Commoning in a Pandemic

Commoning in a Pandemic

~ by Marina Sitrin ~

This piece explores the new networks of mutual aid, solidarity and care that have emerged around the world in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Describing them, often using the voices of those organizing on the ground, illustrates that within these day-to-day relationships of care we see not so much social movements as traditionally understood, where one organizes a party or union with the goal of having particular demands met by those in formal positions of power, or seeks the seizure of the state, but rather societies in movement, within which are the seeds of a new society. This phenomenon of looking to one another, commoning and protecting and/or seeking commons, goes back through human history. The experiences explored here are grounded in the past twenty years, as there has been a massive increase in the number of groupings and societies/communities, organizing in this way, and that the diversity of the those engaged in the practices is so diverse as to represent a marker of a new historical moment. Horizontal, autonomous, and affective (care and trust based) forms of organizing, which has been striving to prefigure a new society in the shell of the old, are increasingly taking precedence over the more traditional forms of state seeking and demanding, and while not overshadowing the former ways of organizing, the experience is so widespread, it should be taken together. The recent mutual aid and solidarity networks and groups that have emerged in the wake of the COVID 19 Pandemic are yet another part of this wave of commoning and prefiguration. (Please read the earlier pieces by both Massimo De Angelis and Stavros Stavrides in The Commoner for more background on commons, commoning and commoners.)

Commoning in a pandemic

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For more first hand descriptions of mutual aid practices – and commoning in a pandemic – from around the world, please go to: and if you would like a copy of the book, please write to the link on that page and we will get one to you!