[P2P-F] [global social commons discussion] NEW e-BOOK: From Social Protection to Social Commons - www.socialcommons.eu - Eng-Fr-Dutch-Esp

Michel Bauwens michel at p2pfoundation.net
Fri Dec 25 08:35:22 CET 2015

On Thu, Dec 24, 2015 at 4:42 PM, Pat Conaty <
pat.commonfutures at phonecoop.coop> wrote:

> 2016. Orsan at Networked Labour has been very helpful and encouraging.
> All the best
> Pat
> On 24 Dec 2015, at 04:41, Michel Bauwens <michel at p2pfoundation.net> wrote:
> I would challenge the generic quality of just positing social commons
> without actually working out what it means,
> they may be unpredictable in its fullness but one should not disregard the
> seed forms that can be seen in the "commonfare" being developed by
> precarious workers today,
> see http://p2pfoundation.net/Category:P2P_Solidarity for different
> examples of such activities,
> in particular, the french-language report by saw-b on 'labor mutuals' is
> very revealing, and Pat Conaty is preparing a full english report on the
> topic
> Michel
> On Thu, Dec 24, 2015 at 8:39 AM, Kevin Flanagan <kev.flanagan at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>> From: Francine Mestrum <mestrum at skynet.be>
>> Date: 6 October 2015 at 10:33
>> Subject: [global social commons discussion] NEW e-BOOK: From Social
>> Protection to Social Commons - www.socialcommons.eu - Eng-Fr-Dutch-Esp
>> To: globalsocialcommons-discussion at lists.openfsm.net
>> From social protection to the social commons
>> Social protection is high on the international political agenda to-day.
>> In 2012 the International Labour Organisation adopted a recommendation on
>> ‘social protection floors’. One could think this is a minimalist agenda,
>> but if all people all over the world had their rights respected, this would
>> be a tremendous social progress. Social protection is indeed a human right,
>> mentioned in the Universal Declaration on human rights and in the
>> International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
>> Nevertheless, more ambition is called for. I would like to go beyond ‘the
>> floors’ and propose a programme for a ‘social common’, for the North as
>> well as for the South. Why?
>> It is clear that when you start talking about social protection to young
>> people, many do not pay attention. Social protection! Something of the
>> past! Give me a job first, and do not bother me with things I do not need.
>> And indeed, many young, healthy people do not need social protection right
>> away, they do not need the solidarity of the rest of society, unless…, yes,
>> unless they have a car or a labour accident, unless they are suddenly ill,
>> unless they think about their future… Just imagine you have to pay out of
>> your own pocket your stay in the hospital, or the books and the uniform for
>> your kid that goes to school, or just imagine you barely earn enough to
>> live and survive without being able to save anything for your old age.
>> But it remains a challenge to present this protection system to young
>> people in an attractive way, to explain what solidarity means, while most
>> of the time they do want indeed to show solidarity but do not think of
>> social protection in this way. It can help, then, to speak about ‘commons’,
>> since this is something they know and support. Because yes, they do want to
>> be responsible for their lives and the lives of other, they do want
>> concrete solidarity instead of an abstract system they do not really
>> understand.
>> And of course, it would not be fair to present a system of ‘social
>> commons’ without really changing the existing systems of social protection.
>> In Western Europe, social protection systems are fifty or one hundred years
>> old and they do not answer all today’s needs anymore. Society has changed
>> and the economy has changed. This means that our social protection also has
>> to change. It is no coincidence that some refer to it as being a
>> ‘cathedral’ or ‘the biggest revolution of the 20th century’. It was an
>> enormous achievement, but it is not fit for our times anymore, some
>> barriers to economic and social rights have to be lifted. We should make a
>> more coherent system. Citizens’ participation and contributions to these
>> changes are crucial. That is why a concept of ‘social commons’ could be
>> useful, a new name for a new and better system that offers more protection
>> to more people.
>> It is a fact that most people do not consider social protection to be
>> theirs. They see it as a government programme, or something of the trade
>> unions or some abstract and absent administration far away in the capital.
>> While most of us pay into the system, through our wages and through our
>> taxes. Social protection is ours and no one else’s. That is why a new
>> concept of ‘social commons’ is more than welcome.
>> These are three important reasons to *shift from social protection to
>> social commons*. Add to this the fact that the existing social
>> protection systems are currently threatened and are changing at any rate.
>> It is changing because even in Western Europe there are austerity policies
>> with cuts in social benefits and even social rights. These are neoliberal
>> reforms that make people more vulnerable. But social protection is also
>> threatened by the negotiations on free trade agreements that may liberalise
>> the trade in services and expose them to international competition.
>> Moreover, social protection is threatened by the advocates of the basic
>> income grants, an individualistic and liberal solution that cannot co-exist
>> with social protection. It would profoundly change the labour market and
>> would seriously threaten our desire for more equality.
>> What do ‘social commons’ mean?
>> It is difficult to say what the social commons of the future will look
>> like, since societies will have to shape them. It seems obvious to me that
>> certain basic principles of our current social protection will have to be
>> preserved, such as the respect for universal human rights, the non
>> commoditization of social services, the horizontal solidarity of all with
>> all. How and to what extent these principles have to be safeguarded will
>> have to be decided on by societies.
>> It would at any rate allow for people to be directly involved in the
>> design and the monitoring of our social systems. People have to be aware
>> that it is about their rights and that a democratic and participative
>> approach is necessary. It has now become unacceptable that governments and
>> parliaments decide, without even consulting the people. Societies have to
>> examine what they want and what they do not want.
>> Secondly, this democratic and participative co-decision making can help
>> to preserve society itself. Neoliberalism leads to the atomisation of
>> society, which, in the long term, threatens society and threatens
>> solidarity.
>> Thirdly, a discussion on social rights can possibly help to extend and
>> broaden the rights. We all need protection, throughout our lives, and a
>> serious re-examination of our social protection systems can help to make
>> them more complete and more coherent. It is now not acceptable anymore to
>> have everything depend on your labour market status. And is it not urgent
>> to also include a couple of environmental rights, such as the right to
>> water?
>> Once one starts to reflect on these questions, it is easy to see that our
>> economic system as well will have to change in order to protect the whole
>> of society. Much has already been written on the new knowledge-economy that
>> will create another type of labour market. And it is clear that an economic
>> system that is driven only by profit-making, externalizing care and nature,
>> can have no future. In other words, a social protection system alone
>> certainly will not be able to change the economic system, but it can
>> contribute to more serious reflections and to some first changes.
>> Rethinking our economic system in a democratic way will most probably
>> lead to the obvious truth that the economy has to be at the service of
>> societies, has to produce goods and services societies need and want. In
>> other words, the economy has to care for people.
>> Which makes a full circle. The economy has to care for people, in the
>> same way as environmental policies have to care for nature and as social
>> policies have to care for people and for all of us. Care can become the
>> central concept, care for people, for societies and for nature. Social
>> commons, then, care for the sustainability of life.
>> What these social commons will look like is unpredictable. It will depend
>> on the power relations within society and on the democratic content of all
>> rethinking. But it seems clear to me one will have to talk of the
>> (un)conditionality of social benefits, of the individualisation of rights,
>> of the length of working hours, of contributions and of taxes…
>> What I want to make clear with this book is that social protection in no
>> way is an instrument of capitalism, it is not a correction mechanism.
>> Social protection can be a tool for systemic change, in a positive sense,
>> caring for life.
>> The social commons are a project for the long term, but to start at a
>> moment when our welfare states are threatened and where social protection
>> is at any rate on the international agenda, could be a clever strategic
>> choice. It is something leftwing parties should think about, since what
>> better strategy can one think of to convince people than a promise of more
>> rights and more protection?
>> ‘*The social Commons. Rethinking Social Justice in Post-Neoliberal
>> Societies*’ can be found for free on the website www.socialcommons.eu ,
>> with a synthesis in Dutch, French and Spanish. Since this project is not
>> subsidised and is funded with private means, all donations are very
>> welcome.
>> --
>> Archive: http://openfsm.net/[…]/1450921610083
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>> --
>> https://twitter.com/flgnk
>> Skype: kev.flanagan
>> Phone: +353 87 743 5660
> --
> Check out the Commons Transition Plan here at:
> http://commonstransition.org
> P2P Foundation: http://p2pfoundation.net  - http://blog.p2pfoundation.net
> <http://lists.ourproject.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/p2p-foundation>Updates:
> http://twitter.com/mbauwens; http://www.facebook.com/mbauwens
> #82 on the (En)Rich list: http://enrichlist.org/the-complete-list/
thank you for the update Pat,

in case you missed it, I am looking for suggested updates for my annual
review at http://p2pfoundation.net/Top_Ten_P2P_Trends_of_2015

Check out the Commons Transition Plan here at: http://commonstransition.org

P2P Foundation: http://p2pfoundation.net  - http://blog.p2pfoundation.net

http://twitter.com/mbauwens; http://www.facebook.com/mbauwens

#82 on the (En)Rich list: http://enrichlist.org/the-complete-list/
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