Commons-Conference in Rome, April 2011

Shortly after Easter, the staff of Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Brussels took off to Rome – for the Commons-Conference (27/28 April 2011). Invited were experts, scholars, politicians and activists from Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. On the programme had been debates on the cornerstones of commons: the societal relations human beings and nature, relations of production and economy, organisation of collective life and interculturality. Experiences in struggles in the defence of the commons had been exchanged. All conference papers are online.

Francine Mestrum of CETRI from Belgium (on the right hand side of the picture) presented the introductory document of the conference “From Common Goods to the Common Good of Humanity”. The document is an attempt to define the corner stones of the politics of the commons in the context of the multiple crisis and has evoked a controversial debate.

Gian Delgado (on the right hand side of the picture) of the Universidad Autónoma de México analysed the limits and boundaries of growth from an environmental economics perspective. He stressed the concept of metabolism and therewith the relationship between humans and nature conveyed by labour.

Marc Vandepitte, Philosopher from Belgium (on the right hand side of the picture), highlighted the importance and necessity of a radical change in the economic processes towards commons.

Gabriela Bernal, a Social Anthropologist from Ecuador and activist in women’s movements and organisations, showed from a feminist and non-essentialist perspective the conditions and opportunities of a politics of interculturalism. She positively referred to the contemporary, creative and emancipatory struggles of indigenous people in Ecuador and citicized the politics of indigenism as it is carried out by the international development community.

Michael Brie of the Institute of Social Analysis in Berlin, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (on the right hand side of the picture), applied a historico-philosophical approach to analyse “commons” and described the forceful implementation of private property in the history. He highlighted the strong “natural” tendencies towards a “common” organisation of labour and concretized the opportunities of a politics of the commons for the example of the organisation of public transport.