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The Struggle for the Commons

"The commons is an old value that's resurfacing as a fresh approach to twenty-first-century crises such as escalating economic inequality, looming ecological disruption and worsening social alienation.
In essence, the commons means everything that belongs to all of us, and the many ways we work together to use these assets to build a better society."
"Tragically, this wealth is being stolen in the name of economic efficiency and global competitiveness. As the disparity between the world's richest individuals and everyone else grows, a massive takeover of the commons is occurring. Through privatization schemes, land grabs, excessive copyright and patenting claims, no-new-taxes policies, neocolonial globalization and the gutting of government services, we are losing what is rightfully ours. These radical policies inflict economic pain but also diminish the natural world, our sense of community and the ability to participate in decisions affecting our future.

Of course, this is nothing new. It has been happening ever since feudal lords in Europe enclosed forests and grazing lands (the original meaning of the word "commons"), which helped set the stage for the brutality of the Industrial Revolution and colonial invasions. The assault on the commons has intensified over the past thirty years, however, because of the rise of market ideology as the overpowering force in international politics.

But all is not lost. We still depend on and take advantage of the commons every minute of the day, from the tap water we use to brush our teeth in the morning to the fairy tales we tell our kids at bedtime. We have no choice but to redouble efforts to save the commons in its many forms, from essential public services in our communities to net neutrality to a spirit of cooperation in our everyday lives. As awareness of what belongs to all of us grows among progressives, the commons is gradually emerging as both a critique and a strategy to challenge the dominance of market-based values at every level of our society.

The work of the commons points us toward a brighter future where the out-of-control individualism of modern society is balanced with a new appreciation of what we can accomplish together—a welcome shift from "me" to "we."

Jay Walljasper is editor of www.onthecommons.org.

to read Jay Walljasper's article "The Struggle for the Commons" published in: The Nation, October 17, 2011, click on

homepage: homepage: http://www.buzzflash.com
address: address: http://www.onthecommons.org

Video: "Super Amigos" (2007) and "I'm Your Man" (2006) 15.Oct.2011 17:50


Enjoy these two free videos from hulu.com!

Super Amigos

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Originally aired on 8/01/07

Video: Super Amigos (2007), 1 hr 10 min

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Super Amigos
Title Super Amigos (2007)
Runtime 1 hr. 10 min.
Studio SnagFilms
Genres News and Information | Sports
Description In Mexico City, five real-life "social wrestlers" have capitalized on the popularity of Mexico's larger than life Lucha Libre wrestlers to fight for social justice rather than trophies.

Video: Leonard Cohen I'm Your Man (2006), 1 hr 47 min

 link to www.hulu.com

Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man
Title Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man (2006)
Runtime 1 hr. 43 min.
Studio Lionsgate
Genres Music | News and Information
Description In 2005, music producer Hal Wilner staged an all-star tribute concert in Australia in which a handful of major artists offered their interpretations of Cohen's songs, including Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker of Pulp, Rufus Wainwright, Beth Orton, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, and many more. This documentary offers an intimate look at the songs, poetry and life of the influential troubadour, Leonard Cohen.