Commons Movement Is Spreading Throughout Greece

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= a May 13, 2014 report from Vasilis Kostakis on the occasion of the CommonsFest 2014 (May 9-11) in Heraklion, Crete:


Vasilis Kostakis:

"Greece. A country in deep crisis. The promise of the Commons seems to embody the hopes and dreams of a multitude in search of an alternative, sustainable future. For the past few years, we have been witnessing a surge of Commons-fuelled activity: Projects, workshops and festivals explicitly focused on Commons-oriented ideas and practices are taking place throughout Greece.

The most recent, and maybe one of the most famous events is that of the Commonsfest, which was held for a second successive year in Crete, May 9-11. Through exhibitions, talks, screenings and workshops, the aim of this crowd-funded festival was to illustrate that the philosophy that has emerged from free software and open content communities actually extends to many aspects of our daily lives.

The key contribution of the Commonsfest has been to bring together, for the first time,  so many components of the Commons movement (from open knowledge/hardware communities to initiatives for open health and sustainable farming) and raise awareness amongst them. They had the chance to meet, talk and learn from each other with the aim to create the seed of a larger movement. The oncoming “declaration for the protection and the strengthening of the Commons” (soon to be published in Greek and, then, be translated into other languages) conducted by the Commonsfest participants is a crucial stepping stone towards the aforementioned goal.

As we write in a collaborative book recently published in Greek, the vision for a Commons-oriented economy and society in Greece is arguably feasible because of five main characteristics:

i) the extensive micro-ownership of land and other forms of capital;

ii) the existing solidarity networks;

iii) the rebirth of the cooperative movement;

iv) the urgent need for rebuilding the economy;

v) the decentralized networks of islands which offer a unique case study for commoning our energy production and distribution.

Crossing the sea from the island of Crete (where the Commonsfest took place) through the Greek mainland (see the initiatives for open knowledge/design/internet/hardware/health in major Greek cities) up to the mountains (for instance, see projects for communal internet or seed Commons), thousands of passionate hobbyists,  scholars and activists are constantly creating the world they dream, within the fragmented world they want to transcend. And for the time being, the endless list of the Commons-oriented, creative projects show us that a sustainable solution to such a deep crisis can only be collaborative."