An update on this important event:

There are now less than one week to go until the first meeting of our commencing European Commons Assembly process! Since there have been many people getting involved over the past weeks and months, it’s good to share some words on the background and process until now so that we have the same understanding heading into the event, even if not everyone can attend in person.

Preamble to the initiative

There was a preamble to our current gathering under the ECA call, which is hosted on the website and open for signatures. It was drafted at a meeting called together on commons activism in Europe (then entitled Commons Watch), which took place from 18-20 May 2016 at an organic farm in Villarceaux, some 40km outside of Paris. The objective was then, as it continues to be today, to bring together in a trans-local coalition those engaged with commons and processes of commoning in different spheres.  Among other things, we want to imagine together future concrete collective and collaborative actions and campaigns in Europe. Ultimately, the goal is to come to a strong and flourishing bottom up European political civil society movement for the commons, which is able to articulate the commons also as a new policy paradigm.

You can find documentation of the Villarceaux meetings here.

The ECA at the European Parliament

In Villarceaux, we also discussed an opportunity to convene the ECA’s first meeting in Brussels, with a session at the European parliament to be organised in cooperation MEPS from the Intergroup on Common Goods and Public Services.

Since the Villarceaux meetings, a lot has happened, including growing numbers of you on our commonswatch email list where we have been introducing ourselves, in smaller groups working towards the Brussels meetings (including one on the ECA Assembly of Nov. 17th which takes us beyond the EP assembly moment), and on our Loomio and hackpad spaces, where we have among other things started to draft policy proposals on the themes we are working on as practitioners and/or researchers.

Taking all this into account, our ECA assembly at the EP on the 16th is a moment in our process where we want to engage in a participatory meeting with MEPs, to point to the potential of the Commons as a policy paradigm. We will identify together a few themes and issues (as we only have a short time at the EP) that need to be addressed on an EU level, and how MEPs can engage in this. At large there is a will to point to the relevance of the ECA at the EP level, and to address possible cooperation between the MEPs and the ECA beyond the assembly on the 16th.

And in the trans-local spirit, on the afternoon of Nov. 15 – before the Parliament session – activists in Brussels are organizing gatherings and workshops to welcome those traveling from around Europe so we can exchange and debate on our various struggles for the commons.

The ECA on the 17th in Brussels

Then, on the 17th in the morning, we take advantage of the commoners’ presence in Brussels to look into our ECA’s future and work to continue to give shape to our ECA process. How do we see the needs, objectives, priorities and structure of the ECA? How do we stand in solidarity around our diverse struggles and build a trans-local movement for the commons? How does the ECA relate to (already existing) local assemblies and existing Solidarity economy processes? How will we develop (further) policy proposals throughout our ECA? These are just some of the questions that we will want to address – for sure there are many others.

Such is the process we are in for together! Thank you for being a part of it.”

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