Commons for Peace as a Anti-Enclosure Movement

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James Quilligan:

"The challenge now for those who recognize the importance of Commons for Peace (C4P) is to define security as non-closure: the rolling back of new or existing property enclosures which deny the rights of people to their means of livelihood and welfare.

Government and market enclosures remove people from their sources of living wealth and sustenance, leading to failed commons and the potential for resource conflict and armed intervention. Proponents of human security, unlike commons activists, have generally not opposed state enclosure laws or privatization. This is probably the sharpest difference now between human security and the commons. Yet there is much common ground: both fields agree on devolving power to local communities and the non-interference of outside forces. They converge on the creation of locally chartered agreements for the protection of civilians and their common goods, encouraging communities to flourish through legitimate local management. They also agree that peace itself is a social and cultural good, which must be locally managed and shared.

As a democratic movement, Commons for Peace would defend the social protests that emerge from the destruction of a commons—or from any form of external control that does not promote life, human dignity, security and peace. Socially chartered agreements for the local production and management of commons are won through hard-fought but peaceful negotiations to protect them from enclosure, overuse and deterioration. This means safeguarding a community’s sources of survival, sustenance and well-being by resisting abusive interference, whether domestic or foreign. C4P would speak for a third sector of popular will—the powerful force of people who are infuriated by losing not only the benefits of access, use, production and governance of their commons, but also the safety and security which only this natural and social capital can offer. The indignation of C4P must be focused through the determination of communities to reclaim their commons non-violently and redefine the boundaries of resource domains threatened by further enclosure and exploitation.

Neither human security nor the commons are concepts currently recognized in mainstream society. All the more reason that these fields should join forces. C4P would demonstrate that human rights, poverty, disease, food, health, education, political participation and the peaceful management of resource conflict can no longer be separated from the commons. Indeed, nothing is more vital to the peace and security of individuals and communities across the world today than the long-term preservation of their commons." (

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