Scholar of networked behavior David Ronfeldt has proposed an idea whose time may have arrived: let’s create a new federated network of commons enterprises called the “Chamber of Commons.” The term is a wonderful wordplay on the more familiar group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the notoriously reactionary business lobby.
A federation to help advance the commons paradigm and projects is a timely idea, especially in international circles and localities that enjoy a critical mass of commons projects. We’ve already seen in digital spaces the value of mutual assistance rendered by various cyber-tribes to each other (free software hackers, free culture/Creative Commons advocates, open-access scholarly journals, Wikipedians, etc.). There are inevitable tensions and disagreements, of course, but everyone has far more in common than the differences that separate them, and all sorts of innovations erupt.
So why not a similar loose (or formal) federation of commons projects? It would be especially exciting if a chamber of commons could begin to span the cultural barriers that divide digital and natural resource commoners, not to mention international political boundaries. It would be great to create a common space for academic commoners and practitioner communities to build bridges, and also those involved in mainstream politics and those in “outside the system” advocacy. Michel Bauwens of the P2P Foundation has proposed a similar set of federations of commons projects at the civic/institutional, economic and regional levels.