It hurts when empires fall

There is a genre of landscape painting from the 17th and 18th centuries that ought to give us cause for reflection. They are paintings of Italian landscapes where goatherds and their flocks wander amongst the ruins of Roman aqueducts, bridges and temples. The fascinating thing about them is that they depict a European society which, more than… Continue reading

Public Money, Public Code

Why is software created using taxpayers’ money not released as Free Software? We want legislation requiring that publicly financed software developed for the public sector be made publicly available under a Free and Open Source Software licence. If it is public money, it should be public code as well. Code paid by the people should be available… Continue reading

Towards a global infrastructure for commons-based provisioning

Our forthcoming report Changing Societies through Urban Commons Transitions examines the re-emergence of the urban commons as both a bottom-up emergence by citizens/commoners and a radical municipal administrative configuration. Starting with an exploration of the relationship between cities and the commons, with a particular focus on the recent revival and growth of urban commons, we attempt… Continue reading

Are there alternative trajectories of technological development? A political ecology perspective

Alternative technological systems could develop through the confluence of digital commons, peer-to-peer relations and local manufacturing capacity – but we need the integration of a political ecology perspective to face and overcome the challenges this transition implies. Humans do not control modern technology: the technological system has colonized their imagination and it shapes their activities… Continue reading

Re-imaging Politics through the Lens of the Commons

This essay of mine appeared on September 21 at journal-e, published by the 21st Century Global Dynamics website, UC Santa Barbara. The rise of so many right-wing nationalist movements around the world—Brexit, Donald Trump, the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, anti-immigrant protests throughout Europe—have their own distinctive origins and contexts, to be sure. But in the aggregate, they… Continue reading