Born out of a daylong Cooperation 2015 workshop in Chicago in late February, a new organization—the Chamber of Commons—is taking shape. We were privileged that Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation, inspired some 40+ Chicago area social activists with his vision for the new economy in which businesses thrive by supporting each other cooperatively.
Topics included open value accounting, mutual aid networks, the notion of the fair co-op, and the growing need to care for the commons. Our mutual desire to care for the commons spawned the idea for a new organization to support the burgeoning demand for the new economy, a modern update on the Chambers of Commerce of the industrial age.
Cooperation 2015 attendee and journalist, Sally Duros published a Huffington Post article in which she noted the need for commons-minded groups–“fair trade organizations, solidarity organizations, B corps and social entrepreneurs”—to organize under a single umbrella in a quest for a new economy of wellbeing.
At the May 12th On the Table discussion in support of the Chicago Community Trust, we focused on the Chamber of Commons and formed a steering committee to explore organizational options, mission, geographical reach and programming.
We seek to engage other commons-oriented individuals and organizations in dialogue to gain recognition of this initiative and show that a new way of doing business is not only possible but imminent. The time to make this shift is now.