State Power and Commoning

Silke Helfrich,
Paper prepared for AFD Conference: Communs et Développement; Paris, Dec. 1 & 2, 2016


I. Clarify Concepts: State and Commons
  • The State doesn’t exist
  • … and the Nation-State is a conceptual fiction
  • Commons enact their own normalcies
  • Commons belong to different people. People belong to multiple commons
  • A commoner is to the commons as a citizen is to the state
II. Tensions between State Power and Commoning
  • State powers arise from separation, the power of the commons arises from connection
  • A State is committed to market logic, the commons go beyond it
  • State-centric thinking makes the commons and thus commons governance invisible
  • Who cares for what State powers ignore?
III. Reimagining state powers from a commons perspective
  • Four Approaches to the State in the Commons Debate
  • Deepen democracy beyond token participation
  • Consent over consensus decision making
  • Reimagine the terms of community
  • Tax the use of shared resources
  • Shift power from (Nation-)States to Bioregional Territories
  • Create Public Commons Partnerships (PCPs)
IV. Back to the Beginning

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