Forming a ‘commoners’ group for every sector of the economy

This is the latest on our group’s attempts to build the commons economy in Stroud, in a way that can be implemented in other towns, and connected together to build the foundations of a new, commons economy. It covers what we’ve done so far, and how people can get involved.

We now have a core group of 10 ‘commoners’ – i.e. people who want to help build the commons. We’re a social group, and we meet face-to-face one evening per month. We take it in turns to host it in our homes (and we’re going to have picnics, if the weather allows), providing food and having a chat about how we might help build the commons economy in Stroud. We also have a Signal group for quick communication, and there are another 10-ish people involved in that as well. We chose Signal because it’s a messaging app that isn’t corporate-owned – it’s free and open source.

Since we formed our little group, we’ve built a website, been interviewed for the Stroud District Green Party’s online ‘Cloud Cafe’ and attended local round tables, green groups and other meetings of like-minded people. We’re becoming well-known in the town, and we’ve received a good reception from everyone we’ve talked with. The commons is a popular idea, because of its potential for building community and for providing affordable housing, energy, food, care and all the other essentials of life.

We’ve also been approached by people around the UK who are interested in potentially doing similar things in their own towns (if you’re thinking that this might be you, you need a gang – you can’t build the commons economy alone. Start by recruiting just one friend. Four people is enough, and you don’t need more than ten).

We’ve hosted our own public events too. On May 19th we hosted a ‘Money Talks’ event at the Trinity Rooms. 80-ish people turned up and asked lots of interesting questions. We invited author Brett Scott, who came along and gave a great talk about the money system and the need to make sure we don’t go completely digital, and lose cash. Since then, Brett has endorsed a mutual credit approach to monetary change (this is a ‘money commons’ approach, if you like). We’ve received an endorsement from Jem Bendell (of ‘Deep Adaptation’ fame) too, who said he’d like to come to Stroud to see what we’re up to.

‘Money Talks’ event, Trinity Rooms, May 19

We’ve had approaches from potential investors in a nascent housing commons, and at least one, and maybe two houses pledged too.

Our latest event was a three-parter, called ‘Reclaiming the Commons’. The aim was to find people who might be interested in joining commons groups for all sectors of the economy, based on personal interest.

We’ve collected 90 email addresses from these events, and people have indicated which groups they might be interested in. Members of the core group have agreed to co-ordinate these groups, and so the next step is to get these groups organised and talking about commoning various sectors of the economy. These are the groups we’re looking at to start with:

  • Housing
  • Land / food / water
  • Energy
  • Climbing centre (one of the core group is a keen climber, who wondered if commons ideas could be used to build a climbing centre in Stroud; we thought that they could, and so that’s a plan!)
  • Health
  • Education
  • Money / mutual credit
  • Community spaces (including pubs and community halls)

Do let us know if you’d like to join any of these groups. There will be more articles soon on how these groups are progressing.

What we’re thinking is that these groups might also meet socially, have a Signal group, and talk with people locally, including potential members / investors / customers / supporters. We’re partnering with specialists who will come to Stroud to take part in co-design sessions for each sector, to work out together how to raise funds and build the commons everywhere.

Next we’re planning to have a forum on the website (with different sections for sectors of the economy), so that anyone in Stroud (and elsewhere) can discuss these ideas in public. We’re going to blog about all new developments, and document everything that happens to help people build the commons in their town.

We’d like to invite you to become a commoner. This is how you can get involved:

  • Subscribe to our blog.
  • Contact us if you’re interested in joining a particular sector group.
  • If you’re not in Stroud, contact us if you’d like to talk about starting a commons movement in your town.
  • Contact us if you’d like to invest in the housing commons (more soon).
  • Discuss / debate in forum (soon).
  • Please share this with anyone you think might be interested.


6 responses to “Forming a ‘commoners’ group for every sector of the economy”

  1. Adam Avatar

    Hi. Very interesting read. I have just returned from 3 years setting up a small school in Northern Italy. I’d be very interested in being part of the education commons group and any other that I might be able to add something to. When is the next meeting? I’d love to come. Best wishes, Adam

    1. Dave Darby Avatar

      Thanks Adam – I’ve passed on your details to the education group.

  2. Sally Avatar

    Interested in finding out more.

    1. Dave Darby Avatar

      Hi Sally – any particular sector? Would you like to join a group?

  3. Charlotte Yonge Avatar

    I am developing resources for a Home Education group in South Molton Devon. Any news about what is going on in Stroud is greatly appreciated. We have a Barnstaple group ‘North Devon Lawful Action’ and ‘Lifelong Learning’ at our ‘Meeting of Minds’ … alternatives are being planned, and I have suggested researching Stroud Commons. Will make a note of actions for starting small local Home Education group in South Molton. Thanks. Charlotte

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