[Commons-research] "the commons is the basis of society" / School of Commoning / Campaign for Commons Literacy
george at community-intelligence.com
Tue Aug 23 14:23:43 EDT 2011
Hello fellow commoners around the world!
It¹s a bit longish message to give you a sense and background to the work of
the recently launched School of Commoning and its Campaign for Commons
1. THE COMMONS IS THE BASIS OF SOCIETY
If you¹re not in the UK you may not be aware of an important development: a
new stream of public conversations (in print and electronic media) is
bringing the ³commons as the basis of good society² into the awareness of
larger number of people than ever before. I found that phrase in the
following, not less inspiring context.
> ³Ethical socialism argues that change created by the uncontrolled forces of
> destroys both the commons and the individual¹s capacity for self-realisation.
> These commons¹ include the common life, common good, common law, common
> wealth, the commons of the earth, ecosystems of flora and fauna, public
> spaces, knowledge, cultures and living matter.
> The commons is the basis of society, which is the connection of individuals to
> one another and the recognition of their interdependency. It is expressed in
> culture as a way of life.² -- Blue Labour blog, 15 May 2011
That is a philosophical statement about the Commons, which we, at the School
of Commoning, fully resonate with. I think the upcoming conference of the
British Labour Party (in Liverpool, 25-29 Sept) will give Blue Labour a
chance to go beyond being a movement of thought inspired by a group of
public intellectuals, and become an emergent platform for the
self-organisation of collective action inspired by and for the commons.
(Whether it will take that chance is yet to see.)
Some of you on this list may a have different sense of what the commons is,
which may not be resonant with what Blue Labour means by that. Just to make
clear, we intend to open conversation with them not because we are enamored
by party politics but because not being in dialogue with any group speaking
of the Commons as the basis of good society, would be missing an opportunity
to strengthen the broader movement for profound social change.
Our favourite sense of the commons is the one that Silke Helfrich gave in
her interview at the 1st International Commons Conference: ³The Commons is
building social relationships in such a way that all those things we need to
reproduce our livelihood will be shared in a fair way, and managed in a
That definition, along with the following one by Wikipedia, inspires our
work at the School of Commoning: ³The commons is the social and political
space where things get done and where people have a sense of belonging and
have an element of control over their lives, providing sustenance, security
and independence. It gives voice to civil society and helps us to learn new
social practices, imagine a political, economic and social system beyond
capitalism or communism. It is beyond party politics or other sectarian
beliefs and practices.²
2. SCHOOL OF COMMONING
The School Commoning (SoC) is a London-based group of commons education,
established last May under UK law, as a Community Interest Company. I¹m one
of its co-founders. Its Advisory Board includes James Quilligan, Leo Burke,
and Michel Bauwens.
The current purpose of the School of Commoning and its Commons Literacy
Campaign is two-fold to benefit society, by enhancing individual and
collective competences in the creation, protection, and governance of
commons. That purpose will, most likely, be refined, as our work unfolds and
touches with the work of others in the commons movement in the UK and
The School launched, on 18th August, the Campaign for Commons Literacy. The
Campaign¹s immediate aim is to organise two side events at the Labour Party
conference on the 27th and 28th Sept. They will be the Managing Local and
Global Commons¹ leadership seminar and The Art of Commoning¹ workshop. The
first will be lead by James Quilligan; the second will be facilitated by the
SoC team, including me.
The leadership seminar is designed to reach politicians, civil servants,
academics, public intellectuals, and anybody grappling with the complex
interrelatedness of the three forces of social organising and production:
Market, State, and Commons. The Commoning workshop is designed to reach
community organisers, social workers, student activist, members and
facilitators of land-based and digital commons.
You can read more about the School here: http://www.schoolofcommoning.com/
3. CAMPAIGN for COMMONS LITERACY
To make our two educational offers in Liverpool possible, we launched a
crowdfunded Campaign for Commons Literacy. See:
http://www.indiegogo.com/CommonsCampaign . Whether we will have the means to
go the Conference, rent the rooms, and pay the related expenses, depends on
all of you who appreciate the importance of our work and is willing to
support it with donation (of even a small amount) and spreading the word
about the Campaign in you networks. If you¹d consider it, please click on
the link above to read the more detailed description of the Campaign and
watch its video.
You can also support the Campaign for Commons Literacy by sharing this
message, including your personal thoughts, with your friends, colleagues and
communities you are working with, and suggesting them to get involved.
in solidarity for the Commons,
on behalf of the School of Commoning team
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Commons-research