Plan C for Advancing the Commons Transition in Greece
Plan A is the name for the capitulation towards the demands of the creditors, now the most realistic possibility; plan B is the grexit which offers Greece an independent path within the same economic logic, but with basic sovereign powers to protect and advance their own interests; plan C stands for a Commons Transition, which can take place either under conditions laid out by Plan A or Plan B, but which could become the main strategy under conditions of a revival of popular power and democracy.
* For general background on the concept of Commons Transition
- The Commons Transition Plan, crafted for the FLOK Society project in Ecuador, with a better designed eBook version at Commons Transition.
- A very short summary of that transition logic is here and here
- An evaluation of the limitations of the FLOK project, which did not include a mandate for physical commons infrastructures
- The integrative full-spectrum approach of the Center for Planetary Culture is also recommended. See their Rapid Transition Strategy
* Plan C references for Greece:
By Theodoros Karyotis On July 13, 2015 :
Now is the moment for a broad alliance of social forces to bring forward a ‘Plan C’, based on social collaboration, decentralized self-government and the stewardship of common goods. Without overlooking its significance, national electoral politics is not the privileged field of action when it comes to social transformation. The withering away of democracy in Europe should be complemented and challenged by the fortification of self-organized communities at a local level and the forging of strong bonds between them, along with a turn to a solidarity- and needs-based economy, and the collective management and defense of common goods.
- We must rely on explanding and organizing the solidarity initiatives. By Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch. 
The point we are getting at is that framing the issue in terms of an exhausted Plan A (negotiating with Europe) and a rejection of the euro (Plan B) is too limited a way to frame the dilemmas confronting Syriza. What the deeper preparation for leaving the eurozone and possibly also the EU, actually entails is to build on the solidarity networks that have developed in society to cope with the crisis as the basis for starting to transform social relations within Greece. That is the real plan B, the terrain on which both Syriza and the social movements might re-invigorate now. What, more concretely, might this mean?
The recent years of struggle have developed the famous grassroots solidarity movement that began — as all organizing must — by addressing the needs of people. Out of this grew the some 400 solidarity groups all across Greece addressing basic community needs through self-organized democratically run collectives which provide support for people’s health, food, housing and other needs. Syriza members were among those deeply involved in establishing and maintaining the solidarity networks and its MPs elected in 2012 contributed 20 per cent of their salaries to them. But since the Syriza government was elected this year it has done very little to change and use the state so as to sustain and broaden this remarkable movement.
A very very preliminary first draft at this stage, but this document will improve every day.
A suggesting has been to organize this around David Harvey’s seven sphere’s of activity, see the entry on his [[Co-Revolutionary Theory]
Building up alternative democratic power and self-organization
- I propose that in order to get started with the “Plan C”, we should focus initially on getting concrete projects underway. Each of these “Commons Projects” should have an initiator or group of initiators in Greece, and some specific objective of seeking to solve a particular problem or group of problems. For the purpose of discussing such projects (including in regard to figuring out what projects are needed and how to get them started), I have set up a Commons Projects for Greece Network with a discussion mailing list. — Norbert Bollow.
- create Commons Transition Circles for every town and region to be the advocates and agents of commons creation ; create a Coalition of Commons Transition Circles to share and coordinate activities; members of these circles support the creation of the initiatives listed below.
- create Assemblies of the Commons for every town and region, and per social domain of activity to unite the citizens with commons concerns ; create a Coalition of the Assemblies of the Commons to share and coordinate activities
- create Chambers of the Commons, bound by social charters, for every town and region and for economic domains of activity; members are all entrepreneurial and productive entities responsible for the livelihood of the commoners ; create a Coalition of the Chambers of the Commons to share and coordinate activities
- create Mutual Aid Networks in every town and region to assist citizens in their access to basic resources
- create a Association for the Advancement of the Commons Transition to coordinate policy proposals to be carried out by civic or public service entities in support of the transition
- create a ‘facilitation skills’ and ‘self-management learning center’ to support even non-commons organizations of all sorts to move to self-management inspired by the experiences described for example in the book, Reinventing Organizations
- Towards a new reconfiguration among the state, civil society and the market. Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Kostakis.
“The primary challenges to the transfer of state property to a commons structure owned and operated by local communities are the following:
- The legislative framework in Greece has no provisions for the kinds of legal structures that would facilitate the kind of commoning/co-operative structures required to support such a system;
- There is little to no understanding among most of the the populace or the local governmental institutions about the theory and practice of commons resource management;
- The transfer of state assets to local control would open the gate to further manipulation of the process by corrupt local officials, organizations, and private business interests. This could end up being catastrophic for the management and protection of these resources.
Any such process requires the passage of appropriate legislation, intensive popular education and training on the meaning and management of commons ownership and management, and the reform of local governmental structures so as to minimize the opportunity for corruption and the seizure of state and public assets.
All this takes time, programming, a committed public policy, and a team of people deployed to research, design, and implement such a transition.”
My first inclination today is that the focus needs to be on constructing commons, immaterial and material, everywhere we can, and to create vehicles so that this allows the creation of livelihoods and the self-reproduction of the commoners. While the struggle between labor and capital remains a reality as long as the current political economy dominates, I think personally that all struggles that focus on bringing more labor into subordinate working relations in view of redistribution, are no longer operative, and that we must focus on counter-economic networks, with decommodified cooperative labor co-constructing commons. This means, as first suggested by Pat Conaty on this list, to create a in-between between the commons and capital, i.e. to focus on cooperative accumulation. But that cooperative accumulation can no longer be merely a coop that competes on the capitalist marketplace, but a coop that co-produces commons, and works with non-capitalist capital in a non-capitalist market. This means concretely working on the creation of entrepreneurial coalitions that are co-dependent and organized around the commons that they are co-creating.
Concretely, at the territorial level, this looks like what Stephanie Rearick is doing in Madison with the Mutual Aid Network, or what Marion Rousseaux is trying to do in Lille with Encommuns.org , i.e. create interlocking value chains for the cooperative commonwealth, at the local or the translocal level.
At the more ‘trans-national’ level, this means a direct focus on the creation of phyles, i.e. ethical, ‘generative’ business networks that sustain a community and its commons. This means projects like lasindias.net, enspiral, ethos, and others.
- create an independent national currency, citizen-based if need be
- create a national B2B currency (Swiss bank) for use as B2B reserve currency
- create a network of local and regional currencies
- create a national public bank, citizen-based if needed
- create a solidarity economy bank
- create a ‘self-management learning center’ to support even non-commons organizations of all sorts moving towards self-management structures and processes, inspired by the spirit of Reinventing Organizations
- the very realistic proposals of Ellen Brown: Grexit or Jubilee? How Greek Debt Can Be Annulled
- Mike Gismondi recommends: The Future of Money by Mary Mellor, Pluto Press 2015. Mary’s next book is Debt or Democracy: Public Money for Sustainability and Justice and will be published by Pluto Press in a few months time.
- generalize a framework for independent renewable energy production
- generalize a framework for direct food production and consumption
- green the countryside
- democratize access to affordable housing by systemizing the creation of Community Land Trusts and similar solutions
- create local/regional incubators for the solidarity economy
- reclaim abandoned/underutilized places in cities by establishing collaboration spaces, such as microfactories, to enable the production of small-scale social innovation outcomes and enhance citizen participation in decision-making processes
- create a network of productive workshops for every locality/region and for every domain of economic activity
- create a network of solidarity economy incubators in every town and region
- create a network of support for the SME economy
- create a network of provisioning councils at local, regional and national levels to insure a flow of basic resources to all citizens
- create and support the creation of knowledge commons for every area of human activity
- link thematic incubators for the solidarity and SME economy to each of these shared knowledge commons
- Transforming the productive base of the economy through the open design commons and distributed manufacturing; by George Dafermos
- the importance of including Land reform 
- Create local P2P energy infrastructures, consisting of P2P microgrids and P2P energy grids
- Develop open-hardware solutions for cost-effective, sustainable energy production infrastructures
- Establish a commons oriented energy regime, conforming to P2P infrastructures
- Transforming the energy matrix: Transition policies for the development of the distributed energy model. George Dafermos et al.
- A peer-to-peer approach to energy production. P2P Lab.
- General Principles for Policy Making for Distributed Energy
Cases / Examples
- Commons Approach to EU knowledge policy, http://commonsnetwork.eu/a-commons-approach-to-european-knowledge-policy/
- A short essay by Michel Bauwens & Vasilis Kostakis on a new reconfiguration among the state, civil society and the market.
Plan C originally published at P2P Foundation. It will be constantly updated.