The austerity of the commons: a struggle for the essential

In a precarious context induced by a struggle for the essential, one term has re-emerged as indispensable, providing many of us with a new sense of direction, creation and sharing, and ultimately, like a boomerang, assuming the ‘austere’ dignity of that which cannot be renounced: the commons.

The Structural Communality of the Commons

The commons are as varied as life itself, and yet everyone involved with them shares common convictions. If we wish to understand these convictions, we must realize what commons mean in a practical sense, what their function is and always has been. That in turn includes that we concern ourselves with people. After all, commons or common goods are precisely not merely “goods,” but a social practice that generates, uses and preserves common resources and products. In other words, it is about the practice of commons, or commoning, and therefore also about us. The debate about the commons is also a debate about images of humanity. So let us take a step back and begin with the general question about living conditions.