The third year of our presence in Heraklion we chose to organize a two day event with title “Developing collaborative structures for the Commons”. For this we invited members from two internationally renowned projects, the FLOK society project and the Cooperativa Integral Catalana.
For the collective management of common resources
Counting two successful festivals in Heraklion, Crete, this year the 3rd CommonsFest moves to Athens and will take place 15-17th of May at the Greek Archaeologists Association, Ermou 134, Thisio.
For the past few years a particularly dynamic, global Commons movement has been emerging in various aspects of social life. It claims new definitions of value, in both economic and philosophical terms, restructuring the public sphere such that collective action may walk side by side with personal autonomy.
The Commons are systems of governance of all that we have inherited or co-produce. They constitute practical cases of collaboration and participation, for the management of various resources, with an aim to satisfy human needs, beyond the mechanisms of state and market. Not only with regard to natural resources, which we are morally obliged to deliver unaltered to future generations, but also with regard to collaborative creations that are common property: from arts, knowledge and science, to software and the Internet.
In crisis-hit Greece, the Commons constitute a new organizational and action paradigm, offering inspiration to various groups that are driven to act in a self-organized manner.
CommonsFest shows us how we can create the world we want, within the world we want to exceed!
The 3rd CommonsFest will host community practices, experiences and artifacts, as well as discussions on how to expand the Commons as a sustainable model for addressing human needs. Participating communities, social movements and emerging social economy stakeholders will explore synergies, enhance networks, and chart a common course towards empowering the Commons.
The Festival includes 40 speeches from scientists, activists and movement representatives active in free software, open and participative knowledge, natural building and common urban spaces, as well as from initiatives that adopt peer-to-peer production, self-management and self-organization practices, such as Peliti, VIOME, the 136 water initiative, the Elliniko and Thessaloniki social clinics and hackerspace.gr
CommonsFest 2015 will also host the founder of the free software movement Richard Stallman, and the economists Massimo de Angelis and Pat Conaty.
It will further host 12 workshops and discussions on specialized subjects, such as security and privacy on the Internet, currency reform, urban commons practices and the role of women in the Commons.
Last, but not least, the Festival will host an exhibition of community artifacts based on open design principles, free software and open knowledge.
The festival ends daily with live hip-hop, rock and folk music.
Entrance is free.
You can find the detailed festival program here:
http://commonsfest.info/ Continue reading CommonsFest 2015 Press Release
Massimo De Angelis (Italy) is Professor of Political Economy at the University of East London. He is author, most recently, of The Beginning of History: Value Struggles and Global Capital, and editor of The Commoner web journal, at http://commoner.org.uk.
CF – Throughout its evolution capital has developed elaborate processes of circulating / accumulating its social power. What could be the ways for commons’ communities to circulate / accumulate social counter – powers and challenge the domination of capital in the 21st century?
Massimo – This is a key issue, obviously. Capital has three key interrelated means to expand or at least maintain its social power: enclosures, the violent or devious expropriation of community resources; accumulation (based on abstract labour and exploitation) and governance, that pertains to the hierarchical managerial function of capital, whether in the sites of production or social production (the state). Correspondingly, the commons have also three main interrelated moments constituting its social power. The communalisation of resources and their turning into common wealth; commoning, or the autonomous social cooperation that strive to horizontality and auto determination of goals; and the collective democratic process of their governance.
AEGILOPS – Network for Biodiversity and Ecology in Agriculture
The painful experience of the financial crisis, as experienced today millions of people around
the world, Europe and Greece also, revealed the fact of challenging of our common goods:
Challenging the access and free use (benefit) of common goods,- unchallenged until
recently – of paramount importance for our life such as food, water, health, education, work
What precedes this challenge is usually their methodical depreciation and what follows after
is the final manipulation, control and their privatization. To their depreciation contribute
often misleading scientific “evidence”, attractive novel substitutes and the shift in
consuming. On the other hand, to their privatization, assist legal and other financial
commitments which multinational companies and market economy key stakeholders impose
on states and citizens through globalization and dominance of the financial system.
Agriculture recently invited to play an essential role in the survival of people in the middle
of crisis and contribute with primitive values and its functionality to the production of
sufficient, safe and quality food, accessible to all. Water, plant genetic resources (seeds and
varieties), soil fertility, traditional and scientific knowledge/ management experience are
part of the universal common goods of strategic importance for agriculture. Citizens’
movements after the Green Revolution (and the devastating consequences on biodiversity,
ecosystem health, diet quality and natural resources), demonstrated the global awareness
on protecting and defending common goods of agriculture. The promotion of organic
farming, the blocking of genetically modified organisms, the protection of traditional
varieties and quality of water is only part of the demands imposed by the citizens of Europe
to their parliaments in recent decades.
Efforts of manipulation and control of common goods are apparent today and citizens’
movements are facing new challenges. The proposed revision of the European regulation on
seeds, although been rejected due to reaction of citizens, showed the industry’s appetites
towards seed market and will definitely come back. The legalization of GMO cultivation in
Europe, the forthcoming transatlantic agreement dragging states to court by multinationals,
unscrupulous gold mining industry swallowing virgin forests and the water privatization
efforts is today’s reality. A rain of propaganda and slandering of movements, arrests andthreats are what have been experienced by those who defended vigorously common goods
and the future of their children.
For the most of farmers of our country, unfortunately, the commons of agriculture is of
lower priority. In farmers’ blocks every February are missing demands for the freedom of
seed, and self management in spite of the rich tradition of the peasant movement in our
country. Adherence to subsidies and monocultures, the emphasis on agriculture under
contracts and persistence in Pharaonic project of the diversion of Acheloos river to plains
indicate the priorities of today’s agricultural world. Despite the strong seed movement in
Greece, the vast majority of farmers still winks at hybrids, intensive crops, subsidies and
contracts with industry. The agrobiotechnology lobby produces knowledge to appease public
opinion and attractive incentives for farmers. Water contractors roam the country and covet
local authorities and political power. How do we respond to this reality?
It is time to recover and cooperate. It is not enough only to denounce and protest. At the
same time, we must strengthen our management capacity, improve our ability and become
more effective. We must create a new reality. Not enough to gather seeds, we must learn to
utilize them to address climate change and produce seeds of freedom. Not enough to stop
laws. We must know how to propose new ones. Let’s stop the propaganda and knowledge of
perjurer scientists. Let’s create our experience, utilizing the traditional knowledge
management and encouraging young scientists to serve the common goods. Let’s try to
introduce organic farming in the valleys now, not only in the mountains. Let’s make
intermediaries useless and safeguard water. Let’s make agriculture again the mother of all
arts. Mother of our common goods.