with global conciousness.

George: Shares experiences in Athens hacker spaces.. has witnessed that after 1 year hacker spaces were attracting other groups who where interested in other practices, including urban gardening, Open Source Ecology (and btw producing beer based on ecological products done with the hacker-Spaces technologies). Discussions and presentations which also included eco-building. Behind the visable scene of activities, they are humans who are mulidisciplinary, but dont have access to land etc. Energy that is generated through this activity transfers into other spheres.. Reproducing livelihoods in social processes of sharing (modularity, granularity). Our common culture is sharing - that is what makes us being able to communicate with each other and to bridge the different communities. Different groups coming together & thinking anew about how production could be organized in developing sustainable technologies.Organization of production by modules and Granularity ( ): typical of p2p production distributed, decentralized. There is a big interest in how to hack technologies (including old and traditional technologies)..

Michael: Would prefer to talk about strategies to go forward. Related to planetary boundaries and earth resources, not only climate change. The narratives about the commons are not enough pointing that when it comes to online activity/resources and culture. Sharing the earth's resources. We can create ideas on new institutions, which use participative/continuous democracy, and inspire other movements, communities, ... create new stories. Also related to "innovations".

Silke: Respect for deep dive, strategy thinking needs deep understanding. First european meeting on this, for me a holy space.

Wojtek: From a sociological perspective.. tend to think about cultural resilience, inotherwords, if addressing this issue maybe there is a way forward for commons to create new institutions at the global level.. but it can also been seen as looking towards new sustainable lifestyles.. there is a link between practice and values. Cultural resilience addresses big issues of being trapped in consumer lifestyle..

Heike: returning to original inputs.. we need to think deeply about the conflicts, contradictions, search for a consistent and robust new paradigm means also to talk about coherence. Everybody is trapped in their own silo, and subcultures develop. Here is a chance to use the space, explore commonalities and differences, address faultlines in the logic, fully recognize and articulate them. I thought of the Deep dive as a space to do exactly this. Without such explorations alliance building is going to be a problem.

George: Once something is produced by a community of commoners, it is more likely to be produced for sustainability. Inherently, within this community, this is the notion of economy. There is no interest in changing everything, but in being efficient. Producing in the context of commons can produce synergies between people involved in peer production and in ecological commons.

Frederic: Coming from the digital commons, it is not enough.. it is issue of power not just organisation.. there is a real risk of domination of the technological approach. We need to address ecosystem, all of society has to address this, in exactly the same level we address the other dominant relationship issues (such as gender).. To address techno-aggression..

Silke: We try to put this issue on the agenda again and again. For young people and techno-optimists. "Lets share our creativity" is the sexy idea.. There is great opportunity if we manage to combine these perspectives, both based on sharing. We would like to have a natural resource commoner and a digital commoner on the same panel. I think that a techno-optimist guy is more driven to the liberalist mindset.

Giacomo: I think technological-led mentality, is not based on different political roots, but it is the essence of modern thnking

Stefan: Speaking as a techno-optimist, but not an liberalist. Technology is not a problem, but is a problem of social relationships and purpose. Acting in the context of commodities, it's not a matter of will to decide what to produce. You cannot simply say "I want to do something that doesnt produce much stuff", because you have to fulfill the requirements of the market. This is driven by the monetary logic of markets. Therefore, we should ask ourselves: What is the role of money, where does it come from? How can we organise our commons projects without producing commodities? How can we create/adapt the interface to the alien monetary world in order not to sell products as commodities, but to produce for our own purposes? This is not understood by projects. For example Wikispeed: Their main goal is to sell cars rather than to solve problems of transportation. Or take the Open Source Ecology facing the same danger. Their technology and modularity and DIY approach is great, but not for producing commodities to finance the project. This is a trap. They should use their productive technologies with minimum labour possible for that what's just needed. Another aspect: A huge amount of societal labour produces nothing (about 50%), because it only has to do with dealing with money. It's not only unproductive in the sense of creating our livelihoods, but due to its selfreferencial logic of endless growth it leads us to collapse. We have to reproduce lifehood without the monetary system. We have to clarify the different logics and create the intelligent design of interfaces between both logics. There's a need to decouple the logics of the commons from the logics of money. Not only the P2P producing model but all the other areas of the commons and ecology.

Giacomo: Ellaborates on the role of modernity and also technology. According to Modernity is based on seperation of nature and culture, with nature as the 'bad guy'against which we (the humanity) have to mobilize . To defend oureself (humanity) from this external threat (nature) we canmobilize the technological tools. In doing these instead of reproducing the separation between Nature and Culture we (the meoderns) are contributing the proliferation of hybrid realities (neither simply nature nor simply culture)

Why efficency does not allow for saving energy but waste it? That's the Jevons Paradox: . Increasing efficiency inevitably and paradoxically leads to greater consumption of energy.

If I understood Stefan correctly it is a matter of capitalism and it is not about the nature of human being (as if they wanted more and more and more). On the other hand: What any species does is using a source of energy and use it up until it's spent. (Odum: "Pulsar", as stated in A Prosperous Way Down )

So, there is a biological determinism. The question is: is there a way out of this? Do we have an agency around it, around technology determinsm connected to biologycal determinism?

Brian: Great question: "Is it within the capability of humanity to set limits?" Whether we like it or not, we are going to have to give up things (with energy depletion) Sure we can save energy or materials, but we will need to organise having less 'stuff'.. Irrespective of what we do, we are going to need to give things up. How are we going to manage that process? Speaking of lifeboats, if there is less stuff, there cannot be the basis for the current financial system.. A money system based on debt & growth is destined to eventually implode.. And we need to act.. Can we create a movement for the Commons, a grand narrative throughout society? so that people start to think in the terms of this framework..

Stefan: Capitalism is a system that needs and produces permanent growth, and it isnt possible to stop this without giving up Capitalism. Instead of giving up things, we need to increase our creativity to find alternative models. Lifeboats means for me a new means of creating/producing our livelihood. I strongly disagree with the Latour view about technology. Also with the idea of OS Ecology to produce for the market with very cheap machinery: Technology is a social question, so the commodity form from Capitalism has to change to the commons form. Hegel said: "freedom is to put limits". We're not free and we are not able to say "stop the growth".

David: Two complications to Stefan intervention. We're still looking for the way to exit the market. Second: how to differentiate market activity driven by capital and market activity more generally. How do we break the logic of market? Maybe some logics of the market could be adapted in benign ways..

Marco: The conceptualization of the markets and capitalism from Braudel is more useful maybe. He conceptualizes capitalism as "Antimarket forces", that is a third layer above the market (and what he call material life). It's a layer of concentrated power - connected with states - and which exploits the two inferior layers. However what Braudel says is that market pre-existed to capitalism and exists in any societies. Importance of power relations in the market. f course markets have been largely expanded in Capitalism. But it would be a mistake to coflate the two concepts: capitalism and markets. I think we need to reshape their logics. Not to imagine they are going to disappear or that are necessarily and simply negative as such. Regarding technology, I wouldn't share an idea of ii as a metaphysical entity which goes by itself and uncontrollable. Of course there are big technological systems which deeply condition our lifes. But technology is always entrenched with social conditionings: it doesn't just go by itself. It may be a mistake determinism, as well as consider it the techno-optimistic point of view (sometimes technologies create more problems than solving them). Although I cannot immagine any answer for ecological problems without innovative social and technological systems. I think the "competition" is about innovation, about finding new more efficient solutions - conceptualising efficincy differently from the present dominant way. And key is also creating synergies, complex systems / strategies. Thay are needed as well as unfortunately they are the levels which typically the movements fail to scale.G

Hilary: To continue the argument of thinking about markets in different ways.. Pre-modern markets depended on a certain commons, and their organisation of them.. Maybe commons ways of organising can be applied to the markets. Are there opportunities? One feature at the moment, such as financialisation and climate-change, there is a collapse and loss of creativity.. In terms of energy, there is a considerable flourishing of renewable energy cooperation, outside the capitalist framework. There is much discussion about how to deploy info-network technologies or knowledge commons to support these initiatives. It needs to be coordinated, using markets and non-markets. Is it possible to create a socialised Commons-based market?

Heike: Market logic vs Market place.. refers back to the introductory part of Silke, commons have to re-create commons. Commons have to serve for Commons, and that is where open-source software and hardwares can support.. Which can co-produce for our needs, not for market, via commons based procuction and commons-based markets.

Silke: We have to be careful with our terminology which doesnt confuse all these terms. Perception where liberal-driven p2p production & libre-based software development. Situation of Creative Commons now that have a situation/tension whether to decide more about open/free licenses more aligned with notions of freedom from free software or keep on with licenses allowing non-commercial, non-derivaitve uses, and those more connected to the liberal approach. Our problem is precisely our conception of freedom. Which is tied to individual property. We have not resolved that issue that our freedom depends upon other people's freedom -- and ending the separation between people. It's about the ways we think, act and words we use.

Giacomo: According to Marx, forces of production and unlimited growth, those logics are embedded in the organization of production.

Stefan: My focus in not on who has the power, but how do we produce our livelihoods. Capitalism initiates a logic of unfreedom that eventually traps us. From Communist Manifesto: "The development of each is the precondition for the development of all." This is commons, for me.

The problem with local markets is, that they are embedded in larger markets based on money logics and accumulation. In every epoch, we have different modes of production, but one is dominant and makes the rules. So it's hard to separate "the marketplace" from capitalism.

Brian: A framework-based market and a market-based framework (e.g., neoliberalism). The former is almost exactly the opposite: Before you allow a market to operate at all, you see certain social and ecological parameters -- scale-limits, for example. Similarly, set certain rights as fundamental. I can't imagine a society with no exchange at all; there are bound to be markets. The crucial issue is what sets the framework? I think it is the commons.

Sunday evening themes for working groups

Working Group #1: Commons-based infra-structures to enable the re-creation of the commons

General considerations:

There are two models: public utilities owned infrastructures by the state on one hand, and on the other commons oriented and community owned infrastructures.

Diference between infrastucture and common shared resource.

Whenever there's examples or possibilities of a real P2P infrastructure (mobility, communications, energy) seems llike the first logic rather than using money to interchange with a peer or neighbour, the first chance more "natural" is/would be in terms of favours/goods as the transaction.

What's critical for generating resources:

Platforms / tools Currencies > they are run by communitites but there are legal limits and borders. Licenses > Peer production license: Infrastructures that can enable the commons

How do we deal with big projects: infrastructure like roads, water, communications, etc

Infrastructure economies are often currently in State form. but there are also municipality and community based infrastructures.

Let's try to respond these issues around different infrastuctures, and we should talk about externalities. Also differenciate in relation to commons- based infrastructures the issue of free or under certain type of "payment". Also free but "freemimum" or subscribed services / access.

Minimum claim: whatever infrastucture public or private-public has to have open access to data and content that generates.

Thinks to consider about community owned and/or commons oriented infraestructure:

- social organisation - technical - protocols - legal

Ref: Brett Frischmann, Infrastructure: The Social Value of Shared Resources (Oxford University Press)



Example of the Internet: there's froms servers to channels running from the ocean to provide connectivity to the Internet. as example: independent network, owned by people but also constituted as a foundation so it can dialog with the State and market in order to grow and have access to other infrastuctures. Needs legal assistance to access the Internet. Prepared to reclaim additional spectrum frequency. Also the claim to open your router.

Example of micro-hosting: Trick

social organisation: community owned but also a foundation technical: private owned nodes generating a mesh protocols: generated by individual demand, assisted by community knowledge, empowering local technical work legal: has entity but needs also to enhance

Transport > Mobility

social organisation: Car-pooling, car-sharing, technical: sharing of vehicles based on individual/distributed demand protocols: distributed sharing routes & needs that can be matched legal: priority of shared cars in access to key roads

Another examples: free public transport (since we already pay taxes for it) In Tallinn, which begins free public transport in January 2013: it is free only for registered residents of the city, and not foreigners or visitors from other parts of Estonia. Even if argued that money is saved without salaries of inspectors, there is still necessary control for non-residenidents, and cost of travel pass systems.

Another example: free bicycle networks like Paris or Barcelona, where there are private companies in between the protocol. One important question is the open data about that, the map. Issue of manteinance and repairs (high costs) but also education about the value of the system.

Buildings? > Housing:

Is urban planning an infrastructure? Public spaces. A real example in the way villages used to evolve before urban planning, also the fabelas in Rio. It has to do with soil exploitation. Soil for farming is disappearing. Emergence of urban gardening reclaiming abandoned urban space. Urban growth goes in opposition and "burns" land for recovering its agricultural uses. Eating city: food production in the city space but also city growing erasing that possibility (so a contradiction term).

social/cooperative housing, commune. Examples like Ca La Fou: community owned industrial colony now transformed into low cost housing managed and governed by community (also socio-productive processes in progress):

Food / agriculture / soil:

Public canteens

Land-share: time-short people ask other people to work on the land and share the products Competition between farming and urban planning. However there are examples of empty soil in cities owned privately but managed and worked by communities of practice.

Example: In Italy and Switzerland landscape is recognised as commons. Cultural as heritage or cultural commons, not only then for production of food but "enjoyment". Also example of parts of Central Park in New York under a shared custody from neighbourgs.

social organisation: shared-working of soil, field technical: protocols legal


Examples of co-operatives as providers of electricity (but using the state owned network) which buy and sell power using the state owned infraestructure, like

SMART Grid network which allows transfer of energy a la P2P like the model Jeremy Rifkin is promoting, where individuals can didistribute the extra energy obtained.

P2P energy production and distribution:

Money/resources: Clean water: Education: 3 questions : - what is the scope of the discussion ? - what is an educational system commons based ? - what is an educational system commons oriented ?

Working Group #2: Are the Global Commons actually realisable or not? (Charlotte, Brian, Michael) We don't know much about global commons. What we know is Kyoto, biodiversity convention etc. Many have failed so far. Elinor Ostrom wrote more and more about global commons and urged for olicebtricity - central governing body not realistic. How to organise? Organisation would be very much bound up in the process of getting to it. Not the idea of an utopian way. Process of getting there is problematic. Deep sea, arctic, atmosphere acknowledged. Montreal protocol - global meant as transboundary but not every part of the world. Only if sufficient countries participate, will it work.

People centred global commons? Global citizens coming together and develop a concept and network of policentric relationships. Research shows that people are able to cooperate online like they were never doing in the face to face world.

Process needs to ride on the back of the development of communications technologies. Worries about the rising energy use of communication technologies.

How to build trust in the global commons? How to build trust between huge numbers of people in the internet.

What has worked? Open Source Drug delivery. Crowd source drug research for tropical deseases.

What makes the Global Commons effective? The global citizens are the owners of the trust. They are entitled to the revenue.

Citizen rights also with the ability to go to court. Possibly the indian courts are the best - injunctive. We want stated to ligitimise this very different system.

Will the process have to involve nation states and corporate states.

We agree on 1) a polycentric approach and nested arrangements at different levels. 2) compley process 3) Models to look at

Working Group #:Labour as a commons + Value base of commons-based economy/commons-based society

Labour commons: Care work, solve the problem of externalization of care work, overcoming the split between production and reproduction

Labor: rethink labor care work: informal not paid reproductive work. also commodified and in the public sector what's the future of the care economy?

Giacomo article on paid/unpaid work published this year. care economy is embedded in a different kind of value -- non-utilitarian monetizing these hours of care will simply reinforce the same market logic.

       in catalonia unpaid work is bigger than paid work

Stefan In Germany, two-thirds of time use for unpaid work, and one-third is paid, to achieve the things that need to be done to maintain society. labor is a commons exactly for this reason, maintanance of the worker in the market

       an hour of paid work requires support from other people's time:  an unrecognized commons.

Giacomo: we can reconize this work wthout conflating it into monetrary terms, which obscures other values that are embedded in this space of reciprocity.

but can be reconozied in different ways, for example by rights or by citizen income by money without counting the hours i.e money is in (because basic income is about money) - money-logic is out (because it is not about "earning money based on counting hours)

saki: de-coupling care work from the economy by introducing it into fundamental rights

Hilary: can there be other ways?

Giacomo: transition is about reducing utilitarian space and expand the anti-utilitarian/ reciprocity space

Hilary: can there be other ways? How labor can be differently organized by use value base? challenge labor as exchange value and time of labor Instead of interest and exchange based on market exchange -- or event "needs," which may not adequately express human development -- commons could validate a different set of values.

Silke: Basic income ia easy solution but it doesn't really solve the problem -- because 1) it reinforces the existing gender gap. "Women back to the kitchen and care work." 2) the basic income approach tied to fundamental rights reinforces the public/private dichotomy. So the labor commons de-couples care work from both the money economy and the public sector. 3) Basic income is also "service-providing driven" -- the individual making demands on the state as the social service provider. 4) Finally, basic income doesn't address the inter-subjectivity of care work, which is essential to it.

Danjiela: but still BI is important as a transformative force (Fraser)

Saki: it would be important then to make BI more independent from market funding How could BI become a self sustaining enterprise? Complete dependence on the state leads to crisis, and then people try to figure out a way to produce wealth in a different way. Commons-producing commons has to be central. How could basic income take into account this concern?

Marco: I think to tallk about the reproductive labor and its value challenges the divide between both the private and the public sphere.The public sphere and its borders mark social power. We can discuss if the solution passes trough a reshaped state or through other solutions In any case it talks about and implies a change in the power relationships and a reshpaing of the public (and so of the private) sphere.

David: take commoning more directly as a value productive setting (without putting a price on it)

Giacomo: Basic income is not pricing, a policy based on basic income as a recognition to the "care" work that each of us does (even if there is a gendere balance) to maintain the society in which we live in, it is not pricing the amount of the hour that you put in the system.

Danijela: The income would be based on need, not on market value.

Stefan: What are the values/logics of a commons-based society? How does the economy work and what are the mechanisms that animate it? This is my vision, but not in a concrete manner. The German word, "aufheben" (IPA: [ˈaʊ̯fˌheːbn̩]) has three notions in one: to abolish its existence, preserve it and take it to a new level. The idea of evolution is implicit in it, with continuity. We need to recognize these three meanings: something that needs to be removed; something that needs to be re-arranged; and something that needs to be taken to a new level.

How to start thinking a commons-based society? This can be copied from Marx who did this for capitalism. In capitalism the elementary form is the commodity, which is not a thing or stuff, but a social relation of something we create for our livelihood. It is a way to produce our livelihood, which any society needs to do. We can derive a commons-based economy from the idea of creating a new elementary form. What is this in case of a commons-based society? Simply the commons, it is already there. Because the commons is a social form for producing our livelihood. What the commodity is for capitalism the commons is for a free society.

How does the commons and commodity differ? First, production and consumption are not separated from each other. Second, and more important, the producers themselves are not separated from each other, while in capitalism they are. Capitalism's producers always have to speculate that products will be sold. Producers must transform commodity into money, to buy other commodities that fill their needs. This is an indirect way of satisfying needs. The question, will our needs be satisfying comes AFTER production. Needs do only exist as market demands. Other needs beyond the single product are excluded. Thus, lots of externalities are produced in the process driven only by the motive of making more money from invested money (profit). Since capitalism is based on an exclusivist logic, a negative reciprocity between people is dominant (e.g. between sellers and buyers, between producers as competitors, etc.).

In commons, people's needs come first. Needs exist in a broad variety. Then you have to mediate different, sometimes contrary needs first. Solutions: Don't produce it in the first place. Minimize environmental consequences. Take the needs of all commoners into account. Commons are free to choose among many creative solutions to prevent externalities and still meet problems.

How to generalize these principles to the entire society in the context of our existing society?

Commons as a voluntary activity is not separated in spheres. Old notions of labor do not apply, because spheres of work, leisure, etc. are now integrated. In commons you need your fellow commoner to reach your goal. Thus, there is a positve reciprocity. From Marx: "Development of the individual requires the development of all." This is commons, it is the way that commons function. How to scale this inclusivist logic?

Since not a single commons could serve all personal needs, we would participate in many different commons. They are not on the same flat level, but nested in each other, at all levels. So compared with todays "division of labor" there would be a "division of activity" among different commons. This includes all kinds of activities, which today exist in separated spheres. In the sense of the triple meaning of the notion "aufheben", some activities (previously done through labor) would no longer be done because it's not necessary or a waste. Other activities will be maintained, and a bunch of new activities will be increased or added, especially those which have to do with repairing the global damages of capitalism.

A commons-based society can promise better lives, because the effort waste of running a monetary sphere is unnecessary. There is no longer a need to navigate in the paid/unpaid or productive/reproductive division. So what do we do is: We live. This everyday living has at the same time productive and usage aspects, so that the only question is, how the results of human and commons productivity come to the places where they are needed. New technologies, especially the internet can help a lot solving this requirement of social and communicative mediation. Needs can be met through online mediation. Freed from market imperatives, one has plenty of time to deal with really important questions.

We should try to eliminate money as a driving force behind commodity production & profit. This is not possible today, because money is still needed. But we should try to de-couple the external logic of money from the internal logic of commons. This means de-coupling giving and taking (exchange) and enabling a positive reciprocity via inclusion and trust (people related to each other, trust, cooperation theory). Versus negative reciprocity of capitalism.

CSAs as a model. Example: Garden Cooperative Freiburg: Instead of selling (which means poorer people still have to pay the same as rich people), a CSA does a bidding process to raise sums to meet necessary costs. If costs not met, a second round. If monetary or other contributions are secured, then production takes place. Lots of activities are result of contributions of the cooperative members (e.g. transportation using "cargo-bikes"). On the taking part of the de-coupled exchange, the users frist were too shy to really take the vegetables according to their needs. We have to unlearn that giving and taking is calculation; we have to learn how to act from our needs, to "undo capitalism" as internalized.

Giacomo: Marx principle of "from each according to his/her abilities to each one according hiis/her needs...."

Two problems I see in this speculation about future commons based society: 1) the presumption that we will reach a consensus on all the problems we will face, indeed Stefan never mention a votation and exclude in any case the use of money, two tools that we use when we want mediate. 2) the technocratic adrift of this kind of society that entrust a good technician to solve the complicated problems


Next/Other Issues:

Left for a future occasion..

Power relations and/in the gender commons Can finance, banks be co-managed as commons, public institutions? Are global commons practically realisable or an impossible dream?

Monday morning session

Alliance building around the commons

Silke: alliance building as part of an ongoing process of opening spaces/ enabling structures for commoning among people/ activists/ scientists etc. from different communities and political cultures the deep dive are along that track, ECC will be another moment - but we cannot predefine/ not even preview the outcome

Andrew: The role of art and culture has often involved raising questions and imaginations (rather than necessarily solving problems), aswell as and explore experimental and emerging practices. The combination of Free-libre Open Source software (FLOSS) culture + artists + activists is, from experience of Pixelache Helsinki + network: has demonstrated an example of cultural activity, knowledge commons, and environmental issues coming together.. But it is a gradual process, that takes many steps. How can I encourage my peers to develop the Commons network? How can this culture field help in advancing the commons? Different ways of communicating, presenting and sharing experiences are important.

Brian: What is an enabling framework? A set of services that resolves (potential) conflicts, realizes synergies, and takes account of the l context in identifying commons opportunities and responding to threats. Also, the enabling framework helps nurture a sense of shared identity and purpose. It would be helpful if the Berlin conference could help with these tasks -- enabling and facilitating. "Horizontal with" commoners rather than "over them."

Silke: Should we do like the free software movement did: just enabling our own infrastructures for commoning?

Enric: The strategy depend on the target group and the need of the commoners. Identify two or three needs and then go that way.

Davids: Ecosystem model instead of a grand overview model.

Fred: How can we do the connections between the cells of this ecosystem? The infrastructes should be neutral to reach universality.

George: aggregate a sense of commons projects and help build awareness of diverse projects with each other. Clearinghouse / connecting function. Formalize meetings that could lead to strategic discussions. Need to discuss commons strategies at a higher level, at least regionally or even at government levels or EU level. This is necessary for oranizing a more effective strategy in the future.

Giacomo: My question: What do we as a group expect from new research on commons and democracy (an EU research project that may get funding)? What would be useful for this project to produce?

Heike: Different layers needed... There is a project in germany mapping the commons. Experiences of mapping or indexing initiatives so agents can identify what's going on, who's doing similar things, etc. High risk of the discourse being hijacked if not being clear, avoiding confusion, need to foster a deeper understanding of what the commons means.

George: The problem is that the commons means different things for different people. The word will be used as "socialism," "Christianity" or "love." Already happening. We have to deal with that -- with each one of us, to begin with. Need to "develop our identities" as commoners, in a way. And each of us will have to balance our internal "schizophrenia" about commons & existing political world.

Michael: Implicit theories of change being discussed here. We need to focus on this issue. Especially on our weaknesses, such as in managing global commons. Agreed: not about central strategy-making but "open spaces" to think about long-term strategy better. Story-telling can help bring the ideas about the commons forward and reach more people (other movements doing such stories, e.g. futur2).

Andrew: Cooperative movement has done some of this, for example:

Herve: Not all activists in free software movement are aware they are building new commons -- but they are. People are doing what they need. So they build new software commons without evening thinking that they are building new software commons. Perhaps an associated foundation to help encourage this self-awareness. We need to be aware of this ambiguity (awareness or non-awareness of commons building).

Creative Commons is an enabler of commoning. Build enabling structures and build informal network that is focused on meeting its own needs and not necessarily on changing the world. We should see us as a think tank for building a new narrative, for spreading information about actions of commons groups. Libre Savoir, French book on free culture, etc, was published two years ago -- but only now is it becoming more popular.

Larry: Agree that we need an enabling network, but who is to be enabled? We should guard against assuming that we already know the answer. It should probably be to enable *different* sorts of groups to bring about a shared recognition of the common purpose.

Many different struggles are revolving around same causes (money, market logic, etc.) and face the same questions. E.g., Yasuni and payment for ecological debt & basic income & care work debate. Not payment or commodification of/for services/care. What would enable these three debates to be joined together in such a way that they could talk to each other. Arrange a meeting among these three different advocacy communities?

SIlke: Hijacking of commons is unavoidable. Carolina Botero from Latin America says that commons is the only alternative narrative out there, as seen by WSJ and Rio+20. People need to sit down an re-frame their own discourses in a commons perspective. Reliance on commons perspective already, from their own perspective. Maybe what we need are not commons structures, but commons spaces.

Fred: We are facing different needs at the same time. Move commons is a good example which already exists and can act as a common reference point. Or: free software, communia, la quadrature du net, etc. At the same time we need to think around the massification of the deep dive, inlcuding the perspective of having diversity of views, contradictionsl, etc. To "host" them is also necessary, rather than "evangelize". How do we manage the agenda of the struggles, from OUR perspectives?

Hillary: Who are we enabling? Community is in the making and the discourse is in the making -- both simultaneously. Which is why we have to guard against evangelizing. Struggles against privatization and redefining the state can produce some connections to the commons. How can we open up tools of communiation.

David: We're in the business of discourse-building. Enabling connections. Building new circuits.

Saki: Eager to contribute on concrete, strategic level in the future. European Charter of the Commons:

Heike: Recognizing or re-discovering the commons in the West/North reconnects with the stuggles for defending the commons in the south.


Saki: Wonderful opportunity to meet people working on the same topic. I learned a tremendous amount, made interesting contacts. A project I have been working for the last year is European Charter on the Commons, a voter initiative. Some 30 meetings about the topic, but the initiative is somewhat stalled. Contents of charter is still open to discussion and change.

Andrew: A lot of work in figuring out how artists, designers, cultural workers/producers & activists can contribute to commoning. How to focus energies and spread word of commons? Andrew adds extra note: Saki & other Italians present shared example of Teatro Valle in Rome. See 'Occupy the Commons' documentary: Commons Group in Helsinki recently started: We should try to initiate/maintain connections & strategies with other groups in Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, France.. & encourage peers/others in Sweden, Poland, NW Russia & Baltic states to also develop interest groups.. Maybe make Grundtvig application to support mobility & learn from on-the-ground experience Start/invigorate International Commons Day? Silke: There have been some efforts in this regard, for example..World Commons Day on October 15 Inspiration from distributed self-organised campaigns, for example EarthHour: | Restaurant Day: | or World Cleanup/Lets Do it World!:

Larry: There should be more meetings like this. CornerHouse has been involved in commons for 20 years, but we've been wary about evangelizing about it and about possible cooptation.


Silke: Sharing the insights of the working groups.

Infrastructure group

Our own infrastructure as commons vs. common public utility (electricity, communication, etc.) -- as well as general infrastructures/public utilities. What are the commons of urban planning?

Silke: I thought, that the group discussed the issue of technological infrastructure / platforms as commons based infrastructures (as opposed to hierarchichally controled infrastructures).

Enric: Sometimes difficult to to distinguish between infrastructure and CPRs. P2P sharing with community-owned infrastructure vs. money/market-based infrastructure

Example of in Catalonia. Completely community-owned; resilient; independent of Internet infrastructure (although connected to it).

Car-pooling and car-sharing of needs/offers of mobility with interactive coordination. Community-owned farming. Energy & electricity -- via coops, e.g. and interactive membership, not mere customers.

       --P2P network of electricity sharing (vs. cooperative model), as proposed by Rifkin       

George: The design should of the infrastructures should change itself, because the infrastructure reflects the mode of production.

Fred: Need to take care that instrastructure could also be tool of control

Silke: "design is law"

Herve: I have a long lasting relation with farmers movement. We usually look for the analogs in the digital world as a way to imagine new solutions-- but we have to deal with the real world problems on their own terms, such as the availability of arable ground as cities use more land. Besides the digital world we also have to look at the biological sphere, where DRM technologies are going to be applied.

Group on the global commons discourse

Brian: Most ideas about global commons involve international treaties and inter-governmental processes. But they are failing. What might be look to? Polycentricism is one concept. consensus: "You can't wait for the big guys to solve the problem you have to go on at your own" (Ostrom). Principles of what they want to achieve are "sneaked into the back door of governments" (example: WTO) - I am not suggesting we should do the same thing. Red Cross as an example of a citizen initiative later ratified by national governments via the Geneva Convention. A precedent that we might look to. Global knowledge commons on the commons? Can we create commons about ecological limits at the planetary level? Much more difficult to do -- and in any case, are they necessary? No question that they are. We need enforceable physical limits on what carbon can be emitted into atmosphere. Otherwise, someone else can emit. So there HAS to be some global governance. How to achieve? Despite skepticism, we have to try. Otherwise, we're toast.

Charlotte: Necessity of nested arrangement of governance. No centralized global power to manage things. A network of networks working together to connect different levels of work. Must be concerted efforts to build network of networks with a focus on knowledge sharing, esp. among local, regional and larger levels. I'm not aware of any website that does that. Perhaps local and regional representatives of commons are needed.

Michael: The idea of a constitutional process as example of a process where social society at a global level can join, connected to the ideas of the commons.

Group on labour as a commons and new narrative of a commons-based society

Giacomo: Two discussions: labor as a commons, and a vision of what a commons-based society might look like. No consensus around the basic income issue, but the narrative of the future of a common-based society had it (consensus).

Silke: Challenging the basic income concept. In the commons production and reproduction is blurred. Conceptionally basic income is not a way out. The narrative we tried to share was based on principles of consensus and commons-based production of livelihoods. But not everyone in the group agreed on the premises of the narrative.

Giacomo: Stefan suggeste to use activity instead of labour in the future commons based society We use the word activity instaed of the word labour .

David: Intersubjectivity as a driving force in a commons economy

Hilary: Labor can be seen as creativity (outside of the market) -- which raises questions of "governace" in terms of how we help creativity flourish. What institutional forms should we be arguing for? Re Stefan's model, we may need to explore the possibilities of commons-based markets -- because market activity may continue to be socially useful. Coops as a solution?

Stefan: We need to go more deeply into this question. The point is: How do we organize the bringing of "production" to "consumption." Should we go on to use the word "market" for it? Or -- as with the debate of labor vs. activity -- do we find another language (e.g. using the rather complicated word "mediation")?


Giacomo: Tension between discussion as being too theoretical vs. more practical. Need to share more about our specific biography and circumstances in moving the commons forward. This can then reinforce the theoretical discussion & help lessen the tension between the theoretical and specific.

Brian: Many new ideas; stimulating. Identity of the commons is a big issue here. What defines us as a movement? Or ARE we a movement? Missing: the context in which the commons are evolving, and the way in which the world outside is evolving -- and the relationship between the two.

Charlotte: Conceive of this as a network of networks. Need clear invitation to those who are information-gathering to participate. Website with inclusive definition of commons, but not a rigid definition, but rather tendencies/principles. I hope this network actively engages scholars and researchers. Need to learn more this sort of information. Partner with IASC, if it survives. Its international diversity could be helpful.

Michael: I've learned about digital/nondigital discussion, and larger discussion about what commons are. Whole idea of enabling framework and connecting movements around the idea of the commons as my work. I work with people who want to develop deeper economic change -- and "Widening Circles' initiative that seeks to develop global citizen movement. Would like to link these groups interested in systemic change with commons. How to do this?

Hilary: The challenge is like a huge jigsaw puzzle -- a searching for alternatives from many different places. There is already "a plan" for a puzzle, and we're trying to find it. In our case, there is no plan. Need for connections without a central body. So I'm not concerned about whether or not it's a "movement." It's a matter of connecting points, but with shared values. Need to intensify the exchanges, not simply to densify the process in order to create new ideas & new ways of governing and doing. What are the connections that I can facilitate to feed back to the commons?

Wojtek: Agree with puzzle metaphor. My curiosity is now more focused. Let's get as concrete as possible. I'd like to work on strengthening the identity of the commons. My role would be to explain in a lucid way what commons could be, to people who don't know anything about it. The pragmatic challenges of this task.

Enric: Commons think tank or institution could be useful. This has kind of happened here. This will be useful to me in my work. Need for this ongoing function.

George: I perhaps had false expectation to expect clear structural outcomes from these meetings. Still, it would be useful to identify a few select priorities for our agenda, perhaps related to certain enclosures, no more than 3-5 things. How can we claim our rights and move forward on commons themes? At this line, we need to come together. Do this at the regional level -- to enable commoners to work.


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