[Home]No Commons Without Communing

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The idea of self-government, of self management of the commons,
goes against everything we learn about the modern human subject: free of his acts, free to do whatever, uninhibited by the law.
This is the modern human. And this is something those who attempts to form communities know well: the modern human tends to say, “well no today I don’t feel like working, even if we said we would, yes maybe I’m needed, but who are you to tell me that - I have the right to do whatever I want“. Thus the man who says “I have the right to” is the one who was created by this eradication. The one who has the right to do what is not prohibited, whatever the consequences. For those who care about the commons in the UK, commons are also a regeneration of the capacity of being human. When they say “No common without communing”, this is a challenge. This is a chalenge because it has to be relearned. We need to relearn this, even if it was something, not unanimously accepted (there have always been awkward customers), but something that was not questioned in the past. This is how we used to do it: if we have to go all together, we will go all together. I insist on this responsibility of self organisation, of self management which means that commoners are not a public space where there is only people allowed to come here, who were only asked not to throw away trash:

 it commits nothing to go in a public space. But commoning, to become a commoner, that commits. 

It’s a commitment that lasts not lifelong but which deals with making the common. Someone who played a really big role in this return of commons is Elinor Ostrom. Ostrom studied instances of the common, that existed till recently that were destroyed and commons that still exist now, and pointed out a few necessary conditions for the survival of the commons. The idea is the right of self-organisation and the right to sanction those who do not comply. Self-Organisation means that rules ares decided by all the commoners, all the concerned. They don’t have to watch themselves in a Staline way, but it is important to ensure that there are no abuses. From the point of view of the French Rule of Law, this is the ultimate crime: those people take the law in their hands. I’ve seen in a Tv show where, in New Caledonia I think, a tribe chief was going to court because his community had make his tribe respect something. The prosecutor and the judge were saying “this is really serious, you are taking the law between your hands“ and the other was listening with a sardonic look that seemed to say “that won’t make us stop“. But indeed, commoning also involves this idea, self evident in the past but no longer evident today, not to do justice for oneself, but that this is the collective itself that owns the ways to ensure that everything related to the continuity of commoning is respected. The question is not to be impolite. What matters, what brings together the commoners, what makes them think and act, it’s the continuity of the common. And this is this continuity that isn’t obvious anymore today. This is this continuity that the Rule of Law makes impossible, legally. The resurgent commons, even if they are not political in the start (here in the ZAD this is a politic start), have the politic as destiny because they will have to resist an environment that condemns them to death. For whom what they do cannot and must not be done." (Isabelle Stengers)


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Last edited June 5, 2020 1:10 pm by MislavZugaj (diff)