Why don’t we all open the locked wifi systems in our homes to our neighbors and passersby? Is it to avoid some easily managed security problem? Or is it that the isolation will boost the profits of the mega communication moguls that have privatized our space and ether? If you can brainwash people into paying more for bottled water than for gasoline, the power of profit has no limits.
But, as Sharable explains in this post about the commons, there is an alternative, and, yes, Spanish anarchists are at it again!
The internet provider Guifi.net in Catalonia shows how commons can create a new paradigm of organizing and producing. This bottom-up, citizen-driven project has created a free, open, and neutral telecommunications network based on a commons model. This is how it works: People put a Wi-Fi node on their rooftops, which is extended and strengthened each time a new user adds a node to the network.
Sharable sums up the differences between markets and the commons:
Commons: Rely on people’s altruism and cooperation
Markets: Believe humans are selfish individuals whose wants are unlimited
Commons: stewardship of resources
Markets: ownership of resources
Last week a student came to my office to make sure I had graded his exam correctly. The conversation quickly turned to the open-source software I use to generate exams. To my pleasant surprise I learned that he shared my aversion to MS Word, which so aptly shares its name with a degenerative disease. As they say in the online commons of open-source software: “In a world without walls or fences, who needs Windows and Gates?”
This is how we can outsmart corporate forces endowed by the Supreme Court with personhood and intent on throwing us back to feudal times. As David Bollier puts it:
In our own time, we have seen that constitutional democracy is not the fearless defender of due process, fairness, human rights, and commoning, especially since 9/11. The sovereigns of our time, the nation state in alliance with transnational corporations, have found plenty of ways to evade the supposed constraints of constitutional democracy and judicial review.
Shareable is really worth reading: as it points the way to the future, it makes the connections so deftly hidden by the ruling elites.