FIRST MEETING of
SECOND MEETING of
THIRD MEETING of
FOURTH MEETING of
FINAL MEETING of
Every Mode of Doing Needs Commons: An Uncommon Festival of the Common(s)
Every Mode of
Every Mode of
DEAR READERS, VISITORS TO THE SITE,
|commoning times is a collective initiative which attempts to conjoin different ideas, efforts, practices, and struggles for and through common(s).*|
Dear Commoners, Friends,
Here is the schedule from yesterday to tomorrow. Please note that Fabiola and Jos have both contributed texts for reference for the evening contribution/discussion on Saturday. The links are below.
Also, each movement will be determined by the group who is there to begin it and so if there are other additions to decide upon, it will be done in the first 10 minutes before we start.
The schedule we have put together is an approximation and our best effort to make the festival accessible at different points. The main contributions, we imagine are not listed below, but will come from those who are there and bring their thoughts, ideas, passions, and care for the common.
See you hopefully soon and in these days!
Every Mode of Doing Needs Commons:
3rd Movement Friday, 2 May 14 hrs-17:30 hrs, Old Casco, Nieuwekade 213-215, Utrecht
4th Movement Friday, 2 May 17:30 hrs-19:30 hrs, Old Casco, Nieuwekade 213-215, Utrecht
5th Movement Friday, 2 May 19:30 hrs-24:00 hrs, Old Casco, Nieuwekade 213-215, Utrecht
7th Movement Saturday, 3 May 14 hrs -17:30 hrs, New Casco, Lange Nieuwstraat 7, Utrecht
8th Movement Saturday, 3 May 17:30 hrs -19:00 hrs, New Casco, Lange Nieuwstraat 7, Utrecht
9th Movement Saturday, 3 May 19 hrs -23 hrs, New Casco, Lange Nieuwstraat 7, Utrecht
19 hrs Aetzel Griffioen on the Dutch origins of commons and a speculative future
Dear Utrecht Commoners and Fellow Drifters,
Meetings 5 & 6: Monday and Tuesday in Brussels
Meeting 7: Wednesday in Utrecht
The evening is the pre-opening event to what we have called: Every Mode of Doing Needs Commons - An Uncommon Festival of the Common(s)
We have never wanted the festival to become a kind of production. In fact, if there is something about a culture of the common(s), it will have to shift from the overemphasis on productivity, to an ethics and care for the reproduction of our everyday life. We want the festival to be a more continuous time to share with others certain questions and senses of the common(s). And we hope to make it a collective experience in doing and making, using the city and our time together as a space-time of commoning.
The festival begins on May 1st with a screening event at Labre at 9:00pm, after the opening at the new Casco space.
The festival then continues on the 2nd and 3rd, each day, roughly from beginning at 11:00am and concluding at 9:00pm.
Those two days will be composed of small contributions from different artists, activists, thinkers, groups and individuals, friends both visiting from afar and living here in Utrecht. All of the contributions are attempts to heighten the perception or open up questions relating to the common(s).
We would like to invite each of those on this list to think of a possible way to contribute to the festival. The festival is not intended to be about the common(s) as much as reproduce and reclaim a common(s) in the process of making it. The contributions can vary from proposed collective actions and activities to discussions, talks, songs, poems, or processes contributors believe can help us conjoin to a horizon of the common(s).
We would like to focus the Wednesday evening meeting toward gathering and mapping all the ideas (those who cannot come can also write to us about what they are thinking to contribute) and to organize, with those who can attend the shape the festival will take. We want to enjoy food and drink together that evening, so you are welcome to (obviously not obliged) also bring something to share with others. It will be incredibly helpful for cooking food that evening, if you can let us know if you will be coming.
We would like the festival to be spontaneous, composed by love of the common, and not in the spirit of production, but of care and reproduction. We are inspired by traditions of popular carnivals or festivals where everyone involved contributes to its development. And we are interested in creating a sense of the common rather than representing it.
We will send a reminder again on Tuesday evening. Once again, if you are not able to come on Wednesday, but would still like to contribute or take part in the festival, you are more than welcome. And if you are able to come Wednesday, please do write to us, so we can better plan the evening meal.
(PLEASE NOTE: WE WILL BE MEETING AT THE OLD CASCO SPACE)
We look forward to seeing everyone!
We wanted to send a short note regarding tomorrow's meeting.
(PLEASE NOTE: THE FOURTH MEETING WILL BE BASED ON A TRIP TO AMSTERDAM)
In the Fall of 2013, we had the opportunity to meet some of the individuals who have been part of We Are Here, one of the most powerful movements for migrant rights and contesting today's violent regime of borders.
Since the Fall, those who were in the building which was occupied across from the Rijksmuseum were split up (for a chronology of their movements please visit: http://wijzijnhier.org/where/).
On Saturday, the day that many will be celebrating King's Day, we wanted instead to share it with friend's whose very struggle puts into question not only the regime of kings, but of nations, states, and borders.
The paths to common are multiple, and this will be one of them.
A final practical note:
We wanted to send a short note regarding tomorrow's meeting.
(PLEASE NOTE: WE ARE MEETING IN OLD CASCO SPACE)
For Friday's meeting have organized a follow up to our Wednesday meeting with Jaap Vink.
Jaap is a part of STRO (Social Trade Organization - http://www.strohalm.nl/), a group based in Utrecht for many years and committed to exploring and developing alternative and complementary currencies which can achieve various objectives, from enhancing solidarities and cohesion in communities, to opening possibilities for overcoming or withdrawing from dependence on the existing monetary regimes.
For Friday, we would like to begin with a brief review of points raised on Wednesday, Thursday and then try to explore a few potential cases where another currency other than existing money could alter the relations between users and open up other economic possibilities.
To say a few words about our motivations for this session. We are interested in this meeting with Jaap for several reasons. First, we would like to say that we met Jaap in one of our initial visits, quite by chance, and we felt immediately an openness on his part to explain what he was working on and to explore with us questions that we have been interested in. We find STRO a very strong resource of experimentation toward other kinds of economic practices based here in Utrecht and so we wanted to see our chance meeting with Jaap as a potential opening for us to delve further in what they have been developing. Third, we feel the very process of exploring the creation of one's own currency opens up perceptual and conceptual understanding of just how existing money works or does not work. Fourth, we also find the process of thinking about practical examples of attempting to move away from existing types of money is a nice way to ground our inquiries in everyday social processes and experiments.
We would like to also emphasize that we are, of course, more interested in opening up a sensibility toward non-exchange relations, forms of transaction which defy measurement and counting: commoning we could say ... And we don't necessarily believe that alternative currencies can answer to all of that. But what they may be able to address are the hierarchical aspects of existing money forms and to open up possibilities for economic experimentation, play, and self-organization.
Some useful readings related to this meeting could be:
Thomas Greco, "The State of the Alternative Exchange Movements" From the End of Money and Future of Civilization (2009), pp. 137-170.
Keith Hart, "Building Economic Democracy with Community Currencies"(2006)
And more recently and from closer to home:
Franco Berardi - Money Language Insolvency
Brian Holmes - Money Unlimited: The Consequences of Quantitative Easing
Jerome Roos, "In each other we trust: coining alternatives to capitalism"
Dear Utrecht Commoners and Fellow Drifters,
This is our first letter to those we have met in previous visits and to those who we have only recently met. Each day, we will try to write a short text giving indications for the next day's meeting and whenever possible, additional notes which may be relevant.
We, of course, missed some of you, but were also quite thankful to all who were able to join this evening (Wednesday) to the first meeting of the Utrecht common(s) course. We are also hopeful that for those who were not able to make it tonight, we will have the chance to meet again in the coming days.
We also hope that these meetings can be an opportunity to share some questions together relating to common(s), opening to thinking about our time, and linking to a wider field of struggles. We also hope that these meetings can create the ground for further common(s) inquiries.
(PLEASE NOTE: WE ARE MEETING IN OLD CASCO SPACE)
Thursday's meeting will be in two parts, those who cannot join the first are still welcome to join for the second part and vice versa.
We will begin the first part of the day at 3:00pm. We will try to read and discuss a text by David Harvey:
This text has been extremely helpful for us to open up the conversation on money and relating to the challenges of organizing an economy based on common(s).
The second session will begin at 6:30pm. We will be preparing and sharing some food together. We will also be screening parts of a conversation we recorded with Maria Mies in 2012.
Some of you who joined us in our last meeting in Utrecht in 2013 may recall the ideas we shared around subsistence and common(s). This video can be seen as an extension of that conversation and furthering our reflection on common(s). For additional background, we link to the text by Maria Mies and Veronika Benholdt-Thomsen:
We look forward to our meeting tomorrow!
*common(s) is a contested term and horizon. to think about a common(s) is to interrogate fundamental institutions and basic categories of human existence in the early 21st century. (nation, state, public, people, private, property, law, money, culture, nature, history just to name a few).
trusted friends have pointed out, common(s) may well be neoliberalism's plan b. this is a risk that must remain central to any consideration of the common(s) or practices of commoning.
to what degree is our notion of a common(s) and our practices of commoning able to undermine and bring the demise of capitalist norms and relations?
we know that the common(s) we are speaking of is not commensurate with capitalism, but we also know that a kind of negative common does exist within a capitalist logic. this negative common is whatever is residual, what cannot be monetized or turned into a mechanism of extraction of wealth. for capitalists, what is money-losing is what should be common.
ecological ruin, toxic waste and toxic debt can be examples of capitalism's common.
how to distinguish this general idea of a common from the common(s) we are attempting to reclaim or struggle through and for?
common(s) is not a catch all to all that is common. a gated community does not a common(s) make.
common(s) are ideas, language, seeds, air, water, the earth under our feet, the spaces and cultures we collectively produce each and every day, the forests, the seas, the trees and all that bares and gives life. indeed common(s) are the premise of life. they are the ecology of practices and complex entities which conjoin the many forms of life on the planet.
exclusion and separation, so critical to capitalist organization and functioning, are not in the logic of common(s).
common(s) are the results of collective labor, creation, research, thought, and innovation across centuries and regions.
common(s), whether material or immaterial, are degraded by the institution of property.
common(s) are without measure, precisely because the inter-dependencies between species, social groups, and forms of life cannot be priced.
common(s) implies a different temporality.
common(s) implies a temporality of reproduction less than of production.
the time of reproduction, of care, is neither slow nor fast, but it is opposed to the logic of efficiency, optimization, and profit.
common(s) infers less a particular designated space and more the inter-spaces, threshold spaces which link communities rather than becoming the limited domain of one.
common(s) in this way are interstitial zones.
common(s) are not simply about resources as some fellow commoners have attempted to consider them. the very logic of resources still remains vulnerable to the productivist, extractivist, reductively materialist ethos, which more evidently today, is all too commensurable with the neo-colonial, neo-imperial, and capitalist logic.
common(s) are not reducible to the world of things, because in essence they are more about the world of relations.
if capitalism has thrived on separating the deeds from the doings, common(s) describe the places which mend again and nurture along those relations between the things produced and the doings and doers producing.
the productivist ethos, which first separates the deed from the doing and then elevates them above the doers, and further elevates the money exchanged for those deeds above them all, (to the point that beyond any deed or doer: capitalism becomes a nearly religious belief in the necessity of money to beget more money) is more evidently bankrupt then it may have appeared to those struggling against capitalism in the 19th and 20th centuries.
all production must be conjoined to reproduction, and any economy, whether capitalist, socialist, or by any other name which does not recognize this basic insight is operating outside a logic of the common(s).
as much as common(s) is not a particular space or place, it is also not a particular entity, object, or thing.
common(s) is singular and plural because it is what links the ones with the manys.
common(s) are everywhere emerging and yet constantly being fortified against or enclosed upon.
common(s) are not a medium point between a logic of public and private as some would dream or hope it to be.
the necessity and exigency for thinking the common(s) emerges from the bankruptcy of these categories.
what once stood for people has been identified with state control. what once stood for individuals has been identified with corporate control.
common(s) also defies the logic of a state and its people, because common(s) is what undoes and traverses the logic of borders.
common(s) does not have a price and thus it is incommensurable with the logic of money.
thus, common(s) is not a category of new entrepreneurship, green economies and the like.
common(s) implicates reorientation of economics toward a perspective of degrowth, reproduction, and subsistence.
subsistence, contrary to what the imf, world bank and neo-colonial interests have proselatized is not a sign of poverty, but autonomy and self-sufficiency.
poverty under the light of common(s) is the denial of a means of reproducing life without submitting to the capitalist relations, which are inevitably, despite the equality and exchange that money promises, relations of disproportion, of submission, and servitude
a culture of the common(s) is everywhere but the existing structures of law, police, state, property, money always force, mold, and channel back the commoners into using existing logics and paths.
those logics, rationale, norms always invoke notions of sustainability, viability, pragmatism, and realism which cannot imagine something beyond the relation to state or the relation to capital.
autonomy is something immanent. and yet, as it pertains to the potentiality for communities to take the care for themselves and their environments into their own hands, autonomy remains elusive. the seemingly irreversible ecological destruction that capitalism and present modes of production are creating day by day present unchangeable realities which deny for millions any potential for autonomy.
thus struggles for common(s) are struggles through common(s) are the inventions of common(s)
the innovations of the common(s) are always inventions which destroy these logics or create paths of escape from them.
corporation, nation, state, individual, money, property, gender, race: all fictions, ascriptions, and abstractions which have had and continue to have concrete and material impacts on life. stories and fictions weave together the fabric of reality. the reality of common(s) will equally be woven together by other stories, other fictions.
common(s) is not based on the logic of an alternative. nor is it based on a logic of competition. one cannot compete with capitalism. to compete with capitalism one can only join in its logic.
the paths to common(s) are not a choice of alternate or competing paths. the paths to common(s) are infinite and they are what the multitudes create if they are not taken off of them by force and violence.
retracing and recovering these paths implies retracing our own steps and the concrete instances of force and violence in which each of us has been evicted off the paths of the common(s).