Commons: Discovering Similarities and Initiating Beginnings

„Today, we find ourselves at the beginnings of a new way. We don’t know exactly where it will take us, but we already know its promise. And its name: the commons.“

This is how the Berliner Gazette-Team summarizes its insights of the UN|COMMONS Conference, which took place from October 22 to 24 in Berlin. While reading their text (with the pretty suitable title „trial and error“), I realized that they came up with an excellent description of our trials as Commons Strategies Group, as networkers, authors and editors of international anthologies on the commons:

„Most importantly we learned that it is all about initiating beginnings. This can for instance mean acknowledging as well as mapping alternatives or redefining top down concepts such as “the economy”, opening elitist practices that are of eminent importance to civil society or turning leaks into public records, but also reclaiming what has been stolen from us and politicizing communities that operate in grey zones. Many of such beginnings are not networked among each other, many of them take place without the awareness of working towards the commons. Therefore our major task is to make visible those beginnings as a shared project and to contextualize them inside the grand narrative of the commons.“ (my emphasis)

That, in essence, is the bottom line of Wealth of the Commons and Patterns of Commoning.

We put Rosa Luxemburg and Fab Lab stories into one and the same book, we try to make similarities visible between Open Source Hardware projects and struggles to reclaim common land, and while doing so we hopefully contribute to connect them, as they are all concrete expressions of  TAPAs – There Are Plenty of Alternatives. All different, all trying out new ways within mostly commons-unfriendly environments, but all based on some common core beliefs. And putting them all together while keeping an eye on the bottom line, i.e. the aspiration for a Free, Fair & Sustainable society – yes, the three at once – suggests…

„that anything out there could be our commons, if we collectively set out to struggle for it – and never stop.“

… as the Berliner Gazette Team writes. Have a look at photos and watch a video that brings together voices from the UN|COMMONS Conference.
> video player (8 min.)
> photo album

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