The Commoners of Crottorf (Part III)

This is the third of a three-part installment of a report on the future of the commons, which is based on conversations at a retreat held at Crottorf Castle in Germany, in June 2009.

9. Hermann Hatzfeldt on Sustainable Forestry

During an afternoon break at the retreat, Hermann Hatzfeldt led the group on a walk through a forest preserve adjacent to Crottorf Castle. Hatzfeldt pioneered the a number of sustainable forestry practices on the 7,000 acres of nearby forest that he owns, the third largest privately owned forest in Germany. He explained that his management philosophy is to work in partnership with nature rather than trying to dictate to nature — because the results are more stable and productive over the long term. Hatzfeldt’s enterprise is essentially about the sustainable management of a common pool resource by a private owner.

Conventional forestry management requires planting, cultivating and harvesting. A monoculture of trees is typically planted is rows to maximize the efficiencies of performing these tasks. But such Fordism is more costly over the long term, said Hatzfeldt, and it results in a more fragile ecosystem. In sustainable forestry, by contrast, the goal is to cut and tend the forest to enhance its natural inclinations, a process that also renews and improves the forest. So, for example, trees that fall to the ground are allowed to stay there. This will allow more moss to grow, which elevates the humidity of the forest, which aids forest growth. Mushrooms can grow on the forest floor, and their later decomposition improves the soil. And so on. A general lesson that might be drawn: sustainable management can elicit "hidden economies" that only manifest themselves over time, and may elude direct measurement.

It would appear that many commons, by encouraging sustainable management of resources, may also create value in counter-intuitive, "hidden" ways. The most obvious example is free software. The proprietary industry never imagined that personal passions, social collaborations, shared ideals and other "soft" factors could be so consequential in building complex software programs. The Native Americans in New Mexico who manage precious supplies of water under the acequia system have a similar counterintuitive approach to managing the commons of water. They do not try to capture every last drop by putting concrete floors in irrigation ditches; instead they let some of the water seep into the ground, which in turn allows trees to grow nearby, which shields the fields from the wind, helps preserve topsoil, creates shade and lowers temperatures.

By honoring the organic integrity of a resource and its own natural propensities, the commons helps cultivate a “value proposition” that the neoliberal markets cannot understand or capture.

10. The Global South and the Commons

The commons has a special importance to people of the global South, many participants agreed. Nicola Bullard (Focus on the Global South, Bangkok) declared that there is "a profound crisis of the commons in the global South," citing the many enclosures of seeds, minerals, ethnobotanical knowledge and much else.

Corporate enclosures of the South are so extreme that"capitalism is trying to resurrect the commons in its own image," said Prashant Iyengar (Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore, India). "The commons is used in the sense of a presumed space of freedom with no traditions or rules — to convey the feelings of early settlers," he said. The commons is associated with open source software, which is only available to those who can afford computers and have access to electricity. In Indian culture and history, by contrast, the commons is far more organically rooted in the timeless dimensions of the natural world and in spirituality.

In recent years, the global South has been developing a number of commons-based responses to enclosures. The Solidarity Economy movement is one example. This movement originated in Brazil in the 1990s, said Andreas Exner of Klagenfurt, Austria, an ecologist who works closely with the Solidarity Movement. The idea behind the Solidarity Economy, said Exner, is to use bottom-up social cooperation and sharing to build new types of institutions and practices for performing needed work.

Examples include fair trade organizations and cooperatives that help farmers get fair prices, trade unions, open source software projects, local currencies, and "free shops" where there is no exchange or prices to obtain goods. "The goal of the Solidarity Economy is to change the relations of production," said Exner. "We need to break the market’s role in mediating production and build up new production chains within the Solidarity Economy, and then link the different parts together."

In Durban, South Africa, Richard Pithouse reported on how squatters are re-appropriating urban spaces, creating new types of commons in the process. They are not "traditional" commons, but they are certain commons in the sense of being self-governed collectives managing a shared resource for the benefit of its participants.

A particularly striking feature of some South African commons, said Pithouse, is the insistence of the commoners are "asserting the right to be intellectuals" who can interpret their circumstances directly, in their own voice. "We are the professors of our own suffering," said one protest banner. Another said, "Talk to us, not of us." The point is to avoid a movement struggle led and defined by experts, and to enable everyone participating in the struggle to be a peer.

Another initiative emerging from the global South is a "Reclaim the Commons" manifesto issued by the World Social Forum, launched in January 2009. (Link) Miguel Vieira, a planner with the World Social Forum (Sao Paulo, Brasil), explained the origins of the manifesto at the organization’s January 2009 gathering, and urged individuals and organizations to formally sign the manifesto. The document reads:

Humankind is suffering from an unprecedented campaign of privatization and commodification of the most basic elements of life: nature, culture, human work and knowledge itself. In countless arenas, businesses are claiming our shared inheritance – sciences, creative works, water, the atmosphere, health, education, genetic diversity, even living creatures – as private property. A compulsive quest for short-term financial gain is sacrificing the prosperity of all and the stability of the Earth itself.

And the manifesto concludes:

This Manifesto calls upon all citizens of the world to deepen the notion of the commons and to share the diverse approaches and experiences that it honors. In our many different ways, let us mobilize to reclaim the commons, organize their de-privatization and get them off markets, and strengthen our individual initiatives by joining together in this urgent, shared mission.

11. The Dark Side of the Commons

A number of participants proposed that the commons is not necessarily a wholesome, constructive force. For example, there are communities of “open-source biologists” who are trying to create their own "do it yourself" genes, which could wreck catastrophic disruptions on nature. The residents of the black "homelands" of South Africa once govern themselves as commons, but the government strictly limited their sovereignty and resources.

As mentioned earlier, nations that invoke the "common heritage of humankind" often do so to justify the expropriation of resources from others. The workers of a factory may interact on the shop floor as a commons and yet still be subject to corporate management. And the "care economy" of child-rearing and housekeeping that women participate in may be a gift economy functioning outside of the marketplace -- but it is clearly more exploitative than emancipatory. A gift implies a choice, but these commons are often marked by coercion.

Sylvia Federici also pointed out how the World Bank "discovered" the commons in the 1990s as a way to domesticate its possibilities in Africa. Neoliberalism came to recognize the commons, but took steps to ensure that it would evolve in ways compatible with the larger market agenda.

It was pointed out by Wolfgang Sachs, however, that historically most commons have not involved choice. And gift economies have power and rules notwithstanding the exchange of "gifts." Another participant pointed out that many if not all of these scenarios are not truly commons. They resemble open-access regimes (or tragedies of the commons) in which the commoners do not truly govern themselves or establish their own rules and sanctions; they are failed commons.

The paradigm of "compromised commons" can be seen in many online spaces such as Facebook and MySpace. On such sites, the host company’s "terms of service" contracts are the real governance rules for the "community." Bollier calls these commons "faux commons." Lawrence Lessig has called them instances of “digital sharecropping," a kind of debt-servitude that occurred following the American Civil War, in which African-Americans paid for use of farming land by paying their white landlords with a share of the crops they grew.

Do these compromised forms of collective governance constitute commons or not? These are theoretical and definitional issues about the commons that deserve greater exploration.

12. The Future of the Commons: Unresolved Issues

Needless to say, there are many unresolved issues in moving a commons agenda forward. Much of the conversation focused on how to shape the commons as a viable political project.

Institutionalizing a commons strategy and agenda. "We are beyond the period of window-shopping for new master narratives," said Wolfgang Sachs. "These Crottorf discussions may be a place to show the complexity of the commons discourse to the outside world. But we need some institutionalization to bring together the isolated pockets of commons work."

Sachs continued: "World society is about to give itself political institutions [to deal with climate change and the financial/economic crisis]. How can we affirm protection for the commons without falling into the trap of expert-run planetary management? Since the age of unlimited economic growth is coming to an end, what are other sources of well-being? How can we foster sources of well-being that are not exclusively monetary? What is the politics of fostering well-being instead of GDP? We must find ways to secure rights and well-being with less money than before."

A key strategic issue, therefore, is to locate the places in which the commons can be deepened. George Caffentzis suggested that we must study how commons come into being. Often, they arise as a result of tragedies of the commons or enclosures. One difficult task is to mobilize the social and political energy and imagination to build new commons. We must prod people to go beyond their usual norms and sense of the possible.

This will pose special challenges for the global South, Richard Pithouse (Durban, South Africa) pointed out. Any changes sought by the North must include a commitment to global justice for the South; the invention of new types of alternative livelihoods; and a recognition that a no-growth economy will be disastrous for the South.

Wolfgang Sachs sees four possible responses to the scarcity that lies ahead: 1) Use social exclusion to limit access and benefits from scarce resources; 2) Expand the means of production at any cost (through nuclear, biomass, genetic and biotech engineering, etc.); 3) improve the efficiency of energy use; and 4) revise our collective goals and aspirations so that an ethic of "sufficiency" can take root.

From the commons perspective, the first two choices -- social exclusion and increased production -- are not solutions at all, from the commons perspective. The third choice, greater efficiency, will not work because aggregate growth will simply eclipse whatever efficiency gains are introduced. Only the fourth choice is promising, and that is where the commons could be an important part of the solution. "Our only hope is to make economic power that is based on fossil fuels less attractive," said Sachs. "We also have to de-couple well-being from economic power."

The state and the commons. One unresolved issue involves the role of the state with respect to the commons. It has already been noted that the commons discourse offers a defense against the state. But it remains a unclear how the state should interact with the commons. What degree of sanction and support should it provide, and what degree of independence? Caffentzis noted that the Zapitistas have embraced the commons as a constitutional matter; the Bolivians are considering constitutional changes that would recognize common property; and Ecuador has adopted a new clause in its constitution explicitly recognizing the rights of the environment.

But the risk is that a commons would be seen as state-managed property. This would undermine the commons because people would have no direct sense of responsibility for collective resources; authority would be delegated to government and politicians, and familiar patterns of capture and corruption would re-appear.

Any discussion of the commons raises the issue of whether it is a means of defensive resistance or a pro-active strategy. Different participants aligned themselves with one or the other perspectives, but Stefan Meretz pointed out that the two are really the same: “We produce our own commons and we defend them. Some of us are 'dam-builders’ and some of us are 'ship builders.'"

The digital commons and natural/physical commons. Another issue is the relationship between the emerging digital commons and the "physical" or natural commons. One reason the former function so well is because their resources are intangible and non-rival; they do not get "used up" and so the politics of allocating use and benefit from them are much easier. There is a "cornucopia of the commons" rather than a "tragedy of the commons."

And yet even though the resources and politics of the two classes of commons differ greatly, they are not entirely different beasts with nothing in common. Digital tools are often used by commoners to help manage and improve natural and physical commons. People in poor, rural areas in developing countries may find valuable knowledge, assistance of coordination of work through the Internet. Franz Nahrada cited his experiences with the Global Villages Network, which is a worldwide community of villages that use the Internet to promote economic and social innovation. His experience is that digital technologies can help increase collaboration with nature.

On the other hand, the denizens of the digital commons are generally oblivious to the material bases of computer production and its environmental effects (the mining of minerals, the disposal of old computers, etc.) And in many countries, the "digital divide" between rich and poor remains a significant fact. In such circumstances, reliance on online commons is seen as exclusionary.

What is needed is a critical perspective on material basis of new technology and its designed-in behaviors. We also need to explore the ways in which digital commons and natural commons interact.

There are, of course, many other unanswered question. How should the commoners engage in the battle of ideas with neoliberalism? What venues or issues are most promising? Which people and organizations can help advance these goals?

Another key issue that deserves more attention: How can the commoners generate income for commons advocacy, networking and innovation? Funding for building commons infrastructure is much-needed and highly efficient. So is funding of salaries for people engaged in commons advocacy and have no "day job" to support their work. By leveraging the energies of the commoners, such people, using commons infrastructure, can unleash surprising amounts of social engagement and economic value. To take one example, the Wikimedia Foundation, which supports Wikipedia and several other wiki projects, has an annual budget of only US $2 million a year and a small staff.

* * *

It is no exaggeration to say that the three-day Crottorf retreat represented one of the most intensive and sophisticated dialogues about contemporary commons ever held. It was distinguished by its diversity of perspectives from academics, activists and irregulars from many disciplines and policy arenas. Although many vexing issues remain, there was a consensus that the commons offers many attractive possibilities for those commoners wishing to confront the pathologies of neoliberal capitalism. It also offers the inspiration and legitimacy of history, and many successful models of commoning.

This, truly, may be one of the most important contributions that the commons may make: helping us to learn new ways of knowing and being, and new ways of interacting with each other and with the Earth. Politics and economics are not something that occur in a zone apart; they exist in our consciousness and culture. The commons speaks to all of these realms, and therefore offers some hopeful paths toward the future.

Appendix A: Retreat Participants

Andoni Alonso, Madrid, Spain

Michel Bauwens, Bangkok, Thailand, is an active writer, researcher and conference speaker on the subject of technology, culture and business innovation. He is the founder of the Foundation for Peer-to-Peer Alternatives and works in collaboration with a global group of researchers in the exploration of peer production, governance, and property. He has been an analyst for the United States Information Agency, knowledge manager for British Petroleum, eBusiness Strategy Manager for Belgacom, as well as an internet entrepreneur in his home country of Belgium. He has co-produced the 3-hour TV documentary Technocalyps with Frank Theys, and co-edited the two-volume book on anthropology of digital society with Salvino Salvaggio. Michel is currently Primavera Research Fellow at the University of Amsterdam and external expert at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (2008). In February 2009, he joined Dhurakij Pundit University’s International College as Lecturer in Bangkok, Thailand, assisting with the development of the Asian Foresight Institute. Main site at http://p2pfoundation.net; Bibliography at http://p2pfoundation.net/Bibliography_of_Michel_Bauwens; Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Bauwens

Iain Boal, Berkeley, California, USA, is an Irish social historian, half educated in England. He has been resident in Berkeley since 1985. He is associated with Retort, a group of antinomian writers, artisans and artists based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was co-editor of Resisting the Virtual Life: The Culture and Politics of Information, City Lights Press,1995, and one of the authors of Retort’s Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War (2nd edn, Verso, 2006), which Michael Hardt described as a “venomous and poetic book” and Harold Pinter as “a comprehensive analysis of America’s relationship with the world. No stone is left unturned. The maggots exposed are grotesque.” In 2005/6 he was a Guggenheim Fellow in Science and Technology. He is affiliated with the Geography Department and the Institute of International Studies at UC Berkeley, and the Community Studies Department at UC Santa Cruz. Areas of Special Interest: The social history of science, technics and medicine; luddism and anti-modernity; science and visual culture; commoning and communalism; language and the technics of communication. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iain_Boal

David Bollier, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA, (www.bollier.org) is an American author, activist, blogger and consultant who spends much of his time studying the commons as a new paradigm of economics, politics and culture. He pursues this work as an editor of Onthecommons.org and and Fellow at On the Commons, in collaboration with various U.S. and international partners. Bollier is the author of three books on different aspects of the commons: Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Commons Wealth (2002) is a far-ranging survey of market enclosures of public lands, the airwaves, creativity, scientific knowledge, and much else. Brand Name Bullies: The Quest to Own and Control Culture (2005) documents the vast expansion of copyright and trademark law over the past generation at the expense of the public domain. And Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own (2009) describes the rise of free software, free culture, and the movements behind open business models, open science, open educational resources and new modes of Internet-enabled citizenship. Bollier is Senior Fellow at the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and co-founder and board member of Public Knowledge, a Washington policy advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the information commons.

Nicola Bullard, Bangkok, Thailand

George Caffentzis, Portland, Maine, USA, is a member of the Midnight Notes Collective and a coordinator of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa. He has taught in many universities in the US and at the University of Calabar (Nigeria). He is presently a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, Maine, USA. He has written many essays on social and political themes. His published books include "Clipped Coins, Abused Words and Civil Government: John Locke’s Philosophy of Money", "Exciting the Industry of Mankind: George Berkeley’s Philosophy of Money"; "No Blood for Oil!" (an e-book accessed at http://www.radicalpolytics.org/). His co-edited books include: "Midnight Oil: Work Energy War 1973-1992)"; "Auroras of the Zapatistas: Local and Global Struggles in the Fourth World War"; "Thousand Flowers: Social Struggles Against Structural Adjustment in African Universities."

Massimo De Angelis, London, England, *1960, currently lives with his family in a small village in the Apennines in the province of Modena (Italy) where he is learning the ways of rural commoners while teaching music at the local nursery school and exploring the possibility of forms of association promoting commoning in those areas worst served by public services. As a teenager he participated in the revolutionary ferment of the the 1970s Italian movimento and ever since cannot consider himself whole without some engagement in meaningful emancipatory projects. He is also professor of Political Economy of Development at the University of East London. In 1995 he obtained his PhD in Economics at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA. He has published two books, Keynesianism, Social Conflict and Political Economy (2000) and The Beginning of History: Global Capital and Value Struggles (2007) as well as numerous articles. He is the editor of the web journal The Commoner (http://www.thecommoner.org) which he founded in 2000. His current research is centred on the relation between capitalist crises and commons.

Andreas Exner, Klagenfurt, Austria, *1973. Academic studies in ecology, research of vegetation ecology, social work. Former militant activist within the ecology movement, former attac-activist, former member of the network for a basic income. Currently crossbench councelor in the chamber of labour for the Green and Independent Unionists in Kärnten (www.grueneug.wordpress.com). Editor of “Streifzüge” (http://streifzuege.org) and member of SINET (http://social-innovation.org). Activist at http://solcom.ning.com, http://transitionaustria.ning.com, http://transitioneurope.ning.com. Books: together with Lauk & Kulterer “The limits of capitalism. How we fail on growth” (Ueberreuter, 2008, in German); together with Rätz & Zenker: “Basic income. Social security without work” (Deuticke, 2007, in German). Main focus of activities: Resources and capital, SolidarityEconomy; present in Facebook.

Silvia Federici, Hempstead, New York, USA, is a long time feminist activist, teacher and writer. She was a co-founder of the International Feminist Collective, the New York Wages For Housework Committee, the Radical Philosophy Association Anti-Death Penalty Project and the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa. She has taught at the University of Port Harcourt (Nigeria) and Hofstra University. She has authored many essays on feminist theory and history. Her published books include: “Caliban and the Witch. Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation”; “Enduring Western Civilization: The Construction of the Concept of Western Civilization and its Others” (editor); “Thousand Flowers: Social Struggles Against Structural Adjustment in African Universities” (co-editor). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silvia_Federici

Hermann Hatzfeldt, Crottorf, Germany, http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_Graf_Hatzfeldt (German)

Silke Helfrich, Jena, Germany, has studied romance languages and pedagogy at the Karl-Marx-University in Leipzig. Since mid of the 1990s activities in the field of development politics, from 1996 to 1998 head of Heinrich Böll Foundation Thuringia and from 1999 to 2007 head of the regional office of Heinrich Böll Foundation in Mexiko City focusing on globalisation, gender and human rights. She is running the German-speaking CommonsBlog at http://commonsblog.de

Prashant Iyengar, Bangalore, India, is a Technology/IP lawyer, academic and a new media activist based in India. He runs a free database of Indian Supreme Court cases (OpenJudis), and is currently a researcher with the Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore. He has also previously (2006-07) been an International Policy Fellow with the Open Society Institute.

Rainer Kuhlen, Berlin, Germany, http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainer_Kuhlen (german)

Peter Linebaugh, Toledo, Ohio, USA, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Linebaugh

Stefan Meretz, Berlin, Germany, *1962. Ph.D. in material science, diploma in computer science, webmaster at german united services union (ver.di), managing free software projects. Research of political economy of free software and member of the Oekonux (Economy & GNU/Linux) network. Teaching German Critical Psychology. Co-founder of the Keimform blog (http://keimform.de/), a blog investigating germ forms of a new commons-based society. Running several web projects (http://meretz.de/), member of Facebook.

Pat Roy Mooney, Ottawa, Canada, Executive Director. For more than thirty years, Pat Mooney has worked with civil society organisations (CSOs) on international trade and development issues related to agriculture and biodiversity. Mooney has lived most of his life on the Canadian prairies. The author or co-author of several books on the politics of biotechnology and biodiversity, Pat Mooney received The Right Livelihood Award (the “Alternative Nobel Prize”) in the Swedish Parliament in 1985. In 1998 Mooney received the Pearson Peace Prize from Canada’s Governor General. He also received the American “Giraffe Award” given to people “who stick their necks out”. Pat Mooney has no university training, but is widely regarded as an authority on agricultural biodiversity and new technology issues. Together with Cary Fowler and Hope Shand, Pat Mooney began working on the “seeds” issue in 1977. In 1984, the three co-founded RAFI (Rural Advancement Foundation International), whose name was changed to ETC group (pronounced “etcetera” group) in 2001. ETC Group is a small international CSO addressing the impact of new technologies on rural communities. ETC has offices in Canada, the United States, and Mexico; and works closely with CSO partners around the world. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Roy_Mooney

Franz Nahrada, Vienna, Austria, *1954, academic studies in sociology, philosophy and political science, which lead to intensive studies of university politics and critique of current science in the context of various marxist political approaches. The discontent with both neglectiveness of theory and the need for social alternatives led to a quest how both can be reconciliated. In the meantime, on the professional side, because of the refusal to work towards an academic career, several factors converged: involvement in tourism (management of the family hotel), software development (same reason), work for Apple Computers 1987 – 1992 (HyperCard developer support), knowledge organisation. Experiences with the destructive social impact of tourism in Greece led to ideas of new integrative village development (alliance of nomadic knowledge workers and traditional village population = Global Villages). In seven field trips to California and other states (1988 – 1995) both technology development and the social innovations that make them meaningful were the main subject (for example Arcosanti). Tried to apply this strand in Austria, succeeded with the Global Village conferences (1993 – 2000) and the Cultural Heritage in the Global Village (CULTH) conferences (1998 – 2002). Founded the Global Villages Network to create a worldwide community of village innovators. Worked on redefinition of locations: Electronic Cafés, Monasteries, Libraries. On the political side: working on New Work movement for radically facing permanent unemployment and nonmonetary economies, studied patterns of emerging civil society, worked with Oekonux and co organized the third conference, studied traditional native council wisdom and timeless cultural patterns with several teachers. Still seeks to build up a research institution (GIVE – Laboratory for Global Villages). Currently working with Andreas Exner and others on Transition Austria and SOLCOM, with Andrius Kulikauskas on a global learning & life maintainance community called Worknets, with others on Open Source Ecology, and is also president of ECOVAST (European Council of Villages and Small Towns) in Austria. Currently working on a book “invisible intelligence” (following a conference organized together with Peter Weibel) to foster theory-culture that connects serious analyses, bold visions and diligent practice. Curently working also on a “pattern language for the postindustrial society” in general and a “pattern language of the solar age” in particular.

Richard Pithouse, Port Elisabeth, South Africa, is an activist, academic and journalist from South Africa. He is currently focussing his energies on popular struggles for the right to the cities and is interested in exploring the idea of the urban commons. He teaches political philosophy at Rhodes University.

Christian Siefkes, Berlin, Germany, *1975. Ph.D. in computer science from the Freie Universität Berlin; works as a freelance software engineer. Co-founder of the Keimform-Blog (http://www.keimform.de/), a blog investigating how far the potential of commons-based peer production extends: Is a society possible in which peer production is the primary mode of production, and how could such a society be organized? Book: “From Exchange to Contributions: Generalizing Peer Production into the Physical World” (Berlin, 2007, http://peerconomy.org/), German translation: “Beitragen statt tauschen” (Neu-Ulm, 2008).

Wolfgang Sachs, Wuppertal, Germany, author, university teacher, journal editor. 1966-1975 studies in theology and social sciences in Munich, Tübingen and Berkeley. Since 1993 Senior Fellow at the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy. Head of research on globalization and sustainablility. Honorary Professor at Kassel University and regular lecturer at Schumacher College, England. Member of the Club of Rome. Research areas: Globalization, development, environment, new models of wealth. Recent books in English: ”Planet Dialectics. Explorations in Environment and Development”, London: Zed Books, 1999. „Slow Trade-Sound Farming“ (ed.), Berlin: Misereor/Heinrich Boell Foundation, 2007. „Fair Future. Resource Conflicts, Security, and Global Justice“, (ed with T. Santarius) Zed Books, 2007. Website: http://www.wupperinst.org. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Sachs

Miguel Vieira, Sao Paulo, Brasil, is a researcher in the field of access to knowledge, currently preparing a master’s dissertation on the subject of “Intellectual commons and commodification”, at the University of São Paulo (Education Faculty, department of Philosophy of Education). He has graduated in Communications (minor: Publishing) and Philosophy, both also at the University of São Paulo, and has a specialization degree on intellectual property (the course was promoted by UBV, SAPI and OCPI – respectively: Bolivarian University of Venezuela, and the Venezuelan and Cuban intellectual property offices). He has published some texts on the subjects of intellectual property and, more recently, collaborative production and the commons. Other academic interests include philosophy of science and technology, marxism, democratization of communication and the publishing industry. (Although right now focusing exclusively on the graduate studies, pursuing a professional career in the field of publishing.) He is also involved with access to knowledge through political activism. He is part of a brazilian collective called Epidemia, which keeps an eye on the intellectual property-related agenda, and has been active in the planning of the Science & Democracy World Forum (a side event to the WSF 2009) and in the demonstrations against “Projeto Azeredo” (a brazilian proposed law that would endanger privacy and threaten the existence of open wifi).

Appendix B: Suggested Readings

A Letter to the Commons (2006), http://icommons.org/articles/a-letter-to-the-commons

Michel Bauwens (2005), The Political Economy of Peer Production. CTheory, October 2, 2006. Retrieved from http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=499 ; Re-published Post-Autistic Economics Review, issue 37. Retrieved from http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue37/Bauwens37.htm

Michel Bauwens (2008), The Political Implications of the Peer to Peer Revolution. Knowledge Politics, Volume 1 Issue 2 (April 2008), pp. 1-24 . Retrieved from http://www.knowledgepolitics.org.uk/kpq-1-2-Bauwens.pdf

Michel Bauwens (2008), The social web and its social contracts. Re-public. Retrieved from http://www.re-public.gr/en/?p=261

Iain Boal (2007), Feast and Famine: A Conversation about Scarcity, Apocalypse, and Enclosure, Retort Pamphlet Series #4

David Bollier (2002), Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Commons Wealth.

David Bollier (2009), Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own.

Lawrence Liang, Prashant Iyengar, Jiti Nichani (2009), Commons for the Commoner in Asia. How Does an Asian Commons Mean. Paper available from Prashant Iyengar.

Peter Linebaugh, Marcus Rediker (2000), The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic.

Peter Linebaugh (2003), The London Hanged. Crime and Civil Society in the Eighteenth Century.

Peter Linebaugh (2008), Magna Carta Manifesto: Liberties and Commons for All.

Thomas Paine (2009), Rights of Man, Common Sense, and Agrarian Justice, with an introduction by Peter Linebaugh (proposing to understand Paine through his commoning and anti-enclosure experiences).

Christian Siefkes (2009), The Commons of the Future. Building Blocks for a Commons-based Society. http://www.commoner.org.uk/?p=78

Christian Siefkes (2007), From Exchange to Contributions: Generalizing Peer Production into the Physical World. http://peerconomy.org.

Originally published by David Bollier at Onthecommons.org under a Creative Commons Attribution license.