Invitation

Many people are engaged in commons-based alternative practices, and are struggling for ecological, social and cultural transition within their communities. In these fields, the commons approach offers a new vocabulary for collective action and social justice. It opens up ways for reshaping processes of governance of resources by the community itself, and fosters modes of thinking about new ways of organizing and governing our economic lives.

All these communities, small or large, and no matter what resource they take care of – digital commons, knowledge, public spaces, cultures, natural resources, water, forests, oceans, and others – share common perspectives and values with an ethic of justice for a democratic, safe and sustainable future.

From May 18 to 20, approximately 30 of us will gather for a strategy meeting on commons-related building and work across Europe. The intention of this meeting is to launch a process of shared visions, strategies and agendas around the Commons in Europe, and to take steps toward building an ongoing flexible network to connect individuals and organizations across and beyond issues. Such a European network, that we could call Commons Watch, will reinforce a mobilisation throughout Europe as well as the capacity of its advocates and activists to impact European policies and politics. One of the challenges will be to facilitate the work of the commoners and communities of the commons that seek to involve institutions at different levels (local, national and European). To this end, we aim to share proven practices in the field to help us create alliances toward securing and nurturing the commons.

During this meeting, different visions of the commons and different ways of working together will come together. As organizers, we are well aware that we are not alone in this field: all of us working in commons-related activism are connected to a multitude of other issues and networks. This event will be an opportunity to collectively question, reflect, and share, across this diversity, on how this work can move forward across borders and to a European level, including possibly exercising commons influence on EU institutions.

We are excited to explore what can become possible for us all if we build the foundation for a strong, responsive network around the commons in Europe. We will be facilitating the three days using collaborative and participatory methodologies, opening space for discussing issues which will be raised by the participants themselves.

Principle

Day 1: Welcoming diversity and divergence

On Day 1 we will get to see the rich diversity and experience present, and we will begin exploring the potential and possibilities of a Commons Watch network, and name the known opportunities for action in the near future. The evening will offer an (optional) opportunity to share stories about commons we are well-acquainted with.

Day 2: Deepening understanding, setting foundations

On Day 2 we will be delving into the, perhaps difficult, questions associated with commons-related work, especially in terms of connecting across themes and issues. There will be opportunity to spend time on the different themes of (R)urban commons, Digital commons and natural commons with smaller groups. We will also spend time on presenting and developing the idea of a Commons Assembly in the European Parliament. Throughout the day we will have an opportunity to co-create the agenda we will be working with, connect and reflect with others emanating from different backgrounds, and engage in intentional, and hopefully generative dialogue around stewarding this network. An optional activity later in the day will give us an opportunity to collectively write a first draft of a vision/mission statement for the Commons Watch network, using a collaborative writing methodology.

Day 3: Bringing it home

On Day 3 we will spend time identifying, and collectively deciding upon the priorities, strategy, and structure that this first iteration of the Commons Watch network can prototype and experiment with over the next year. We will also have an opportunity to develop individual and collective workplans that can be put into effect after the meeting.

Ressources