Joss Winn reminds me that Karl Marx’s Inaugural Address of the International Working Men’s Association, “The First International” in late October 1864, included the following statement about the political importance of collective work, association and combination, as a bulwark against the economic and political power of Capital.
One element of success they [Labour] possess — numbers; but numbers weigh in the balance only if united by combination and led by knowledge. Past experience has shown how disregard of that bond of brotherhood which ought to exist between the workmen of different countries, and incite them to stand firmly by each other in all their struggles for emancipation, will be chastised by the common discomfiture of their incoherent efforts.
I think about this in academia today because Joss is running his final WordPress workshop (related to the Lincoln University Academic Commons). The Lincoln Commons, alongside the work of ds106 and collective work at University of British Columbia was the inspiration for the DMU Academic Commons, which is rooted in collective organising principles, in terms of its decision-making and production/consumption/distribution.
[The DMU Commons is] open, and will encourage generosity, respect, tolerance and sharing. Our DMU Commons will enable permeability and fluidity in collaboration, supporting autonomy in our shared production of DMU as a University committed to engaging with useful social reproduction. Our Commons will help shape DMU as a “knowing University”, where thinking is shared in public, in order to enable society/communities to solve problems, develop alternatives and innovate.
I have discussed the idea of the academic Commons under this tag, although I have been more specific about it, in terms of:
- educational solidarity;
- open co-operativism;
- pedagogical moments;
- the general intellect and the co-operative university;
- higher education policy, and “they all must go!”;
- associational democracy; and
- history, power and the internet.
There are examples of student-led, staff-led, public/University spaces, curriculum, journal/publishing, and project sites on the DMU Commons, here.
Current blog-posts and updates are accessible from our aggregator, here.
These developments owe much to the work of Joss Winn and at DMU, Owen Williams.
This earth was made a common treasury/For everyone to share/All things in common.
Bragg, B. 1985. The World Turned Upside Down.