Commons Space In The World Social Forum, Montréal 2016

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    We invite you to participate in the Commons Space which will be hosted at the the World Social Forum 2016 taking place from the 9th to the14th of August in Montreal.
    This is a space for experimentation, exchange and construction of commons based alternatives to the current economic model. This space will welcome and support the strategic process of convergence of commoners and social movements throughout the WSF. Here is the invitation.


In 2009 at the Social Forum in Belem Chico Whitaker launched the Manifesto Reclaim the Commons which was adopted by members of the International Council of the WSF
[]. Since then, social movements have adopted this cause. At the WSF in Dakar in 2011, Silke Helfrich reported on the increased visibility of workshops and activities sharing the theme of

In 2012, the commons was the central slogan of the People’s Summit in Rio calling “for Social and Environmental Justice in defense of the commons, against the commodification of life”.[] Again in 2012 on International Earth Day in Montreal at one of the biggest rallies of the “Printemps érable” (Maple Spring) protestors carried signs, flags and banners calling for the protection of the commons from privatization.

Ideas and practices based on Commons, P2P, Open Cooperativism continue to grow and are being developed by activists in many areas : Social Solidarity Economy, Collaborative & Sharing Economy, resistance to enclosure such as land grabs, defending water as a commons,Struggles against financialization and Climate change to name but a few. Activists find each other at events and festivals dedicated to the commons, like Afropixel (Dakar, 2012), Pixelache Festival (Helsinki,, 2014), Art of Commoning (Montreal, 2014), International Festival of the Commons (Chieri, Italy, 2015), Festival Temps des communs (Francophonie, 2015), CommonsFest (Athens, 2015), Procomun (Barcelona, 2016), and many more.

With a shared ambition to make another world possible activists are working together to develop commons based policies that deepen citizen participation. In local assemblies and civic laboratories, new spaces for civic engagement based on the commons are emerging. Commons are playing a leading role in the development of new thinking essential to the renewal of democracy.

Sharing practices and building alliances for the defense and creation of the commons,
Developing and sharing commons based policies for cities, regions and countries, Building a convergence of commoners through continued dialogue on shared causes and strategies with movements working on transition such as : Degrowth, Political Ecology, Social Solidarity Economy, etc.

Self organized and distributed Commons Space

The Commons Space at the WSF in Montreal will be open for the duration of the forum to anyone or any organization that is concerned with the commons, and wants to organize a workshop or any activity.

We propose a space in the spirit of the School of the Commons which aims
at :

  • documenting and disseminating knowledge on the Commons based on shared experiences and learning.
  • to concretely support the creation, reappropriation or conservation of existing and emerging commons through actions or projects based on mutual assistance and commitment.
  • to develop the practice of Commoning based on creative and collaborative skills and as a way of life.

There will be an open and flexible schedule to accommodate a variety of activities and topics including both pre-programmed events and space for impromtu sessions. Most importantly we wish invite you to participate in the assemblies and convergence sessions.

The following topics have already been proposed :

  • Urban Commons/City as a Commons/Municipal Movements
  • The Common as a New Political Subject
  • Open/Platform Cooperativism

The Commons Space will be open and distributed in Montréal, in collaboration with the coworking spaces in the city. Its headquarters will be located at ECTO, a coworking coop [] in the heart of creative Montreal. Other coworking spaces (Salon 1861, Temps libre) and inter-cultural places will host activities.

The WSF is a unique opportunity to connect and work with activists from all over the world North/South/East/West to progress the cause of the Commons. This is an open call for proposals and activities. We invite you and your organisation to participate in co-organizing and facilitating the Commons Space. You can express your interest in participating and submit proposals for workshops, presentation, arts and cultural interventions simply by writing to the signatories of this announcement. To participate in discussion and to keep informed as the program of activities develops you can sign up to our mailing list.

Looking forward seeing you in MTL

  • Frédéric Sultan []
  • Yves Otis []
  • Kevin Flanagan [] –
  • Elisabetta Cangelosi []
  • Alain Ambrosi []
  • Abdou Salam Fall []
  • Monique Chartrand []

This is an initiative of Gazibo, Remix the Commons, Communautique,
LARTES, percolab, P2P Foundation, VECAM, and supported by the Foundation
for Human Progress.