free fair & alive

free fair.png

free fair and alive (2019) – authored by David Bollier and Silke Helfrich

requested library to purchase – thank you library

intro’d via commons transition fb share

“This summer Guerrilla Translation has been entrusted with the honour of creating the Spanish version of the book “Free, Fair and Alive: The Insurgent Power of the Commons” by David Bollier and Silke Helfrich. The book is an encyclopaedic treasure trove of all things Commons, and it is clearly a labour of love on the part of these two authors. The translation will be funded and published by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung as part of a larger campaign focusing on inclusive, commons advocacy beyond euro-centric perspectives.”

Learn more about the fascinating translating process of “Free, Fair and Alive” with this amazing article by Timothy McKeon.…/

‘Free, Fair and Alive:  The Insurgent Power  of the #Commons’. UCLan ICSC Public Seminar  & Book Launch with Silke Helfrich 17 Sept 2019  #ffa #4thecommons #ontoshift .@commonstransition
Original Tweet:


Catch David Bollier and Silke Helfrich on the road! Their book “Free, Fair and Alive: the Insurgent Power of the Commons” marks a new high in commons thought and action. See link for tour dates in the UK, NL and US to discover this ontological shift!
Original Tweet:

1 min video

s: commons are essentially a way of life aiming to reduce our structural dependency on market and state..

begs a new infrastructure .. ie: 2 convers

a handbook to commoning.. and a guide to unlearning capitalism..t

commoning.. and capitalism

s: it’s about bringing together the goals of freedom, fairness & aliveness.. so that it makes us feel good

free\dom.. equity.. and the energy of 7b alive people.. getting us to fittingness.. eudaimoniative surplus.. an undisturbed ecosystem

d: the commons proposes a larger version of a human being than conventional property law or economics.. this is a significant difference..t.. and opens up a huge amount of possibilities and freedom and greater fairness when you approach human beings from perspective as opposed to just a market entity/individual

1 yr to try commons et al.. a nother way..

aka: bi as temp placebo

so long as money (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence

ie: 2 convers as infra.. via tech as it could be

sovereignty w/o nationalism, individuality w/o me-first mentality, togetherness w/o coercion

sans supposed to’s.. of school/work.. that turn us into market\ed whales in sea world

curiosity over decision making

s: book questions conventional ways ..and offers language for what we really need for a good life

language we need most: idio-jargon/self-talk as data

seeing any designated language as enclosure/control.. to commoning/undisturbed-ecosystem


notes/quotes from book:

included in acknowledgements: jennifer buffet; gustavo esteva figueroa; shiela foster; david rozas; samer hassan; john thackara; stacco trancoso; andreas weber; ward cunningham and fed wiki community; jean russell; michel bauwens; ..



book is dedicated to overcoming an epidemic of fear w a surge of reality based hope.. as long as we allow ourselves to be imprisoned by our fears, we will never find the solutions we need to help us build a new world.. t

we need to reframe our dilemma as ‘what can we do together? how can we do this outside of conventional institutions that are failing us?’..t

has to be everyone – or 1\ it’s not different  2\ it won’t work

the good news: .. people are stepping up to invent new systems that function outside of the capitalist mindset, for mutual benefit, w respect for the earth, and w a commitment to the long term

2 convers as infra.. via tech as it could be..


small gambits w adaptive capacities are in fact powerful vehicles for systemic change

let’s go this small.. 7b daily curiosities  every day.. ie: cure ios city


the question is not whether an idea or initiative is big or small, but whether its premises contain the germ of change for the whole

to prevent any misunderstanding: the commons is not just about small scale projects for improving everyday life. it is a germinal vision for reimagining our future together and reinventing social organization, economics, infrastructure, politics and state power itself.. the commons is a social form that enables people to enjoy freedom w/o repressing others, enact fairness w/o bureaucratic control, foster togetherness w/o compulsion, and assert sovereignty w/o nationalism..

george monbiot: commons gives community life a clear focus.. it depends on democracy in its truest form. it destroy ineq. it provides and incentive to protect the living world. it creates, in sum, a politics of belonging..

begs we focus on maté basic needs.. (brown belonging law)


any emancipation from the existing system must honor freedom in the widest human sense, not just libertarian economic freedom of the isolated individual..

begs we go wide enough.. ie: beyond money (any form of measuring/accounting)

this is the agenda of the commons – to combine the grand priorities of our political culture that are regularly played off against each other – freedom, fairness, and life itself

begs we do this firstfree art-ists.. for (blank)’s sake

a nother way


the commons is a robust class of self org’d social practices for meeting needs in fair, inclusive ways. it is a life form. it is a framing that describes a different way of being in the world and different ways of knowing and acting

an undisturbed ecosystem

‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows


ordinary people themselves provide the energy, imagination, and hard work. they do their own provisioning and governance.. commoners are the ones who dream u p the systems, devise the rules, provide the expertise, perform the difficult work, monitor for compliance, and deal w rule breakers

all but last two – monitor for compliance, and deal w rule breakers..? if have those.. not truly common ing

2 convers as infra could take care of all that

commons.. requires we reassess who matters in our economy and society and how essential work gets done..t

but first.. must determine what is truly essential (ie: maté basic needs).. something we’ve not yet figured out.. so getting a lot done but spinning our wheels.. which gets us to the tragedy.. et al

gupta roadblock law

what we really need today is creative experimentation and the courage to initiate new patterns of action..we need to devise a new set of rules.. t

2 convers as infra ..  ie: cure ios city


we have no choice but to abandon our fears – and start to entertain fresh ideas form the margins..t

that’s the new thing.. we have the means to listen to fresh curiosities from everywhere.. everyday.. ie: tech as it could be..

if we are serious about escaping the stifling logic of capitalism, we must probe this deeply..  econ as something that goes beyond the money econ ..t

begs we code money (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence  ie: ubi as temp placebo..


appendix a: methodology; b: mercé moreno tárres 28 image conceptualization process  c: 69 working commons  d: elinor ostrom’s eight


part 1 – the commons as a transformative perspective

1 – commons and commoning

commons and common\ing


from michael tomasello experiments: human beings instinctively want to help others..t..  ‘from around first bdays.. when first begin to walk/talk and become cultural beings – human children are already cooperative and helpful in many situations.. and they do not learn this from adults; it comes naturally’

not yet scrambled


complications arise and multiply as young children grow up.. they learn that *some people are not trustworthy and that others **don’t reciprocate acts of kindness.. children learn to internalize social norms and ethical expectations.. esp from societal institutions..

rather.. *some whales in sea world are not trustworthy..

one of those social norms form ie: supposed to’s.. of school/work is that *kindness needs to be reciprocated.. kindness becomes an obligation et al


the elemental human impulse that we are born with – to help others, to improve existing practices – ripens into a stable social form w countless variations: a commons.. the impulse to common plays out in the most varied circumstance – impoverished urban neighborhoods, landscapes hit by natural disasters, subsistence farms in the heart of africa, social networks that come together in cyberspace.. and yet.. the commons paradigm is rarely seen as a pervasive social form, perhaps because it so often lives in the shadows of state and market power..

to talk about the commons is to talk about freedom-in-connectedness – a social space in which we can rediscover and remake ourselves as whole human beings and enjoy some serious measure of self determination..

ai humanity needs.. augmenting interconnectedness.. getting us back/to an undisturbed ecosystem

mufleh humanity lawwe have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity– Luma Mufleh

16 – on hardin’s tragedy – he was not describing a commons

tragedy of the commons

tweet this am:

The Tragedy of the Commons”: how ecofascism was smuggled into mainstream thought
Original Tweet:

ecofascism: a strain of ecological thinking that treats humans as a kind of cancer on the Earth, doomed to grow out of control

Where Hardin’s legacy is most embraced today, if not explicitly referenced, is at the border.

he (hardin) was describing a free for all in which nothing is owned and everything is free for the taking – an ‘unmanaged common pool resource’

rather.. he was describing how whales in sea world act in ‘a free for all in which nothing is owned and everything is free for the taking – an ‘unmanaged common pool resource‘.. not how free human beings act.. the problem isn’t the free for all ness.. the problem is in not letting go enough.. for the whales to detox themselves.. and see that things like ie: property and management.. are part of the the poison.. part of what put them in sea world in the first place..

this is huge.. without this key piece/acknowlegement.. we won’t get back/to a global common ing.. undisturbed ecosystem..

if you want to call this (2 convers as infra) management and/or say that that infra makes it not a free for all .. fine.. but anything beyond that.. will compromise/kill us.. perpetuate the whales in sea world ness


in an actual commons, things are different. a distinct community governs a shared resource and its usage.. users negotiate their own rules, assign responsibilities and entitlements, and set up monitoring systems to id and penalize free riders

yeah.. i think you (and elinor et al) have that wrong.. i think that’s why we haven’t yet been able to get back to common ing..

we have to let go of these cancerous roadblocks: govern; responsibility; entitlement; monitoring; penalize; free riders; .. otherwise we’re just perpetuating what whales in sea world are like and we have no idea what free humans are like

this is a huge misconception/mistake/roadblock


misleading terms:

common goods: term to distinguish types.. so assumes social judgment; about things rather than relationships.. but actually when close off goods.. closing off relationships (para)


common pool resources – cprs: used by scholars ie: elinor to analyze how to manage..very similar to usage of common goods; usually invoked to explore how to use w/o overusing



common property: refers to system of law that grants rights; common goods points to resource.. common property points to legal system and regulates; commoners may choose to use a common property regime, *but that regime does not constitute the commons

property.. rights.. et al

*but if using it.. it does compromise the commons (or whatever we want to call it/undisturbed ecosystem)

common (noun): new spin on term via hardt & negri 2009 in commonwealth: social process people engage in when cooperating.. distinguishing from the commons as physical resource.. while similar to commoning (verb) h&n seem to include all forms of coop.. that would include gangs and mafia

so your commoning to me.. is not commoning.. because it has to be all of us.. everyone.. for it to work

the common good: used by ancient greeks to refer to positive outcomes for everyone in a society.. no clear meaning.. because all political/econ system claim this

perhaps we try this common good: maté basic needseudaimoniative surplusfittingness


5 ie’s of commoning:

1\ zaatari refugee camp: refugees have ben able to apply own energies and imaginations in building the settlement

yet based on econ system.. ie: businesses/shops.. so not common ing

2\ buurtzorg nederland: nurses spending time in a commons as opposed to saving time.. results in patients needing less care

even less if not based on econ system: ie: nurses paid – 10 day care ness; and specialized fields rather than all taking care of all; ..

3\ wikihouse: help citizens build own houses to global design community

we could do even better.. with ie: beyond iwan baan insight

4\ community supported agri:

even better.. 8b micro farms (better for land too).. and also w/o econ system: prices given

5\ – wifi infra

even better – if not owned infra.. and so no need to buy/sell..

not saying these are bad.. just saying.. we have not idea what better would be.. and .. won’t get there if we don’t let go of money (any form of measuring/accounting)


every commons : is based on natural resources; is a knowledge commons; depends on a social process..

so a big part of our challenge is to recover the neglected social history of commons and learn how it applies to contemporary circumstances..

ie: cure ios city.. in the city.. as the day..

this requires a *conceptual framework, **new language and ***stories that anyone can understand..

*2 convers as infra

**idio-jargon  .. self-talk as data

***perhaps just one ie: a nother way book

3 ship\ables 

red flag if we think we need training

explaining the commons with the vocab of capital, business, and standard economics cannot work

explaining the commons .. won’t work

to learn how commons actually work, we need to escape deeply rooted habits of thought and cultivate some fresh perspectives

exactly.. we need fresh (unhampered by thinking about cancerous roadblocks: govern; responsibility; entitlement; monitoring; penalize; free riders; .. ) perspectives.. everyday.. which begs we focus on daily curiosity

this task become easier once we realize that there is no single universal template for assessing a commons

rather.. when we realize money (any form of measuring/accounting).. compromises a commons


why do so many discussions about commons rely on economic categories of analysis (types of goods, resource allocations, productivity, transaction costs) when commons are primarily social systems for meeting shared needs..

more econ categories: govern; responsibility; entitlement; monitoring; penalize; free riders; et al

i see this defn of an undisturbed ecosystem and true common ing as one in the same:

‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows

[in her work.. dana used econ categories as well.. so this quote doesn’t work in her context either]

let go

2 – the ontoshift to the commons


sometimes new truths can be revealed only by making a shift in ontological perspective – what we have come to call an ontoshift..

ontological – dealing w the nature of being

a nother way to live.. eudaimoniative surplus


john maynard keynes 1930s: the difficulty lies not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones..

this is what we’re doing w common ing.. if we assume there has to be any form of measuring/accounting/obligation


study of the nature of reality and ow it is structured – the windows thru which we see the world – is called ontology


are an of the phenomena that we observe historically and culturally invariant – ie: universal – or are they variable and context dependent

what we’ve observed is universal in the aspect we keep observing  whales in sea world.. the universal big is that we all are missing the same essence.. ie: maté basic needs

generally, these sorts of questions about reality are not seen as relevant to the practical.. but given the institutional instability of our times, we believe that nothing is more strategic than to reassess the fundamental ways in which we perceive reality..

everyday.. ie: self-talk as data.. not ridiculous


we must learn to see that everything is interdependent, and that our individual well being depends upon collective well being

so.. ‘gangs’ and ‘mafia’ peoples included.. has to be all of us.. from the get go


no ontology , however widely accepted, is guaranteed to work or command respect

i don’t know.. i don’t buy that.. and i don’t think it’s about respect.. it’s about finding that ‘ontology’ that already exists in each/every person.. that deep


how might one imagine and design a different suit of clothes

2 convers as infra.. everyday.. everyone

to truly see the commons, we need to shed inappropriate old concepts and invent new ones

we need a means to wake us all up.. because.. inventing new concepts and rejecting/shedding inappropriate ones.. is part of our true nature

daily self-talk as detox.. to get help us see/be beyond the irrelevants


a relational ontology: relations between entities are more fundamental than the entities themselves.. thrive thru interactions .. basis for their aliveness..

thurman interconnectedness lawwhen you understand interconnectedness it makes you more afraid of hating than of dying


pluriverse – diversity of life forms are conjoined by our common humanity and engagement with life on earth

one ness.. nationality: human ness..

why common ing.. aka: augmenting interconnectedness

and why the ai humanity needs most.. augmenting interconnectedness ie: 2 convers as infra via tech as it could be..


self ordering and self healing properties are woven into system and their constituent elements at a very deep level, making them unusually resilient in the face of disruption..

taleb antifragile law

the dynamics of self org can generate a stable living order w/in a sea of chaotic random entropy.. aliveness and order spontaneously arise from chaotic disorder

carhart-harris entropy law.. et al

from spontaneous law

there is no divine watchmaker or external force imposing order.. rather it emerges thru an organism’s internal systems for metabolizing energy and creatively adapting to its environ..

the parallels between this biological process and commoning are highly suggestive and worth pondering

they are parallel.. fractal.. worth assuming/believing/living/trying.. ie: a nother way

kate raworth has proposed a real world econ framework that recognizes a new ontology

new..? i see it as still based on measuring/accounting.. not like what you sited above – no external force/incentive.. imposing order.. it’s not going to work unless we let go

katedoughnut econ.. et al


andreas weber has expressed the view of being that we take in this book – ‘world not populated by singular.. comprised of constantly oscillating network.. relationship counts not the substance’.. weber’s book matter and desire is an extended reflection on this theme.. ‘world is not an aggregation of things, but rather a symphony of relationships’

andreas.. matter & desire..

hardin could only see the world thru lens of individualist ontology.. he literally could not comprehend commoning or imagine political affordances based on dynamic relationships..


no one can simply announce that he/she is adopting a new perspective. a new orientation must be learned and practiced

rather.. the orientation each/every one of our souls crave.. is already in us.. we just need to (like you said) shed the layers until we can hear it.. no need to learn that which is our essence..

believing we need train ing is a red flab of exclusion/enclosure/oppression/cancer

that’s what the next several chapters are meant to do for those who want to ‘think like a commoner’ and make an ontoshift

so to me.. thinking we need your book or the next few chapters or a new language.. is a red flag we’ve not yet gotten to the essence.. so we won’t see true commoning.. similar to hardin scenario..

part\ial doesn’t get to the dance you keep talking about but also that you keep limiting by not letting go enough

in the remainder of the book.. we supply the material for constructing the house..

3 – language and the creation of commons


words terms and categories of though isolate and emphasize only certain aspects of reality. they determine what we notice about a given phenom/thing and marginalize other aspects.. they subtly direct how we perceive the world..


in the course of *writing this book, we often felt the desperate need for terms that more adequate describe the realities of the commons

huge point here.. don’t need that for commoning.. just for *writing about it.. perhaps we try idio-jargon as our universal language and let go of thinking we need to ie: learn/create new languages first..


breakthru discoveries in science.. when challenge underlying framework of rules and assumptions.. they supplant a constellation of group commitments about how to interpret the world and offer new assumptions, rules, and explanations. this paves the way towards a paradigm shift..  a real paradigm shift occurs when our fundamental presuppositions about reality change..

i don’t think we’ve really ever had a shift.. i don’t think we’ve yet shift the fundamentals.. we’ve just been going on tweaks..


the arrival of a new paradigm is usually announced by new categories of thought, new terms, and new words that illuminate neglected or unimagined dimension of reality

see.. if we think we have to announce w categories/terms/words.. i don’t think it’s a true paradigm shift.. you’re not focusing on alive relationships/interactions/verbs if you’re thinking you can term/word/pre-announce them.. their aliveness makes them un capture\able.. and it also makes them non-all-inclusive

we believe a vital strategy, though certainly not the only one, is the use of a new language w fresh, more spacious affordances..

the affordances beg to be unconditional (spacious to the limit of infinity).. ie: idio-jargon/beyond words.. as a means to ongoingly (fresh-everday) communicate


language is our most important vehicle for expressing shared concepts and asserting what we consider relevant; i is, thus essential for creating culture

yeah.. i don’t know.. maybe thinking we need to create some ‘culture’ is what is off (from legit human nature)

am seeing literacy and write ing and read ing as part of the exclusionary/oppressive cancer

the question is, what concepts, facts, and perspective shall we *declare to be relevant? what type of shared knowledge and culture do we want to propagate

yeah.. that’s the poison/violence.. who’s we? this goes with your first misleading term.. common goods – left to social judgment.. with the need to use some form of violence to then get compliance/consensus.. et al


first we must deconstruct the dominant frames and metaphors of the dominant discourse – along w their implicit logic, values, and emotional associations..

yeah.. let’s truly do that.. perhaps by simply facilitating daily curiosity  ie: cure ios city


the whol chain of ontology, frame, and terms must be eliminated root and brach and replace – a task that *obviously can only occur over time, an dnot in one fell swoop

(*what a limiting word guys)

see.. i think it can happen in one full swoop (aka: leap) and perhaps thinking it can’t is why we haven’t yet gotten back/to true commoning/undisturbed ecosystem..

in order for the dance to dance.. we need everyone in sync.. and today.. we finally have the means to facil that chaos.. ie: tech as it could be..

we haven’t ever tried/trusted that

we therefore need to become not only more self aware of the concepts and terms that re entrench the exiting order of thought. we also need to teach ourselves new vocabs that point to more liberating ways of being..

curiosity would take care of that.. sans teaching/training (both of which are actually powerful parts of structural violence – the supposed to’s.. of school/work et al)

we need to learn a language that will help us make an ontoshift and think in relational terms about a new world that is possible

no.. actually.. we need to just do/be it.. otherwise.. same song second verse english accent little bit worse

you keep saying relational (which is undefinable) and then trying to pin it down

too much studying/schooling going on here.. browse glossaries..? how exclusive is that.. ?

61-68 – key words to a fading era


open work os one that anyone can feely access and use such as open source software, writing, photos licensed under cc licenses..

those aren’t accessible/usable to most of the world..

equity is about everyone.. the entire human population.. getting a go everyday.. not just the ones with devices.. and the ‘appropriate’ language.. and contracts/licenses to say that they have access

73-90 – glossary of commons-friendly terms


part 2 – the triad of commoning



no one has yet imagined a framework that at once speaks to the mundane realities of self org, the inner transformations that commoning catalyzes, and how these might transform the political economy over time

well.. perhaps they have.. and you just can’t hear it..  ie: some have imagine this way: 2 convers as infra

our triad of commoning: social life, peer governance, and provisioning .. is based on the premise that commoning is primarily about creating and maintaining relationships.. .. this relational understanding of the world will necessarily bring about new ways of thinking about value.. it also helps us escape from standard econ and policy frameworks..from overly economistic resource based understanding of the commons, both of which fail to express its social dynamics

sorry.. i think you.. and elinor.. et al.. are still not escaping all that

4 – the social life of commoning


commoning is what common people decide for themselves in their specific circumstances if they want to get along w each other and produce as much wealth for everyone as possible..

see.. i think that’s off.. it’s not about producing wealth.. and not about making decisions in circumstances.. if we focus on those.. i don’t think we’ll ever get back to an undisturbed ecosystem/commoning

i also think that if we focus on ‘producing wealth for everyone’ and ‘ getting along’ we miss the mark..

i think fittingness is what truly free people do ..  and that creates eudaimoniative surplus aka: an undisturbed ecosystem.. but it’s more about curiosity over decision making

modern societies have largely forgotten about commoning. therefore, showcasing its elemental dailyness opens the door for seeing how the commons can provide a platform for effective alts to capitalism

to hasten that showcase of daily ness.. begs we believe in unconditional ness (aka: all people are truly free first – ie: no measuring/accounting).. and that we focus on a problem deep enough.. so that none of them feel like they are ie: doing other’s work; trying to get along; voluntarily compliancing; et al

ie: short bp

in the city.. as the day..

over course of more than 15 yrs.. we have visited dozens of commons, talked w 100s of people, and red about scores of commons in the scholarly lit.. we have come to see that commoning is not like an on/off switch, something that exits or it doesn’t.. it is more a matter of intensity like a dimmer switch on a light; the intensity of various patterns of commoning may be weak or strong, according to what people really do but its degree of illumination and continuity lead us to he threshold of conscious self org.. this means we have the capacity to affect the process – to intensify commoning – at any given moment

yeah.. again.. i think this is why we haven’t yet gotten to truly commoning.. i think it’s all or nothing.. because – it only works if it’s all of us.. can’t be part\ial..

thinking/findings on this (over last several years)


pascal gielen refers to culture as ‘a stealth lab for new forms of life, an omnipresent incubator, hardly noticed precisely because it is everywhere’.. the commons is such a lab

true.. let’s let it be that.. everyday.. ie: let’s just facil daily curiosity  ie: cure ios city with 2 convers as infra via tech as it could be.. focus on augmenting our interconnectedness


the way commoning catalyzed change is clear: the more you align yourself w a commons worldview and the more you practice commoning, the more you learn ho to become a commoner

this is true.. as long as you are trusting what is already in each/every heart for that alignment.. (holmgren indigenous law et al).. and not expecting there to be ie: training et al


8 parts to social life of commoning


1\ shared purpose and values can only arise when people contribute from their own passion and commitment,  a commons does not necessarily start w shared purpose and values.. these outcomes must be earned by commoners over time as they struggle to bring their diverse perspective into greater alignment

dang.. just dang

earn? – poison guys

i think to be a commons.. for people to truly be commoning.. there is already an intrinsic essence (values/purpose if you like – ie: maté basic needs) that should/can/will-be the infrastructure for all else.. if we let go enough

if we try to base our one ness on anything other than that.. i think we compromise us/commoning.. we become (continue to be) like whales in sea world.. because we bring in that whole realm/cancer of supposed to’s.. sacrificing what we need most: aka fittingness – the energy of 7b alive people

a rooted culture cannot be built overnight

well.. it can.. if you realize/go-with the roots that are already there (why leap)

your ie’s all show that you’re not going deep enough ie: next barn over et al

the real question is not what do we need.. it is what do we have..

actually.. let’s try: what are you curious about (what matters to you) today.. let’s just facil/trust that.. let’s just see

wendell berry’s what we need is here (next barn sends to members)

go deeper.. the structure we need.. the essence/one-ness we crave.. is already here.. let’s listen for that

2\ ritualize togetherness

agreed.. but with no agenda.. ie: to cook, to frolic, to share, to festival.. all agendas.. we need to start everyday with 8b individual curiosities.. first.. ie: 2 convers as infra

3\ contribute freely – means *giving w/o expecting to receive anything of equivalent value, at least not here and now.. it also means that when people do **receive something it s w/o feeling the need to reciprocate in direct ways

rather.. *giving w/o expectation.. period.. **receive w/o needing to reciprocate.. period.. otherwise giving becomes an obligation .. (art – do anything to give it away)

such acts occur when community gardeners break ground in the spring, or when people submit editorial content to wikipedia.. w no expectation of return or even formal credit.. they just do it.. for a variety of reasons – to learn a skill, join a community, earn respect, build job credentials, or simply be a part of something

all those are poisonous expectations.. and they will fittingness


as long as a person’s contribution is not coerced, everything is fine..

well.. it’s coerced if we call it a contribution.. for starters.. ie: brown belonging law.. et al

what makes commons special: it’s a space where money doesn’t rule everything

rather.. a space where money (any form of measuring/accounting/obligation) doesn’t exist

this is huge.. and we’re missing it


4\ practice gentle reciprocity

that’s like saying.. practice gentle cancer

the only ‘fairness’ humanity needs is everyone getting a fresh go.. everyday

allowing free riders to shirk their fair contribution to a group’s efforts can generate resentments and deplete the group;s shared wealth and goodwill.. commons must ensure a rough equiv of contribution and entitlement among its participants..

if you feel compelled to use the term free riders.. you’re not seeing the big picture.. and if you think your space has them.. your space isn’t really commoning..

5\ trust situated knowing – ie: james suzman finding some experiential and embodied knowledge simply cannot be expressed thru language, let alone be translated into another language..

indeed.. begs we just go with trusting humans.. period.. all of us.. ie: assuming good (saves a ton of energy)

james.. et al

6\ deepen communion w nature – the point is for people to have opps to deepen their relationship to natural systems.. and in so doing.. come to know/love/protect them

holmgren indigenous law – people have to be truly free to hear/be this

7\ preserve relationships in addressing conflicts – any cooperative endeavor will face serious challenges.. many of them stemming form personal behaviors or power relations

not so if we start with curiosity over decision making first.. everyday

elinor: like any institution, a commons must have rules and norms that apply to everyone

either.. 1\ commoning is not an institution and doesn’t apply or 2\ commoning rules and norms are ie: 2 convers as infra..

anything beyond that causes the conflicts you’re assuming


the idea is not to secure consensus thru threats of punishment but to prevent misaligned relationship in the first place

agreed.. let’s do that.. how? ie: curiosity over decision making ..

(any) public consensus always oppresses someone

the art is to give everyone the right to be heard, bear witness, an suggest changes while sharing the observed problem and its implications transparently

rather.. the art is to listen to everyone.. period.. which we can now do .. ie: tech as it could be..

this is huge

8\ reflect on your peer governance – even engaged people may forget how to maintain themselves as a commons in the face of daily operational challenges, the necessity (and seductions) of making money, the enticements of wielding power, new ideas about organizational governance, and countless other factors it is therefore vital that commoners reflect on their peer governance.. that is the only way that they can protect the integrity of the commons against enclosure, cooptation, or the entropy that can sap institutions of their energy


yes.. daily reflect.. but on the cravings already in each heart.. ie: maté basic needs via 2 convers as infra.. but people also have to be in an open enough ecosystem for this to work.. and all you’ve listed are red flags that that doesn’t exist.. that you are already enclosing..

and.. yeah.. entropy may sap ‘institutions’.. but it is lifeblood/energy to commoning..

this is also huge

5 – peer governance thru commoning


the dynamics of peer governance at the cellular level of everyday practices mater because they provide regularity and stability to a commons

regularity? – not commoning

10 dynamics of peer governance.. first seven revolve around interpersonal and social relationships.. the final three involve commons based methods for dealing w property, money and markets

property, money, markets? – not commoning


the shared motivation and vision that commoners wish to enact must have sufficient structure in law, formal organization, and finance to be protected and nurtured

not commoning

one might say the informal and creative must be stabilized thru friendly structural support and constraints, w/o being controlled by them

2 convers as infra.. any more structure/control than that is violence.. and why we are where we are right now

let go


ostrom’s 8 not enough.. our analysis of peer governance therefore move beyond ostrom’s landmark design principles in several ways..

and i believe we need to go beyond your guidelines/patterns


critical for commoners to consciously decide how to craft their governance systems

rather.. bag the decisions/governance ness.. and focus on curiosity over decision making


if people feel the process resonates w their needs/context, they will be eager to engage..

problem deep enough to resonate w 8b today

however there must be an *attractor that pulls them to self org and align their intentions and actions..

rather.. a *connector that augments their interconnectedness.. ie: finds local people that woke up with same intentions/curiosities.. that day

huge difference

defined system of monitoring, sanctions and enforcement are needed to protect the commons against free riders, vandals, and systematic enclosures

systematic enclosures like this: defined system of monitoring, sanctions and enforcement are needed to protect the commons against free riders, vandals, and systematic enclosures

most importantly, commoners must find ways to prevent individual property rights and the quest for money from ruining group dynamics.. that is why it is necessary for commoners to develop ways to relationalize property..

perhaps let’s try/code money (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence

ie: ubi as temp placebo..

1\ bring diversity into shared purpose – peer governance, artfully carried out,b rings divers viewpoints together. there is no substitute for this process because, w/o it, people may casually commit to some imagined, abstract idea about the future that may not reflect their actual feelings, needs and feasible possibilities

have found that daily curiosity works well/best at this.. ie: keeping us from becoming (from continuing to be) like whales in sea world

curiosity is like an unbiased.. uncult ish.. unifier.. if you use it to facil daily local connections

this is core insight among indigenous and no indigenous orgs that established uniterra – a de-institutionalized uni founded by commoners for commoners that reject *formal roles and hierarchy

Universidad de la Tierra

from Gustavo Esteva page:

‘Instead of education, what we really need is conditions for decent living, a community. In doing this radical research, we surprise ourselves, every day, when we discover how easy it can be to create alternatives and how many people are interested in the adventure.’

indeed.. so very resonating..

undisturbed ecosystem

in the city.. as the day..


thru commoning, a share purpose eventually emerges.. it is not necessarily self evident or knowable in advance

i don’t know.. it think that may be a big part of what we’re missing.. not going deep enough to that already shared purpose/need/desire.. we keep using more shallow (perhaps legit.. but maybe non existent if we started deeper) purposes (ie: food; rights; climate; et al)

i think the biggest/base fractal of commoning does have a shared purpose/need/desire.. from the get go.. from forever ago.. something already baked into each one of us.. perhaps not self evident – esp today – and knowable in advance.. if we listen deep enough.. but doesn’t have to be verbally knowable..

i think this part\ial purpose (aka: not deep enough for 8b people to resonate with today) keeps distracting us.. from what we could be/do

3 paths frequently taken to peer governance in commons: spontaneous attraction, tradition and conscious design

i’d say yeah.. to the spontaneity.. but not about a shared purpose.. that’s not spontaneous enough.. rather.. about a shared daily curiosity

tradition and conscious design.. to confining/enclosure-ing


under conscious design – designing a tech platform to facil governance is a tricky challenge..

ok.. that conscious design.. we could use.. let’s try this: 2 convers as infra via tech as it could be.. not so tricky.. just too simple for us to believe it would work

but that’s only because we need a jump start back to our natural ability (not yet scrambled ness) to listen and interconnect .. ie: since we’re all like whales in sea world.. we need a mech to augment ourselves back/to our interconnectedness


2\ create semi permeable membranes – commons need protection as we love to say

best protection: gershenfeld something else law

huge.. wish you could hear me

scholars have confirmed from extensive field research the need for what they call boundaries.. we believe the better term is semi permeable membrane..

scholars have confirmed.. red flag

means nothing if data/research is from ie: whales in sea world

the point is to *exclude influences that undermine ubuntu rationality in a commons while remaining open to the flows of energy and life that create value in a commons and sustain it

*not commoning

unlike strict boundaries, semi permeable membranes *selectively allow what may or may not enter a commons

*not commoning

life arises when there are sufficient flows of energy..  (membranes) helps commoners protect their living wealth in efficient ways

most efficient and/because best flow of energy (the energy of 7b alive people): gershenfeld something else law

3\ honor transparency in a sphere of trust.. of course in most groups/networks there is also misbehavior and social cliques that can make it difficult or impossible to create a serious trust

transparency would become irrelevant if we truly trusted – ie: trust isn’t earned.. it’s unconditional .. unconditional trust – an oxymoron..

4\ share knowledge generously

if we’re all doing the thing we can’t not do.. we can’t not share.. speaking of generosity becomes irrelevant because it’s just like breathing.. to an art ist (aka: all of us if we are truly free)

5\ assure consent in decision making – it is fundamental that a commoner have meaningful say in developing the rules by which they shall be governed..

we totally have this all wrong.. public consensus always oppresses/excludes someone.. what we need is curiosity over decision making.. then governance/rules become irrelevant distractions

loomio.. enspiral.. et al


sociocracy.. relies on heterarchy/circular-hierarchy.. it helps groups achieve max transparency, opps for participation and effective outcomes based on collective wisdom

yeah.. we’d do better with a means to listen to every voice everyday.. which we can do today.. ie: tech as it could be..

then too again – transparency/participation/outcomes.. all become irrelevant distractions


6\ rely on heterarchy.. brings together top down and bottom up, and p2p dynamics.. reconciling distributed networks/hierarchies.. allows people to make own *choices in how they will interact

graeber/wendrow back and forth law..

imagining the possibilities with a mech/infra to facil *iterations of that cycling (as limit approaches both ends of infinity – ginorm/small). .everyday.. zoom dancing ie: art/ists vs bot/ists ness

finite set of *choices becomes irrelevant distraction


7\ peer monitor & apply graduated sanctions – no commons can survive long if it does not *ensure that its members adhere to the rules that they have agreed to.. sanction are need to help persuade everyone else to stick to the rules…. ostrom calls this quasi-voluntary compliance’

*not commoning

voluntary compliance, coercion/persuasion, .. red flags we are doing/being it wrong


what is interesting is that he mere existence of possible sanctions is often effective in itself, even if actual penalties are rare

aka: structural violence

interesting.. in a book on commoning


we cluster the next three patterns of peer governance together because they have a special focus – protecting the commons from the risks posed by money, property, finance, and market activity and the calculative rationality associated with them

begs we go for money (any form of measuring/accounting – which there are plenty ie’s of in your first 7 patterns) as the planned obsolescence

8\ relationalize property – to relationalize property is to open up anew conception of property that recognizes the social relationships what are inextricably blended into any landscape, creative work, building  or sacred space..

if our sacred space – is everywhere.. then property ness becomes an irrelevant/cancerous distraction


the essence of relationalized property is the blending of individual and collective interest into a *new paradigm.. the purpose of relationalized property is to **enable us to nourish relationships w each other..

not a *new paradigm if property still exists.. talked about.. labelled.. whatever..

**if that’s something we want (which i believe all of us crave) .. let’s put our energies toward augmenting our interconnectedness..

if we are truly all interconnected.. we either all own (whatever) or no one does..


9\ keep commons and commerce distinct

best way – money (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence ie: ubi as temp placebo..


enclosures as a threat to commons

you keep saying this.. and yet.. keep giving ‘commoning ie’s’ that are enclosures..


to be sure, commoners generally need money too

commoners don’t need money.. (it’s cancer.. it’s enclosure).. but we do need to create a jumping off space.. where people don’t think about money for long enough to believe they don’t need money.. ie: bi as temp placebo..


10/ finance commons provisioning – how can provisioning commons be financed w/o the harmful influence of money and debt.. we have found that 3 general approaches can be effective in helping people escape dependency on capitalist finance while enhancing their security and freedom.. these are money-lite commoning; collab financing; and new public commons circuits of finance

aka: poison filled band-aids..

let go

try this short bp

6 – provisioning thru commons

re reading ch 6 and adding the following this day:

Commons Transition (@Commons_Trans) tweeted at 5:01 AM – 7 Feb 2020 :
A new chapter from Silke Helfrich and David Bollier’s “Free, Fair and Alive: the Insurgent Power of the Commons” is released and available to read online. Chapter 6 focuses on Provisioning Through Commons (see quote in thread): (

One of the great powers of a commons is its ability to emancipate itself from markets — and the prices they dictate.. t

need to emancipate from any form of measuring/accounting

part 3 – growing the commonsverse



if anyone wished to advance an ontoshift, they must find ingenious ways to deal w some deeply rooted biases of the capitalist econ

ie: 2 convers as infra to facil and detox (ie: self-talk)


one cannot simply propose a grandiose long term agenda and then try to educate others to agree and follow the prescribe insights..

indeed.. so why books and glossaries?

that approach ignores the deeper wisdom of the commons, which accepts the idea of distributed, local and diverse acts of commoning whose very aliveness produces the creativity and commitment to develop solutions adapted to every context

indeed.. great words.. (just doesn’t really match with what i’ve read so far).. perhaps part of it is – seems if we focus on solutions to contexts.. we’re setting ourselves up to play defense.. and so we miss the aliveness/energy that’s dying to dance/emerge

ie: let’s try this infra structure for local diverse commoning


commons and municipality share same etymology w root latin word munus – which combines the meanings  ‘gift’ and ‘duty’..

dang.. that’s poison.. both words.. poison ie: gift and obligation ness

7 – rethinking property

rather.. letting go of property

let go


(on public property worth millions) – thanks to some dogged legal sleuthing by neighborhood residents in the 1990s.. there are thousands of such stories of people trying to find legal protection for their commoning..

that’s silly.. why play those games


if we really want to be free, and we wish everyone to enjoy that possibility, we need to rethink property.. this is a very large and complicated topic, of course.. not easy to imagine how we might subordinate property rights to the needs of our society and ecosystem..

perhaps it’s to easy to imagine.. and that’s why we keep missing it

ie: code money/property (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence

ie: ubi as temp placebo..

in this chapter we will also clarify why the notions of possession is so important to he commons.. in an existential sense, we cannot not possess

maybe that’s what we need to rethink.. we can not possess..

imagine that..


if we wish to recognize our actual interconnectedness and take it seriously, we must start to imagine new types of institutional and property arrangement that recognize this fact

so.. life sans institutions/property (property itself is the problem)

8 – relationalize property

rather.. let’s get back to relationships/interconnectedness.. and let go of property

skimmed both 7&8

9 – state power and commoning


there is no easy answers (to developing legal regimes, infras and programs to empower commoning).. yet there is no way around actively engaging w state power.. how to do so, however, is a tricky challenge

not if you let go – by offering/intra-ing something that is for everyone .. from the get go.. even the state peoples.. inspectors.. et al


if we wish to take the commons idea seriously, then, we have to fundamentally rethink our ideas about how state power might be used strategically

rather.. fundamentally rethink our ideas about state power.. ie: it’s made up

let go


thus, the central challenge we face is to re imagine state power in ways that support commoning

rather.. to offer something better/deeper than state power


provide infra for commoning

ie: 2 convers as infra


create new types of finance for the commons

let go of finance/money (any form of measuring/accounting) or it’s not commoning


while there can obviously be no omnibus, master strategy for gaining state support for commoning..

obviously? another one of those blinding words

there is a way.. to make state support irrelevant

10 – take commoning to scale

not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake


distributed ledgers a as platform for commoning

rather.. holochain/blockchain/ethereum/whatever for ie: hlb via 2 convers that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way


what is most needed, therefore, is a bold rethinking of the design and structure of policymaking itself and the premises of majority rule politics

rather.. rethinking of the premise of policies(aka: B bs policy)/contracts/whatever.. themselves..

let go


a commoning culture.. words and intentions aren’t enough


while law, tech protocols, infra and other structure can ply valuable roles in guiding the energies of commoning, ultimately it is our imagination and commoning itself that drive everything..

so.. forget everything else.. and let’s free people up for that.. everyday.. let’s let go.. of everything else.. and trust that/us

askew bones law et al

let go


Tom Younger (@tomayounger) tweeted at 4:42 AM – 5 Dec 2019 :
@davidbollier @Commonify “Commoning is not like an on/off switch, something that exists or it doesn’t. It is more a matter of intensity like a dimmer switch on a light; the intensity of various patterns of commoning may be weak or strong, according to what people really do….but its degree of illumination & continuity lead us to the threshold of conscious self-organization. This means that we have the capacity to affect the process – to intensify commoning – at any given moment.” (

perhaps it does exist or it doesn’t.. like trust.. 100% unconditional.. or it isn’t trust..  maybe that’s why we keep missing it..

unconditional trust – an oxymoron..


via michel fb share.. about commoning.. and market ness:

David Bollier and Silke Helfrich’s book on the Commons have been getting a lot of positive reviews, no doubt deserving. I have not read it myself, since I have read too many general books on the commons. BUT, it is important to realize that this view of the commons as *totally separated from the market, is not the one that I and the P2P Foundation have defended. Sure, it is in many contexts interesting to keep the commons separate from the market, as it avoids crowding out effects. BUT, it is also very unrealistic and it keeps the commons marginal vis a vis from mainstream society.
*i didn’t read f f & a as totally free from market.. ie: 14 – reciprocation; 16 – managed pool resources, monitoring, compliance; 48 – order; et al..
and even if their view is/was separate.. you’re both right.. and what we need then is a means to transition.. to no market.. we have to design for market ness to be the planned obsolescence ie: ubi as temp placebo.. graeber bi law.. et al
market ness
markets are anti econ
Now, in the context of climate change, some forms of sobriety are inevitable, but voluntary simplicity is not for everyone at this stage, and therefore, it is entirely legitimate for commoners to want to secure livelihoods, based on their commoning, and not to be in a position where commoning is just a hobby. If you want a commons-centric society and economy, then transforming market and state is imperative. Paradoxically, the effect of wanting the commons pure, or poor, is also a way to marginalize it!

let’s try/code money (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence

ie: ubi as temp placebo..

Inspired by some remarks by Jeff Emmett; also curious about the reaction of David Hammerstein
– p.153: “If purchases of goods and services, or paid labor, substitute for what can be performed through commoning, it will begin to erode intrinsic motivations”
– p. 153: “It’s easier for a successful volunteer free software project to get money than it is to decide how to spend it.”
p. 153: “To be sure, commoners generally need money too, at least in some modest ways
this is why we need to design for money (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence
p. 153: “Hill cites empirical evidence that paid labor in socially driven endeavors tends to crowd out volunteers, who see their work as less indispensable and meaningful, inciting them to contribute less or even quit.”
then in comments he adds
This is why, in our Value and the Commons report, we distinguish a polarity that has 3 positions, and we believe it is part of the human freedom to choose which one is best in a particular context. Position one, which I also prefer in many circumstances, is a total separation between market and commons; Position two is based on the solution of contributive accounting, i.e. the introduction of what @Jeff Emmet calls ‘warm currencies’, which have a generative and not a extractive logic, and can also fund care activities (see the DISCO approach); but also, entirely legitimate, is a direct connection, perhaps a bit what Tiberius Brastaviceanu has been attempting (doing ?) with Sensorica. SEE:
Value in the Commons Economy: Developments in Open and Contributory Value Accounting. By Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Niaros. Heinrich Boll Foundation, 2016.URL =…/value-commons-economy…
here is what Jeff Emmettof Commons Stack says about ‘warm currenncies’:
The view of the Commons Stack is that good people should be rewarded for doing good things
incentive ness is killing us.. good, bad, profit, nonprofit.. any/all of it
In commons circles, it seems we are jaded by the existing financial system, and for good reason. But I feel like many commons approaches throw out the baby with the bath water. “Cold” currencies have a big issue with exploitation and value extraction, but with appropriate system design we can retain the useful aspect of incentive alignment in “warm” currency systems, and mitigate the extractive tendencies of unchecked capitalism.
and some historical context on ‘warm-ness’,
? warm ness..?
wondering if Nora Bateson‘s warn data approach fits in this context,
warm data et al
then from nora
Nora Bateson Michel Bauwens absolutely!
then from
John RestakisI think to try and isolate the commons from the market as something more “pure” or communitarian is failing to understand both the market and commons. It is to consign the meaning of markets to that imposed by capitalist ideology and thus to concede the market to capitalism. All markets are not capitalist and all commons are not market-free.
rather.. we have no idea (yet) what commoning truly is.. can be (ie: if not market free.. not truly common ing)
and michel responds
Michel Bauwens fully agree, as does Adam Arvidsson , who is in chiangmai right now and has study the matter in some detail