From "Common Goods" to "the Common Good of Humanity"

Venue: Centro Congressi Frentani - Via dei Frentani, 4, 00185 Roma
Languages: English and Italian

Organisation: RLF Brussels in cooperation with Altramente – Scuola per tutti, Transform Italia and CETRI
Contact: Edoardo Boggio Marzet, Tel. +32-2-7387663

In recent years, an increasingly number of struggles in defense of common goods has emerged all over the world, mostly led by social movements and progressive political forces (governments/political parties). The defense of common goods is a very complex and varied issue that has gradually gained importance in the political agenda of both developing and developed countries.

The seminar aims at fostering discussion among experts, scholars and politicians over the theoretical and political dimension of common goods and on current international struggles, facilitating the exchange of experiences and information and contributing to the elaboration of alternative strategies. A thematic public section will be dealing with the upcoming Italian referendum against water privatization, highlighting the leading role of social movements as promoters of this referendum, its political dimension and future perspectives in Italy. A further level of analysis will explore new opportunities for mass mobilisation presented with the European citizens’ initiative and its concrete implementation.

The Common Good of Humanity

The defence of “commons” is essential today, because of the prevailing neoliberal trend aiming at privatizing all public services in order to promote capital accumulation. However, the current challenges to the planet and to humankind reached such a critical stage (the multiple crisis) that new paradigms to the fundamentals of collective life of humankind on the earth must identified in: (1) the relations between human beings and nature (from exploitation to respect as source of life), (2) the production of the basis for physical, cultural and spiritual life of all human beings in the world (through giving priority to use value on exchange value), (3) the collective organization (through generalization of democracy in all human relations, including gender, and in all institutions) and (4) interculturality. The achievement of the “Common Good of humankind” will concretise by the realisation of these four paradigms in the concrete historical and social circumstances of our time and, at the same time, implies a fundamental anti-systemic struggle and the redefinition of collective goals. Today, the new historical actor is plural: all groups affected by the capitalist logic.

1) A new relation with nature: The destruction of nature through technical aggressions under the leading capitalist logic of accumulation has caused fundamental damages. In this perspective, ecological and social damages are merely considered as externalities. New orientations will challenge private property of natural resource, the mercantilization of goods essential for life and orientate an increased number of collective behaviours and legislations.

2) A new definition of the economy: Against the idea that production of added value absorbed by capital, but fostering activities intended to assure the basis of physical, cultural and spiritual life of all human beings in the world. Working towards a collective control of producers and of consumers and many practical measures in order to avoid speculation and predominance of financial capital.

3) The organization of collective life: Social and political organization must be based on democracy. Not via the usual political field but also through all fields of collective life and behaviors: economic, social, cultural, religious. This means a redefinition of the State, a democratization of the UN, etc. but also a strengthened participation of all as subjects of the social construction.

4) Interculturality: In view of overcoming the identification of development with westernization, all different cultures, knowledge, philosophies, religions must be granted the possibility to contribute to the construction of such paradigms. It is necessary to translate in all the various languages the anti- systemic critics, the new vision and the necessary social ethics

On this basis then historical definition of the Common Good of Humanity can be elaborated, as a coherent theory and a base for the convergence of social and political movements.

Main text:

Houtart: The Common Good of Humanity

Thematic papers:

Bernal: What interculturalism? Experiences Latin America

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Brie: Making the Common Good of Humanity Concrete

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Daiber: Memories of the future

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Delgado Ramos: Common Goods, Socio-ecological Metabolism

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Mestrum: From Common Goods to the Common Good of Humanity

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Musacchio: Acqua, Beni Comuni

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Vandepitte: Remarks on "Redirecting Production"

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Background papers:

Rilling: The Commons, the Public, and the Left

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Brie: A Different Government is Possible

Candeias: Passive Revolutions vs. Socialist Transformation

Herrera: Réflexions sur la crise et ses effets

PDF-Französisch | PDF-Englisch

Paez: Social articipation Processes, New Financial Architecture

Further information:

>> Concept of Commons conference
>> Conference programme