Commons Charters: From The Great Lakes to Madrid, and Reclaiming a Common(s), NYC, Feb. 14, 2013

Commons Charters: From The Great Lakes to Madrid, and Reclaiming a Common(s), NYC, Feb. 14, 2013

What: Discussion
When: Thursday February 14th 6:00pm
Where: 16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor
Who: Free and open to all

We would like to invite everyone to a discussion and evening organized
with our friends from Making Worlds.

The event builds upon existing discussions that we have each organized
over the last few years around the common(s) and more recent discussions
in which we have tried to imagine collectively different modes of pairing
struggle and antagonism to capitalism with formal/informal processes of
mutual aid, collective care and cultivation of the common(s).

The questions are basic ones concerning the processes of destruction or
privatization of the basic premises of life (food, water, air, genes,
seeds, ideas, language, learning, land, ...) and include the material
needs of being able to collectively reproduce our lives in struggle. They
also revolve around the capacity of this change in climate (both
ecologically and socio-politically) we are living through to posit or
propose alternatives to state (public?) or corporate (private?) control of

The evening will unfold in two parts.

The first part of the evening is a conversation with Isidro Lopez and
Alexa Bradley who are currently participating in the development of
commons charters. Isidro Lopez will discuss his involvement with
Observatorio Metropolitano and the “Carta de los Comunes”, a Commons
Charter for the city of Madrid [Spain] elaborated collectively in 2011.
Alexa Bradley will be discussing her current work with the Great Lakes
Commons Initiative, a broad organizing effort to catalyze a cross border
citizen movement to put human need, ecological survival and democratized
decision making at the center of the Great Lakes governance.

More generally, commons charters are documents created by communities
seeking to take back control and care of their livelihoods and
environments. Among examples, we discover The Magna Carta’s often
overlooked Charter of the Forest written in 1066 by the commoners of
England demanding their right to use the land for their common needs:
grazing, wood for cooking, peat for fuel, and fishing rights to name a
few. In recent years, different initiatives throughout the world have
recovered these kinds of documents, as is the case of the Carta de los
Comunes (Madrid, Spain), and the Great Lakes Initiative (US-Canada).

The second part of the evening, we will try to resume the discussion
focusing on some initiatives or efforts that could potentially address
these concerns in New York, Madrid and beyond.

We will also be joined by Silvia Federici and George Caffentzis and other
friends with whom we began a more public exploration of some common
concerns with 'Beyond Good and Evil Commons: Debt, Economic Crisis and the Production of Commons' in the summer of 2011.