The Commons is a documentary film about communities all over the world re-asserting sustainable, responsible futures using ancient Commons principles. The Commons are the shared resources of the world, owned by all, not just a few. The Commons are an ancient-new open-source code around the sharing of resources.

Five years in the making, we listened as 49 communities in the Americas, Europe and south Asia told us what has made their Commons work over the centuries. In the face of commodification and privatization, when everything seems to have a dollar value, Commoners are now saying, we’re taking a new path forward…

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Headline Blog: Regaining Legal Rights to Your Commons – Attorney Jim Olson

By on March 29, 2015

Attorney Jim Olson, Esq., the Founder/Director of the NGO Flow for Water, describes how people can protect their Commons using laws at the core of western legal systems. He describes how the Public Trust Doctrine is a crucial element of law requiring government to act on behalf of people’s wellbeing. 

He describes how climate change, beach access and water quality are all related: we share them, and the law protects the rights of people to use and enjoy their Commons.

The Public Trust Doctrine can be used by people to reverse bad decisions by government – and reverse the overreach by corporations that have taken away access to many Commons from the public. 

Many other legal systems have elements requiring legitimate governments to act for the wellbeing of people – including indigenous peoples’ ancient codes. Indigenous codes also often recognize the common wellbeing of ecosystems as a fundamentally important aspect of protecting people’s wellbeing.

Reinvigorated courts are an important part of the action needed: courts need to stop deferring to executive branch expertise that has often been co-opted by industry. Instead, courts need to get ‘back in the game’ when governance fails…

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Reputation based on punishment rather than generosity allows for evolution of cooperation in sizable groups

By on May 21, 2015

Read the survey as a pdf:

– Reputation based on punishment rather than generosity allows for evolution of cooperation in sizable groups


Cooperation among unrelated individuals can arise if decisions to help others can be based on reputation. While working for dyadic interactions, reputation-use in social dilemmas involving many individuals (e.g. public goods games) becomes increasingly difficult as groups become larger and errors more frequent. Reputation is therefore believed to have played a minor ...Read More

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The Meaning of the Paris Commune

By on May 21, 2015

Todays book of the day is “Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune” by Kristin Ross – We feature here an extract from an interview with the author Kristin Ross with Manu Goswami for Jacobin.What can the Paris Commune offer to present struggles for emancipation?

On March 18, 1871, artisans and communists, laborers and anarchists, took over the city of Paris ...Read More