We hope the film Re-imagine the Future provoked your interest in exploring its themes more deeply. The quest to build attractive, functional alternatives to the world ordained by neoliberal economics is, in fact, growing. A kaleidoscope of innovations around the world is showing that the market and state are not the only players. A burgeoning Commons Sector is emerging and starting to flourish.
This webpage is a portal into the growing world of system-change activism, experimentation, legal and policy innovation, academic research and political analysis. Consider these links an invitation to enter into this world yourself. After all, the answers are not going to come from somewhere else; they have to start with us, personally and locally, and expand outward. We need to re-imagine the future.
What is the Commons?
Key Commons Websites
Digital Library of the Commons
International Association for the Study of Commons
International Journal of the Commons
Maps in the Spirit of the Commons
Sustainable Economies Law Center
Activists/Thinkers Concerned about System Change
Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment
Schumacher Center for a New Economy
Notable Movements (an incomplete list)
Transition Towns, US / Transition Network
Social and Solidarity Economy (in French)
Indigenous Peoples / First Peoples Worldwide
Climate Change / Climate Action Network
Community Empowerment: Democracy Collaborative / Institute for Local Self-Reliance / Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund / Movement Generation
25 Significant Commons Projects
Alaska Permanent Fund and other stakeholder trusts
Berkshares and alternative currencies
Bologna Regulation for the Care and Regeneration of Urban Commons
Enspiral: social enterprise with shared vision and values
Farm Hack: open source farm equipment
Guifi.net (Spain): community wifi
HowlRound, a knowledge commons by and for the theater community
Customary land commons in Africa
Open access scholarly journals
Potato Park (Peru)
System of Rice Intensification, open source agronomy for rice
….and countless other examples. See Patterns of Commoning and the Digital Library on the Commons.
Books and Essays
Peter Barnes, Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons
David Bollier: Think Like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Commons
--- “Commons as a Paradigm for Social Transformation” (Next System Project, April 2016).
-- and Silke Helfrich, editors, The Wealth of the Commons: A World Beyond Market and State (Levellers Press, 2012).
Fritjof Capra and Ugo Mattei, The Ecology of Law: Toward a Legal System in Tune with Nature and Community (Berrett-Koehler, 2015).
Commons Strategies Group, “State Power and Commoning: Transcending a Problematic Relationship” (June 2016).
Giacomo D’Alisa et al., Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era (Routledge, 2014).
Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation (Autonomedia, 2004).
Lewis Hyde, Common as Air: Revolution, Art and Ownership (Farrar Straus, 2011).
---- , The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World (Vintage, 1983/2007)
Peter Linebaugh: The Magna Carta Manifesto: Liberty and Commons for All (University of California Press, 2008).
Mary Mellor, Debt or Democracy: Public Money for Sustainability and Social Justice (Pluto Press, 2016).
Elinor Ostrom, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Cambridge University Press, 1990).
Douglas Rushkoff, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity (Portfolio, 2016)
Derek Wall, The Sustainable Economics of Elinor Ostrom: Commons, Contestation and Craft
Films & Videos
The Promise of the Commons (2013). 50 minutes. Focuses on natural resources commons in the global South, with special attention to land grabbing and land rights in India, Nepal, Mexico. 20-minute version.
The Commons (2103). A left-libertarian-anarchist perspective on the commons that explains the logic of capitalism and the potential of the commons to meet needs beyond the state and market. 36 minutes. Script for video narration.
Peter Linebaugh: Who Owns the Commons? on The Laura Flanders Show. An interview with historian and author Peter Linebaugh on the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and the significance of that legal document and the struggle behind it today. 2015. 18 minutes.
Better Not More: Principles and Practices Towards the next Economy. This video provides an overview of activist movements to decomodify nature, re-imagine the character of work, liberate knowledge and democratize wealth. 5 minutes. Produced by Kontent Film and Edge Funders Alliance.
Podcast, “The Deeper Magic of the Commons.” Host James Lindenschmidt interviews a range of commons scholars and activists. 2016.