Commons: sharing is caring

Commons have been the way of life in which humans have been establishing upon for centuries, it is the foundation of our society. They bring beneficial richness to all individuals and can be seen all around us, ranging from nature, education, the Internet and yes even that public ‘common’ toilet.

             “That’s the greatest strength of the commons. It’s an inheritance shared by all humans, which increases in value as people draw upon its riches” (Walljasper, 2010)

More recently 21st century ‘commons’ have become a prevalent issue, this is increasing due to the free publishing rights the Internet commons allow to citizens. Walljasper describes these commons-based societies to ensure and “offer considerable appeal for progressives after a long period in which the bulk of their political engagement has been in reaction to right-wing initiative”(Walljasper, 2010)

No doubt the most eminent case of a commons sphere was back in 2009, with the heightened coverage over WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks was heavily debated over the shared political commons it had created, it  allowed everyday citizens or “commoners” to have an upper hand over the corruption that was happening around them. Although seemingly controversial and slain by many governments, isn’t WikiLeaks for the better of the citizens. Their goal clearly has one objective that is based around an integral factor of shared commons, which is “to bring important news and information to the public” (WikiLeaks, 2013).

Aside from the internet trolling that the internet has created, George Monbiot further discusses the need to start regaining cyber commons due to the organised and even trained army of trolls that are endangering global commons. He has described the presence of the internet to be a “remarkable gift, which has granted us one of the greatest democratic opportunities since universal suffrage” (Monbiot, 2010)

These benevolent traits that WikiLeaks have shown encompasses the Commons Framework deduces by the website On the Commons, a website founded in 2001 to draw attention to the commons movement. The visual also correlates to the important issues of internet commons we are facing in todays society.

Commons Framework (OntheCommons,2012)

Commons Framework : Commons exist all around us (OntheCommons,2012)

“Commons is a conservative as well as progressive virtue because it aims to conserve and nurture all those things necessary for creating a better world” (On the Commons, 2012)

When we reflect onto some of the most prevalent benefits from a commons-based society, I would possibly argue that the music industry has one of the most congealed networks of common interests. It is how the music industry strives to work and function, by the influences of others around us and the sharing of thoughts and ideas. Hiphop would not even be an existing genre without the influences  of soul, old school rock and roll and even a bit of funk. And more recently with the uprise of social media, publishing platforms such as SoundCloud and Spotify have indefinitely shaped the electro, house and trance communities. The modern music society is based around the nature of creation and sharing. Creative commons such as these create “possibilities for large numbers of people of diverse ideological stripes coming together to chart a new, more cooperative direction for modern society” (Walljasper,2011)

Music commons

“SoundCloud is not only about sharing sounds by also about sharing common interests, attitudes, goals and connective with people who share your passion” (SoundCloud, 2013)

commonsCommons is the way of sustainability for the future. The more the sharing the more the caring and thus is beneficial to the established and pre-existing commons.

“Our future depends on our commons and each of us as commoners. We all have a mutual responsibility to name, claim, protect and equitably manage what belongs to all of us for today and future generations” (On the Commons, 2012)

References: 

  1. Good, R 2010 “From Open Business Models To An Economy Of The Commons, Master New Media, accessed 17th of April 2013, http://www.masternewmedia.org/from-open-business-models-to-an-economy-of-the-commons/
  2. Reader, U 2010 “A New Political Dawn: The Push for a Commons-Based Society”, accessed 16th of April, 2013, http://www.stwr.org/economic-sharing-alternatives/a-new-political-dawn-the-push-for-a-commons-based-society.html
  3. Monbiot, G “Reclaim the Cyber-Commons”, accessed 17th of April 2013, http://www.monbiot.com/2010/12/13/reclaim-the-cyber-commons/
  4. Walljasper, J 2010 “All That We Share”, Yes Magazine, accessed 16th of April 2013, http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/all-that-we-share
  5. Walljapser,J 2011 “The Commons Movement is Now”, Common Dream, accessed 16th of April 2013, http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/01/24-0