From:   Snafu <>
Sent time:   Sunday, November 13, 2011 7:51:51 AM
Subject:   [september17discuss] Fwd: Re: on the commons

a message from Jason Hickel from Occupy London. He is asking to be subscribed to this group (anyone can do it, please?) and thinking about putting something together on the commons in London.

Please read point 2) on the African campaign to reclaim the oil sources as commons....

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: on the commons
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2011 09:30:47 +0000
From: jason hickel <>

Oh, also, I should mention: I'm quite involved with Occupy London, and
would like to get folks there on board with this idea.


On Sun, Nov 13, 2011 at 9:28 AM, jason hickel <> wrote:
> Hi there,
> A friend of mine just forwarded this thread on the commons to me.  I'm
> a couple of
> days late joining in, but I thought I would add a few thoughts to the
> discussion.  (Incidentally, could you add me to the
> google group?)
> 1) The meme is gaining considerable steam these days, with Hardt and
> Negri's new book, "Commonwealth", Jeffrey Sachs' "Common Wealth",
> James Scott's "The Art of Not being Governed", Peter Barnes'
> "Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons", and of course
> everything by Slavoj Zizek, etc... the list is long!
> 2) In 2009, a bunch of us Southern African activists, academics, and
> civil society organizations convened a conference on the commons in
> Durban, and launched a "Global Campaign for the Commons".  Since then
> the idea has become attractive to folks in various oil-rich African
> nations (Nigeria, South Sudan, Uganda) who are looking for real
> alternatives to the usual plunder-and-pillage model of resource
> extraction.  Both Uganda and South Sudan are presently in the process
> of considering new constitutions, and local resistance movements want
> to see them organized around the idea of the "commons."
> 3) We dare not neglect these struggles in the so-called third world,
> because that is where the resources that feed Western capitalism come
> from.  They are the plundering ground, and we need to make their
> voices central.
> 4) For those of you in the US, you should take a look at the Alaska
> Model; the Alaska constitution includes a provision that states that
> all natural resources are "owned in common" (not by corporations or
> the state) and must be used "on the principle of sustainability" "for
> the maximum benefit of the people".  The model has its problems, to be
> sure, but it's a brilliant spark of possibility in what is otherwise a
> bleak national landscape of corporatism.
> 5) President Grimsson of Iceland has recently picked up on the idea of
> the commons, and has said that he would be tentatively willing to
> mobilize his resources and networks toward whatever goals the campaign
> puts to him.  I'm personally ambivalent about the utility of relying
> on heads of state (even good lefty ones like Grimsson) to advance this
> meme instead of a grassroots movement, but it's something that you
> (we) could consider tapping into if need be.
> I've been involved with this movement since 2009, and would be happy
> to discuss any of this further with anyone who is interested.
> All the best,
> Jason Hickel

Jason Hickel

Department of Anthropology
London School of Economics