Insurgent Power of the Commons

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* Book: FREE, FAIR AND ALIVE. The Insurgent Power of the Commons. By Silke Helfrich and David Bollier.



1. Oikos:

"Whether it are people establishing an energy cooperative, a cohousing project or taking care of a public park, our society is full of positive initiatives. In these commons, people work together to produce or manage what they find valuable and want to take care of, on the basis of their own decided rules. They take the future in their own hands and show that next to state and market, commons are a third essential way of organizing things in society.

How these new wave of commons can contribute to a sustainable society is an urgent question. It is at the heart of the new book of Silke Helfrich (D) and David Bollier (US), of which we are proud to present the English version in Brussels. The book, realized with the support of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, reads as a cultural critique, a table-pounding political treatise, and practical playbook for commoning!" (

2. From the publisher:

"From co-housing and agroecology to fisheries and open-source everything, people are increasingly using "commoning" to emancipate themselves from a predatory market-state system.

Free, Fair, and Alive presents a foundational re-thinking of the commons — the self-organized social system that humans have used for millennia to meet their needs. It offers a compelling vision of a future beyond the dead-end binary of capitalism versus socialism that has almost brought the world to its knees.

Written by two leading commons activists of our time, this guide is a penetrating cultural critique, table-pounding political treatise, and practical playbook.

Highly readable and full of colorful stories, coverage includes:

  • Internal dynamics of commoning
  • How the commons worldview opens up new possibilities for change
  • Role of language in reorienting our perceptions and political strategies
  • Seeing the potential of commoning everywhere.

Free, Fair, and Alive provides a fresh, non-academic synthesis of contemporary commons written for a popular, activist-minded audience. It presents a compelling narrative: that we can be free and creative people, govern ourselves through fair and accountable institutions, and experience the aliveness of authentic human presence."