Defining what is for

Here we frame our approach to principles of designing & mobilising an infrastructure and a coop

Fundamentally, commons.hour is about the principles that drive and maintain the practical use of a digital infrastructure, as a commons. To help us relate to our user membership, we picture the user community in three broad 'sectors', each comprising organisations (and individuals) committed in a particular way, and all actively remaking both economy and culture, and building powerful capacities for radical change.

Coop-commons economy

The first orientation is broadly economic, in the sense of concerned with the provisioning of material means of subsistence and wellbeing. This basically economic orientation is one of the distinctive features of, and the networks we cultivate . . in the coop economy, solidarity economy, ‘new economy’, doughnut economy, commons economy, feminist economy, fairtrade economy, food sovereignty economy; and so on.

About the cooperative-commons economy. In the cooperative economy the members are in the centre, as co-owners and/or co-workers in an intent to socialise the market economy. In the commons economy, there is a shift from exchange to contributions, through a system of shared resources that is self-governed and stewarded by its members, with accessible membership and (internal) knowledge sharing allowing replicability and solidarity with other commons. The cooperative-commons seeks to combine the best of both traditions.

Principles that underlie this kind of commitment include the displacing of wage labour, capital accumulation, commodity production and exchange, enclosure, fiat money, environmental extractiveness, destabilising of ecologies, systematic waste, genocide, modern slavery, domination of living labour by dead labour (including algorithmic machines); etcetera.

This orientation addresses both the organising of openvalue networks of provision in a local/regional/transnational economy, and operational organisation of contributions within economic units: classically, coops.


The second orientation is to organising in civil society, and the creation of strong movements that are able to effectively collaborate and coordinate across the ’silos’ that continuously emerge. This basically ‘aesthetic’ orientation engages all the bases on which formations of activists may affiliate and align with, and mutually aid one another.

Principles that underlie this kind of commitment include Seven Rs of mutual-sector commitment, and principles of design justice, decoloniality, non-supremacy, regenerative activism and pluriverse.

We use ‘aesthetic’ to refer to deep, powerful and largely preconscious forces of embracing/affiliating and resisting/nullifying, which inform all forms of life, and give rise in humans to aware and deliberate senses of beauty, belonging, nurturing, hope, generosity, sufficiency, care for unborn generations, and liberation. In this sense, an economy of commoning is an aesthetic as well as an economic and political revolutionary commitment.


The third orientation is towards the fluent and literate mobilising of digital means by members of our community, in achieving solidarity and mutuality of action (above), and in making the coop-commons economy (also above).

Principles that underlie this kind of practice include engaging society as 'user’ , evolving 'tools for conviviality' and provisioning infrastructures (of tools and media) that serve practices of formación - that is, the cultivating and mobilising of individual and collective labour power (aka knowledges, skills and extended peer-to-peer capabilities) in the face of professionalised destruction of vernacular capabilities and historic epistemicides.


What all three of the above frames have in common is recognising and practically embodying altered social relations, to constitute formations of radically transformative practice. Rather than values, we intend that relations of production (expressed as protocols of collaborative practice) should be the basis of’s service to its diverse community of members and its recruitment to the Community circle.

At this level, these are principles of historical transformation, at a time when this is manifestly called for, and emergent digital infrastructures are manifestly implicated in this in unfamiliar, obscure and aggressively territorial and sectarian ways.

Rather than being vague 'apple pie' value statements, and generic starting points, we regard principles as being protocols articulated at a higher level which, rather than being focused on everyday operations, serve to guide design, development and evolution in the infrastructure and the coop. They are abstracted from well-defined frameworks of operational protocol and altered social relations. They form the basis of the Constitution-to-be.

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