Commons and new power relations


Time: 19:30 – 20:30
Date: 14 May 2020
Language: English

Common criticisms of both the European Union and local authorities are their bureaucratic nature and the distance of their decision-making processes from citizens’ realities. As a result, bottom-up initiatives have emerged throughout Europe in recent years to make society more democratic and give citizens a greater role in public decision-making.

One of these movements is that of the commons. The central aim of the commons movement is to allow people to shape their own lived environment in a democratic way and to take seriously the role of citizens as guardians of the common good, alongside the government and the market. The cross-border challenges that we face as an increasingly empowered society demand that we utilize the strength and knowledge of citizens to engage in equal collaboration with government and businesses in finding solutions best suited to the needs of society.

A few examples of commons are:

  • The open source movement in which the coding behind software developments is shared so that everyone can make use of it.
  • Common energy systems in which citizens’ collectives or cooperatives generate their own energy and invest the profit back into the neighbourhood.
  • Local food chains in which communities produce food in a self-sufficient manner, without the intervention of capital.
  • The open knowledge movement in which scientists and the pharmaceutical industry freely share (biomedical) knowledge as a public good.
  • The Co-city model in which residents participate as stakeholders in decisions about public space and hold the right to co-manage public resources, such as city squares or social housing, if they believe they can oversee them better than the municipality or the market.

During this session of the Parliament of the Future, we explore the potential of the commons movement to create the new power relations necessary for a more sustainable and democratic future.

We will be joined by the following guest speakers:

> Sophie Bloemen (director of Commons Network)
> Menno Houtstra (initiator of the Kaskantine)

Future of Europe: How the Commons Can Revitalise Europe


About Parliament of the Future