A monthly conversation with creative activists pioneering new forms of commoning.
Aaron Perzanowski on Bottom-up Creativity & the Right to Repair
Professor Aaron Perzanowski of the University of Michigan Law School explains how many artistic communities flourish as commons, without copyright protections that privilege private ownership and marketization. Tattoo artists, fashion designers, chefs, and stand-up comedians are among the communities that don't strictly own their primary creative works. This ethic of bottom-up collaboration and sharing also flourishes in many repair commons, where resourceful people have created pools of shared knowledge and peer-support to fix broken products. Corporate manufacturers are trying to suppress the "right to repair" movement, but repair-commoners are making significant gains these days.
Shane O'Donnell: The Breakthrough Insulin Device Developed by Commoners
Shane O'Donnell, a sociologist and researcher, has been at the forefront of the "device activism" and #WeAreNotWaiting movement, a globe-spanning community of techies and people living with diabetes who have pioneered patient-led innovations in medical devices and healthcare. Outflanking a stodgy, risk-averse medical device industry, the movement has relied on commoning to develop the Tidepool Loop device, the first open source, interoperable, and automatic insulin-delivery system, and Nightscout, a collectively managed data system for treating diabetes more effectively.
Mihnea Tanasescu on the Need for 'Ecocene Politics'
The best term for this era of geological history is not the Anthropocene, says Mihnea Tănăsescu, a research professor at the University of Mons in Belgium, but the Ecocene. "The increasingly frequent intrusion of ecological processes into political life” requires us to shed our anthropocentric notions, and recognize our deep, entangled relationships with nature and other living beings. In this interview, Tănăsescu talks about his book 'Ecocene Politics' and explains what it means to unlearn the modern mindset and cultivate a relational ethics of reciprocity, cooperation, and care for living beings. We must learn to renovate our legacy forms of political economy and culture, and develop the infrastructures and practices to support mutualism.
Hannes Gerhardt: Compeerism as a Path from Capital to Commons
Hannes Gerhardt, a professor of geography at the University of West Georgia (US), talks about his new book, 'From Capital to Commons: Exploring the Promise of a World Beyond Capitalism', especially as it applies to digital technology and online life. While Big Tech monopolies have crushed the hopeful experimentation that once prevailed in Internet culture, Gerhardt argues that commoning and technology might engineer a transition away from capitalism through "compeerism," a lens that highlights the counter-capitalist possibilities. More on the commons: http://www.Bollier.org. Downloadable PDF transcript of this episode: https://www.bollier.org/files/misc-file-upload/files/Hannes_Gerhardt_Episode_42_transcript.pdf
Natasha Hulst: The Campaign for an Amsterdam Food Park
Natasha Hulst, Director of the European Land Program at the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, describes a spirited campaign by commoners to build an urban farm and green space, Voedselpark, or Food Park, on the edge of Amsterdam. While climate change and global economics argue for relocalizing agriculture, city officials and businesses are determined to build a big-box distribution center on the unspoiled land. The question at hand: Will a famously progressive city double-down on capitalist growth and consumerism as its vision for the future, or can it embrace a modest experiment in climate-friendly land use and commoning?
Thomas Linzey on Nature's Rights and Self-Owning Land
Thomas Linzey, Senior Legal Counsel at the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights, has been at the forefront of ambitious campaigns to create novel legal doctrines for "community rights," "the rights of nature," and more recently, "self-owning land." The primary goal is to expand democratic self-determination, especially at the local level, and provide stronger legal protections for land, water, animals, and other elements of living ecosystems. More on the commons at Bollier.org. Downloadable PDF transcript: https://www.bollier.org/files/misc-file-upload/files/Thomas_Linzey_transcript_Episode_40.pdf