Working Principles

WORKING PRINCIPLES OF THE EUROPEAN COMMONS ASSEMBLY (Version 1)

  1. We conceive of the ECA itself as a commons. We are a community (of activists, researchers, students, teachers, citizens etc.) who steward our shared space for trans-local collaboration on commons which is the European Commons Assembly. Here, we outline our governance.
  2. The ECA is a non-hierarchical, peer-to-peer space for collaboration, rather than a body of representation.
    Individual participants cannot legitimately speak “on behalf of” the Assembly as a whole.
    They can however claim that ideas or work “emerged from” the ECA, or identify as members or “part of” of the Assembly.
  3. We work through self-organized Assembly Groups that hold responsibility for carrying out initiatives, or “actions”.
    All groups should inform, communicate and share their actions with the broader ECA.
    At the beginning of an agreed-upon action they should clarify and document a mandate that describes and contextualizes the action and provides relevant information for the rest of the ECA.
  4. We strive for consensus when making decisions and taking actions at all levels – individually, within Assembly Groups, and for the ECA at large.
    All initiatives and decisions should cohere with the following principled criteria:

    • Be recorded “publicly” before executed (i.e. on loomio or on the list – not in private email conversations)
    • Minimize harm
    • Enhance freedom – opens up more rather than closes possibilities for the Assembly

If adequately communicated and in line with the criteria, they can proceed unless someone explicitly objects.
In case of objection, discussions should take place to try to resolve the issue. The issue should be formulated to the whole ECA via the mailing list; if email exchanges are insufficient then a call should be set. The conclusion of the talks should be sent to the list for reaction. If there is no further objection, a decision can be adopted – if not another call can be arranged, or it should be considered that the issue should be dropped.
We expect that decisions that directly affect the ECA at large seek out broader and more in-depth input and discussion than those that affect a smaller swathe of the community.

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