Flow chart of access to the commons
[This illustration reproduces a diagram that emerged on the white board through the following segment of a 'reclaiming the commons' discussion]
A society is a large, loose group of individuals. A small group is set apart, having made themselves gatekeeper for interactions between the rest of society and the public commons. They use this position to siphon off value from interactions between the people and the commons.
-You work for your boss in return for healthcare, to pay for rent and food.
-Insurance for your car and your apartment.
-You must pay money for water.
-We regulate the air.
-The public streets are closely monitored, and aberrant behavior is quickly targeted.
-You must seek permission to protest in this park. It's all for the public good.
The system inserted between the people and the commons is capitalism.
In this sense, capitalism is the object that is keeping us from defining, as a community, what we think should be in our commons. How can we work to overcome the influence of this system on our lives? By circumventing the hold that capitalism has on our lives. Economies based in barter, trade, gifts, gratitude, esteem, trust. Organizing cooperatively, working together in consensus. Like ants finding our way around an obstacle we must build pathways to each other and the things that we need that do not feed the appetites of the 1%.