Building a New Social Commons

Here’s a fascinating piece by the New Economics Foundation which, whilst it is lengthy, is well worth a read.  It puts together a broad ranging strategic framework for thinking about how society may be refocused away from an emphasis of the individual towards an emphasis of the value of the social in human life:

Farm Workers Credit Union

Here’s a great article about a credit union that was set up by farmers to help support each other financially and also in times of emergency/strike to provide financial support.  One of the best models for how banking should really be run:

Co-ops Anchored in Local Institutions, Cleveland, USA

A fascinating strategy for empowering local worker owned businesses to empower communities through their involvement in local green cooperatives, here’s a quote:

 An important aspect of the plan is that each of the Evergreen co-operatives is obligated to pay 10 percent of its pre-tax profits back into the fund to help seed the development of new jobs through additional co-ops. Thus, each business has a commitment to its workers (through living-wage jobs, affordable health benefits and asset accumulation) and to the general community (by creating businesses that can provide stability to neighborhoods).  The overall strategy is not only to go green but to design and position all the worker-owned co-ops as the greenest firms within their sectors.”

From Brooklyn to Manchester: 596 Acres

This is a movement focused on bringing public land back to the public.  One person noticed that within Brooklyn, U.S., there was 596 acres of unused public land and so began a process whereby the public are made aware that this land is vacant and available. This organisation focuses on enabling others to grasp the opportunity to turn their local land into gardens, farms, play spaces and other local intitiatives.  It has even spread across the world as far as Berlin, Germany and my local Manchester, UK:


Initiative 136

In Thessaloniki, Greece there is a movement to stop the privatisation of the water provision, or as they put it: “Privatisation of the profits, socialisation of the loss”.  The currently profitable public water system, with low prices for users, has been set to be sold, but there has been massive public opposition, and it was calculated that for 136 euros each the user could purchase the system and maintain its independence from profit seeking corruption:

Brazilian Landless Workers Movement

Here’s a video (and website) about a mass social movement that address the problem of power distribution inherent in the ownership of land.  The MST looks to create true citizenship through occupying land that is not productive for the population as a whole and reforming its use to work toward the benefit of the whole population.  At the same time they aim to empower those who are involved by involving them in an engaged process of discussion and political activism that raises their consciousness of a variety of issues so that they can become directly engaged in politics at a number of levels:

Thunder Valley

This is a community that has decided to “take back control” through their grass roots organising, in a way that returns them to their cultural routes.  In looking to increase community/worker ownership through a regenerative community, it aims to create its own sustainable energy and through its own construction create its own jobs.  A great example of the power of the sociability of human nature in action: