David Bollier is an author, activist, blogger and independent scholar who writes about the commons as a new paradigm of economics, politics and culture. He is co-founder of the Commons Strategies Group, a consulting project that assists the international commons movement; and co-director of the Commons Law Project, which is seeking to regenerate the legal traditions for protecting the commons. Bollier is also Editor at the Institute for Data-Driven Design, ID3, a Boston-based research nonprofit that is helping design new digital institutions to let people assert greater control over their data, online identities and authentication.
Bollier in 2001 co-founded Public Knowledge, a Washington advocacy organization for the public's stake in the Internet, telecom and copyright policy. From 1985 to 2010, Bollier collaborated with television producer/writer Norman Lear in a variety of non-television related public affairs and political projects. He has been a Senior Fellow at the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism since 2002.
Silke Helfrich (Jena, Germany) has studied romance languages and pedagogy at the Karl-Marx-University in Leipzig. Since mid of the 1990s activities in the field of development politics, from 1996 to 1998 head of Heinrich Böll Foundation Thuringia and from 1999 to 2007 head of the regional office of Heinrich Böll Foundation in San Salvador and Mexico City for Mexico/Central America/Cuba, focusing on globalisation, gender and human rights.
Since 2007 she works as independent author, activist and scholar, with a variety of international and domestic partners. Helfrich is the editor and co-author of several books on the Commons, among them: Who Owns the World? The Rediscovery of the Commons, Munich 2009 (in Spanish: Genes, Bytes y Emisiones. Bienes Comunes y Ciudadania, Mexico-City 2008), editor of Elinor Ostrom: Was mehr wird, wenn wir teilen, Munich 2011. With Heinrich-Böll-Foundation: Commons. Für eine neue Politik jenseits von Markt und Staat, Bielefeld 2012 (together with David Bollier: The Wealth of the Commons beyond Market and State, Amherst/MA, 2012) and most recently with David Bollier and Heinrich-Böll-Foundation: Die Welt der Commons. Muster Gemeinsamen Handelns, 2015 (engl: The Patterns of Commoning, Amherst/MA). She is cofounder of Commons Strategies Group and the Commons-Institut e.V. and the primary author of the German speaking CommonsBlog."
From co-housing and agroecology to fisheries and open-source everything, people around the world are increasingly turning to 'commoning' to emancipate themselves from a predatory market-state system.
Free, Fair, and Alive presents a foundational re-thinking of the commons — the self-organized social system that humans have used for millennia to meet their needs. It offers a compelling vision of a future beyond the dead-end binary of capitalism versus socialism that has almost brought the world to its knees.
Written by two leading commons activists of our time, this guide is a penetrating cultural critique, table-pounding political treatise, and practical playbook. Highly readable and full of colorful stories, coverage includes:Internal dynamics of commoning How the commons worldview opens up new possibilities for change Role of language in reorienting our perceptions and political strategies Seeing the potential of commoning everywhere.
Free, Fair, and Alive provides a fresh, non-academic synthesis of contemporary commons written for a popular, activist-minded audience. It presents a compelling narrative: that we can be free and creative people, govern ourselves through fair and accountable institutions, and experience the aliveness of authentic human presence.
David Bollier is the Director of Reinventing the Commons Program at the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, co-founder of the Commons Strategies Group, and author of Think Like a Commoner. He blogs at Bollier.org and lives in Amherst, MA. Silke Helfrich is an independent activist, author, scholar, and speaker. She co-founded the Commons Strategies Group and Commons-Institut in Germany, blogs in German at commons.blog, and lives in Neudenau, Germany.