Proleptic Leadership on the Commons: Ushering in a New Global Order 9781838678005, 9781838677992, 9781838678012

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Table of contents :
Half Title Page
Title Page
Copyright Page
Dedication Page
List of Tables and Figures
About the Author
Works Cited
The Commons and Commoning
Renewed Interest in the Commons and a Path Forward
Leadership (Or Not) on the Commons
Proleptic Leadership
The Book’s Audience
Introduction to the Commons
Contemporary Study of the Commons
Commons as a Place or Resource
Commons as a Resource and a Community Governing in a
Particular Way
Commons as Social Relationships
Commons as a Resource, A Community, and an
Emancipatory Way of Operating
Commoning as the Critical Creative Force of the Commons
Schism of Commons Scholars and Activists
Framework for the Transition
Organization and Leadership Theories
Structure of the Book
Part I:
A Brief History of the Commons from Antiquity to Today
Chapter 1:
Evolution of the Idea of the Commons and the First Enclosure Movement
Historical Sketch of the Commons
The Commons in Feudal Europe
The Enclosure Movement in England
Justification of Enclosure
Resistance to Enclosure and the Moral Justification for the Commons
The End of Land Enclosure in England
The Commons and Enclosure Beyond England
Gender and the Commons
The Industrial Paradigm
Chapter 2:
Re-Emergence of the Commons in Contemporary Society
Tragedy of the Commons
“Inherently Public Property” and Common Pool Resources
The Commons in Subsistence Economies
Proliferation of Contemporary Interest in the Commons
The Internet as Commons
The Knowledge and Information Commons
The New Commons and the Transformative Power of the Commons
Commons-Based Peer Production
Other Commons Emerge as Part of the “New Commons”
Urban Commons
International Support for the Commons
Alter-Globalization, Global Justice Movements, and
the Commons
Groups Formed to Support the Expansion of the Commons
Chapter 3:
The Second Enclosure Movement: Contemporary Enclosure and Commodification of the Commons
Enclosure of Water
Enclosure in the Agricultural Sector
Commodities Consensus
Enclosure of the Knowledge Commons
Rise of the Anticommons
Globalization and the Expansion of Intellectual Property Rights
Neoliberalism and Enclosure of Public Property and
the Commons
Foreclosure of the Future
Ethical Arguments Against Enclosure
Increasing Enclosure of the Internet
The Digital Divide
The Battle Against Enclosure
Chapter 4:
Reasons for the Rise of the Commons
Identifying Phenomena as Commons
The Environmental Awakening
Increasing Inequality and Changing Employment
Internet and the Noose of Neoliberal Capitalism
Moral Divide
Models of Humans as Cooperative Rather than Competitive
The Leviathan Versus the Penguin
The Emergence of a Relational Ontology
The Flattening of Organizations and Self-Organizing Systems
Leadership Theory
Networks and Network Thinking
Collaborative Consumption and the Sharing Economy
Crisis and Survival
Theoretical Perspectives on the Rise of the Commons
Capitalism and Capital Accumulation
Pro-Capitalist Versus Anti-Capitalist Perspectives on the Commons
Social Crisis and the Precariat
Part II:
Commoning and the Transition toa Commons-Centric Society
Chapter 5:
Toward a Grounded Theory of Commons
Grounded Theory Research of the Commons
Grounded Theory of the Commons
Sub-Variables Comprising Commoning
Supplanting a Paradigm
Resonating Self-and-Society
Commoning and Community
Commoning and Values
From Commons to a Commons-Centric Society
Chapter 6:
Transition to a Commons-Centric Society
Rifkin’s Perspective
Hardt’s and Negri’s Prspective
Others’ Perspectives
Consciousness, Liminality, and the Social Imaginary
Integral Theory of Consciousness
Liminality and Social Imaginary
Implications of this Chapter
Chapter 7:
Commoners’ Role in the Transition
Other Views of the Commons Transition
The Role of Social Movements
Complexities of Transition
Chapter 8:
Challenges of Transitioning to a Commons-Centric Society
Nature of Systems Change
Complexities of the Change Process
Marginalized Commons
Kaleidoscope of Consciousnesses and
Western-Centric Perspective
Insufficient Resources to Live Autonomously
Challenges with the State
How to Confront the State
The Commons and the Question of Evil and Elitism
Internal Challenges
Gentler, Sustainable Capitalism and More
Participatory Municipalities
Need for More Commons Self-Awareness
Limitations of the Systems Approach
Part III:
Leading on the Commons
Chapter 9:
Reclaiming Leadership on the Commons
Overall Importance of Leadership
Leaders as Catalysts, Brokers, and Political Representatives
Leaders as Buffers and Bonding Element vis-à-vis
External Forces
Leaders as Functional Brokers Who also Bridge
Cultural Divides
Other Leader Catalysts
Leaders as Political Representatives
Mobilizing Leadership for Commons Federations
Complex Adaptive Systems and Leading from Nature
Network Leadership
Complexity Leadership
Leading from Nature
Peer-to-Peer Leadership
Adaptive Leadership
System and Collective Leadership
Transformational Leadership
Holding the Whole
Leadership Not Governance
Leadership with Sociocracy and Other Communal Governance Models
Hierarchy and Leadership
Are Commons not Organizations?
Chapter 10:
Proleptic Leadership
Individual Agency is Crucial
The Impact of the Universal on the Micro Individual Level
Prolepsis and Leading Proleptically
Proleptic Ethics
Preparing Oneself to Lead Proleptically
Opening Oneself to the Future
Leading Oneself, Leading with Others,
Leading Community Proleptically
Leading Oneself through the Values of Commoning
Critical Abilities of Leading Oneself
Leading with Others Proleptically
Leading Community (Society)
Crisis and Proleptic Leadership
Social Imaginary
Ushering in a New Global Order
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Proleptic Leadership on the Commons

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Proleptic Leadership on the Commons: Ushering in a New Global Order

RANDAL JOY THOMPSON Foreword by Devin Paul Singh

United Kingdom – North America – Japan – India – Malaysia – China

Emerald Publishing Limited Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, UK First edition 2020 Copyright © 2020 Emerald Publishing Limited Reprints and permissions service Contact: [email protected] No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without either the prior written permission of the publisher or a licence permitting restricted copying issued in the UK by The Copyright Licensing Agency and in the USA by The Copyright Clearance Center. Any opinions expressed in the chapters are those of the authors. Whilst Emerald makes every effort to ensure the quality and accuracy of its content, Emerald makes no representation implied or otherwise, as to the chapters’ suitability and application and disclaims any warranties, express or implied, to their use. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN: 978-1-83867-800-5 (Print) ISBN: 978-1-83867-799-2 (Online) ISBN: 978-1-83867-801-2 (Epub)

To Atticus, Eleanor, Alissa, and Kirin You carry my heart and soul into the future.

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List of Tables and Figures


About the Author








Introduction to the Commons


Part I: A Brief History of the Commons from Antiquity to Today Chapter 1  Evolution of the Idea of the Commons and the First Enclosure Movement


Chapter 2  Re-Emergence of the Commons in Contemporary Society


Chapter 3  The Second Enclosure Movement: Contemporary Enclosure and Commodification of the Commons


Chapter 4  Reasons for the Rise of the Commons


Part II: Commoning and the Transition to a Commons-Centric Society Chapter 5  Toward a Grounded Theory of Commons


viii   Contents

Chapter 6  Transition to a Commons-Centric Society


Chapter 7  Commoners’ Role in the Transition


Chapter 8  Challenges of Transitioning to a Commons-Centric Society


Part III: Leading on the Commons Chapter 9  Reclaiming Leadership on the Commons


Chapter 10  Proleptic Leadership


Conclusion  Ushering in a New Global Order






List of Tables and Figures

Tables Table 1. The Processes, Sub-variables, and Dimensions of Commoning.68 Table 2. Spiral Dynamics View of Consciousness and Laloux’s Conscious Organizations.


Figures Fig. 1. Inter-relationship Between Future and Proleptic Leadership.163 Fig. 2. Leading from Inside-out.


Fig. 3. “Being” a Global Leader.


Fig. 4. Steps of Leading Proleptically.


Fig. 5. Values Manifested by Proleptic Leadership.


Fig. 6. Proleptic Liminal Leadership Process.


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About the Author

Randal Joy Thompson, PhD, is a scholar-practitioner who, for many decades, has lived and worked globally in international development. A former US Commissioned Foreign Service Officer, she serves as the principal and founder of the companies Dream Connect Global and Excellence, Equity, and Empowerment. She is currently a Fielding Graduate University Institute of Social Innovation Fellow. She was lead editor for the 2018 International Leadership Association (ILA) volume Leadership and Power in International Development: Navigating the Intersections of Gender, Culture, Context, and Sustainability, which won the Academy of Human Resource Development R. Wayne Pace HRD 2018 Book of the Year Award. She is co-editing the forthcoming 2021 ILA volume Redefining Leadership on the Commons and has published many book chapters on leadership and peerreviewed articles on women, evaluation, foreign aid, and education.

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I owe a debt of gratitude to many people who have nurtured my interest in the commons and who have guided my path as I delved deeper in this phenomenon over the last seven years. A long conversation in 2013 with Charlotte Hess, a colleague of Elinor Ostrom and creator of the Digital Library of the Commons, provided me the background and the context within which the study of the commons emerged and guided me in critical directions to follow. A short email exchange with David Bollier that same year gave me an understanding of his journey and offered me sound advice regarding how to continue mine. Dr Katrina Rogers, President of and Drs David Willis and Marie Farrell, Professors at Fielding Graduate University provided a rigorous critique of my initial commons work in 2014. Dr Kathleen Curran has continued to inspire me with her creative concepts like global resonance and global identity and has been a superlative co-author, co-editor, and friend in our joint publication ventures during the last several years. Dr Roshen Dalal, historian, prolific author, friend and fellow student at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi many years ago, has set a writing standard that has continued to inspire me. Jean Hartmann graciously created a series of colorful graphics to promote my book. Finally, I greatly appreciate Dr Devin Singh, Associate Professor of Religion at Dartmouth College, for agreeing to write the Foreword to my book. I would like to especially thank Charlotte Maiorana, Executive Editor, and Charlotte Wilson, Associate Editor, of Emerald Publishing for believing in my book project and for providing me exceptional support along the way. Editorial Assistant Sally Martin was also a big help as were Katy Mathers and James Whiteley, Publishing Assistants. I also appreciate S. Rajachitra, Senior Project Manager, who effectively steered my book through the pre-production processes. Of course, my sons Devin and Patrick always kept me on my toes and prodded me to finish my manuscript. I am very thankful for their unwavering support as well as the support of my daughters-in-law Nicole and Whitney. My dear friends Therese Coen, Sam and Julie Rea, Mira Ibrisimovic and Edin Ibrahimefendic kept my spirits high. And, Ana Ilievska who will graduate with her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago while my manuscript is being prepared for publication has been my cheerleader along the way. Her dissertation and my manuscript were due on the same date so we commiserated often. Finally, I would like to thank all the commons scholars and activists and leadership scholars and practitioners who have inspired me along this path of exploration. Among these, I would especially like to thank my cousin-in-law David Heanssler, Maine lobsterman, for explaining to me how the famous Maine Lobster Commons functions.

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Foreword Devin Paul Singh

Despite a fervent conversation for several decades now, a vision for the commons remains murky. Theoretical debates continue, as they should, while various piecemeal attempts at institutionalization and organization emerge, persist for a time, and tend to founder. Collective engagement and understanding also appear reserved for a devoted in-group, while popular appeal and communication of what commoning entails remains to be seen. Notably lacking are forms of broadbased support and momentum needed to establish society-wide let alone global forms of self-governance, with the shared resources necessary for meaningful and sustainable common life. Randal Joy Thompson’s book enters into the fray with a crucial contribution and answer to these challenges: she offers a lucid historical retelling of debates and definitions around the commons, encapsulates its organizational challenges, and sets forth a framework for leadership to pave the way for meaningful implementation and transformation. Thompson brings a unique skill set and collection of experiences and expertise to the conversation. As a scholar-practitioner, her multi-decade career in the US Foreign Service and NGO sector, combined with advanced training in philosophy, systems theory, and organizational development, position her to bridge the gap between theory and practice that continues to plague discussions of the commons. While commons theorists should continue to dream big in setting out bold visions of future possibilities of life together, and activists and practitioners must continue to establish partial and imperfect experiments in commoning, bridge-builders remain crucial in translating theory into practice and allowing the realities of institutional and organizational life, not to mention leadership and management challenges, to resonate back upon and sharpen theory. Thompson’s vantage point and contribution here provides just such a mediation. Thompson approaches the transformational power of the commons both historically and theoretically, before turning to practical matters. Focusing on the notion of the commons as a complex and adaptive social system, proposed by several commons scholars and activists, Thompson summarizes and then critiques their approaches to ushering in the transition to a commons-centric society. She complicates the shift by introducing overarching theories of social transition, consciousness, social imaginary, and liminality. She then interrogates the notion of leadership in the commons and in complex systems, given that leadership has become a troubling and troubled term for those interested in more substantive and communally based social change (e.g., Robinson, 1980).

xvi   Foreword Employing an action theory framework, which includes the co-evolution of the individual (micro), community (meso), social (macro), and universal (meta) levels, Thompson introduces proleptic leadership, by which possible and disruptive futures invade the present at each of these levels and challenge their predicted futures, pulling the leader(s), community, society, and global community forward. In her final chapter, supporting the recommendation of commons scholars and activities, Thompson describes implementing the principle of the commons and inculcating commons-based reasoning into society. She proposes the importance of commons for securing our basic needs of food, water, shelter, and medical care, initially in order to survive future crisis, as well as to establish the foundation for autonomously governing our lives. Her book contributes critically to the ongoing conversation about the commons and opens up new avenues for research and action. Prolepticism is a key concept invoked by Thompson to address the inadequacies of leadership models in relation to commoning. Leadership as a term has come under fire for its association with hierarchical, centralized, and individualistic notions of authority, as well as suspicion for the ways it is celebrated by corporatists and neoliberal practitioners. Yet, Thompson rightly retains the concept, for it remains indispensable as a term to signal the sites of initiative, direction, service, and decision that exist even in collectives and under conditions of egalitarian self-governance. Whether we retain the term or not, something like leadership clearly remains necessary and persists under conditions of community organizing and shared life. As Thompson explains, prolepsis is a term employed in literary studies as well as theology to denote anticipatory symbols, gestures, and practices that make a future reality manifest in the present. Proleptic postures and actions seek to embody realities that are not fully present, and in so doing help make them manifest partially. Through proleptic leadership, commoners can enact postures of leading that reflect the consensus and mutuality of the commons even now, in ways that disrupt and transform individualistic and anti-altruistic approaches. By engaging prolepticism, Thompson’s work also converges with a conversation within the social scientific literature around hope, optimism, and other future-oriented, anticipatory postures. A number of philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists, and other theorists have attempted to complicate and transform the discourse around such affects in an effort to reclaim them from market logic (Berlant, 2011; Crapanzano, 2003; Harvey, 2000; Miyazaki, 2004; Singh 2008, 2016; Zournazi, 2003). Given the long recognition of the ways capitalism captures and disciplines our desires and dreams (Deleuze & Guattari, 1983), work remains to be done on how to refigure our conceptual, emotional, and relational labors of future-oriented anticipation and transformation. Thompson’s proleptic leadership therefore takes its place alongside these various contributions and sets forth a new model for consideration: leadership that is prefigurative, partial, anticipatory, hopeful, humble, as well as bold and resistant to the limitations imposed by a system that thrives on scarcity, competition, and exploitation. Leadership involved in common life and self-governance must also be a leadership of care, attuned to the mutualities, reciprocities, and obligations that emerge in life together, a common life that attends to and nurtures difference

Foreword    xvii and diversity with the community. As such, Thompson’s contributions here also align with interventions around the ethics of care as a moral and ethical system that has great promise for the commons. The ethics of care is an ethical system that puts our relational existence at the starting point of inquiry and that assesses morality in terms of one’s fulfillment of various relational obligations. A care ethic focuses on the needs and concerns of those with whom one is relationally connected, emphasizing the particularity of the needs of others in their specific social and historical contexts. It asserts that within the context of such relations emerge concrete and specific needs and obligations, as well as awareness of vulnerability, all of which should shape how philosophical and ethical reasoning might proceed. American philosopher and political theorist Virginia Held (2006), whose work has most programmatically outlined an ethics of care, suggest that the care of a child can function as a paradigmatic instance to think through concerns of care. Acting morally and ethically in a scenario of care for a dependent creature reveals the vulnerability, affective bonds, relations of mutual dependence, and other senses of obligation that may precede and exceed universalized and abstract principles of moral virtue. Despite utilizing the child as an exemplary case, an ethics of care is not to be relegated to the familial, personal, or private sphere, but has bearing on broader publics including the national and international level. If anything, it helps to re-center such ostensibly domestic and relational dynamics, reminding us that politics and economy are grounded on them. This perspective is an important corrective to models of the economy that exclude the relational and affective labor – namely, social reproduction – that make the economy possible in the first place (Fraser, 2016). An ethics of care also bears on matters of justice. While care and justice cannot be collapsed together, they refine and shape one another in significant ways. Care and concern for the specificity of actors and contexts will emphasize restorative and redistributive forms of justice more than retributive. Beyond models of simple fairness or balance, it will emphasize corrective and ameliorative measures that may look imbalanced when contextual differences are ignored. The exasperating refrain today of “All Lives Matter” in response to the Black Lives Matter movement represents one example of the failure to understand or accept the contextual and restorative nature of justice, coupled with an insistence on abstract equality that ignores preexisting inequalities. Brazilian philosopher and theologian Leonardo Boff extends the networks of care to a global dimension, asserting that human relatedness occurs within a broader context of reciprocal care with the entire earth. Such a view raises to prominence the ways that material existence, embodiment, and history remain relational factors that inform thinking. For Boff, care is a way of being; that is, it is the key way through which the human being structures itself and through which it interacts with others in the world. In other words: it is a way of being-in-theworld in which the relations that are established with all things are founded. (2008, p. 59)

xviii   Foreword Care grounds and orients relational existence, from which then proceed ways of thinking and knowing (see also Gebara, 1999). An ethic of care therefore pays attention to our common life and our networked existence. Boff’s global and all-encompassing perspective on care reminds us of the interlinking realities of existence, such that human life and economy cannot be adequately understood, let alone improved, without ecology. In their book Common: On Revolution in the 21st Century, French philosophers Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval (2019) challenge us to replace neoliberal reason with the reason of the common. Such reason is founded upon a relational rather than individualist ontology, viewing humankind as collaborative not competitive, community as the basic organizational form, and property in use rather than property purely as owned, and most importantly, based on a fundamental ethic of care. As they claim: Today, more than ever, every activity and every locale is interconnected: saving the world today it is not therefore so much a matter of isolating and protecting some natural “good” or “resource” considered fundamental to human survival, as it is a matter of profoundly transforming the economy and the society by overthrowing the system of norms that now directly threatens nature and humanity itself. (Dardot & Laval, 2019, pp. 6–7) An ethic of care therefore offers itself as one element of commoning, as a principle for life together in ways that overcome the partitions of private property and the myths of scarcity that foster division and self-interest. Care and the commons should be thought together. A dominant approach within Western philosophy and ethics attempts an objective, dispassionate, and removed position of analysis, with the claim that such a stance is the least biased and most accurate. One starts with bracketing out the self, its relations, affects, and emotional connections. Only after this can one apply a particular normative ethical framework and set of values. The assumption in this approach is that a more accurate description of reality can be reached through withdrawal from one’s connections to others and their concrete, lived situations, and the affective and emotional bonds provoked by such connections. The ethics of care challenges such assumptions by questioning the supposed neutrality of its starting point. It contests the belief that the disconnected, asocial, isolated individual is an adequate baseline for philosophical and ethical reasoning. Such a posture of existence is actually far from the human norm. Rather, life takes place under circumstances of embeddedness in social and relational networks, mutual dependencies, and the obligations and reciprocities that emerge from and in turn reaffirm these ties. The virtues or moral principles that emerge from this approach, therefore, include a recognition of and commitment to one’s concrete relational ties and the obligations of mutual care that arise. This approach suggests that some of the best forms of thinking in philosophy and ethics will emerge from living and reasoning through such concrete instances of encounter and bond, as opposed

Foreword    xix to from efforts at distance, withdrawal, and objective views from nowhere. Such norms and values are thus as much about existence and experience as about claims of knowledge and truth. They issue the challenge and promise that excellence in thinking and analysis will emerge in full acceptance and embrace of the realities of lived existence, an existence that is always already relationally determined and conditioned by vulnerability, affective bonds, interdependence, and the needs of care that inevitably arise. The task of leadership on the commons, therefore, is to attend to the needs of care, while proleptically embodying in the present the future horizon of shared life and mutuality, as Thompson has so poignantly set forth in this book.

Works Cited Berlant, L. (2011). Cruel optimism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Boff, L. (2008). Essential care: An ethics of human nature (A. Guilherme, Trans.). Waco, TX: Baylor University Press. Crapanzano, V. (2003). Reflections on hope as a category of social and psychological analysis. Cultural Anthropology, 18(1), 3–32. Dardot, P., & Laval, C. (2019). Common: On revolution in the 21st century (Kindle edition). London: Bloomsbury Press. Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1983). Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Fraser, N. (2016). Contradictions of capital and care. New Left Review, 100, 99–117. Gebara, I. (1999). Longing for running water: Ecofeminism and liberation. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press. Harvey, D. (2000). Spaces of hope. Berkeley: University of California Press. Held, V. (2006). The ethics of care: Personal, political, and global. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Miyazaki, H. (2004). The method of hope: Anthropology, philosophy, and Fijian knowledge. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Robinson, C. (1980). Terms of order: Political science and the myth of leadership. Albany: State University of New York Press. Singh, D. (2016). Irrational exuberance: Hope, expectation, and cool market logic. Political Theology, 17(2), 120–136. Singh, D. (2008). Resurrection as surplus and possibility: Moltmann and Ricoeur. Scottish Journal of Theology, 61(3), 251–269. Zournazi, M. (2003). Hope: New philosophies for change. New York, NY: Routledge. Devin Singh (PhD, Yale) is an Associate Professor of Religion at Dartmouth College. He is the author of Divine Currency: The Theological Power of Money in the West (2018) as well as numerous journal articles on religion, ethics, and economics. He is also the founder and president of Leadership Kinetics, LLC, which provides coaching and training for high impact leaders in organizations, drawing on the humanities and social sciences, and incorporating best practices in leadership and management.

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Like many others I am extremely dismayed by what is happening in and to the world such as the inequality and extreme poverty, climate change and the deterioration of our environment, the intractability of the corporate sector and a colluding government, and the overall erosion of our lives by neoliberal capitalism. Having spent most of my adult life living in non-Western countries, and after a 40-year career in international development, I have seen first-hand the devastating effects of land grabbing; the human suffering caused by companies that siphon off scarce water to make bottled drinks while the majority of a society has no access to clean water; the environmental destruction, industrial pollution, and sweatshop working conditions; curable diseases killing millions; and dictatorial repressive governments who squeeze the freedom and creativity out of the people. Each time I return to the United States, I am surprised by changes that do not exist in the non-Western world such as self-check-out, which requires me to work for corporations without being paid, work that displaces paid employees; the increasing stress of now unvalued workers as “at will employees” and the merging of work and leisure; speaking by telephone only to machines and the increasing impossibility of reaching humans; and having to fear getting caught in a mass-shooting when I go shopping or to a public event. Each time, I see things that increasingly are the same here as in the so-called “developing” world, like dramatic poverty and inequality, poor schools, low international educational test scores, human rights violations, a dysfunctional government, dictatorial practices, and a politicized judicial system. Each time, I experience an increasingly entrenched neoliberal archetype seemingly clinging to the remnants of capitalism in a last-ditch effort to save a dying system. The sudden explosion of the coronavirus global pandemic and the subsequent suffering and even threatened starvation of millions of people around the world who lost their livelihood and lived without governments willing to help them survive, clearly showed us how vulnerable and fragile our systems are and how much our supply chains are at the mercy of other countries. The terrible irony was exposed of allowing our crops to wither in the fields and butchering our animals in the fields, instead of organizing to harvest our crops and transport our livestock, when food shortages around the world threatened to cause famine and calamity. Journalists queried during the pandemic whether the United States is a failed state (Packer, 2020), whether the revolution was already underway (Spang, 2020), or whether coronavirus killed the revolution (Hamid, 2020). Even in the United States, those who lived by day jobs in the informal sector, including undocumented migrants, and those whose earnings were less than that required to file

xxii   Preface income taxes and ineligible for social assistance, remained outside the small safety net the government provided. Numerous social organizations stepped in to help, illustrating the power of community and the need to organize locally in order to take the provision of our basic needs into our own hands. In querying whether coronavirus would mean the end of neoliberalism, Jeremy Lent (2020) posited that “this rediscovery of the value of community has the potential to be the most important factor of all in shaping the trajectory of the next era” (para. 33). The pandemic made it clear why people in crises historically have joined in commons in various parts of the world to stave off disaster. The crisis drove home the necessity to develop commons to control the necessities of life, including food, water, shelter, medical care, among others. The public murder of African American George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer served as the straw that broke the camel’s back just as the world was reeling from the pandemic. The grief of losing loved ones to the virus combined with the economic recession and the uncertainty of the future ignited the righteous anger and grief flamed by his murder and opened to the world the entrenched and vicious racist underpinning of American society. Fury and the determination to change the broken system spilled into the streets of cities around the world. The US President, who had failed to mobilize the government to effectively fight the coronavirus successfully, mobilized the government to repress the protests. Instead of listening to the claims of the protesters and working together for a new way forward, the government tried hard to silence them and push the broken system back to business as usual (Oprysco, 2020).

The Commons and Commoning I stumbled upon the commons by chance in the early 2000s while researching the notion of a “global civil society.” The “commons” began appearing in the articles I was reading. Intrigued by this seeming anomaly and the hopes that many scholars, activists, and practitioners had placed on the commons, either as a more beneficial way to govern common resources outside the state and private sector or as the path to a more generous and egalitarian post-capitalist society, I began seriously to study the phenomenon in 2013. I further explored the commons through grounded theory research. Grounded theory research asks “what’s going on here?” and through data gathering from unstructured interviews and only afterward from literature opens the door for a theory to emerge (Glaser, 1998, 2007). Traditional grounded theories identify core variables that are expressed in gerunds – active verbs that perform as nouns – because such theories describe actions that are taking place, not static concepts or hypotheses (Glaser, 1998, 2007). The overall grounded theory is supported by “theoretical codes,” also expressed in gerunds (Glaser, 1998, 2007). Commoning, a gerund, emerged from the participant interviews as the core variable of commons and hence the grounded theory of “the commons,” which is elaborated in Chapter 5 of this book. Three variables, also expressed as gerunds, emerged that interact to create the process of commoning, namely supplanting a paradigm, self-protagonizing, and resonating self-and-society. My study revealed

Preface    xxiii that commoning is a complex social, political, and psychological process that both creates and motivates the creation and governance of commons, at the same time providing commoners with a sense of self emancipated from the values that the market imposed on contemporary society. Study participants expressed that commoning is a social production process as well as a constellation of subjectivities. They reported that commoning is an ethical and moral process that resonates with society such that society begins to reflect a value system based on communal well-being, social justice, harmony with nature, and sustainability. Commoning, to study participants, builds organizational forms, productive processes, and relationships with self, others, the environment, and society that emanate from the belief that humankind can live in harmony with each other and with nature and that people can fully participate in making the policies and taking the actions that impact their lives. At the time I posed the question regarding whether the commons could lead to a new global order, I was skeptical. A commons frenzy was happening with scholars and activists calling almost everything commons without agreeing on what this apparently powerful and hopeful phenomenon was and whether it had the stamina to resist capitalist aggression and enclosure and emerge as dominant. Further, neoliberal capitalism was still taking over the world as more countries shifted their economic models to extensive privatization. I worked in Eastern Europe during the 1990s and early 2000s and experienced first-hand how the West’s policy of dismantling and privatizing state-owned enterprises wreaked havoc on society, universalized poverty, and bred a pernicious class of oligarchs. I also remained hesitant because of Massimo De Angelis’s (2012b) quote of Gramsci’s cautionary tale. As he wrote: Writing in prison at a time of the consolidation of fascism in Italy, Antonio Gramsci wrote in an often quoted passage: “The old world is dying away, and the new world struggles to come forth: now is the time of monsters.” A monster is an imaginary or legendary creature that combines parts from various animal or human forms. Fascism and Nazism were one type of this monster. Stalinism was another. Today, the articulation between capital, a system that recognizes no limit in its boundless accumulation, and a system that must recognize limits because it is only from within limits that it can reproduce life, love, affects, care, and sustainability, may well give way to another monstrous social construction … or not. Much will depend on us… (p. 300)

Renewed Interest in the Commons and a Path Forward Somewhat dismayed although still involved in a food cooperative and an online commons, I only began to read commons literature again in 2018. I was happy to see that many commons scholars and activists had shifted from trying to agree on a definition of the commons to focusing on commoning as the unifying process

xxiv   Preface crossing all the various domains defined as commons. A more well-demarcated schism had emerged between those who studied commons by employing governance approaches delineated by 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner Elinor Ostrom and those who focused on commoning as a radical way of being and acting within a human and non-human relational world, with the potential to lead to a postcapitalist order. In even more recent writing, I noted that several of the most prolific commons scholars and activists had not only posited a framework for the commons but also had laid out the path for the transformation toward a commons-based world. Employing a complex adaptive systems construct to frame the commons and to explain how the commons will grow to dominance, their approaches have sketched out a path that can be followed to prevent that monster Gramsci cautioned against from dominating the emerging social order (Bauwens, Kostakis, & Pazaitis, 2019; Bollier & Helfrich, 2019; De Angelis, 2017b). I became interested in exploring the implications of following this path and better understanding the changes that would have to take place in human worldviews, consciousness, and value systems and in state and private sector values, structures, and processes in order for a commons-centric society to emerge as dominant. This desire served as the initial impetus to write this book.

Leadership (Or Not) on the Commons I was a bit surprised, however, that a discussion of leadership was noticeably absent from most of the articles and books I read about the commons. Indeed, Bollier and Helfrich (2019) added leadership to their list of banned words that represent the authoritarian structures of the repressive world we are struggling to transform. They proposed “peer governance” instead, words that they recommended should also replace “governance” and “organization.” As they wrote (2019): Leadership is a term that implies a single leader – bold, courageous, insightful – who mobilizes followers to achieve collective goals that might otherwise be unattainable. There is no question that some individuals are inspiring and catalytic. But understanding “leadership” as it happens in most organizational contexts switches on and validates a hierarchical structure in our minds. Leadership is then associated with gaining power over processes and people. It obscures the potential of commoning to actualize change and organize our lives – or, as Miki Kashtan puts it, “to inhabit an intentionality of leadership without having power.” (p. 25) De Angelis (2017a) avoided the word leadership yet alluded to certain individuals who, because of their knowledge or skills or “due to their contingent knowhow” may come to the fore through “shifting authority” for specific activities (p. 228). Bauwens et al. (2019) asserted that leadership “is a function and

Preface    xxv responsibility that can be assumed ad hoc and permissionlessly by those most capable and motivated in a given situation” (p. 18). Frederici (2019) wrote that leadership is distributed and taken up by different people as needs arise. Having studied leadership for many years and knowing that leadership theory had extended far beyond an authoritarian model as evidenced by “the devolution of power from those up top to those below” (Kellerman, 2012, n.p.), I was interested in exploring leading in the commons. Even if commons are complex adaptive systems characterized by emergent change and subject to an evolutionary process by interacting with their environment, the need for agency in commons and for commoners to make decisions regarding adapting to their environment remains – whether fending off enclosure or creating and/or adapting new technologies or linking with specific commons systems or making deals with the government, private sector, or other commons. Hence, I wondered whether leadership remained relevant and if so, how it manifests in the commons. I thought that perhaps a more distributed or inclusive type of leadership might be relevant. Or if not leadership, I wanted to find out how the sparks of new ideas arise and how the commons as a system within which commoners act creates the necessary change without leaders. More so, I was curious to discover whether leading will disappear in future societies. In fact, the etymology of the word “leadership” is modern, appearing only in the 19th Century (Kelly, 2020). “Leader” is older, derived from the old English laedere “one who leads,” the verb being laedan meaning “to guide, bring forth.” A related word in Indo-European Germanic laidjan, means “to travel” or leith, means “to step across a threshold – and to let go of whatever might limit stepping forward” (Senge, Hamilton, & Kania, 2015, para. 4). The Latin word ducere, “to lead, consider, and regard” is the closest word in antiquity to leadership, a word still used today in Romanian, conducere (Kelly, 2020). According to Marxists and autonomists, leadership is a function of the hegemonic capitalist system and if a commons-centric society is post-capitalist, then leadership, like class structures, will disappear or emerge only when necessary (Cawthorn, 2001). Indeed, the search for a universally accepted meaning of leadership has been as challenging and often as elusive as the search for a universally accepted meaning of “the commons.” Leadership is generally considered as the process of motivating or inspiring a group to achieve a common goal. Taking group leadership into account, a more recent definition highlighted leadership “as both individual agency and the process by which many social actors align their efforts to take action on a common social purpose” (Meehan, Reinelt, & Liederman, 2015, p. 3). Further, I wanted to explore what would be our individual responsibility to “lead” (or whatever the new term should be) if we decided to join the commons movement and help to bring about a new society. These questions in addition to the initial impetus to explore further the implications of the systems model of change were the bases for writing this book. To reflect on our individual responsibility to lead becomes all the more important now during the global coronavirus pandemic and the “Black Lives Matter” global protests which are tearing apart so-called “social normalcy” and laying bare the destructiveness of bad leadership, making it inescapable that we as individuals need to take more control of

xxvi   Preface our society and have far more influence on designing the future road to be taken, revolution or not.

Proleptic Leadership My exploration of leadership on the commons led me to the conclusion that leadership is indeed required and that leadership still will be required in the foreseeable future. I conceived of “proleptic leadership” as the most suitable leadership to be practiced on the commons, following on Senge’s definition of leadership as “the capacity of a human community to shape its future” (2015, n.p.). “Prolepsis” is a literary, rhetorical, and theological term, etymologically derived from the Latin prolepsis and the Greek prolepsis, meaning “an anticipating,” a “taking beforehand,” from prolambanein “to take before,” from pro “before.” American Heritage Dictionary defines prolepsis as “the representation of a thing as existing before it actually does.” Prolepsis is “the representation of a future act or development as if presently existing or accomplished” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Prolepticism conveys the “fundamental idea that the future has priority over the past and present, and that we can see some of the future in the prolepsis, where the future invades the present in advance of itself ” (Jantti, 2017, p. 17). Prolepticism “understands reality as defined by the future rather than by the past” (Hofstad, 2019, p. 350). Another definition of prolepsis refers to the anticipatory nature of reality understood ontologically and noetically (Pasquariello, 1976). Theologically, it has been claimed that “the eschatological future reveals itself beforehand in the prolepsis – a foretaste of the future kingdom” (Jantti, 2017, p. 5). In literature, prolepsis is employed to describe or evoke in the present an event that will happen in the future. An example is found in Garcia Marquez’s novel A Hundred Years of Solitude where Marquez begins his story with the future defining event: “Many years later as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice” (Bresco de Luna, 2017, p. 283). Psychologists often describe the manner in which parents raise a child to realize their future vision of their child’s life as proleptic (Bresco de Luna, 2017). A number of scholars and activists claim that commons are prefigurative of a post-capitalist, commons-centric social order. Many scholars have predicted and conceived of the characteristics of that commons-centric order as summarized in Chapter 7. Chapter 5 explains the social and psychological intentions and manifestations of the commoners that create and inhabit prefiguratively the commons-centric order. Developmental psychologists and integral theorists have shown that people traverse a pre-established path of increasing cognitive and sense-making abilities. Consciousness, together with its various facets, also follows a predetermined path of levels of expanding awareness and diminishing ego. Communities, organizations, and societies also reflect these evolving levels of consciousness. Glimpses of the far-off future are hence partially visible and the path leading to that future is at least sketchily laid out. Further, disruptive futures,

Preface    xxvii shattering the status quo, result from new technologies, several of which may be created by commoners, radical visions of social change, or crises which demand a sudden shift in direction. Leading proleptically is allowing that future to pull one forward, to guide one’s path, and to be reflected in leading oneself, leading others, and leading society. This means that proleptic leadership reflects the values and beliefs inherent in the commons. Further, leading proleptically occurs in liminal space, in that threshold between the old and the new, and opens up possibilities for creating a commons-centric society that reflects the values most of us share.

The Book’s Audience The book is primarily aimed at university students and politically and socially aware readers interested in emerging trends in the commons and in leadership and in considering whether the commons constitutes a realistic phenomenon to usher in a new global order and the possibility that the concept of and need for leadership may in fact disappear in a commons-centric society. I have assumed that the reader would not have an extensive knowledge of the commons, but would be interested in engaging in a conversation about this phenomenon and who may want to reflect upon their own interest in, cynicism about, or commitment to and leadership within the commons movement toward a kinder, more generous, and equitable society. For, as Kirwan, Dawney, and Brigstock (2016) wrote: The idea of the commons offers a romance, and through this romance, a way forward, a way to think out of the despondent political narratives of ecological destruction, polarisation and dispossession, and a counter-narrative to that of the inevitable and uncontrollable force of neoliberalism. Above all else, it offers a glimmer of possibility that change can occur incrementally, and that small acts matter. (pp. 3–4)

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Introduction to the Commons

The common day and night – the common earth and waters, Your farm – your work, trade, occupation, The democratic wisdom underneath, like solid ground for all. (Walt Whitman, “The common place” Leaves of Grass) Commons have existed since antiquity and many ancient practices of communal management of resources have extended even to the present. New commons are emerging in contemporary society almost on a daily basis.* The village of Torbel in the Swiss Alps established an association to communally manage the village’s grazing land and forests in the 15th Century, an association which continues to function today. The communal Spanish huerta system of irrigation has lasted for over a thousand years. The iconic Boston Common initially served as a common grazing ground for cattle and now serves as a symbol of the community. The Bisse de Saviesse in the canton of Valais, Switzerland, managed since the first half of the 20th Century, is a communal irrigation system in the Swiss mountains that collects melting water directly from glaciers and takes it into villages and the farms in the valley down below. For many decades, lobster fishermen in Maine have communally managed their businesses to ensure the sustainability of the lobster catch. The Great Lakes Commons, a cross-border community, works to save the water in the Great Lakes. The hackerspace, FabLab, and Maker movements are pioneering spaces to develop collaborative innovations in software, customized fabrication, and open hardware design and manufacturing. Examples include the Embassy of the Commons in Poland, the Hack of Good Initiative in Spain, Fabulous St. Pauli in Germany, and Move Commons, a tagging system for commons-based Internet projects (Helfrich, 2013). Software such as the Linux open-source operating system has created a global commons of users who access Linux for free. Peer-to-peer and open-source production of houses, automobiles, 3D printers, and many other products have created global commons of individuals anxious to work together, share, and take control of more aspects of their own lives outside of the market. Openly sourced and distributed knowledge such as through Wikipedia and available as through Creative Commons licenses and open-sourced media products through *

See Bollier & Helfrich, 2015, 2019 for discussions by and about a variety of commons. See Bollier & Helfrich, 2015 for a list of movies and presentations about the commons.

xxx    Introduction to the Commons Wikimedia have allowed the free sharing of information, photos, music, and other creations that used to cost to access. Wikispeed has created a milieu for open-access automobile manufacturing. Other commons such as community gardens, time banks, coops, community-run innovation centers, solidarity networks, and so on, are expanding throughout the world. Commons are increasingly using alternative currencies to establish themselves as separate from mainstream financial systems and capitalist logics. Despite the apparent existence of the commons for eons, defining exactly what the commons is and what makes it so special and potentially powerful as a transformational agent has been debated since the revival of its study in response to Garrett Hardin’s now classic article “Tragedy of the Commons” (Hardin, 1968).

Contemporary Study of the Commons The contemporary study of the commons, since Garrett Hardin’s article and the elegant and far-reaching rebuttal by Nobel Prize winner Eleanor Ostrom (1990, 2005a, 2005b, 2009), has traversed an evolution that has expanded the notion of the commons from common pool natural resources to the New Commons that includes seven different categories of commons, such as knowledge, the Internet, urban spaces, culture, genes, among others (Hess, 2000, 2008, 2013). The dialogue has evolved from focusing on common property to mixed property regimes (Turner, 2017) and to resources not considered property at all. Debate still ensues regarding whether the commons are generated by and required for capitalism (Caffentzis, 2004, 2010; De Angelis, 2012b) or whether the commons are inherently anti-capitalist and have the potential to catalyze a post-capitalist society (Bollier & Helfrich, 2012, 2015, 2019; De Angelis, 2002, 2010, 2017a, 2017b; Hardt, 2013, 2014; Hardt & Negri, 2009, 2012; Helfrich, 2010, 2013). Disagreement still exists regarding whether commons are necessary because the state has withdrawn support to social benefits and imposed “austerity” and hence spawned community-led social venture creation (Haugh, 2007); and, because the state, along with the private sector, have failed to effectively manage resources and the environment, thus threatening our very survival, or because commons resuscitates the human need for community and collaboration and our identity as homo cooperantus instead of homo economicus. Whether commons are merely interstitial organizations (Ryan, 2013) interspersed between the state and private sector or a third civil society sector, whether they are organizations beyond this duopoly, or whether they are not organizations at all remains an open question; as does the question of whether the commons is a “faint echo of the moral economy of the world we have lost” (Amin and Howell, 2016, p. 2), or whether the commons harkens a new morality that can finally realize the ideals that we embrace in our shared values of the common good (Mele, 2009, p. 236) remain unresolved. These questions have marked the contemporary history of the commons since Hardin’s article and this period can be conceived of as a time of seeking to define the commons, capture its unique qualities and interrogate it in order to determine its significance, where it should be placed in terms of the broad sweep of socio-economic evolution, and whether it is the catalyst of a post-capitalist

Introduction to the Commons    xxxi society. In his historic article “The Tragedy of the Commons” (1968), Hardin employed commons to refer to land to which the population had open access without any sense of ownership or responsibility or community. Hardin argued that people would be “forced” to overuse and degrade the land because of their desire to maximize their gain and minimize their responsibility, making it necessary for either the state or the private sector to manage the land by some form of “coercion.” Nobel Prize-winning economist Elinor Ostrom countered Hardin’s argument by describing commons as common pool resources (CPRs) and proposing design principles and forms of governance that would prove that CPRs could be managed by groups of people rather than the private sector or state without degrading the environment. At the same time, the environmental movement peaked interest in the commons as natural resources and encouraged people to take responsibility for managing these resources. It became increasingly clear that neither the state nor the private sector were caring for the resources, but in fact, exploiting them for profit and leading the world to possible destruction. Climate change emerged as a major challenge and stimulated local groups to take action to lobby for remediation actions to a reticent government. The 1990s expansion of the Internet and the recognition of knowledge and information as a human creation belonging to all, spurred the identification of the knowledge and digital commons. Commons during this time were still referred to largely as a noun, although increasing emphasis was placed on the type of community and governance structures, processes, and values that distinguished commons from the state and private sector, as well as the foundational process of the commons, namely commoning. Protests against the privatization of common resources for profit and increasing social inequalities caused by neoliberalism escalated during the 1990s and 2000s and these movements became intimately associated with the commons. These included the anti-globalization movement and protests against the trade, privatization, and restructuring policies of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank. Beginning in 1994, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in Mexico started protesting against neoliberalism and the North American Free Trade Agreement which had a devastating impact on their livelihood. They took over a large portion of land in Chiapas, Mexico, and through protests that lasted well into the 2000s, obtained the status of an autonomist region. The Bolivian water wars in Cochabamba in 1999–2000 against the privatization of water succeeded in forcing the government to break their contract with a multinational water corporation. Dardot and Laval (2019) argued that the 1990s was the decade during which many scholars and activists recognized that the commons was not a shared resource per se, but rather a political principle that had the potential to shift the socio-economic system from capitalism to a commons-centric society. Autonomists, in particular, linked social movements with the commons as partners in the struggle against the stronghold of the neoliberal paradigm. Callahan (2019) claimed that a new social paradigm of conviviality and the collective subject was emerging aimed at regenerating community. The commons became identified as a

xxxii    Introduction to the Commons way of living in egalitarian communities with values that contrasted sharply with those proffered by the market society and which offered the opportunity for a far more life-enhancing way of living. At the same time, legal scholars recognized that neoliberalism promoted increasingly restrictive copyright laws that resulted in the “enclosure” of knowledge which, these scholars argued, risked the advance of science and human creativity by locking away knowledge that had the potential to expand our understanding and efforts to improve the world. Other scholars highlighted other human characteristics and creations that were being enclosed for profit such as genes, language, and culture, among many others. Hess (2008) categorized all these emerging “commons” into seven categories and coined the term “the new commons,” still employing commons generally as a noun. She identified commons as those resources which caused a “social dilemma” and raised the question whether they would better be managed by the state, the private sector, or by the people in order to maximize benefits to the group of users. The Great Recession of 2008 catalyzed a number of social movements against the corruption of Wall Street, neoliberalism, the lack of true democracy, and the austerity measures imposed by IMF, the World and European Banks, and the European Council. The Occupy Wall Street, Indignados in Spain, the antiausterity movement in Greece, movements against genetically modified foods and sterile and expensive genetically modified seeds, as well as movements against corrupt governments and companies around the world were organized like commons and further shifted the discussion of the commons to the unique practice of commoning and its power to change society. Further, mainstream commons scholars and activists began to define a commons movement during this period (Tomasevic, Horvat, Midzic, Dragsic, & Dakic 2018). The German Henrich Boll Stiftung helped move the discussion of the commons forward and co-organized a conference in 2010 with the Commons Strategies Group entitled “Constructing a Commons-based Policy.” Critical scholars joined the discussion along with more traditional institutionalists who followed the tradition of Ostrom (Tomasevic et al., 2018). Scholars and activists attempted to carve a generally accepted meaning of the commons without great success. A plethora of definitions emerged during the 2000s. Hess argued (2008) that these definitions shared two characteristics, namely, that the commons referred to a shared heritage of all global citizens and that the commons and commoners held “a commitment to future generations, to communities beyond our local sphere, to working for both the local and the global common good” (Hess, 2008, p. 34). Uzelman (2008) contended that the various uses of the term commons were separated by differing and even conflicting underlying paradigms and consequent applications. Confusion arose as to whether the commons was a resource, a social space, a movement, a community, an approach to governance, all of these, or something else. Too numerous to list all, some of the definitions of commons that were posited during this time included the following, most of which were quoted by Hess (2008).

Introduction to the Commons    xxxiii

Commons as a Place or Resource1 The commons is “the public cultural terrain where we dream, create, and pass it on.” (Quinn, Hotchritt, & Ploof, 2012, p. 5) The commons: There’s a part of our world, here and now, that we all get to enjoy without the permission of any (Lessig, 1999). Commons is a resource shared by a group where the resource is vulnerable to enclosure, overuse, and social dilemmas. Unlike a public good, it requires management and protection in order to sustain it (Hess, 2008). The commons is more basic than both government and market. It is the vast realm that is the shared heritage of all of us that we typically use without toll or price. The atmosphere and oceans, languages and cultures, the stores of human knowledge and wisdom, the informal support systems of community, the peace and quiet that we crave, the genetic building blocks of life – these are all aspects of the commons (Rowe, 2001). The commons was where people could share common stories, common experiences, common aspirations, and common problems. In earlier American history, it also served as a “the learning center of that day” for civic practices and values (Friedland & Boyte, 2000).

Commons as a Resource and a Community Governing in a Particular Way The discourse of the commons is at once descriptive, constitutive, and expressive. It is descriptive because it identifies models of community governance that would otherwise go unexamined. It is constitutive because, by giving us a new language, it helps us to build new communities based on principles of the commons. And it is expressive because


The term “resource” in terms of commons is troubling, especially when considering the liberating potential of the commons. It is a human-centric, value-laden word that identifies nature and human creations as providing something that can be used by humans, generally to prosper humans economically. Resource is an economic term that feeds into economic model, generally based on homo economicus, the self-maximizing individual. A better term might be “nature’s bounty,” “human creations,” “commonwealth.” “Common goods” is sometimes used, but again, this implies a value judgment and does not refer to the “raw thing.”

xxxiv    Introduction to the Commons the language of the commons is a way for people to assert a personal connection to a set of resources and a social solidarity with each other (Bollier, 2001, p. 29). The language of the commons provides a coherent alternative model for bringing economic, social, and ethical concerns into greater alignment. It is able to talk about the inalienability of certain resources and the value of protecting community interests. The commons fills a theoretical void by explaining how significant value can be created and sustained outside the market system (Bollier, 2007, p. 29).

Commons as Social Relationships People must exhibit mutual trust, habits and skills of collaboration, and public spirit in order to sustain such a common resource against the tendency of individuals to abuse it (Levine, 2001, p. 206). A social regime for managing shared resources and forging a community of shared values and purpose. Unlike markets, which rely upon price as the sole dimension of value, a commons is organized around a richer blend of human needs – for identity, community, fame, and honor – which are indivisible and inalienable, as well as more “tangible” rewards (Clippinger & Bollier, 2005). Commons can even be thought of as the social bonds shared by a community and can include the need for trust, cooperation, and human relationships. These are the very foundation of what makes a “community” rather than merely a group of individuals living in close proximity to each other (Arvanitakis, 2006). The commons is not “a particular kind of thing” but an unstable and malleable social relation between a particular self-defined social group and those aspects of its actually existing or yet-to-becreated social and/or physical environment deemed crucial to its life and livelihood. (Harvey, 2012)

Commons as a Resource, A Community, and an Emancipatory Way of Operating De Angelis (2010, 2017b) posited a tri-partite definition of the commons which includes common goods, or commonwealth, the natural, human, or intellectual resources shared, the community that creates and/or governs these resources, and the process of common-ing, that is the institutionalized process of coming together to pool and govern resources.

Introduction to the Commons    xxxv Bollier’s (2014) definition of the commons has been widely accepted by a number of scholars and activists as encompassing the unique elements of the commons. As he contended: Commons certainly include physical and intangible resources of all sorts, but they are more accurately defined as paradigms that combine a distinct community with a set of social practices, values and norms that are used to manage a resource. Put another way, a commons is a resource + a community + a set of social protocols. The three are an integrated, interdependent whole. Mattei (2014) claimed that “the commons radically oppose both the State and private property as shaped by market forces, and are powerful sources of emancipation and social justice” (p. 37). Saidel (2018) defined commons not by a good in itself, but by the system of reciprocal rights and obligations between participants and their capacity of enforcement … it is collective action that defines the commons, the rights attached to it, and their forms of management and conservation. (p. 69) Cangelosi (2019) obtained information from Remix the Commons regarding individuals connected to the commons in 35 countries and conducted an extensive survey of how respondents in 18 of those countries2 defined the commons. She organized responses into four categories: (1) resilience/resistance; (2) reciprocity; (3) human rights; and (4) democracy. The first category included such answers as the sovereignty over community resources and livelihood, political validity, alternative to market relationship, desire for a fair society, and a change in the social imaginary. Reciprocity included sharing, community relations and management, co-creation, and network perspective and collaborative process. Human rights and socio-economic justice were common themes that ran through various definitions that respondents proposed, in addition to the more commonly asserted environmental justice (Cangelosi, 2019). Respondents emphasized human rights of future generations and of marginalized groups such as women, the indigenous, and the poor, along with resistance and social change. Respondents also viewed better democratic models based on community as essential aspects of commons. Cangelosi (2019) concluded that human rights claims, resistance, and social change were core issues that emerged from the respondents. Interesting is the fact that respondents did not provide static answers about what the commons are as a “thing,” but rather provided definitions regarding the power of the commons to act, to resist, and to create.


Countries included Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Greece, Spain, Poland, Germany, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Peru, Brazil, Columbia, India, Senegal, the United States, and Australia.

xxxvi    Introduction to the Commons Peter Linebaugh (2019) aptly summarized the complexity of the commons from his perspective: The commons is an omnibus term carrying a lot of freight and covering a lot of territory. The commons refers to both an idea and to a practice. As a general idea the commons means equality of economic conditions. As a particular practice the commons refers to forms of both collective labor and communal distribution. The terms suggests alternatives to patriarchy, to private property, to capitalism, and to competition. (p. 4) As is apparent, definitions were reaching beyond commons as a “thing” to commons as relationships, values, and dreams. The commons increasingly became a space of hope and escape from the stranglehold of neoliberalism and its mushrooming injustices. Inherent in several of the above definitions lies a distinctive value system that sets commons apart from the state or the private sector. The values of mutual care and obligation, self-governance, cooperation, and autonomy are some of the values that thread through the commons discourse. Governance processes in commons defined the type of goods they governed as “common goods,” as opposed to private goods managed by the private sector and public goods managed by the state. Common goods are, by definition, co-governed by their user communities that establish their own rules and norms (Bollier, 2014, Papadimitropoulos, 2018). They are categorized into the material, such as natural resources and the immaterial such as knowledge, culture, digital informational resources, etc. However, some commons such as urban commons, digital commons, or opensource commons did not fit neatly into the commons definitions nor categories proposed, because often there were no definable communities who made rules but rather ever-changing networks. They were not limited-access commons, but rather open-access commons and either semi-regulated or unregulated.

Commoning as the Critical Creative Force of the Commons The inability of commons scholars and activists to agree on the definition of the commons, led scholars such as Amin and Howell (2016) to emphasize the importance of commoning rather than focusing on the commons as a noun. As they contended, the commons remain central to the material struggles and imaginaries of collective well-being, now and into the near future… If we think of the commons as a practice or process, the future looks less dismal, as is also increasingly recognized. (Amin & Howell, 2016, p. 2) Commoning is the process of creating and sustaining commons and is the process that differentiates commons from the private sector and the state. Commoning, thus, is based on a different set of values than those of either the private

Introduction to the Commons    xxxvii sector or state, as will be explored in depth in Chapter 5, and it is these values, above all that are the source of transforming society. Many other commons scholars and activists also refocused their study on the process of commoning as revelatory of the unique contribution of this phenomenon (Bollier & Helfrich, 2015, 2019; De Angelis, 2017b; Euler, 2018; Ferreri, 2017; Fournier, 2013; Linebaugh, 2009, 2014; Por, 2012b; Ryan, 2013; Singh, 2017; Stavrides, 2016; Turner, 2017; Weber, 2015; Zhang & Barr, 2018). Although studying the governance of the commons through Ostrom’s Institutional Analysis remained important, the focus on governance structures and organizational forms needed to be subsumed under the study of the processes of commoning, according to many of these commons scholar and activists. It is these constitutive social and relational processes that commoning builds (Ferrari, 2017), which create governance and organizational forms and that also possess the mystery of what happens when a community decides to join together to realize a common purpose. Many commons scholars and activists conceptualized commons as the tangible or intangible social form of matter that is determined by commoning, a way of being and becoming comprised of certain social practices (Euler, 2018). To Dardot and Laval (2019), commoning, which they call “the common,” is a political principle that applies “the reason of the common” to society through eight principles which will be discussed in Chapter 7 of this volume. As Dardot and Laval (2019) contended, the common (singular) is a political principle through which we are able to build the commons, maintain the commons, and sustain the commons. It is, as such, a political principle that defines a new system of struggles on a global scale… The common is about coming together and creating, equally and collectively, a new world from the old. (p. 44) As Indian physicist and activist Vandana Shiva wrote (2020): Whilst, initially, the commons were seen merely as resources or things that needed to be managed and protected, they are now widely being embraced as a relational politics, embedded in fluidity and our mutual vulnerability. From being viewed as a “mere technical management of resources (in space)” they are now seen as part of the “struggle to perform common livable relations (in time).” (p. 253) Bollier (2007) asserted that the commons is an active, living process. It is less a noun than a verb because it is primarily about the social act of commoning – acts of mutual support, conflict, negotiation, communication, and experimentation that are needed to create systems to manage shared resources. This process blends production (selfprovisioning), governance, culture and personal interests in one system. (n.p.)

xxxviii    Introduction to the Commons Whereas the focus on commoning greatly helped to distinguish commons from the market and the state, it fell short by not constructing a framework within which the commons could create a new commons-centric social order. Part of the problem of defining the commons stemmed from antedated analytical frameworks. As Bresnihan (2016) pointed out: While the “commons” has received much attention in recent years from academics, activists, and policy makers, it is far from clear what it consists of or how we are supposed to identify and describe it when the intellectual and analytic tools available are so insufficient – unsurprising when they are largely inherited from an epistemology and aesthetic tradition that is literally unable to see these worlds. As Rowe (2001) rightly points out, ‘[before] we can reclaim the commons, we have to remember how to see it. (p. 96) More recently, Bollier and Helfrich (2019) and De Angelis (2017a, 2017b) viewed the commons through a new lens, a new analytical framework based on an interconnected and relational universe. As Bollier and Helfrich (2019) wrote, commons are a pervasive, generative, and neglected social lifeform. They are complex, adaptive, living processes that generate wealth (both tangible and intangible) through which people address their shared needs with minimal or no reliance on markets or states. (n.p.) To talk about the commons, Bollier and Helfrich (2019) emphasized, is “to talk about freedom-in-connectedness – as social space in which we can rediscover and remake ourselves as whole human beings and enjoy some serious measure of self-determination” (n.p.). With this perspective, they presented a path upon which the commons can catalyze a socio-economic transformation.

Schism of Commons Scholars and Activists As the commons movement grew, a schism among commons scholars and activists manifested. Many common scholars, including the majority who are members of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) generally employ Bollier’s above-summarized 2014 definition of the commons and focus on studying social dilemmas, collective action, and commons governance arrangements from an institutionalist perspective. These scholars generally employ Ostrom’s Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) and Social-Ecological Systems (SES) Frameworks and the Institutions of Sustainability Framework (IOS), which includes human–nature interactions and interdependence between actors (Hagedorn, Grundmann, & Thiel, 2019). These scholars largely conceive of commons as CPRs, goods whose characteristics make it costly to exclude people from obtaining benefits from them.

Introduction to the Commons    xxxix Most members of this commons school conceive of the commons as a viable third sector that can co-exist with the state and the private sector, rather than a radical transformational phenomenon. Nonetheless, some scholars and activists in this school protest against neoliberal enclosure. Some, especially from Latin America, promote seed cooperatives which share natural and reproducible seeds to protect farmers against the sterile genetically modified seeds of companies such as Monsanto, which are copyrighted, expensive, and require chemicals to produce. Others promote open-access knowledge as a protest against copyright and enclosure. Further, indigenous wisdom, justice, and community values are increasingly important among this group of commoners, as indigenous groups seek to protect their ancestral lands and commoners turn to them to better understand how to live in common. On the other hand, more radical commons scholars and activists, including many autonomists, conceive of commons as a radical transformational force that could lead the transition to a post-capitalist commons-centric society, although they differ in their conceptions of how this transition will occur and whether it will be evolutionary or revolutionary. Practices of everyday commoning (Bresnihan & Byrne, 2014) create forms of egalitarian sociality that may be “anti (against), despite (in) and post (beyond) capitalist” (Chatterton et al., 2013). Papadimitropoulos (2017a, 2017b) categorized the various camps of commons scholars and activists as: (1) liberal, (2) reformist, and (3) anti-capitalist. The liberal advocates favor the coexistence of the commons with the state and market and include most of the members of the IASC as well as scholars who comprise commons studies, and most of the scholars and practitioners who employ Ostrom’s IAD and SES Frameworks. Reformists contend that commons can replace capitalism from within by a progressive process of building more commons and federations of commons. Anti-capitalists argue that commons can ultimately overturn capitalism but do not offer a transition plan. Papadimitropoulos (2017a, 2017b) argued that the reformist scholars and activists show the most promise because only they understand the overarching change in production occurring in society as the result of technology which will make large-scale production obsolete and more commons-oriented. The majority of the approaches discussed in this book posited the reformist approach.

Framework for the Transition In order to build a framework for the commons to serve as a force of social transformation, several scholars and scholar-practitioners who belong to the reformist and anti-capitalist category described above have developed the notion that commons are complex adaptive social systems (Bauwens, Kostakis, & Pazaitis, 2019; Bollier & Helfrich, 2019; De Angelis, 2017b). According to these authors, transition to a commons-centric society will occur as the commons join together in a federalist structure, expand to a tipping point, and eventually become the dominant form of production with their values permeating the social imaginary of society. The authors propose differing relationships of the commons to the state and private sector but agree that capitalism will be transformed into a commons-centric society.

xl    Introduction to the Commons It is this systems view of the commons that will be interrogated in the chapters that follow in order to determine whether it holds the promise of the transition and whether leadership has a role in the emerging commons-centric society. These authors view the social transformation from a commons-level system perspective. I argue that this systems perspective is insufficient to explain the complexity of the transformation. Rather, this perspective needs to be expanded to include the individual, community, societal, and universal levels. In order to incorporate all these levels, I employ a human action perspective. Human action theory includes the importance of the micro (individual), meso (community), macro (societel), and meta (universal) levels as intimately involved and co-evolving in social transformation. Hence, by employing a human action perspective, the commons-level systems perspective can be placed in the context of overall socio-economic transformation. This perspective also includes the necessary transformations that individuals would have to traverse in terms of their values and beliefs and actions in order to support a commons-centric society. It also allows for the context within which proleptic leadership is practiced. Thus, the work of several authors who have written at the higher and lower levels will be summarized in order to better understand the complexity of the proposed transformation and to question whether federalizing commons is all that is necessary to catalyze the dominance of the commons.

Organization and Leadership Theories During the decades in which scholars and activists were exploring and defining the commons, both organization and leadership theories were undergoing changes in response to the information age. Beginning with theories of bureaucracy and scientific management from Max Weber and Charles Taylor during the 19th-Century industrial revolution, organization theory in the 20th Century began to grapple with systems theory and several other paradigms which depicted organizations in more vibrant and living terms than the mechanical models of the early industrial revolution. These more recent organization theories posited horizontal and flexible structures and processes appropriate to the era where organizations needed to be agile and conducive to rapid and creative knowledge generation. Margaret Wheatley’s now-classic Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World (2006), first published in 1992, applied quantum physics, a self-organizing system model, and chaos theory to depict organizations as living systems thriving by the creative free-flow of information in a relational universe and characterized by emergent change. Morgan’s Organization Images (2006), originally published in 1986 laid out the various metaphors through which scholars and practitioners viewed organizations, including machine, organism, brain, culture, political, psychic prison, flux and transformation, and domination. The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (Senge, 2010) revolutionized the field by tracing the mind of evolutionary organizations through five key practices, including (1) personal mastery; (2) awareness of our biases and mental models; (3) shared understanding of the vision; (4) team learning; and (5) and systems thinking.

Introduction to the Commons    xli Laloux harkened the emergence of an organization with a higher level of consciousness that mirrored the emergence of an integral consciousness in Reinventing Organizations (2014). Leadership theory also underwent rapid change during this period. From the “great man” theory of leadership, theory moved to trait, skills, behavioral, and situational approaches, path–goal and leader–member exchange, transformational, authentic, adaptive leadership theories, followership, and team leadership (Northouse, 2018). Also explored were system, collaborative, participative, distributive, servant, ethical, leadership approaches among many others, progressively flattening the relationship between leader and follower. Leadership scholars turned to the East and to Buddhism and Hinduism to seek guidance on the ideal inner world of the leader through “U Theory” (Senge, Scharmer, Jaworski, & Flowers, 2004). Jaworski (2011, 2012) emphasized the creation of collective intelligence by awareness enhancing practices such as meditation. With the rise of globalization, global leadership emerged, requiring leaders to have a broad systems view and make decisions across borders for the benefit of their multinational corporations. The proliferation of relational leadership theories in which leaders and followers were both essential marked the end, at least in theory, of the great man, authoritarian leaders. As Kellerman (2012) wrote: We know that the old order is over because people in positions of power and authority seem similar to, as opposed to far more imposing than, those who are not; because they are routinely derided, ignored, or circumvented by those who are not; and because they find it increasingly difficult to exercise either the one (power) or the other (authority). (n.p.) Global reality does not reflect this finale, although as Kellerman pointed out (2012), people all around the world feel more entitled to express their political perspectives. The online world has made this all the more possible.

Structure of the Book In order to explore the possibility or not of a transition to a commons-centric society and the role of leadership in the commons in contemporary society as well as in a commons-centric society, I first take stock of the history of the commons and its evolution to the current time. Although this has been done by many other authors, examining this evolution and the contentions within it will help illuminate the way forward. The driving force of commoning is examined in more depth to ascertain the vision and values that the commons-centric society may have. How the transition to a commons-centric society will occur is discussed through theories of social change and then through the complex adaptive system approach proposed by key commons scholars and activists. Challenges to such a transition are then elaborated. Leadership is then explored to determine how it is practiced on the commons, if at all, whether it plays an important role in the

xlii    Introduction to the Commons transition, and whether the concept as we know it will wither and fade away in a commons-centric society. I take the position that leadership is necessary and will continue to be so and posit Proleptic Leadership. Finally, I consider whether commons is simply a utopian idea in this time of the seeming collapse of many socio-economic systems or whether it has the potential to usher in a new global order, and if so, how we can join in the movement. Part I provides a “Brief History of the Commons from Antiquity to Today.” Part II explores “Commoning and the Transition to a Commons-Centric Society.” Part III investigates “Leading (or Not) on the Commons.” Finally, the conclusion summarizes the book and proposes a way forward for “leaders” who are or would like to be involved in the commons movement, and perspectives regarding the possibility or not that the commons indeed provides the vehicle to transform the socio-economic and political system.

Part I

A Brief History of the Commons from Antiquity to Today

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Chapter 1

Evolution of the Idea of the Commons and the First Enclosure Movement The concept of the ‘commons’ is related to the dream, the gothic, the surreal, the hidden, and the mythic. (Linebaugh, 2019, p. 87) Extending back into antiquity, the phenomenon of the commons has undergone tremendous conceptual reframing in recent years. From commons-based laws in ancient Egypt and Rome to common land during feudal times to natural resources, knowledge, culture, Internet, and other commons in contemporary times, the phenomenon of commons has been infused with significant meaning and power to change society. A starting point to think about the meaning of the commons is to consider them as social systems comprised of self-organized communities of commoners who create and/or use and/or protect and/or share natural, human-made, or abstract commonwealth governed and sustained by the practice of commoning which infuses the community with distinctive values, processes, and actions that differ from those of the state and private sector. Commoners generally also share the belief that the private sector does not have the right to take and “enclose” such commonwealth to make it profit-­generating, nor does the state have the right to manage it and determine its access and use, especially within a culture of privatization. Rather, commoners believe that the shared commonwealth belongs to everyone by virtue of it being provided by nature or as a manifestation of general human creativity. The term commons has a wide range of meanings and uses in English (Williams, 1983). Its Latin root word, communis is derived from com, meaning “together” and munis, meaning “under obligation” and from com, meaning “and” and unis, meaning “one.” French political activist Alain Lipietz traced the word commun back to the Norman, William the Conquerer. Commun, according to Lipietz, derives from munis, which means “gift” and “duty,” a dualism that describes the two sides of the concept in its contemporary usage (Bollier, 2014). As Dardot and Laval (2019) explained: What we find in the term’s etymological meaning is thus the Janusface of the debt and the gift, of obligation and recognition. The term is thus bound up with the fundamental social fact known

Proleptic Leadership on the Commons: Ushering in a New Global Order, 3–14 Copyright © 2020 by Emerald Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved doi:10.1108/978-1-83867-799-220201003

4    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons as symbolic exchange, which – at least since the work of Marcel Mauss – ethnological and sociological literature has documented in almost every form of human society. (n.p.) Dardot and Laval (2019) also argued that munis does not refer only to the formal requirement for reciprocity but that this duty is collective and often political. The term “commons” has often been inextricably related to the term community, referring to a group or to all humankind, a place where the public meets, or to a shared resource. Also derived from the Latin root communis, the related term community generally refers to a group having direct, even intimate relationships in contrast to terms such as society or state, where relationships are organized and instrumental (Williams, 1983).

Historical Sketch of the Commons The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying, this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society … beware of listening to this imposter; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all and the earth itself to nobody. (Jean-Jacques Rousseau) The idea of the commons as a public space and as a shared resource accessible by the community has existed since antiquity. Hunting-and-gathering societies had open access to animals and plants on lands belonging to the community. Ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire had common-based laws. In 535 ad, Emperor Justinian recognized the commons in law as he included res communes in his Institutes of Justinian body of law (Bollier, 2014). As Bollier pointed out, the Emperor declared that by the law of nature these things are common to mankind – the air, running water, the seas and consequently the shores of the sea … Also all rivers and ports are public so that the right of fishing in a port and in rivers is common to all. And by the law of nations the use of the shore is also public, and in the same manner, the sea itself. The right of fishing in the sea from the shore belongs to all men. (p. 10) “The public trust doctrine” is a legacy of Justinian’s law. In the United States, this doctrine dictates that the state has the duty to protect natural resources and that it cannot sell or give away land, water, or wildlife to any private party (Bollier, 2014; Rose, 1986). Res communes differs from res publicus. The former refers to things common to all and incapable of private appropriation and existing beyond the power of the state, whereas the latter refers to that which belongs to or is administered by the state. Wall (2014) pointed out that the commons historically had cultural and social connotations beyond their economic value. Commons often held mythical or

Evolution of the Idea of the Commons and the First Enclosure Movement    5 religious meanings and were celebrated by intimate relations with the people who depended upon them. As Wall (2014) wrote, regarding one such example, “indigenous people in Australian who sing to the land or Mongolian herders who believe that dragons own the soil provide beautiful examples of commoning beyond costbenefit analysis and class struggle” (p. 107).

The Commons in Feudal Europe Commoning was a particular way of weaving the threads of daily life, the how of things with the why to give meaning and a sense of what’s real and relevant, and it lasted for centuries, with the blessing of church and state including the Tudor kings and the early Stuarts. (Heather Menzies, 2014) Drafted in 1215, the Magna Carta and its companion Charter of the Forest, initially issued in 1217, established legal principles that greatly impacted Western law. The Charter granted access of commoners to the royal forest resources (Bollier, 2014; Linebaugh, 2009). At the time, the forests were the most important source of fuel and pasture and also an important source of meat. Hence, they were critical for the subsistence of the commoners. Interestingly, the Magna Carta marked the end of the absolute authority and arbitrary exercise of the will of the king. The Magna Carta marked a turning point in the history of leadership and followership in that the king was forced to listen to the council of his noblemen (Kellerman, 2012). In Europe, during the feudal system, open-access agriculture was accepted practice. Although the land and forests were owned by nobles, peasant tenants enjoyed the use of their land and forests according to the notion of usufruct, a concept derived from Roman law that afforded individuals the use of other’s property, as long as they did not destroy it (Wall, 2014). Common land was provided to peasants for estover, a concept that means “it is necessary,” derived from the Latin phrase est opus (Wall, 2014). The Law of the Commons and Commoners of 1720 explained that estover was necessary for tenants to have access to land and forests for their sustenance, and to generate money to pay rent and provide services (Wall, 2014). Rifkin (2014) explained that the notion of property during feudal times was quite different from that in contemporary times. Creation was considered to belong to God who had ultimate decision-making authority within a Great Chain Being, a “rigidly constructed hierarchy of responsibilities that ascended upward from the lowest creatures to the angels in heaven” (Rifkin, 2014, p. 30). Rifkin (2014) recounted that within this theological framework, property was conceptualized as a series of trusts administered pyramidally from the celestial throne down to the peasants working the communal fields. In this schema, property was never exclusively owned, but rather divvied up into spheres of responsibility conforming to a fixed code of

6    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons proprietary obligations. For example, when the king granted land to a lord or vassal, his rights over the land remained, except for the particular interest he had parted with. (p. 30) Peasants grazed their animals and raised their crops and foraged their pigs on common lands and in common forests. Pannage referred to the peasants’ right to forage their pigs for beech mast and acorns. The right to dig peat or turf for fuel was called turbary whereas the right to catch fish was called piscary. Peasants could also take bracken to provide animal bedding and sand, gravel, and stone for building or paths (Wall, 2014). The village or town controlled and divided into strips the common fields comprised of arable land and pasture that peasant families cultivated. The village or town designated and managed the strips to equalize the distribution of rich soils and to reduce risks. Fields would be opened to allow the grazing of livestock after the harvest or during fallow periods. The community of users regulated the common fields to ensure that rules were followed and to discipline violators. Manorial courts served as the regulators of the commons during the medieval period. Wastelands and forests were also subject to common use for firewood, building materials, fuel, meat, and pasture, and were likewise regulated (Bollier, 2014; Linebaugh, 2009; Uzelman, 2008). During this period, the commons did not merely refer to the land, forests, or wasteland, but also the relationship of individuals to these resources and to each other. This relationship was an economic, political, and social relationship and was enacted in a constellation of subjective values typically captured by the title of commoner. Peasants possessed a “common right” to possess the land without owning it (Linebaugh, 2009; Neeson, 1993), a right conferred by law and custom. This right was granted not to everyone for every resource, but only to a defined community based on negotiation and agreement. Rifkin (2014) wrote that the commons became the first primitive exercise in democratic decision making in Europe. Peasant councils were responsible for overseeing economic activity, including planting and harvesting, crop rotation, the use of forest and water resources, and the number of animals that could graze on the common pastures. (p. 30) However, beginning in the 15th Century and continuing to the 19th Century, the landed gentry began a process of enclosure that dramatically altered the system of agriculture. Lands, forests, and wastelands previously considered common were fenced off, preventing peasants from growing their crops, grazing their livestock, and hunting for food and medicinal plants. Enclosure became and continues to be a key concept to which contemporary scholars, activists, and commoners refer. Enclosure of land was also accompanied by the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536, which privatized their land and made land a commodity in England (Linebaugh, 2009).

Evolution of the Idea of the Commons and the First Enclosure Movement    7

The Enclosure Movement in England They hang the man and flog the woman That steal the goose from off the common But let the greater villain loose That steals the common from the goose. The Law demands that we atone When we take things we do not own But leaves the lords and ladies fine Who take things that are yours and mine. The poor and wretched dont escape If they conspire the law to break; This must be so but they endure Those who conspire to make the law. The law locks up the man or woman Who steals the goose from off the common And geese will still a common lack Till they go and steal it back. (English folk poem, circa 1764) Marking the transition from feudalism to capitalism and the birth of modernity, the concept of enclosure is generally traced back to the fencing of land in England that occurred from the 1400s through the 1800s. Prior to enclosure, peasants employed open-field farming. Farmers collectively owned rights to large portions of land on which they grew crops and grazed livestock. Open-field farming was appropriate for subsistence farming, but with the advent of capitalism and eventually the industrial revolution, agriculture became a profitable industry capable of generating excess capital on larger, commercially oriented, and commodified plots of land. Land, the capitalist farmers argued, had to be enclosed to be productive and profitable. Enclosure took several forms. During the population decline caused by the Black Death between 1450 and 1550, landlords further depopulated areas by turning arable land to pasture for sheep whose wool was used to make wool clothing for export. The burgeoning textile industry meant increased market prices for wool, motivating landlords to increase their grazing lands. Urban populations grew and increased food production was required in order to feed them. This caused inflation which put “hardships on feudal landlords whose land rents were fixed at pre-inflationary rates” (Rifkin, 2014, p. 30). A second form of enclosure, occurring in the 17th Century, involved the draining of the wetlands and converting them into cropland and pastures, thus destroying the Fenland way of life, founded on fishing, in East Anglia. Enclosure also included engrossing smaller plots of land and enclosing wasteland, those lands not under cultivation but serving to provide sustenance for the peasants. Finally,

8    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons enclosure through formal, legal means served to put the nail in the coffin of common rights in England (Uzelman, 2008). Recognizing the profits they could make in the burgeoning capitalist system, the landed gentry in England lobbied Parliament to pass laws allowing them to fence in lands and raise livestock and grow crops themselves. The Industrial Revolution and increasing urban populations made food production highly profitable for landlords. Between 1750 and 1860, Parliament passed 5,000 enclosure acts. In order to preserve their private hunting grounds, the nobles enclosed the forests, an action called emparkment. This closure caused depopulation and hardship for the peasants. Peasants who hunted for food on these lands became “poachers” and were severely punished, often shipped off to penal colonies in Australia. Technological advances, as well as the formalization of the market, also resulted in enclosure because agricultural machinery allowed for large production, which required large plots of land, and improved transportation allowed for the extension of the market. By 1886, 0.6% of the English population owned 98.5% of the land in England. Further, the concept of absolute individual rights replaced the concept of common rights (Uzelman, 2008). Now unable to subsist on common land, agrarian peasants moved to the cities to become wage laborers in the growing industrial sector, ushering in the era of urban sweatshops and urban poverty. Interestingly also, enclosure of land led to the establishment of prisons (Fairlie, 2017; Linebaugh, 2009; Uzelman, 2008). In essence, enclosure, the burgeoning industrial sector, and capitalism gave birth to a new social and economic system, based on privatization and the market (Bollier, 2003). Karl Polanyi (1944) identified this shift as “the Great Transformation,” and characterized it as a reversal of the role of the market in society. Instead of the market being embedded in the community kinship, moral codes, or religion, these would henceforth become embedded in the market. No longer would an autonomous community control the economy. Instead, the “ideal of an autonomous, self-regulating market” became “the dominant ideal of social governance” (Bollier, 2003, p. 46). Enclosure, Polanyi declared, “was the revolution of the rich against the poor” (1944, p. 36). Embedding social relations in the market had enormous consequences on these relations as well as on subjective values (Uzelman, 2008). Competition replaced sharing and mutual help as fundamental values; individualism replaced community; and dependency replaced autonomy. Forced into the cities to work for wages, rather than being allowed to eke out their living on the land, the lives of peasants became precarious because their survival relied on the trustworthiness of their employers rather than on themselves. No longer could they provide their own subsistence on the land but rather had to rely on their wages and the market. Society became characterized by the monetization of social relations such that all transactions were turned into money transactions (Polanyi, 1944; Uzelman, 2008). The relationship to time and leisure was also transformed as time became something that could not be wasted and must be devoted to productive labor, whereas leisure became a threat to productivity. Capitalist society assigned moral values to wasting of time. This emerging society considered the engagement in non-productive activities immoral. Further, the consumer culture emerged as

Evolution of the Idea of the Commons and the First Enclosure Movement    9 people in industrial society had to purchase the necessities of life on the market. The accumulation of commodities became the foundation of a new sense of self. Governance and production, unified in the management of the commons, were separated, with governance becoming the domain of the state and production becoming the domain of the market. As Bollier wrote, “the modern liberal state was born” (Bollier, 2014, p. 43). Linebaugh (2019) pointed out that as manufacturing predominated, division of labor emerged both in the fields and also in the plantations with slavery. Class and the origin of the proletariat manifested and a radical new way of life predominated. Linebaugh referred to Chartist Feargus O’Connor’s account of the contrast. For O’Connor, “the commons included owning the means of production; owning justice health and food...a vision based on abundance not scarcity” (p. 87). O’Connor contrasted this vision with the new reality of “a police barrack, bank, lock-up, session house, beer shop, billiard table, and brothel all standing on my acre of ground” (p. 87).

Justification of Enclosure The new capitalist society justified enclosure on the basis of three main arguments. First of all, this society argued that the peasants who relied on the common land were lazy and had no ambition to improve their lot nor to accumulate wealth. Given the emergence of capitalism along with the Protestant ethic of saving, accumulation, and wealth, the perceived values of subsistence farmers became anathema to the emerging dominant capitalist ethic. This ethic considered the commons to nurture the “primitive, savage, and barbaric peoples whose lives of indolence and vice represented an affront to the moral sensibilities of the upper class” (Uzelman, 2008, p. 137). On the other hand, capitalist society touted landowners as ambitious and thrifty, able to save capital in order to invest and accumulate it. They saw enclosure and mechanization as the means to greatly enhance their production, their profits, and hence their wealth. Enclosure would lead to increased production and further economic development and the enhancement of the quality of life, those in favor argued. The argument that enclosure is necessary to increase agricultural production has been used to justify enclosure throughout the world and is still being used today. However, the benefits of this production are not universally shared, and the peasants who are prevented from using the land are generally impoverished. Second, the British economic writer William Forster Lloyd (1795–1852) argued that if the land were not enclosed, peasants would continue to graze their livestock without restraint to maximize their individual benefit and ultimately overgraze it. Such self-maximizing behavior would result in an overall loss of benefits to the group of peasants. Lloyd’s argument, basically foreshadowing Garrett Hardin’s 1968 argument regarding “the tragedy of the commons,” proved key in furthering the economic argument of diminishing marginal utility (Bollier, 2014; Fairlie, 2017; Linebaugh, 2014; Uzelman, 2008). Third, proponents of enclosure argued that enclosure would increase agricultural and industrial paid labor, expand productivity, and multiply national wealth.

10    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons Marx, on the other hand, in his 1856 tome Das Kapital, employed the historical fact of enclosure to posit his theory of primitive accumulation, and explain the origin of capital and class distinctions between those who possessed wealth and those who did not. The capitalist mode of production came into being, according to Marx, by the accumulation and reinvestment of capital and this accumulation derived from resource extraction, conquest and plunder, and enslavement. In his case study of enclosure in England, Marx looked at how enclosure drove serfs who became free peasant proprietors and small farmers off the land. Having their livelihoods eradicated and hence separated from the means of production, they became low wage earners and proletariats – the “working poor.” Subsequent laws regimented and controlled these low wage earners while the landed became capitalists. Primitive accumulation serves to privatize the means of production and allows capitalists to make money from the surplus labor of the workers. Capitalist private property rests, according to Marx, upon the exploitation of wage-labor (Marx, 1856, 1977 edition). Enclosure, Marxists argued, is a necessary and continuing process in capitalism as capital continually seeks new opportunities to capture resources and transform them into commodities.

Resistance to Enclosure and the Moral Justification for the Commons Enclosure was not a peaceful process. The Diggers, the Levellers, and the Blacks comprised noteworthy groups of protestors. Several religious organizations also protested, including in the Pilgrimage of Grace for the Commonwealth in 1536 and the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549 (Linebaugh, 2009). Capitalists, on the other hand, struggled also against the peasants’ resistance to enclosure and other forces keeping the feudal order in place. As De Angelis (2017b) pointed out, capital and capitalism, as a social process “developed through struggle, accommodation, alliances, strategic timing pursued by a variety of elements, movements, and organizations of the bourgeoisie” (p. 277). Hence, the struggle for the commons in contemporary times, as a social process, is not without historical precedence. Many of the arguments used against the rise of capitalism parallel the justification for the establishment of a common-centric society today. Resistance to enclosure and the marketization of life emerged from the “moral economy,” or the belief that an economy should be based on goodness, justice, and fairness. Prices, hence should be “fair” to ensure access of the basics of life to all, rather than determined by a valueless market exchange where the rich have more money to spend that the poor wage earner. English clergyman, printer, poet, and social critic Robert Crowley petitioned the House of Commons in 1548 to return common rights, arguing that the whole earth belonged to humankind. He attacked human greed, as did many critics of enclosure at the time, calling those who owned and engrossed the land “men with no name, men of no conscience, men utterly devoid of God, men who live as if there were no God” (Linebaugh, 2009, p. 57). Crowley often quoted the following truism from Langland’s Piers Plowman, written in the 1300s: “For human intelligence is like water, air, and fire – it cannot be bought or sold. These four things, the Father in Heaven made to be shared in common” (Linebaugh, 2009, p. 56).

Evolution of the Idea of the Commons and the First Enclosure Movement    11 Hugh Latimer, Bishop of Worcester, preached that there were two types of enclosure, one of the spirit and one of the body. He argued against the enclosure of the forests, which served as pannage for the peasants’ pigs. Peasants in that period depended upon pigs for survival and the survival of their pigs depended upon pannage in common forests. Pannage also helped the lords because the pigs ate the green acorns that poisoned the lords’ horses and cattle. Enclosure of the forests, hence, stripped the peasants of their livelihood. Latimer, like other protestors, argued largely on the basis of social justice. In 1649, Gerrard Winstanley, a liberation theologian, clothier, cowherd, and communist who founded the Diggers, signed, along with 43 others, “A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England” that resolved “to plant the Commons withal … seeing the Earth was made for us, as well as for you” (Linebaugh, 2014, p. 84). As he wrote in his Declaration (1609): The power of enclosing land and owning property was brought into the creation by your ancestors by the sword; which first did murder their fellow creatures, men, and after plunder or steal away their land, and left this land successively to you, their children. And therefore, though you did not kill or thieve, yet you hold that cursed thing in your hand by the power of the sword; and so you justify the wicked deeds of your fathers… (n.p.) Linebaugh (2019) quoted Winstanley who wrote, “that the poorest man hath as true a title and just right to the Land, as the richest man, and that undeniably the earth ought to be a common treasury of livelihood for all, without respecting persons” (p. 263). Winstanely represented “the true commons,” Linebaugh (2019) argued, which held that economic equality was an essential quality. Winstanley is especially important for the commons movement today because he and his followers took over commons and vacant land in several parts of England and grew food to distribute to whomever would work the lands with them. Eventually, landowners violently expelled them from their commons. As a theologian, Winstanley believed in manifesting the kingdom of Heaven on earth and this was his vision in establishing his agricultural commons. His theology, that is, was proleptic. Born in 1750, English radical Thomas Spence wrote the pamphlet “Property in Land Everyone’s Right” in 1775. The pamphlet declared that the country of any people is properly their common, in which each of them has an equal property, with free liberty to sustain himself and family with animals, fruits, and other products thereof. (Linebaugh, 2014, p. 136) Justification for peasants’ use of the commons, hence, was based on several factors. First, supporters referenced God’s provision and the fact that resources, such as land and forests, were bequeathed upon all of humankind and should thus be accessible by all. Second, the survival of the peasants depended in large part on access to the commons and hence an argument for the commons was

12    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons made on the basis of social justice. Third, to a large extent, the peasants’ use of the commons helped maintain its ecology and served to help the lords. The commons – “water, air, earth, fire – these were the historic substances of subsistence … the archaic physics upon which metaphysics was built” (Linebaugh, 2014, p. 10). As it was written in the English Middle Ages: But to buy water or wind or wit or fire the fourth, These four the Father of Heaven formed for this earth in common; These are Truth’s treasures to help true folk Linebaugh (2014) argued that common rights differ from human rights in that they are embedded in a particular ecology and its local husbandry. Using the example of the commons in England, Linebaugh (2009) contended that ­commoners did not think of title deeds to the land but rather ways to till the land, illustrating that the commons is embedded in a labor process. The commons is communal and independent of the temporality of law and the state because it grants perpetuities not rights, Linebaugh (2014) concluded. Kellerman (2012) argued that Marx’s critique of enclosure in England and, by implication, the rebellion of the peasants and the resistance to enclosure as described above, marked an important milestone in the practice and theory of leadership. Followers openly challenged their leaders during this time and made it clear that leadership did not rest solely in the person who leads but in the relationship with followers who now had the right to question the leader.

The End of Land Enclosure in England By 1860, influential middle-class city dwellers became concerned that enclosures were ridding them of recreational land. Some of them formed the Commons Preservation Society, later called the Open Spaces Society. The National Trust, another environmental society, was also formed. Members of these societies protested continuing enclosure, became activists, and initiated lawsuits. They succeeded in influencing Parliament to pass the 1876 Commons Act that limited enclosures to instances only when a public benefit could be shown (Fairlie, 2017).

The Commons and Enclosure Beyond England The commons and their enclosure have occurred around the world and continue in contemporary society. Common lands and the right of usufruct existed in all indigenous cultures and in European cultures prior to the advent of capitalism. Moreover, commoners instituted rules to govern access to and use of the commons. In Iceland, for example, between 930 and 1262, Grey Goose laws established an institutional structure that avoided overgrazing on common lands. Commoners were able to call for an independent assessment of grazing capacity. Once the land was assessed, commoners were assigned a quota and faced fines for exceeding them. The Mughal system of subsistence farming on commons in India existed for centuries prior to British rule. When the system broke down in the second half

Evolution of the Idea of the Commons and the First Enclosure Movement    13 of the 18th Century, the concept of private property was introduced, resulting in the loss of subsistence for many farmers. This loss catalyzed a series of peasant revolts and finally the Great Revolt of 1857 (Bandyopadhyay, 2011). In North America, indigenous groups hunted, gathered, and farmed on indigenous lands and early colonialists often established commons on lands taken from Native Americans. As colonialists moved westward, they established a system of commons until the number of migrants became so great that homesteads were privatized (Rikfin, 2014). Puritans who practiced enclosure of indigenous lands justified it on the grounds that commons were “great nurseries of idleness and beggary” (Wall, 2014, p. 51). Other colonialists justified European control of indigenous lands on the grounds that indigenous peoples failed to enrich themselves (Wall, 2014). In a landmark 1823 Supreme Court case challenging the sale by Native ­Americans of land they had lived on for generations, Chief Justice Marshall ruled that although Native Americans were in possession of 43,000 square miles of disputed land, they did not have the right to sell the land and hence sold it illegally to developers. He ruled that the British became owners of all lands in America by virtue of their conquest and that British law was in force (Wily, 2014). His decision amounted to a formal recognition of the right of enclosure. Commons are still significant in many parts of the world, including countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and North and South America. Fishing commons exist in multiple countries. The lobster commons in Maine has existed for many years, catalyzed by the fishermen’s recognition that without a commons that regulated their profession, the lobster would likely become over-fished and their livelihood would be jeopardized. The enclosure of indigenous lands in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere, a historical reality, occurs today as industrialized nations buy off forests, tribal lands, and mineral deposits from governments who routinely take these resources away from people who have been relying on them for their survival. The people, in turn, are required to become wage laborers in order to live. Colonialism and more recently imperialism fostered this process of enclosure. As Bollier (2014) pointed out, improvements in material production came at a terrible cost: dissolution of communities, deep economic inequality, an erosion of self-governance and a loss of social solidarity and identity. Governance became a matter of government, the province of professional politicians, lawyers, bureaucrats and monied special interest lobbies. Democratic participation became mostly a matter of voting, a right limited to men (and at first, property owners). Enclosure also isolated people from direct encounters with the natural world and marginalized social and spiritual life. (p. 43)

Gender and the Commons Women especially resisted the enclosure of communal lands in England, other European countries, and in the New World, due to the fact that they were

14    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons especially dependent upon commons for their sustenance because they were often the ones who farmed and cared for animals. They were also often the gleaners who gathered the leftover harvest. Because of their resistance, according to Silvia Frederici (2004, 2013), women suffered the infamous witch hunts that marred the 16th and 17th Century. When Spanish conquistadores grabbed indigenous lands in Peru, the women fled to the mountains to establish communal agricultural communities that still survive today (Frederici, 2013). Women continue today to be the primary subsistence farmers in the world and their families’ subsistence largely depends upon women’s labor. Mullick (2011) wrote that the enclosure of the forest commons in Jharkhand, India had an unequal impact on women because the forest commons had been “the storehouse of their natural and ritual knowledge, a bastion of their economy, and more importantly a source of their power and status” (Mullick, 2011, p. 42). The enclosure of the forests generated patriarchy, which was not indigenous to tribes in this region.

The Industrial Paradigm The enclosures of England and other parts of the world ushered in the industrial age and the industrial paradigm that began to define all aspects of our lives and our relationship to nature. This paradigm perceived nature as a dumping ground for the waste products of industrial production rather than as a source of sustenance and life. As Cheria and Edwin (2011) articulated, “air is considered empty and lifeless – so smoke can be let into it…. The rivers and seas are empty so pour all the sewage and toxic waste into them” (pp. 5–6). The industrial era modified language so that development came to mean the exploitation of nature for economic growth, and “efficiency” meant the fastest time at the lowest cost. And as Cheria and Edwin explained (2011), “the vocabulary of private property and individual rights developed co-terminus with science, industrialization, capitalism, and democracy” (p. 4). The capitalist ethic considered spaces absent of industrial production as inferior and the “natives’ minds as empty and bereft of culture – terra nullius of the mindscape” (Cheria & Edwin, 2011, p. 6). This ethic looked down upon as “undeveloped” the notion of the commons and all those individuals living and producing on the commons. Communities living on the commons that were un-polluting were labeled “uncivilized and barbaric,” and, as the other, they became the enemy deserving banishment from the commons (Cheria & Edwin, 2011, p. 6). Linebaugh (2019) pointed out that both biology and geology emerged during this period and the era of quantification, classification, and mechanization began, “separated from both the vernacular knowledge of working people and the working wisdom of the commons, both sacred and profane” (p. 416). Life became associated with the ideology of possessive individualism; it was now talked about as property. In this reading, “man” is individual, isolated, needy, competitive, and factitious. ‘Man’ becomes Homo economicus. (Linebaugh, 2019, p. 214)

Chapter 2

Re-Emergence of the Commons in Contemporary Society Tragedy of the Commons Garret Hardin’s 1968 article titled “The Tragedy of the Commons” established the initial model for contemporary discussions regarding the commons, in this case, defined as shared natural resources. An ecologist whose main concern was the threat of human overpopulation, Hardin argued that a herder would have the incentive to overgraze and hence deplete common land in order to maximize his individual profit and would not be motivated by concern either for the sustainability of the land or for the welfare of the group of herders. The herder, Hardin contended, will purchase an additional livestock that will graze on common land because the gains to be received from selling that livestock exceed the costs incurred by him individually by overgrazing the land, due to the fact that these costs will be shared by all herders. Hardin expressed this reality in terms of marginal utility based on a model of a rational herder. Hardin asserted that the tragedy of the commons lies in the fact that – “each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit-in a world that is limited” (Hardin, 1968, p. 1245). He concluded that “freedom in a commons brings ruin to all” (Hardin, 1968, p. 1245). According to Hardin, only coercive measures could usefully curb the destruction of the commons. He listed all possible solutions as less than optimal but nonetheless necessary, including privatization, public control and limitation of access, allocation on the basis of wealth, auction, lottery, merit, or appeals to conscience. Hardin wrote that such commons ideally should be privately owned by “those who are biologically more fit to be the custodians of property and power” (p. 1245). Admitting that the legal order is imperfect, he stated that we put up with it because we are not convinced, at the moment, that anyone has invented a better system. The alternative of the commons is too horrifying to contemplate. Injustice is preferable to total ruin. (p. 1245)

Proleptic Leadership on the Commons: Ushering in a New Global Order, 15–29 Copyright © 2020 by Emerald Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved doi:10.1108/978-1-83867-799-220201004

16    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons Hardin failed to mention the possibility of a group devising rules and regulations for use of a commons, although years later he admitted he should have done so.

“Inherently Public Property” and Common Pool Resources Hardin’s article stimulated much discussion about the management of shared natural resources, and his argument was the harbinger of the rising body of environmental law related to “common” and “private.” In 1986, law professor Carol Rose wrote about “inherently public property” which, since the Middle Ages, has been distinguished from public property managed by the state, and has, rather, been “‘owned’ and ‘managed’ by society at large, with claims independent of and indeed superior to the claims of any purported government manager” (Rose, 1986, p. 720). Rose (1986) explored public trust theory and customary law to account for this type of property and she argued that custom served as an explanation for how a group could manage a commons. As she maintained, “the intriguing aspect of customary rights is that they vest property rights in groups that are indefinite and informal, yet nevertheless capable of self-management” (Rose, 1986, p. 742). Rose explained that customary use of the medieval commons had been managed by rules that prevented the depletion of resources. Rose also suggested that in some cases, property might be more valuable as a commons because the management costs would be less than those of individual property. She pointed out that the claim for public property during the 19th Century rested upon two arguments. The property had to be physically capable of monopolization by private persons and the property had to be more valuable when used by a large number of individuals. Rose also referenced the socializing and democratizing effects of such “inherently public property” found in recreational activities, experiencing nature, and other spaces and activities where the public gathers and interacts. As Rose (1986) concluded: In the absence of the socializing activities that take place on “inherently public property,” the public is a shapeless mob, whose members neither trade nor converse nor play, but only fight in a setting where life is, in Hobbes’ all too famous phrase, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. (p. 781) Other early commons scholars distinguished between commons as a resource or resource system, called common pool resources (CPRs), and commons as a property rights regime. CPRs are “natural or human-made resources where one person’s use subtracts from the others and where it is difficult to exclude other users” (Hess, 2000, p. 4). CPRs are economic goods, independent of property rights whereas common property is a legal regime and is one of the property regimes, but not the only one, that can be employed to manage CPRs (Hess & Ostrom, 2007, p. 5). 2009 Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom began exploring the management of CPRs in the 1970s as an extension of her dissertation and subsequent research

Re-Emergence of the Commons in Contemporary Society    17 into institutional arrangements for the public management of water resources in Southern California. Her 1977 publication, coauthored with her husband Vincent Ostrom, “A Theory for Institutional Analysis of Common Pool Resources” argued that the articulation of institutions is the critical factor in effective common resource management (Kauneckis, 2014). Studying the ways in which villagers manage pastures in Africa and how they manage irrigation systems in Nepal, Ostrom and colleagues developed the comprehensive “Social-Ecological Systems (SES) framework” that continues to serve as a major construct within which research is conducted regarding CPRs and collective self-governance. The 1985 National Research Council Conference in Annapolis gathered scholars to determine how and why certain groups have been able to successfully manage CPRs and what institutional arrangements contributed to their success (Hess, 2000). The conference attendees agreed that CPRs are characterized by subtractability and difficulty excluding others from their use. Subtractability refers to the fact that one person’s usage of a CPR subtracts from how much of the resource is available for others’ usage because such a resource is finite. Further, since CPRs are shared, users have access to them, and without rules that all users agree to, cannot be prevented from using them. The scholars in attendance committed themselves to studying CPR management in developing countries because these countries historically shared a number of CPRs and had developed community-based management systems that conscribed their usage. Studying them, hence, might provide a management model worth recommending for developed countries. Ostrom’s landmark 1990 book Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action stimulated more scholarly research and writing about CPRs and their management. Ostrom developed an institutionalist approach to managing CPRs, based upon extensive empirical research of successfully managed CPRs in developing and developed countries. She elaborated conditions that should normally hold in order to manage such resources outside of the state or market. Ostrom argued in this book that previous resource management models were based on erroneous conceptions of human behavior. She pointed out that Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons, for one, was based on the erroneous concept of “the rational herder.” Hardin’s concept was founded on a longstanding view of humans as seeking their own good above all. Ostrom countered that Hardin ignored the possibility that herders would cooperate and derive rules that would conscribe usage and penalize misuse. Ostrom also criticized the prisoner dilemma game, often employed to model Hardin’s argument because it is based on the assumption of two non-cooperative players who cannot communicate with each other and who each maximize their own gain, resulting in a non-optimal overall solution. In addition, Ostrom argued that Mancur Olsen’s central argument in The Logic of Collective Action (1965), accepted benchmark for collective action, was flawed. Olsen concluded that rational, self-interested individuals would not act to achieve their common or group interests, unless the group was very small and was not externally coerced. All three approaches, Ostrom contended, assume the free-rider problem, namely

18    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons that when a person cannot be excluded from the benefits that others provide, he or she is not motivated to contribute but rather to free-ride (Ostrom, 1990, p. 6). Because the above models are generally followed, most approaches to collective action assume that external coercion, or “a Leviathan” is required, Ostrom pointed out. Such a view leads policy makers to recommend that central governments should control natural resource systems. Alternatively, some policy makers contend that privatization of natural resources is required in order to control their use and prevent their depletion. These solutions are posited because, according to most theorists, the management of natural resources presents a social dilemma due to the conflict between individual rationality and the optimal solution for a group (Poteete, Jansen, & Ostrom, 2010). Ostrom proposed a model in which a group organizes itself, establishes rules and enforcement systems, and monitors compliance. She then established a set of conditions that may need to exist if such self-governing groups succeed at collective action. She developed these conditions after conducting empirical studies of groups that had successfully managed CPRs and those who had failed to do so (Ostrom, 1990). Key in establishing institutions to effectively manage commons is the consideration of equity, efficiency, and sustainability (Hess & Ostrom, 2007). Equity concerns the just appropriation of and contribution to the maintenance of the resource or commons. Efficiency refers to the optimal production, management, and use of the commons. Sustainability focuses on outcomes over the long-run and is concerned with the well-being of the commons and its users in the future. With these three considerations in mind, the conditions Ostrom proposed for effectively managing commons began with the necessity for participants to clearly define the boundaries of the CPRs and to specify those who are authorized to use them. Commoners, which Ostrom also called appropriators, need to design appropriation rules restricted to time, place, technology, and quantity of resources that are clearly related to local conditions and also design provision rules requiring labor, material, and money. In successful examples, Ostrom found that most individuals affected by the operational rules could participate in modifying them, that is, that there were collective choice arrangements. Overall, Ostrom concluded that effective design of commons and management of CPRs requires “successful collective action and self-governing behaviors; trust and reciprocity; and the continual design and/or evolution of appropriate rules” (Hess & Ostrom, 2007, p. 43). Although Ostrom admitted that more research needed to be conducted on successfully managed and less successfully managed commons, she clearly paved the way for a conceptual framework for self-organizing, self-governing commons. Ostrom’s research also challenged the conventional tripartite division of property into public, private, and common, where common property meant open access and no right of exclusion. Ostrom illustrated that effective management of CPRs generally includes rights of exclusion that are necessary in order to guard against overuse and assure sustainability. Ostrom’s Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) Framework serves as the major theoretical structure employed by many commons scholars to analyze

Re-Emergence of the Commons in Contemporary Society    19 situations in which people interact with rules and norms that guide their behavior (Bollier, 2003; Hess & Ostrom, 2007; Ostrom, 1990). The IAD is an institutional analysis framework, not a model, that asks how people work together, create communities and organizations, and make rules and decisions regarding ways to sustain a resource or achieve a particular joint objective (Hess & Ostrom, 2007). Ostrom contended that since the commons are part of a larger system of governance and should thereby be organized in multiple layers of nested enterprises, they should be characterized by polycentric governance, meaning that the authority to govern the resource is shared across several levels from the local to the regional to the national to the international (Bollier, 2014; Ostrom, 2007).

The Commons in Subsistence Economies The commons have historically been and continue to be crucial to survival in subsistence economies. Whether the commons consists of villagers collecting cow dung for fuel in India, living off the rain forests in South America and Africa, collecting water from nearby streams, or hunting on the plains, large groups of people live in a symbiotic relationship with nature and its bounty and outside of marketized society. Ostrom selected some of her examples of self-governing commons from the so-called developing nations in an interesting twist to the typical transfer of know-how from the developed to the developing countries. She, as well as many other scholars and commoners, argued that people in the West have much to learn about management of CPRs from people who have been successfully managing them in poorer nations of the world for centuries. However, this focus on the commons in subsistence economies also raised the question as to whether commons are really a survival technique rather than a viable option for a future society, a question that arises especially since commons seem to proliferate in times of austerity as after the 2008 Great Recession. Ostrom and her colleagues sought to understand how trust and reciprocity serve as the foundation of cooperative behavior. Ostrom made her mark by helping to establish a body of literature regarding Social-Ecological Systems (SES). Such systems derive from the recognition of the interaction of social and biophysical factors and employ concepts such as self-organization, complexity, equity, and human well-being, concepts that thread through discussions of the commons.

Proliferation of Contemporary Interest in the Commons Contemporary interest in the idea of the commons burgeoned in the 1980s. The interest came partly out of the concerns of public interest advocacy groups and the expanding environmentalist movement that posed the challenge of how to best manage resources to prevent their depletion. Scholarly work and activism emerged simultaneously. Commons activist and former Nader Raider, David Bollier (2009) explained that a 1980 conference convened by Nader, “Controlling What We Own” catalyzed Bollier’s interest in the commons. The conference dealt with resources that Nader argued belonged to the people but whose access was restricted or prevented

20    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons by government regulations and corporate interests. Some of these included drugs which the taxpayers financed through government grants but then were protected by patents and offered to the public at exorbitant prices; mineral extraction rights on public lands granted for $5 an acre or less; and commercial access to the public airwaves free of charge without any benefits returning to the public for this use (Linksvayer, 2009). The contemporary environmentalist movement, which also influenced the reemergence of interest in the commons, began to gain momentum in the 1970s at the United Nations Conference on Human Development that took place in Stockholm in 1972 and with the establishment of Earth Day, a watershed event that formally recognized the potentially damaging impact of human and corporate activity on the environment (Edwards, 2005). The United Nation’s World Commission on Environment and Development Worldwatch Report of 1984 warned that humankind was living beyond the capacity of the world to sustain our current way of living. The Brundtland Report of 1987, Our Common Future, argued that development should be sustainable, that is, that it should meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future to meet their own needs. The 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, also known as the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, also enhanced awareness regarding the environment and our responsibility to manage it responsibly. The Summit developed the Rio Declaration, which included 27 fundamental principles, and Agenda 21 that comprised a framework for future action. Further, President Clinton established the President’s Council on Sustainable Development in 1993 to develop a domestic agenda for sustainability. In 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg, South Africa, reviewed progress made in 10 years following the 1992 Earth Summit, and drafted the Plan of Implementation and the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development that incorporated concerns facing the world such as poverty, health, production, and consumption, as they relate to sustainability, 2005). In his Forward to The Sustainability Revolution: Portrait of a Paradigm Shift by Andres Edwards (2005), Ecologist David W. Orr postulated that the environmental and later sustainability movement introduced a new way of thinking about our role in the world that represents a recalibration of human intentions to coincide with the way our biophysical world works. It is a slowing down to the rhythms of our bodies, convivial association, and nature. The concern for the longevity as a species represents a maturing of our kind to consider ourselves first as “plain members and citizens” of an ecological community and second, as trustees of all that is past with all that is yet to come – a mystic chain of gratitude, obligation, compassion, and hope. (pp. xiv–xv) Edwards introduced four new criteria against which to evaluate any initiative. He called these the “Three E’s plus one.” They include evaluating the interaction between

Re-Emergence of the Commons in Contemporary Society    21 ecology/environment, economy/employment, equity/equality, and e­ducation. The interaction between ecology and environment dictates a long-term rather than a short-term horizon, a systemic rather than piecemeal view, and a recognition that there are limits to growth. The assumption that there can be employment and an economy that provides for everyone based on a respect and care of the ecosystem underlies the economy/employment dynamic. Finally, a commitment to fostering equity and equality derived from a deep sense of community characterizes the third “E.” Education for all promotes these values and ensures their achievement. In addition, Edwards (2005) contended that four dominant concerns entered the conversation and began to shift the values of environmentally conscious individuals. These included: (1) an awareness of the profound spiritual links between human beings and the natural world; (2) a deep understanding of the biological interconnection of all parts of nature, including human beings; (3) an abiding concern with the potential damage of human impact on the environment; and (4) a strongly-held commitment to make ethics an integral part of all environmental activism. (pp. 14–15) The sustainability mindset expanded among many people and groups around the world, largely facilitated by the Internet (Edwards, 2005). This mindset argued that natural resources belonged to everyone since the state and market were not managing them sustainably and that communities needed to do so through commons.

The Internet as Commons During the 1990s, with the expansion of the Internet, scholars started writing about the Internet, information, and knowledge as commons (Hess & Ostrom, 2007). Users of the Internet began to recognize that they were in fact participating in a commons and that challenges associated with all commons were emerging, namely, access, enclosure, pollution, free-riding, conflict, overuse, unethical and criminal activities, and so on (Hess, 1996). By the mid-1990s, scholars also began to identify as commons the Internet’s hardware and software, communication networks, and online social groups. An increased focus on networks and their role in linking people and facilitating their communication accompanied the expansion of the Internet. The Internet enables sharing and innovation and its logic of online cooperation “can trump the economic logic of conventional markets” resulting in “a profound global cultural revolution whose full disruptive potential is still ahead” (Bollier, 2014, p. 123). As Bollier (2014) asserted: Now that so many people have tasted the freedom, innovation and accountability of open networks and digital commons, there is no going back to the command and control business models of

22    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons the 20th century. Among the born digital generation, commercial motives and indifference to the common good over the long term seem decidedly old fashion if not antisocial. (p. 126) The digital commons differed from commons to govern natural resources in that they did not represent a resource that could be overexploited, nor were they cared for by local communities but rather by “loose global networks of users who are driven by collective production of information and knowledge, and open or non-exclusive access” (Ossewaarde & Reijers, 2017, p. 612). Digital commoning could be defined as the practice of pooling digital resources, for instance, as digital commoners who individually contribute knowledge to a pooled knowledge database that is accessible to all participants of the respective digital commons. (Ossewaarde & Reijers, 2017, p. 612)

The Knowledge and Information Commons Beginning in the 1980s and 1990s, a number of mostly legal scholars such as Peter Jaszi, David Lange, Pamela Samuelson, Jessica Litman, Yochai Benkler, James Boyle, and Larry Lessig identified intellectual products as commons and decried the extensive and increasing use of copyright laws to restrict access. Lessig (2001) argued that the extensive system of intellectual property copyrights prevented innovation whereas an online intellectual commons nurtured such innovation. Knowledge, according to Hess and Ostrom (2007), included “understanding gained through experience or study, whether indigenous, scientific, scholarly, or otherwise nonacademic” (p. 8) and included creative works from the arts. Scholarly knowledge and communication, and later non-scholarly communication, identified as a commons, comprise areas such as computer codes and infrastructure, intellectual property rights, academic libraries, invention and creativity, open-source software, collaborative science, information economics, and the management, dissemination, and preservation of scholarly record (Hess & Ostrom, 2007). In addition, Hess and Ostrom (2007) included citizenship and democratic processes and collective action as knowledge commons. Peter Levine (2007a, 2007b) called commons focused on democracy as “associational commons,” as opposed to what he called libertarian commons where everyone has the right to usage. More recently, Madison, Frischmann, and Strandburg (2019) defined knowledge commons as “the institutionalized community governance of the creation, sharing, and preservation of a wide range of intellectual and cultural resources” (p. 77). Knowledge and communications commons differ from CPRs in that they are not subtractive or rivalrous like natural resources are. That is, one person’s access does not limit or reduce another’s access. Like CPRs, knowledge and communications commons require collective action and self-governing mechanisms as well as a high degree of social capital in order to manage them successfully (Hess & Ostrom, 2007).

Re-Emergence of the Commons in Contemporary Society    23

The New Commons and the Transformative Power of the Commons Subsequently, the “new commons” (Hess, 2008) emerged and an increasing number of domains were encapsulated into the commons. As Bollier (2007) wrote: A quiet revolution is going on right now as a growing number of activists, thinkers, and practitioners adopt a commons vocabulary to describe and explain their respective fields. Librarians, scholars, scientists, environmentalists, software programmers, Internet users, biotech researchers, fisheries scholars, and many others share a dissatisfaction with the standard market narrative. (p. 25) On a parallel track, commons scholars and activists began to view the commons as the road to a kinder capitalist or post-capitalist society, based on a subjectivity of sharing, equality, and community. They touted, that is, the commons as the missing piece between the public-private dichotomy or what many scholars are increasingly calling the public-private duopoly because of the seeming collaboration of these sectors in upholding the neoliberal market devoid of government regulation (Bollier, 2014; Linebaugh, 2014). Further, many commons scholars and activists identified the Internet and peer-to-peer (P2P) production, discussed below, as the harbinger of true democracy, recognizing that the state had become the servant of the corporate sector and the elites (Papadimitropoulos, 2017b).

Commons-Based Peer Production Benkler (2003, 2006) suggested that the networked environment created through the Internet and other communication technologies created a new modality of organizing production. This modality, called commons-based peer production, is radically decentralized, collaborative, and nonproprietary; based on sharing resources and outputs among widely distributed, loosely connected individuals who cooperate with each other without relying on either market signals or managerial commands. (Benkler, 2003, p. 130) Peer production, a subset of commons-based peer production, is generated by self-selected and decentralized individual action rather than action hierarchically assigned. Peer production is not generally managed by a community that establishes rules and regulates access and rules of use, but rather by a loosely comprised virtual community that generates information, knowledge, culture, and networks of users who may or may not communicate with each other. Hence, this production added a new angle to the commons as a specific resource and opened the possibility that the commons was more a way of relating and producing, rather than a fixed “thing.” The development of the open-access Linux computer operating system by a group of commoners is typically used as an example of the emergence of commons-based

24    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons peer production which takes place outside of the market or the state. Peer production depends only on the collaboration of individuals who take the initiative to work together to create a product whose use is transformative and accessible on an open platform (Benkler, 2003, 2006; Bollier, 2014). Users comprise an open network which is often unstable and changing and hence they do not fit the often employed definition of commons as a self-governed community that establishes rules of access and use and of breeches. Rather, what makes digital communities and open-access commons is that they serve as a mode of social production based on cooperation and sharing (Benkler, 2006). As Papadimitropoulos (2018) wrote Social production expands into the Digital commons on the model of P2P production, which is believed to enhance individual and collective autonomy by establishing a more participatory political system, a critical culture, and social justice. (p. 319) Michel Bauwens continued to promote P2P and the commons. He established the Foundation for P2P Alternatives, or P2P Foundation in 2005, along with Maia Dereva to advocate for and research the commons in order to support the commons transition (P2P Foundation, n.d.). The P2P Foundations focuses on three areas to support the commons. The P2P Cultures and Politics stream is “designed help build a relatable identity and culture for the Commons, featuring inclusivity, gender equality and diversity.” The Open Coops & Sustainable Livelihoods “guides our examination of labor, carework, well-being and emancipation for commoners, and the creation of durable, transnational networks to construct ethical markets.” Stream 3, Building the Open Source Circular Economy “aims to create synergies between cooperative peer production and sustainability” by showing “how a transition to new modes of production, governance and ownership can solve ecological and climate crises” (P2P Foundation). In 2019, Bauwens and his colleagues Michael Kostakis and Alex Pazaitis published Peer to Peer: The commons Manifesto, laying out a strategy for the transition to a post-capitalist, commons-centric society. Their strategy will be discussed in depth in Chapter 8. In this manifesto (2019) they defined P2P as primarily a mode of relationship that allows human beings to be connected and organized in networks, to collaborate, produce and share. The collaboration is often permissionless, meaning that one may not need the permission of another to contribute. (p. 1) The authors also included three other aspects of P2P production which together define systems to which anyone can contribute and help maintain a shared resource while benefitting from it. These other aspects include that: P2P is also a technological infrastructure that makes the generalization and scaling up of such relations possible; P2P … enables a new mode of production and property; and P2P creates the potential

Re-Emergence of the Commons in Contemporary Society    25 for a transition to an economy that can be generative towards people and nature. (Bauwens et al., 2019, p. 1) Three characteristics of P2P are indicative of future dominant social and organizational forms. These include equipotentiality, holoptism, and stigmergy. Equipotentiality allows for all individuals to have equal opportunities to participate, depending upon their skills. Holoptism “allows participants free access to all information necessary for the accomplishment of the project in question. Stigmergy is a form of self-organization based on indirect coordination” (Papadimitropoulos, 2018, p. 319). Bauwens et al. (2019) considered the following organizations as exemplifying the P2P model: Enspiral and Espiral Foundation support a network of over 300 professionals and over 15 companies that are “working on stuff that matters,” that is, socially oriented projects, encompassing a broad community of diverse professionals (productive community), including developers, legal and financial experts. They pool their skills and creative energy to create a commons of knowledge and software. Around these commons a web of business ventures (entrepreneurial coalition) offers open-source tools and services that enable creative communities like their own to address certain challenges related to democratic governance and the digital age. For example, Loomio is an open-source platform for participatory decision making. Sensorica is a collaborative network dedicated to the design and deployment of sensors and sense-making systems. It offers an open platform for interaction among individuals, with any type of skills or expertise (e.g., engineers, researchers, developers, or lawyers), and organizations from the business and public sector and the civil society. It is partially a commons-based community and partially an entrepreneurial entity.

Other Commons Emerge as Part of the “New Commons” Many other shared resources and services have become identified as commons, including genes, culture, language, health and education services, radio, literature, music, heritage sites, the performing and visual arts, even trust (Arvanitakis, 2006, 2012; Bollier, 2002; Lessig, 2001). Commoners identify such resources as shared or gifts and consider them to belong to everyone and not to be enclosed by the market or the state. Arvanitakis (2006, 2012) included, as a part of the cultural commons, human relationships characterized by community, trust, safety, and shared intellect. Hess (2008) categorized the scores of new commons into seven categories in addition to the knowledge commons, including cultural, medical, global, neighborhood, infrastructure, traditional, and market. She derived these categories by researching articles, books, and other publications whose authors classified their subjects as belonging to the commons. Still, the emphasis on identifying the commons during this period remained as “things” in and of themselves without adequate consideration of the community governing them nor the uniqueness of their governance approach. A better name may have been “commonwealth,” those things gifted to us by nature and the creativity of humankind.

26    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons

Urban Commons The urban commons emerged as a unique form of commons that became associated with common space as well as protest. The urban has long been associated with capitalism and industrialization as well as the hub of business and investment activities. At the same time, protesters claimed urban spaces for social movements against injustice and neoliberal reforms. The main organizing tactic of the Indignados in Spain, who were protesting austerity policies, was the urban encampment. In 2011, tent cities emerged in the central plazas of Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Zaragoza, Palencia, among many others, cities that were replicated in many parts of the world (Casa-Cortes, Cobarrubias, & Pickles, 2014). People also protested about the enclosure of cities by huge concrete buildings which removed community gathering spaces that were historically in cities. Urban gardens as well as guerilla gardens and community gathering locales began growing in unused urban spaces which were enclosed from the public use yet ugly and unkempt. Squatters became legitimate protesters because of the neoliberal assault against social services, and groups created urban commons that served the community in abandoned buildings. Refugees squatted to create space for public communication and to create a sense of common humanity (Dellenbaugh, Kip, Bieniok, Muller, & Schwegmann, 2015). Attempts to define and conceptualize the urban commons proliferated and most definitions reached back to French philosopher Henri Lefebvre’s idea of the right to the city “as an oevre, as an ongoing and collective work of art, created, used, and reshaped by its inhabitants” (Dellenbaugh et al., 2015). Dellenbaugh et al. (2015) wrote that urban commons were “about collectively appropriating and regulating the shared concerns of the everyday” (p. 10). Stavrides (2016) argued that urban spaces provided the opportunity for space commoning which he claimed would stimulate inventiveness and the process of exploring the emancipating possibilities of sharing and of developing new institutions founded on sharing and living in common. Stavrides (2016) defined common spaces a “those spaces produced by people in their effort to establish a common world that houses, supports, and expresses the community they participate in” (n.p.). Such spaces, he contended, serve as thresholds to build bridges between peoples of different socio-economic, political, religious, and ethnic backgrounds and to balance power structures. A number of cities have become known as commons cities. Bologna, Italy, for one, invited citizen commoners to co-design with the city the management “of public spaces, urban green zones, abandoned buildings and other urban issues” (Kuhne, 2015, n.p.). The legal framework contained in the Bologna Regulation for the Care and Regeneration of the Urban Commons outlines partnerships with citizens to create a sharing city (Kuhne, 2015). Urban initiatives such as the City as a Living Laboratory (CALL) (https:// www.cityaslivinglab.orgin) in New York City are bringing the community into sustainable city planning. Led by artist Mary Miss, CALL reaches out to artists, scientists and citizens to work together to implement projects to address urban challenges and to make cities more harmonious with nature.

Re-Emergence of the Commons in Contemporary Society    27

International Support for the Commons The World Social Forum (2009), an annual meeting of civil society organizations dedicated to countering neoliberal globalization, issued a Reclaim the Commons Manifesto (2009) in their 2009 meeting in Belem Para, Brazil. Referring to what the supporting non-governmental organizations (NGOs) called the negative consequences of the neoliberal approach to globalization, the Manifesto recognized the new vision of society promulgated by the notion of the commons. The Manifesto committed the World Social Forum to mobilize, to reclaim and de-privatize the commons, and to recognize that commons-based approaches – participatory, collaborative, and transparent – offer practical solutions for protecting water and rivers, agricultural soils, seeds, knowledge, sciences, forest, oceans, wind, money, communication and online collaborations, culture, music and other arts, open technologies, free software, public services of education, health or sanitization, biodiversity and the wisdom of traditional knowledges. (World Social Forum, 2009) In 2009, James Quilligan and Lisinka Ulatowska established The Commons Action Group for the United Nations (UN) to introduce a commons-based approach to sustainability. The group is represented at the UN by the Institute for Planetary Synthesis and the Association for World Citizens. In 2011, a federation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in the UN formed the Commons Cluster in addition to clusters focusing on women, youth, and indigenous peoples. The P2P Foundation established the Commons Abundance Cluster Network to facilitate the cooperation of commons groups and websites to form a legitimate commons sector, the third leg of socio-economic organization besides the public and private sectors. The ultimate purpose of the group is to establish a commons-based global economy and polity. The European Commons Assembly (ECA) was established in Brussels in November 2016 in a gathering of European “commoners.” They laid the foundation for a united European commons movement and met in the European Parliament to explore the ECA as a platform and the commons as a necessary new paradigm for decision making. The European Parliament now includes a group devoted to the commons (Bauwens et al., 2019). The purpose of the ECA is to: (1) support the decentralized activities of commoners and their engagement in concrete, collaborative and bottom-up actions; (2) give a voice to and increase the visibility of the commons movement; and (3) channel the needs and demands of socially and ecologically sustainable initiatives to the political arena. They are continuing to work in smaller groups all over Europe.

Alter-Globalization, Global Justice Movements, and the Commons Beginning in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, while Ostrom and other social scientists were discovering the commons as an interesting and useful

28    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons organizational form for managing CPRs, people around the globe were beginning to question globalization and the results of the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank were imposing on developing countries. As these international donor organizations devised policies to privatize common property in many countries, indigenous groups began struggling against the loss of their livelihoods (Caffentzis, 2004). Riots and bloody battles were staged in Latin America, Asia, and Africa as indigenous peoples struggled to protect their lands. Simultaneously, the homeless and squatters in Western countries began to actively fight the police for their common spaces (Caffentzis, 2004). The commons enclosure discourse emerged in the 1990s as the result of these struggles, along with the struggles of environmentalists who decried the destruction meted upon the natural environment by profit-hungry multinationals, and the software creators who wanted to share their creations rather than profit from them. Demonstrations took place against the IMF, the World Bank, the G6, and the World Trade Organization, among others. Global Justice Movements included the Zapatista revolt in Chiapas, Mexico; the Cochabamba, water protests; demonstrations against austerity in Europe; the Arab Spring; the recent demonstrations in Venezuela; Occupy Wall Street, and other movements around the world. Such movements posed challenges to the assumptions and social structures that formed in the post-industrial world, the socio-economic inequalities that arose, and the self-promotional, socially irresponsible behavior of global corporations (Bollier, 2014; Caffentzis, 2004; Uzelman, 2008). Dardot and Laval (2019) identified these movements as actually spawning the anti-capitalist commons.

Groups Formed to Support the Expansion of the Commons Groups to support the expansion of the commons proliferated and the commons became a popular topic, especially after scholars and activists began talking about the power of the commons to catalyze a post-capitalist, commons-centric socio-economic system. Too many to list here, some of the groups are highlighted below with the narratives taken from their websites. The International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC), established in 1989 with Elinor Ostrom as founding president undertook the mission to understand and improve institutions for the management of resources that are (or could be) held or used collectively by communities in developing or developed countries. The majority of the Association’s membership supports Ostrom’s approach to studying the commons with her IAD and SES Frameworks approaches and do not push the concept of the commons as a movement that can lead to a post-capitalist society. The majority also focus on natural resource commons and agriculture. However, there are members who take a more radical stance and are working against the enclosure of seeds, knowledge and information, water and other resources, and Indigenous lands and culture; as well as the need for a strategy of degrowth rather than economic development, among other issues. Founded in 2001, On the Commons ( calls itself a “commons movement strategy center [that] promotes commons-based solutions

Re-Emergence of the Commons in Contemporary Society    29 for environmental restoration, social justice, and other global and community initiatives.” Its self-described mission is to build and bring visibility to the commons movement; initiate and catalyze commons work, and develop and encourage commons leadership. The group publishes the Commons Magazine and fosters the Commons Network. Remix the Commons ( is an intercultural space for sharing and co-creating multimedia documents on common goods. The space works to (1) foster social and cross-cultural appropriation of the theories and practices of the commons through the creation and sharing of multimedia documents; (2) develop an open and collaborative infrastructure for the creation, enhancement and documentation of common goods; (3) contribute to the emergence of a common goods movement by improving the capacity of collectives and communities to document their practices and feed their thinking on common goods. The Commons Transition Platform ( is a database of practical experiences and policy proposals aimed toward achieving a more humane and environmentally grounded mode of societal organization. The platform claims that establishing a civil society based on the principles and practices of the commons (including the collaborative stewardship of our shared resources) would enable a more egalitarian, just, and environmentally stable society. Commons Strategy Group ( is an activist and research-driven collaboration to foster the growth of the commons and commoning projects around the world. It focuses on catalyzing new conversations to better understand the commons, convening key players in commons debates, and identifying strategy opportunities for the future. The Global Commons Alliance ( is an expansive collaboration of many global institutions working to bring together scientific, business, government, and NGOs to help transform the global economy while maintaining the resilience and stability of the earth’s natural resources. Commons Network ( is a civil society organization that works with activists, thinkers, pioneers, and policy makers to tell stories, build networks and propose policies to support commoners and defend the commons throughout Europe. Creative Commons ( is dedicated to fostering open access to knowledge and cultural resources. It provides creative commons licenses and public domain tools to facilitate the sharing of people’s creative and academic ideas and artistic creations through the granting of copyrights and ­providing open access. The CC Global Network promotes the expansion of openaccess knowledge and culture. Commoners also founded commons education projects around the world. Some of these included: the annual Summer School on the Commons, in Bechstedt/ Thüringen, Germany; the School of Commoning in London; the Green Academy Vis, serving people from Croatia and the Balkans; the Free Technology Academy; and the School of Commons, in Barcelona.

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Chapter 3

The Second Enclosure Movement: Contemporary Enclosure and Commodification of the Commons These new enclosures have led to a keenly felt sense amongst those affected that the world is closing in; that there is less space to breathe. (Samuel Kirwan, 2016) We’re losing the ground of our subsistence to the privileged and the mighty. With the theft of our pensions, houses, universities, and land, people all over the world cry, “Stop, thief!” and start to think about the commons and act in its name. (Linebaugh, 2014) Commons scholars and activists resurrected the concept of enclosure to refer to privatization, marketization, and/or commodification of commonly held natural, human, and non-human resources such as forests, water, space, air, human, animal, and plant genes, knowledge, urban spaces, social commons, among many others (Bollier, 2013; Bowers, 2006; Linebaugh, 2014). Enclosure transfers resources that were either freely accessible (totally noncommodified) or regulated for a specific group or community to “a situation in which these resources become exclusively owned by private individuals or corporate actors and their use becomes regulated by the market” (Uzelman, 2008, p. 215). Through enclosure, “the transformation of social life previously un-owned, collectively held, or managed by the state for the public good becomes the absolute and exclusive property of individuals or corporations” (Uzelman, 2008, p. 118). Enclosure means that the public either has to pay to have access to these resources or is barred from access legally. According to historian Peter Linebaugh (2014), four events of the 21st Century catalyzed the concern for contemporary new enclosures. Zapatista-led uprising in Chiapas, Mexico in 1994 marked the first event. The repeal of Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution, which traditionally had provided for common lands or ejidos for each village, impelled the Zapatistas to rebel. The government planned to privatize previously common lands and the Zapatistas feared that the newly

Proleptic Leadership on the Commons: Ushering in a New Global Order, 31–41 Copyright © 2020 by Emerald Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved doi:10.1108/978-1-83867-799-220201005

32    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons signed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would widen the gap between rich and poor, a fear that was proven true over time. During the same period, a process of “new enclosures” took place in Africa and Indonesia, as multinational corporations signed concession agreements with governments that gave them access to tribal lands, forests, and indigenous medicinal herbs and plants without the tribal or community consent. Second, the emergence of the Internet and the World Wide Web along with issues related to intellectual property rights raised issues of enclosure and these issues became the topic of protests against the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the Battle of Seattle in 1999. Third, air pollution and water poisoning, caused largely by multinational corporations, became huge global issues, leading people to challenge the ethical justification for commodification. Fourth, the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War provided the aperture to talk openly about enclosure, a key concept analyzed by Marx, without being accused of being a communist. The Great Recession of 2008 stimulated more discussion regarding the marketization of Western and increasingly non-Western societies. The recession convinced a great number of people that the neoliberal economic model, reified by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and instituted in American society by subsequent presidents, including Bill Clinton, had greatly disappointed, if not failed to provide the economic and social benefits the theory touted. Neoliberalism had also been exported abroad via the IMF, World Bank, and many bilateral donors. Based on neoliberal economic models, the rapid privatization schemes in Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union gave rise to the oligarchy and dramatically lowered the standard of living for the majority of people, as I personally witnessed when I worked in Romania and Ukraine in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Enclosure of Water Over the past thirty years the accelerating pace of enclosures, and the increasing scale of the theft, have brought our planet to the edge of destruction. (Raj Patel, 2009) Environmental groups, academics, and citizens at large have highlighted the enclosure of water in recent years as it becomes more obvious that the world faces a shortage of fresh water. Corporations, with the consent of governments, have increasingly privatized and sold water, often at prices that poorer communities cannot pay. Further, industrial waste has continued to pollute freshwater sources around the world. The commodification of water by large multinational companies has become an international issue. A handful of companies have purchased water rights from governments and either managed local water supply systems or bottled and sold the water at prices unaffordable by lower-income populations. Environmentalists have publicized a number of cases in which the private companies who controlled city water supplies either did not provide potable water to the community or provided it at exorbitant costs that many people could not afford (Bozzo, 2009). International organizations, such as the World Bank, have been

The Second Enclosure Movement    33 instrumental in the move to privatize water, arguing that privatization is the most efficient way to handle water scarcity. In 1998, the World Bank recommended that the government in Cochabamba, Bolivia privatize water distribution because it concluded that the government state agency, SEMAPA, was too corrupt to effectively manage it. The World Bank pressured the government to auction off SEMAPA to Aguas del Tunari, an international consortium that included the British firm International Waters, a subsidiary of Bechtel, and several other firms. Prices rose dramatically, disenfranchising many people from accessing the water. As a result, between December 1999 and April 2000, thousands of Bolivians mobilized in protest. After months of civil unrest that reached the international stage, the Bolivian government finally agreed to rescind the contract and take back control of managing water (Bollier, 2014; Peppard, 2014; Shiva, 2013). The documentary Blue Gold: World Water Wars (Bozzo, 2009) illustrated that the war over access to water is far from over and that enclosure and commodification of water by multinational corporations is intensifying. A Canadian water activist, Maude Barlow argued in the documentary, as she did in her book Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water (Barlow & Clarke, 2005), that corporations have for many years reaped the huge profits that commodifying water can bring. The bottling of water for sale has become a highly profitable business and most major soft drink, fruit drink, and health drink companies have their brand of bottled water that, in many countries, sells at a higher price than soft drinks such as Coca Cola, preventing lower-income populations from purchasing it. Such disenfranchisement is occurring in countries where the same people do not have access to clean water and suffer devastating water-borne diseases. Barlow’s documentary exposed the mammoth plans that companies have on the horizon, including transporting water in huge, floating, plastic udder-like barges and building desalinization plants to facilitate continued marketing of water after they have depleted freshwater sources. Many communities have protested their taking of water freely from lakes and rivers around the world, including the Great Lakes. Some communities have succeeded in taking back the water but others have failed because of the intensive lobbying that corporations waged on government officials and even judges (Perkins, 2019). In her most recent book, Whose Water is it Anyway? Taking Water Protection into Public Hands (2019), Barlow discussed the Blue Community Projects that are expanding globally. Citizens involved in these projects are fighting against the privatization of water and for its community control as well as the removal of plastic bottles from their cities. When water is privatized, companies are not accountable to the public but only to their shareholders. Hence, such companies can more easily resist the public’s demands for safe or better quality water at affordable prices (Bollier, 2013). The Italian legal scholar, Ugo Mattei (2014) reported that privatized water in Naples resulted in higher prices and lower quality. As a consequence, the citizens of Naples voted in a referendum to de-privatize the water, a process that Mattei describes as extremely difficult because the laws in Western countries are geared to supporting private, not public, ownership. Indian physicist and activist Vandana Shiva has written about the destructive impact of water commodification in India, a Third World perspective not typically

34    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons included in the mainstream commons literature. Led by the World Bank, the privatization of water in India, Shiva argued, shifted the paradigm from “‘water for life’ to ‘water for profit’ and ‘water democracy’ to ‘water apartheid’ and ‘some for all’ to ‘all for some’” (2013, p. 84). She asserted that water-intensive, World Bank projects have led to the devastation of water resources, such as the Ganges River, and have left many Indians without adequate water for their livelihood. Water security is at great risk, Shiva warned (2013). Attempts by the government to privatize water in Delhi, under the auspices of a World Bank loan, led to resistance and protests (Shiva, 2013).

Enclosure in the Agricultural Sector Tribal and village land and forest enclosure is occurring all over the Third World, with governments either confiscating or buying at below-market prices land that has traditionally belonged to tribes and village farmers and leasing it or selling it to corporations for large profits. Rarely are the corporations under any obligation to make improvements that will provide benefits to the original landowners. Shiva (2013) pointed out that in India, land grabbing has become a huge profit-making business for the local and national governments. By 2011, over 220 million hectares of communal lands globally had been enclosed, with two-thirds of these in poor areas of Africa. These land grabs are part of the global land rush that has resulted from investors seeking lucrative investments following the oil, food, and fiscal crisis (Wily, 2012). Foreign governments and investors are seeking to grow crops to use as biofuels, grow food and raise livestock at costs lower than those in international markets, and establish horticultural, floricultural, and carbon credit schemes (Wily, 2012). In Liberia, the government confiscated large plots of tribal lands which they leased or sold to Indonesian oil palm producers (Shitu, 2013). Instead of being able to grow their own oil palm, tribal peoples have become low wage workers for the huge corporations that build cheap worker quarters and provide a few social benefits. The Liberian government is trying to attract foreign investment to rebuild the country’s economy, but it is not clear that the terms of investment will fund further internal development projects that will raise the standard of living of Liberians or go into the pocketbooks of the elite. Much of the profit will leave the country and benefit Indonesia. Malaysian oil palm companies are also establishing huge oil palm farms on Liberian tribal lands confiscated by the government. Further, the Liberian government is not giving loans to Liberians who are capable of managing oil palm farms or even compelling the multinationals to provide technical assistance to Liberians in order to sustain oil farm production in the future (Shitu, 2013). The Chinese are buying forests all over Africa and are poaching huge herds of elephants and rhinoceros to feed the consumer tastes of the Chinese for ivory and aphrodisiacs. The rain forests over most of Africa have already been depleted. Liberia has the last standing forest in West Africa. Corporations are already trying to gain access to these forests that provide a livelihood for the villages and also serve an important global ecological function. Deforestation is happening at a rapid rate (Mukpo, 2019).

The Second Enclosure Movement    35 The Green Revolution introduced fertilizers, pesticides, and improved seeds into the third world and was subsequently applauded by world leaders as being a major success. At the time, the revolution did provide food for countries such as India, which suffered a major food shortage. International Agricultural Research Institutes, funded largely by the US government, created genetically modified seeds to be drought-resistant, disease-resistant, and highly productive. These seeds are sterile and protected by patents. Hence, they are scarce and expensive and their availability is not guaranteed. As a consequence, poor farmers, according to Scharper and Cunningham (2007), are subjected to a sort of bioserfdom. Patented seeds are accompanied by technological fences, in the sense that genetically modified seeds are often bred to be enhanced by fertilizers and pesticides that are expensive for village farmers to purchase. Shiva (2013) further argued that the green revolution’s use of chemicals and monoculture has resulted in negative environmental and social impacts, including water shortage, vulnerability to pests, diseases such as cancer, and violent conflicts and further social marginalization. The cost of farming for small subsistence farmers has skyrocketed, resulting in high rates of suicide in the northern state of Punjab (Chaba, 2019). In order to survive, many subsistence farmers form commons and collect and share traditional seeds that have been growing in their environment for centuries. Traditional, seed-sharing commons have been successful in helping subsistence farmers in India survive (Bollier, 2014; Shiva, 2013, 2020). Further, seed-sharing ensures biodiversity and genetic complexity. The hundreds of community seed banks in India, for example, reinstate farmer’s self-reliance, sustainable agriculture, the intellectual rights of farming communities and farmers, as well and provide non-sterile seeds that are not dependant upon pesticides and fertilizers (Shiva, 2020).

Commodities Consensus Argentinian Professor Maristella Svampa (2013) contended that Latin America is suffering from what she called the “commodities consensus” in which global powers seek massive amounts of natural resources, typically through land grabs, which leads to their over-exploitation as well as deprivation for millions of peasants. Svampa said that all Latin American governments support this strategy because they see no other alternative to development than capitalism and thus manifest what she calls an ideology of resignation. As she explained, “Many indigenous movements and struggles have fought against this consensus, and many groups are forming alternative communities” (n.p.).

Enclosure of the Knowledge Commons A number of legal scholars and commons activists have highlighted the enclosure of knowledge through patents and trademarks as a destructive trend that is limiting innovation. In order to provide an incentive for research and creativity, the Constitution sets the stage for intellectual property rights in the United States.

36    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 grants to Congress the power “to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” However, according to several legal scholars, recent interpretations and laws regarding intellectual property rights have been expanded and interpreted in ways anathema to the original intent in the Constitution. According to the commons literature, countries in the West expanded the enclosure of knowledge following World War II. Enclosure was extended during Reagan’s presidency with the privatization of government information. Further, universities also started turning over their journal publishing to private firms, resulting in soaring journal costs. Increased cost along with licensing restrictions meant that neither individuals nor libraries could afford as many journals as they may have thought necessary nor were they allowed to borrow them through interlibrary loan. In the 1990s, mergers of publishing corporations further restricted access through monopolistic pricing (Kranich, 2011). Congress further enclosed knowledge through the passage of several laws that extended the validity of copyrights and restricted the downloading and sharing of information on the Internet. The terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 provided justification to further enclose information that the government deemed sensitive. Words and phrases are being increasingly trademarked so that if people utter certain phrases or use certain words, they are in violation of the law. McDonalds, for example, owns 131 words and phrases including “Black History Makers of Tomorrow,” “America’s Favorite Fries,” and “Healthy Growing Up” (Bollier, 2013). Legal scholar James Boyle pointed out the irony that flag burning is now protected by the Constitution whereas no one dares use the names of commercial icons such as the Golden Arches, Mickey Mouse, or the Taco Bell Chihuahua, which have become venerable objects under the law (Bollier, 2003, 2013). Such trademarking that claims proprietary control of public facts and words tends to shut down creativity and discussion because people need to tread lightly and limit their vocabularies and symbols for fear of violating the law (Bollier, 2014). Patents that enclose scientific research findings impede future scientific research by limiting access to knowledge and raising the cost of information (Bollier, 2013). For example, intellectual property scholars J.H. Reichman and Pamela Samuelson pointed out that the cost to access the data bank containing the Landsat satellite images that are used to map and monitor terrestrial ecosystems increased from $400 to $4,400 per image after it was privatized. (Bollier, 2013, n.p.) Hess and Ostrom (2007) coined the term dueling revolutions to describe the battle between enclosing the scientific information commons and increased information sharing, catalyzed by globalization combined with information technology. The capture of information by information technology transformed that information from a public good to a commons at the same time facilitating its enclosure. New copyright laws also allow proprietary information to monopolize markets and tarnish the reasonably priced and ease of access of the Internet (Bollier, 2013, 2014). Bollier (2013) called this the rise of a copyright police state because,

The Second Enclosure Movement    37 as he pointed out, software technologies are being designed so that copyright holders can track who accesses their digital works. Digital rights management collects information on consumer usage to design marketing strategies or sell to third parties as well as to institute discriminatory pricing for different market segments. Bollier (2013) contended that geolocation technology can be used not only for individually targeted marketing but also for political control. Intellectual resources are non-rival goods, unlike natural resources, meaning that when one individual engages in knowledge creation and produces a body of knowledge, this does not diminish other people doing likewise. Many scholars argued that knowledge commons are created and regenerated through social exchange and that knowledge beneficial to society at large is enhanced by sharing it openly and freely. Sharing adds to the common pool of knowledge and stimulates reflection upon and enhancement of that pool. Knowledge commons are hence “both non-subtractive and generative” (Nonini, 2007, p. 7). Enclosing them is harmful to the good of society. Copyright scholar James Boyle (2007) penned that we are in the midst of a “second enclosure movement,” the first being the English enclosure movement discussed in Chapter 1. Technology has speeded up this enclosure (Bollier, 2013, 2014). Boyle (2007) quoted Chief Justice Brandeis’s 1918 statement to illustrate how far the United States has veered from earlier principles. Brandeis argued that the general rule of law is that the noblest of human productions – knowledge, truths ascertained, conceptions, and ideas – become, after voluntary communication to others, free as the air to common use. (p. 20) In fact, as Boyle said, protection of the commons was a major goal of intellectual property law. Yet, Boyle (2007) illustrated that patents have been extended to cover ideas that 20 years ago all scholars would have conceived as unpatentable. Patents have also been extended to facts that are the foundation of further innovation and knowledge creation.

Rise of the Anticommons A group of scholars has given rise to the “anticommons,” which argues that “when too many people own pieces of one thing, nobody can use it” (Heller, 2019, p. 63). In other words, too much ownership leads to underuse because “cooperation breaks down, wealth disappears, and everybody loses” (Heller, 2019, p. 63). Patents belong to the anticommons because they create underuse of knowledge that should be available to everyone to expand creativity and knowledge building.

Globalization and the Expansion of Intellectual Property Rights The expanded enclosure of intellectual property, much scorned by many commoners, was catalyzed to some extent by globalization and increased global competition threatening the profits of US industries, especially the pharmaceutical

38    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons and chemical industries, the computer and software industry, and the entertainment industry (Ostergard, 2003). Lobbying by these industries resulted in enhanced laws protecting intellectual property both in countries of origin and also in developing countries via aggressive foreign policy negotiations. One of the major policy objectives of the US Department of State is negotiating copyright laws with countries around the world to protect American products, especially music and movies that can be easily pirated and sold at affordable local prices. The enclosure of academic journals has stimulated discussions and action by individuals to search for alternative, less costly, and more accessible ways to publish articles and books. Open-access journals have begun to proliferate along with self-publishing milieus that are increasingly accepted as legitimate academic publishing arenas. There are currently over 2,000 such journals. Some of the remaining elite academic publishing houses have tried to enter the open-access movement, however, at a large cost. Wiley, for example, a major academic publisher, offers authors an open-access publishing option, but at the cost of $3,000. A number of scholars have highlighted the increasing questionability of research findings published in journals owned by corporations in addition to excessive access costs resulting from enclosing academic journals. Some scholars have perceived that corporations are paying researchers to produce findings that support their agendas and that the results of many of the research studies in corporate-owned journals are therefore not always reliable (Washburn, 2007). Open-access journals possibly provide a forum where legitimate findings can be published to maintain the integrity of scientific research.

Neoliberalism and Enclosure of Public Property and the Commons Rifkin (2014) cited the 1979 Supreme Court case filed by General Electric to seek a patent for a genetically engineered microorganism designed to consume oil spills on the ocean. Although the US Patent Office had refused to grant a patent on the basis of the argument that living things are not patentable according to US law, the Supreme Court granted the patent to this first genetically engineered organism. As Rifkin (2014) illustrated, biotech companies, such as Genentech, became hugely profitable and sought out living organisms to genetically modify and patent. In 1987, the US Patent Office reversed its policy and allowed the patenting of “multicellular living organisms, including animals” (Rifkin, 2014, p. 166). Despite the efforts of groups such as the Foundation on Economic Trends (FOET), that, in 1995, amassed a coalition of more than 200 religious leaders in the United States to fight the patenting of animal and human genes, tissues, organisms, such patenting has continued (Rifkin, 2014).

Foreclosure of the Future Brigstocke (2016) argued that the temporal commons should be attached to the spatial commons. Time has been commodified and priced through “clock time” in the neoliberal capitalist labor force. Privatization and commodification are

The Second Enclosure Movement    39 “foreclosing” the future by the catastrophic impact of climate change, environmental destruction, unhealthy food, making us captives of debt and increased inequality and other negative actions. Further, as Brigstocke (2016) pointed out: …the temporal commons are being enclosed through logics of efficiency that replace collective, shared time with privatised, individualised, and commodified time. One of the fundamental mechanisms through which the temporal commons are foreclosed is through the market’s privatisation of time (making all time available for transactions; valuing time only for its transaction potential; ignoring the quality of time). (p. 153) Brigstocke contrasted “clock time” with the commons time which is shared in plenitude and abundance.

Ethical Arguments Against Enclosure Enclosure indicates private property and capital: it seems to promise both individual ownership and social productivity, but in fact the concept of enclosure is inseparable from terror and the destruction of independence and community. (Peter Linebaugh, 2014) Commons scholars and activists have advanced a number of ethical arguments against enclosure and the monetization and commodification of resources, services, and actions that traditionally have been non-monetized or advertised to be free. Arguments against “market triumphalism” (Sandel, 2013) can be segregated into the following categories: “inalienable attributes of living persons” (Nonini, 2007, p. 8); gifts of nature for human benefit and essential for survival; democratic values of equality; values of the redistribution of the wealth; values that uphold rather than corrupt the human spirit; and values of community responsibility and sharing. As Sandel (2013) wrote, marketization changes the nature of a thing by embedding its value in its price rather than in any higher ethical standard related to fairness or inherent goodness. The counter-argument generally employed against Sandel and others who argue against excessive marketization is the “freedom of choice mantra” that has magnified along with the marketization process. Critics of the enclosure of “species commons” employ “the inalienable attributes of living persons” argument to argue against commodification of body parts, embryos, human trafficking, child adoption, and laboratory-derived and modified human gene sequences. Commoners have argued that such attributes are not fungible and their separation from a person or the commodification of a person results in irrevocable injury (Nonini, 2007). Further, taxpayers are subsidizing much of the research by scientists, universities, and corporations while the profits from the findings and inventions, protected by patents, are distributed only to a small group of individuals or stockholders. Protecting the creativity of individuals and companies through patents is easier to justify than enclosing commodities such as pharmaceuticals that are designed to enhance the welfare of people. Patenting medicines needed to fight

40    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons the AIDS epidemic in Africa caused high prices for treatment, prices that were borne by African governments or American taxpayers who funded medicines sent through the US Agency for International Development. The high prices created a barrier to treatment for vast numbers of patients in Africa and catalyzed protests both in the United States and in Africa that eventually resulted in the reduction of prices and ultimately in the use of lower-cost generic brands (Ostergard, 2003). Open access to knowledge is generally justified by reference to shared human progress and the importance of building upon the common knowledge base in order to be able to advance science, technology, treatment options, and the general enhancement of life for people around the world. In addition, sharing of ideas often increases the value of these ideas to their authors (Hardt, 2013). Furthermore, arguments also occasionally refer to the right for access to gifts of nature, naturally endowed to humankind, and hence of equal benefit to all, not only the elite few.

Increasing Enclosure of the Internet Both the government and the market are increasingly enclosing the Internet. Many countries have historically enclosed web sites that encourage critique of the government or the formation of politically active communities. Recently, Internet search companies, such as Google, Yahoo, and Facebook have been exposed as providing personal information to both the government and corporations, revelations that threaten the use of the Internet to form commons that could promote social change or serve as a platform to critique the government. Furthermore, Internet providers are developing tiered systems such that individuals and companies can pay extra for faster Internet service. This policy, some have argued, may potentially disenfranchise those who are unable to pay the additional costs because the slower service may prevent them from undertaking certain actions online. Such a policy further reinforces the inequality in society and the fact that those who cannot pay are increasingly enclosed from access to products and services that initially had been offered to everyone. The above concerns regarding the freedom and cost to access the Internet illustrate a challenge the commons faces when co-existing with the market and the state. The public has identified the Internet as a commons and the majority of users determined that it is a democracy-building milieu that should be shared openly and freely. However, the Internet is also shared with the market and the state and, naturally, they will employ it to achieve their own purposes. Profit-making corporations provide Internet access and employ it as a key platform for marketing. In fact, a major function of the Internet is serving as a marketplace.

The Digital Divide Given the fact that so much has been written about the Internet as a liberating commons and as a possible vehicle for a participatory democracy, the digital divide is cause for concern and is a form of enclosure. The digital divide is often discussed in three categories. The global divide refers to the fact that industrial

The Second Enclosure Movement    41 countries have a distinct advantage over developing countries in terms of their ability to access the Internet and other digital technologies. The social divide refers to the differential access of the rich and poor within all countries. The democratic divide “signifies the difference between those who do, and do not, use the panoply of digital resources to engage, mobilize, and participate in public life” (Norris, 2001, p. 4). Enclosure of commons caused by socio-economic privilege or lack of it as well as feelings of exclusion are serious social justice issues that need to be addressed alongside the issue of commodification of commons. As Bollier emphasized (2014), enclosures are attacks on communities and their practices of commoning. Their primary goal may be the seizure of resources, but they also seek to impose a “regime change” on people. Enclosures convert a system of collective management and social mutuality into a market order that privileges private ownership, prices, market relationships and consumerism. The goal is to treat people as individuals and consumers, not as communities with shared, long-term, nonmarket interests. (p. 40)

The Battle Against Enclosure Groups of citizens around the world continue to battle against various kinds of enclosure. For example, Rifkin’s FOET coordinated the efforts of 250 diverse organizations from 50 countries at the 2002 World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, to support the Treaty to Share the Genetic Commons (Rifkin, 2014). The Treaty proclaimed that the earth’s gene pool is a global commons that must be preserved and respected and collectively managed and should not be claimed “as commercially negotiable genetic information or intellectual property by governments, commercial enterprises, or other institutions or individuals” (Rifkin, 2014, p. 168). The Global Crop Diversity Trust erected an underground vault on the island of Svalbard, Norway to store thousands of seeds for use by future generations (Rifkin, 2014). Young scientists are increasingly publishing papers that argue for the open access to genetic materials and their management by commons, in opposition to their enclosure by profit-making enterprises (Rifkin, 2014). The Second Enclosure contributed to the rise of the commons as a focus of interest, blending with other causes stemming from the stress of living under the neoliberal capitalist system as well as theoretical explanations regarding the nature of capital. These reasons along with others for the increased interest in the commons will be discussed in the following chapter.

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Chapter 4

Reasons for the Rise of the Commons Several factors explain why the commons has emerged as an increasingly important phenomenon in contemporary society and why an increasing number of phenomena have been labeled as commons. These factors include consciousness-raising about environmental degradation and climate change; the commodification and enclosure of many aspects of life; the perceived stranglehold of the neoliberal model of capitalism; the corporate emphasis on profit above any other metric of value; the nature of jobs and the labor market and the groups of individuals who have been enclosed from meaningful work; the Internet, which has provided a vehicle for expression and the hope of more actively participating in a deliberative democracy; local social and protest movements; growing awareness of crisis and threat to survival caused by climate change; instability of the global financial system; increased inter-nation tensions, among other potential threats. At the same time, a number of researchers have published studies illustrating that humans are by nature cooperative as much as if not more than competitive (Benkler, 2011). These studies have threatened to topple the fundamental economic paradigm of humans as maximizers of their own benefits at the expense of benefits to the group. Paradigms to replace homo economicus were proposed such as homo cooperantus, among others. Social values of cooperation and sharing began to permeate large segments of society, especially the millennial generation.

Identifying Phenomena as Commons In her extensive study of the emergence of the new commons, Hess (2008) identified six common entry points that help to explain why an increasing number of phenomena have been labeled “commons.” These include: (1) the need to protect a resource from enclosure, privatization, or commodification; (2) the observation or action of peer production and mass collaboration primarily in electronic media; (3) evidence of new types of tragedies of the commons; (4) the desire to build civic education and commons-like thinking; (5) identification of new or evolving types of commons within traditional commons; and (6) rediscovery of the commons. (p. 6) Proleptic Leadership on the Commons: Ushering in a New Global Order, 43–59 Copyright © 2020 by Emerald Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved doi:10.1108/978-1-83867-799-220201006

44    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons Hess wrote that often the development of a new technology leads to the enclosure of a resource heretofore common and accessible, such as space, the deep seas, or knowledge. People respond by laying claim to the resource as a commons in order to continue to access it and to assure that it is managed sustainably. As has been shown, the development of the Internet and other communication technologies led to the recognition that electronic media is a commons. Corporations have also recognized this and attempted to enclose this media, leading many scholars to initiate action to preserve access. The recognition that democracy is eroding has led many, such as Peter Levine (2003, 2007a, 2007b, 2013), to identify public places to practice participatory democracy as commons in order for the public to have some degree of control over policy decisions made by the government. Hess (2008) argued that the recognition by the public that many resources are unmanaged and are leading to “tragedies” has also led people to identify these as commons in order to gain some control over them and manage them more appropriately.

The Environmental Awakening The environmental awakening and subsequent environmental movement and increasing concern regarding environmental destruction and health risks caused by irresponsible corporations raised many people’s awareness of the need for the public to play a stronger role in managing common resources. Continued enclosure and commodification of commons by corporations enhanced the feelings of many citizens that they were being squeezed out of access to resources they considered should be open to all through privatization and commodification, a major example being water.

Increasing Inequality and Changing Employment The increasing inequality in the United States and recognition that the people have little influence on decisions made by Congress and the perception that government and corporations are co-conspirators enhanced the belief of many citizens that a shift in the political order is necessary in order to enact a participatory democracy (Antonio, 2013). Globalization intensified that hope along with the growing concern that multinational corporations are increasingly privatizing resources and international governmental agencies are unwilling or unable to adequately manage the global commons. Income for the top 1% of the United States has jumped to 20% of all income while real wages for 80% of American workers have only trivially increased or even declined (Alperovitz, 2013). In 2019, income inequality in the US was the greatest it had been in 50 years (Chappell, 2019). The nature of work for Americans has changed dramatically over the last several decades. In addition to dramatically increasing inequality as clearly documented in Robert Reich’s 2013 documentary Inequality for All, the middle class is eroding in the United States and technology is displacing more workers than ever. Median household income and real disposable income have both declined for the last 5 years, along with the rate of homeownership. While in 2008, 53% of Americans considered themselves middle class, in 2014 only 44% did. Also in

Reasons for the Rise of the Commons    45 2014, 49% of 18–29 year olds considered themselves lower class, up from 25% in 2008. One in 10 workers fall below the poverty line. Other indicators of economic well-being have also deteriorated (Snyder, 2014). Technology, outsourcing, productivity efficiencies, self-service, and a growing temporary staffing industry have replaced the middle class. “Robots are the new middle class” (Altucher, 2013, para. 5). Computer-generated voices take care of us on the phone; sweatshop labor makes our designer clothes; drones will deliver our packages soon; we work without pay when we check ourselves out at stores; benefit-less temporary staff perform the work still requiring human-labor. Labor has become precarious with reduced union membership, temporary, insecure and low-paying jobs, at-will employment, loss of pensions, reduced government regulation, and other changes instituted by neoliberal policy (Casa-Cortes, et al., 2014). At the same time, cultural and knowledge workers clamored for less restrictions on access to information. Both types of workers formed alliances that made claims to basic education and well-being not required to be limited only to wage labor (Casa-Cortes et al., 2014). As the New York Times reported (Schwartz, 2014), consumer patterns have sharply changed in the last few years. The upper class is purchasing more expensive consumer items while the middle class is buying less. In 2012, the share of consumption expenditures for the top 5% of earners grew from 27% in 1992 to 38% in 2012; the share for the top 20% of earners grew from 53.4% to 61% during the same time whereas the share for the bottom 80% of earners declined from 46.6% to 39% (Schwartz, 2014). The post-2008 economic recovery was driven largely by the top 5% with their spending rising by 17% since 2009 compared to 1% among the other 95%. According to Jeremy Rifkin (2014), given the expansion of workerless factories and offices, virtual retailing and automated logistics and transport networks, new employment opportunities lie in the collaborative commons in fields that tend to be nonprofit and strengthen social infrastructure – education, health care, aiding the poor, environmental restoration, child care and care for the elderly, the promotion of the arts and recreation. (para. 6) Between 2001 and 2011, the number of nonprofit organizations grew by approximately 25%, from 1.3 million to 1.6 million. During the same period, profitmaking enterprises grew by .05%. Employment in non-profits exceeds 10% of the workforce in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain (Rifkin, 2014). Although Rifkin made an error by equating non-profits with the commons, he successfully illustrated the changing landscape of types of organizations dominating the labor market. Dardot and Laval (2019) wrote that humanity no longer shares a common destiny or the desire to cooperate and that this has created the tragedy of the “noncommon,” a tragedy that does not arise from humanity’s ignorance of its looming future, but arises from the fact that humanity is currently dominated by

46    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons economic groups, social classes, and political castes that refuse to yield their power and privilege and are instead trying to prolong their domination by perpetuating forms of economic warfare, blackmailing the unemployed, stoking hatred of foreigners, etc. (n.p.) In addition, many people have expressed the need “take care of themselves” in order to survive because dependence upon the market or the state has become increasingly uncertain.

Internet and the Noose of Neoliberal Capitalism The advent of the Internet and the recognition that citizens around the world can openly communicate and share information and ideas has further spurred the idea that a commons is accessible for citizen action around the world (Bollier, 2014). As Bollier elaborated, the Internet has demonstrated that cooperation and collaboration can work and scale, contrary to the “rational,” self-interested homo economicus model of human beings that economists say we are. This opens a huge new vista of alternatives to market production and consumption. (para. 2) Bollier (2013) maintained that the “noose” of neoliberal economics and policy is not only making everyday life much more difficult, but also more psychically oppressive … and open, non-commercial spaces in daily life in which people can make their own rules and have a genuine sense of autonomy and self-governance are fast-dissipating. (para. 1) Bollier viewed the commons as a space that provides some autonomy that society has eroded, as symbolized by the surge of ubiquitous commercialism, the crackdown against Occupy encampments by militarized local police forces (public assembly and dissent are now physically risky activities), and the corruption of representative democracy. (para. 1) Dardot and Laval (2019) highlighted the rise of cosmo-capitalism that dominates our lives. We live in an age of “cosmo-capitalism,” in which not only our working lives, but all our institutions, activities, and leisure time have been re-shaped and redirected by a general normative logic that is geared toward the goals and pace of capitalist accumulation. This new normative system is fueling today’s generalized

Reasons for the Rise of the Commons    47 economic warfare, underpinning the powers of market financialization, creating increasing inequality and social vulnerability for a growing majority, and accelerating democracy’s obsolescence. (p. 5)

Moral Divide In addition to being separated by a growing economic divide, people are increasingly being driven into sharply delineated moral factions. To the elite, the dollar and accumulating wealth are still the measure of success, while to others, excessive wealth is considered ethically questionable. Commoners are driven to a large extent by moral indignation, watching the elite amass ever more wealth, live selfishly, and monopolize opportunities. Character is no longer a requirement so long as corporations make money. The wastefulness of wealth is highlighted more than ever given the media and globalization. The 2012 movie Queen of Versailles is a symbol of the extremes of excessive wealth. When asked why he wanted to build the biggest house in the United States, 90,000 square feet, David Siegel answered “because I can.” Siegel laid off thousands of employees after 2008. His son explained how the company made sales by exploiting people’s desire to live like the rich, and their desire to get something free, namely the little gifts that timeshares offer for viewing their properties. The moral divide was more publicly displayed during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in the United States. A segment of the population became concerned that self-isolation, social distancing, and massive closures were overly harming the economy. They wanted to re-open the economy during the time when the coronavirus was growing exponentially and hospitals had inadequate supplies of testing kits, respirators, masks, and protective gear. Elites were publicly announcing that they and other senior citizens would be willing to sacrifice their lives for the economy. Of course, re-opening the economy would not threaten their lives but rather would ensure that they received profits from their businesses and dividends from their investments, while their workers would be exposed to the virus causing many more people to die.

Models of Humans as Cooperative Rather than Competitive The shift in the underlying economic model of humans as only self-focused, self-interested maximizers of personal gain to a model that recognizes that humans are inherently cooperative has opened up the theoretical possibility of self-­organizing, self-governing commons as an accepted model. This shift has been supported by organizational theories flattening out hierarchical organizations and stressing self-organizing organizations and participatory planning and managing approaches. Network thinking and analysis also has strengthened the notion of humans as cooperative, even in highly complex systems. Examples of successfully managed commons without state or market intervention have provided evidence for what types of governing processes and patterns are required for a commons sector to thrive.

48    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons

The Leviathan Versus the Penguin In his 2011 book The Penguin and the Leviathan: How Cooperation Triumphs over Self-Interest, legal scholar Yochai Benkler argued that the rational man underlying economic theory and based on the view that humans are only self-interested is antedated and that advances in evolutionary biology and experiments in human interaction have illustrated that humans have an innate propensity for cooperation. Benkler pointed to successful cooperative ventures such as the Linux operating system, Wikipedia, and Southwest Airlines and Toyota’s shop floor processes as notable examples. Benkler argued that people can cooperate to achieve mutual goals and that systems can be designed that foster cooperative rather than competitive behavior.

The Emergence of a Relational Ontology Many scholars began to write about the tatters of the individualistic ontology and the recognition that humans are inherently relational and that the sense of self and meaning and other categories of being human were in fact derived from relationships. Psychologist Kenneth Gergen wrote in his 2006 book Relational Being: Beyond Self and Community that we exist in a world of co-constitution. We are already emerging from relationship. We cannot step out of relationship. Even in our most private moments we are never alone … the future well-being of the planet depends significantly on the extent to which we can nourish and protect … the generative processes of relating. (n.p.)

The Flattening of Organizations and Self-Organizing Systems Organizational theory shifted its focus from bureaucratic, classical, and mechanistic management structures that emerged during the industrial revolution and the birth of the democratic capitalist state to models more appropriate to the information age (Morgan, 2006). Morgan’s Organization Images (2006), originally published in 1986 laid out the various metaphors through which scholars and practitioners viewed organizations, including machine, organism, brain, culture, political, psychic prison, flux and transformation, and domination. He argued that each metaphor was only partial and that the machine metaphor remained the most common, reflected in a bureaucratized and mechanized society that was beginning to change. In her, Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World (2006), first published in 1992, Wheatley applied quantum physics, self-organizing systems, and chaos theory to organizations as living systems thriving by the creative free-flow of information existing in a relational universe and characterized by emergent change. As she discovered: This was a world where order and change, autonomy and control were not the great opposites we thought them to be. It was a world where change and constant creation were ways of sustaining order and capacity. (n.p.)

Reasons for the Rise of the Commons    49 The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (Senge, 2010) revolutionized the field by tracing the mind of evolutionary organizations through five key practices, including (1) personal mastery; (2) awareness of our biases and mental models; (3) shared understanding of the vision; (4) team learning; and (5) and systems thinking. Laloux harkened the emergence of an organization with a higher level of consciousness that mirrored the emergence of an integral consciousness in Reinventing Organizations (2014). As evidence in the books above, in recent years, organizational theory has increasingly supported flatter organizations and self-organizing systems that recognize that all members of organizations share in decision-making and participate in planning and managing. Systems theory emerged as a common perspective through which to understand organizations. In the literature, hierarchical organizations that rely on autocratic leaders and rigid procedures, rules, and regulations have been by-and-large relegated to the past and have been replaced by organizations in which leadership is distributed throughout all levels of the organization. Participatory and team approaches have been recognized as the most efficacious approach to achieving the organizational goals while fostering shared responsibility and rewards. In practice, however, the private sector and especially governments have been slow and even resistant to adopt these approaches.

Leadership Theory Leadership theory also underwent rapid change during this period. From the “great man” theory of leadership, a carry-over from past myths and heroes and the divine right of kings, all somehow appointed and endowed from above or from nature, theory moved to trait, skills, behavioral, and situational approaches, pathgoal and leader-member exchange, transformational, authentic, servant, adaptive leadership theories, followership and team leadership (Northouse, 2018). Also explored were system, collaborative, participative, distributive, servant, leadership approaches among many others. That leadership needed to manifest certain values was identified in ethical leadership. Leadership scholars turned to the East and to Buddhism and Hinduism to seek guidance on the ideal inner world of the leader through “U Theory” (Senge, Scharmer, Jaworski, & Flowers, 2004). Theory U (Scharmer, 2016; Scharmer & Kaufer, 2013) involves listening with an open mind, an open heart, and an open will and “presencing the source” to allow the future to emerge. In his books Synchronicity: The inner path of leadership (2011) and Source: The inner path of knowledge creation (2012), Jaworski emphasized the creation of collective intelligence. This intelligence emerges by awareness enhancing practices such as meditation, an attitude of serving others, and generative dialog which taps the field of active information and brings forth new orders of insight. In addition, leadership became identified as a relational process, highlighted by Mary Uhl-Bien and Sonia Ospina (2012). As Joubert (2019) explained, relational processes, or series of such interaction processes, which are co-produced by leaders and followers engaged in various relations of “mutuality,” have now become prominent (n.p.). Uhl-Bien became well-known for her work in complexity leadership approaches, based on the recognition that systems are fundamentally

50    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons relational and that leadership emerges from the interactions of individuals within a system (Uhl-Bien, Marion, & McKelvey, 2007; Uhl-Bien & Marion, 2008). With the rise of globalization, global leadership became a critical focus. Just as in organization theory, leadership theory shifted to more group-oriented, valueladen leadership styles, global leadership attempted to assist global leaders lead within a whole-global systems perspective, making cross-border, de-territorial decisions impacting the world writ large. As Backlander (2019) pointed out, a family of leadership theories … evolved that have in common a shift in focus, from the formal leader to leadership as the generation of leadership outcomes, essentially a collective capacity for change, adaptation, and innovation. (pp. 1–2) As Kellerman (2012) pointed out: We now know that along with everything else, leadership changes. But in the last thirty, forty years changes in leadership and followership have been the result of two phenomena in particular: the first is cultural change and the second is technological change, advances in communications technologies that led to more information, greater self-expression…. (n.p.) Further, several leadership scholars identified self-leadership as the critical initial step to leading others. Leading oneself became an extension of and action component of knowing oneself. Van Zyl and Campbell (2019), for example, argued that leading for peace involves three phases, leading oneself, leading others, and leading community. Using the example of Nelson Mandela, Van Zyl (2019) argued that leading oneself involved examining one’s prejudices, use of words, attitudes, morals, and emotional intelligence, among others, as a necessary prelude to leading others, which involves building communal intelligence. As he wrote: Being a peace leader, however, comes with certain challenges (for instance, transforming yourself past negativity in order to lead with others). Practising emotional intelligence skills (lead self) will help to lead with others (social intelligence). Ultimately, the abovementioned components could lead to communal intelligence (for instance, to include everyone in the solution of a common problem…), which may give rise to everyone in the community being involved. All these factors may contribute to the attainment of peace. (n.p.)

Networks and Network Thinking The advent of network thinking derived from the Internet, also applied to social network theory, has also influenced the discourse of the commons. According to Benkler (2006), the communications network created by the Internet coupled

Reasons for the Rise of the Commons    51 with the shift from an industrial to an information society has allowed for an increasing role for individual cooperative action carried out through “nonmarket production in the information and cultural production sector, organized in a radically more decentralized pattern” (Benkler, 2006, p. 106). Benkler (2006) argued that computation with its lack of physical constraints on information productions “has made human creativity and the economics of information itself the core structuring facts in the new networked information economy” (p. 107). Benkler (2006) explored cooperative peer-to-peer production of information, knowledge, and culture. These include production systems that depend on individual action that is self-selected and decentralized, rather than hierarchically assigned. He concluded that these collective and decentralized action practices do not rely either on the price system or managerial structure for coordination and can provide platforms for widely dispersed individuals to cooperate without contractual claims or imposed managerial command systems.

Collaborative Consumption and the Sharing Economy The emergence of collaborative systems and sharing especially among the Millennials have revolutionizing to some extent the way people consume and run businesses, adding to the changing set of social values from competition to cooperation. Businesses emerged in which consumers shared spaces, a multitude of different consumer items, and vehicles. Airbnb, Landshare, Flickr, Uber, Citizendium, Neurocommons, Wikipedia, GoGet, Zip car, bike sharing, car sharing, and a multitude of other sharing businesses have emerged around the world, although many of them are not considered commons but rather typical profit-making enterprises, as will be explained further on. Botsman and Rogers (2010) identified four underlying principles of these businesses, namely, “critical mass, idling capacity, belief in the commons; and trust between strangers.” The authors pointed to the commons as critical to these businesses because the commons is based on the belief that providing value to a community enhances one’s own social value. Further, there is a network effect the more people join or use the sharing platform and each individual creates value for the others (Botsman & Rogers, 2010). Much has been written about the Millennials many of whom apparently prefer access but not necessarily ownership (Botsman & Rogers, 2010; Rifkin, 2014). This shift in values supports this evolving sharing business sector and also supports the adoption of the subjectivities of the commons. Value can be increased by being able to use consumer items without the responsibility of maintaining and storing them. Sharing consumer items is also viewed as a way to establish relationships and friendships and to build social capital. Such sharing has historically been practiced throughout the world and continues to be practiced in poor segments of the West as well as in developing countries, as a means of maximizing access to useful items that one individually cannot afford. The jury is still out on the sharing economy in terms of whether it truly reflects the values of the commons. Sociologist Juliet Schor (2014) pointed out that

52    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons although some of the for-profit sharing companies may have been marketized and are acting like capitalist corporations (Zip car, e.g., is now a sub-brand of Avis), the peer-to-peer model holds great potential “for building a social movement centered on genuine practices of sharing and cooperation in the production and consumption of goods and services” if they further democratize their ownership and governance platforms (Schor, 2014, para. 1). Schor (2014) found that many businesses in the sharing economy did not increase social interaction and social capital, that many of them maintained gender and ethnic inequality, and also promoted racism and classism. Hence, it may be too early to conclude that this economy represents a major objective and subjective change in the way individuals interact. Yet, the existence of this economy says something significant about how values are changing in society that support the values of commons and commoning. To date, capitalist markets continue to capture many of these businesses. Rifkin (2019) contended that the Sharing Economy will be the central characteristic of the Third Industrial Revolution and the first new economic system since capitalism and socialism, which he conceived of as a hybrid commons-centric system with remaining tidbits of capitalism.

Crisis and Survival Crisis and the desire to survive are powerful drivers of the commons whose creation often derives from social movements. The climate change crisis and the foreboding of the end of the earth have stimulated both social movements and commons such as self-sufficient ecovillages that are living in harmony with nature. The crisis in the global food production and distribution system has led to an international food sovereignty movement. Concern about GMOs and chemical additives during food production led to the organic food and local food movements and catalyzed community gardens and local food cooperatives, all considered commons (Calvario, 2016). La Via Campesina is an international federation of organizations dedicated to food sovereignty. Founded in 1993, the organization is a coalition of 182 organizations in 81 countries representing over 200 million farmers, advocating family farm-based sustainable agriculture as well as agrarian reform, equality and justice for farmers, all marginalized peoples, and women. The social movements and subsequent emergence of the commons in Spain and Greece, as a consequence of the extreme austerity measures imposed by European Commission, European Bank, and International Monetary Fund (IMF) – quipped “the Troika”- in order to recover the growth trajectory after the 2008 financial crisis at the expense of the populace, illustrated how commons emerge as survival strategy. Spain’s unemployment rate soared and many Spaniards were impoverished as a result of the measures. In May 2011, the “Indignados Movement,” or “15-M Movement,” or “Take the Square Movement” initiated with demonstrations on public squares throughout Spain. Eventually, the movement resulted in significant political changes, the emergence of a new political party, and municipal councils that empowered citizens to take a giant

Reasons for the Rise of the Commons    53 step toward participative democracy. The movement followed three phases as it became institutionalized: ⦁⦁ The movement phase: The political cycle was initiated by the peaceful demo-

cratic upheavals of May 15, 2011. This was a true “event” … to the extent that it catalyzed a series of mobilizations and collective experiences. ⦁⦁ The municipalist hypothesis, or political party-phase: The second moment involved organizing an “institutional strategy” (apuesta institucional), or “seizing the institutions” (tomar las instituciones). This stage was characterized by higher degrees of organization and oriented toward the creation of new political instruments: electoral platforms constituted by citizens and new political parties. ⦁⦁ The institutional phase. The third stage was characterized by governance, or the institutionalization of some part of the movement, and based on the recovery of the State as a sovereign instrument to implement politics. Barcelona became known as a commons city with a supportive mayor and many examples of functioning commons outside the market and the state. The city established Barcelona en Comú to involve citizens in government. It’s internal organization includes 15 neighborhood groups organized as self-managed assemblies open to anyone willing to participate; several thematic groups linking activists and institutions focused on key issues of the city such as urbanism and housing, health, feminism, and health; a number of technical commissions that administer supportive systems of the Comu and link with other groups. Barcelona en Comu’s executive council coordinates the work of the Comu and also oversees the assembly where decisions are made in community and key issues are decided upon and mandates issued. The austerity measure imposed by “the Troika” on Greece in return for receiving a bailout package caused extreme hardship on the country. The GDP shrank by 21% between 2010 and 2012; private consumption decreased by 23%; and unemployment increased from 7.7% to 24.4%. Due to the closing of more than 100,000 private enterprises, more than 500,000 people were unemployed and there was a 337% rise in the change of full-time contracts into flexible labor contracts (Kioupkiolis & Karyotis, 2015). A movement in the Square in Athens as well as in over 60 cities in the country led to the establishment of commons, many of which have endured, contributing to a new social imaginary. This movement and emergent commons will be discussed in Chapter 6. Some scholars and public figures even go further than survival and talk about the rise of the commons and collapse. In the documentary Collapse (occupyINFO, 2011), now deceased radical thinker Michael Rupert prognosticated that the current system is on the verge of collapse and that there will soon be a major paradigm shift. He predicted that only those who cooperate and collaborate would survive during the transition to a new paradigm, which he did not identify but which he estimated would take about 25 years. Rupert’s prophesy again raised the question regarding whether the current interest in the commons stems from a deep-seated survival instinct and that commoners somehow sense that they need

54    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons to prepare for the worse. Leadership guru Margaret Wheatley characterized the upheavals and values crises in the United States as the classic signs of the collapse of a civilization and recommended working only locally and living in communities and serving as warriors of the spirit to manifest the values of an ethical and egalitarian society (2017). Kemp (2019) also contended that collapse could occur.

Theoretical Perspectives on the Rise of the Commons Scholars provide a number of theoretical explanations for the rise of the importance of commons in political, social, and ecological discourse. Most scholars point out that the increasing enclosure of resources is a major reason for the current emphasis on commons. Marxists and autonomists explain the increasing importance of the commons in terms of the logic of capitalism and the nature of capital accumulation. These scholars emphasized that capital is currently facing a crisis and that this crisis has led capital to enclose areas not heretofore enclosed that have thus far remained the domain of the commons. At the same time, these scholars argue that the commons could be the phenomenon that allows for the transformation of society to one that fosters more equity and humanity.

Capitalism and Capital Accumulation Nonini (2007) maintained that capitalism is traversing one of its periodic crises of over accumulation combined with the reality that there has been a widespread global degradation of material life that is necessary in order to support capitalism. Although capitalism historically commodifies and encloses resources, what is distinctive about the current crisis is that this economic system has reached its global limits along with “an increasing probability of exhaustion of the recovery of resources that are undergoing continuous, intensive use” (Nonini, 2007, p. 12). The commons arrangements upon which capitalism depends have been worn down. Capitalism accumulates capital and it seeks to reinvest it. Due to the decline in demand for commodities worldwide, caused by the devaluation of labor globally, capitalism is struggling to find places to invest its huge amount of surplus capital. Financial and credit schemes have been created to stimulate global demand and to increase the ability of the middle and working class in wealthier countries to bear increased debt, but there are indications that this large accumulation of debt is destabilizing the global financial system and it may be nearing collapse. In an effort to invest all its accumulated capital, capitalism is seeking new resources to commodify and marketify and this is why enclosure and commodification of so many commons has occurred in recent years. Because such incursions into heretofore non-commodified commons have increased so dramatically, and since such commons have not heretofore been subject to market logic because “those who share them are not included on their own to capitalize them” (Nonini, 2007, p. 13), enclosure has required the collaboration of the state, often by violence. Hence, commons shared by ethnic and indigenous groups have been forcibly taken and commodified and public goods previously under state management, such as water and electricity, have also been privatized. The expansion of

Reasons for the Rise of the Commons    55 intellectual property rights and increased commodification of and illegal marketing of arms, drugs, human beings, and body parts have also represented the effort of capitalism to invest surplus capital (Nonini, 2007). Simultaneously, corporations seek to reduce their costs of production, which includes reducing the costs of labor, natural resources, and urban spaces for manufacturing plants. Cost reduction requires squeezing workers by lowering wages, initiating massive layoffs, removing pensions and health insurance plans, increasing their hours of work and reducing vacation time, and forcing them to work in unhealthy and dangerous conditions. Reductions are also effected by extracting natural resources without replenishing them, polluting the environment without remediation efforts, withholding tax payments, enclosing knowledge and cultural commons, and making it difficult for people to maintain their cultural traditions, and so on (Nonini, 2007). Capitalism is at a pivotal point as a result of the above-described process. Nonini (2007) contended that if this pivotal point does not lead to some radically different economic system that it may lead to social disorder, violence, “demographic crashes,” re-feudalization, and global scarcity. He believed that the old dilemma of socialism versus barbarism is bringing commoning to the fore along with the new dilemma, namely commons or barbarism (Nonini, 2007, p. 18). When corporations face a crisis of over accumulation, the state steps in to attempt to take actions to remediate the situation such as rationalization of resource management, planning, welfare, and so on. But these cause a political crisis and the public, recognizing the collusion between corporations and states, get involved in social movements against the social abuses such collusion causes, leading to crises in supposedly democratic states. Nonini maintained that states are increasingly becoming “oligarchic-corporate state formations” (Nonini, 2007, p. 20) that have abandoned support that will assure the survival of dependent populations and lead to the withdrawal of the social contract. Meanwhile, transnational corporations have increasingly taken on state-like functions by controlling lands and resources, hiring armies and mafias, and administering to privileged groups. International donor organizations and financial institutions help corporations by rationalizing “the capture of these resources for future corporate exploitation” (Nonini, 2007, p. 21). The resulting situation leaves commoners as the only ones who will manage the commons, Nonini (2007) concluded. As he said, People across the world who are linked to these commons are becoming increasingly aware that they themselves must act, not only to preserve their connections to the material resources that sustain their lives but also to protect and regenerate these resources as such. This is why social movements … will continue to pose major threats to corporations’ savage “business as usual” and to the oligarchic-corporate states that support them … Much is at stake. Although this new counter-movement has many elements and articulates very heterogeneous interests, one of its axial, global ideas is that of the commons. (pp. 21–22)

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Pro-Capitalist Versus Anti-Capitalist Perspectives on the Commons Caffentzis (2010) argued that the resurgence of commons thinking is the result of “a confluence of two streams from opposing perspectives” (p. 23). On the one hand, the commons was revived in the 1980s and 1990s by scholars supporting the capitalist system to help argue against neoliberalism and to propose alternative models for participating in the market. On the other hand, anti-capitalist scholars revived the commons in the same period to create a concept to deal with “the crisis of socialism, communism, and Third World nationalism” (p. 23) that questioned the wisdom of relying on the state to implement these ideologies because of the collapse of communism and the victory of neoliberal globalization. Caffentzis (2010) maintained that the commons is a convenient term to deal with the crisis of neoliberalism and socialism, communism, and nationalism. He believed that a major question of our times is whether social coordination is best accomplished by “the rules and sentiments of money and capital or by the rules and sentiments of anti-capitalist, commons organization” (p. 26). Caffentzis (2010) contended that anti-capitalist theorists and activists use the phenomenon of the commons to illustrate that “collective non-capitalist forms of organizing material life are alive and struggling throughout the world” (p. 24) as evidenced by the continuation of subsistence commons in poorer countries that make it possible for people living on sub-human wages to survive and by the rise of the new environmental and information commons. Caffentzis asserted that the crisis began in the 1970s when governments around the world realized that Keynesian economics and state socialist policies could not control social justice movements in Europe, North America, and the Third World. Neoliberal economists, according to Caffentzis, concluded that these social upheavals were due to entitlements, de-commodification of goods and services, and collectivization of natural resources. Hence, they began their political campaign to begin removing these in order to quell the demands raised by the global movements. Caffentzis pointed to key policy shifts that began the process of privatization both in the North and the South. Donors instituted policies to privatize indigenous and communal lands and resources in the South and to privatize public goods that had heretofore been managed by states, such as water, sewer, and electricity. World Bank and IMF Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) led the charge in implementing this global privatization scheme, which was carried forward in the United States and England by Reagan and Thatcher. Emphasis was also made on reducing the burgeoning population in the South through modern contraceptive methods. De-communalizing land in Africa was a major focus of these programs. Caffentzis reminded us that cooperation and communal powers are not the exclusive characteristics of commons but that capitalist labor organization has also relied on these formations. Indeed, as he pointed out, the notion of social capital and the importance of community promulgated by such theorists as Francis

Reasons for the Rise of the Commons    57 Fukuyama, comprise an essential component of capitalism, albeit perhaps not of its neoliberal manifestation. Further, apologists for capitalism, after the dot. com debacle and the Enron and Tyco scandals in the late 1990s and the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007, focused on regenerating trust in the system. International organizations such as the World Bank, recognizing the role of resource management groups has included them in their neoliberal policy proclamations, including establishing the Common Property Resource Management Group. Caffentzis (2010) pointed out. Caffentzis argued that in order to capture the labor power it needs in order for production to expand, capital has to deprive workers of alternative modes of subsistence and make them dependent upon wage labor. Hence, capital constantly tries to enclose commons and remove people’s livelihood and means of subsistence so that they enter into the capitalist machine. Many workers, realizing that their dependence can lead to their annihilation, continue to establish commons in order to provide themselves a safety net and guarantee their survival. These workers often rely on the advent of new technology to form these commons, such as the pirates of the 18th Century, the hoboes of the 19th and 20th Century, and the programmers and hackers of the free software movement who are expropriating technology and creating rules for sharing in order to undermine large software corporations. Caffentzis concluded that the confusion between pro-capitalist and anti-­ capitalist commons has created a crisis and made it more difficult to ascertain whether the commons is really a path to a more equitable socio-economic order, a tool being used to hoist up neoliberal economics, or a survival mode that commoners will rely on to survive through the upcoming collapse of the global financial system. Caffentzis saw the alliance between commons in the North with those pre-capitalist commons that have survived for thousands of years in the South as a positive move toward liberation. Caffentzis argued convincingly how even Obama’s seemingly liberal policies to provide an enhanced social safety net for the middle and lower classes who were hit hard by the 2008 Great Recession were a stop-gap measure to revive neoliberal economics. The Political Right’s efforts to maintain the reign of the neoliberal regime by cutting entitlements, continuing non-regulatory policies, and defining corporations as individuals are forcing Americans into developing commons as survival mechanisms, he concluded (2010). President Trump’s efforts to further cut entitlements and his recent 2020 threat to cut social security are putting increased pressure on Americans to cooperate to create commons as the elite continue to store more capital. The global coronavirus pandemic reaffirmed the need for Americans to form commons to survive in the face of disaster and system failure.

Social Crisis and the Precariat For many scholars, the current global financial, social, economic, and environmental crisis has created a situation of precariousness for millions around the world.

58    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons Historian Peter Linebaugh (2014) contended that the concept of the precariat has replaced the proletariat: This simply means that life for us, the common people, has become more insecure, more uncertain, and more precarious. Whether we are old or whether we are young, whether we are poor or getting by, the institutions that used to help us have disappeared and their names have become bad words, like “welfare” or “social security.” As we have learned from our experiences of Katrina or the mortgage crisis, neither government nor corporations are able to abate the situation. As the disasters accumulate we are left more and more to our own devices and find we must dig deeper. The remembered commons of old as well as the spontaneous commons of now need to be available when need arises. Who runs the workplaces anyway? (p. 10) Autonomist De Angelis agreed that capital is experiencing a social crisis caused by the global economic and financial crisis and that a shift in the governance structures is needed so that capital can accumulate and grow (2012). Capital’s crisis is caused in turn by a crisis in the two domains that capital requires and together these have created an impasse for capital. First of all, there is a crisis in the environment in that environmental resources are becoming depleted and capital needs these resources to transform them into goods. Due to the environmental movement, the costs associated with resource extraction have increased, although Trump has removed many environmental regulations that have reduced these costs. Secondly, capital needs the non-commodified world of the household to purchase commodities that it produces, but due to the economic crisis, wages have declined and work has become more precarious, causing a reduction in demand. The increased consumer demand of the elite has helped to a certain extent. De Angelis argued that if capital continues to try to grow and accumulate in this environment, social unrest will grow and reach a catastrophic level. Hence, capital needs to change its strategy so that it can grow and accumulate without creating devastation. According to De Angelis, capital needs to rely more on the commons in order to continue its necessary growth and accumulation life cycle. Capital needs “a commons fix” he maintained. At the same time, people could use this opportunity to create a new socio-economic order not driven by capital by expanding the commons. Commons, De Angelis emphasized, is not a third sector juxtaposed to the state and the market, but a new way of organizing social reproduction and achieving participatory democracy, a system that people are increasingly clamoring for. De Angelis concluded that both capital and the commons are at an impasse since capital needs the commons and the commons need to grow and fight against enclosure in order to resist and ultimately defeat capital. A frontline battle is hence possible. Capital seeks to depend upon the commons to solve social problems and to manage resources in order to survive the current crisis and hence the commons is

Reasons for the Rise of the Commons    59 used for a purpose outside of what it was designed for and inadvertently supports capital. Likewise, sustainable communities, which De Angelis called oxymoronic utopias, compete against other communities that are oppressive, and hence are “used” by capital. De Angelis (2012) argued that commons contain the powers to achieve a new social order through forming networks through which people multiply their powers and resist capital’s power over them. However, he cautioned against romanticizing the commons and creating them on the basis of certain identities, which will stifle their emancipatory potential. He advised that commons initially be based on the satisfaction of basic needs such as food, shelter, water, energy, education, and care so that commoners will no longer be dependent upon capital and the market. These commons will grow a network of commons that can take on other economic and political projects. De Angelis and Frederici pointed to the emergence of the Global Social Justice Movements as the beginning of the current dialog regarding the commons. The Global Social Justice Movements, with their organizational forms and practices of direct democracy, horizontality, participation, and inclusiveness have given rise to the commons organizational form and to communities as the unity of action, De Angelis maintained (De Angelis, 2010). Frederici (2012) pointed to enclosure in addition to the movements as reasons why the commons have become such an important phenomenon and as the potential liberating form. Enclosures, Frederici argued, have brought into focus communal relations and properties that many believed did not exist until they were threatened by neoliberalism. Enclosures also have revealed the fact that new forms of social cooperation are being produced, catalyzed largely by the Internet. The commons provides an ideological unifying concept for a more cooperative society that many people seek, Frederici maintained. Like De Angelis, Frederici argued that commoning of the material means of reproduction provides the necessary starting point for building a commons-based society and gaining autonomy from the vagaries of capitalism as well as opening up a process of self-valorization. As pointed out earlier, many commons scholars and activists focused on commoning as the distinguishing process of the commons that sets them apart from the state and the private sector and creates values in society based on cooperation, equality, and justice. What exactly is commoning, what values does it invoke, what liberatory function does it serve for commoners, how does it create an alternative way of living, and how and why does it have the power to build a commons-based society is a critical question. The next chapter will explore these critical questions.

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Part II

Commoning and the Transition to a Commons-Centric Society

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Chapter 5

Toward a Grounded Theory of Commons To focus on commoning is to shift the commons from a particular concern for the use of resources, or with the wealth of human cognitive capacity, to the lived intertwining of body, material, experience and love that inscribes an excess into life. (Kirwan, 2016, p. 15) Ostrom’s work on natural resource commons was significant in its defense of the ability of communities to manage resources outside the state and the private sector. However, her approach has been criticized for remaining within the traditional economic paradigm which is based on rational, economic subjects who act as individuals to extract resources for their own use (Akbulut, 2017; Bresnihan, 2016; Ruivenkamp & Hilton, 2017). Her approach, although including concepts such as communication and trust, was based on the assumption that people would overuse and ultimately destroy resources without accepted rules of access, usage, and exclusion and conversion of the resource into a common property regime (CPR) (Bresnihan, 2016). As time passed, identification of the commons, as seen in previous chapters, extended from natural resources and hence material commons to immaterial commons such as knowledge, culture, the urban, the digital world, peer-to-peer (P2P) production. The concepts applied by Ostrom to natural resource commons as CPRs did not always apply to the immaterial commons. These differing concepts led to a schism between those commoners who referred to scarce natural resources versus those who looked at generative and expansive immaterial commons (Bresnihan, 2016). This schism also separated the status-quo commoners, those who viewed the governance of commons as a third sector within a capitalist system, from the anti-capitalist commoners, those who looked upon the commons as the potential source of a post-capitalist, commons-centric society. This schism also made it difficult to find a definition of the commons that applied to both realms. As Bresnihan argued (2016): While the distinction between the material/natural commons and the immaterial/social commons can be analytically helpful it tends to be over-stated, obscuring the continuity and inseparability of the material and the immaterial, the natural and the social. (p. 94) Proleptic Leadership on the Commons: Ushering in a New Global Order, 63–88 Copyright © 2020 by Emerald Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved doi:10.1108/978-1-83867-799-220201008

64    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons Further, this schism between material and non-material resources led to the desire of many scholars and activists to find a concept that would unify all varieties of resources. Ostrom’s work was critical for describing how resources could be governed and shared in commons, but not how they might be used in common and hence productive of social relations and community (Fournier, 2013). All these critiques of Ostrom as well as the schism between types of commons led to the recognition that the defining concept of commons was commoning, the process of creating commons through specific social and governance relationships that separate the commons from the state and the private sector and protect the commons from the market (Akbuut, 2017; Caffentzis, 2010; De Angelis, 2007; Frederici, 2012). Commons are therefore not limited to shared forms of material or immaterial resources, but also include forms of relationships, networks, practices, and struggles that provide (varying degrees of) access to means of material and social reproduction outside the mediation of the market. (Akbulut, 2017, p. 400) Hence what makes something a commons is the process of commoning. Commoning distinguishes commons from the market or the state. This conclusion was provided early on in the discussion about the commons by historian Linebaugh (2009) who suggested that it might be more productive to think about “common” as a verb rather than as a noun: To speak of the commons as if it were a natural resource is misleading at best and dangerous at worst – the commons is an activity and, if anything, it expresses relationships in society that are inseparable from relations to nature. It might be better to keep the word as a verb, an activity, rather than as a noun, a substantive. (Linebaugh, 2009, p. 279) Further, an analysis of enclosure as the process of commodification, or turning a resource, common good, or other “thing” into a marketable product, illustrated that enclosure is a social and political process (Ferreri, 2017). This recognition illustrated that creating a commons through commoning resources, common goods, or other “things” was also a social and political process that instituted “different social relations” (Ferreri, 2017, p. 3). Commons are therefore constitutive social practices (Ferreri, 2017) and commoning creates communities and collective subjectivities, which differ from the subjectivities that underlie a market-oriented system. By positing commons as a relationship process, the diversity of the phenomenon called “commons” can be recognized and unified, including the social struggles that construct temporary commons, as well as urban commons. Further, a relational process can also account for the more-than-human commons. Further, as Kirwan argued (2016): To place the commons primarily as something that is done, rather than something that is, foregrounds the networks of relationships

Toward a Grounded Theory of Commons    65 it is done with, as well as the inter-generational circuits through which it is learned. It posits the commons as animated and composed by a being that is relational and contingent, rather than a being that simply is. Not only is the commons active and dynamic, but it is also productive of objects, experiences, memories and lives inscribed with social particularity … Commoning makes the commons, just as farming makes the farm. (p. 15)

Grounded Theory Research of the Commons I originally researched the commons in 2014 through grounded theory methodology, which undertakes the systematic generation of a multivariate conceptual theory from data (Glaser, 2007). Focusing on the phenomenon of interest, in this instance “the commons” participants were asked, “What is going on here?” (Glaser, 1998). I initially based selection criteria for participants on Bollier’s (2014) definition of a commons as a resource, a community that shares and manages it, and a social protocol that includes governance, rules of usage, and criteria for inclusion and exclusion, enriched by Menzies’ definition that commons “is a habitat of interrelationships, bound by mutuality, mutual obligation and mutual self-interest, and hopefully affinity” (Menzies, 2014, p. 88). I conducted and coded open-ended qualitative interviews of 18 participants who were members of commons1 and coded 11 online interviews and presentations of self-identified commoners.2 Per grounded theory research (Glaser, 1998, 2007), I then coded commons literature after completing the interviews and continued coding until the codes were saturated. I employed theoretical coding (Glaser, 1998), and continued coding until the core variable emerged, a variable “that accounts for the most variation in the data, the thing to which everything in the data relates … what people are working on” (Simmons, 2010, p. 28). The core variable serves as “the prime mover of the behavior in the substantive area” (Glaser, 1998, p. 124). In addition to the core variable, several theoretical codes emerged. Theoretical codes “weave the fractured story back together again … [and] give interpretive scope, broad pictures, and a new perspective” (Glaser, 1998, p. 72). Glaser (1998) argued that the most common theoretical code families include: a basic social structural process or structural condition; a basic psychological or social-psychological process; or political, cultural, historical, financial, or other similar processes. Theoretical codes are best expressed in terms of gerunds – active verbs serving as nouns – according


Participants in interviews of approximately one hour each included a food cooperative leader and member, member of the International Association for the Study of the Commons, a participant in the Occupy movement, a community garden leader, a sustainability leader, a Rastafarian, a commons blogger, a commoner farmer, a scholar of common pool resources, and eight participants of Burning man, as a focus group. 2 Online interviews and presentations totaling 36 hours that were coded included interviews and presentations of 11 commons scholars and activists.

66    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons to grounded theory because gerunds express enacted processes (Charmaz, 2006; Glaser, 1998). I recently revisited the grounded theory that emerged in 2014 by conducting more interviews and by reviewing more literature and made adjustments to the grounded theory based on the new information.

Grounded Theory of the Commons Commoning emerged from the participant interviews as the core variable of commons and hence the grounded theory of “the commons.” Three variables emerged that interact to create the process of commoning, namely supplanting a paradigm, self-protagonizing, and resonating self-and-society. The study revealed that commoning is a complex social and psychological process that both creates and motivates the creation and management of commons, at the same time providing commoners with a sense of self emancipated from the values that the market has imposed on contemporary society. Participants expressed that commoning is a social production process as well as a constellation of subjectivities. They reported that commoning is an ethical and moral process that resonates with society such that society begins to reflect a value system based on communal well-being, social justice, harmony with nature, and sustainability. Commoning builds organizational forms, productive processes, relationships with self, others, the environment, and society that emanate from the belief that humankind can live in harmony with each other and with nature and that people can fully participate in making the policies and taking the actions that impact their lives. Commoning allows us to see under the label commons at the work that people are actually engaging in, what their motivations are, what are the subjectivities underlying their actions, and what impact on the world they are having. As a social production process, commoning involves a mental shift from an individualistic stance in which an individual desires to obtain something exclusively for himself or herself to a communal stance in which individuals see the advantages to the commons and maximizing their communal well-being. This shift in subjectivities occurs from the commoning process. The emergence in my research of commoning as the core variable and hence the grounded theory of commons is reinforced in the literature, namely that commons are enacted through commoning (Amin & Howell, 2016; Fournier, 2013), which is an “active living process – a verb rather than a noun” (Bollier & Helfrich, 2015, n.p.) and, as an ongoing social process, cannot be defined as a static form. Commoning is a relational process that generally but not always includes negotiating access, use, benefit, care, responsibility, and distribution of benefits and creates any kind of commons, including knowledge, cultural, biophysical, or social commons of various scales (Amin & Howell, 2016). Commoning creates commons, a social form, a social process comprised of a web of relationships subject to rules which can include open access (Euler, 2018). As Euler argued, “the social form is what gives the matter its specific way of being (and becoming)” (Euler, 2018, p. 12). In other words, commons cannot exist without commoning (Linebaugh, 2009).

Toward a Grounded Theory of Commons    67 Sub-Variables Comprising Commoning Commoning is about complex and historically specific processes through which representations, practices and values intersect in circumscribing what is to be shared and how in a specific society. (Stavrides, 2016) Commoning involves so much idiosyncratic creativity, improvisation, situational choices, and dynamic evolution that it can only be understood as aliveness. (Bollier & Helfrich, 2015, n.p.) Commoning, as discussed by study participants, is comprised of four sub-variables that together explain the process of commoning, namely, supplanting a paradigm, self-protagonizing, resonating self-and-society, and transforming. Supplanting a paradigm is a sociological process that explains what the process of commoning creates in the world, namely, what type of organization, governance processes, relationships, networks, productive processes, values, and so on. Self-protagonizing is a psychological process that explains the subjectivities of commoners, including their concept of self, their orientation to the world and others, their deeply held values, their motivation and benefits from participating in commoning, and other subjectivities. Resonating self-and-society is a social-psychological process that explains commoners’ attitudes toward and stance regarding how their actions impact society and how they live as a result. Transforming is a political process through which commoning pushes a transformation of the socio-economic system toward one that manifests the values of commoning. Each of these four sub-variables is, in turn, comprised of a number of sub-variables (Table 1).

Supplanting a Paradigm And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. (Acts 4:24) Commoning turns detritus into a social humus in which new ideas can flourish into new organizational practices and bloom with new wealth. (De Angelis, 2017a, p. 233) Commoning involves supplanting a paradigm. Through commoning, commoners are supplanting the paradigm dictated by the market that commodifies things and employs the metric of price as their determinant of value. Commoning supplants the paradigm that dictates that things – whether produced or captured – should become commodities and sold in the market. Commoning replaces competition with cooperation as the core driving force of social production and acts on the foundations of community as opposed to individual choice. Commoning puts into place a paradigm in which the central value is long-term communal wellbeing and sustainability. Such well-being may be defined differently in different commons. Sustainability is generally defined as living in such a way as to provide

68    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons Table 1.  The Processes, Sub-variables, and Dimensions of Commoning. Process



Social: Objective Supplanting a paradigm: actions-in-theReplacing the market paradigm based world on maximizing self-gain and measuring value by price with one in which community welfare and sustainability are the goals

Self-organizing, Self-governing, Democratizing, Collaborating, Sharing, Localizing, Trans-localizing

Psychological: Subjectivities

Self-protagonizing: Creating a life narrative in which one plays a key role and feels that one has accomplished something that emerged from deep within oneself

We-ing, De-commodifying, Self-provisioning, Reverencing, Eco-synergizing, Caring


Resonating self-and-society: Living mindfully knowing that one’s actions are creating a society and environment reflecting one’s values

Prototyping, Visioning, Living purposefully, Co-creating


Transforming Actively working to change the socioeconomic system to reflect the values of commoning

Protesting, Prefiguring Languaging, Federalizing, Lobbying, Deal making

sufficient resources for and to assure the well-being of future generations. Commoning involves living mindfully with the question “What kind of world do I want to leave for my children and grandchildren and how can I live now to create such a world?” Through the process of commoning, commoners create commons that are self-organizing and self-governing and that facilitate the processes of democratizing, collaborating, sharing, localizing, and trans-localizing. Commoning supplants the market paradigm regardless of whether commoners believe that commons can co-exist with some form of capitalism; whether they are seeking a yet to-be-defined post-capitalist society; or whether they are Marxist, autonomist, anarchist, communist, “mindful conservatives” (Bowers, 2006), or other. The extent of this process of paradigm supplanting, of course, differs according to various underlying ideologies. For commoners content with or resigned to the capitalist system, commoners supplant the market paradigm in small, isolated ways, without disrupting the overall socio-economic order. They believe that commons are a viable sector that can exist alongside the market and the state. In this case, resources previously managed by the state or the market are managed by communities as commons, or commons are created to manage new resources.

Toward a Grounded Theory of Commons    69 For some of these commoners, commoning provides an escape from the logic of the market and a sense of autonomy and integrity. Through commoning, commoners can provide for their subsistence, manage and protect resources essential to the well-being of the society at large, serve to ensure the open distribution of gifted resources, share their creative projects, and guarantee the continuation of traditions and practices that the market has deemed to be unprofitable. Other commoners expand the paradigm supplanting to the transformation of the current capitalist system to another socio-economic order, yet to be defined, but organized according to the logic and imaginary of the commons. Two closely related dimensions of supplanting a paradigm are the variables self-organizing and self-governing. By commoning, commoners self-organize their commons around a resource or commonwealth, idea, service, or space that they share by working out the details of common usage and inclusion and exclusion, often but not always by sharing leadership roles and by collaboratively defining the commons’ structure and processes. These may emerge and shift. Commoners also design commons that are self-governed without command-and-control structures. Any structures are generally horizontal. Self-governed commons thrive because of trust and mutual respect, and responsibilities are assumed without being necessarily assigned. Commoners contribute and assume responsibilities for the good of the community. They make decisions collaboratively and democratically. Burning Man is a clear example of a self-organizing commons. Study participants who call themselves “Burners,” because they attend Burning Man annually and participate in a global Burner Without Walls community throughout the year, explained that Black Rock City in the Nevada desert seems to “simply appear,” organize, and function as the result of a massive self-organizing process. Over 65,000 people, many of whom are first-time Burners, pour into the scorching desert, establish large camps or simply individual campsites, and live together, managing the City virtually spontaneously, disappearing without a trace one week later. Besides the Rangers, who walk the city to assure that things are running smoothly, the various roles required to manage the Black Rock City are not assigned ahead of time but emerge as the city gets built and Burners assume functions that they see are required. Various camps comprise sub-commons and these interact to share the resources of the city. Burners in the study focus group admitted that the selforganizing process is much like magic, with people reading verbal and nonverbal cues, and acting to maintain the functioning and equilibrium of the city. Participants who have participated in Occupy or other social justice movements told a similar story of how the camps self-organized and how people adopted roles that they felt were supportive of the functioning of the community. In the case of these movements, the threat of attack by the police is always an imminent danger and this also serves to heighten the desire of participants to play roles essential to the operation and safety of the community, especially when children are living there. Commons are self-governing in the sense of establishing their own approach to management, use, and exclusion. Autonomy is closely associated with selfgovernance, according to study participants. Commoners perceive that commons are autonomous from the logic of both the market and the state. Inherent in

70    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons the concept of self-governance is the notion that participating individuals have a say in the rules governing the commons as well as in decisions regarding their operation. Study participants talked a lot about the self-governance process as a process of give-and-take that may take longer than a hierarchical command-and-control organization in which leaders direct the governance process. Self-governance requires skills in bringing people together, but such a process provides an enhanced sense of accomplishment. Further, the process is guided by the overarching value of community well-being so that individuals are willing to subsume their personal gain to the community goals, while still retaining their individuality. Self-governance is also closely related to democratizing and collaborating. Regardless of the ideological perspective of commoners and commons theorists, commons are perceived as democratizing phenomena. Commoners practice deliberative and participatory democracy and all members make decisions regarding how the commons operates. Sociocracy is a commonly employed form of decision-making. Such a process has its challenges. As one participant said, “We make this happen across our differences and these differences are great.” However, she added that participatory decisions are better in the long run because more insights are brought to bear. She commented that participatory decisions are possible even with large groups of people, referring to towns in Mexico where 1,000 people come out into the central square to make decisions for the community. The Mexico experience, she said, is a model worth considering. Closely related to democratizing is collaborating. Commoners collaborate on projects of mutual benefit as part of their commons. They produce social production by means of the collaborative process. The Linux collaborative operating system provides a clear example of how collaboration produced a system of extensive social worth that facilitates a much broader global collaborative process. The study participant who participated in the social movement against genetically modified foods (GMOs) explained how members of the movement collaborated to organize their protest against Monsanto. The participant remarked about how well informed the protesters were regarding the research on GMOs and the negative health outcomes of eating GMOs. Collaboration formed around a shared concern about these negative impacts. As the knowledge of the negative impact of GMOs was disseminated and spread, so did the collaboration. Occupiers organized around their shared concern for their own health and for the health of the world and they also provided support to help fight each other’s other battles. Collaboration created a sense of solidarity, participants emphasized. Sharing is a major characteristic of supplanting a paradigm highlighted by participants. The Occupiers’ potlatch served as a ritual of sharing, a ritual that further cemented the emotional bond between members and built the trust necessary to shift from an individual to a communal perspective. Community gardens often share a portion of their harvest with food banks, participants explained. The community may build a giving garden as part of their garden and also do a light, medium, or heavy harvest on individual plots to give produce to those in need.

Toward a Grounded Theory of Commons    71 Black Rock City operates totally on sharing in place of buying and selling. In a sharing culture, things one needs seem to manifest. As a Burner said: I was walking with a woman and she suddenly said “It is really hot out here. I wish I had brought my bandana.” Out of nowhere a woman appeared with a beautiful red bandana dipped in cold water. She wrapped it around the woman’s head and disappeared just as mysteriously as she appeared. He went on the recall many similar occurrences and ended by concluding: “Burning Man has my back.” Much can be shared in a nexus of reciprocities without becoming commodities that are bought and sold, commoners insisted. Many commoners are content to have use privileges and access rather than to purchase and own things. Further, many commoners share the excess of what they produce with others, perhaps less fortunate. Sharing is a dominant cultural value. By commoning, many commoners localize and also trans-localize through networks. Many commoners focus on enhancing the local ecosystem through growing their own food or buying locally grown food, purchasing goods either made locally or made by themselves with open-access blueprints and materials. Localizing comprises an essential dimension of supplanting a paradigm because it directly challenges the market paradigm, which grows and distributes food and other commodities based on cost and potential profit above all. The Internet facilitates the commoning practice of trans-localizing through networks. Commoners, such as those that comprise the P2P commons, create global networks that bring people and their ideas together and build knowledge and creative solutions through integrating multiple perspectives. Study participants belonging to the food cooperative reported that they value localizing more than price. They defined the value of supporting local farmers and the local ecosystem as essential to their commons. They are willing to pay more for local products in order to live this value because the sense of satisfaction they receive by honoring this ecosystem is worth more to them than price. Commoning may include rituals to honor what the local ecosystem provides. Work parties in community gardens take place during planting and harvesting season to “wake up the garden and put the garden to bed” in honor of its provision. By localizing, commoners also gain more control over the quality of the food they eat and hence more control over their health and the well-being of the community. Research participants belonging to food cooperatives, community gardens, and Occupy all expressed this sentiment, acknowledging that the corporate food production and marketing system has become so motivated by price that the quality of the food is no longer an important corporate value. Further, commoners reported that they are contributing to the good of the earth by reducing emissions that contribute to climate change by the energy consumed to fuel the corporate global food production and distribution system. Commoners are experimenting with various types of communities. They are setting up time banks, work, food, and emergency response cooperatives, for example.

72    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons Some believe that such communities will be the key to surviving the crisis of global climate change and a financial system still teetering on the edge. One participant said that she envisions that smaller groups living communally and concerned less about wealth will have a greater chance of surviving after “things fall apart.” A participant referred to Occupy Sandy as the type of emergency response commons that is becoming more prevalent as the number of natural disasters increases and the response of government bureaucracies becomes increasingly sluggish and incompetent. Commoners form emergency commons to respond to the urgent needs of people and such commons are being spawned all over the world as first-responders and also as commons that warn people of potential disasters. Commoners are taking charge of helping others as state systems become increasingly clogged and out-of-touch. Commoners are supplanting a paradigm from the grassroots through building actual and virtual communities and through social production outside of the market and the state. Commoning humanizes the relationships between people. Commoning is not generally anti-capitalist for the commoners included in the study. Capitalism per se did not emerge as the enemy, but the neoliberal form of unfettered, unregulated capitalism did. For many, multinational corporations are the main source of the current crisis and the current struggle. Commoning involves supplanting the paradigm of fear that pervades a marketized society with the paradigm of love and acceptance according to participants. Participants described their commons as accepting their members across the lines of diversity and grouping that society currently imposes. As one Burner expressed: Burning Man is the way that people want the world to be and might not even know it. I had always been scared of people, judgment, things. Walking into the space, the fear was just gone. It is the fear that people live in day-to-day and there the fear is gone. A lot of silliness comes with that kind of expression. You are accepted no matter what you are, who you are. It just doesn’t matter. Commoning attempts to create something that has been lost during the process of globalization, a participant said, to explain why so many people in her community had contributed to the community garden financially and with volunteer labor, even if they did not have a garden plot. As she said: People have an attachment to the place. This is something that has been lost in the globalized world. It is lovely to see all the flowers growing. But the garden is more than just a place to go to watch the sunset or feel good. It is an experience of attachment to the place. This attachment was cut-off. People are starved for that connection to place. The literature supports much of what participants reported regarding supplanting a paradigm. Cautioning that “turning a noun into a verb is not a little step and requires some daring” (De Angelis 2010, p. 955), De Angelis argued that commoning

Toward a Grounded Theory of Commons    73 provides “an alternative, non-commodified means to fulfill social needs … obtain social wealth and organize social production” (De Angelis, 2002, p. 1). De Angelis (2017a) stressed that since commoning is embedded in a labor practice and is collective and independent of the state, autonomy is a key characteristic, where autonomy “is a striving of communities to take things into their own hands in respect of certain material or cultural aspects of their (re)production” (p. 223). Described as “voluntary and inclusively self-organized activities and mediation of peers who aim at satisfying needs” (Euler, 2018, p. 12), commoning needs to fulfill several conditions, including needs-satisfaction and voluntariness, peers and self-organization, inclusiveness and mediation. Only then does commoning have a logic different from the logic of “commoditing,” the social practices underlying the production, exchange, and consumption of commodities (Euler, 2018, p. 12). In commoning, production, reproduction, and usage are integrated in a process Euler (2018) called “produsage.” Fournier (2013) found that the squatters’ commune Can Masdeu was creating “community and solidarity through the sharing of work, food, and knowledge” (p. 442), and was thereby producing commons through use. Relations based on “cooperation and sharing rather than private appropriate and exclusion” (Fournier, 2013, p. 442) were being developed through commoning, hence supplanting the market paradigm. Fournier (2013), like Euler, posited that production, reproduction, and use “cannot be disentangled” (p. 446). It is collective use and contributing what it needed to maintain the commons, Fournier (2013) argued, that is reciprocal among commoners in a community and perpetuates the commons. Unlike the market relationship where reciprocity only endures during the exchange, reciprocity in commoning is in perpetuity, thus establishing it as a form of life outside the market (Fournier, 2013). Ryan (2013) argued that commoning changes both the economic and social paradigm from one that is market-oriented to one which is based on care, social justice, and ecological soundness and promotes “self-organization, social inclusion and egalitarian participation, where care is taken to balance power among participants and to broaden areas of people’s lives that are based on democratic self-management” (Ryan, 2013, p. 90). Por (2012a, 2012b) pointed out that commoning refers to collective not individual action and hence supplants the market paradigm of the individual self-maximizer with one that honors collective wellbeing. De Angelis (2017a) wrote that “commoning … relies on a dance of values on the floor of community sharing” (p. 228). De Angelis (2017b) declared that commoning thus is an alternative way to make decisions and act upon those decisions to shape the future of communities without being locked into market competition and its anxieties, the blackmail of profit-drive companies and state agencies. Commoning is the way the struggle for freedom is actualized: by being free … freedom to shape, together with others, the condition of your doing, of your caring, of your commoning. freedom as auto-determination, to determine autonomously. (pp. 204–205)

74    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons Commoning supplants the paradigm of the self-maximizing homo economicus, which has been assumed in economic thinking, policy making, and many ethical theories since the advent of modernity and the reign of scientific empiricism. According to commoners, this self-maximizing model assumes and projects a flawed notion of humankind that has led to inequality, exploitation, and the deification of money as the primary metric of social and economic value. Commoning involves cooperating, collaborating to achieve a common goal, complying with group norms, and contributing to the common good. O’Boyle (2007) pushed for a requiem for homo economicus on the basis of evidence gathered from electronic communication that people are inherently networkers and social-economic agents. Anderson (2005) substituted homo sociologus, an underlying concept that emphasizes social or cultural rationality. In addition to supplanting the market paradigm, the commons is distinguished from the state. As Weber (2013) wrote, the commons is an ecological-qualitative category based on inclusion, access and community duties, whereas property and State sovereignty are economical-quantitative categories based on exclusion (produced scarcity): a rhetoric of individual-centered rights and the violent concentration of power into a few hands. (n.p.) Commoning is an essential process to renew deliberative and participatory democracy, Antonio (2013) asserted. As the process of sharing socio-cultural and natural resources, commoning extends equality in the means of participation to the populace and cultivate[s] an active, civic-minded citizenry appreciative of their ties to others and capable of sustaining a deliberative democracy that acts with an awareness of substantially increased global interdependence and lives in relative harmony with other peoples and species with which we share the in planet. (p. 20) Supplanting a paradigm involves eventually changing the nature of work and productivity. Technology will increasingly replace human labor to produce commodities and shift human labor to helping. As David Graeber (2013) postulated, Labor is virtuous if it helps others. A renegotiated definition of productivity should make it easier to reimagine the very nature of what work is … those forms of caring and helping labor that are at the very center of the crisis… (para. 24, 25)

Self-protagonizing Self-protagonizing emerged as a key dimension of commoning in my grounded theory research. Participants repeatedly expressed the view that through commoning, they create a life narrative in which they play a key role and feel that they have accomplished something that emerged from deep within themselves. They expressed the

Toward a Grounded Theory of Commons    75 view that commoning afforded them a sense of autonomy, a feeling of belonging to something important and impactful, in contrast to subordinating themselves to someone else’s project or working for wages in a market-driven organization in which they felt like a cog in the proverbial machine. Self-protagonizing includes we-ing, de-commodifying, self-provisioning, reverencing, and eco-synergizing. Self-protagonizing does not mean putting self first, nor maximizing self-gain. Rather, it expresses a certain sense of freedom to be what commoners are meant to be, to have some control over their lives, and to be in a position to influence decisions made in their communities and societies. Self-protagonizing is based on the realization that commoners are part of community, that they are part of an ecosystem, and that they can choose to live meaningful lives that positively impact community, the ecosystem, and future generations. Self-protagonizing thus includes we-ing, the mysterious process of moving from a purely “I” orientation to a communal “we.” Participants uniformly talked as “we,” rather than “I” when describing their experience in the commons. They have cemented a self-concept that was very much based on a sense of unity with others in the commons. As part of self-protagonizing, commoners spoke of de-commodifying themselves, of giving themselves a value beyond the value that the market has given them. By commoning, they live without “a price on their heads,” defining themselves by the value they offer to society and humanity. Many of them said that commoning provides them a space to create their personal value based on sharing, helping others, and contributing to a better world. Self-provisioning comprises an important dimension of self-protagonizing. Selfprovisioning is an approach to economic and social production that depends upon the cooperative labor of the commoners rather than dealing directly with the market or the state. Commoners can self-provision a number of needed resources, products, services, ideas, or spaces. In the current socio-economic order, commoners by necessity interact with the market and the state in various ways and to differing degrees but their concept of self-provisioning points out a key value of independence from reliance on the provisioning of the market or the state for survival and thriving. Self-provisioning is an important process for building commoners’ sense of self because they know they can survive without dependence on the market or state. Self-provisioning is achieved by working together in community. Self-provisioning includes social production, the coordination of the creative energy of a group of commoners in a non-hierarchical relationship to produce projects that add value to society without expecting monetary gain, but rather are generally shared. Commoning involves an attitude of reverencing and living in awe of everything that has been gifted to humankind in nature, language, culture, and knowledge. This attitude leads commoners to become stewards of these gifts and to want to gift others. Commoners feel obligated to protect nature. They feel they have a duty and owe a debt. Caring, thus, is a way of relating to both the human and non-human others. Commoning also involves eco-synergizing, that is, seeing oneself within rather than separate from the ecosystem and hence constructing a harmonious life of co-inhabiting and even co-identifying with nature and all its abundance and bounty. As one participant explained, people who hold values of sustainability believe that they are not the center of the universe. Rather, they

76    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons themselves are part of something, the natural universe. They sense that they are not the center of an economic universe either, with but live in harmony with the earth and take on good work that does not harm others or the planet. Studies of commoning in the literature highlight many of the same points made by study participants regarding the psychological process of self-­protagonizing. Commoning, as the process by which a group agrees that certain resources and/or goods, services, knowledge, space, etc. should be held in common, is also a cultural process. During the process, the commoners undergo a subjective transformation that creates a collective psychological shift into the “common” (Linebaugh, 2014). The subjective transformation into the common is based on an often-unspoken pact of mutual care as well as a particular set of values regarding ownership of and an obligation to particular resources. Commoning serves as a vehicle for self-­ valorization, for valuing oneself separate from the way capital values one and to obtaining some autonomy and control over one’s life outside the realm of the market (Uzelman, 2008). Through commoning, commoners reconnect with their internal consciousness and fundamental human need for connectedness (Mueller, 2012). Self-provisioning creates new expressions of self and community. As Mueller (2012) said, Do-it-yourself and grow-it-yourself also means finding one’s own expression in the products of one’s labor. It means setting oneself apart from a life of consuming objects of industrial production. Seeking individual expression is also a quest for new forms and places of community. (p. 430) As essential aspect of self-protagonizing is autonomy, which can be conceived of as “a striving of communities to take things into their own hands in respect of certain material or cultural aspects of their (re)production” (De Angelis, 2017a, p. 223). Autonomy is also evidenced politically in terms of being free of the values of capital. In system language autonomy is expressed in terms of collective production of useable resources as well as of social relations among the commoners with a distinct set of values (De Angelis, 2017a). Wolcher (2009) asserted that commoning entails people expressing a form of life to support their autonomy and subsistence needs … It’s about taking one’s own life into one’s own hands, and not waiting for the crumbs to drop from the king’s table. (para. 3) As Ristau (2013) pointed out: Commoning has always been a way of being … The loss of the commons robs people of their autonomy to meet basic needs for sustenance, economic security, and social connections. Thus, commoning involves taking your life into your own hands, rather than depending solely on outside forces to sell you what you need or to provide a pre-scripted path forward… (n.p.)

Toward a Grounded Theory of Commons    77 As an extension of her embedded relationship with the land, Menzies (2014) recounted that she discovered herself as subject, by implication, able to self-­ protagonize by “knowing through presence.” As she reflected, It was knowing as connection, as an implicated participant, and in the actions I took acquiring and applying that knowledge, I affirmed myself as agent of change in this place, this habitat and accountable to it too … I cultivated a sense of myself as subject … Reclaiming this immersed way of knowing is part of reclaiming the commons. (p. 92) Commoning involves the transformation from the solipsistic self to the communal self, a self that does not deny individual identity or agency but rather realizes itself through its communal involvement (Bollier & Helfrich, 2015; Por, 2012b). The subjective transformation into the common is based on an often-unspoken pact of mutual care as well as a particular set of values regarding ownership of and obligation to particular resources. Commoning draws on a network of relationships made under the expectation that we will each take care of one another and with a shared understanding that some things belong to all of us. (Ristau, 2013, para. 4) The underlying ontology of commoning is relational. We are born in relation to both humans and non-humans and our “selves” develop and evolve through these relationships. As relational subjects, we are “already caught up in a world that is intimately shared” (Bresnihan, 2016, p. 99). Bollier and Helfrich (2019) called for an “ontoshift” in the way we understand ourselves and the world from the solipsistic individual of economic theory who maximizes personal well-being to the relational individual who sees themselves and their well-being as part of a whole. Commoners way-of-being in common, a world of close interpersonal connections and independencies, then, is as a “nested-I” practicing Ubuntu rationality based on the reality that “I am because we are” (Bollier & Helfrich, 2019). As Bollier and Helfrich (2019) wrote: Embodied experience opens up a very different way of understanding how to govern people and shared resources, going well beyond cognitive, behaviorist approaches. It points to other ways of knowing – intuition, feelings, subconscious knowledge, historical experience. Just as the physical human body somehow gives rise to consciousness, so the coming together of an I and we yields a new sphere of group consciousness… (n.p.) Commoning is founded upon care and indeed care is the sentiment that holds community and even the world together. As Bresnihan (2016) wrote: The idea that care holds the world together through interweaving of all aspects of our lives returns us to the interconnectedness and

78    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons interdependency of human and non-human life. Such an understanding brings us beyond liberal notions of ethics that focus on the individual and “self-care,” to the individual as part of a human and non-human collective that must be nourished on an ongoing basis. (p. 99) Commoning includes emotional commitments and a sense of identity and changes the “inner lives and behavior of commoners” (Bollier & Helfrich, 2015, n.p.). Commoning is a transformational process that breaks down the heretofore accepted subject-object duality between humans and between humans and nature and humans and culture and body and mind. This dualism has been the hallmark of modernity and self-understanding since the Enlightenment and has supported the notion that nature exists to be expropriated for profit and even our bodies are to be exploited for material gain (Mattei, 2013, Weber, 2013, 2015). In their study of alternative food networks in China, Zhang and Barr (2018) found that commoning introduces a new “cognitive praxis” in addition to generating new subjectivities and reshaping social relationships. A “cognitive praxis” refers to a package of ideas that render both the social space and collective identity necessary for individuals to reorient their social relations and actions…. It helps to reflect, revise, and revalorize people’s sense of duty and ownership in the procurement of reliable food. (Zhang & Barr, 2018, p. 17) Commoning is a form of collective performativity that cultivates civic “we-ness,” new ways of conceptualizing and performing social roles and includes acts of mutual support, negotiation, conflict resolution, and experimentation to create systems to manage shared resources (Zhang & Barr, 2018). As a social movement formed in protest to tainted food in China, the food networks “generated new narratives and relationship infrastructures in the food regime” which enabled the emergence of a new kind of power and the articulation of new symbolic meanings for the food regimes (Zhang & Barr, 2018, p. 22). As part of provisioning, commoners engage in “mutualizing” according to Bollier and Helfrich (2019). By contributing and belonging to a group enterprise with a larger, enduring social purpose, mutualizing entitles commoners to specific individual benefits, which may not be of equal value to what they give (Bollier & Helfrich, 2019). De Angelis (2017a) stressed that provisioning also builds social relations. It is a production and social labor process at the same time. As he wrote, “…commoning is thus the recursive life activity that regenerates and develops the social relations constituting the commons…” (pp. 225–226). Commoning is embedded in a labor process according to De Angelis (2017a) and Linebaugh (2009) and hence it maintains its connection to commoning during feudal times and long before. Commoning “inheres in a particular praxis of field, upland, forest, marsh, coast … and is collective” (De Angelis, 2017a, pp. 222–223).

Toward a Grounded Theory of Commons    79 Relationships with the more-than-human are also aspects of an embodied consciousness evidenced in commoning. Kirwan, Dawney, and Brigstoke (2016) contended that an environmental commons can perhaps better be understood as a particular ecology of relation between human and non-human – to be thought of in terms of practices of sharing and sustainability rather than nature’s bounty to be cared for or squandered. (p. 15) They argued that such commoning “requires attentiveness to the aesthetic strategies through which more more-than-human commons become visible” (p. 20). They asserted that a more-than-human commons requires …care (an ambition and ability to see and to hear needs); cosmopoliticising (thinking differently around the politics of what exists) and assuming responsibility (for the necessary exclusions and otherings that come with any commoning practice). (p. 20) From her many years studying the commoners in Odisha’s forests in India, Singh (2017) concluded that commons are “affective socio-nature relations” and that practices of commoning are a means of nurturing this relationship. Singh (2017) focused on “affect,” which she argued is a pre-cognitive and transpersonal intensity that flows through and defines bodies-where bodies are not limited to human bodies…. I feel, think, and relate and therefore I become. And this becoming is necessarily a process of becoming with the many others with whom we share this planet. (p. 760) Singh contended that commoning relationships are with the “more-than-human” and include embodied relationships with nature in addition to others. Further, commons serve as a site for fostering subjectivities of “being commoners” as commons and commoners are co-constituted through intersubjective communications and affective relations and “affect is a relational force that flows between bodies and which enhances or diminishes their powers of acting” (Singh, 2017, p. 759). An ethics of care and a relational ontology emerge from these relationships and immersion in one’s total social and biophysical environment (Singh, 2017, p. 261). Tola (2015) argued that disaster capitalism that has led us to the brink of disaster has caused a profound shift in our modes of thinking about the relationship between humans and the earth, one in which the earth is no longer the source of raw materials and the background for human action but that which enables us to feel, think, and act. (p. 1) Certainly, the environmental movement that gained momentum in the 1970s with the United Nation’s establishment of Earth Day, the Worldwatch Report of

80    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons 1984, and the Bruntland 1987 Report Our Common Future expanded awareness of environmental challenges and catalyzed global action. Edwards’ The Sustainability Revolution: Portrait of a Paradigm Shift (2005) went even further and postulated “the profound spiritual links between human beings and the natural world and a deep understanding of the biological interconnection of all parts of nature, including human beings” (Edwards, 2005, p. 14). Bresnihan (2016) noted that The concept of “care” is helpful in trying to articulate the ethos underlying these situated practices of commoning. Care denotes the immediate interdependency of human and non-human life: it expresses relations between particular communities of humans and non-humans that are not fixed or prescribed in advance but are worked out according to and across a variety of different needs and interests. (p. 100) In her study of fishermen in Scotland, Nightingale (2015) noted that identity, community, and peer relationships more than rules governed the behavior of fishermen in Scotland and prevented them from over-fishing certain areas. Further, how power manifests in commoning can either produce “a resistant uncooperative subject or a variety of subjectivities that are more conducive to working collectively” (2015, n.p.). “Non-rational” elements including emotional attachments to the land and sea, community subjectivities, power relations, and embodied interactions with the commons are the most effective components of commons management and seem to control commoning behavior more than rules (Nightingale, 2015).

Resonating Self-and-Society The movement to resurrect the commons, then, is about more than conserving nature and the equivalents of village trees. Ultimately, it is about resurrecting something in ourselves. (Jonathan Rowe, 2013) Commoning creates a resonance between self and society. Commoners’ way-ofbeing and acting impact society and shape it in positive ways insofar as commoners are committed to an ethical life, social justice, and values that place the well-being of the people of the world and of the planet, above price. Commoning, according to study participants, holds the hope of ushering in a more just, egalitarian society in which people live in harmony with each other and with nature. Commoning resonates self and society, where resonance is an inexplicable attraction and visceral subliminal connection between people, people and their environment, and people and their society. Resonance invokes a sonic metaphor and … has effects as one object vibrates with another, yet the manner of impact remains almost imperceptible and magical…. Not unlike an imprint – the stamp, seal, or coin impress – resonance speaks to the mark that is left by the other, and yet expresses it in dynamic fashion. (Singh, 2018, p. 21)

Toward a Grounded Theory of Commons    81 Resonance is the state of knowing-doing-and-being that transforms the “I-you” dichotomy into the co-creative “we” relationship on a deep affective level (Curran, 2018; Escobar, 2015). Commoners are intentional about positively leaving their mark on society and changing it for the better through commoning. Commoners do not view society as a mammoth, impersonal, impenetrable beast. They view society as a set of relationships that can be influenced for the overall good of all through the commoning project. By living an ethical life, driven by one’s inner purpose, and creating resonant relationships, society can be recreated for the better, study participants insisted. Commoning entails living such a life. Commoners live mindfully, fully aware that society is a manifestation of their values. They engage in visioning, prototyping, living purposefully, and co-creating. Visioning involves actively placing before oneself a description of a society “the way it should be,” characterized by equality, justice, and peace, and believing that one can help bring this society into reality. Prototyping involves serving as an example of the ideal society, both in one’s actions, beliefs, words, and also in the systems, one creates such as the commons. Living purposefully is living ever mindful that one is creating this ideal society and co-creating this ideal in unity with other commoners of the same mindset and consciousness and purpose. A Burner study participant recounted that Black Rock City does not have all the problems of a typical society in terms of crime or violence because everyone is engaged in a creative process. As he said, This is an event where you are exposed to extremes of kindness and creativity. People have taken their ideas, no matter how small or how big they are, to fruition without any monetary expectations … whether it is building a huge structure or creating a specialized camp or whether it is bringing food or other things to share…. Whether it is handing you fresh ice cream or strawberries or inviting you to their wine bar, it is a very humbling environment…. Everything is gifted. He implied that living by being driven by the inner creative spirit, related to one’s inner purpose, along with living the Burner culture of kindness, sharing and mutual support, resonated to the whole society, creating a more positive unity. Being in authentic relationships with others results in a better life for all. As one online participant from George Por’s School of Commoning said, Commoning is being in authentic relationship with others, when communication is clear, direct, and trust-engendering. Commoning happens for the sake of creating something alive, together, taking care of, co-creating enhanced life for all. Acting from abundance rather than scarcity is a foundational way of being in the world that defines commoning. As one participant said, “If one acts out of abundance, more comes back for everybody.” In other words, such abundance resonates

82    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons in society. In turn, if we set up the societal system so that it allows people to act out of abundance, abundance resonates back to individuals. Acting from abundance creates gratefulness and this gratefulness replaces fear. Gratefulness is another foundational way of being that defines commoning. Several participants mentioned that fear prevents gratefulness and that it prevents community. Several participants also mentioned the power of “neighborliness” as an expression of commoning and as a powerful force in creating the commons and then resonating to society as a whole. The literature supports much of what emerged from interviews with study participants. Por (2012b) recognized the resonance between people and humanity – or society – as a whole and called this resonance being in touch with the “center of gravity” such that individual and collective actions are in harmony and shape and transform society in positive and productive directions. Uzelman (2008) recognized that commoning entails re-creating ourselves as distinct from the self that has been built up to reflect the market paradigm and in so doing, recreating society. Commoning shapes “psycho-symbolic space” and establishes an ethos and “way of being” that includes plenitude, mutual benefit, spiritual abundance, and is an experimental contribution toward a new social and economic paradigm (Rayner, 2012, para. 8). Commoning leads to the emergence of “productive social circuits” that “create enduring patterns of social energy that can accomplish serious work” and resemble “a magnetic field of social and moral energy” (Bollier, 2014, p. 19). Bollier and Helfrich (2015) argued, “commoning helps us develop a worldview that integrates who we are with what we do – and that has the power to shape our world” (n.p.). Weber (2015) expanded this notion: Commoning draws upon our distinct, situated identities, cultures and roots as essential elements of governance, production, law and culture. This perspective helps us grasp that we not only create the world; the world in turn shapes and creates us. So, we must attend to the larger, holistic consequences of our own world-creating capacities, to make sure that the selves that we each cultivate through our relationships and world-making are the selves that we truly wish to be and worlds we wish to live in. Or as Lau Tzu put it with such wisdom, “Be a pattern for the world.” (n.p.) Dardot and Laval (2019) asserted that people’s practices both define themselves and build society. They argued that commoners should not allow themselves to be pre-defined as particular types but rather should be open to the reality that their commoning practices will define who they are and will create the collective subject of the commons. The authors insisted on the idea that practices make people what they are. For it is on the basis of practices that we are able to account for the very development of societies as such, insofar as society is, as Marx put it, “the product of men’s reciprocal activities” (n.p.).

Toward a Grounded Theory of Commons    83 Transforming The common is about coming together and creating, equally and collectively, a new world from the old. (Dardot & Laval, 2019) Commoning involves transforming the socio-economic order when commoners are actively trying to create a post-capitalist, commons-centric society. Transforming includes protesting, prefiguring, federalizing, lobbying, deal-making, and languaging. Transforming goes beyond resonating self-and-society because it is directed outward to society rather than inward within the community and hence manifests intentional social change. Commons scholars’ and activists’ approaches to transformation of the socio-economic system will be discussed in more depth in Chapter 7. As illustrated in previous chapters, there is a close relationship between social protests and movements and the commons. In the next chapter, this relationship will be more closely described in reference to the post-austerity movements in Greece. Social movements and commons can work hand-in-hand to effect significant changes in social values and structures and can, as many commons scholars and practitioners argue, catalyze the transformation to a post-capitalist society. Protesting is considered a legitimate expression of transforming. Protesting about injustices, enclosure, and so on, and protesting in order to affect specific policy or legal changes is considered a responsibility by many commoners. Commoning is often considered as synonymous with actively seeking and living social justice. In fact, when Michel Bauwens asked commoners attending the May 22–24, 2013 Conference in Berlin, “Economics and the Common: From Seed Form to Core Paradigm” to define the term commons, many of them answered “social justice” (Bauwens & Iacomella, 2013). A major project in constructing a commoner’s sense of self in the world is standing up against injustices and working to achieve social justice. The global social justice movements and guerrilla gardening are just a couple of manifestations of protesting as an aspect of commoning. Guerrilla gardeners plant stealth gardens to beautify ugly urban spaces, to claim that unused spaces are commons, and to protest land-use policies, among other motives. One study participant recounted the incident of the yellow bulldozer that destroyed Arthur Dent’s house to build a byway in Chapter 1 of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. As she said, That’s what happens when people are not involved in something that is important to them. If something matters to you, if you do something, at least you have done your best to make sure your inaction doesn’t show up when things are measured. Protesting is a form of performativity and world-making (Kirwan et al., 2016). During protest movements, participants are remaking the world the way they consider more equitable and just. In analyzing the shack movement in South

84    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons Africa, Gibson found protesting inherent in their commoning. He contended that the aspiration of commoners has been to throw off the chains of alien governance that dispossesses them; to assert their own rules for governing themselves and resources that matter to them; and to become protagonists in their own history. (Gibson, 2015, n.p.) Prefiguring is making everyday activities political. Prefiguring in commons takes place through the embodiment of the commoners’ vision of a future society through their ongoing social practices, social relations, decision-making philosophy and culture … [which] involve collective experimentation with the production and circulation of new meanings and future-oriented social norms. (Monticelli, 2018, p. 509) Prefiguring is based on the assumption that social change can be catalyzed by grassroots efforts to model the ideal socio-economic system and that eventually, through federalizing commons, society will find itself at a tipping point and shift to the next system. Hollender (2016) argued that prefiguring protects commons from cooptation by capitalism by making non-capitalist alternatives immediately possible, even within a context of capitalist hegemony, making it possible to gradually reverse trends of individualization, dependency on capital, privatization across spheres, and the erosion of political processes. (para. 30) Prefiguring is strengthened by the radically democratic principles of open-­ endedness and pluriversality, according to Hollender (2016) by leaving options open to continual changes and different possible futures. Federalizing (Bauwens, Kostakis, & Pazaitis, 2019; Bollier & Helfrich, 2019; Dardot & Laval, 2019; De Angelis, 2017b), which will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 7, is the process of linking commons together as a transforming process until a tipping point is reached and a commons-centric society emerges. Scholars and activists disagree regarding what types of relationships with the private sector and the state need to be maintained during this process, either through a sort of lobbying or deal-making. These various relationships will be discussed in Chapter 7. Since the commons requires a new worldview, set of subjectivities, and socioeconomic order, an appropriate language is required that expresses the social and economic forms and values inherent in a commons-centric society. Words have a creative power. Bollier and Helfrich (2019) have proposed that a commons-centric world requires the deletion of many words that reflect a capitalist perspective and the addition of world reflective of the commons. Languaging the commons,

Toward a Grounded Theory of Commons    85 hence, is one important approach to changing social change. The proposed deleted and added words will be discussed in Chapter 7.

Commoning and Community Commoning creates commons and with commons, community. Commons are embedded within and productive of communities and the two cannot be separated; they co-evolve (Nightingale, 2015). In fact, commoning is the “socio-ecological adhesive that helps constitute communities” (Zhang & Barr, 2018, p. 17). Commoning enacts many different commons, often categorized as knowledge, cultural, social, and biophysical (Amin & Howell, 2016). The initiating action for commoning these various commons may be different as is the nature of the purpose for which they are organized and hence communities may exhibit different configurations while exercising similar socio-psychological processes as highlighted in the grounded theory of the commons. Commoning of resources for management and use may require communities in the same proximity whereas commoning for open access to knowledge or Internet commons may involve highly dispersed, even global communities operating through translocal space (De Angelis, 2010). These communities may not be “homogenous” in their material or cultural features and may even be comprised of individuals who have animosities in other situations.3 As Frederici pointed out (2013): Community has to be intended not as a gated reality, a grouping of people joined by exclusive interests separating them from others … but rather as a quality of relations, a principle of cooperation and of responsibility to each other and to the earth, the forests, the seas, the animals. (p. 70) Indeed, as Kioupkiolis (2017) stressed, referring to the existential philosophy of Jean-Luc Nancy, if social movements and commons are building a society of openness, plurality, creativity, freedom, justice, and equality, then community cannot force a merging of identities, which results in totalitarianism. Rather, communities must be a mélange, a dialogue of plural voices, encounters, reciprocal action open to diversity and change, a praxis of sharing, a network of singularities which touch each other without melting together. (n.p.) What holds communities together in commoning is the commitment of commoners to their shared purpose and their mutual care. The purpose pulls


Amin and Howell (2016) employed the example of the community that was commoning to protect a certain nature reserve, which was comprised of environmentalists, bird watchers, animal rights groups, and hunters, who may clash on other issues, such as hunting and gun control.

86    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons commoners together despite their differences. Trust, transparency, and relationships of care are formed as they work together to accomplish their purpose. As illustrated in previous sections of this chapter, the process of commoning itself is transformative and begins to knit the community together through shared knowledge, commitment, and subjectivities that solidify relationships. Shared interest forms the foundation of an equalitarian community. What is shared is what is produced through cooperative and ethical relationships including “the affective, the discursive, and the political between various kinds of necessarily differentiated actors or agents…. The common ground between them is always emerging through care, collaboration, altruism…” (Amin & Howell, 2016, p. 15). Community must continually be renegotiated. For this reason, Nightingale (2019) contended that communities are political, in that there is a constant negotiation regarding who and what belong to the community and of the “relationships through which everyday community affairs are organized and governed” (p. 17). These negotiations are necessary to hold the commons together. Further, these negotiations also include the more-than-human, because as Nightingale argued, commoning relations are socionatural.4 Commoning is thus central, as Nightingale (2019) noted, since as political communities, commons is not a resource or place, but rather a set of more-than-human, contingent relations-in-themaking that result in collective practices of production, exchange, and living in the world. (p. 18) As the grounded research illustrated, communities emerge from the process of commoning and self-organize such that commoners volunteer for roles that need to be fulfilled and make decisions collaboratively and develop organizations that can evolve. Hence communities created by commoning are not the typical communities we live in such as families, neighborhoods, etc., but are created with the subjectivities generated by commoning and hence are unique. Trust is key to life in community and trust builds as relationships mature. Organizational structures and processes in community are not static but evolve as commoning evolves. For example, the organizational “structure” of Cooperative Integral Catalana (CIC), an integral cooperative of over 2,000 individuals dispersed throughout Italy to “create a grassroots counterpower based on self-management, self-organization and direct democracy so that it might help overcome the generic state of human dependence on systemic structures” (Serra & Fernandez, 2015, n.p.) isnot fixed but constantly transforms. The structure and process emerge based on what the people involved need and what motivates them (Serra & Fernandez, 2015).


Nightingale (2019) employed socionatural to indicate “the complex entanglements of processes that make life possible” (p. 18), a term which does not compartmentalize the social and the environmental. She eschews the use of “socio-ecological” because that term compartmentalizes human and nature.

Toward a Grounded Theory of Commons    87 Rather than structure and processes, then, “patterns” may be a more accurate concept to describe what takes place (Bollier & Helfrich, 2019). As a self-organized system, CIC has a fractal structure which means that groups can represent the whole community in one context but serve only a small role in another. Decisions are all made by consensus which is not without power plays, emotions, and conflict typical in commoning processes (Helfrich, 2015). The fractal structure allows decision-making that is optimal for a particular group at a particular time, based on the principles of direct democracy, ecological integrity, equality in diversity, human development, team spirit, integral revolution and voluntary simplicity. (Serra & Fernandez, 2015, n.p.) Medialab-Prado, a municipal cultural center that has been defined as an incubator of commons, creates commoning communities focused on various types of projects that have included making beehives, video games, book translations, open-source software, among many diverse others. Communities of volunteers who work on these projects are blends of people with “different backgrounds (artistic, scientific, technical), levels of specialization (experts and beginners) and degrees of engagement” (Garcia, 2015, n.p.). The promoter of the project oversees the community that self-organizes and arranges the rules and protocols which determine which contributions of participants will be incorporated or rejected. The human need for community has been well documented in the literature extending back to Aristotle (Mele, 2012). Aristotle’s notion of “sociability” as the “capacity for empathizing with others and a willingness to cooperate with, and to help people in need” (Mele, 2012, p. 94) is particularly relevant to commoning, to counterbalance the concept of humans as self-maximizers that has dominated economics and western thought throughout modernity. To a large extent, commoning has resurrected the notion of sociability as a fundamental human need. As recounted in Chapter 3, legal scholar Yochai Benkler argued in The Penguin and the Leviathan: How Cooperation Triumphs over Self-Interest (2011) argued that advances in evolutionary biology and experiments in human interaction have illustrated that humans have an innate propensity for cooperation. Benkler argued that experiments have shown people can cooperate to achieve mutual goals and that systems can be designed that foster cooperative rather than competitive behavior. Community for commoners is based on a relational ontology (Bollier & Helfrich, 2013) and for many commoners this ontology is not only based on human relationships, but also on relationships with the “more-than-human” (Singh, 2017; Weber, 2015), including nature, technology, knowledge, or other non-human “beings” who are incorporated into our identity and our being-inthe-world. Bollier and Helfrich (2015) argued that different ways of knowing and being can take root from the process of commoning and communities themselves can emerge with the more-than-human, where the “more-than-human” includes animals, nature, select technology, and knowledge.

88    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons

Commoning and Values Participants in my grounded research study often spoke of their actions as “ethical” and values and ethics are often spoken about in the commoning literature. Indeed, the notion of commons and community implies ethical behavior. As noted in Chapter 1, the root word of “commons,” communis is derived from com, meaning “together” and munis, meaning “under obligation” or “duty” as well as “gift” and from com, meaning “and” and unis, meaning “one.” The dualism of duty and gift describes the two sides of the concept in its contemporary usage (Bollier, 2014). Community derives from the same Latin root and implies that we may be united not so much by what we hold in common but perhaps by what we owe, by our obligation to each other and to nature and society. Commoning is generally associated with democracy, fairness, equality, justice, and the common good and is often juxtaposed with “enclosure,” its “ugly twin,” which is associated with “unfairness, rapaciousness, and public harm” (Uzelman, 2008, p. 211). Some of the values inherent in commoning such as environmental preservation and emphasis on living sustainability rather than continual growth have emerged because of knowledge and enhanced awareness, which in turn have modified cultural standards. For example, the notion of the “virtuous person” may be changing for many individuals from the one who accumulates capital and wealth for themselves in order to pursue the rapid economic development that justified enclosure of land from the “lazy and indolent peasants” during the transformation to capitalism (Uzelman, 2008). Many commoners view the “virtuous person” as one who values contributing their gifts to benefit humankind rather than to accumulate wealth and who seeks to carve out a life in balance with nature. Degrowth or balanced growth movements thrive among commoners. Likewise, awareness of the human-environment interaction fostered by the environmental movement has modified values related to preserving rather than exploiting nature for human “progress.”

From Commons to a Commons-Centric Society This chapter has illustrated that there particular subjectivities, values, and intentions manifested in commoning that express the world views of commoners and their vision for a commons-based society. Several authors have written about the transformation of society as the knowledge era increasingly dominates production and the social imaginary. Social action theory typically views action, and hence, change as occurring and co-evolving at the individual, community, and societal levels. The universal level above the societal level is also important to incorporate into this framework. A system transformation to a commons-based society therefore requires transformation and co-evolution at all four levels. The next chapter introduces several of the broad societal-level models of change, as well as changes at the individual level of consciousness that indicate the society may be evolving toward a commons-centric configuration.

Chapter 6

Transition to a Commons-Centric Society The new commoners make up far more than a political movement. They represent a deep social transformation whose impacts are likely to be as significant and long lasting as those that catapulted society from a theological to an ideological worldview at the onset of the capitalist era. (Rifkin, 2104, p. 173) The world is shifting as information and communication have expanded global networks and concerns about climate change have catalyzed apocalyptic scenarios and movement toward green energy. The information age and digital and robotic revolutions are transforming the way work is done, the way people communicate and are globally connected, and environmental consciousness is altering the way society harvests energy. The socio-economic order is dramatically transforming and pundits are debating the forces stimulating this change and where it will lead, whether to a new form of perhaps “more conscious” capitalism with the commons as a third sector, to a post-capitalist perhaps commons-centric world order, or to collapse (Mahoney, 2020; Walsh, 2020). Seers, gurus, pundits, philosophers, historians, psychologists, and scholars of various ilk have long sketched out a teleological, march of human development, consciousness, and history and explained this march through concepts such as reason, spirit, enlightenment, material production, class, technology, human creativity, internally programed developmental stages, and many more organizing principles. While it is not the purpose of this chapter to lay out the various views of the developmental and evolutionary process, it will be useful to examine a few of the levels of the transformational process in order to locate the various explanations summarized in this chapter as well as to better observe how socio-economic change might manifest and be experienced by society and by individuals. Overarching theories of socio-economic change generally occur at the abstract universal level, where the universal is the agent of the transformational process; at the material level, where human action drives the change and creates society; and at the system level, where change emerges from complex system interactions with the system as the agent. Hegel, for example, constructed a high-level idealist explanation of history and characterized the evolutionary process of history as Spirit or the Absolute coming to know itself through reason by being conscious of its own freedom and realizing this freedom over time in the perfect Proleptic Leadership on the Commons: Ushering in a New Global Order, 89–112 Copyright © 2020 by Emerald Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved doi:10.1108/978-1-83867-799-220201009

90    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons state (Hegel, 2016). The drive to realize freedom would be dominant throughout history and reflected in the human spirit and the state. Absolute Spirit, a notion adopted by Aurobindo (1990) comes to know itself through the consciousness of humankind which evolves in a particular predetermined trajectory. In this view, consciousness transforms through ever-expanding awareness from an unconscious egotistical self through a more self-conscious less egotistical self and then toward an awareness and orientation to others eventually becoming selfless and one with the cosmos. Consciousness then becomes free of self and this freedom, according to some religions, is experienced as pure joy. On the other hand, Marx’s theory of historical materialism postulated that historical and social development derives from the means of production and class conflicts (1856/1977). Such production and conflict occur at the material level of society through human interaction over scarce resources and allocations of power. Freedom from exploitation and alienation is achieved when workers have political power and own the means of production and, in contemporary society, possibly are producers and consumers of their products. Developmental psychologists have shown that people traverse a relatively predictable path of cognitive development and sense-making. Kegan (1998) constructed five developmental stages or orders. Orders three, four, and five are the most relevant for adult sense-making. According to Kegan (1982, 1998), individuals are able to make sense of increasingly complex abstractions at each successive stage, view systematically, and eventually perceive all the interconnections and interdependences between people and systems, live more independently, and foster nurturance and affiliation. Increasing freedom is achieved as an individual becomes less defined by the ego and more defined by the world and others. All of the above theories are proleptic theories in the sense that the evolutionary paths are to some extent laid out and the future endpoint or realization of the paths is postulated. The future endpoint pulls individuals toward itself and essentially leads individuals and society from that future. The trajectory of the levels of consciousness has been developed from intensive research into several spiritual traditions. The paths elaborated by developmental psychologists such as Robert Kegan (1982, 1998) have also been subject to considerable verification so that they may be accepted with some level of certainty, although not without questioning. System theory views the complexity of spiritual, natural, and human systems as processes interacting in indeterminate ways impacting each other and transforming through emergent change (Meadows, 2008; Wheatley, 2006). The complexity of these system interactions creates chaos and freedom is experienced as the human requirement to choose and to act regardless of the chaos. While closed systems decline according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, open adaptive systems evolve toward increasing complexity. One could also argue that scientific advances in the way we understand the universe have also contributed to shifting paradigms and humankind’s consciousness. Quantum physics opened up a radical new way of perceiving the world and organizations and leadership. It revealed that relationships comprise the fundamental organizing principle of the universe and that we live in a world that coevolves in interaction with us (Wheatley, 2006). Paradoxes are normal and need to be held simultaneously while order and form are created

Transition to a Commons-Centric Society    91 not by complex controls, but by the presence of a few guiding formulas or principles repeating back on themselves through the exercise of individual freedom. The survival and growth of systems that range in size from large ecosystems down to the smallest microbial colonies are sustained by a few key principles that express the system’s overall identity…. (Wheatley, 2006, n.p.) These theories historically have competed with each other with the necessity to prove one versus the other or to choose to believe in one rather than another. However, now, in the era of “both-and” thinking, it is possible to hold all of these theories simultaneously and accept that change is happening at all these levels. This is the stance that will be taken in this chapter and the next as we examine theories and models at the universal, societal, community, and individual levels and explore what changes may have to be traversed at each of these levels in order to move forward to a post-capitalist society.

Rifkin’s Perspective Rifkin (2014, 2019) conceived of socio-economic evolution as driven by communication and energy systems. He argued that communication facilitated by the printing press and fossil fuel energy catalyzed capitalism. Industrialization required vast investments of capital and work organized vertically with top-down control. However, capitalism contains the seeds of its own destruction, Rifkin argued, because it is increasingly producing additional goods and/or services at near zero-marginal cost. The Internet has revolutionized and globalized communication and facilitated the formation of collaborative teams to create and share open-access software and many products that close the gap between producers and their products, converting producer-consumers into “prosumers.” Organizations are now largely horizontal with distributed leadership to accommodate the collaborative teams, he contended. The concern about climate change has stimulated the shift from fossil fuel to green energy and this shift has created an ecological consciousness and the recognition that humans are part of the biosphere in close relationships with the non-human, Rifkin (2014) wrote. Rifkin (2014) predicted that the collaborative commons would become the dominant economic system by 2050, with a skimpy residue of capitalism operating on the side-lines. He traced the impact of communication revolutions and renewable energy as forces of change throughout history, and in particular, from the onset of modern capitalism. The current information technology revolution and the emergence of sustainable energy continue this change-promoting phalange, Rifkin argued, and these contemporary communication and energy advances stoke the commons. Rifkin also pointed to the importance of the 3D maker movement1 that is dramatically changing the way things are produced


The maker movement is comprised of individuals who desire to make things on their own. It includes artists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and others. The 3D printer is one of the most important innovations that drives this movement.

92    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons in many domains. The maker movement posits open access and collaborative approaches also touted by the commons and comprises a major player in what Rifkin called the collaborative commons. He emphasized that the “Makers Infrastructure” (Rifkin, 2014, p. 99), which he traced back to the appropriate technology movement that began in the 1970s, also expanding upon the hackers movement born from the Internet, is fueling the zero-marginal cost phenomenon. The makers movement, Rifkin maintained (2014) has been driven by four principles: the open-source sharing of new inventions, the promotion of a collaborative learning culture, a belief in community self-sufficiency, and a commitment to sustainable production practices. But underneath the surface, an even more radical agenda is beginning to unfold, albeit undeveloped and still largely unconscious. If we were to put all the disparate pieces of the 3D printing culture together, what we begin to see is a powerful new narrative arising that could change the way civilization is organized in the twentyfirst century. (p. 99) As technology takes over an increasing amount of production and human labor becomes increasingly obsolete, social production on the commons will become the dominant organizing paradigm, Rifkin argued (2014). Consumers will become “prosumers,” those who produce and consume renewable energy, Rifkin asserted (2014, p. 135). How the world finances zero-marginal cost will determine the social and economic order, he maintained. Rifkin (2014) contended that “the Third Industrial Revolution communication/energy matrix is enabling consumers to become their own producers” (p. 173). Individuals involved in the “Free culture movement, the environmental movement, and the movement to reclaim the public commons” (Rifkin, 2014, pp. 172–173) are leading the shift in the dominant socio-economic paradigm. As they increasingly collaborate and share goods globally in commons, they disrupt capitalist markets and help to define a new narrative of humanity (Rifkin, 2014). Rifkin (2014) argued that the Communications Internet, the Energy Internet, and the Logistics Internet would comprise the Internet of Things and form the infrastructure required for a commons-based society. As Rifkin wrote: When linked together in a single interactive system – the Internet of Things – these three Internets provide a stream of Big Data on the comings and goings of society that can be accessed and shared collaboratively on an open global Commons by the whole of humanity in the pursuit of “extreme productivity” and a zero marginal cost society. (p. 195) Rifkin (2019) also argued the climate crisis is the overall defining crisis of today and that the fossil fuel economy by necessity is rapidly disappearing to be replaced by green energy by 2028. He wrote that:

Transition to a Commons-Centric Society    93 The digitalized Communications Internet is converging with a digitalized Renewable Energy Internet, powered by solar and wind electricity, and a digitalized Mobility and Logistics Internet of autonomous electric and fuel-cell vehicles powered by green energy, atop an Internet of Things (IoT) platform embedded in the commercial, residential, and industrial building stock that will transform society and the economy in the twenty-first century. (p. 16) Rifkin (2014) identified the growing social sector and proliferation of nonprofit organizations in civil society that deliver social services as the commons, which is not accurate. Many of these organizations operate as quasi-profit-making entities, managed the same way as private corporations. While their function may be social more than profit, their values are not necessarily the same as the commons, nor do typically engage in commoning. As Kioupkiolis and Karyotis (2015) pointed out, neoliberalism relies increasingly on these organizations to deliver social services since it historically cuts back on funding the social safety net. These authors distinguished the socially oriented endeavors that emerged from the post-2008 resistance movements in Greece from the non-profit organizations of the social sector by their solidarity and attempt to reconstruct social bonds and function as a “socio-political attempt at collective self-empowerment” (p. 11). As they clarified: Such a solidarity economy is antagonistic to heteronomous state politics, capitalist hierarchies and the reign of profit, as distinct from a social economy which operates as a “third sector” that complements the public (state) and private (market) economy. (p. 11)

Hardt’s and Negri’s Prspective Hardt and Negri (2009) likewise argued that the transition to a post-capitalist to a society led by the multitude will result inevitably from the process of socioeconomic evolution. With automation, information and communication will increasingly be cooperatively organized through networks. Laborers themselves are providing the means of production rather than industrial machinery and generate “biopolitical production”2 and eventually a commons-centered socioeconomic system. As Hardt and Negri (2009) argued:


Biopolitical production is the production of forms of life and productivity through the modulation of behaviors and subjectivities in networks. People work more autonomously, flexibly, and creatively to be productive. Generally, those who are involved in biopolitical production are not separated from their production, as in the industrial age. They often consume or gain subjective benefits from what they produce, which oftentimes is knowledge and relationships, instead of producing for others.

94    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons This implies that the production of knowledges, ideas, and ­communications actually occurs through forms of cooperation internal to labor and external to capital, intrinsically undermining the attempts of capital to organize enclosures and appropriate the wealth produced by labor. (n.p.) Hardt and Negri (2009) posited that the “common” (they distinguish “common” from the term “commons”3) has emerged from biopolitical production and that it contains the seeds of the demise of the capitalist system. These authors argued that biopolitical production has emerged as the information age has become digitized. The production of information, knowledge, codes, affects, products of the digital age, require social interaction, which produces the common. Biopolitical production thrives on “linguistic tools, affective tools for constructing relationships, tools for thinking, and so forth” (Hardt & Negri, 2009, p. 150). Biopolitical production produces subjectivities rather than commodities, Hardt and Negri believed. Biopolitical production is immaterial. The common is characterized by cooperation and “productive interdependence” (Hardt & Negri, 2012, p. 34) and has become the basis of social production. It is the foundation of social productivity and power. In addition, the natural common of the world is also shared. Hardt and Negri contended that the sharing of the natural common and the common produced by biopolitical production will eventually lead to a “democracy of the multitude” (2009, p. 1). The common, they state, “is becoming completely ‘internalized’” (Hardt & Negri, 2009, p. 1). They argued that this democracy of the multitude is in fact a type of non-state communism and that the common marks a huge leap forward to this ideal economic and political system. That communism necessarily emerges derives from the fact that “valorization and accumulation necessarily take on a social rather than an individual character” (Hardt & Negri, 2009, p. 150). Biopolitical production differs from industrial production in that it does not function according to the logic of scarcity that dictates that, for example, raw materials are consumed in production. Biopolitical economic growth leads to social composition and increases society’s social powers. As Hardt and Negri (2009) argued, Biopolitical production puts bios to work without consuming it. Furthermore, its product is not exclusive. When I share an idea or image with you, my capacity to think with it is not lessened; on the contrary, our exchange of ideas and images increases my capacities. And the production of affects, circuits of communication, and nodes of cooperation are immediately social and shared. (p. 150) Given the above, it becomes clearer why so many legal scholars in the United States and Europe are fighting intellectual property laws because limiting the 3

The commons, for Hardt and Negri, refers to the governance of natural resources, whereas the common refers to human creations such as knowledge, culture, language, products, art, etc.

Transition to a Commons-Centric Society    95 sharing of knowledge and information as biopolitical power, limits the possibility of growth and the increase of social powers. One can also see why many corporations might view this as a threat to their dominion. And, further, it becomes clearer, according to Hardt’s and Negri’s analysis why entrepreneurs are increasingly escaping the grip of corporations and are establishing the sharing industries in the non-formal sector outside of the realm of the formal market. Hardt and Negri (2009, 2012) maintained that biopolitical production is assuming a hegemonic position in the contemporary economy and that just as agriculture had to industrialize, adopting industry’s mechanical methods, wage relations, property regimes, and working day, industry now will have to become biopolitical and integrate ever more centrally communicative networks, intellectual and cultural circuits, the production of images and effects (p. 150). People, the biopolitical producers, will require more autonomy from both the state and the market. Biopolitical production resists enclosure by the capitalist market, according to Hardt and Negri (2012) because the production of knowledges, ideas, and communications actually occurs through forms of cooperation internal to labor and external to capital, intrinsically undermining the attempts of capital to organize enclosures and appropriate the wealth produced by labor. (Ruivenkamp & Hilton, 2017, p. 9) Consequently, autonomous work and cooperative labor provide the conditions for the liberation of the multitude.

Others’ Perspectives Zizek (2011) maintained that capitalism inevitably has to come to an end and that democracy can no longer co-exist with it. He contended that the commons needs to take care of things that neither the state nor the market has been able to handle effectively. Zizek offered four reasons why capitalism cannot be sustained much longer. First, he emphasized that capitalism only works under specific conditions, which no longer exist. These conditions assume that there is time for the market to adjust and for economies to make decisions by trial-and-error. Zizek contended that the world is at the point of catastrophe and decisions need to be made immediately. Second, private property is not appropriate for intellectual labor. The market is acting irrationally with intellectual property. His point-ofview is similar to that of the legal scholars discussed in the section of this book on enclosures. Third, Zizek also maintained that biogenetic materials should not be privatized, also a view held by commoners. Fourth, slums and other walls are defining an apartheid society as the gap between rich and poor expands and the number of excluded increases. He predicted that low-level civil wars between haves and have-nots will erupt. The state is withdrawing itself from parts of its territory, such as the slums, leaving them vulnerable to unrest. What will happen with the growing number of excluded is the biggest question of the 22nd Century, Zizek foresaw. How these antagonisms to capitalism relate to each other is a concern. Exclusion is separated from the three other conditions

96    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons discussed above. Zizek argued that the first three conditions without the last condition of exclusion do not pose a threat. Ecology becomes sustainable development. Intellectual property enclosure becomes a legal issue. Biogenetics enclosure becomes an ethical issue. But combined with the excluded, the conditions form a powder keg, he maintained. The included are threatened by the polluting excluded. In the United States, one can see this rhetoric escalating among rightwing Republicans who increasingly protest the shifting of government resources to welfare populations and in the increasingly public violent racism by police. Zizek posited that three domains of commons are emerging, the commons of culture, external commons such as the environment and shared infrastructure, and internal commons such as our biogenetic inheritance. He held that the public, the people, need to manage these. Zizek predicted that some sort of communism would eventually emerge, a communism that does not focus on property or the state. He also maintained that the new form of communism will not emerge by the state limiting the market. Zizek criticized liberalism for not focusing on the key issues facing the world and being obsessed instead with various “rights” movements. Developmentalists such as integral theorists Berge and Dawlabani perceived the overall evolutionary trajectory toward the “democratization of everything” that follows from changing modes of production (Berge, 2019; Dawlabani, 2016, 2018). The open-source movements, Berge (2019) argued, facilitated communication far beyond family and national boundaries and enacted “global consciousness.” Further, empathy within an ecological consciousness stimulated the birth of a “collective enlightenment.” A systems view of the global eco-social commons has emerged, Berge contended (2019), which removed the need for an autonomous metaphysical external agency, gave birth to a post-metaphysical framework, and empowered the collaborative collective to assume ownership of socioeconomic processes. Berge (2019) concluded that the collaborative commons seems to be growing organically via its peer-to-peer principles, changing the very ethos of what it means for a system to organize. It integrated hierarchy with heterarchy in a distributed, networked format … where organizational levels no longer evolve in a strictly linear fashion of an ever-increasing complexity of growth but via the evolution of a folded, meshed, ecological sustainability, akin to what I’ve come to call hier(an)archical synplexity. (n.p.) Dawlabani (2016, 2018) added the concept of “distributed intelligence,” which he explained is a decentralized system that follows no ideology and manifests “networked abundance.” Decrying the terms Third or Fourth Industrial Revolution, he called the capitalist disruption an “Info-dustrial Evolution.” Robotics will replace jobs, the app-using society that “becomes more intelligent” will expand, and zero-marginal cost will shift the capitalist profit-oriented system, especially as 3D manufacturing becomes a home-based business. Renewable energy will replace fossil fuel. Dawlabani (2016) explained that the end of centralized ideologies

Transition to a Commons-Centric Society    97 begin with the healthy integration of the individualistic and communal value systems, consciously absorbing each other into an intelligent network. It is more allometric and holocratic. Allometry is from the biological sciences and … preserves the high functionality of its different sectors (the specialized organs in an organism) that create innovation (specialized functions) while relying on the network for fair and equitable distribution. (n.p.) Others argued that the transition will not automatically occur but that there will be intense resistance from the capitalist system, which will try to enclose the services and products produced collaboratively and meant for open access. Such enclosure is already evidenced in the way companies have exploited the intent of the online sharing culture by commercializing the concept and creating a sort of “neo-feudal cognitive capitalism” (Papadimitropoulos, 2018, p. 568). Companies such as Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Uber, Airbnb, etc. have transformed concepts originated to provide venues for individuals to provide services online and are run like any other profit-making company as a sort of “netarchical cognitive capitalism” while other companies such as Bitcoin, Kickstarter, etc. have created anarcho- or distributive-cognitive capitalism, where everyone can behave as independent capitalists (Bauwens et al., 2019). “Data capitalism” has also emerged as online platforms “where data about individuals’ socio-demographic characteristics, tastes, political preferences are harvested through social media and commodified” (Monticelli, 2018, p. 503). In addition, some marketing campaigns and some information technologies and online platforms have appropriated the semantics and concepts from the commons in order to sell their products in what has been dubbed “commons washing” (Dulong de Rosnay, 2019). Further, many large publishing companies include an open-access option for authors, but authors have to pay several thousand dollars to publish their works open access. Likewise, what has been called “the global blockchain speculation ecosystem” and its cryptocurrencies have twisted the original intent of blockchain technology to empower and enable the self-determination of communities (Dulong de Rosnay, 2019). Several other blockchain-based initiatives, including RightMesh, Ammbr, Skycoin, Wificoin, have become profit-making platforms, in contradiction to their original opensource intent (Dulong de Rosnay, 2019). These and other examples of cognitive capitalism illustrate that the evolution from capitalism to a commons-centric society may or may not proceed automatically but will instead require a concerted effort by those committed to the values of the commons. How to common within the capitalist system remains controversial.

Consciousness, Liminality, and the Social Imaginary The above depictions of socio-economic system transformation into a commons-based society are written from an external whole system vantage point and according to assumed models of socio-economic evolution. Such a vantage inevitably depicts the process without taking into account that emergent system

98    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons change is chaotic and inevitably causes crisis and major dislocations of people, and possibly violence and destruction, even collapse and the end of civilizations (Wheatley, 2017). It is inevitable that the world will experience serious and disruptive climate events already set in motion and too late to remedy (Rifkin, 2019). The perspectives and experiences of people living through such radical transformations need to be taken into consideration also in order to understand how their actions, consciousness, and identity are impacting and interacting with the whole system, and evolving in concert with or adjusting in order to cope with the overall system changes.

Consciousness Consciousness generally refers to the various “worldviews, perceptual frameworks, organizing systems, value orientations, ‘intelligences’ or ‘memes,’ in terms of which people understand and respond to their worlds” (Prinsloo, 2012, para. 3). Consciousness evolves through hierarchical levels. The trajectory of this evolution, in general, is toward wider awareness of ourselves vis-à-vis others and the world, the transformation from being ego-centered to being eco- or world-centered and the eventual emergence of the self as cosmos-centric (Beck & Cowan, 1996; Beck, Larsen, Solonin, Viljoen, & Johns, 2018; Prinsloo, 2012; Wilber, 2000, 2014). Determining intellectual, emotional, and behavior aspects of human functioning, consciousness also determines “the inclusiveness, extensiveness, the depth and breadth by which incoming information is interpreted” (Prinsloo, 2012, para. 3). As individuals and societies move up the hierarchy, lower levels are transcended but also included so that both individuals and societies can function at several different levels in different situations and individuals in societies can also function predominately at different levels, creating pluralistic worldviews. Levels of consciousness are often depicted as colors as well as predominant values. Table 2 in this chapter summarizes many of the typical characteristics of each level. The emergence of a commons-centric society is associated with and requires a different level of consciousness than that typically associated with a capitalist system according to these theories. Whereas capitalism thrives at the orange level as shown in Table 2, commons functions at the green level at a minimum. Rifkin (2014) viewed the evolution of humanity’s consciousness and emphatic drive overtime as associated with changes in energy, communication, and logistics. As he contended: Each new communication/energy matrix also transforms human consciousness by extending the empathic drive across wider temporal and spatial domains, bringing human beings together in larger metaphoric families and more interdependent societies. (2014, p. 298) He characterized the phases of consciousness as mythological consciousness, theological consciousness, ideological consciousness, and psychological

First Tier


• Theme: “survival” • Focus on basic-instinctive reactions; subsistence needs; physical survival; physiological needs; capitalization on instincts and habits • Reactive response to the environment • Little self-awareness • Tends to be impulsive • Found among very young and old, ill, starving, traumatized

• Theme: “safety” • Associated with group dependence; tradition; avoidance of change; “us-them” orientation; tendency to maintain family/in-group bonds • Dogmatic beliefs/ideologies; the need for safety and protection; and a general fearfulness • Values group belonging and group boundaries; authority; respect; protection; obedience; familiarity, certainty, and routine; the sacred, rituals, customs • Ethnocentric, traditionalist, role-based relationships • Associated with an external locus of control • Passive learning with need for guidance • People are self-sacrificial toward in-group and antagonistic toward out-groups • Found among paternalistic culture; where elders are valued; the superstitious; those who are highly patriotic; within dogmatic religions; in enmeshed families; where there is a belief in luck, blood oaths, ancient grudges, trance dancing, family rituals, gangs, corporate “tribes” • Inherent to old “school ties,” soap operas and fanatical sports team support cultures

• Theme: “power” • Energetic, impulsive, dominant, active, achievement-driven; critical; demanding; competitive; egocentric; defensive; dominant; power-driven • Expressive; not inhibited by guilt; strive for respect and recognition; seek excitement and sensual pleasure; fear shame; loss of face; and loss of autonomy






Table 2.  Spiral Dynamics View of Consciousness and Laloux’s Conscious Organizations*. Laloux’s Description of Organizations

Transition to a Commons-Centric Society    99


Blue/ Amber



Laloux’sDescription of Organizations

• Theme: “truth” • Characterized by purposefulness; structure; seeking the truth; showing depth; reliability; being pedantic; loyalist orientation; to conform and • avoid change; appreciation of quality; sound work ethic • Believe in order and obedience to authority; practice self-discipline and differentiate between what right and wrong • Seek security and are cautious • Value integrity and ethical behavior; observe laws and regulations; believe that hardship and self-discipline build character and moral fiber • Focus on controlling impulsivity; seeking stability and adhering to a code of conduct; being honorable, punctual, and reliable

• Formal roles in strict hierarchy. • Top-down command and control. • Stability key. • Tradition ensures that future remains the same.

• Appear proud, assertive, energetic and/or imaginative • Power and fear • Tendencies to blame and take revenge; a scarcity mentality and expectation of threat employed to keep • Emphasis on performance and results; a tough image and a “carrot-and-stick” people under leadership approach control. Fear • Results focused, energetic and normally obtain their goals holds organization • Emotionally, seeking impulse gratification; fear of failure; and avoidance of insult and pain together. Short• Inherent beliefs such as “survival of the fittest”; “others are not to be trusted”; and term focus and “results can be achieved through hard work” thriving in chaos. • Important to impress, influence and conquer others, even though the means may be • Command somewhat aggressive, exhausting, fanatical, exploitative, or dogmatic authority. • Learning via reinforcement and conditioning • Found in bravado; rebellious youths; frontier mentalities; fanatical groups; macho cultures; entrepreneurs and activities which require effort and control

Table 2.  (Continued)

100    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons


• Theme: “value creation” • Strategic; somewhat materialistic; opportunistic; individualistic; achievementoriented; flexible; resilient and politically astute • Abundance mindset; exercise of freedom of choice; self-interest • Individuals enjoy playing the game; having autonomy; manipulating outcomes; are optimistic, practical, take risks, and self-reliant and resilient • They look for opportunity; strategize; take initiative; are competitive; interested in technology; feel deserving of success, prosperity, and abundance • Supports entrepreneurial activities; goal setting and achievement; tough negotiations; and business strategy formulation • May deteriorate into narcissistic, inconsiderate and materialistic tendencies and become exploitative and short-sighted • Learning via experimentation, mentors, guides or experts • Motivation rooted in the achievement of material rewards and possibility of opportunity • Values competition, ambition, affluence, image, and continuous improvement • Stress caused by setbacks; goals not being realized; and obstacles • Orientation provides the flexibility and skill to reframe setbacks • Encompasses a logical, efficient, flexible, and competitive style

• Expression in bureaucratic or hierarchical structures; totalitarian or dogmatic organizations; inflexible ideologies; and moralistic inclinations • Involves learning from authority; decisions based on ethics, facts, and authority opinions • Follows tradition, convention, and policy; values certainty, structure, and order; motivated by duty; is loyal, responsible, careful, and promotes fairness and traditions • Sacrifices need to be made for the greater good of all • Stress caused by ambiguity and uncertainty; chaos feared; and change avoided • Finds expression via patriotism; codes of chivalry and honor; boy and girl scouts; traditional schools, certain family practices, and churches • Highly competitive and profit-oriented. • Innovation key to staying ahead. • Management by Objective. • Accountability. • Meritocracy.

Transition to a Commons-Centric Society    101





• Stress created by rage, discord, extinctions, contamination, group separation and lack of consideration • Associated leadership style involves a democratic approach; it is consultative • Management strategies include being humanistic; demonstrating emotions; care for the group; an emphasis on consensus and a listening orientation • Value system finds expression in “Doctors without Borders”; sensitivity training; animal rights groups; Rogerian counseling; philanthropic and humanistic intentions; theoretical and academic endeavors

• Theme: “communitarian” and “relating” • Sensitive; humanistic; theoretical; emotional; compassionate; relativistic; often characterized by inner peace while exploring caring • dimensions of community • Strong interest in other points of view/theories • Promotes equal opportunities to all; kind interpersonal relations; and charitable orientation toward the oppressed • Decision-making takes place via reconciliation and consensus • Genuine concern for others and personal goals involve spiritual awareness; interpersonal harmony and human development • Learning based on exploring feelings; sharing experiences and ideas; as well as interaction with others • Decisions based on being just and reasonable toward everyone involved, but decisionmaking is complicated by many conflicting considerations which may require • compromise and collaboration

• Finds expression in colonialism; fashion industry; prosperity ministries; emerging middle classes; advertising industry; mining cartels; go-getter cultures; venture capitalists activities; a large proportion of generation Y and the corporate culture in general

Table 2.  (Continued)

• Culture-driven organizations. • Manage by empowerment. • Family atmosphere. • Values drive. • Stakeholder model.

Laloux’s Description of Organizations

102    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons

• Theme: “systemic” • Organization as • Integrative approach; seeking learning experiences; living responsibly, emphasis on living system. flexibility, functionality, simplicity, and spontaneity • Evolutionary • Knowledge, understanding, competence, and intuition supersedes rank, position status purpose. symbols, and power • Self-management. • Appreciation of dynamic factors and natural flows; variety; context; holistic • Whole individual. perspectives; and the value of simplicity and functionality • Coaches instead of • Psychological disposition is individualistic; independent-mindedness; selfleaders. actualization; and freedom of choice • Learning sought in varied experience, observation, knowledge, and involves an intuitive process • Factors such as structure and order are to some extent irrelevant • Stress is caused by stagnant, rigid, dull, rule-based contexts that are not stimulating or challenging • Emotionally associated with a significant degree of integration which may at times be interpreted as distanciation • Finds expression in principles of systems thinking; learning organizations; chaos theory; and eco-industrial parks

Source: Adapted from Laloux (2010) and Prinsloo (2012).

Turquoise • Themes: “holistic” and “transcendent” • Orientation described as existential-philosophical; living in the “now”; depth of awareness; spiritually inclination; and focused on the meaningfulness of human endeavors • Associated with concern about the proliferation of life; experiencing the wholeness of existence through mind and spirit; accessing the collective mindset; connection and transcendence • World is regarded as single, dynamic organism with its own collective mind where everything is connected • Emphasis on holistic, intuitive thinking and cooperative actions • Finds expression in ideas such as Gandhi’s pluralistic harmony

Second Yellow Tier or Teal

Transition to a Commons-Centric Society    103

104    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons consciousness. The next level of consciousness driven by the Internet of Things, he wrote, is biosphere consciousness and the collaborative age. As he explained: A new smart infrastructure, being – the Internet of Things – is a transformational event in human history, allowing our species to empathize and socialize as a single extended human family for the first time in history…. The collaborative sensibility is an acknowledgement that our individual lives are intimately intertwined and that our personal well-being ultimately depends on the well-being of the larger communities in which we dwell. (p. 302) Rifkin argued that empathic sensitivity is causing hundreds of millions of human beings – I suspect even several billion … to experience “the other” as “one’s self,” as empathy becomes the ultimate litmus test of a truly democratic society. (p. 304) Rifkin pointed out, like others who write on levels of consciousness, that not everyone in the world shares the same level of consciousness at the same time, but that there are differences, which create challenges in efforts to communicate and unify peoples of the world. Further, lower levels of consciousness do not disappear as we move up the ladder but still appear and disappear as we act in various situations. Rifkin concluded that: This metamorphosis of human sociability is taking us beyond blood ties, religious affiliations, and national identities to global consciousness. This is a cultural phenomenon on an unprecedented scale, and is being led by 2.7 billion amateurs. The global democratization of culture is made possible by an Internet communication medium whose operating logic is distributed, collaborative, and laterally scaled. That operating logic favors an open commons form of democratic self-management (p. 177). Rifkin contended that consciousness derives from the energy, communication, and logistics constellation and that a biosphere consciousness is being borne from the Internet as well as change in the relationship between people and with nature. He credits commoners with taking much of the lead into this new level of consciousness. However, if his hypothesis is true, biosphere consciousness has not sufficiently developed to support a transition to a commons-centric society, but rather manifest in pockets of the world. Biosphere consciousness is similar to the green level of consciousness as viewed in Table 2. Rifkin (2019) argued that climate change also has expanded our collective consciousness regarding the human impact on and interaction with nature and the realization that we belong to a living system of complex processes, interactions, and impacts that act as “planetary agencies.” He concluded that in learning to live among these agencies rather than ruling over them and moving us

Transition to a Commons-Centric Society    105 from “dominion to stewardship and from human-centric detachment to deep participation with the living earth,” a new temporal-spatial orientation has emerged and a higher level of consciousness has been reached (2019, p. 214). Rifkin (2019) believed that this level of consciousness would allow people to ride out the storm and to survive the crisis. Unfortunately, he pointed out that the United States lags behind Europe and many other nations in adequately dealing with climate change. Given the number of climate-deniers and climate-ignorers, it is clear that not everyone has achieved this level of consciousness if indeed, Rifkin’s characterization is valid. The issue of climate change has become so dominant that scholars such a Latour (2018) have refashioned political stances in accordance. Latour constructed an understanding of politics as no longer a battle between “liberal” versus “conservative,” but rather as between factions he called “terrestrials,” those who accept the reality of climate change, and “modernists,” those who deny this reality and who pursue continued extractive development. The elite modernists have convinced their followers that climate change is a myth to the extent that two worlds with two different irreconcilable realities exist in the modernists versus the terrestrials and it is impossible for the schisms to communicate. Further, Latour (2018) contended that the elites in the United States, members of the modernists, have determined that there are insufficient resources available for the entire world and hence have decided to exploit and hoard those that remain and plan their escape. As he wrote: To go back to the well-worn metaphor of the Titanic, the ruling classes understand that the shipwreck is certain; they reserve the lifeboats for themselves and ask the orchestra to go on playing lullabies so they can take advantage of the darkness to beat their retreat before the ship’s increased listing alerts the other classes! (p. 18) That the elite are squandering the planet and planning their escape is not a belief held only by Latour (2018). Others such as Margaret Wheatley (2020) have stated the same, explaining that the elite, after grabbing everything they can, are planning their escape by building bunkers and ships, or even going into space. Indeed, different theories about their escape route have emerged (Rushkoff, 2018). Wheatley (2020) has concluded that we are in a state of collapse, the end of the US civilization, and possibly all of western civilization.

Integral Theory of Consciousness Graves’ model of Spiral Dynamics sketches levels of consciousness, depicted as colors, in terms of value systems that characterize cultures, organizations, and individuals (Beck et al., 2018). As Graves contended, “humans respond to life conditions by developing certain adaptive views and capacities which he refers to as ‘levels of human existence.’” Each level is open for further development at a higher level. The levels of consciousness are divided into first and second tier. First-tier levels tend to be emotionally driven and more egotistical while

106    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons second-tier levels openly include other value perspectives, representing a far wider inclusive systems-oriented worldview and concept of self which becomes increasingly “other focused” and eventually merges with the cosmos. However, levels do not represent a strict linear development since each level includes the lower levels and people show up at different levels at different times and in different situations and the world manifests many levels at the same time. Wilber (2000) characterized the various overall stages of consciousness as archaic, magic (tribal), mythic (traditional), rational (modern), pluralistic (postmodern or human bond), and integral (post-postmodern or flexflow.), arguing that the last two have been emerging over the last four decades, although only realized in small numbers of people in the global population. Each stage includes its unique set of “values, needs, motivations, morals, worldviews, ego structures, societal types, cultural networks, and other fundamental characteristics” (Wilber, 2010). Laloux (2014) characterized organizations according to the stages of consciousness and contended that the teal organization is emerging and reflects the more integral stage of consciousness. However, Laloux employed examples of what he considered integral private sector organizations and only a few organizations that could be considered as commons, and hence his analysis does not assume a transition to a commons-centric society. Further, his assessment that there exists, in fact, teal organization is not convincing, given that he provided little evidence that the creators of these organizations had achieved the teal level of consciousness. Fluid and oscillating characteristics of the various levels of Spiral Dynamics and characterizations of organizations are presented in Table 2. Integral theorist Wilber determined that the pluralistic (green) and integral (yellow or teal) transformations have occurred successively in the last four to five decades (Laloux, 2014). Marking the beginning of postmodernism, the pluralistic stage emerged in the 1960s and the Integral stage emerged recently. Wilber estimated that in the West, 20% of the population has reached the pluralistic stage; 30%–40% are still modern/rational; 40%–50% are mythic; and 10% remain magic (Laloux, 2014). In non-Western countries, the percentage of people at the pluralistic stage is less than 20%. Only an estimated 2–3% of individuals in the West have evolved to the integral stage according to Wilber. Developmentalist Kegan’s Five Orders of Sense-making or Consciousness (1982, 1998) parallel to a certain degree the levels outlined by integral theorists. Adults at stage 3, “socialized mind,” have developed cross-categorical abstract thinking, are aware of their feelings, and can commit to communities. However, they tend to depend on external authority, the opinion of others, and have difficulty making their own decisions. At stage 4, adults have a “self-authoring mind” and have developed systems thinking and the ability to generalize across abstractions. They have the ability to establish their own values and make their own decisions, self-regulate, and be independent. Most adults are at this level, Kegan (1982) contended. Few people reach stage 5, the “self-transforming mind.” At this stage, individuals can perceive the interconnections of systems and people and recognize their interdependence with others. Nurturance and affiliation become strong needs. Those with self-transforming minds apparently have moved

Transition to a Commons-Centric Society    107 to a yellow level as specified by integral theorists. Kegan (1998) contended that modern life required more complex ways of knowing, an ability rarely reached by individuals, who consequently experience a great deal of stress due to their inability to match their cognitive and sense-making abilities to the demands of their environment. Integral theorists as well as developmental theorists such as Kegan (1998) argued that as society and the socio-economic system evolves, individuals need to move into predominantly higher levels of consciousness to cope with the new values, demands, and requirements of the system. At the same time, some individuals who are on the front lines of helping to create the new order through their innovations and creativity may have already moved to the higher level of consciousness. Those who participated in the social revolutions of the 1960s, the “hippies,” and “New Agers” are often considered to be at the green postmodern level. This stage also seems to characterize much of the worldview of commoners where the valued group, inner peace and unity are valued over materialism … thinking is … more expanded and open to more solutions than previous levels [and] individuals at this level turn their attention to their fellow man and creating equality of rights, opportunities and resources. (Ooten & O’Hara, 2010, n.p.) However, green level individuals have a weakness, according to Ooten and O’Hara, (2010), in that they cannot distinguish between good and bad people and desire to distribute resources to everyone despite their intentions, behaving in a sense like Goody-Two-Shoes. Consequently, one necessary shift in values required to move to the yellow level, which, according to integral theorists, is a major leap to the second tier, likely a move required by commoners, is to recognize that good and bad exists in the world and that equally distributing resources may create more bad than good (Ooten & O’Hara, 2010). Individuals at the yellow level begin to perceive and think in systems terms and their identity is more “other” than “self ” oriented, where the “other” includes the more-than-human. Ooten and O’Hara (2010) argued that the leap to yellow may occur when a sudden destruction of the conditions of life threatens survival and people have to relearn how to survive. They wrote that individuals at this level this level live from the knowing of the interconnectivity of all of humanity, and that what affects the individual, affects the whole. The focus becomes the continued existence of all of life (not just humanity), using whatever means are appropriate given place and time. Methods and thinking are fluid, adapting to conditions…. Technology is highly utilized for self and all of humanity to rapidly network and interconnect with others at all levels of development, as well as to quickly produce solutions and resources for existential problems…. (n.p.)

108    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons Although some commoners may have reached yellow (this still is a scantly populated level according to integralists), society writ large is far from reaching this level. Current leaders of the global system seem rather to lead from the red level still caught up in power politics and the paternalistic “big man” mindset. Hence, the transition to a commons-centric society from a consciousness perspective appears quite distant. Integral theorists such as Wilber (2000) as well as developmentalists such as Kegan (1982, 1998) contended that moving from one level to a higher one is not an automatic or easy process, as Rifkin (2014, 2019) seemed to imply, nor does it come about automatically as society shifts. This process often results from facing difficult personal and/or social or environmental challenges which shatter one’s security and worldview and force a broader perspective in order to thrive or even survive. Information and experience certainly help set the stage for this movement; new technologies and the need to adapt to them in order to thrive play a role; threats catalyze the need for change; and, as argued before, the process of commoning, which in itself creates new subjectivities also may help catalyze the move to a higher level.

Liminality and Social Imaginary Liminality and the social imaginary are two other important concepts to help explain the shift to a commons-oriented society at the personal and social levels. Varvarousis and Kallis (2019) and Varvarousis (2019) introduced the notions of liminality and social imaginary when analyzing the emergence of the commons from social movements as a result of the austerity crisis in Greece. Stavrides (2016) also discussed liminality when writing about common space. Liminality is best conceived as a threshold state, a state between two realities, conditions, stages, etc. Introduced by anthropologist Van Gennep and expanded by Victor Turner, the concept was originally employed to characterize rites of passage (Ibrahimefendic & Thompson 2018; Varvarousis & Kallis, 2019). More recently, liminality has been employed to identify states of limbo between conditions such as war and peace and peace and reconciliation (Ibrahimefendic & Thompson, 2019; Thompson, 2020). In the case of Greece, liminality is used to describe the loss of identity and state of an uncertain future experienced by the Greek population who had the rug pulled out from under them by the austerity measures (Varvarousis & Kallis, 2019). Elaboration of the concept of the social imaginary is generally attributed to Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor who was interested in exploring how societies imagine and realize their moral purpose and order in the economy, the public sphere, and self-governance (O’Neil, 2016). The social imaginary, according to Taylor, describes how people imagine their social existence, how they fit together with others, how things go on between them and their fellows, the expectations that are normally met, and the deeper normative notions and images that underlie all these expectations … that common

Transition to a Commons-Centric Society    109 understanding that makes possible common practices and a widely shared sense of legitimacy. (O’Neil, 2016, p. 2) Varvarousis (2019) leaned toward adopting Castoriadis’s concept of the social imaginary as the shared collective imagination distilled in specific institutions which operates as the “glue” that holds a society together by being a representation of it … determines what is real, worthy, possible, acceptable or desirable. (p. 7) He added the caveat that there are always peripheral imaginaries in all societies and that human creativity is insufficient to change the social imaginary but that some type of crisis is necessary. O’Neil (2016) argued that the concept also requires an analysis of the ways in which societies over time change their shared understandings of socially just economic and social settlements, and the events through which old settlements are abandoned in favor of others that appear to have greater moral purpose and utility. (p. 8) Greece faced the greatest economic depression ever faced by a developed country as result of the austerity measures required by the “Troika” (Varvarousis & Kallis, 2019), causing high unemployment and poverty. Suicide rates increased 62.3% between 2007 and 2011 and cases of major clinical depression increased 248% between 2009 and 2011 (Varvarousis & Kallis, 2019, p. 134). Social crisis ensued initially in December 2008 and broke out in public outrage after a policeman killed a high school student. Public demonstrations followed in Athens and 60 other cities and evolved into an anti-austerity movement. Battles erupted with the police, an indignant movement occupied the central squares in Athens and other cities, and participants began to establish commons. Demonstrators established a time bank, medical clinics, and then eco-villages and “back-to-the-land” initiatives, and other commoning projects, which became inculcated into society, although remaining marginal. Varvarousis (2019) employed the concept of the crisis as experienced by Greeks as an occasion of possibilities by opening up a field of experimentation with new practices and ideas that are simultaneously products and producers of the new social imaginary significations emerging due to the destabilization of the prevailing older ones. (p. 9) The characterization of crisis causes a state of liminality or a “spatiotemporal stage of suspension” (Varvarousis, 2019, p. 9). Varvarousis and Kallis (2019) and Varvarousis (2019) employed liminality to describe the state Greek citizens found themselves in during the crisis that set

110    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons the stage for the emergence of commons. Much of their social imaginary was shattered also and needed to be recreated to accommodate the values and subjectivities of the commons. As Varvarousis and Kallis (2019) pointed out: The perceived humiliation of a country governed by international institutions, its people portrayed as “lazy” or “corrupt,” ended violently previous identities framed around a consumerist dream. This liminal loss of identity was manifested in placards … declaring “we are nobody” or “we don’t know where we are going but we don’t go back … wearing, symbolically white masks declaring their intention to remain anonymous, or else, de-identified.” (p. 137) Loss of identity, Varvarousis and Kallis (2019), argued, opened up possibilities for new identities, the emergence of a precarious and fluid “we” and the coming together of people to meet their needs through initially liminal commons, which developed in rhizomatic movements. Rhizomatic movements have no center or periphery, no beginning or ending, follow a decentralization-recentralization process, and include unstable nodes, the authors argued (2016). Any materiality produced by the movement derived from the process of commoning, which rather than defeating austerity, proved to be an “emancipatory project” (Varvarousis & Kallis, 2019, p. 141). Commons that linked up with each other endured while isolated ones tended not to. The commons these authors described differed dramatically from the commons studied by Ostrom. The community in liminal commons was absent and the borders non-existent. Rather than community and exclusion, they concluded that “the glue that brings the actors together is the practical production of the commons” (p. 131). Sharing, solidarity, and horizontality emerged as these processes proved to be important. Liminal subjects, the authors argued, were “more open and more vulnerable to imitate social behavior and practices that offer a possible way out from the uncertainty that the liminal phase is associated with” (p. 132). Liminal commons, Varvarousis and Kallis (2019) argued, were distinguished by three characteristics: (1) the liminal commons took place in liminal institutions without stable, and always changing memberships; (2) people were discouraged from identifying themselves as members of specific collective and political party members were prohibited; (3) resolutions passed at various assemblies did not produce unifying proposals. Liminality, Varvarousis and Kallis (2019) contended, fostered the rhizomatic movement of the commons in three ways: (1) the openness of the protest movement in the city square contributed to the popularization of commoning practices; (2) politicized members of the commoning projects opened up to new experiences, “transforming their habits and ways of doing politics” (p. 140); (3) commoning in the city square resulted in the deconstruction and de-stigmatization of poverty as those who had been impoverished by the austerity measures found a helpful and accepting community. Finally, the authors found that commoners changed as a result of their participation in the commoning projects in the following ways: (1) they redefined their

Transition to a Commons-Centric Society    111 needs and sometimes their habitus and adopted values such as “equality, sharing, joy, and meaningful relationships” (p. 146); (2) people who had been “leaders” stepped back and allowed others to step forward and engage in more “assemblarian decision making processes” (p. 146); (3) profit as a driving value diminished more while ecological concerns were heightened. The majority of the participants in the protest movement and commoning projects had liberal political leanings, but not all, their relationships were often contentious and differences needed to be worked out, and their relationship with conservative and liberal governments contrasted in that liberal governments, at least initially were more supportive. Varvarousis (2019) argued that the social imaginary of the neoliberal growth economy would have to be “decolonized” in order for a commons-centric society to become embedded in the social and psychological worldview. Using the example of the Greek crisis, he contended that the resultant liminality opened up possibilities for a new social imaginary to eventually emerge. As he wrote (2019): Liminal entities are transit subjects capable of thinking and acting in unauthorized, unexpected, and potentially innovative ways. To this extent, liminality is the concept that can potentially bridge macrohistorical and macroeconomic approaches to crisis, social change, and the decolonization of the imaginary with the more contemporary experience and practice-centered cultural theories. (p. 10) Varvarousis’ (2019) research found that the Greek crisis introduced new institutions into the Greek social imaginary including commons, solidarity, and degrowth, which, for some Greeks, replaced the growth imaginary. However, he concluded that crisis or the “pedagogy of disaster” does not inevitably decolonize a society’s social imaginary nor lead to a more life-enhancing one. In fact, crisis can result in more desperation and exploitation of the affected by the elite, as what happened after the recession and housing crisis of 2008, which dramatically increased inequality in the United States.

Implications of this Chapter This chapter has reviewed several models of the overarching socio-economic change that many scholars and activists perceive as happening as the result of new approaches to production, new technologies, and required configurations of workers. The models portray overall, high-level socio-economic transformation without much concern for the individual transformation required to both contribute to and adjust to the high-level changes. Neither do these models delve into the moral and ethical issues involved in such transitions and it is unclear whether the commons-centric societies that emerge in their schemas harken the values and subjectivities that have been revealed by the commoners who are the subjects of this book. In order to include transformation from the individual and organizational level, theories of stage of consciousness, liminality, and social imaginary have

112    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons been introduced complicating the transformative process. Again, neither the moral or ethical implications of various stages of consciousness nor of the social imaginary are clearly laid out. The next chapter will introduce the change process from the commons’ perspective, highlighting the role of commoners themselves in catalyzing the emergence of a commons-centric society with the values and subjectivities that emerged in the grounded theory presented in Chapter 5.

Chapter 7

Commoners’ Role in the Transition You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. (Buckminster Fuller) Ultimately, the only way to generate being able to produce [our] subjectivities, senses, materials, ideas, knowledge and common wealth is to live a life of joy, abundance and love in action… With some luck and determination, we (the commoners, the movers of history) will reach a point at which the old adage will come true and we will be sitting at the gateway of hell singing, “It will be a laughter that will bury you!” (De Angelis, 2017a) A number of commons scholars and activists have developed frameworks and strategies for transitioning to a commons-centric society from the commons’ perspective, rather than from the socio-economic or individual perspectives as presented in the previous chapter. Although many authors contended that a commons-centric society will be the inevitable result of shifting models of production, and perhaps communication, logistics, and energy (Rifkin, 2014) as well as the overall human evolutionary trajectory, the authors discussed in this chapter proposed actions that commoners themselves must take to maneuver the transformation. The most detailed accounts of this transformation from the commons point-of-view have been provided by Bauwens et al., (2019), Bollier and Helfrich (2019), and De Angelis (2017a, 2017b). Dardot and Laval (2019) have proposed a comprehensive approach based on instituting commons principles at all levels of society. Although these authors come from divergent ideological backgrounds, they posited similar approaches to transition as combinations of prefigurative movements and ways of being, interacting, and producing in common through which “small transformations cumulatively generate a qualitative shift in the dynamics and logics of a social system” (Monticelli, 2018, p. 506, quoting Wright [2010, p. 321]). Prefigurative movements “re-politicize

Proleptic Leadership on the Commons: Ushering in a New Global Order, 113–125 Copyright © 2020 by Emerald Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved doi:10.1108/978-1-83867-799-220201010

114    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons what is usually non-politicized: everyday life, the spaces of private, economic and social (re)production” through specific processes of organization (Monticelli, 2018, p. 511). Bauwens proposed “instituent praxis” to create commons. As Dardot explained in an interview, to institute does not mean to institutionalize in the sense of rendering official, of consecrating or of recognizing a posteriori what has already existed for some time … nor does it mean to create out of nothing. It means to create the new with – and starting from – what already exists…. (Bauwens, 2015, para. 11, p.18) Further, these authors proposed a value perspective to the post-capitalist transition which most of the writers summarized in the previous chapter did not. This value perspective derives from the practice of commoning, which, as we have argued in Chapter 5, inculcates particular values not universally shared by the market or the state. The approaches of several other authors also will be briefly presented to provide a more comprehensive view of what commons scholars and activists in various positions proposed, which either support or challenge the more in-depth approaches of the authors mentioned above. Bauwens et al. (2019), Bollier and Helfrich (2019), and De Angelis (2017a, 2017b) conceived of commons as complex living adapting social systems. Bollier and Helfrich (2019) defined commons to be “living social systems through which people address their shared problems in self organized ways” (n.p.). They rejected the typical concepts associated with the commons, such as common goods, common pool resources, and common property because these things represent objects and individuals, not relationships and systems (Bollier & Helfrich, 2019, n.p.). As adaptive social systems, the commons are responsive to changes in their environment and are both responsive and contributive to the changes identified by Rifkin (2014, 2019), Hardt and Negri (2009), Berge (2019), and Dawlabani (2016, 2018), among many others. The agency of the commoners within these systems also impacts both the systems themselves as well as the environment, because many of these commoners are inventing new technologies and products, novel ways of communicating, organizing, changing subjectivities and social values, and political action demanding equality, environmental consciousness, and true democracy. The external and internal environments of systems are connected in a close resonant relationship, simultaneously influencing and being influenced by each other, making it virtually impossible to ascertain cause and effect. Bauwens et al. (2019), Bollier and Helfrich (2019), and De Angelis (2017a, 2017b) agreed that the socio-economic transition to a commons-centric society will be gradual, with social movements playing an essential role in this process. A prefigurative commons-centric economy within capitalism is necessary for the first stages of the transition, they agreed. Allies within the market and the state are essential to prosper the commons, according to Bollier and Helfrich (2019) and Bauwens et al. (2019). De Angelis contended, on the other hand, that commoners

Commoners’ Role in the Transition    115 may have to make deals with the market and the state but not consider these sectors as partners in any sense. He wrote (2017b) that deep democratic management, accountability, and loosening boundaries and the principles associated with these1 are the basic goals for a strategy of commons vis-à-vis the state and corporate property. (pp. 344–345) All of these authors agreed that commoners should work to “commonalize” services provided by the market and the state and all of them agreed to employ an instituent approach by beginning with what exists and commonalizing it over time. A commons-centric society will emerge eventually. As De Angelis argued (2017b): It is a fallacy to think that in order to replace the current system (model) another system (model) needs to be ready to take its place. Systems are not implemented, their dominance emerges and their emergence occurs through the related processes of social revolution and political revolutions with the former creating the source from which the latter get their power to perturb capital while at the same time developing their autonomy. (pp. 269–270) One of the key driving forces of this evolution is finding technological, political, social, and economic solutions to challenges that capitalism has caused or has failed to solve, such as social justice, climate change, and concomitant environmental disaster, inequality, and so on. A political discourse around such issues as food sovereignty, housing rights, education, and right to care needs to be developed to transform commons into a social force (De Angelis, 2017b, p. 139). De Angelis characterized this process as “social revolution,” which he defined as “the ‘accumulation,’ diffusion, and acceleration of commoning, in both quantitative and qualitative (meta-commoning) terms” (2017a, p. 247). Bauwens et al. (2019), Bollier and Helfrich (2019), and De Angelis (2017a, 2017b) all contended that a commons-centric society could eventually emerge from joining commons through “boundary crossing” (De Angelis, 2017a, 2107b) in which commons systems actually link to each other, or through federations of commons which create “entangled agency” (Bollier & Helfrich, 2019), or through “open cooperatives” (Bauwens et al., 2019). The exponential growth of occasions of boundary commoning across commons would serve as the way to constitute a social fabric flexible, resilient, and strong enough to counter capitalism and 1

These principles include: transparency, communication, cooperation, democracy, modularity, decoupling capacity, decentralization, localization, ecological design, adapted size, cognitive diversity, graduated commitments, and belonging (see De Angelis, 2017b, pp. 341–345).

116    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons the state. Boundary crossing of commons that maintain their identities creates “meta-commonality” (De Angelis, 2017b). Bollier and Helfrich (2019) titled the world of the many commons as the “commonsverse,” which comprises a federated “pluriverse” of commons and which integrates the economy with the political and social realms (Bollier & Helfrich, 2019). There would come a tipping point, they argued, at which time the magnitude of commons bound or federated together would be so large and influential that the system would transform into a commons-centric society. All these authors bemoaned the current multiplicity of isolated local commons, since these would never be able to catalyze the global socio-economic change required. As De Angelis (2017a) explained, the extension of commoning is predicated on what I call boundary commoning, which is the commoning that produces a structural coupling between and among different commons; by structural coupling I mean the continuous interrelations among systems, in this case commons systems, such that these come to construct something new, a wider sphere of commons that grow dependent on one another, resulting in an enlarged, internally interdependent commons. (pp. 240–241) Bollier and Helfrich (2019) argued that individuals in a federation are dedicated to a shared mission. Transformation happens because of the phenomenon of emergence, which is the process “by which the interaction among living agents unexpectedly produces entirely novel and more complex organization at larger scales” (Bollier & Helfrich, 2019, n.p.). They included a triad of commoning, which is constantly emerging, namely social habits, peer governing, and provisioning. Like Bauwens et al. (2019), Bollier and Helfrich (2019) recognized the inevitability of working with state institutions to obtain support for the commons. They recommended a piecemeal relational approach that targets different levels of state power not the “state” writ large and which will work to reconfigure power both within state institutions as well as between state institutions and the commons. Federated “radical municipal activism” would be employed to ensure that laws and regulations to support commoning are drafted (Bollier & Helfrich, 2019) and to facilitate the creation of “a new social order at the individual, collective, societal for independently building people’s aspirations for transformation” and ultimately for changing the commoners themselves as well as the social order and state power simultaneously (Bollier & Helfrich, 2019, n.p.). The state would have to provide some protection against the aggressions of the private sector. They (2019) recommended commons–public partnerships (CPP) of which commoners would control consisting of long-term cooperation between commoners and the state to meet specific needs. Bollier (2014) contended that the state would have to recognize commons- and rights-based ecological governance as a practical alternative to the state and market; the principle that the Earth

Commoners’ Role in the Transition    117 belongs to all; a state duty to prevent enclosures of common resources; state trustee commons as a way to protect large-scale common pool resources; state chartering of commons; legal limitations on private property as needed to ensure long-term viability of ecological systems; and human right to establish and maintain ecological commons. (2014, p. 160) Revising one’s ontology from an individualist to a relational worldview also implies the need to change one’s language. Bollier and Helfrich (2015, 2019) employed a pattern perspective to describe what is going on in commons and they proposed a new pattern language more appropriate to a commons-centric society based on a relational ontology and the removal of words from the vocabulary that express the ontology of the traditional economic paradigm. Among the new words that they have added to the commons lexicon include: beating the bounds, capping, care wealth, collaborative finance, CPP, cosmo-local production, do-it-together (DIT), enlivenment, exonym, faux commons, freedom-in-connectedness, gentle reciprocity, money-lite commoning, stint, value sovereignty, among others. Further, they proposed substituting commoner for citizen; peer governance for governance, leadership, and organization; creating freely for incentives; creative adaptation for innovation; commoning for participation; emulate and then federate instead of scale-up; pluriverse for pluralism; They proposed eliminating the following words: non-profit; corporation; and scarcity (Bollier & Helfrich, 2019). Bauwens et al. (2019) adopted the historical developmental framework proposed by Japanese philosopher Kojin Karatani who viewed historical evolution following dominant modes of exchange, which transform when they become dominated by new modes of exchange. History has evolved from the reciprocity of the gift and community (Mode A), to the ruling and protection of the state (Mode B), to commodity exchange based on the market (Mode C), according to this schema. Bauwens et al. (2019) labeled the possible next mode (Mode D), which is the return of mode A at a higher level of complexity, as that of “association” which would transcend the power of the state and the market. Open and platform cooperatives and for-benefit associations would become the predominant organizational forms in a commons-centric society, the authors contended. Open cooperatives would be the drivers of the post-capitalist transition since they would be legally and statutorily bound to creating commons and shared resources … [and] would internalize negative externalities; adopt multi-stakeholder governance models; contribute to the creation of digital and physical commons; and be socially and politically organized around global concerns, even if they produce locally… In short, open cooperatives argue for a synergy between the [commons-based-peer-production] CBPP movement and elements of the cooperative and solidarity economy movements. (Bauwens et al., 2019, p. 57)

118    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons Such cooperatives would interconnect and expand “to aggregate, support and protect collective knowledge, tools, and infrastructures” (Bauwens et al., 2019, p.57). Although producing locally they would organize around global concerns to build a counter Commons Based Peer Production (CBPP) economy. Platform cooperatives would counteract the capitalistic sharing economy models and have redesigned ownership and control to facilitate democratic governance. For-benefit associations would be “mini-states of the CBPP ecosystems” (Bauwens et al., 2019). The partner state, Bauwens et al. (2019) argued, would be the guarantor of civil rights and ensure that the commons had equal access to resources and capabilities. The partner state would emerge largely from social movements led by commoners practicing commons-based peer production, which when becoming majoritarian, would “commonize” the state. Eventually, the state would lose its separateness from civil society. The market would continue in a commons-centric society, these authors asserted, but it would be generative, not extractive. Bauwens et al. (2019) contended that the transition to a commons-centric society would follow three phases and would involve the support of this partner state and this generative market. During the first phase, commons-based seed forms of basic goods such as food, water, energy, housing, etc. provisioning systems would emerge. The second phase would comprise the development of regulatory and institutional frameworks required to support such commons-based initiatives. These would require the cooperation of a partner state committed to the commons. Commons-based practices would be normalized during the third phase, having institutional support and generative markets that would facilitate the expansion of the commons logic. As Bauwens et al. (2019) argued, “the social logic would move from ownership-centric to citizen-centric. The state should be de-bureaucratized through the commonification of public services and publiccommons partnerships” (p. 59). Bauwens et al. (2019) further recommended the emergence of three institutions to support the emergence of the commons-centric society. These would include (1) a Chamber of Commons similar to the existing Chambers of Commerce that would represent coalitions of commoners; (2) an Assembly of the Commons where commoners and citizens could meet and plan together; and (3) a Commonsoriented Entrepreneurial Association that globally connects commons. De Angelis (2017a, 2017b) described a systems approach in which commons and social movements work together to push the transition to a post-capitalist society. As he explained, a radical transformation of our world implies that people come together into communities that develop alternatives to the logic of capitalism, multiply them and interconnect them … commons are such alternatives. (De Angelis, 2017b, pp. 11–12) For De Angelis, like Marx, the growth of alternative modes of production, are the material conditions for social revolutions. Since De Angelis viewed commons

Commoners’ Role in the Transition    119 through the lens of systems theory, commons are the systemic subjects of this transformation and commoning is the source of commons power, giving it its autonomy and autopoiesis as well as the shape of its boundaries. He contended that commons “reproduces itself through a set of interrelated values referring to resources and community that define a sharing culture” (2017a, p. 216). De Angelis (2017b) contended that only when a group of social subjects, in this case commoners, emerges out of a new mode of production they helped to create that a social force potent enough to foment transition is generated (p. 275). He recognized that differences between people would have to be unified by focusing on meeting people’s needs through commoning in order for the commons to become an effective social force. Further, he asserted (2017b) that there would have to be an explosion of the middle class in terms of an increase in cooperation and “release of playful energies” (p. 280) such that commons would expand across boundaries of commons, nations, and wages. De Angelis (2017b) described social revolution in terms of multiplication, interweaving, and tipping point. Multiplication includes firstly the reproduction of commons that provide material autonomy such as care, food, energy, housing, and so on. Multiplication also includes boundary commoning and the creation of larger commons ecologies through interweaving until they form a critical mass and provide a viable option for people. A critical mass provides a tipping point after which time it becomes easier to establish more commons and they eventually become the dominant social system. Autopoiesis, or the ability of a system to reproduce and maintain itself, is critical in such a process. In addition to a bottom-up commons movement, De Angelis (2017b) recommended the “commonalization” of basic services currently managed by the state and the private sector. Commonalisation would involve shifting a public or private organization into a commons or, more likely, into a web of interconnected and nested commons giving shape to meta-commonality, with the overarching goal of resilience. Resilience in turn embeds a series of features that allows a more effective pursuit of social justice, ecological sustainability, and the good life for all (De Angelis, 2017b, p. 341) as well as the three principles of deep democracy, accountability, and loosening boundaries (DAB). De Angelis (2017b) laid out the necessary qualities for commons resilience, including transparency, communication, cooperation, democracy, modularity, decoupling capacity, decentralization, relocalization, ecological design, adapted size, cognitive diversity, graduated commitments, and belonging (De Angelis, 2017b, pp. 341–342). Dardot and Laval (2019) argued that a commons-centric society has to be fought for in the present, by those living in the present, who want to bring about a different social order than the one in which they currently find themselves. They highlighted the necessity to construct an alternate form of reason – the “reason of the common.” The common, which is similar to commoning,

120    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons is a political principle through which we are able to build the commons, maintain the commons, and sustain the commons. It is, as such, a political principle that defines a new system of struggles on a global scale. (n.p.) As the fundamental principle of social transformation, the commons is “the living tie between a thing, an object or a place, and the activity of the collective that takes charge of it, that maintains it and cares for it.” A common is instituted by a specific praxis that the authors call “instituent praxis.” They posited nine principles2 that guide the actions of the commons to institute a participatory democracy, which infuses all aspects of society from the local to the global levels. The authors stated that these principles were not cast in stone but rather posited to stimulate a discussion regarding how to operationalize the principle of the commons. Dardot’s and Laval’s approach to a commons-centric society is focused not only on expanding the realm of individual commons into a federation that will eventually create a new system. He considered this approach insufficient. Rather, the authors recommended instituting the commons into a global politics and social way of living that includes use rights rather than property rights; includes workers who fully participate as decision-makers; professionalizes public servants to include the needs of the public in their work; is founded on associationism; and institutes a federation of commons.

Other Views of the Commons Transition Other commons scholars and activists emphasized different aspects of the transformational process. Frederici posited commons as an exodus approach of refusal and resistance in order to change the current neoliberal system through creating qualitatively different social relations (Revolution at Point Zero, 2014). She (2013) argued that commoners need to live on the commons outside the market and the state to live morally and to refuse to live within the neoliberal capitalist order. She hypothesized that the more commoners live successfully outside the current system, the greater the chance for transformation toward a just commons-based society. She saw this as a moral imperative also, arguing that only by delinking our basic sustenance from the market could we overcome what she calls the “state of irresponsibility” because when we consume what the market provides, we nurture our lives based on the blood and death of others in the world who are being exploited (2012).


The nine political principles proposed by Dardot and Laval (2019) included: (1) Need a politics of the commons; (2) Use value must challenge property; (3) The Common is the Principle of Labor’s Emancipation; (4) We Must Institute Common Work; (5) Economic Associationism is the Pathway to the Society of the Common; (6) The Common Must Be the Basis of Social Democracy; (7) Public Services Must Become Institutions of the Common; (8) The Commons Must be Global; and (9) We Must Institute a Federation of Commons .

Commoners’ Role in the Transition    121 Frederici argued that we need to live our lives with the realization that we are in a global community and that we are “common” with people everywhere, including the exploited poor, and that we need to be mindful that our comforts are not at the expense of the discomforts of others. Commoning must mean that we are producing ourselves as a global common subject and live accordingly. We must begin this journey in the existing system while moving toward a new more equitable, communal system. And, Frederici, concluded, women must build the new commons to become the foundation for new forms of social reproduction rather than temporary and fleeting autonomous zones. Menzies (2014) asserted that by practicing commoning, we are asserting “the legitimacy of commoning ways of thinking and relating to the Earth” and by so doing, we will “set the stage for formalizing this claim,” eventually leading to a tipping point (p. 125). She anticipated lawsuits, demonstrations, organizing, sustained commitment, seeking political office, and “cultivating the support of existing political parties” (p. 125). Commoning is a stance of persistence … the persistence of another reality – one where living together-as-one with the Earth and honoring that connection matters at every level of existence from personal lifestyle to public policy. (p. 127) Menzies (2014) called her manuscript a manifesto, an invitation to act, and she expressed the confidence that commoning, indeed, would lead to a new society. Although Hardt and Negri (2012) presented a whole of systems model for the transition to a post-capitalist society, as summarized in the previous chapter, they also discussed actions from the level of the people, the multitude. They (2012) maintained that the multitude would transition from declaration to constitution. Declaration was manifest in the global social justice movements that arose after 2011 that were attached to the common. These movements declared “war” on the local and national issues caused by neoliberalism. The authors contended that the multitude can make the necessary shift from declaration to constitution by transforming their four subjectivities which have been generated by the neoliberal system and which cause them to suffer into “figures of power” (Hardt & Negri, 2012, p. 7). These subjectivities include “the indebted, the mediatized, the securitized, and the represented, all of which are impoverished and their powers for social action are masked or mystified” (Hardt & Negri, 2012, pp. 6–7). In the current global crisis, people tormented by the above four subjectivities discover a togetherness because everyone is suffering them. As Hardt and Negri assessed (2012), these four subjectivities comprise a collective condition that creates “a kairos of resistance as well as a kairos of community” (p. 31). Through resistance and revolt, people brought together in this collective condition can shift these destructive subjectivities into subjectivities that characterize empowered commoners, the authors argued. The flipped subjectivities include the debt of social bonds; new truths generated from social interaction that replace media dribble; a renewed sense of security among those who are no longer frightened

122    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons by the securitized society; and robust and effective political participation by those who refuse to be represented. Hardt and Negri (2012) maintained that these positive subjectivities and social interdependence have been established and hegemonized by biopolitical production. They (2012) recognized the constituent power capable of creating a truly participatory democracy in the post-2011 social justice movements. The power of these movements as commons rests in the fact that people are in proximity, that the people have participatory governance processes that serve as a model for the coming truly participatory democracy, and that they are resisting neoliberalism and the financialization of our lives. In addition to these issues, the multitude needs to exercise counterpowers to global crises of environmental degradation climate change, enclosure, financial injustices, among others. Hardt and Negri (2012), like other scholars and activists, wrote that a constitutional process needs to be established in society “regarding a set of goods managed through the direct participation of citizens” (p. 71). This would require the completion of three steps. A juridical process of the common is required so that a community can control and manage a resource. A management system needs to be designed that “incorporates the principles of the common uses of goods” (p. 71). Democratic participation must then become “the political terrain regarding both ownership and management” (p. 71). Although Hardt and Negri (2012) took a long-term perspective and viewed the common as a transformative phenomenon leading ultimately to a non-state, multitude-led communism, they recognized a list of short term reforms that needed to be made in banks, in education, with the executive judicial, and legislative branches in the United States, and in a number of other areas so that the values of the common and participatory democracy could become inculcated in, at least, American society. Hardt (2013) predicted that the hegemony of bio-production and the commons would inevitably evolve to a post-capitalist society which he called a true communism, not the socialism dominated by the state, but a society governed by the multitude. Hardt asserted that communism should be defined by its affirmation of the commons not solely on the basis of its abolition of property. This means the affirmation of open and autonomous production of subjectivity, social relations, and the forms of life; the self-governed continuous creation of new humanity. In the most synthetic terms, what private property is to capitalism and what state property is to socialism, the common is to communism. (Hardt, 2013, para. 4) Love as a political concept plays a key role in the creation of this new humanity and serves as a conduit to constructing a true democracy, according to Hardt (Schwartz (2008/2009). 2009). Love extends beyond the calculus of rationality. It goes beyond solidarity. It develops a different kind of relationship between reason and passion. Love involves transformation. We lose ourselves in love. In love, we become different. The forms of love require training by doing. The commons, which is based on mutuality, sharing, and a commitment to social justice for all,

Commoners’ Role in the Transition    123 is the most appropriate place to practice this politicized notion of love, Hardt (2009) contended. Quilligan (2012) laid out steps that he believed need to be taken in order for the commons to become the foundation for a renewed global economy. He maintained that a major overhaul of the socio-economic system and relations would be required. Like many other commons scholars and activists, Quilligan (2012) argued that common goods provide the basis of a world order based on true, participatory democracy. He maintained that commoners at the local level would have to bring their claims to the commons forward as the basis for global citizenship as well as for a new world order based on commons rather than private property. By giving the commons a legal and political claim outside the State, Quilligan maintained that they could eventually form the basis of a revived form of true democracy at all levels of government from the local to the global. He asserted that each resource would have to be negotiated separately at each level of government and a “new epistemology of resource sovereignty, shared responsibility, and legal accountability” would need to be developed such that the rights of world citizens and their commons would be recognized. Following the development of this new epistemology, the “self-organized and participatory systems of common property, social charters and commons trusts” would be infused into global constitutional governance and the checks and balances that already exist within many nations will find a more perfect expression in the representative decision-making and political equality of democratic commons institutions. The new global economic system and its social contract will be grounded, not in corporate claims or state sovereignty, but in the sovereign rights of citizens to their common goods (Quilligan, 2012). Samantara (2011) made a similar argument in regard to the Government of India. He argued that the Government would have to rewrite laws that allowed the government to take over commons lands and forests and would have to officially recognize the need to protect common resources and their usage by communities, especially tribes and dalits, who have been systematically marginalized and excluded. It is estimated that 15–20% of India, amounting to 45–60 million acres, is comprised of commons (Rao, 2014). 80–90% of rural Indians continue to depend upon common access to water, fodder, firewood, food, and medicine for survival (Rao, 2014).

The Role of Social Movements De Angelis (2017a, 2017b) and Bauwens et al. (2019) envisioned commons and social movements comprising an essential partnership in the post-capitalist transition. Social movements “shift the subjective and objective constraints set in place by state and capital” while commons expands this space with commonsbased modes of production” (De Angelis, 2017b, p. 25). Bauwens et al. (2019) agreed with De Angelis (2017b) regarding the role of social movements vis-à-vis commons, highlighting that social movements inevitably emerge from the shift toward CBPP and exert pressure on the state, pushing it from a market state to a partner state.

124    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons If the commons project is one of emancipation from the stranglehold of capital, as De Angelis argued, then social movements play an essential role in this process to help break through constraints to emancipation in the commons environment. Social movements bring in new energies to the commons, change subjectivities and provide new perspectives while depending upon the commons for “life and reproduction and care and energy” (De Angelis, 2017b, p. 359). Social movements project a critique of current social practices and values and new values and ways of being onto society with the aspiration that society will make critical changes, whereas commons are locales in which these new values and ways of being are actually lived, albeit by a small percentage of society writ large. De Angelis (2017b) employed the concept of social fabric, “the social spaces constituted by the multiplicity of social systems in their structurally coupled interactions or deals” (p. 366) to explain how change is catalyzed. A social movement, he contended, is “a wave in the social broth that results in change, to varying degrees, in the quality of the social fabric and the different couplings among social systems” (p. 366). The relationship between the post-austerity movement in Greece and the commons that emerged illustrated how the movement impacted the social fabric or the social imaginary, as discussed in the previous chapter.

Complexities of Transition There are obviously many complexities involved in transitioning to a commonscentric society. Even if, as several authors argued in the previous chapter, changes in production, energy, communication, and logistics are driving the transition to a commons-centric society, it is not clear whether their characterization of the commons has the same ethical and care-oriented orientation as has been adopted by the commons that are the subject of this volume, nor whether the commons would be captured by the market for profit. Further, Rifkin (2019) reported that the green economy, which he said would be dominant in 2050, has been driven by the market and no doubt will continue to be. It does not seem likely that this market will be generative rather than extractive, depending on their policies and the accessibility of green energy to everyone. If, as developmentalists seemed to contend, that a higher level of consciousness would be necessary for society writ large to support the commons, then considerable time will be necessary for society’s consciousness to expand sufficiently to accept a commons-based society, even with the reality that different levels of consciousness will always exist in societies and in the world. Further, transforming the social imaginary into one with the values, beliefs, and institutions supportive of the commons will most likely be a lengthy process and there is little research on how transformation of the social imaginary is catalyzed. These are just some of the complexities of social transformation that the commons are facing. There are also challenges specific to the commons and these will be the subject of the next chapter. Further, there are still many debates in the literature regarding how to catalyze the desired transition, whether a grassroots, prefigurative approach can ever be

Commoners’ Role in the Transition    125 successful or whether a more radical revolutionary approach is required. It is not the purpose of this book to debate and resolve this issue, but rather to trace the path of prefigurative movements through the lens of a systems approach to determine that if this path is followed, what role does leadership play. At some point, these contrasting views will have to be resolved in order to garner the unity needed to work toward positive change. As Monticelli (2018) wrote, the time has come to lay the age-old debate about whether change can be achieved best through strategies aimed at seizing political and institutional power or thoroughly grassroots, prefigurative initiatives to rest. Both are striving to resist and supplant capitalism and establish more just and egalitarian economic systems. The key question moving forward is how strategies at the macro and micro level can be connected and fine-tuned to attain the common goal which has so far proved elusive. This arguably represents one of the greatest challenges for the future of radical theory. (p. 515)

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Chapter 8

Challenges of Transitioning to a Commons-Centric Society Despite the well laid out framework for transitioning to a commons-centric society through complex adaptive systems, there remain several challenges that such an approach will face. Some of these include: the nature of systems change; the limited involvement of commoners in the commons; insufficient access to resources to support the commons movement; how to form federations and how these federations will gain the support of a “partner” or otherwise supportive government; the problem of evil and how the commons will deal with evil; internal disagreements and strife within the commons and the question of elitism; and limitations of systems theory to account for the complexity of the required change.

Nature of Systems Change Given the nature of systems change, it is unlikely that the transition to a commons-centric society will be as smooth as Bauwens et al. (2019), Bollier and Helfrich (2019), and De Angelis (2017b) depict in their complex adaptive systems transformative process. Just as there was a long, sometimes violent struggle during the transition from feudalism to capitalism, the same will likely occur in the transformation of a capitalist system to a commons-centric system. Change happens from disequilibrium, which causes confusion, chaos, disruptions, and fitful and rough system reorganizations. Dissipative system structures are disturbed by environmental changes and shocks and the system reorganizes to a form better suited to the altered environment (Wheatley, 2006). During the pandemic, lockdown catalyzed the growth of online businesses and communication technologies and delivery service industries, while other businesses collapsed. Young children quickly became computer savvy as their classes were all held online. Yet, overall the economy and society suffered greatly, as death and uncertainty dominated. External shocks such as the global pandemic, climate change, the increase and severity of natural disasters, the collapse of the global financial system, and now, since the murder of George Floyd, the reality that people can no longer tolerate

Proleptic Leadership on the Commons: Ushering in a New Global Order, 127–137 Copyright © 2020 by Emerald Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved doi:10.1108/978-1-83867-799-220201011

128    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons police brutality, destructive leadership, nor the broken systems of democracy and equality, are shocks that are and likely to continue to occur. Thus far, these disruptions have not pushed the system forward to a new reorganization. Many people hoped that the pandemic would finally lead to policy changes and to solutions to the political, economic, and social problems of the world, but the powers continue to push the system back to business as usual. Perhaps it is too early to know whether positive change will emerge, or the entire system will collapse as is a real possibility as chaos intensifies. As Wheatley (2017) warned, chaos can be a generative force for change, or a cause for disintegration and death. Either way, it requires a descent into chaos, when everything falls apart. It is this part of the cycle that we need to prepare for. (n.p.) A bifurcation point emerges as the system falls apart. It can either reorganize itself with new beliefs and structures or try to re-establish its old ways and fall apart (Wheatley, 2017). As the coronavirus pandemic raged on, leadership attempted to “restart” the economy with the assumption that everything would return to “normal,” while millions of people around the world were hoping that the global crisis would move us forward to a more equitable, sustainable socioeconomic system. This desire was clearly manifested in massive global demonstrations that took place after the murder of George Floyd. As stated before, Wheatley (2017) argued that the system will collapse. As she predicted (2017), systems that are failing now will continue to deteriorate. Uncertainty, confusion, and fear will continue to predominate. People will withdraw further into self-protection and strike out at those different from themselves. Corrupt leaders will intensify their false promises, and people will subjugate themselves to their control. (p. 7) If Wheatley’s account is true, then the role of the commons and the role of leaders may become critical in both surviving the collapse and in possibly helping to create a new system from the ashes of the old.

Complexities of the Change Process Virtually all of the commons scholars and activists reviewed contended that commoners need to first self-govern the basics of life such as food, water, housing, medical care. Since these basics are necessary for health and survival, these are important first steps in order to free people from the threat that the private sector or state will have a hold on their lives and possibly make basics unavailable or too costly to access. The coronavirus pandemic illustrated the precariousness of the food supply when markets suddenly shift or the virus causes the shutdown of certain food processing plants or the lack of nearby markets caused the farmers to destroy valuable food items or they lay wasting in the fields. The

Challenges of Transitioning to a Commons-Centric Society    129 need for community control over at least part of the food supply was illustrated. Community gardens or the “Agrihood” farms that are being established offer one approach to a sustainable food supply. The Detroit Agrihood covers two acres and has 300 varieties of vegetables and 200 fruit trees is an example of the type of commons that could end the dependence on an unreliable food distribution system (Chappell, 2020). Via Campesina, a large federation of agricultural cooperative around the world, is working toward the goal of ensuring local food supply systems. Yet, the federation has not had a major impact on food production and distribution in many of the countries within which its members work. Most commoners are not full time, but rather participate in specific types of commons during a small part of their daily lives. Most commoners, hence, are still very much living in the world of the market or at least accessing it when necessary and involved in commons only for specific resources or production. For example, most individuals using a peer-to-peer online system to access information or to make a product from an open-access design or use an openaccess web application are not generally thinking about the need to secure and self-govern the basics of life. Water wars have taken place locally and generally only when enclosure impacts a community do they resort to social protest movements which, at least in the United States often have little or no impact. The generally limited involvement in specific types of commons raises the issue whether, even if each type of commons is eventually federated, how the various commons will join together to shift the socio-economic order and how, with limited involvement in commons, commoners can secure means to survive and thrive outside of the market. Further, commoners are not full-time commoners. They are only commoners when in relationship with other commoners when they are living in, working on, participating in, or accessing commons. As De Angelis (2017a) said, commoners can reproduce themselves only via the medium of common wealth, and common wealth can reproduce itself only through the medium of commoners. Commoners are not objectively defined, but relationally defined – so the commoner who abandons the sphere of commons and enters the sphere of capital or the state just disappears, magically turned into workers, commodity labour power, employees, civil servants, administrators, at whatever level of significance we are looking for, even if they have the same body and knowledge. The commoning recursive loop is broken, at least momentarily. It is the same for the common wealth. (p. 387) Hence, the commoners identity is not stable, making it even more difficult to insert a transformative catalyst onto society. Bollier and Helfrich (2019) asserted that the free interplay of agents following simple principles operating at the local level can – with no big-picture knowledge or end goals at the outset – self organize in larger, more complex systems. (n.p.)

130    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons I question whether, without a unifying goal and committed leaders, commons will through free interplay follow the trajectory of necessary changes that Bauwens et al. (2019), Bollier and Helfrich (2019), and De Angelis (2017a, 2017b) considered necessary.

Marginalized Commons Many commons operate in sectors and areas that do not have a major social impact. Timebanks, nursing coops, community gardens, food, fishing, and coffee cooperatives, open-access information and knowledge, and global movements for food security, and so on. Examining these as a whole does not foster confidence that they would be interested in federating, and if so, that they would have a major impact on the socio-economic system. None of the commons I interviewed had ever considered federating with other commons. This is a reality that would have to change in order to move the commons movement forward.

Kaleidoscope of Consciousnesses and Western-Centric Perspective Further, if indeed worldview and consciousness are important factors to consider when evaluating whether commons can transform society, it is clear that commoners and their societies are at many different levels of consciousness. Whereas many natural resource-oriented commons most likely are at a green level of consciousness, some internet commons innovators and knowledge commons may be entering a higher, yellow-level consciousness. Commoners in other non-Western countries of the world may be at other levels of consciousness. The divergence of consciousness, in addition to living in countries with different models of governments and different social imaginaries, complicates forming federations, despite the fact that commoning generates particular subjectivities. Much of the commons literature appears to be Western-centric, with efforts to be inclusive by integrating some commoners from Latin America and Southeast Asia, but not many from the Middle East or Central Asia, or the far East, except for South Korea, which is active in IASC. It is unclear whether commons in these other countries are similar and hold similar values and desires to effect a socioeconomic shift.

Insufficient Resources to Live Autonomously The commons are still deeply embedded in the market society and need to work within or with the market in order to survive. Varvarousis and Kallis (2019) pointed out that the lack of financing in addition to the inability of commoners to earn money to survive plagued the commons movement in post-austerity Greece. Papadimitropoulos (2019) wrote that the commons movement faces “external barriers” that include: A lack of access to resources and capital, a significant gap in managerial and technical skills (30 percent of the world’s population

Challenges of Transitioning to a Commons-Centric Society    131 cannot read, let alone operate a computer), sectoral and operational isolation in a number of sub-sectors, and a lack of public policy and institutional support from both the state and larger cooperatives. The commons still largely depends largely on financial and technological systems managed by corporate capital and neoliberal state policies. (p. 116)

Challenges with the State Whether and how to “produce” a state which is supportive of the commons is a much-debated issue among commons scholars and activists. As noted above, Bauwens et al. (2019) proposed that commoners would have to continuously pressure the state to “commonize it” and turn it into a partner state. Bollier and Helfrich (2019) recommended beginning at the local level where governments are more likely to be supportive of commons, and requesting legal and regulatory changes supportive of the commons. Saidel (2018) talked of a “strategic relationship with the state in order to promote the formation of the commons” (p. 78) and in order to guarantee access to education, health, transportation, security, and so on. He recommended that a federation of commoners simultaneously build an “alternative political rationality, based on use value, self-management, and self-government” (p. 78). Menzies (2014) foresaw the necessity for lawsuits, demonstrations, organizing, sustained commitment, seeking political office, and obtaining the support of political parties. De Angelis (2017b) argued that social movements would play a significant role in pressuring the state to make changes conducive to a commons-centric society. Dardot and Laval (2019) proposed a politics of the commons from the local to the global and a client-oriented professional civil service without explaining how he would achieve these. Hardt and Negri (2012) elaborated a long list of reforms that would have to be made, implying that these reforms would be made necessarily as biopolitics gained in power to effect the changes. Quilligan included a long list of “must changes” without specifying who would be responsible for these or the necessary tactics to achieve them. All of the above authors contended that a combination of pressure, negotiation, deal-making, advocacy, and lobbying would have to be employed without clearly specifying what kind of state would result or whether a state would even necessarily have to exist. Nor have they clearly identified who among the commoners would be involved in these strategies or whether they would be spontaneous or automatically emerge as the commons grows and forms ever stronger federations.

How to Confront the State Much debate has taken place regarding how to confront and hence change the state and the various arguments are too extensive to summarize here. A confrontational approach was proposed by Kioupkiolis (2017). He posited a Janusfaced agonistic approach for politicizing the common in order to transform the

132    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons socio-economic order. He argued that it would be necessary for commoners to enter into politics and obtain positions of power and authority within the existing system in order to realistically achieve significant commons-supportive changes. He contended that “hegemony and the plural common could be brought together as political strategies and orientations but not as fundamental ontologies” (n.p.) claiming that it would be necessary to weld together “broad alliances out of dispersed differences” (n.p.). Plural commons would guide internal politics whereas hegemony would direct external politics toward “the enemy.” Hegemony, Kioupkiolis (2017) contended is “the political practice which constructs a new social order starting from an antagonism between rival social sectors … based on an unequal distribution of power within oppositional front.” He claimed that someone needs to accede to a position of leadership “against the enemy who must be excluded and overwhelmed in order to establish a new hegemonic order” (n.p.). He referred to Mouffe’s example of Spain in which, according to her, the Indignados movement would not have had an impact without the Podemos political party that emerged from the movement and led to the election of a pro-commons mayor of Barcelona, which has since become one of the model commons cities in the world. Fenton (2016) pointed out that Podemos gained popularity largely because it focused on everyday life, which had been devastated to a large extent by austerity measures. That is, it incorporated the social into the political, something Dardot and Laval (2019) also proposed. Being political “stopped being about voting every few years or signing a few online petitions, it became about doing and being” (p. 42). Podemos promoted coming together in mutuality and solidarity, largely as an online community, respecting differences to deal with everyday challenges of food, energy, housing, and other basics of life.

The Commons and the Question of Evil and Elitism The majority of commons scholars and activists posit the commons with particular values, many of which were discussed in Chapter 5 on Commoning, which set the commons clearly apart from similarly organized groups whose aims are nefarious such as terrorist organizations, drug cartels, child-pornography, trafficking rings, and other self-managed groups that focus on illegal or immoral activities. If the commons claims to be a vehicle to build autonomy, self-determination, and equality, then how will the issue of evil be dealt with? Urry (2016) argued, for example, that the offshore world would have to be reigned-in before a commons-centric society could be established. The offshore world, Urry pointed out operates according to a sort of cowboy capitalism catalyzed by the neoliberal intention to avoid government regulation. This shadowy world that thrives on the dark web has greatly increased inequality by allowing the elite to evade taxes; create secret offshore companies; engender new forms of financialization; develop novel ways of marginalizing workforces through outsourcing work; allow banks to function without controls; extract infrastructural investment from states; externalize the costs of waste and emissions to other countries; facilitate sex trafficking rings, as in the case of Jeffrey Epstein; establish

Challenges of Transitioning to a Commons-Centric Society    133 money laundering outposts, human rights abuses throughout the world, injustices, violence, among many other realities that seriously harm democratic society and make a commons-centric society almost laughable. The global coronavirus pandemic revealed even more evil in the world with the proliferation of virus scams that threatened lives, including a US president who worried more about the stock market than initiating measure to deal with the virus and who focused on business schemes to profit from the crisis; companies and hospitals gouging the government on essential medical equipment and protective gear; expanded online hacking and phishing schemes; individuals who purposefully spit on produce and other items in grocery stores; opening up of a space for the drug lords in Latin America and the Islamic State to regroup and regain strength; creating a milieu to better manipulate the stock market through insider trading and short sales; and many other destructive actions. Hardt (2010) argued that “love needs to dismantle the corrupt institutions before it can create a new world of commonwealth.” Papadimitropoulos (2018) made a list of needs that must be met before a commons-centric society could dominate. He included reaching out to the poor; ensuring unbiased information from mainstream media; an end to the capitalist imaginary of individualism and utilitarianism; the creation of a new anthropological type “that combines a minimum conception of the commons good … with an ethical pluralism translated into the P2P infrastructures that support the inter-compatibility of multiple individual and collective imaginaries” (p. 328); transformed power relations and income inequalities “into the equipotential inter-compatibilities of cultural diversity with the mission to unleash human creativity and establish a more autonomous society” (p. 328).

Internal Challenges There are still many wrinkles in existing commons to work out as they do not always function ideally but need dedication and commitment to fulfill their values (Bollier & Helfrich, 2019; De Angelis, 2017a, 2017b; Papadimitropoulos, 2018). As Papadimitropoulos (2018) expressed, the commons face many contradictions: elitism, discrimination, racism, precarious volunteering and activism, the domination of self-interest and competition over solidarity and cooperation, the rational mastery of techno-economism and the fear of tyranny of the Commons over the heterogeneity of individuality. (p. 327) He claimed that the commons also faces issues such as division between managers and executants, lack of transparency and solidarity, and the shortsighted notion that techno-science combined with profit maximization can be the sole variables of progress (p. 116). He (2018) mentioned also the emergence of an oligarchy of experts with techno-centricism and referred to a study which concluded that Wikipedia “has turned into another conservative, corporate bureaucracy

134    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons ruled by a leadership elite with privileged access to information and social networks” (p. 328). Esteves (2017) found in her study of the ecovillage Tamera in Portugal the tendency for this and other ecovillages to create a sort of “commoning elitism” by isolating themselves from the local community. Further, this elitism manifested because participants generally were from the privileged social classes who could afford to embrace postmodernism and live outside of society and who could pay the price of a house in an ecovillage. Esteves also referred to studies that illustrated that even in online open-access commons, members tended to be from the middle class or above, reflecting the fact that commons often reproduced the class structure of capitalism. Further, Esteves argued that the lack of a political ecology led to distancing from the local community, which reduced the transformational potential of the ecovillage. Esteves highlighted another fact that may characterize a number of commons. That is, Tamera was not created by collective action. Rather, it was founded by two Germans who implemented their “Healing Biotope” model derived from German idealism, psychoanalysis, and eastern and western mysticism, with a specific ideology and value system, including open relationships. Its purpose was the creation of intentional communities that aimed to prefigure the emotional or mental depths of a concrete utopia by publicly dealing with the basic causes of intra- and inter-personal conflict that interfere with communal living … [and] to promote a communitarian economy based on a symbiotic and non-extractive and non-accumulative relationship with nature. (p. 975) Membership in the ecovillage was not guaranteed but needed to be earned over a number of years by taking a series of courses as well as being a trial member judged by the community. In considering the possible federating of commons, their diverse philosophies and purposes would need to be taken into consideration and could likely create value clashes once federated. Although the commoning that generates and sustains commons may exhibit similar underlying social, psychological, and political practices as illustrated in Chapter 5, their purposes may clash and they may have different views about what a commons-centric society would be. Hence, it may be unrealistic to envision them as forming federations for the creation of a society whose character they share. Commons are very much heterogeneous in purposes and beliefs. Further, and largely because commons tend to be isolated communities as well as distinctive one from another, there emerges the possibility that commoning will not “spill over” into society at large nor realize its wider transformative potential (Ferreri, 2017). As Ferreri (2017) cautioned, the relationship between practices of commoning and the constitution of community will require addressing at different scales and

Challenges of Transitioning to a Commons-Centric Society    135 according to different dimensions of the issue. In concrete terms, the issue will not be resolved simply through deploying efficacious modes of communication or through pre-established protocols of participation; it will require developing and continuously adapting spaces for mediation, mutual learning and reciprocity that may be truly capable of addressing the multiple and composite inequalities that characterise contemporary societies. (p. 45)

Gentler, Sustainable Capitalism and More Participatory Municipalities There are several global movements afoot, which promote sustainability-oriented private sector companies and a gentler sort of capitalism, as well as more participatory municipalities. These movements hope to transform the status quo into a more people-oriented and environmentally friendly world, although still with the same capitalist profit orientation. The B Corps, for example, are leaders in a movement to use business to solve our global problems. They are working to drive “impact investment to companies doing well by doing good and establishing laws protecting businesses that want to serve the triple bottom line interest of people, planet, and profit” (Steffan, 2019, p. 22). After the signature of the 2015–2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the B Corp movement adopted the mission to “redefine business as a force for good” and “an important part of the shift toward a more inclusive purpose-driven economy which is unquestionably needed” (Steffan, 2019, pp. 17–18). Globescan works with businesses, NGOs, and government to help them be more responsive to their stakeholders (see The organization proposes “purposeful leadership” and is tracking businesses’ response to the coronavirus pandemic. Globescan also promotes more participatory municipalities. This organization and others are pushing the capitalist system to join the sustainability and stakeholder-oriented movements and may be perceived as competitive with the commons. Management consultants and private sector leaders are treating companies like living systems, speaking the same language as the commons, namely care, love, and commitment. Laloux (2014) identified several firms in the private sector that operated much like the commons exhibiting self-management, a perspective of wholeness, and evolutionary purpose. Holocracy is also posited to replace hierarchy in some private sector organizations. Although they are infusing many of the values shared by the commons, these organizations cannot influence the profit orientation which continues to create inequalities in society, unless the businesses are employee-owned. However, many companies are now including all stakeholders as beneficiaries instead of only stockholders. Consequently, the commons will necessarily need to confront and compete with this movement and convince individuals that the values of the commons supersede those of “responsible, sustainable capitalism” if in fact, the intent is to create a post-capitalist, commons-centric society.

136    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons

Need for More Commons Self-Awareness Bollier and Helfrich (2015) mentioned that many of the “commons” they interviewed did not identify themselves as commoners, or their organizations as commons. De Angelis (2017b) argued that commoning is a “highly political activity even when the commoners themselves are unaware of this” (2017b, p. 204). This is so because “commoning develops the conditions of autonomy and auto-production (autopoiesis) and the features of the boundaries separating one commons from another, defining lines of inclusion and exclusion” (p. 204). When I conducted interviews with groups that fit the definition of commons, I also encountered the same chagrining realization that many groups called by scholars and activists commons have no self-awareness of being commons, or of other commons, or of the need to join together in federations. Even many global commons movements focus on their own movements rather than reaching out to other commons. These observations are concerning in terms of the systems models of expanding the influence of the commons and catalyzing the movement toward a commons-centric society. Much work remains to be accomplished to build the self-awareness of these groups as a prelude to forming federations and enlarging the movement.

Limitations of the Systems Approach The systems framework provides a comprehensive and enticing perspective on the commons and its power to catalyze a commons-centric society through the establishment of the “commonserve,” the loosely connected and federated “pluriverse” of commons (Bollier & Helfrich, 2019). De Angelis contended (2017b) that commoners are social beings created by the act of commoning. As he wrote (2017a), subjects common (become commoners) insofar as their social being is enacted with others at different levels of social organizations through a social practice that is essentially horizontal and may embrace a variety of forms, ground in community sharing, doing in commons and participatory democracy. (p. x) Commons arise, as Bollier and Helfrich (2019) explained when people “engage in the social practices of commoning, participate in peer governance and develop collaborative forms of provisioning in the course of using a resource or carewealth” (n.p.). De Angelis (2017b) added that: Commoning is flow-like in its praxis: like a bike chain it continues to rotate, to iterate to start anew a new cycle, literally converting the reciprocating, valuing, and cooperating motions of the commoners’ labor into rotational motion of the commons, (re)producing resources and commoners, and in turn (re)producing the commons at new levels and in new forms. (De Angelis, p. 204)

Challenges of Transitioning to a Commons-Centric Society    137 As living adaptive systems, commons create porous boundaries and constantly adapt to their environment and change through emergence and form federations through autopoiesis. In this framework, it is the system that is the agent of change, driven by the interactions of the social, being commoners engaging in commoning. Commoners, according to Bollier and Helfrich (2019) “intra-act” and experience entangled agency in which action emerges from their relationships rather than from their individual agency. Or as Ruivenkamp and Hilton (2017) explained, the multitude, as a collective subjectivity of mutually interacting individuals, exercise agency to construct a new socio-economic reality (p. 8). As was written in Chapter 5, communities are comprised of singular individuals in relationality. That is, commoners do not lose their individuality or their agency. As seen from a systems perspective the system is indeed the agent of change and commoning, as a process of the multitude is fueling the system’s agency. And although the system is adapting to the environment, the system is also influencing the environment, and together they are creating a symbiotic evolutionary process. Yet, the agency of individual commoners is still important to capture since their personal state and their transformation through commoning has an impact on how the system adapts. This reality was not explored by the authors reviewed thus far and will be discussed in depth in Chapter 10. As Wheatley explained (2011): Place-based change requires us to be present, available, willing. Systems can’t be understood from the outside. No matter how intricate a network map we draw, or how many interactions and loops we name, these are static depictions. Beneath their neatness on paper lives the volatile world of human dynamics, emotional energy only visible in real life. This is why we can’t know a system until we’re inside it, living in its messiness, engaged in relationships, noticing possibilities. (n.p.) It is to this “inside” that the next chapter will take us, to how commoners and actors in complex adaptive systems practice leadership and view their roles to help achieve the goals of their systems.

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Part III

Leading on the Commons

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Chapter 9

Reclaiming Leadership on the Commons Leadership is in the blood. A leader is willing to take the shirt off his back for his colleagues. (Leader of an Agricultural Cooperative in El Salvador) Leadership for this era is not a role or a set of traits; it is a zone of inter-relational process. Step in, step out. (Nora Bateson, 2017) Leadership is not a subject commonly addressed in the commons literature. Ostrom included leadership and entrepreneurship in her list of the behavior of key actors in her Social-Ecological Systems Framework, but her emphasis was clearly on governance. Bollier and Helfrich (2019) recommended replacing the term “leadership” with “peer governance” in their proposed commons-centric language, due to the hegemonic associations of the concept of leadership and the fact that governance refers to group processes, on which the commons thrive. Other commons scholars and activists hesitated to employ the word “leadership” also because of these hegemonic connotations. Instead, they referred to individuals who possessed certain necessary attributes who would temporarily come to the fore, or that so-called leaders would arise and disappear somewhat randomly as part of the commoning process. As discussed throughout the book, leadership theory underwent a dramatic transformation during the years that individuals were exploring the commons and seeking a unifying definition and transformational process forward. The shift from an industrial to an information/knowledge society mandated a shift in the way leadership was conceived of and practiced. The complex adaptive systems (CAS) and networks perspectives required an emphasis on information sharing and emergent change stemming from collaborative practices and often more distributed leadership practices. The challenge in the knowledge economy became how to create an environment in which knowledge is generated and shared at a low cost and how intellectual assets could be enabled through distributed intelligence and cellular networks (Uhl-Bien & Marion, 2008). Leading for adaptability, knowledge, and learning replaced leading for efficiency and control (Uhl-Bien & Marion, 2008). Although the information/knowledge society has become the

Proleptic Leadership on the Commons: Ushering in a New Global Order, 141–159 Copyright © 2020 by Emerald Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved doi:10.1108/978-1-83867-799-220201013

142    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons overarching paradigm, industrial society still exists and, indeed, in many countries leadership is still practiced under a highly authoritarian regime. Despite the introduction of systems theory, the term “governance” cannot replace the term “leadership.” The concepts are distinguished and leadership may still play an important role in commons even when commons are portrayed as CAS. Governance refers to the interaction of individuals involved in a collective problem and their decision-making regarding norms and institutions that they need to adopt to govern according to their shared values. Applauded approaches of governance such as sociocracy are decision-making approaches and do not fulfill all the functions that leadership does, functions that will be discussed in this chapter. Governance is also the resulting “set of interacting institutions to guide behavior toward group goals,” where institutions refer to sets of rules and norms (Partelow, 2020, p. 69). Whereas governance is a group activity, leadership traditionally has been conceived of as an individual activity, although recently this conception has changed to also include leadership as a group or system activity, generally associated with motivating individuals to achieve a common goal. Ostrom focused primarily on deriving the principles of successful governance developed by a self-organized, self-governed group of individuals primarily interested in co-governing a natural resource, although she later included knowledge as such a resource. Her eight design principles of successful self-governance have become the foundation of commons studies. Derived from an institutionalist perspective on collective action, these include: (1) define clear group boundaries; (2) match rules governing use of common goods to local needs and conditions; (3) ensure that those affected by the rules can participate in modifying the rules; (4) make sure the rule-making rights of community members are respected by outside authorities; (5) develop a system, carried out by community members, for monitoring members’ behavior; (6) use graduated sanctions for rule violators; (7) provide accessible, low-cost means for dispute resolution; and (8) build responsibility for governing the common resource in nested tiers from the lowest level up to the entire interconnected system. Ostrom recognized that commons were nested within other social systems and structures and hence posited polycentric governance systems. Her principles describe the necessary institutional processes that ideally function after a community decides to govern a common resource outside of the state or private sector. They do not describe the process of coming to that decision nor the behavior and possibly the leadership of individuals within the system. Rather, these principles are observed from an outsider’s perspective. Bauwens et. al., (2019), Bollier and Helfrich (2019), and De Angelis (2017b) all recognized in their prefigurative approaches to the transformation of the socioeconomic system that commons must necessarily begin within and deal with elements of the capitalist society and existing governing structures. Commoners often need to produce for the market in order to survive and many commoners live in commons that are embedded in the capitalist system. Leaders may play an important role in such commons. Hence it seems premature to conclude that leadership has no place in commons and that governance is all that is necessary,

Reclaiming Leadership on the Commons    143 or that leadership only rears its head sporadically in commons. It also may be premature to assume that leadership is practiced similarly in all commons. Perhaps leadership arises differently depending upon the type of resource being governed and the socio-economic, cultural, and political environment within which the commons function. A number of studies of the governance of natural resource commons have determined that leaders play a key role in ensuring the success of their governance systems. Further, several relevant theories of leadership have been posited within a CAS framework, the framework employed by Bauwens et al. (2019), Bollier and Helfrich (2019), and De Angelis (2017b) to explain the emergence of a commons-centric society. This chapter will explore several of the studies conducted on the role of leadership in natural resources commons as well as examine several theories of leadership in CAS to determine their relevance to leadership on the commons writ large and the future of leadership in a commons-centric society. As will be noted, rather than being purely positional, leadership is often a necessary function of a system or commons. Further, leadership behaviors, variously defined, are often exhibited by different people within a system, helping to further the overall goal or vision of the system.

Overall Importance of Leadership The emergence of commons of natural resources in local communities has typically been represented by collective action models. These commons are often embedded in local communities in which local leaders can influence the success or failure of the commons. Additionally, local leaders can be members of the commons and have a vested interest in their success. Hence leaders may play an important in establishing and sustaining the commons. A number of studies illustrate that at least as long as commons are embedded in market economies and in hierarchical social systems, leadership may remain an essential element. As Sotarauta, Horlings, and Liddle (2012) pointed out in their studies of sustainable rural development, “leaders are actors who have a greater range of assets than others in the community, and this enables them to overcome the constraints” (p. 3) that often impede making progress toward sustainability, which is one of the touted values of the commons. Gutierrez, Hilborn, and Defeo (2011) assessed 130 co-managed fisheries in 44 countries according to 19 variables of co-management under five variables recommended by Ostrom, including co-management, resource system, resource unit governance system, users system, and outcome. They determined that strong leadership was the most important factor associated with success. As they asserted: Our results demonstrate the critical importance of prominent community leaders and robust social capital combined with clear incentives through catch shares and conservation benefits derived from protected areas, for successfully managing aquatic resources and securing the livelihoods of communities depending on them. (pp. 387–388)

144    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons The authors noted that such leaders required entrepreneurial skills and needed to be highly motivated and respected and committed to the co-management process. Such leaders were guided by collective interests, not self-gain, and provided resilience during changes in the government. They ensured regulation compliance and played a role in conflict resolution and quota allocations (Gutierrez et al., 2011). Other important factors of successful commons included establishing individual or community quotas, social cohesion/capital, and identifying protected areas. Social capital served as a “buffer against changes in institutional arrangements, economic crises and resource over-exploitation, and fosters sustainable co-management systems” (p. 388). Less important were enforcement mechanisms, long-term management policies, and life history of the resources. Gutierrez et al. (2011) also concluded that fisheries were most successful when there were at least eight co-management factors functioning. In his study of locally management forests, Nath (2013) found that leadership in local user groups, along with social capital, organization, and autonomy contributed to effective forest governance. He concluded that leadership variables were strongly associated with positive outcomes in complex social-ecological situations. The forestry program defined a leader of a user group as an individual in this group who invested time, energy, and perhaps money in trying to work out coordinated strategies within the group concerning maintenance, investment in upgrading the forest(s) or harvesting forest products. (p. 5) Nath contended that leaders made critical decisions that impacted the tradeoff between maximizing the ecological outcome and social outcome of improved use and livelihoods.

Leaders as Catalysts, Brokers, and Political Representatives A number of studies have identified leaders as catalysts or brokers of commons. Despite her emphasis on governance, Ostrom admitted that “the presence of a leader or entrepreneur who articulates different ways of organizing to improve joint outcomes, is frequently an important initial stimulus” (2009, p. 149). In their study of a community eco- and ethno-tourism commons Ecomanglar in the Colombian Pacific region, Lobo, Velez, and Puerto (2016) found that leaders were “essential brokers to initialize and sustain collective action” (p. 982). They determined that such leaders brought about “entrepreneurial solutions for sustainable development” but also created conflict within the community (p. 982). The most important implication of their study, and one that I personally have reflected on for a considerable time, was that it challenged the view that collective action is a uniform emergent decentralized group-oriented action. As they asserted (2016): Although collective action may be understood as the emergent outcome of aggregated individual decisions with no apparent centrally

Reclaiming Leadership on the Commons    145 allocating mechanism, there is in principle no reason to expect that all members in a group will have the same influence over the processes and decisions leading to collective action. Power imbalances and inequalities are key to the shaping of individual and collective choices. (pp. 985–986) In the case of Ecomanglar, local leaders pitched the idea to their Afro-Colombian community to develop a cooperative for eco-tourism, the first of its kind in their region. Because community members were poor, had little access to education, and were inexperienced in organizing, the local leaders, who were better educated, necessarily played a larger role in brokering the formation of the cooperative and in mentoring the members. They were involved in developing the operational model and presenting it to the cooperative. They remained active as leaders in skills development and in initial decision-making until the members had developed adequate skills to run the cooperative in a more collaborative manner. The authors called this the “operational capacity” dimension of leadership. They (2016) also found that leaders in Ecomanglar needed to be present at tourism fairs and also to expand operations to other villages and handle external support and relations with outsiders. This dimension of leadership they titled “institutional transfer channels,” whereby economic and human capital resources were transferred between the community and outside domains. The authors (2016) claimed that the role of leaders in community commons paralleled the role of leaders in social movements, which include “external articulators” and “internal mobilizers” (p. 998). Lobo et al. (2016) created a schematic that illustrated that the extent to which leaders had to exercise these leadership functions depended upon the operational capacity of the cooperative and the strength of the institutional transfer channels. The stronger both of these were, the more discretionary and complementary the leaders could be, and the less they had to exercise leadership. Further, they argued that the higher immaterial and symbolic inter-community asymmetries and heterogeneities were, “the greater the need for leadership roles either to help improve operational capacities or strengthen institutional transfer channels” (p. 1002). In the case of Ecomanglar, the local community leaders wanted to help transition the cooperative to collective self-management and wanted to transition to only discretionary leadership. The authors (2016) concluded that leaders are important as “institutional entrepreneurs who can potentially lead disruptions that change the status quo and are also involved in the implementation of those changes” (p. 1002).

Leaders as Buffers and Bonding Element vis-à-vis External Forces Lobo et al. (2016) determined that community leaders also serve as buffers against disruptive interventions from the environment as well as bonding elements when there exists the possibility of complementarity with the external environment. They concluded that:

146    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons (i) No community is entirely self-sufficient to design and enforce governance mechanisms for resource conservation and (ii) external actors may adequately support self-organized community processes. (p. 1002)

Leaders as Functional Brokers Who also Bridge Cultural Divides Lobo et al. (2016) concluded that leaders also served as functional brokers with networking capacity who connected actors not belonging to the same organizations. Such a role is necessary when a commons is embedded in a community that is related to nearby communities with differing cultures. In this situation, a leader serves as a translator between cultures. The leaders of Ecomangar had to broker relationships with other nearby communities who were very involved in the Black Social Movement in Colombia. Ecomangar chose not to get involved in this movement but rather to promote entrepreneurial opportunities in their community. These differing approaches created conflicts that leaders and entrepreneurs were forced to confront and solve. Internal and external conflicts are inescapable in commons and leaders can also serve as brokers to help people solve these. Further, leaders of Ecomangar were needed to bridge cultural divides with non-black communities with whom they inevitably interacted and from which most of their clients came from.

Other Leader Catalysts Enric Duran served as the catalytic leader of the Catalan Community Commons (CIC). Duran is a Catalan hacktivist involved in the local anti-globalization movement who became known as the Robin Hood of the banks because he tricked Spanish banks into giving him loans of about a half a million euros which he gave to activist organizations (Dafermos, 2017). Although he worked with other activists to form the Catalan Community, Duran, more than the others, defined its vision, recruited members, organized committees and led the establishment of the CIC initiative and its projects (Dafermos, 2017). He was forced to go underground and the CIC was subsequently run like a typical cooperative with functional committees and decision-making assemblies, but Duran served an important role as a leader catalyst to generate the communal action and to lead the definition of operating principles. Had he not been forced to go underground, it is possible that his leadership role may have continued to manifest during the operation of the CIC. Leslie Dyer was the catalyst leader of the often referenced Maine Lobster Commons. He started the Maine Lobstermen Association (MLA) in 1954 and served as its president until 1966 (MLA, 2004). He convinced very independent, very reluctant lobstermen to join the association to fight against the lobster dealers who kept the lobstermen hostage much like indentured servants by paying low prices for their catch. Dyer offered lobstermen benefits such as low interest loans and health and life insurance at discounted rates in order to encourage them to

Reclaiming Leadership on the Commons    147 join the MLA. The MLA established a minimum price per pound for lobster that they would accept from dealers in order to guarantee their livelihood. However, dealers had enormous political clout and they complained to the government. The government subsequently sued MLA and won their suit under the anti-trust laws. The MLA, who was forced to pay a huge fine to the government, lost a great number of members as a consequence. The MLA then attempted to form cooperatives to directly deal with buyers and sidestep the dealers but the government stopped them. Only many years later was the MLA able to establish cooperatives without government interference. These cooperatives and other smaller lobster commons, such as the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries in Stonington, spread throughout the lobstering territory. The MLA, under subsequent presidents, became politically active in supporting and opposing various laws in the state legislature and won many victories to improve their livelihood. Over time, the lobstermen, through their associations, worked for limitations to the number of traps lobstermen could use, for protecting female lobsters with eggs as well as the giant males who were the most prominent progenitors. They also succeeded in keeping large commercial boats out of their territory. The Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries in Stonington, for example, has worked consistently to honor eco-system based fishing, based on the principle that the only way the resources of the oceans will be protected and sustained is through joint stakeholder stewardship: collective action of fishermen and their communities, supported by science and working in combination with regulatory authorities at all levels. ( In addition to sustainable lobstering, they have worked on co-management of scallops, alewife, and groundfish restoration.

Leaders as Political Representatives Lobstermen worked together in their associations to make major decisions while the MLA, the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries in Stonington, and other lobster association leaders dealt with external forces, including the State Fisheries Commission and the State Legislature. The MLA and other associations have relatively large boards of directors comprised of lobstermen who say they are always down on the shore with the lobstermen in order to understand their perspectives and points of view. Although major decisions may be made collaboratively, certain functions still require leaders, especially in a market system in which price determines whether they can profit sufficiently in order to continue in the profession. My cousin-in-law, who has been a lobsterman for over 50 years and is the son and grandson of lobstermen, explained to me that lobstermen are like family. He had never heard of the concept of the commons although he served for many years on the Board of Directors of the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries

148    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons in Stonington. When I explained the commons to him, he said that it resonated with him except for the fact that he said that the lobstermen, despite being like family, are competitors, a fact that undermines a basic principle of the commons. He also explained that they are at the mercy of the market. For example, the bait sellers recently raised by 50% the cost of herring, the lobstermen’s preferred bait, so they have to use less desirable bait in order to make a profit. Further, at one point the price of lobsters dropped to one dollar, which made it impossible to work. My cousin-in-law also said the pandemic had created challenges. Whereas lobstermen were allowed to harvest 800 traps per day, he said that they really only should be harvesting 400 traps as long as the restaurants were closed or else there would be a glut on the market and the price would fall precipitously. However, to change this limit would require legislation which could never be accomplished in time. He explained that the lobstermen were still at the mercy of the State Fisheries Commission and the State Legislature, in addition to the market, so that external forces still dictated their allowable behavior to a large extent. What he told me is similar to what other individuals belonging to “commons” said, namely that living within a capitalist economy put limits on the degree to which they can be autonomous.

Mobilizing Leadership for Commons Federations McDermott, Kurucz, and Colbert (2017) introduced the notion of “mobilizing leadership” to describe the process of linking local community civil society organizations together as commons as a sustainability strategy. As noted by Bauwens et al. (2019), Bollier and Helfrich (2019), and De Angelis (2017b), commons need to link together to form federations in order to build a transformational force. Basing their leadership approach on social movement theory, McDermott et al. (2017) defined mobilizing leadership as “intentional activities undertaken by individuals or organizations that foster collective action, spanning sector boundaries, to solve complex social issues” (p. 36). Three phases comprise mobilizing leadership, the authors argued, including (1) identifying political opportunity; (2) creating mobilizing structures; and (3) engaging in farming activities. In their study of leadership for sustainable rural development in the Netherlands that involved working to create multi-actor regional networks of local sustainability-oriented organizations, Horlings (2011) and Horlings and Padt (2011) found that leaders, who they classified as “networkers” or “visionaries” were mobilizers, as well as agenda-setters. Leaders included in the research mobilized local organizations around forming communities, policies, events, creative ideas, etc. to create sustainable rural development. Networkers were people-oriented, always looking for ways to connect people and ideas from different perspectives and lifestyles. Visionaries had imagination and could see the bigger picture. Leaders were required to deal with multiple visions and had to align people around a joint sustainability vision … “visioning between visions” … as a constant

Reclaiming Leadership on the Commons    149 process evolving process between the collective and the individual. (Horlings & Padt, 2011, p. 4) Leaders’ roles were flexible depending upon the situation and they saw their role as inspiring people from various walks of life to embrace the importance of sustainability. Leaders brought the vision created in their networks to people in positions of power and authority outside their networks to set the sustainability agenda and looked for new knowledge outside their network as a form of “open innovation.” They employed a “leapfrog” strategy of moving up the government ladder to make their visions and issues known when they felt obstructed by local leaders and they tried to “change the rules of the game.” They employed media when the government resisted and overall served as ambassadors of sustainable development. Further, these leaders were boundary spanners in the sense that they bridged the distance between their own network and outside organizations (Horlings & Padt, 2011). They exercised the art of “institutional bricolage” by traversing different logics, cultures, and languages and developing personal trustworthy and committed emotional bonds (Horlings & Padt, 2011). Horlings and Padt (2011) named these leaders as practicing “value-based sustainability leadership.”

Complex Adaptive Systems and Leading from Nature As the CAS and ecological perspectives became increasingly applied to organizations, a number of inventive leadership approaches emerged, including network leadership, complexity leadership, leading from nature, peer-to-peer (P2P) leadership, systems leadership, adaptive leadership, relational leadership, among others. These approaches, which include many similar characteristics, may be relevant to leadership on the commons when the commons is conceived of through the systems perspective. These approaches view leadership as a critical system function facilitated by one or many leaders distributed throughout the organization, in addition to, or rather than a positional role. Such approaches often focus on “leadership behaviors” exhibited by individuals rather than position leadership. There is no generally accepted compendium of leadership behaviors. Some typical ones may include: taking initiative to help the system/organization; introducing an idea, product, or concept to colleagues, inspiring colleagues, mobilizing colleagues to accomplish a task, serving as a communication and relationship facilitator.

Network Leadership Ogden (2018) proposed a view of network leadership as a shared and multidimensional endeavor required to “hold the whole.” Holding the whole, generally titled by Ogden “facilitative leadership,” means to perceive the system as a whole and to pay attention to what is required to support the system’s resiliency and ensure the system is providing equitable and sustained benefits. “Facilitative leaders” also bring people together for difficult conversations. Ogden (2018) viewed

150    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons a number of different and complimentary leadership roles in networks that different individuals can play, although one person could possibly play all of them. “Network guardianship” is about promoting and modeling fundamental network values such as transparency, openness, respect, generosity, and mutualism, all of which contribute to the creation of conditions that can nurture strong connections, robust flows, net effects, and shared value. (para. 6) Other key leadership roles include “network gardeners,” who are the conveners of the network, much like the catalysts discussed previously in the chapter. They aid in creating a trusting and collaborative culture and help protect the network without over-protecting it such that it becomes exclusive or calcified. “Design leaders” help make a cohesive team organized by a vision and purpose. Weaver leaders look for opportunities for self-organizing members, reach out to marginalized groups and to other networks to form relationships. “Communications and curating” leaders help maintain open and transparent communication and act by “soliciting, aggregating, distilling, highlighting, and organizing an abundance of information and other resources to keep people engaged, seeking, and sharing and keep the network humming” (para. 11). “Thought leaders” play the role of provocateur to ask the devil’s advocate type questions to stimulate reflection. “Coordinating leaders” help maintain structure through meeting scheduling and resource provision. “Implementation/Prototyping” leaders are also necessary, Ogden (2018) argued in order to help keep projects moving. Interestingly, Ogden (2018) puts governance last and resists the tendency of network members to want to address governance issues first and foremost. Ogden proposed a network principle he called “subsidiarity in governance,” namely that “governance—>span class=“s2”> matters ought to be handled by the smallest, closest to the ground or least centralized competent ‘authority’” (para. 15). Hence, contrary to what Ostrom proposed, Ogden believed that governance should play a secondary role in networks, whereas various leadership roles maintain the dynamism, creativity, resilience, and adaptability of the network. Schreiber and Carley (2008) highlighted the importance of learning and adaptability in networks. Leadership is essential to support these processes “through activities which foster knowledge flows, enhance interactions, advocate contextual change (structuration) and facilitate aggregation” (n.p.). To stimulate network learning they proposed the concept of “leaders in process” that shape communication flows in the following ways: “enhancing knowledge flows, creating interactions and interdependencies, maintaining relational coupling, increasing the speed of learning, and communicating new knowledge” (n.p.). The leadership role individuals assume depends upon the number and proximity of connections they have within the network and their role in creating the network emergent outcomes. They title some of these leaders “emergent leaders,” “boundary spanners,” and “network agents.”

Reclaiming Leadership on the Commons    151 In order to facilitate change, which “advances the coevolution of human and social capital” (n.p.), Schreiber and Carley (2008) proposed leadership of context and leadership in process. Whereas leadership of context “enables organizational processes that allow for adaptable collective action responses to a changing environment,” leadership in process “facilitates learning and adaptation through the emergent interactions and informal dynamics which form collective action” (n.p.). They contended that leadership generates collective action in networks.

Complexity Leadership Complexity leadership, derived from the behavior of CAS, does not only manifest in leadership positions but also manifests as an emergent, interactive dynamic – a complex interplay from which a collective impetus for action and change emerges when heterogeneous agents interact in networks in ways that produce new patterns of behavior or new modes of operating. (Uhl-Bien & Marion, 2008, n.p.) Complexity leadership has emerged in the knowledge economy where the overarching challenge is to foster and protect knowledge accumulation, enable “intellectual assets through distributed intelligence and cellular networks” (p. x), and foster speed and adaptability. This reality contrasts sharply with the challenges of the industrial age which focused on control and linear processes. Complexity leadership, Uhl-Bien, Marion, and McKelvey (2007) and UhlBien and Marion (2008) argued, comprises three leadership roles, namely administrative or operational leadership, enabling leadership, and adaptive or entrepreneurial leadership. These roles “reflect a dynamic relationship between the bureaucratic, administrative functions of the organization and the emergent, informal dynamics of complex adaptive systems” (n.p.) conflicting and connecting in the adaptive space. Administrative or operational leadership relates to bureaucratic hierarchy, alignment, and control. Enabling leadership enables creative problem solving and learning. Adaptive or entrepreneurial leadership is generative of emergent change. Complexity leadership theory distinguishes between leader and leadership, with leadership, instead of being what leaders practice, is an emergent interactive dynamic influenced by what leaders do. Traditional positional leaders are not in control. Rather the locus of leadership shifts from individuals to the processes of the system. So, the primary role of leaders is to ensure that the mechanisms and processes exist in the organization to allow for knowledge generation, emergent change, and adaptability. However, in most systems, the administrative functions still need to be undertaken and the leader may also have to ensure that these more mundane functions take place because they support the more dynamic processes of the system. Leadership emerges from the ongoing interactions among individuals and groups in organizations as a system function. Hence, this emergent behavior can

152    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons manifest across different people depending upon the type of interactions. Former Chief Executive Officer of Herman Miller, Max De Pree, called this type of leadership “roving leadership,” a “behavior that results from self-organization and can vary from situation to situation” and that also fosters self-organization (Uhl-Bien et al., 2007, n.p.)

Leading from Nature Allen (2019) argued that as technology and especially the Internet has connected the world and made organizations more permeable, interdependent, and connected, organizations need to become generative rather than consumptive and driven by collaboration, not competition. Nature, Allen (2019) pointed out, offers lessons that are relevant to the challenges of knowledge organizations. She (2019) identified three forms of organizational photosynthesis, namely authentic relationships, shared higher purpose, and reciprocity that help to release positive human energy and create integrative “power with” built on trust and transparency. Cooperation in nature is rewarded by developing mutualistic relationships, she wrote, also a quality discussed by Bollier and Helfrich (2019). Allen (2019) recommended that organizations modify their cultures to move their conception of leadership from a positional one to an inclusive one in which leadership is distributed throughout the organization, where anyone can emerge with leadership behaviors, and where leadership becomes an emergent process in the organization. Distributed leadership is exercised in nature, Allen wrote, and is critical for living organisms for the following three reasons: First, distributive leadership provides leadership and initiative at all levels of the organization that can be used to serve the larger organization. It provides feedback about changes in the internal and external environments and what adaptations are needed so that the organization can thrive. Second, it provides bench strength, continually developing the next generation of leadership and management, increasing its likelihood to be successful and long lasting. And third, it recognizes and supports more individual capacity and individual initiative (self-organizing) at all levels which increases the organization’s adaptive capacity, flexibility, and agility. (n.p.) For distributive leadership to positively impact the commonly held organizational purpose, staff need to have certain qualities such as being able to see how they are contributing to the larger purpose, read group dynamics, have empathy for others, and recognize and manage their own emotions. They need emotional intelligence above all, Allen contended (2019). They also need what Allen called “active hope” which “is behaving every day to bring the desired future into being” (n.p.). Such a mindset is necessary for innovative thought. It enables “individuals to show up and create the world that they want to see, even if at first glance they don’t seem to have the influence or position to make that possible. In living systems, innovation bubbles up from the bottom…” (n.p.).

Reclaiming Leadership on the Commons    153 Diversity must also exist in organizations to generate mutualistic relationships that create generous ecologies, just like in nature in terms of genetic diversity and interaction between different species. Allen (2019) contended that diversity allows an organization to evolve from narrow-minded thinking and to extend beyond narrow individualistic world views. Diversity also creates resilience and the ability to be agile in the face of environmental changes and challenges. Conflict and opposition are necessary aspects of diversity, and required for wholeness, to incorporate perceptions from all vantage points, Allen (2019) wrote. Feedback is also an essential function in systems in order to keep them alive and maintain adaptation and system evolution through autopoiesis.

Peer-to-Peer Leadership Baker (2014) proposed that P2P networks rather than individuals are leaders and that network leadership derives from the relational dynamic of peers. She based her notion of leadership on the system notions of node communities, equipotency, and relational dynamics. She also based her concept on commoning values, asserting that the P2P network is equivalent to the protective process that researchers say enables resilience – caring relationships with compassion, understanding, respect, and interest – and is grounded in listening, safety, and basic trust” (n.p.). Baker (2014) contended that P2P as a network of peer nodes that send and receive information is the basis of communication and collaboration and creates a relational dynamic that reflects an egalitarian network and manifests as leadership. The network itself becomes the leader as it computes raw data and turns them into actionable information. She argued that all nodes in a P2P network are equally privileged participants in the network in accordance with the principle of equipotency, which is reflected in mutual respect, confidence, and trust. As she argued: Equipotency, as used in peer-to-peer networks, is reflected in the potential strength and valence of involvement by others. Where every person is always equal to everyone else, equipotency (1) serves as an enabler, (2) drives commitment, (3) engenders positive intent, and (4) motivates every team member to give their best. By virtue of showing up in an equal and peer-to-peer way, no one needs to be “empowered” or anointed by someone else. No one has to communicate a vision related to being equal, because everyone already lives, feels, and breathes what that means. (n.p.) Networks become leaders, Baker contended, when cooperation and collaboration among equals to achieve a common task in pursuit of common good functions and becomes more effective than the traditional schism between leaders and followers. She employed the example of Occupy Sandy, a group of volunteers who rushed to the aid of victims of Hurricane Sandy and who were far more effective than government organizations who delayed due to the hierarchy of decision-makers that needed to be involved before any action could be mobilized.

154    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons The Occupy Sandy volunteers formed a network driven by a common goal and took actions individually rather than obtaining permission from a positional leader. Their actions were coordinated by receiving information and providing feedback. They employed their own perceptual intelligence to observe what needed to be done and communicated to others in the network regarding other things they perceived that needed to be done, and together formed a collective action network that effectively dealt with victims prior to the government and also more effectively. Because technology has enabled a new communication model and paradigm, it has disrupted the traditional communication pattern and hierarchy and facilitated the distribution of knowledge and intelligence throughout the system and created a more integrative model. Some may view this as anarchy, but as Baker argued: The anarchy of P2P architecture is anarchy without a designated leader. There is no higher governing authority, but a relational dynamic that emerges between equal, individual nodes, resulting in a higher level of thinking and being – in coming together for the common will or common good. It requires everyone to meet together as equals and be willing to offer and receive ideas and input to reach consensus. Anarchy does not have to be disorder and chaos – if Occupy Sandy is any indication, the absence of a formal leader can be powerful in terms of organizing and collaborating toward common goals. (n.p.) Leadership emerges from a relationality that derives from co-purpose rather than position, and is “demonstrated by the catalytic action that occurs in the relational dynamic between two individuals (dyad exchange structure),” Baker (2014) argued. Leadership also shifts based on individuals’ strengths and the needs that arise to accomplish the shared organizational goal and adapt to changes in the environment. When relations are based on trust, leadership emerges from the collective and the network becomes the leader and holds the collective power. Typical conceptions such as “soft and hard skills, competencies and behaviors, and culture and climate thus become blurred and merge like kaleidoscope patterns weaving between leadership and organization design – between form and function” (n.p.). Baker (2014) contended that in order to fully realize P2P network leadership, an organization must successfully traverse four stages of development, namely: (1) internalization of values and purpose; (2) mutual and continuous input and output exchange; (3) reconciling polarities and abstractions; and (4) forming dyad exchange structures that connect nodes for the purpose of resolving polarities and innovating (n.p.).

Adaptive Leadership Commons as systems face adaptive challenges and must find the creative solution as they must adapt to environmental demands, changes, and catastrophes.

Reclaiming Leadership on the Commons    155 Adaptive challenges in organizations are distinguished from technical challenges that can be addressed by authoritative expertise. Adaptive challenges can only be addressed through “changes in people’s priorities, beliefs, habits, and priorities,” and, these change by mobilizing discovery, “shedding certain entrenched ways, tolerating losses, and generating the new capacity to thrive anew” (Heifetz, Grashow, & Linsky, 2009, p. 20, Thompson, 2016). Adaptive leadership is “the practice of mobilizing people to tackle tough challenges and thrive” (Heifetz et al., 2009, p. 14). Adaptive leadership involves “improvisational expertise, a kind of process expertise that knows prudently how to experiment with never-been-tried-before relationships, means of communication, and solutions” (Heifetz et al., 2009, p. 2), or from a system perspective, “a generative dynamic that underlies emergent change activities” (Uhl-Bien et al., 2007, p. 299). System-level adaptive leadership takes place at many levels including in the interactions between people; the spaces between people and their actions; relationships that allow for learning, expression of new ideas and dissent; feedback, reflection, and interaction with new technology and new processes; and clashes among ideas (Heifetz et al., 2009; Hogan, 2008; Obolensky, 2010; Thompson, 2016, 2021 forthcoming; Uhl-Bien et al., 2007). Adaptive leadership practiced by collective leaders should “generate new norms that enable the organization to meet the ongoing stream of adaptive challenges posed by a world ever ready to offer new realities, opportunities, and pressures” (Heifetz et al., 2009, p. 17).

System and Collective Leadership System leadership is a systems change leadership approach and refers to expanding the defining context of the change process to a broad systemic level in which all participants can discern the influences initiating the change and resisting the change, as well as the necessity to build a shared understanding among stakeholders and a shift to co-creation of the change trajectory rather than reaction to external demands. System leaders, who need to first see the larger system within which the change effort is embedded (Senge, Hamilton, & Kania, 2015), foster collective leadership (Fillingham & Weir, 2014; Senge et al., 2015; Thompson, 2016). Collective leaders emerge throughout the system due to the fact that system leadership is an approach that “brokers, resources, supports, challenges and makes connections across the system” (Harris, 2010, p. 10). System leadership involves turning oneself inside-out and seeing the world as others see it, deeply examining one’s own assumptions and worldview and “appreciating how our mental models may limit us [and to] appreciate emotionally as well as cognitively each other’s reality” (Senge et al., 2015, para. 1; Thompson, 2016). Collective knowledge and wisdom emerge from these relationships and provide a view of system reality not available to any individual beforehand. Such knowledge and wisdom come forth over time “through a ripening process that gradually brings about new ways of thinking, acting, and being” (Senge et al., 2015, para. 38; Thompson, 2016). Many approaches have been posited to

156    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons facilitate this process, including Theory-U (Scharmer & Kaufer, 2013) and the Ladder of Inference (Senge et al., 2015). Once collective leaders in the system have taken a view of the broader system and a resonance and “We” identity has formed between them based on intense self-examination, combined with true appreciation of the others’ perspective, these leaders shift from the negative problem-focused approach to a more positive orientation driven by visioning and sorting through the cultural aspects of their past that they hold dear and do not want to change (Heifetz, 2009). The shift “involves not just building inspiring visions but facing difficult truths about the present reality and learning how to use the tension between vision and reality to inspire truly new approaches” (Senge et al., 2015, para. 12). The shift also recognizes the fact that “problems out there” are also “problems in here” (Senge et al., 2015, para. 16) found in our assumptions about the world, our worldviews regarding which paradigms are “the correct ones,” and our cultural beliefs and values that influence how we expect ourselves and others to behave.

Transformational Leadership Transformational leaders motivate and inspire stakeholders to embrace change and empower them to make the change their own (Burns, 2004; Northouse, 2018). As Burns (2004) pointed out, transformational leaders encourage “a sense of collective identity and collective efficacy, which in turn brings stronger feelings of self-worth and self-efficacy…. By pursuing transformational change, people can transform themselves” (pp. 25–26). The creation of this collective identity is aligned with the capacity of system leadership to foster a shared understanding and collective “We.” Transformational leadership appeals to higher social values and mores and motivates stakeholders to see the project as a vehicle through which to operationalize these values and mores (Thompson, 2016, 2021 forthcoming). Participants move beyond a consideration of their individual gain to a commitment to the whole, collective endeavor. Such a perspective elevates the undertaking to a higher level and provides a community with the possibility of accomplishing something positive for society that they would not normally have the possibility to do. Transformational leaders can act from many parts of the organization and help build the collective identity that embraces changes that need to be made to adapt to the environment and to stimulate creative ideas and products.

Holding the Whole One essential role of leaders is to “hold the whole” (Laloux, 2014) and maintain the view of the whole system in order to ensure harmony and information sharing among the parts. This leadership, Laloux contended (2014), may well be exercised by a single individual who may have or be perceived to have positional authority. Such an individual may also “hold the whole’ in a representational, interacting, or negotiating sense when dealing with people and organizations “in the environment” as the face of the organization.

Reclaiming Leadership on the Commons    157 One of the early proponents of participatory leadership in complex systems, Margaret Wheatley (2017), modified her stance on leadership, recognizing that a leader at the top may be necessary. As she wrote (2017), someone has to be responsible for creating coherence at the core, a dependable and trustworthy identity that people can rely on not to change too quickly … Someone has to stay alert to what’s happening to the identity as decisions are made and work gets done. (p. 226) In order to actualize her concept of “sane leadership,” – “the unshakable faith in people’s capacity to be generous, creative and kind … and the capacity to observe what’s going on in the whole system and then … reflect that back – a visionary leader who embodies the values and qualities we are working toward is required” (2017, pp. 226–227, 255).

Leadership Not Governance Leadership as viewed in several of the natural resource examples and in the approaches based on CAS and nature has a catalytic and generative function. It stimulates the internal and adaptive processes necessary for the system to function effectively and flexibly and to keep the integrity of the whole system. There are individual leaders and collective leaders, and seen from the outside, the system is leading also. There are risks inherent in attributing leadership only to the system. First, the system can become reified and gain an identity beyond the control of the members, losing its adaptability and flexibility. Secondly, by attributing agency and leadership to the system, the members can escape responsibility for their actions. They can claim that the “system” did it. I experienced this process in a government bureaucracy I worked in, in which staff attributed action and responsibility to the system, “the Agency,” for example, “the Agency says,” “according to the Agency,” “the Agency determined,” and so on. Staff was freed from all responsibility for their actions. What resulted was that some ill-intentioned staff committed destructive acts without having to assume responsibility and projected the evil in their hearts onto the Agency, which became in reality evil. The leadership described in the above approaches and in the natural resource commons examples differs from the governance principles laid down by Ostrom. Whereas governance defines the operating principles of a system or organization, leadership is a dynamic process that gives life to a system or organization and prevents the system from becoming stagnant. Leadership is necessary for the sustainability of the system since it generates new ideas, creative solutions, and agile response necessary for survival and continuing relevance.

Leadership with Sociocracy and Other Communal Governance Models Leadership can be practiced in commons that employ sociocracy or other consensual or democratic decision-making processes. Decision-making processes play

158    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons a different role than leadership in systems and in commons as indicated in the examples and theories summarized above. Individuals interviewed in an ecovillage in New York that practices sociocracy indicated that they also practice leadership. Leading often means “taking the lead” in introducing a new idea or concept into the commons. For example, an interviewee told me that he took the lead in preparing the ecovillage for electric cars, as well as in investigating alternative currencies for use by the commons. He introduced the ideas to the ecovillage and devoted considerable time to exploring the best way to implement them. Final decisions would be made by the commoners through sociocracy but his leadership was important to introduce creative ideas and make sure they could be implemented. The elected manager of a coffee cooperative in El Salvador related that their decision-making process is democratic and all major investment decisions are made collectively by all members of the cooperative. Like many if not most cooperatives, the functions of administering the cooperative were performed by committees who would then bring their findings and recommendation to the entire body for final decision-making. He mentioned that leaders always emerged because of personalities and are either listened to or ignored. In the monthly meetings, these individuals generally dominated the conversation, introduced ideas, and attempted to take control of decisions. Such self-appointed leaders add dynamism to commons, even if they do not ultimately make the final decisions. They often stimulate a sharing of ideas that have laid dormant and “rabble rouse,” which incites some people to positive action. Again, this type of spontaneous leadership is possibly generative. Although the manager of the coffee coop was elected, he held the cooperative hostage to a certain extent because he possessed the expertise to monitor and evaluate the New York commodities exchange and the global coffee price. He thus contained the knowledge of the market and advised the coop members when to sell their coffee and when to hold it. He certainly played a “lead role” in the cooperative and the members were dependent upon him to a large extent to make a profit. He held a leading role whether he was officially called a leader.

Hierarchy and Leadership Some of the resistance among commons scholars and activists to leadership may also stem from the contemporary distrust with hierarchy. According to integral theorists such as Wilber, the rejection of hierarchy is a value held by postmodernism or the green level of consciousness. As Harvey (2012) pointed out, the term “hierarchy” is anathema in conventional thinking (Ostrom avoids it), and virulently unpopular with much of the left these days. The only politically correct form of organization in many radical circles is non-state, non-hierarchical, and horizontal. (para. 5) He decried the reality that “a fetishism of organizational preference (pure horizontality, e.g.) all too often stands in the way of exploring appropriate and

Reclaiming Leadership on the Commons    159 effective solutions” (para. 10). Harvey (2012) explained that horizontality has limitations and that neoliberalism has used decentralization and autonomy to further its rapacious assault on marginalized groups and to increase inequality. Wilber argued that nested hierarchies have emerged in the integral stage of consciousness after being totally eschewed in postmodernism (Laloux, 2014). Nested or actualization hierarchies, Wilber explained, are different from dominator hierarchies such as boss-subordinate. Actualization hierarchies are the natural order in the natural world, such as from atom to molecule to cell to organism, and also can be replicated in organizations. Nested hierarchies do not have to represent power and authority structures. Such hierarchies can be comprised of heterarchies, or autonomous teams that play roles that are structured hierarchically. Further, federations and a federalist system as proposed by commons scholars and activists requires some sort of overarching authority to unify and organize the various members (Harvey, 2012). Commoners need to determine what types of bodies will serve this function and such bodies may require leaders who are not authoritarian but rather facilitative or other unifying approaches.

Are Commons not Organizations? The above-summarized approaches to complexity leadership in CAS were directed to organizations in a capitalist society which had positional leaders. Hence, a legitimate question to ask is whether such approaches are applicable to commons in a commons-centric society. Further, these approaches were appropriate for organizations. As previously stated, Bollier and Helfrich (2019) recommended replacing the word “organization” with “peer governance,” indicating far more agile systems of interconnected patterns with somewhat porous boundaries that identify them and are hence not as rigid as governmental or private sector organizations in the current socio-economic order. In the following chapter, I propose an approach to leadership appropriate to commons as a transformative phenomenon and that appropriately aligns with commons as prefigurative manifestations of a better future. The leadership roles, behaviors, and functions discussed in this chapter may be appropriate for the commons, in addition to proleptic leadership, which I argue is the leadership that best supports the potential change that commons can create.

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Chapter 10

Proleptic Leadership According to leading systems and leadership scholar Peter Senge (2015), leaders are creators – the root of leadership means to step ahead, to step across the threshold. Leadership is not about a role. Management is about a role. Leadership is the force that animates management. Leadership involves a sense of purpose and care. Leadership is about how we create, about how generative is an enterprise … are people passionate about their work? Leadership is more about the spirit, about human contributions to shaping the enterprise – Leadership is individual and collective. The best definition of leadership is “the capacity of a human community to shape its future, how we bring into being things we really care about” (Senge, 2015, n.p.). As argued in the last chapter, leaders play several roles in commons, even when commons are depicted as complex adaptive systems. Leadership is an essential system function and is also a function which connects the commons to the outside world. Individuals and the collective “lead” as well as follow and trade off these roles, and individuals co-evolve with the system within which they lead. Leadership can vary depending upon the type and location of a commons. Commoners can play the variety of roles described in the previous chapter and distributed leadership is not necessarily the only form. Since commoners committed to helping to transform society are involved in a complex change process, adaptive, system, and transformational leadership approaches described in the previous chapter may be applicable, especially when commons are forming federations. These three leadership approaches are closely related to proleptic leadership and are incorporated into it to a large extent, as will be explained. Commons are extremely diverse and can range from open-access information, online social networking sites, open-access software, time banks, cooperatives, and so on, and can consist of networks in which people do not know or interact with each other in person and may only conceptually form a community to ecovillages where people live and even work together, often around the clock. Although all of the commons may be self-organized and self-governed and generative of the same values, subjectivities, and goals, a single leader may at times be necessary or specific leadership roles assigned to members so they don’t simply emerge and disappear as the need arises. A single positional leader does not necessarily exercise leadership autocratically. As Wheatley explained (2017) a visionary leader is Proleptic Leadership on the Commons: Ushering in a New Global Order, 161–181 Copyright © 2020 by Emerald Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved doi:10.1108/978-1-83867-799-220201014

162    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons sometimes the most valuable inspiration for a community to serve as a role model to emulate. As Senge (2015) stated in the above quotation, leadership has a future orientation, a notion I explore in this chapter. Proleptic leadership shapes the future in the prefigurative commons by glimpses of that future invading the present. No matter what other leadership role a particular commoner may play, given the commons values of resonating self and society and transforming, they should also practice proleptic leadership because it is a value-based, future-oriented creative leadership approach. The vision of a commons-based society is the future that pulls the proleptic leader forward. In order to unleash the proleptic leader’s creative power and to connect with an evolving social and even universal order, as discussed in Chapter 6, the proleptic leader needs to possess and practice presence, several key qualities of leading oneself, leading with others, and leading community, as will be discussed. Further, through leading, the proleptic leader is infusing society with the values of commoning and serving as a model of care and compassion.

Individual Agency is Crucial Given their aversion to the hegemony implied by leadership and their usage of a complex adaptive systems framework, Bauwens, Kostakis et al., (2019), Bollier and Helfrich (2019), and De Angelis (2017b) have emphasized the agency of the commons qua system with commoning as the internal driving process. Whereas, from an external perspective, it appears that the system itself is the agent and survives and expands by the process of autopoiesis and changes via emergence, the internal perspective of the commoner is equally complex and influential. Despite the commons-like positive traits and values of the “nodes” in Baker’s (2014) peerto-peer leadership model, commoners may prefer to be viewed as individuals who exercise individual agency in commons, even though to an outsider, it may look like the system itself is leading. As illustrated in Chapter 5, commoning comprises a number of psychological, social, and political processes which manifest in the commons and catalyze autopoiesis. Commoning is exacted by commoners whose character and values also impact how they interact within the commons. Commoners’ individual behavior also influences the quality of commoning and hence the behavior of the commons within the broader society. Further, as discussed in Chapter 6, socioeconomic change is occurring at several levels simultaneously, including the individual (micro), the collective (meso), the social (macro), and the universal (meta). Thus, in order to clarify the complexity of the way forward for the commons, and to see how the practice of proleptic leadership is impacted by and impacting all these levels, the various levels of agency need to be highlighted. Such highlighting will also more clearly reveal the proleptic leadership approach which participates in the transformational process. In proleptic leadership, the future invades the present at all four levels, the universal, social, collective, and individual and through proleptic leadership, the future is realized through all four levels, as illustrated in Fig. 1 on the following page. Further, while leading the proleptic leader needs to be cognizant and mindful of all four levels and how they are influencing and being influenced by their leadership and events in the world.

Proleptic Leadership    163 Future Invades the present At each level

FUTURE Universal meta Societal macro Community


Individual Micro Proleptic Leadership Proleptic Leadership helps realize the future through all levels

Fig. 1.  Inter-relationship Between Future and Proleptic Leadership. Commons as complex adaptive systems adapt to their environment and also influence the environment. However, human systems differ from systems in nature because of the role that humans play in fashioning their environment. Although the environment includes unexpected jolts and catastrophic events indirectly related to human action such as natural disasters, the coronavirus pandemic, and others, some of the events are the consequences of direct human action. In addition, considerable aspects of the human environment are designed by society and these designs elicit certain expressions of so-called “human nature.” For example, Amazon could not enact its behavior of sidelining brick-and-mortar companies without the pro-capitalist laws, regulations, value systems, and human propensity for greed and power, an environment society has created and designed to reward what many consider to be negative human character traits. Hence, the use of nature as a systems model needs to be amplified by including system processes over which humans have influence or control as well as the potential for indirect influence and unforseen consequences. That is, consciousness, the human creative drive, and human action need to be incorporated into considerations of autopoiesis and emergence. Just as commoners lead on the commons, they are also influencing the constructed environment to elicit and support commons and the human nature posited by commoning. Autopoiesis derives from human structuring interactions at the meso collective level and the micro individual level, influenced by and influencing the macro societal level (Schwandt, 2008). Social structuring creates the emergent social structure that defines future interactions of the agent (Schwandt, 2008). Social structure, Schwandt (2008) defined, “is any enduring pattern of social arrangements within

164    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons a particular collective” (n.p.), for example, groups, teams, units, and organizations. Always in flux, these patterns emerge from rules and language, or cultural values, norms, and relationships among the agents (Schwandt, 2008). Several of the patterns created by commoning were elaborated in Chapter 5 and also in Bollier and Helfrich (2019). Structuring interactions serve as “bridging mechanisms” across the micro, meso, and macro levels while maintaining the system properties. While there are many theories that explain actions at each of these levels, micro individual-level actions are often explained by personality development, mastery, self-efficacy, and sense-making (Schwandt, 2008). Awareness, mindfulness, personal values and beliefs, and consciousness also influence individuals’ perspectives and actions. Social structuration bridges the individual and the meso collective level which co-evolves with the micro-interactions. These levels contribute to and are impacted by the macro social level. Among other influences, the collective level can contribute to an evolving social imaginary, laws, regulations, societal-level consciousness among other things as well as to changes in the social environment, making society more supportive of the commons. At the same time, the macro social level and the environment influence the commons system and either support or impede its ability to effectively act, expand, and sustain. According to the grand theories of social and spiritual evolution, which were briefly touched on in Chapter 6, there exists also a universal meta-level that transcends and co-creates with the macro, meso, and micro levels and ultimately determines the overall sweep of time and human destiny. The schemata of human action in organizations proposed by Schwandt (2008) provides a framework within which to observe the interactions of the macro, meso, and micro levels and the influence of individuals on systems and leadership. Schwandt (2008) defined action as normatively expended energy in a situation that is goal oriented [and] includes the means and conditions that enable the act to occur … such as resources, signal, formation, resources, information, and the time and space to act. (n.p.) Such action is future goal-oriented and conscribed by individual and collective norms and values that provide meaning to the relationship between the situation and the end goal. Action within a social system, defined as “a set of categories for the analysis of the relations of one or more actors to, and in, a situation” (Schwandt, 2008, n.p.), entails human structuring interactions both related to the individual actor and collective. Human structuring interactions are composed of agents’ explicit actions (e.g., setting boundaries, physical interaction, organization of work, social status, rules, leadership) and implicit guiding social patterns (e.g., norms, values, traditions, culture). When individual agents interact with each other, or with objects in their environment each action potentially

Proleptic Leadership    165 alters both the context and nature of the proceeding actions. These interactions, over time, create collective structural patterns. (Schwandt, 2008, n.p.) Individual structuring interactions derive from the actor’s actions in relation to their guiding social norms, values, traditions, and culture. Collective structuring patterns emerge from individuals interacting in accordance with or against social norms, values, laws, and regulations at the macro social level. Structuring happens in all interactions and “is manifested in acts of reflection, dialogue, inquiry, language, and sustaining of diversity as well as the traditional acts of direction and order” (n.p.). The individual micro, the collective meso, and the social macro are all complex adaptive systems which are evolving and bridging between levels with the potential for unpredictable changes based on learning and adapting. As Schwandt (2008) pointed out, “the evolution of the individual’s development and understanding becomes part of their efforts to establish ‘wholeness’ or the integrity of the self as a system” (n.p.). The actions and interactions of individuals, whether knowingly or not, jointly produce and reproduce the operating procedures, routines and norms for doing things both as individuals and as a collective… (n.p.) Schwandt (2008) contended that leadership is a structuring activity and process and can occur anywhere within a system. Leadership in process contributes to the collective intelligence of the system, Schwandt (2008) argued. As Schwandt pointed out, given that the micro, meso, and macro levels are all complex adaptive systems, they are characterized by emergence, and also schemata, nonlinearity, and self-organization. Individuals’ behavior is based on individual schemas, cognitive structures, such as values, meanings, relationships which may change through learning and personality development. Schemas at the meso level include routines, rules, normal and shared cultural values, all of which can also change. The fact that these systems are non-linear means that they can self-generate and self-organize and create new opportunities for interaction. As Schwandt (2008) maintained: The triadic reciprocal relationship among agent actions, organizational environment, and personal cognitive, emotional, and efficacy factors regulate motivational, affective, and cognitive functioning of the actor, and over time and space simultaneously influence other actors and enable them to create beneficial organizational environments. (n.p.) Schwandt (2008) argued that the individuals’ personality and understanding of self co-evolves as they interact with other individuals in the context of the collective’s social structure. These interactions provide information and feedback for personal cognitive and emotional evolution. Individuals are changed by these interactions by learning and growing self-efficacy. As a consequence, individuals can act as causal agents and help shape the environments they act within.

166    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons Schwandt’s schema provides a framework within which to examine some of the key values, level of consciousness, and other qualities of commoners as they act at the individual micro level, the meso commoning level, and as influenced by and influencing the macro social and meta universal levels.

The Impact of the Universal on the Micro Individual Level As pointed out in Chapter 6, there are several overarching universal theories about the evolution of society, human development, and consciousness. As previously stated, these are proleptic theories in the sense that the endpoint or realization of the paths are already determined at least theoretically. The endpoint leads and pulls from the future, even as the future emerges from the present. In systems language, the future serves as an attractor. The end point or realization might be clear, but the paths are not determined or apparent. Proleptic leadership must remain resilient and agile, open to new possibilities and surprises as it seeks to grasp that ideal future and manifest it partially in the present. According to integral theorists and developmentalists, the movement to higher levels of consciousness is not automatic but requires certain types of experiences as well as an openness to confronting oneself and one’s beliefs and being open to changing, even if uncomfortable or terrifying. Society is also evolving along the same path toward higher levels of consciousness, although as society moves, not all of the people in society move. In addition, there are disruptive futures that shatter the status quo, such as new technologies, several of which may be created by commoners, crises such as the coronavirus pandemic, and global disasters such as climate change. Such disruptive futures serve as futures which demand sudden and deep-seated changes in human action and leadership. Further, different societies can be at different levels, and one society can be at very different and often contradictory levels simultaneously. For example, if US society is moving toward a biosphere consciousness as Rifkin (2014) contended, this consciousness does not characterize the entire society. Politically, the country is still at a red level, due to the enormous investment in the military and the penchant to go to war to solve differences and crises. Corporations are still at the highly competitive orange level. Further, other societies around the world with which the USA must cooperate function at other consciousness levels. In addition to consciousness, cognitive ability, sense-making skills, emotional and other intelligences, teleological theories of philosophers as Hegel and Marx and religious traditions such as Christianity also depict a future toward which society is moving. To the extent that their narratives are embedded in our culture or held by individuals, these futures are “imagined.”

Prolepsis and Leading Proleptically Leading proleptically is allowing the future to lead us, being open to higher levels of consciousness, being available to be pulled into the future, which in terms of expanded consciousness, cognitive abilities, sense-making is either known or disruptive. Leading proleptically is also leading with the values of a commons-centric

Proleptic Leadership    167 society and modeling these values to the world. The potential future narratives of philosophers and religions can serve as inspirations. Commoners can create a common vision by drawing on philosophical and religious sources to sketch a picture of the future, which then pulls them forward. Overall, the future is depicted as ideal, as utopian, a world of equanimity, equality, goodness, and other positive descriptors. As the theologian, Wolfhart Pannenberg believed, humankind noetically anticipated the future through [their] plans, hopes, and expectations, [and] that the whole of reality is anticipatorily structured in [their] very being; that is, [their] very substance is anticipation of the very outstanding future end of history. (Pasquariello, 1976, p. 339) According to commons activist George Por, who established the School of Commoning in England, commoning, derives from the deep-seated longing of the human heart for a just, peaceful society in which everyone has enough to live at a universally established standard. This longing has been driving humankind since its inception and will continue to drive humankind until this utopian vision becomes the imaginary of a new socio-economic order (2012b). Further, prolepsis creates narratives about the past from the future, interpreting the past in such a way that it appears as a path toward that future. As Bresco de Luna (2017) explained, “the collective past is reconstructed according to different imagined futures in order to foster current actions, thus guiding the present toward future goals” (p. 282). In the case of the commons, historians and commons scholars and activists employed the imagined future commons-centric society to reconstruct the history of commons during feudal society, as seen in Chapter 1 of this book. They highlighted community values and the moral arguments employed by the anti-enclosure movement, creating a new form of collective memory and moral justification for action in the present. These authors emphasized the values of working the land, sharing, community, autonomy, and other commons values. Further, the authors emphasized the horrors of enclosure to provide a context for understanding the trauma of contemporary enclosure. At the same time, Italian legal scholar Rodota cautioned commoners to employ the past only in order to focus on a forward-looking paradigm and to be cautious about slipping into this past. As he queried But in trying to enter into post-modernity, are we risking a regression to pre-modernity? … an emerging, risky trend toward what can be looked at as a kind of nostalgic approach, of a metaphysical foundation of the commons [or] an institutional neo-medievalism. (para. 5) Moreover, commons scholars and activists incorporated indigenous peoples and their history and collective approach to living and commoning into the narrative of the commons seemingly in order to provide an example of a way of living from the past that survived despite the enclosures of capitalism. For example,

168    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons Shiva (2020) incorporated the ancient perspective of the indigenous to inspire our way of perceiving the world. As she wrote: What our indigenous communities already embodied in their worldview of the commons as a way of life is now slowly being moved towards by the rest of the world. In gradually tracing our way back we are walking forward into a future embracing that liminality and inseparability between the communities and their common resources. Between us and our environment. This is the true poetics of the commons. (p. 253) The indigenous way of life also represents living in communion and with reverence and ultimate respect for the sacred earth, certainly a vital, if still sometimes repressed or forgotten vision in Judeo-Christian religious belief where in the kingdom of God, “the wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock…” (Isaiah 65:25). Three theological terms, futurum, adventus, and venturum help explain how the future invades the present in prolepsis (Jantti, 2017; Singh, 2018). Futurum is associated with futurology which predicts the future as the result of trends and causes. It refers to a future “which is the result of past effects or potentials that actualize in the course of time” (Jantti, 2017, p. 79). Adventus reflects the anticipation of something new as well as the appearance of something new that is not caused by past effects or potentials. Venturum reflects “the coming which embodies the sense of prolepsis as invading the present” (Jantti, 2017, p. 80). As Singh stated “adventus is predicated upon the in-breaking of that which is outside the system. Something radically other and new (novum) comes to meet us, from the future, as it were” (2008, p. 260). The future has an impact on humankind before it comes. Interestingly, the concept of emergence in systems theory represents a change that appears as something new rather than something caused, seemingly connecting to a future revealing itself.

Proleptic Ethics Proleptic ethics in Christian theology is situated in relationship to the ultimate Kingdom of God which is revealed in the present in glimpses through the prolepsis and humankind’s responsibility to help realize this kingdom little by little through ethical choices (Hofstad, 2019; Jantii, 2017). As Singh put it, an “eschatological horizon draws [humankind] forward in hopeful living that has implications for personal and corporate - as well as ecclesial and political - life” (2008, p. 260). Humankind is hence a co-creator with God and led by God. Humankind’s choices are founded upon God’s character and being, namely love. Humankind also expresses love to each other as foundational ethics; love is hence vertical and horizontal (Jantti, 2017). Proleptic ethics thus works backwards, “looking at the present from the promised future and trying to incarnate that future in the present circumstances” (Jantti, 2017, p. 177). Proleptic ethics are hence “provolutionary,” that is, focused on the future (Jantti, 2017). The world is thus in progress toward good, a vision shared by utopian thinkers, and also shared to a certain extent by commoners, who are committed to bringing in a society based on radically different and more ethical values – such as care and love – than those that characterize neoliberalism.

Proleptic Leadership    169 Other spiritual traditions also hold an evolutionary view toward a positive completion. Consciousness, for example, appears to evolve in stages toward a posited egoless future. From the perspective of the individual, however, the posited stages are not sketched out as paths to follow. Humankind and human society join in this evolution through sense-making and critical choices and hence co-create each stage with the universal without knowing ahead of time what these stages comprise. This view is held by several of the leadership scholars discussed in the next section, who provide approaches to connecting with this evolutionary process of the universal, employing this connection to lead through glimpses of the future and through futures that emerge along the way. The next section focuses on approaches to leading oneself, leading with others, and leading community (society) proleptically from the future.

Preparing Oneself to Lead Proleptically Commoning must mean that we are producing ourselves as a global common subject and live accordingly. (Silviu Frederici, 2019) Proleptic leadership calls for intentional preparation. One is typically not automatically or naturally predisposed to an openness toward the future and its radical possibilities in the present. Otto Scharmer, for example, asserted that the success of an intervention depends upon the interior condition of the intervener … the inner place opening of the mind, opening of the will, compassion … which is hard to do in a moment of disruption … where there is a freeze reaction of the mind, heart, and will which make us act in ignorance, hate and fear. (2016, n.p.) In her study of efforts to create sustainability in rural development communities, Horlings (2011) identified leaders, not as those who hold positional authority, but rather, all those, who follow their inner consciousness and inner values, take responsibility for sustainability in their own communities, localities, and regions. Passion and commitment and the capability to mobilize others are essential in this process … as is a shift of will and heart. (p. 2) Further, as Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa (2015) pointed out, our attitude toward ourselves is projected in our interactions with others. Without gentleness toward ourselves, we cannot experience harmony or peace, and instead project a spirit of confusion and inharmoniousness toward others, which militates against forming relationships required for well-functioning commons (Trungpa, 2015, p. 13). The wisdom traditions of Tibetan Buddhism stressed the importance of lifelong training of the mind and the heart as a way of aligning people toward compassionate action (Schuyler, 2012). Since care is the foundational attitude in the commons, proleptic leaders need to prepare themselves to manifest care in all their relations. As argued in both adaptive and system leadership briefed in the

170    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons previous chapter, a leader needs to understand that one’s perceptions of the world begin in their inner values and attitudes. It is necessary to be cognizant of these and to shake them up in order to lead proleptically.

Opening Oneself to the Future In order to lead proleptically, it is also necessary to open oneself up to the future and to perceive that future from a deep state of knowing. Several leadership scholars and practitioners have posited approaches to opening oneself to a changed perception of oneself, others, and to the world and to an opening of awareness and consciousness and to the “whole”. It also includes being receptive to the leadership of the future. Kathryn Schuyler (2014) wrote that mindfulness or awareness intrinsically means connecting simultaneously with oneself as an embodied being and with the vastness and interconnected quality of life developing a view of impermanence and the constructed nature of human society. (p. xxiii) This opening of self to a deeper level of mindfulness and awareness is the first critical step to leading proleptically after self-preparation. In their now classic 2004 book Presence: An exploration of profound change in people, organizations, and society, Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, and Betty Flowers discovered an approach to connecting self with the whole universal level and to evolve with this level which is also evolving. Scharmer more fully developed this approach in Theory U: Leading from the future as it emerges (Scharmer, 2016; Scharmer & Kaufer, 2013). By following Theory U, one accesses one’s blind spot and learns to access one’s authentic self from which one acquires knowledge and inspiration and connects to the emerging future. By listening with an open mind, heart, and will, one moves down the “U” through: (1) “suspending” old patterns of perceiving and understanding to; (2) “seeing” with fresh eyes and redirecting to: (3) “sensing” from the field and letting go to; (4) “presencing,” and connecting to the whole where one interrogates the identity of one’s self and one’s work and letting the emergent self and emergent future come to; (5) “crystallizing” vision and intention and enacting to; (6) “prototyping” the new and connecting it to head, heart, and hand to; (7) “performing” by operating from the whole. Meditation and journaling are methods that help one achieve presencing and connection with the “whole.” Jaworski (2011, 2012) employed a similar process to tap into the underlying intelligence, or source, within the universe to guide and prepare one for futures to be created at the same time that the future invades the present. In his introduction to Jaworski’s book Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership, Senge wrote that leadership is about creating a domain in which human beings continually deepen their understanding of reality and become more capable of participating in the unfolding of the world. Ultimately, leadership is about creating new realities, (Jaworski, 2011, p. 3)

Proleptic Leadership    171 a conception Jaworski shared. Jaworski meditated to connect with this source and employed meditation in his organizational consultancies in order to help organizations develop collective intelligence to guide them to make effective decisions. Through facilitating groups’ connection with the “whole” after individuals have instilled the practice of meditation, Jaworski helped these individuals bridge the individual (micro) with the community (meso) levels and helped them create “collective intelligence” to guide their organizational decisions. Religious traditions achieve connection with God through meditating on scripture, prayer, and contemplation. These traditions often seek to hear the voice of God for guidance about what actions to take in the. Proleptic leaders, if coming from a religious tradition, can employ these approaches to open themselves up to God’s unfolding plan and co-create with Him. The posited values of commoners, according to the grounded theory presented in Chapter 5 are similar to those proposed by many religions. Integral theorists also offer approaches to opening up to the universal unfolding of the world and to develop an “evolutionary relationship to life” (Hamilton, 2020). Like the other approaches discussed above, the integral approach employs meditation to link into the universal spiritual level for guidance, to live and lead in love and connection, and to rid oneself of the more vile traits of human nature (Hamilton, 2020) which many feel are incarnated in neoliberal capitalism, and are the same values rejected by commoners.

Consciousness Being mindful of one’s stage of consciousness and opening up to a higher stage of consciousness can also foster proleptic leadership by expanding awareness and developing the cognitive skills necessary to cope with a more complex future. Each successive level of consciousness represents a vision of a future in some sense. Each level pulls one upward if one is open to expanding one’s awareness and if the social conditions require more sophisticated cognitive and sense-making abilities. The majority of natural resource commoners in the West are most likely at the green level of consciousness. Green leaders, characterized by developmentalists as postmodern, believe in community harmony and equality and seek inner peace and caring for others. They have tolerance for self and others based on their understanding of individual and cultural differences and seek harmony and sustainability through bonding and participatory approaches (Brown, 2006). They emphasize open communication, consensus, compromise, and facilitation of processes rather than directives (Prinsloo, 2012). As the knowledge era advances, a higher level of consciousness may be necessary and is emerging that can handle the complexity of interacting systems. Yellow (or Teal) leaders, at an integral level of consciousness, understand “multiple interconnected systems of relationships and processes [and are] able to deal with conflicting needs and duties in constantly shifting contexts” (Brown, 2006, p. 8). They are able to lead in reframing and reinterpreting situations based on principles. Higher levels of consciousness help leaders master two competences required by leaders in complex environments, according to Turner (2017). These include: “contextual thinking” and “decision-making processes.” Contextual thinking allows leaders to understand the various contributions of individuals in

172    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons the solution of complex problems. Successful decision-making requires taking all the perspectives in a complex problem into account in the solution (Turner, 2017). Whereas those at the green level of consciousness seek community and harmony and equality, those at the yellow level seek new knowledge and autonomy, traits appropriate for open networks.

Leading Oneself, Leading with Others, Leading Community Proleptically No matter what specific leadership role an individual plays in a commons, including the variety of roles described in Chapter 9, leadership must begin with leading oneself. In actuality, all members of a commons are leaders as well as followers, especially when they lead with the intention of creating a commonsbased society.

Leading Oneself through the Values of Commoning As the grounded theory of the commons presented in Chapter 5 revealed, commoners lead themselves with particular values through commoning. These include “we-ing,” understanding that their identity is not individualistic but is relational; “caring” as the foundational value of their being and relating; “reverencing,” as their stance vis-a-vis the world, nature, and others; “eco-synergizing” as living as part of nature, the world, and the cosmos, and not apart; “de-commodifying” themselves from the value of the market; and valuing autonomy and hence “self-provisioning” as a way of not having to depend upon others and not being at the mercy of others to provide their basic needs. Manifesting these values in commons (the meso level) and to the world (the macro level) accompanies and enriches the prefiguration of living in commons.

Critical Abilities of Leading Oneself Self-leadership has become popular in the management literature in recent years. Such leadership is typically defined as “a set of strategies that involve using intrinsic motivation to define goals, determine an appropriate strategy, and utilize related strategy and rewards to accomplish them” (Bailey, Barber, & Justice, 2018, p. 149). Self-leadership comprises three components: behavior focused strategies, constructive thought patterns, and focusing on natural rewards (Bailey et al., 2018). The purpose of this notion of self-leadership is individual and organizational performance improvement, not the orientation needed for social transformation. Rather, the concept of “leading oneself ” as conceived of by peace scholars Ebben van Zyl and Andrew Campbell (2019, see also Campbell & Van Zyl (2020)) more appropriately reflects the values and purpose of commons. Van Zyl and Campbell contended that leading oneself or self-transformation was the first necessary step to achieving peace in the world, followed by leading with others and leading community. Instead of focusing on leading oneself for performance, the authors discussed leading oneself with emotional intelligence, wisdom, spirituality,

Proleptic Leadership    173 morality, consciousness, and sense-making maturity. Leading for peace requires a mammoth social transformation just as does transforming to a commons-centric society by employing the common(s) as the principle of transformation (Dardot & Laval, 2019). Hence, it is an apt model to consider. Leading proleptically, thus, includes leading oneself, leading with others, and leading community. Each of the leadership theories derived from complex adaptive systems and nature, as discussed in the previous chapter asserted that emotional intelligence is required in order for distributed or multi-person leadership to succeed. Individuals need self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management (Goleman, 2005) in order to be able to coordinate leadership roles and create synergies. Goleman (2007) argued that social intelligence is also critical. Based on the recognition that humankind is fundamentally social, social intelligence operates with the understanding that people “create” each other to a large extent and hence need to understand how to live and work harmoniously in community, understanding the impact they have on each other and how their emotional and cognitive bonds impact their behavior. Contextual intelligence is also critical (Kellerman, 2012) since the cultural, social, political, and economic context in which the commons works impacts the approach the leaders take. Khanna (2014) defined contextual intelligence as “the ability to understand the limits of our knowledge and to adapt that knowledge to an environment different from the one in which it was developed” (para. 4). Commoners need to adjust their mental models when participating in commons, since many if not most of them were raised in the market system with clashing values and approaches. As stated before, the process of commoning itself helps to change mental models by creating new subjectivities. Closely related to emotional intelligence is spiritual intelligence, which Vaughn (2002) defined as “the ability to create meaning based on a deep understanding of existential questions and the awareness of and ability to use multiple levels of consciousness to solve problems” (Nullens, 2019, Chapter 11, n.p.). Blencowe (2016) contended that spirituality on the commons is the movement of a soul beyond the boundaries of its own identity, the movement of perception beyond the perceptive capacities – the worlded realities – of the perceiver. It is the recognition of the existence of somethings radically other, the sure knowledge of unknowability. Spirituality decentres the self; it is calling to think, feel and act interestedness in others. (p. 186) Spirituality involves the continual search for meaning and is inextricably linked to ethical and moral behavior “with a focus on sustainability and credibility, rooted in self-knowledge and in the desire for growth and development” (Nullens, 2019, n.p.). The experience of transcendence “may help one to cope with difficulties and to experience higher feelings of purpose and meaning” (Van Zyl & Campbell, 2019, n.p.). Wigglesworth (2011, p. 5) operationalized spiritual intelligence as “the ability to behave with compassion and wisdom while maintaining inner and outer peace (equanimity) regardless of the circumstances” (n.p.).

174    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons Leading with spiritual intelligence requires continued spiritual practice. Nullens (2019) pointed out that the practice of Ignatian spirituality, for example, can help leaders become sensitive to interior movements or motions of the soul such as “desires, feelings, thoughts, imaginings, emotions, repulsions, and attractions” (n.p.) and thereby become more open and mindful leaders. Spiritual practice may lead people to focus more on human dignity and their relationship with the environment and society and lead them to focus less on themselves and more on society, the world, and the cosmos. (Van Zyl, 2019, Chapter 3, n.p.) Spiritual discernment is especially important in proleptic leadership because the leader needs to discern glimpses of the future, needs to connect to the universal to the extent possible, and needs to be mindful of the four levels of the micro, meso, macro, and meta (Kok, & van den Heuvel, 2019).

Leading with Others Proleptically The foundation of leading and following with others in a commons is a commoner’s intent and ability to build relationships of care, trust, and authenticity and to “connect” with one’s fellow commoners. Kathleen Curran’s concept of global resonance is a useful model to employ to guide the building of such relationships (Curran, 2018). Global resonance is the mutual and subliminal non-cognitive connection between people that arises from: (1) sincere intent to connect with each other; (2) respecting, honoring, and caring for each other; and (3) expecting brilliance from each other. Global resonance creates “being” a leader, a state that reflects an emotional and even spiritual connection with others, rather than “doing” leadership.

Fig. 2.  Leading from Inside-out. Source: Figure by Dr. Kathleen Curran.

Proleptic Leadership    175

Fig. 3.  “Being” a Global Leader. Source: Figure by Dr. Kathleen Curran. Through global resonance, individuals develop connections in interests, values, and objectives. Global resonance is an inside-out approach to leadership derived from one’s inner sense of self vis-à-vis the world and the desire to shift the “I-you” relationship to a “we” relationship. Such “we” relationships establish shared understanding and communal intelligence (Van Zyl & Campbell, 2019) and facilitate the co-creation of the commons as well as the co-creation of the transformation to a commons-centric society (Figs. 2 and 3). Close relationships build trust which is important in commons. Trust building depends on one’s ability, integrity, and benevolence (Jordaan, 2019). As Jordaan (2019) explained: Ability refers to an assessment of the other’s knowledge, skill, or competency … as adequate…. Integrity is the degree to which we perceive that the other person adheres to principles and norms that are acceptable to us. Benevolence is our assessment that the other person is concerned enough about our welfare to either advance our interests, or at least not impede them. (n.p.) As a “we” identity, commoners co-activate the communal values of commoning through self-organizing, self-governing, collaborating, sharing democratizing, localizing, and translocalizing, values and actions that manifested in the grounded theory of the commons. Commoners lead proleptically these values and actions as they would exist in a commons-centric society. Together, commoners build a commons and through commoning these values and actions, autopoiesis maintains and reproduces the commons and expands these values into the broader society, modeling a prefigurative society. The individual values of commoners discussed above co-evolve with these communal values and together they bridge to the societal macro level, influencing the social imaginary. Proleptic leaders incorporate aspects of transformational leadership by becoming a collective that inspires itself to participate in a significant societal change.

176    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons Communal intelligence and collective intelligence emerge from this close trustworthy relationship and comprise important abilities in proleptic leadership. Van Zyl (2019) defined communal intelligence as “a shared way of awareness, thinking, understanding and acting within a community in order to solve problems and carry out tasks for the well-being, welfare and benefit of the community as a whole and for its individual members” (n.p.). Collective intelligence or the shift from individual to community intelligence emerges from deep relationships and from communal tapping into the universal (meta) level of awareness (Dyer, 2020). Collective, proleptic leadership includes enabling a rich and compelling vision of the future to come into being, as an early and necessary stage in allowing others to be drawn forward. Through a process of co-creation or, better, communal midwifery, leaders facilitate and help the vision from the future to be born in the present. In other words, leadership should not see itself as creating the future vision itself out of its own present resources. Rather, leadership involves the openness, seeking, debate, discussion, reflection, and meditation required to enable this future vision to come into view in the present. This slight change in key ensures that leaders are not dictating the future through their own goals and desires, but allowing a shared and common vision of the future to reveal itself. Enabling as rich and complex a future vision as possible to come into view is a powerful step in motivating and inspiring the commons to be pulled forward toward that future reality.

Leading Community (Society) Commoners lead proleptically by visioning and then prototyping a way of living derived from a future somewhat utopian vision, a future which commoners are prefiguring and co-creating. Commoners are living purposefully, mindful that they are creating a society reflecting their values and that their commons will serve as an example to society writ large. Commoners also lead proleptically to help create a commons-based society by transforming the current society through protesting, prefiguring, languaging, federalizing the commons and lobbying government, and making deals with the market to support the commons way of life. Leading at the macro societal level connects commoners with the overarching socio-economic changes predicted by Rifkin (2014, 2019), Hardt and Negri (2009), Berge (2019), and Dawlabani (2016, 2018). Here commoners contribute to these changes, are impacted by them, and ideally help to ensure that the changes give rise to a society with the same values the commoners hold dear. Indeed, many commoners are providing open-access plans for building one’s own home-based 3D printer, as well as open-access plans for building automobiles, farm equipment, homes, and many other products that consumers previously depended upon the market to produce. Other commoners are running businesses in which they produce products made by 3D printers and a many businesses run as commons that are contributing to the prosumer trend. As pointed out in Chapter 6, the predicted socio-economic changes elaborated did not include a commitment to a set of values. Leading at the macro level also influences the market-based social imaginary and begins to transform it, along

Proleptic Leadership    177 FUTURE Universal



Community Individual


To Lead Head, Heart, Will Based on Care

Infuse Reason of the Commons

Open to the

Transform Social

Presence the Whole



Lead Community

Shift from “I” to “We” Identity Global Resonance™

Prefiguration Federate Commons

Lead with Others

Lead Oneself

Fig. 4.  Steps of Leading Proleptically. with the overarching socio-economic changes, to one that reflects the imaginary of the commons. The steps of proleptic leadership are illustrated in Fig. 4 above: The values being manifested through proleptic leadership at the individual, communal, and societal levels are visualized in Fig. 5 below:

Crisis and Proleptic Leadership In some sense, commons exist in perpetual crisis since many of them were initiated to escape or protect the commonwealth from the stranglehold or values of the market and the state or to ensure access to needed resources. Even more, the current global crisis caused by the pandemic, the outrage about racism, and the economic crises both here but even more in many countries around the world, have magnified a hundredfold the current state of global crisis.

Liminality Given the current global pandemic and the global “Black Lives Matter” protests plus the recognition that our systems of governance are crumbling has made it

178    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons

Future values invading the Present

WE-ing, caring, reverencing, ecosynergizing, de-commodifying, self-provisioning

Self-organizing, self-governing, collaborating, sharing, democratizing, localizing, translocalizing

Prefiguring, co-creating, protesting, federalizing, languaging, dealing

Federating, infusing commons reason, lobbying for supportive state, creating new social imaginary

Commons centric society

Future realized

Fig. 5.  Values Manifested by Proleptic Leadership. clear that the world is in liminal space, a space in between. Such spaces are “transitional or transformative spaces … waiting areas between one point in time and space and the next” (betterhelp, 2018, p. 2/14). “Liminal” comes from the Latin root “limen” that means “threshold” (Orton & Withrow, 2015). In liminal space

Proleptic Leadership    179 our old world [is] left behind, while we are not yet sure of the new existence … [It is] a good space where genuine newness can begin As Horvath, Thomassen, and Wydra (2015) explained: Liminality captures in-between situations and conditions characterized by the dislocation of established structures, the reversal of hierarchies, and the uncertainty about the continuity of tradition and future outcomes…. As a fundamental human experience, liminality transmits cultural practices, codes, rituals, and meanings in between aggregate structures and uncertain outcomes. (n.p.) Three stages characterize liminal transition. First, there is a separation from the previous self and of the previous socio-political order. Second, there is the liminal space, the “limbo,” the space in between, the space of possibilities, and finally, there is the reincorporation with a more developed sense of self and/or new socio-economic order (Hawkins & Edwards, 2017). Liminality provides an opportune space for proleptic leaders on the commons to begin the process of joining together with other commons to form federations and to expand the “reason of the common” (Dardot & Laval, 2019) in society. Liminal leading involves joining in a transformational process with the individuals caught in the liminal space, in this case, commoners in the commons (Hawkins & Edwards, 2017; Orton & Withrow, 2015; Shaw-VanBuskirk, Lim, & Leong, 2019). As Richard Rohr wrote (2020): In liminal time and space, we can learn to let reality—even in its darkness—be our teacher, rather than living in the illusion that we are creating it on our own. We can enter into the liminal paradox: a disturbing time and space that not only breaks us down, but also offers us the choice to live in it with fierce aliveness, freedom, sacredness, companionship, and awareness of presence. (para. 4) Liminal space forces people to examine their own mental models and attitudes and ultimately to change their behavior. Rituals are helpful in this process. As Van Saane (2019) explained: Rituals help people in times of crisis, tension and transition by satisfying basic needs. In sorrow and crisis these needs are temporarily under pressure, but in modern society one sometimes experiences that these needs are permanently under pressure… The ritual should also give space to emotional experience. A proper ritual offers people the space to complain, to cry, to be angry, to be sad or to show joy. (n.p.)

180    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons Currently, global protests seem to be serving as the ritual, offering space for emotional expression. Given the widespread protests and destruction of property, the needed emotional release is explosive and long-lasting. The liminal space of the current global crisis can stimulate creativity and facilitate a collaborative process that seeks novel solutions and new futures. Commoners and non-commoners can join “together across boundaries” and participate in “critical collective reflection that creates new ways forward” (Orton & Withrow, 2015, p. 23). The process of proleptic liminal leadership generally proceeds in four steps which can be followed by groups of commoners: (1) introduction of different perspectives into the creative process; (2) critical review of the aims and processes of the society in chaos; (3) introduction of new perspectives into their view of the current society; (4) converse together in order to construct a new narrative; and (5) reflect on their identities and the identity of the future society. Together, they can carve a route out of the liminal space by reorienting or reintegrating the society’s aim and values and together beginning to co-create a more resilient society better representative of the values of the commons (Fig. 6). Deep relation-building, trust, empowerment of all participants, and honest self-reflection are essential aspects of this process. “Symbols, stories, and rituals to create community” and stimulate creativity can be introduced (Shaw-VanBuskirk et al., 2019, p. 653). Mindfulness, which helps to open future possibilities and helps participants focus on the present disruptive liminal space can be encouraged. Finally, creative problem-solving and collective intelligence to co-create the future from current possibilities will drive the process. Making the most of the current liminality can move the commons closer to ushering in a new global order, the possibility considered in the next and final chapter. Further, action is the most effective way to move through the threshold that liminality affords. Helping to meet the needs of the current crisis and employing the crisis as an opening through which to organize more commons locally that can provide basic needs to people in deep crisis and in personal liminal space is

Introduction of different perspectives into the creative process

Critical review of the aims and processes of the society in chaos

Introduction of new perspectives into their view of the current society

Converse together in order to construct a new narrative

Reflect on their identities and the identity of the future society

Fig. 6.  Proleptic Liminal Leadership Process.

Next steps of cocreation toward a commons centric society

Proleptic Leadership    181 an effective way to advance the commons movement. Mutual aid groups are selforganizing in hundreds of communities to meet the needs of people hit hard by the pandemic. Using Google Forms and Google Docs, and sanitized flyers, these groups are organizing by neighborhood, by town, by religious group, by interest group, throughout the country (Sigal, 2020).

Social Imaginary Varvarousis (2019) reported that the austerity crisis in Greece began to change the social imaginary such that commons became an accepted value and collaborative pattern of relating. Castoriadis (1987) conceived of the social imaginary as the creative force of imagination that makes society. As “significations composed of a reservoir of social meanings created by society” (Canceran, 2009, p. 26), the social imaginary belongs to the self-consciousness of humanity or the social consciousness (Canceran, 2009). Canceran quoted Sartre who claimed that in order to imagine, this social consciousness needed to step out of the world so it can find a space “to imagine beyond the world as we have it” (p. 23). To a large extent, commoners have stepped outside the world as defined by market capitalism and are actively working to institute a social imaginary that reflects the values and goals of the commons. The coronavirus pandemic and the protests, along with the emergence of a plethora of self-help groups around the world, represent a time of stepping-out and reflecting upon the social imaginary of our cultures and the failure of the state and private sector to meet the needs and demands of the current crises. According to Castoriadis (Canceran, 2009), autonomy is also a requirement to construct a new social imaginary. Autonomy allows a group or a society to self-reflect, to become self-conscious, reflect on the current social imaginary, and recognize that they themselves help construct society from the social imaginary from their imagination. Crisis creates separation from society to some extent, and separation feeds autonomy, and autonomy catalyzes self-organized action and reflection on the dream of a new truly democratic society. Imagination links to the future and the future invades the present, so that proleptic leadership is free to construct that new society. Whether people will take advantage of this liminal space to fully reflect and to dream to action remains to be seen and whether we are closer to ushering in a new society is a question that will be posited in the next, concluding chapter.

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Ushering in a New Global Order Societal evolution happens when the forces of push and pull meet and align: the external challenge [the pull factor] that can no longer be ignored and the internal resonance with an awakening human consciousness and will [the push factor]. Wherever these two forces align, we see mountains move… (Otto Scharmer, 1996) The journey through the history of the commons and the contemporary search to define what the commons is, along with the struggle against enclosure, illustrate how many diverse groups of people have projected hope into the phenomenon. Even those who continue to view the commons simply as a resource or a management entity that can survive alongside the current market and state see the commons as a way for communities to protect and gain control of resources essential for their lives, a major step toward autonomy and participatory democracy. Those that view the commons as the key phenomenon leading the post-capitalist transition are working on a long-distance path to a new global order. Working in their favor are the overarching socio-economic changes occurring at rapid speed as summarized in Chapter 6. Working against them, are the elites and others that thrive on the current system and way of life and who will fight to protect their vested interests, perhaps employing the fear of “commoning,” which sounds like communism. Continued crisis may be the most useful way to push the commons narrative forward, since people will be increasingly forced to rely on their own resources and creativity to develop resilience and survive. The notion of the commons and the commons movement, although steeped in a history extending back thousands of years, is still young in terms of catalyzing the transition to a commons-based society. The commons face enormous challenges as highlighted in Chapter 8 and society writ large appears to be a long way from accepting the values inherent in such a society. Yet, the naturalness and reasonableness by which a commons emerges, especially out of protest, is noteworthy. The emergence in Seattle, Washington, of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, quipped CHAZ, is an example of how a protest movement quickly self-organizes into a commons (Hughes, 2020). CHAZ illustrates how much commons make sense. Almost magically, the basics of life appeared – food and drink and services – and thousands of donations from the community lined the streets. Speakers took to platforms to protest police brutality as well as other abuses in Proleptic Leadership on the Commons: Ushering in a New Global Order, 183–188 Copyright © 2020 by Emerald Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved doi:10.1108/978-1-83867-799-220201015

184    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons the system. CHAZ attracted thousands of so-called “tourists” (Hughes, 2020), illustrating how appealing appears such an escape from the noose of neoliberal everyday life. And, the naturalness by which commons emerge out of crisis was also made clear by the rapid mobilization of hundreds of mutual-aid groups around the world to meet the needs of the thousands of people whose lives were devasted by the pandemic. These self-organized, self-governed groups illustrate how willing people are to help their neighbors, how strong is the fundamental value of care, a sentiment that could be captured worldwide in the formation of commons to meet people’s basic needs. The lack of self-awareness of being commons and the perception of commons by a number of people as a “left wing radical movement” militate against the identification of the emerging mutual-aid and community groups with the commons and lessens the likelihood of forming federations of commons that would be willing challenge the current social imaginary. Further, infiltration of some commons by government agents or informants opposed to the movement, as what allegedly occurred with a commons working to address the disaster of Katrina, also complicates progress forward. The rapid and violent reaction from the President toward the Seattle protesters by sending in federal agents, who had no jurisdiction or mandate to function in such a situation, and the brutal disregard of the human right to protest, illustrated the typical response of the system to the clamor for change. Such a response, combined with the actions of certain protesters to foment violence and destruction instead of positive change, reinforced the notion that a transformation to a commons-centric society is hardly possible. On the other hand, the encouraging article in the May 11 New Yorker by Jia Tolentino (2020) gave voice to the many different mutual-aid organizations that emerged during the pandemic. Tolentino acknowledged the somewhat radical history of such groups by mentioning the Russian anarcho-communist Peter Kropotkin whose book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (2020) serves as the radical unpinning of mutual-aid organizations and also of their strategy to work on root causes not merely provide charity. Tolentino (2020) also connected the emergence of the groups with such social movements as Occupy and mentioned the many longtime social activists involved in the mutual-aid groups. She also included a link to radical activist Dean Spade’s article (2020) highlighting the reality that mutual-aid organizations are meant to build solidarity and are part of a larger movement of resistance and radical social change (Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, n.d.). Recognizing the ideological differences among the groups, Tolentino also interviewed Harvard political scientist Nancy L. Rosenblum whose research showed that such groups that arise during crisis do not ensure nor build a stronger civic sector. However, Rosenblum did admit that what was happening during the pandemic appeared somewhat different than during other crises. What is significant about this article, whose subtitle is A Radical Practice is Suddenly Gaining Mainstream Attention, is that it posed the possibility of the lasting significance of such groups as signs of social change. However, the term “commons” does not appear in the article so the linkage is not made although these self-organized, self-governed organizations heralded the values of the commons and could certainly be included in the movement. Activist Kaba, who partnered with Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, used the language of the commons when

Ushering in a New Global Order    185 asked about the conflicting strategies of activists. As she said: The day-to-day practice of mutual aid is simpler. It is a matter, she said, of “prefiguring the world in which you want to live.” The emergence of the commons as a major focus and as the potential defining order for future society is reflected in changes on a number of different levels, from the individual to the universal, as have been discussed throughout this book. Taken together, they manifest a potential major transition in the socio-economic system but it is not yet clear if this transition will, at least in the short run, will be positive, or will rather be a way of survival. The current crisis has reinforced the notion highlighted by Bauwens et al. (2019), Bollier and Helfrich, (2019), and De Angelis (2017b) that it is critical to initially commonize the basics of life such as food, water, shelter, medical care, and so on, to ensure our survival through the inescapable continual crises or even collapse that we now face. The question is whether such commons will self-organize or whether we need catalytic leaders. I feel that such leaders are required, but who they are and from where, remains to be seen. Key changes the commons has sparked on several different levels can be summarized as follows: Individual Consciousness and Subjectivities: Commoning reflects a significant evolution in consciousness and a constellation of subjectivities that contrast with the individually focused subjectivities of neoliberalism. Sharing is considered a way of maximizing benefits for everyone in a community and it is not based on poverty or economic necessity but rather on the desire to enhance the lives of others and ourselves in unity. The notion that commons belongs to us and that we have the right and even obligation to manage them has become an accepted value and subjectivities that defined commoning according to research participants, scholars, and activists. The youth are increasingly positing these values as their standard approach to each other and to acting in the world. Seemingly more of the youth also view making a positive impact on the world as more important than maximizing the bottom line. Relational Ontology that Includes the Non-Human: It has become increasing accepted that one’s identity derives from relationships with others, including the non-human such as nature, and that “nothing preexists the relations that constitute it” (Escobar, 2015, n.p.). The notion of pluriverse has increasingly replaced the one world notion, accepting that the world is comprised of “a multiplicity of mutually entangled and co-constituting but distinct worlds” (Escobar, 2015, n.p.). These changes have allowed the commons to make ontological and conceptual sense and to support the notions of conviviality and “aliveness” (Weber, 2015). Community/Organizational Level: The governance structures and processes of commons – the horizontal, self-management style – are becoming an accepted model for many if not the majority of organizations and represent a dramatic shift from the hierarchical model that has had dominion for so many generations. This model promotes participation of everyone within an organization to influence key decisions and act as leaders and express their points of view, no matter how diverse and potentially contrary. In flatter organizations, people gain experience in all aspects of management and gain confidence in the decision making

186    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons that will remake the world to benefit the people rather than the narrow corporate and government interests that are dominant today. This approach and values are becoming increasingly infused in the global culture and support the emergence of the commons as a dominant paradigm. Level of Production: Hardt and Negri (2009) argued that biopolitical production is becoming the hegemonic paradigm and Rifkin (2014) titled a similar paradigm the “Internet of Things” and “Collaborative Consumption.” As this mode of production that emphasizes knowledge and information and the benefits of sharing becomes increasingly dominant, the commons paradigm may gain ascendance. The ascendancy of knowledge and information as the avant garde in the social transformative process will continue to change the nature of relationships and the nature of production and sharing and may eventually change the nature of society. Level of Society: Many reforms will need to be made in order to open the door for the commons to remold society and social relationships, as many scholars and activists have pointed out. The recognition of the commons as a legitimate sector will be required at least in the short term and this will require a great deal of lobbying and even protest. The economics of abundance and plenitude will have to be infused in society for the commons to become hegemonic. Capital: By its nature, capital will continue to enclose resources, and given the large amount of excess capital in the global system, such enclosure will continue. For how long remains the key question. The system remains under extreme stress and the discontent in the world with democracy and other forms of governance is increasing and is not being adequately addressed. Universal Level: The continued manifestation of the desire embedded in the human heart for an egalitarian ideal society in which basic needs are provided for and everyone has the opportunity to realize their potential and live in harmony, equality, and peace has been moved a step forward through the focus on the commons. The drive toward this ideal will continue through protest and through continuing to act according to the values of the commons. Commons scholar De Angelis believed that there is a long road ahead and that many steps remain in strengthening the commons movement. As he cautioned (De Angelis, 2017b), emancipation has to do with the process of liberation, of being set free. But to emancipate ourselves from capital and the current forms of the state we need a form of emancipation that is obtained through wider spheres of autonomy and autopoiesis of the commons. Only in this way can we emancipate ourselves from state and capital and from the problems they create (war, global warming, control obsession, poverty in the midst of plenty, expropriations and exploitation). Nevertheless we cannot emancipate ourselves from the vertical state and exploitative capital tomorrow or in a year’s time; rather we must see emancipation as a process of growing commons power vis-a-vis capital and the state … emancipation is a matter of individuals… (pp. 357–358)

Ushering in a New Global Order    187 As Scharmer stated in the quotation at the beginning of this chapter, social transformation happens when the push and pull factors are in alignment. The feebleness of the socio-economic system is becoming increasing obvious and leaders such as Scharmer are facilitating enormous groups of individuals around the world who are building the push factor, helping to prepare people’s hearts, minds, and wills to be open to the emergent change and working together on changes that they can implement. Over 5,000 people from all over the world participated in his GAIA journey during the pandemic seeking ways to prepare themselves to use the crises to begin the hard work. His U-Lab has even many more thousands of people who are consciously working on a new way of being and of acting in the world for positive change. Scharmer’s awareness-based social transformation model includes a recognition of the commons but it is not clear if he envisions a post-capitalist society or not. Many other similar groups are forming communities of change, preparing for similar changes. These individuals are proleptic leaders inspired by known and unknown and disruptive futures, readying themselves for ushering in the new global order. Whether the order emerges after a series of crises or after total collapse remains to be seen. In the meantime, instituting the reason of the common (Dardot & Laval, 2019) cannot wait for the labyrinth of heterogenous commons to form federations and to grow until a tipping point makes them the dominant socioeconomic form. We can practice the reason of the common in everyday life, even recognizing that there will be “a long period of convulsions, confrontations, and upheavals awaiting us” (Dardot & Laval, 2019, p. iv). Accepting Dardot’s and Laval’s first principle that establishes the common as the principle of social transformation, we must urgently construct a politics of the common. As these authors explained: A deliberate politics of the common will therefore strive to create self-governing institutions that enable the freest expression of common action as possible, within the limits societies give themselves based on the rules of justice they consensually establish. (p. 391) Instituting the reason of the commons, which manifests in a politics of the commons encompassing both social and political space parallels Meadows’ (2008) contention that the most effective way to intervene into a system for change is the power to transcend the system’s underlying paradigm. The reason of the common does just this. Gibson-Graham, Cameron, and Healy (2016) also stressed the importance of immediately practicing a politics of the commons, not based on the anti-capital-centric model that has become dominant, but based on the practice of commoning “as a relational process – or more often a struggle – of [a community] negotiating access, use, benefit, care, and responsibility … taking caring of and accepting responsibility for a resource and distributing the benefits in ways that take into account the well-being of others” (p. 196). We can continue to create and get involved in commons to self-provision and ensure our autonomy and even survival as crises will continue. Community gardens, time banks, food coops, health outposts, service centers, places to stay and

188    Proleptic Leadership on the Commons other commons can provide basics. We can institute the values and practices of commoning in everything we do. We can work locally, helping people in need, securing our basic sustenance, and reflecting what is best in the human spirit and discovering the best in others (Wheatley, 2017) and stand firm through the storm of collapse if that indeed is what we are facing while maintaining the vision of a commons-centric society. And, we can begin to practice proleptic leadership. We can prepare ourselves to lead by cleaning out the cobwebs in our hearts and viewing ourselves and others with care and compassion. We can open ourselves up to the possibility of a positive future, even through the throes of chaos, and allow this future to guide us to continue to push for solutions to global challenges. Finally, we can break down the barriers that separate ourselves from others and forge co-creative “We’s” as the foundation for a new world that may eventually emerge, even out of he ashes of the old. We can act now, even as the future beckons us forward.

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Index Note: Page numbers followed by “n” indicate footnotes. Ability, 175 Absolute individual rights, 8 Absolute Spirit, 90 Action, 164, 180 Actualization hierarchies, 159 Adaptive leadership, 151, 154–155 Adaptive social systems, 114 Administrative leadership, 151 Adventus, 168 Agricultural sector, enclosure in, 34–35 Allometry, 97 Alter-globalization, 27–28 Anti-capital-centric model, 187 Anti-capitalist perspectives on commons, 56–57 Anticommons, 37 Auto-production, 136 Autopoiesis, 119, 136–137, 162–163 Awareness, 20–21, 44, 49, 88, 90, 164, 170–173, 176 Bauwens, Michel, 24, 27, 35, 83, 97, 113–118, 123, 127, 130– 131, 142–143, 148, 162, 185 Benkler, Yokai, 22–24, 43, 48, 50–51, 87 Biogenetics, 96 Biopolitical production, 93n2–95 Bollier, David, 3–6, 8–9, 13, 19, 21, 23–24, 28, 31, 33, 36–37, 41, 46, 65, 66, 77–78, 82, 87, 133, 137, 141–143, 148, 152, 159, 162, 164, 185 Burning Man, 65n1, 69, 71–72 Caffentzis, George, 27–28, 56–57, 64 Capital, 10, 186

Capital accumulation, 54–55 Capitalism, 10, 54–55, 91, 95, 115 Capitalist(s), 10 private property, 10 society, 8 Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), 183–184 Care, 80 Caring, 172 Catalan Community Commons (CIC), 146 Climate change, 104–105 crisis, 52 Climate crisis, 92–93 Cognitive capitalism, 97 Cognitive praxis, 78 Collaborative commons, 91–92, 96 Collaborative consumption, 51–52 Collective intelligence, 176 Collective leadership, 155–156 Collective structuring patterns, 165 Colonialism, 13 Commodification, 38–39, 64 Commodities consensus, 35 Common pool resources (CPRs), 16–19, 22 Common property regime (CPR), 63 Commonalisation, 119 Commoners, 3, 6, 18, 29, 161 alternative modes of production, 118–119 commons-centric society, 119–120 complexities of transition, 124–125 post-capitalist transition, 117 prefigurative movements, 113–114 radical municipal activism, 116 role in transition, 113 role of social movements, 123–124

204   Index social revolution, 115 views of commons transition, 120–123 Commonification, 118 Commoning, 59, 64, 66, 74, 76, 78, 121, 136, 162 and community, 85–87 leading oneself through values of, 172 practice, 3 and values, 88 “Commoning elitism”, 134 Commons, 3, 31, 43, 63–64, 69, 83, 162–163 capitalism and capital accumulation, 54–55 collaborative consumption and sharing economy, 51–52 commons and enclosure beyond England, 12–13 commons-based laws, 3 commons-based peer production, 23–25 commons-based society, 162 commons-centric language, 141 to commons-centric society, 88 crisis and survival, 52–54 dualism, 3–4 emergence of relational ontology, 48 enclosure movement in England, 7–9 end of land enclosure in England, 12 environmental awakening, 44 in Feudal Europe, 5–6 flattening of organizations and self-organizing systems, 48–49 gender and commons, 13–14 historical sketch of, 4–5 humans models as cooperative rather than competitive, 47 identifying phenomena as, 43–44 increasing inequality and changing employment, 44–46 industrial paradigm, 14 Internet and noose of neoliberal capitalism, 46–47

justification of enclosure, 9–10 leadership theory, 49–50 Leviathan vs. Penguin, 48 moral divide, 47 neoliberalism and enclosure of, 38 Network, 29 networks and network thinking, 50–51 politics of, 131 pro-capitalist vs. anti-capitalist perspectives on commons, 56–57 and question of evil and elitism, 132–133 resistance to enclosure and moral justification for, 10–12 self-awareness, 136 social crisis and precariat, 57–59 in subsistence economies, 19 theoretical perspectives on rise of commons, 54 Transition Platform, 29 Commons Act (1876), 12 Commons Strategy Group, 29 Commons-centric society, 88, 98, 114, 119–120, 127 centralized ideologies, 96–97 challenges with state, 131 climate crisis, 92–93 collaborative commons, 91–92 commons and question of evil and elitism, 132–133 complexities of change process, 128–130 confronting state, 131–132 consciousness, 98–105 external shocks, 127–128 fighting intellectual property laws, 94–95 gentler, sustainable capitalism and participatory municipalities, 135 implications, 111–112 insufficient resources to live autonomously, 130–131 integral theory of consciousness, 105–108

Index    205 internal challenges, 133–135 Kaleidoscope of consciousnesses and Western-centric perspective, 130 liminality, 97–98, 108–111 limitations of systems approach, 136–137 marginalized commons, 130 nature of systems change, 127 need for commons self-awareness, 136 organizing principle of universe, 90–91 overarching theories of socioeconomic change, 89–90 social imaginary, 97–98, 108–111 transition to, 93 Communal governance models, leadership with, 157–158 Communal intelligence, 176 Communism, 94, 123 Community, 4, 85–87 community/organizational level process, 185–186 Complex adaptive systems (CAS), 141 leadership, 161 and leading from nature, 149 Complexity leadership, 151–152 Computer-generated voices, 45 Confrontational approach, 131 Consciousness, 90, 97–105, 169–172 integral theory of, 105–108 Kaleidoscope of, 130 Contemporary environmentalist movement, 20 Contemporary interest proliferation in commons, 19–21 Contextual intelligence, 173 Contextual thinking, 171–172 Cooperative Integral Catalana (CIC), 86–87 “Coordinating leaders”, 150 Copyright laws, 36 Coronavirus pandemic, 47, 144 Corporations, 44 Cosmo-capitalism, 46 Creative Commons, 29

Crisis, 52–54, 109 and proleptic leadership, 177 Critical abilities of leading oneself, 172–174 Cryptocurrencies, 97 Customary law, 16 Dardot, Pierre, 3–4, 28, 45–46, 82–84, 113–114, 119–120, 131–132, 173, 179, 187 Das Kapital, 10 De Angelis, 10, 58–59, 64, 67, 72–73, 76, 78, 85, 113–115, 118–119, 123–124, 127, 131, 133, 136, 143, 148, 162, 185, 186 “De-commodifying”, 172 Decision-making processes, 157–158, 171 Deep democracy, accountability, and loosening boundaries (DAB), 119 Democracy, 22, 44 Democratic participation, 123 Design leaders, 150 Developmentalists, 96, 108, 124, 166, 171 Digital commoning, 22 Digital divide, 40–41 Digital revolutions, 89 Digital rights management, 37 Dissipative system structures, 127 Distributed intelligence, 96 Distributed leadership, 152 Diversity, 153 Do-it-together (DIT), 117 Dueling revolutions, 36 Earth Summit, 20 Eco-synergizing, 172 Ecology, 95–96 Ecomangar, 146 Edwards, Andres, 20–21, 80, 179 Efficiency, 18 Emergence, 116 Emotional intelligence, 173 Emparkment, 8

206   Index Empathic sensitivity, 104 Enclosure, 9, 31 in agricultural sector, 34–35 beyond England, 12–13 justification of, 9–10 of knowledge commons, 35–37 movement in England, 7–9 of public property and commons, 38 resistance to enclosure and moral justification for commons, 10–12 of water, 32–34 England commons and enclosure beyond England, 12–13 enclosure movement in, 7–9 end of land enclosure in, 12 Entrepreneurial leadership, 151 Environmental awakening, 44 Equipotentiality, 25 Estover, 5 European Commons Assembly (ECA), 27 External articulators, 145 External commons, 96 External shocks, 127–128 Facilitative leadership, 149–150 Federation, 159 of agricultural cooperative, 129 of commons, 115, 184 individual commons in, 120 mobilizing leadership for commons, 148–149 NGO, 27 Feedback, 153 Feudal Europe, commons in, 5–6 Feudalism, 7 “15-M Movement”, 52 Financial crisis (2008), 52 Foundation on Economic Trends (FOET), 38 Frederici, Silvia, 14, 59, 64, 85, 120–121, 169 Futurum, 168

Gender and commons, 13–14 Genetically modified foods (GMOs), 70 Gentler, 135 Global Commons Alliance, 29 Global consciousness, 96 Global Crop Diversity Trust, 41 Global divide, 40–41 Global justice movements, 27–28 Global resonance, 174–175 Global Social Justice Movements, 59 Globalization, 44 Globalization of intellectual property rights, 37–38 Google Docs, 180 Google Forms, 180 Governance, 142 Gratefulness, 82 Graves’ model of spiral dynamics, 105 Great Recession (2008), 32, 57 Green economy, 124 Green leaders, 171 Green Revolution, 35 Grey Goose laws, 12 Grounded theory, 171 commoning and community, 85–87 commoning and values, 88 of commons, 63–64, 66 relationship process, 64–65 research of commons, 65–66 resonating self-and-society, 80–82 self-protagonizing, 74–80 sub-variables comprising communing, 67 supplanting paradigm, 67–74 transforming, 83–85 Hardin, Garrett, 9, 15–17 “Healing Biotope” model, 134 Helfrich, 66, 77–78, 82, 84, 87, 113–117, 127, 129–131, 133, 136–137, 141–143, 148, 152, 159, 162, 164, 185 Hess, Charlotte, 16–19, 21–23, 25, 36, 43–44 Historical developmental framework, 117

Index    207 Holocracy, 135 Homo cooperantus, 43 Homo economics, 43, 46 Horizontality, 159 Human action framework, 79, 89, 163–164, 166 Human nature, 163 Human resources, 31 Human structuring interactions, 164 Humans models as cooperative rather than competitive, 47 Hunting-and-gathering societies, 4 Hurricane Sandy, 153 Indignados Movement, 52 Individual agency, 162–166 Individual Consciousness, 185 Individual structuring interactions, 165 Industrial Revolution, 8 Inequality, 44–46 Info-dustrial Evolution, 96 Information age, 89 commons, 22 technology revolution, 91 Inherently public property, 16–19 Institutional Analysis and Development Framework (IAD Framework), 18–19 Institutionalist approach, 17 Integral theorists, 107, 108, 171 Integral theory of consciousness, 105–108 Integrity, 175 Intellectual property, 96 Intellectual property rights, 22, 32, 35 globalization and expansion of, 37–38 Intellectual resources, 37 Internal commons, 96 Internal mobilizers, 145 International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC), 28 International Monetary Fund (IMF), 28, 32, 52

International support for commons, 27 Internet, 21, 32, 43, 46–47, 71, 91, 92, 152 as commons, 21–22 search companies, 40 Internet of Things, 92, 104 Jaworski, Joseph, 49, 170–171 Kegan, Robert, 90, 106–108, 166 Kellerman, Barbara, 5, 12, 50, 173 Knowledge commons, 22, 37 enclosure of, 35–37 Knowledge economy, 141 Labor, 45, 74 Laval, Christian, 3–4, 28, 45–46, 82–84, 113, 119–120, 131, 173, 179, 187 Lead with others, 50 Leaders, 142–143, 161 as buffers and bonding element vis-a-vis external forces, 145–146 catalysts, 146–147 as catalysts, brokers, and political representatives, 144–145 as functional brokers who also bridge cultural divides, 146 as political representatives, 147–148 Leadership, 49, 141, 143–144, 150, 161, 165. See also Proleptic leadership adaptive leadership, 154–155 CAS and leading from nature, 149 commons not organizations, 159 complexity, 151–152 governance, 142–143 hierarchy and leadership, 158– holding whole, 156–157 information/knowledge society, 141–142 leader catalysts, 146–147 leaders as buffers and bonding element vis-a-vis external forces, 145–146

208   Index leaders as catalysts, brokers, and political representatives, 144–145 leaders as functional brokers who also bridge cultural divides, 146 leaders as political representatives, 147–148 leadership not governance, 157 leading from nature, 152–153 mobilizing leadership for commons federations, 148–149 network, 149–151 peer-to-peer leadership, 153–154 with sociocracy and other communal governance models, 157–158 system and collective leadership, 155–156 theory, 49–50, 141 transformational leadership, 156 variables, 144 Leading community, 176–177 proleptically, 172 Leading from nature, 149, 152–153 Leading oneself, 172 critical abilities of, 172–174 through values of commoning, 172 Leading proleptically, 166–169, 173 preparing oneself to lead proleptically, 169–170 Leading with others, 172 “Leapfrog” strategy, 149 Levels of consciousness, 90, 98, 104–105, 107, 124, 130, 166, 171, 173 Levine, Peter, 22, 44 Liberalism, 96 Liminality, 97–98, 108–111, 177–181 Linebaugh, Peter, 5–6, 8–12, 23, 31, 58, 64, 66, 76, 78 Linux collaborative operating system, 70 Love, 122

Maine Lobstermen Association (MLA), 146–147 Makers Infrastructure, 92 Management, 161 Marginalized commons, 130 Market triumphalism, 39 Marketization of life, 10 Marx, Karl, 10, 12, 32, 118, 166 Marx’s theory of historical materialism, 90 Mechanization, 9 Meso level commoners, 162–166, 171, 174 Meta level commoners, 162, 164–165, 176 Mexican Constitution, 31 Micro individual level, 166 Mindfulness, 180 Mobilizing leadership for commons federations, 148–149 Monetization, 8 Moral divide, 47 Multiplication, 119 Multitude, 137

Macro level commoners, 162–164, 175–176

Occupy movement, 65n1 Occupy Sandy, 72, 153–154

Natural resource commons, 63 Neo-feudal cognitive capitalism, 97 Neoliberal capitalism, noose of, 46–47 Neoliberalism, 32 and enclosure of public property and commons, 38 Nested hierarchies, 159 Netarchical cognitive capitalism, 97 Network gardeners, 150 Network guardianship, 150 Network leadership, 149–151 Network thinking, 50–51 Networkers, 148 Networks, 50–51 Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), 27 Non-human resources, 31 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 32

Index    209 Open cooperatives, 117 Open Spaces Society, 12 Open-access journals, 38 Open-field farming, 7 Operational capacity, 145 Operational leadership, 151 Organizational photosynthesis, 152 Organizational theory, 48 Ostrom, Elinor, 16–18, 22, 28, 36, 63, 64, 110, 141–144, 150, 157, 158 Overarching theories of socioeconomic change, 89 Oxymoronic utopias, 59 Pannage, 6 Paradoxes, 90 Participatory municipalities, 135 Peer-to-peer (P2P), 52 leadership, 149, 153–154, 162 production, 23–24, 27, 63 Piscary, 6 Platform cooperatives, 118 Political representatives, leaders as, 147–148 Politics of commons, 131 Possessive individualism, 14 Post-capitalist transition, 114, 117, 183 Precariat, 57–59 Prefigurative commons-centric economy, 114 Prefiguring, 84 Primitive accumulation, 9–10 Private property, 13 Privatization, 38–39 Pro-capitalist perspectives on commons, 56–57 Productive social circuits, 82 Productivity, 74 Profit-making corporations, 40 Prolepsis, 166–169 Proleptic ethics, 168–169 Proleptic leadership, 162 consciousness, 171–172 crisis and, 177

critical abilities of leading oneself, 172–174 individual agency, 162–166 leading community, 176–177 leading oneself, leading with others, leading community proleptically, 172 leading oneself through values of commoning, 172 leading with others proleptically, 174–176 liminality, 177–181 opening oneself to future, 170–171 preparing oneself to lead proleptically, 169–170 prolepsis and leading proleptically, 166–169 proleptic ethics, 168–169 social imaginary, 181 impact of universal on micro individual level, 166 visionary leader, 161 Property, 5 “Property in Land Everyone’s Right”, 11 Protesting, 83–84 Prototyping, 81 leaders, 150 Public property, neoliberalism and enclosure of, 38 Public trust doctrine, 4 Public trust theory, 16 Purposeful leadership, 135 Quantum physics, 90 Queen of Versailles (movie), 47 Radical municipal activism, 116 Re-emergence of commons alter-globalization, global justice movements, and commons, 27–28 commons in subsistence economies, 19 commons-based peer production, 23–25

210   Index groups formed to support expansion of commons, 28–29 “inherently public property” and common pool resources, 16–19 international support for commons, 27 internet as commons, 21–22 knowledge and information commons, 22 new commons and transformative power of commons, 23 other commons emerge as part of “new commons”, 25 proliferation of contemporary interest in commons, 19–21 tragedy of commons, 15–16 urban commons, 26 Relational ontology, 116 Relational ontology, emergence of, 48 Religious traditions, 171 Remix Commons, 29 Res communes, 4 Resistance to enclosure, 10 Resonance, 81 Resonating self-and-society, 66–67, 80–82 Rhizomatic movements, 110 Rifkin, Jeremy, 5–7, 38, 41, 45, 51–52, 89, 91–93, 98, 104–105, 108, 113–114, 124, 166, 176, 186 Rio Declaration, 20 Robotics, 96 revolutions, 89 “Sane leadership”, 156 Scharmer, Otto, 49, 156, 169, 170, 183, 187 Second enclosure movement battle against enclosure, 41 commodities consensus, 35 contemporary new enclosures, 31–32 digital divide, 40–41

enclosure in agricultural sector, 34–35 enclosure of knowledge commons, 35–37 enclosure of water, 32–34 ethical arguments against enclosure, 39–40 foreclosure of future, 38 globalization and expansion of intellectual property rights, 37–38 increasing enclosure of internet, 40 neoliberalism and enclosure of public property and commons, 38 rise of anticommons, 37 Second Law of Thermodynamics, 90 Seed-sharing commons, 35 Self-governance, 70 Self-governing commons, 69 Self-leadership, 172 Self-organizing commons, 69 Self-organizing systems, 48–49 Self-protagonizing, 66–67, 74–80 Self-provisioning, 76, 172 Senge, Peter, 49, 155–156, 161–162, 170 Sensorica, 25 Shared natural resources, 15 management, 16 Sharing, 70 Sharing economy, 51–52 Shiva, Vandana, 33–35 Social action theory, 88 Social capital, 144 Social crisis, 57–59, 109 Social fabric, 124 Social imaginary, 97–98, 108–111, 181 Social intelligence, 173 Social justice, 83 Social movements, 123–124, 131 Social revolution, 115 Social structuring, 163–164 Social transformation, 120, 187 Social-Ecological Systems Framework (SES), 17, 19, 28, 141

Index    211 Socialism, 123 Societal evolution, 183 Society, 4, 166 Socio-economic evolution, 91 Socio-economic order, 89 Socio-economic system, 97 Socio-economic transition, 114 Sociocracy, 142 leadership with, 157–158 Spirituality, 173 State, 4 Stigmergy, 25 Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs), 28, 56 Structuring interactions, 163–164 Subjectivities, 185 Subsistence economies, commons in, 19 Supplanting a paradigm, 66–74 Survival, 52–54 Sustainability, 18, 67, 143 Sustainable capitalism, 135 Sustainable energy, 91 System leadership, 155–156 System theory, 90 System-level adaptive leadership, 155 Systems theory, 49, 142 “Take the Square Movement”, 52 Technology, 107, 152, 154 Terra nullius, 14 Terrestrials, 105 Theoretical codes, 65–66

Third Industrial Revolution, 52 communication/energy matrix, 92 “Thought leaders”, 150 3D maker movement, 92 3D printers, 91n1, 176 “Three E’s plus one” criteria, 20–21 Traditional positional leaders, 151 Tragedy of the Commons, 15–16 Transformational leadership, 156 Transformative power of commons, 23 Transforming, 67 Transparency, 86 Trust, 86, 175 Turbary, 6 United Nations (UN), 27 Urban commons, 26 Urban initiatives, 26–27 Ushering in new global order, 183–188 Usufruct, 5 Venturum, 168 Visionaries, 148 Visionary leader, 161 Water enclosure, 32–34 Water security, 34 We-ing, 75, 172 Wheatley, Margaret, 48, 57, 90–91, 98, 105, 127–128, 137, 157, 161 Winstanley, Gerrard, 11 World Bank, 28, 32–34, 56–57 World Social Forum, 27, 41