Version 3.2_September 2016
Individual Paper: Commoning against the crisis
Plan C&D - Commons & Democracy – has been proposed as an alternative to austerity and stimulus for a degrowth future, but how and why does it emerge, and what challenges does it face? The proposed paper studies new commons in the context of crisis, using Greece as a case-study. Our research registered a substantial increase of commoning in health care, food provision, urban living, education, production and exchange. This expansion was rhizomatic: there was no single center governing it, and new nodes and connections emerged in an unplanned manner. We argue that the origins of this process can be traced to the open-access character of the occupied “indignant” squares and the shock of the crisis and the rupture of established identities. This favored the emergence of what we named ‘liminal commons’: projects of sharing without pre-fixed collective or individual identities. We proposed a direct and catalytic relationship between this liminality and the subsequent growth of the new commons: practices that were previously marginal were popularized, recruiting new members, while identarian political formations also had to open up if they were to take advantage of the new possibilities. C & D hence went together: the democratic assemblarian processes first tried in the squares became a crucial element of this liminality, making expansion of the commons possible; reciprocally, the new commons became the material embodiment of the new democratic spirit of the squares, transferring it to different spheres of life. The squares ‘educated’ and trained people on new modes of working together, while de-stigmatizing living without money, when in common.
Start time: 14:30
Track: Degrowth and other social movements