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unMonastery: The Year Ahead

photo of Stacco Troncoso

Stacco Troncoso
26th November 2015

Unmonastery People

An update from our friends at the unMonastery in Matera, Italy and, as you’ll soon see, beyond.

Over the past 6 months the unMonastery has been going through a number of significant developments, explorations and experiments?—?these initiatives have had mixed results, some very successful and some borderline disastrous; the net effect has restricted our capacity to report back in our usual constant stream of communication (un)consciousness.

This post signals an initial effort towards opening out those activities by updating you on major developments, flagging plans for the year ahead and inviting people to play a greater role.

Key areas covered in this post are; the formation of a formal unMonastery organ(isnation), the ongoing development and creation of individual unMonastery nodes and our part in a very exciting H2020 consortium (focused on the development of localised community owned offline networks). Obviously there’s a lot to cover; so this post will for the most part serve as an index for a series of posts to be published over the next two months that go into greater detail on specific areas of exploration.

‘Waking the unMonastery Organ’

The flashy news is the formation of our formal organ: back in February of this year we hosted the first unMonastery unSummit in Berlin as part of Transmediale: Capture All (at which the majority of the core family were gathered). As part of this gathering we held a series of meetings and events, in which together we sought to identify what was essential to the ongoing development of unMonastery.

One of the central requirements identified during our circles, was the need to form an autonomous legal organ in order to establish clearer structures and models for participation, acknowledge the vast mix of contributions being made by individuals to unMonastery over time, decentralise tacit control within an accountable structure, and advance opportunities for resources to support the establishment of individual unMonastery nodes. This was particularly crucial given that over the past year the initiative and network had grown far beyond its early stage development within the EdgeRyders community.

During this meeting we hit upon an organisational model that we felt was both open and inclusive. Whilst light as a foundational starting point, the key invention for this was that membership can be claimed by all those who commit significant energy and time to the development of unMonastery. Thus The unMonastery Deep Time Bank was born.

The unMonastery Deep Time Bank

As a decentralised membership steered organisation, we needed a criteria for inclusion. We settled upon a membership ‘fee’ of 100 hours of unpaid unMonastery labour as the marker for meaningful commitment, and?—?we sent out an invite to all those that had contributed this level of time to the initiative up until then. We then got deliciously sidetracked by field level developments in Athens. Now, finally back on track, this organisational document should outline how we anticipate the organisational structure will work in practice as both a membership base, organisation forum and commitment management account. We are very happy to announce the composition of this new organisation of intrepid souls committed to the continuation of the unMonastery initiative:

If at this stage you would like to participate to a greater degree, or have been working in isolation on unMonastery related activity let us know (admin@unmonastery.org) and time permitting be sworn into the unOrder at the next annual general meeting.

If the model we’ve established is of interest to you and you’d like to help us to refine it further, use it for your own organisation or assist in the development of a complementary technology stack, drop into this thread on discourse.

Development of unMonastery Nodes

Since leaving Matera in October 2014 the majority of energy being injected into unMonastery activity has been focused on three key areas: the creation and release of a toolkit for establishing individual nodes (see unMonastery BIOS), scouting missions and site visits to offers of land and property for possible future unMonasteries, as well as supporting others who are interested to establish the model.

Image shared by BenB from a recent trip to a possible site in up state New York.

To give an overview of these activities, please find a brief list below.

  • New Lebanon, New York, USA?—?[In development]?—?Back in September BenB posted on the possibility of a unMonastery in upstate New York, in a very short time this has moved forward to sculpting a call for participants. (Point of contact is: BenB)
  • Athens, Greece? —?[In development]?—?Since March a mix of long time unMonasterians have been careening around Athens, building and supporting local projects, creating small scale shared living experiments with plans for a new test lab currently in development. (Points of contact: Katalin, Lauren and Jeff)
  • Berlin, Germany? —?[In development]?—?Amidst the city and greater Brandenburg area, distributed gathering sites will play host to the development of appropriate technology, resource distribution, and collective protocols, working towards the launch of an Open Source Observatory and a node of the Public School. (Point of contact: @keikreutler)
  • Alessandria, Italy? —?[Scoping]?—?Bembo and Kei recently embarked on a site visit to Alessandria to assess a reconfiguration of a mothballed municipal theatre as a community services hub, reported here. (Point of contact: Bembo)
  • Göhrde, Lower Saxony, Germany? —?[Scoping]?—?The unMonastery was contacted through several channels to investigate a unique resource in Lower Saxony. Göhrde. At the beginning of September Bembo, Katalin and Ben paid a site visit, loose plans are afoot for a potential summer school, site visit reported here. (Point of contact: Katalin)
  • Pessegueiro, Sines, Portugal?—?[Scoping]?—?An initial dialogue has revealed a promising possibility of a ‘creative immersion centre’ in a beautiful unFortress overlooking the sea 100 km south of Lisboa.

MAZI?—?Building offline networks together.

“We have ths mode of thinking outside of the internet, of local networks for local interactions, this is a specific technology very popular for many years but mostly between hackers and activists, but it has not yet arrived for the mainstream.”?—?Interview with Panayotis Antoniadis’ during CAPS2015.

Earlier this year in the run up to CCC and Transmediale a number of those involved in unMonastery began to participate in the offline networks community, as part of the Transmediale we deployed a localised network for the Alpha release of the unMonastery BIOS. Following this gathering, Nethood (Ileana Apostol and Panayotis Antoniadis) set about bringing together a group under the banner MAZI (meaning “together” in Greek) that could develop specific tools, platforms and contexts with the objective of making DIY network’s more widely available and useful to more people. As part of this a consortium formed to apply for CAPS, building upon existing initiatives in the creation of community owned local wireless networks.

a meeting of the MAZI earlier this year

From the MAZI website:

“MAZI wishes to invest in an alternative technology, what we call Do-It-Yourself networking, a combination of wireless technology, low-cost hardware, and free/libre/open source software (FLOSS) applications, for building local networks, mostly known today as community wireless networks. By making this technology better understood, easily deployed, and configured based on a rich set of customization options and interdisciplinary knowledge, compiled as a toolkit, MAZI will empower citizens to build their own local networks for facilitating hybrid, virtual and physical, interactions, in ways that are respectful to their rights to privacy, freedom of expression and self-determination”

In September it was announced that the bid was successful, and we’re very excited to get started working with the incredible combination of partner organisations that make up MAZI, which includes the NITlab at the University of Thessaly, the Zurich-based non-profit organization NetHood, the Edinburgh Napier University, the Design Research Lab at the Berlin University of the Arts, the Open University, the INURA Zurich Institute, SPC in London and Prinzessinnengarten in Berlin

Over the course of the last months we’ve already begun to participate in and contribute to a number of related workshops including Networked Social Responsibility (Brussels), 2nd International Conference on Internet Science (Brussels), From Smart Cities to Engaged Citizens (Volos) and Hybrid City (Athens), our core role in MAZI will be as a use case in the deployment of this localised technology at specific unMonastery sites, which Katalin discusses here.

Future Gathering Points

From the unMonastery Atlas, Designed by Luisa Lappaciana

We would like to meet with you and ourselves face to face more often.

Despite our very distributed nature, we’ve found in recent months that working remotely and online has produced significant difficulties in maintaining alignment and ensuring an accessible model of participation. This has been under much debate and in a move to learn from Robin Hood Co-op’s recent establishment of ‘Open Offices’ and ‘Labs’, we’ve begun to formulate our own iteration, whilst we’ve yet to christen this with its own conceptual framing (although we hear murmurs of ‘General Chapter’ ) we have begun to set a series of future dates for possible meeting places. In the new year we will put forward a schedule for the year.

  • PreSummit Athens?—?Next week several of us will be gathering in Athens to spend time together, focus energy on working structures and join Robin Hood Co-op for their Lab.
  • Workshops and Open Dinner Berlin?—?17th and 18th December?—?Kei, Ben and Ola will be workshopping the unMonastery BIOS and hosting dinner.
  • LOTE5: FAIL # UNFAIL?—?25–28th February 2016?—?Antiheroes and Edgeryders are teaming up to run this years annual Living on the Edge.
  • Nottingham Event?—?28th-30th April 2016?—?We’re currently plotting a collaborative event with Near Now in Nottingham, home of the luddites and robin hood which will be focused on civic tech, platform cooperativism and new organisational forms.
  • Annual unSummit, 2016? —?Whilst the location is still in discussion, we have zoned in on the dates June 19th to July 3rd, with the intentions of developing a new slower format for our annual gatherings, that will allow us to spend meaningful time together, coupled with a more intense few days of your average unConference setup?—?if you have ideas do post on discourse.

Things you might have missed:



Posted in Collective Intelligence, Commons, Commons Transition, Culture & Ideas, Ethical Economy, Featured Project, Networks, P2P Collaboration, P2P Development, P2P Governance, P2P Movements, Peer Property, Sharing | No Comments »

Bitmind and OVN space

photo of vasilis niaros

vasilis niaros
19th November 2015


Bitmind is an open project with the aim to help open enterprises, cooperatives and communities to distribute value between their members. It attempts to integrate knowledge production tools and team contributions tracking: mapping workflows, ideas, donations and incomes in a common graph of value. Moreover, Bitmind is co-operating with other initiatives interested in Open Value Networks and blockchain technologies and have created a shared hub for an evolving and growing ecosystem.



Posted in Commons, Commons Transition, Economy and Business, Featured Project, Networks, P2P Collaboration | No Comments »

3 Highlights from the Somero Sharing Cities conference 2015 in Gijon, Spain

photo of Stacco Troncoso

Stacco Troncoso
26th October 2015


Shareable’s Neal Gorenflo recounts the high points of the recent Somero 2015 event in Gijón Spain. Here’s the original article


Somero 2015’s five days of workshops, hackathons, and keynotes concluded successfully last Sunday. Hosted by Las Indias Coop, Shareable, the Free Software Foundation, the Gijon town council, and the Spanish government, one of Somero 2015’s central ideas was uniting physical and digital urban commons into a more coherent whole, something Shareable has worked diligently toward over the last few years through our Sharing Cities Network, policy guide, and ongoing movement-building editorial.

The uniqueness of the location, hosts, and participants added a highly rewarding dimension to the ambitious conference agenda. Gijon, the largest city in the autonomous region of Asturias, features a gorgeous beach, vibrant nightlife, a city center dating from Roman times, and fabulous cuisine made possible by verdant lands, a productive sea, and influences from many cultures including the Celts (bagpipe music and cider are cultural staples). The members of Las Indias Coop, the lead hosts of Somero 2015, are consultants, Go players, Esperanto speakers, software hackers, science fiction geeks and die-hard intellectuals. There is no way to get bored in conversation with their curious and kind-hearted member-owners. Not surprisingly, they attracted equally interesting participants, which made for great fun and learning.

Below are three highlights from Somero 2015:

1. Sharing Cities Seminar. Shareable’s Tom Llewellyn, Las Indias’ Carolina Ruggero, and I lead a two-day sharing cities seminar with a small group of local changemakers and politicians. We shared our concept of sharing cities, our policy guide, and our community organizing strategy. Carolina gave a primer on network technologies and their role in social change. We learned that the knowledge we’ve gained over the last few years, and sometimes take for granted, is much appreciated. We plan to do more education in 2015 as a result.

2. GNUbnb. Hackers Manuel Ortega (Las Indias), Hannes Mannerheim (Quitter), Mikael Nordfeldth (GNU Social), and others coded an alpha version of an open and distributed hospitality network based off of GNU Social’s codebase and Quitter’s interface (similar to Twitter’s). What Quitter’s says of itself gives you just hint about the motivations for this effort, “We are a federation of microbloggers who care about ethics and solidarity and want to quit the centralised capitalist services.” GNUbnb is a module of GNU Social and features a distributed but connected architecture. That means that even though you install your own instance of GNU Social / bnb for your community, your users can interact with users on other instances as if it’s one platform. This is yet another bold initiative in the growing platform coop movement, which Shareable has written extensively about and is helping to catalyze.

3. The End of Banking. Journalist Jurg Muller introduced his new book, The End of Banking, on the impact of distributed technology on traditional banking. His presentation outlined how ambitious professionals leveraged network technologies to hide risk, create new shadow banking empires, and nearly crashed the global financial system in 2007-08. What he suggested was that rather than using network technologies to bolster traditional banking as in the past, it should be used to obsolete it. Digital technologies offer a new, more stable, transparent, and fair way to organize our financial system. The book offers a blueprint for this.

I also enjoyed hearing from Alex Simon about Kano, the open source computer kit for kids, Paul Blundell of Acorn commune on success factors for intentional communities (have a sustainable business), General Asarta on resilient cities, and the always intelligent commentary by Indianos Natalia Fernandez, Carolina Ruggero, David de Ugarte, Manuel Ortega, and more.

I could go on and on. Somero 2015 was an embarrassment of intellectual and experiential riches. I’ll end by simply recommending that you come next year.



Posted in Collective Intelligence, Commons, Commons Transition, Conferences, Cooperatives, Culture & Ideas, Ethical Economy, Free Software, Networks, Open Content, P2P Business Models, P2P Collaboration, P2P Development, P2P Lifestyles, Peer Property | No Comments »

Building Communities of Commons in Greece: A Documentary on Networks in Sarantaporo area.

photo of vasilis niaros

vasilis niaros
19th October 2015

The Personal Cinema network has started a crowdfunding campaign at goteo.org for the production and distribution of the documentary “Building communities of commons: A documentary on networks in Sarantaporo area”. The aim is to explore in depth the journey of the community “Sarantaporo.gr” by shedding light on its beginnings, its background, its aspirations and the diverse facets it can foster (aspects of social life, new technologies, etc).

Sarantaporo is an agricultural and husbandry area situated at the North of Greece. In 2010, a group of people set up a wireless community network in the area. Their mission was not only to deploy and operate a wireless network but also to built a community around it which will enable collaboration and promote the production of commons.

The funds to be raised by the campaign will allow for the completion of the documentary, and its utilization through screening events and open talks to raise awareness about the commons, community networks, peer-to-peer and solidarity-based cooperative models, etc.

Read more and support this effort here.


Posted in Commons, Crowdfunding, Featured Video, Networks, P2P Infrastructures | No Comments »

Introducing ’21 Stories of Transition’

photo of Stacco Troncoso

Stacco Troncoso
18th October 2015

Rob Hopkins introduces the Transition Network‘s new book compilation. Click here to pre-order the book..

November 1st sees the publication of a landmark new publication from Transition Network.  ’21 Stories of Transition: how a movement of communities is coming together to reimagine and rebuild our world’ is published in advance of the COP21 climate negotiations in Paris in December, and is a joyous and inspiring celebration of what the Transition movement has become.

It tells 21 stories of 39 Transition projects in 15 countries, drawing out some staggering insights into their impacts (for example, between them, our 21 stories alone have saved car travel equivalent to driving to the Moon and back 3 times, installed renewable energy equivalent to that needed by 4,000 homes, put over £1 million of local currencies into circulation, and generated over 18,500 hours of volunteer input).  But those are just the measurable impacts.  So much of what these groups do is much harder to measure, but just as important.


Our stories are:

  • The Million Miles Project, Black Isle, Scotland
  • The Rise of Community Energy
  • REconomy in Luxembourg
  • EcoCrew Environmental Awareness Programme, Greyton, South Africa
  • The rise of local currencies
  • The Pasadena Repair Cafe, US
  • Fishguard’s Surplus Food Cafe, Wales
  • The Casau Community Garden, Salies, France
  • Caring Town Totnes, UK
  • Zarzalejo Futuro, Spain
  • Lambeth Local Entrepreneur Forum, London, UK
  • Transition Town Media’s Free Store, Pennsylvania, US
  • Aardehuis Project Olst, Netherlands
  • Greenslate Farm, Billinge & Orrell, UK
  • Potager Alhambra, Brussels, Belgium
  • Compagnons de la Terre, Liege, Belgium
  • Harvesting Rainwater in São Paulo, Brazil
  • Crystal Palace Food Market, London
  • Transition Streets in Australia
  • Scaling up Transition in Peterborough, Canada
  • Ungersheim, Village in Transition, France

Told in the voices of the people making these projects happen, ’21 Stories for Transition’ also tells of the challenges groups face, and the strategies they develop to ensure the resilience not just of their projects, but also their groups.  It’s the most heartwarming, diverse and colourful Transition publication yet.  It will be published in both an English and a French edition.

The English edition will be published on November 1st, but you can pre-order now, and get your copy hot off the press.  The French edition will follow a couple of weeks later. Over the 21 days before COP21, we will be publishing one of these stories every day, as well as sharing more news on Transition-related events that will be taking place in Paris during the conference.

Pre-order your copy of ’21 Stories of Transition’.  

’21 Stories of Transition’ is gorgeously designed, 96 pages long, in full colour.  We think it is the most beautiful book on Transition yet published. It is NOT available via Amazon.  We will be sending books out on November 1st.  If you would like to order more than one, we are offering discounts for Transition groups:

  • Order 30 copies and get a 30% discount
  • Order 50 copies and get a 40% discount.
For bulk orders, please contact amberponton@transitionnetwork.org.  For normal orders, click here.

Posted in Activism, Collective Intelligence, Commons, Commons Transition, Culture & Ideas, Ethical Economy, Featured Movement, Featured Video, Food and Agriculture, Networks, P2P Architecture and Urbanism, P2P Books, P2P Collaboration, P2P Development, P2P Lifestyles, P2P Public Policy, Peer Property, Sharing, Videos | No Comments »

P2P Lab’s Plans for 2016

photo of Vasilis Kostakis

Vasilis Kostakis
14th October 2015

Logo Horizontal MediumOur 2015 research has mostly been theory-driven, focused on transitional scenarios and visions for a commons-oriented society and economy. In 2016, P2P lab collaborators will try to ground these arguments and the, currently, tentative policy proposals on strong empirical evidence towards a more rigorous scientific treatment of the topic.

Our first and foremost goal is to empirically document the sustainability of an emerging productive model, called “design global, manufacture local”, through various projects that implement this approach [1]. Furthermore, we will seek to understand how open source technology, a key aspect of this model, may be utilised in the agricultural sector as well as in urban context (towards a commons-oriented “smart city”). We are also aspiring to create the conditions to achieve this through participatory action research, aiming at understanding phenomena from an insider’s perspective.

Moreover, we will attempt to study the impact of patents on technological advance and entrepreneurship. An empirical study of at least two different cases will be conducted: the FDM patent, widely used in the 3D printing industry, and the CERN open hardware licence and repository. At the same time, we will formulate a proposal for a transitional, hybrid-open public licence to govern knowledge resulting from R&D, funded by public expenditure. In short, a new form of license that could be summarised as commons on the inside, property on the outside. [2]

Further, we shall document and critically explore the potential of Open Value Network (OVN) organisational structure by reviewing and comparing the two most prominent projects which utilize OVN: Metamaps and Sensorica. This will allow us to consider how algorithms and technological innovation affect society, politics and culture, and how in turn social, political, and cultural values affect technological development. [3] In addition, P2P Lab fellows will work on the Bitmind project, a commons-oriented start-up which tries to build common ground for scaling-up OVN.

Last, we will try to carry on our work on the educational potential of commons-based artefacts and practices with action research projects in selected Greek schools.

P2P lab is sustained on a modest, if not tight, budget. Thus, in parallel with our research endeavours we will be working towards successful research funding (any suggestion or offer for collaboration in this would be more than welcome!). Of course, we are constantly on the look-out for co-operation on interesting projects and will gladly provide our services in a pro-bono manner if the output is a commons.


Posted in Commons, Economy and Business, Featured Project, Networks, P2P Theory, Peer Production, Technology | No Comments »

Las Indias: The Anchovies become a club

photo of Natalia Fernandez

Natalia Fernandez
11th October 2015


The League of the Anchovy changes its statutes, name, and logo to become a tool for the network that was born over this last year.


An?ovoligoA little more than a year ago, we took a radical turn: we refounded our life-long association, the Library of the Indies. With Juan Urrutia, Neal Gorenflo, Matt Scales, Antonin Leonard and other friends—all of them cutting-edge people and pioneers in collaborative consumption, the direct economy, P2P production, free software, etc.—we took a very Cantabrian myth, the birth of the anchovy, and convened our network to Gijón to ask ourselves how to reach “beyond the Sharing Economy” and turn all those ideas and explorations into real opportunities for growth.

We called it the “League of the Anchovy,” because we thought that it would develop, above all, as a way of working among groups to join resources and reach concrete accomplishments. Our main contribution at that time was to bring the development of Bazar towards the standard of distributed communication that the Free Software Foundation was promoting: the OStatus protocol and GNU-Social. Then la Matriz was born, and we develop its connection with blogs and promoted what, the day after tomorrow, Wednesday the seventh, will be the first “GNU-social Camp.”

The result was not a league of groups, but an extraordinarily active network with a much richer conversation than anyone could have expected. It is a club facilitated by the Indianos that has not stayed at the talking stage, but rather, has already begun to produce innovation, giving it the form of code and initiatives.

club de las indias

The day after tomorrow, we will begin Somero 2015, the great convening of our network. We’re beginning a new year, and we want do it with a new skin that reflects change and growth.

So we members of “the League of the Anchovy” approved a change in statutes, allowing the members of the network to be integrated into the association and make it theirs. The name itself will reflect the change, becoming “Las Indias Club ~ The League of Abundance“; the main domain will be lasindias.club and will become a space that is self-managed by the network of members; Somero will officially become our annual conference, and the logo will go from being our dear traveling anchovy to a pomegranate about to burst with thousand seeds.

What better symbol we could have?

Translated by Steve Herrick from the original (in Spanish)


Posted in Commons, Commons Transition, Cooperatives, Culture & Ideas, Economy and Business, Ethical Economy, Featured Movement, Guest Post, Networks, P2P Business Models, P2P Collaboration, P2P Company Watch, P2P Development, P2P Lifestyles, Peer Property, Sharing | No Comments »

POC21: Eco-hacking a Fossil-Free, Collaborative Future

photo of David Bollier

David Bollier
8th October 2015

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 4.39.45 PM-570x322

At the upcoming COP Summit in Paris (the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change), no one expects the world’s governments to make serious headway against global climate change. Neoliberal-obsessed governments are more concerned with propping up collapsing capitalist structures than in reducing carbon emissions (which have doubled over the past generation).  Corporations are more intent on preserving their market share and investors in preserving their net worth than in entertaining an environmentally benign economic paradigm shift.  We can be sure, following COP21, however, that world leaders will declare the event a success and let loose their own copious emissions of PR blather.

Let’s face it – we’re more or less on our own.  The impetus for change has to come from the bottom and the local.  Which brings me to the inspirational work of POC21 – Proof of Concept 21 – which stands for “a proof of concept that the future we need can be built with our own hands.” For five weeks – August 15 to September 20 – more than 100 makers, designers, engineers, scientists and geeks converged on Château de Millemont, an ancient castle near Paris.  Their mission:  to work together in developing prototype machines that could radically reduce our dependence on carbon fuels.

The idea of POC21 is to invent inexpensive, modular household devices, farm tools, energy systems and other appropriate technologies that can be replicated cheaply, repaired easily and copied and shared by anyone. “Imagine a new breed of open source products available in your neighborhood,” POC organizers have announced. “This is our vision.”

Among the tools they have in mind:  portable solar power systems, low-waste self-filtering showers, DIY resource-sufficient homes, urban food production systems, affordable electric bicycles and human-powered agricultural machines.  From nearly 200 proposed projects, the POC21 organizers selected twelve prototypes to be developed during the innovation camp.

Consider the Bicitractor project:

Regular tractors do not go well with organic farms. They are expensive and they pollute. They force farmers to take loans from banks and depend on big oil. Bicitractor on the other hand is a small pedal-powered tractor built so small and midsized farms can grow our food without polluting. Each tractor can use multiple modules with different tools for pronging, drilling, weeding. In addition to that, its open source, efficient, and really affordable to build.

Or consider Faircap, a portable antibacterial water filter that can screw on to the top of any plastic bottle, allowing people to safely drink from a stream or pond. Or Sunzilla, a diesel generator without the diesel, that uses solar photovoltaic and can be easily to installed by anyone. Another POC21 project is a $30 wind turbine that uses “upcycled” parts to generate electrical current at 1 kW in a 60 km/h wind.  Anyone can assemble it with a few common hand tools.

The point of all these prototypes is to meet real needs in ways that get beyond the producer/consumer dualism and the unsustainable waste of current business models. The goal is to get beyond planned obsolescence and strict patents and copyrights that prevent people from improving and freely disseminating the tech. By producing things that are durable, versatile, inexpensive, locally sourceable and environmentally benign, the POC21 systems seeks to build basic tools for a new sort of economy.

Convened by Ouishare and Open State, POC21 fashioned itself as an “innovation camp” to make “open-source, sustainable products the new normal.” Here is a video trailer for POC21, “The World We Need.” And here is a story about the project in The Guardian, by Tristan Copley-Smith.

It’s heroic that eco-geeks are stepping up to pioneer new open-source hardware that, if replicated widely, could have enormous impact. But it’s also sad that prevailing institutions of government and business are so indifferent or hostile to exploring paradigm-shifting technologies. Planet-saving innovation devolves to hackers, dismissed as marginal until they’re not. So COP21 delegates will broker the terms of continued planetary decline; POC21 will push forward some intriguing here-and-now solutions.


Posted in Activism, Commons, Commons Transition, Cooperatives, Copyright/IP, Culture & Ideas, Ethical Economy, Featured Movement, Networks, Open Content, Open Hardware and Design, Open Innovation, Open Standards, Original Content, P2P Art and Culture, P2P Business Models, P2P Collaboration, P2P Development, P2P Ecology, P2P Energy, P2P Lifestyles, P2P Manufacturing, P2P Research, P2P Technology, Peer Property, Sharing | No Comments »

Robin Hood Coop funds 3 commons building projects

photo of Stacco Troncoso

Stacco Troncoso
6th October 2015

Great news from Robin Hood Coop. Needless to say, we’re very excited about continuing with our part of the CIC/Commons Transition project, and we’d like to thank the board at Robin Hood for having chosen it. This press release was originally published on the Robin Hood Coop blog. You can read the full text of our proposal here, or through the links below.

Robin Hood Coop is proud to announce its first round of funding for commons producing projects. The coop supports Casa Nuvem in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with 5000 euros, the P2P Foundation’s project with the Catalan Integral Cooperative and Commons Transition in Spain with 4000 euros, and the Radio Schizoanalytique and the Steki in Northern Greece with 6000 euros.

Robin Hood Asset Management Coop was founded in 2012 as an investment bank for the precariat. The goal of the coop is to build new economic space by giving its members access to investment banking (just 60€ is enough) and by allocating a part of the profits to building the commons through sponsoring projects.

Casa Nuvem (see also here) is an autonomous self managed space in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, resulting from the convergence between art, activism, sound, audio-visual and new technologies experimentation. It was born early 2013 from the desire to think and build the future collectively, and to provide grounds for resilience and mobilization in the context of Rio’s wide social injustice and lack of basic rights, continuously intensified by the state policies related to the mega events such as the upcoming Olympics next year. Casa Nuvem is a place of work, research and production that hosts several independent collaborative projects focused on the creation of new exchanges between people and the public space, guided by a festive occupation of the city. Regular actions, workshops, seminars and other open activities are organized in the house, besides frequent interventions in outside target locations. It cooperates intensively with other groups and actors in a network of interactions that values above all the respect towards differences, respect for freedom of expression, freedom of the body, multiplicity of gender, the right to the city and alternative mobility.
(Project proposal)

The P2P Foundation in involved in a practical, grassroots effort to animate a Commons Transition strategy, in real time and real community. The foundation is working as a team with the Catalan Integral Cooperative (aka the CIC) to achieve a self-managed, post-capitalist society based on P2P principles and environmental and social realities. The ultimate goal is to realize a well-expressed, researched and tested set of plans and proposals, ultimately providing concrete examples in real time. In the project, CIC expands and implements the theoretical material proposed by the P2PF in the Commons Transition platform, and the P2PF produces an updated body of work to reflect the experience and shares it with other collectives.
(Project proposal)

Radio Schizonalaytique and the Steki are a project in the Skouries-­Kakkavos mountains in Northern Greece, where the Canadian “low-­cost” gold mining company Eldorado owns and operates mining sites. Local communities have been organized against the construction of an open pit mine and processing plant since 2006. After a house built to monitor the activities of the mine was destroyed, the main organizers transformed an empty storefront into a community action center for hosting workshops, lectures, screenings and cultural events, and as a social center to nurture the creation of a sustainable future for the region. One of the key features of the Steki is the online and FM radio project “Radio Schizoanalitique”, a collaborative project between the activists in Megali Panagia and artists in Berlin, designed to break the control the mining company and its proponents have on the local media.
(Project proposal)

Robin Hood Coop is an activist hedge fund with a twist. Individuals who buy shares become members and decide how the coop is run. One member, one vote. Per the Robin Hood principle, part of the profit generated by the fund is invested into projects building the commons. Third, the money put into the fund is placed in the stock exchange by a big data mining algorithm.

During its first two years of operation, 2012 – 2014, the coop’s portfolio was able to generate enough profit so that the coop decided to allocate 15 000 euros to projects that build and augment the commons. Members of the coop made proposals of projects to fund during March 2015. In total there were 49 proposals. The selection was done in two steps. First, a committee of three members was chosen by lottery out of volunteers. The committee went through all the proposals, discussed on criteria and negotiated, and came to an unanimous agreement of suggesting 3 projects to be funded. The committee’s proposal was then ratified by a general member’s meeting of the coop.

For more info, contact: projects@robinhoodcoop.org



Posted in Activism, Commons, Commons Transition, Cooperatives, Culture & Ideas, Ethical Economy, Guest Post, Networks, Open Content, Open Models, P2P Action Items, P2P Collaboration, P2P Development | No Comments »

Le Temps des Communs: Biggest Commons Festival Ever

photo of David Bollier

David Bollier
4th October 2015


Le Temps des Communes, surely the largest festival of the commons ever, is about to get underway! The festival is not just a single event in a single place, but a series of more than 250 self-organized events to be held over the course of fifteen days in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada (Quebec) and several Francophone countries in west Africa.

From October 5 to 18, there will be symposia, workshops, lectures and participatory events on all sorts of commons-related topics.  There will be events to showcase free and open source software, community gardens, participatory mapping projects, seed-sharing, open scientific knowledge, renewable energy co-operatives, land trusts and even a Creative Commons-licensed musical. The hundreds of festival events will help introduce the commons to the general public and demonstrate to current commoners just how large, diverse and exciting the world of collaborative provisioning truly is.

In Lyon, there will be a roundtable about making the city a commons.  In Brussels, there will be an Open Source Festival.  In Brest, a bike tour of shared gardens.  In Paris, nearly thirty different events are planned.

I wish that I could attend the “law and the commons” discussion that will feature Stefano Rodotà, the Italian law scholar, politician and human rights advocate who has pioneered new legal principles for the commons.  Paris will also host “A Day in the Commons” on Île-de-France, with workshop, a meal and planning for the future.

At the European Parliament, there will be a one-day gathering to discuss “The Internet as a Commons.”  Elsewhere, there will be tours of FabLabs….a forum on water as a commons…..and the French group Ouishare will host a discussion about collaborative consumption, crowdfunding and shared living and working spaces.

Quite an inspiring array of events!  I hope that the general public, mainstream media and political organizations will learn a lot from these events. Check out the festival website and the full program. (All webpages in French.) If you read French, check out the bibliography of French books on the commons!

Le Temps des Communes is likely to confirm the great appeal of open festivals for bringing together commoners of diverse stripes. It will also educate the public, media and political players about the many attractive but neglected alternatives available to us.


Posted in Collective Intelligence, Commons, Commons Transition, Conferences, Cooperatives, Copyright/IP, Culture & Ideas, Ethical Economy, Networks, Open Content, Open Innovation, Open Models, Original Content, P2P Art and Culture, P2P Business Models, P2P Collaboration, P2P Development, Sharing | No Comments »