Blog by Christos Giovanopoulos
infra-demos was present at the Festival of the Commons 2017 in Athens. With the Omnia sunt Communia (all things are/in common) as moto, last weekend at the School of Fine Arts in Athens, over 65 collectives met in the first Festival of Commons. Albeit first under this name, the festival has been a collaboration of the Commonsfest and of the Festival of Solidarity and Cooperative Economy. Two events that were taking place in the last five years and which joined forces to create the Festival of Commons (FoC). Yet, the FoC has been the result of the newly formed Alliance of Commons and its first big public event.
With over 75 presentations, workshops and panels the festival gathered the majority of those active on the fields of the commons, of the self-managed cooperative movement and of the social and solidarity economy in Greece and also many international participants. Its meetings included, among other, the assemblies of the Network of the Social Solidarity Economy Entities in Attica and of the Panhellenic Network of Cooperative Solidarity Economy Groups, as well as the assembly of the Alliance of Commons the last day. It also hosted panel discussions among the movements resisting privatizations and natural resources grabbing, such as the Chalkidiki SOS against the goldmining in Skouries, the movements against the privatization of the old airport of Athens in Ellinikon and of the park of Plato’s Academy and the movement against the dam in Acheloos river.
The discussions with Michel Bauwens on open cooperative networks, on Friday evening, and with Steven Forti, from Barcelona En Comu, on City – Demos – Commons, on Saturday, attracted the interest of the participants and opened up new perspectives in strategizing for the commons and / through the development of a kind of politics that corresponds to the practices and concept of the Commons.
Moreover, rich cultural activities and workshops took place throughout the three days including a three-day festival of cinematic and visual commons. Besides the political and cultural events, the festival hosted a fair-trade space with 32 productive projects and coops, and a solidarity and barter economy corner.
The festival aimed not only to bring together, celebrate and provide visibility of the active endeavors for the Commons and Social and Solidarity Economy in Greece, but to contribute to the creation and facilitation of productive synergies among the participants, in order to nurtures cross-fertilization and to instigate projects of capacity building. It consists, thus, the first attempt of the Alliance of Commons to introduce a methodology which emphasizes in the production of concrete tools and processes, of the creation of working groups around specific tasks, aiming in the conception, planning, testing and prototyping of sustainable examples and practices, which can enlarge the entire ecosystem of the Commons, self-managed cooperatives and grassroots solidarity economy. The number of proposals and synergies which were presented as mature to kick off in the closing assembly of the Alliance of the Commons, is promising for more to come from the Greek grassroots.
For more you can look at: http://www.commons.gr/