Sunday, May 3rd, 2020
by Alfredo Cunhal Sendim
The Commons are also an economic alternative that produces relationships of mutual reciprocity (giving), generosity and solidarity inside (local or global) communities, affording privilege to the value of using rather than trading. It is a collective way of life – and this collective is formed from people, from their creations and from the other human beings who coinhabit the Earth (which is itself a living being). Or, in other words, the Commons are a social and ecological system, a large-scale cultural transformation, resulting from a process grounded in affections, feelings and a sense of spirituality. A practical path towards a life of happiness and imagination. In the Commons, the focus is on what we need, not on what we can sell; the result is abundance, and not shortage; governance is polycentric, sociocratic and meritocratic, it is not defined by the State or the Market. Social relations and power are decentralised, access to material resources is determined by the limits and rules established by their users, with access to nonmaterial resources being entirely open. The result is the regeneration of the planet, emancipation and social inclusion. All of this is known as Agroecology. It is also called Serving. It’s nothing more than what has already been going on for several millennia – for example, in the community management of the village of Lameiros.
Why don’t we replace Unemployment Benefit with the Unconditional Basic Income and empower people to organise themselves instead of collaborating with the lowest form of speculation, namely that of human labour?
As Marta Wengorovius consistently reminds us, the Commons relate to One, Two and the Many. We easily lose track of the first of these dimensions, but perhaps it is in the trust and confidence we have in ourselves that we will find the possibility of working with the Many, the Commons.
Last September, an interesting book was published – “Free, Fair, and Alive: The Insurgent Power of the Commons” (David Bollier, Silke Helfrich) – and the movement known as The Insurgent Power of the Commons was also created. The teacher Antonio Lafuente, a Spanish friend of our teacher Ana Luísa Janeiro, has also undertaken a remarkable body of work with the Iberian-American community.
Why are we incapable of governing ourselves in smaller “States”, instead of hoping that each of us will be governed well enough to enable us to continue to eke out our living? ‘And what about the multinationals?’ Daniel Oliveira will surely ask. The funds will easily dry up because it is our alienated behaviour that makes speculation possible. Perhaps now we understand that the price of wearing a mask isn’t its current selling price. The current price is a hypocritical robbery, based on what we call the Market, a price that we can all practice quite often. Why not make the mask ourselves?
To go further, it is obvious that we have to create a global organisation for the regulation of our legal system, and a similar one for justice and for the defence of the planet. But our own Paulo Magalhães is already dealing with this, through the common project known as the House of Humanity, and he’s doing very well.
I end, once again, with the words of Agostinho da Silva, who, thinking about “the world we should have”, “the one that we will not call an empire”, wrote about this great vision of ours, referring to Padre António Vieira “Since, due to some impossibility, he did not explain what his Fifth Empire would be like in relation to all this – how there would be economic equality, how we would implement education for all, how this whole process of ordering and obeying would become obsolete, how we would design and build, if possible, a general way of thinking that would incorporate the ideologies, philosophies or theologies of the various communities, not only those of the people who set them up, but also those of the people who joined them – he has handed the task to us, the people of today, if we are capable of doing so.” Neither the Father (António Vieira) nor the Master (Agostinho da Silva) explained this, but they did leave us some clues. And, at this moment in time, all of them point to the Commons. We will be capable. Only we ourselves can fulfil the role of Dom Sebastião, the Desired King and the longed-for saviour, who will bring us the Fifth Empire.
• Agostinho da Silva. Carta Vária XXIV. 4.11.81
• Stefan Meretz, http://www.keimform.de/2010/commonstheorie-und-perspektiven-des-widerstands/