Occupy Habitat?

Occupy Habitat?

Reviving the Occupy Movement, Climate Change & the Commons

By Heather Menzies (author of Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good)

Heather Menzies speaks at Occupy Ottawa

Heather Menzies speaks about the White Poppy movement at Occupy Ottawa in November 2011.

Oxfam’s recent report, Working for the Few, on one per cent of the world’s population controlling most of the world’s economic power got me thinking about the relevance of the Occupy Movement, and why perhaps now would be a time to revive it.

The movement served notice on the moral danger of such deep inequalities: when even the hope of common-good consensus collapses into a them-versus-us divide. But equally, the occupiers brought the issue down to earth. One of the little-discussed truths about the escalating concentration of wealth and power is how ephemeral it is. It’s centred in the information systems running the post-industrial phase of the global market economy. It’s in the trillions of dollars and related influence vested in stocks, bonds, loans, mortgages, derivatives and other largely unregulated financial instruments. Quite apart from how insulated the wealthy can be, there’s the fact that the power they wield, relentlessly, 24-7, is through symbols on a screen, far removed from the impact those symbols have in real life, on the ground.

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Heather`s New Book: Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good

Book cover: Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good

“Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good is an admirable, even noble, vision, and expresses very eloquently what will have to be done if humanity is to escape the current race towards disaster. There’s more than a little irony in the fact that it is the indigenous people all over the world who are at the forefront of the struggle to rescue us from the fate that the most technologically advanced societies are creating, day by day. There’s not much time, and it’s a huge task. I hope what this book has the impact it deserves.”
— Noam Chomsky

“Globalization of the corporate mandate — maximize growth and profit — has been incredibly destructive of the social and ecological fabric that are the keys to sustainability. When the great Crash, ecologic or economic, comes, Heather Menzies’ brilliant critique, Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good, provides an understanding of why it came about and a path towards a truly sustainable way for humanity to live on the planet.” — David Suzuki

Commoning was a way of life for most of our ancestors. In Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good, author Heather Menzies journeys to her roots in the Scottish Highlands, where her family lived in direct relation with the land since before recorded time.

Beginning with an intimate account of unearthing the heritage of the commons and the real tragedy of its loss, Menzies offers a detailed description of the self-organizing, self-governing and self-informing principles of this nearly forgotten way of life, including its spiritual practices and traditions. She then identifies pivotal commons practices that could be usefully revived today. A final ‘manifesto’ section pulls these facets together into a unified vision for reclaiming the commons, drawing a number of current popular initiatives into the commons and commoning frame – such as local food security, permaculture and the Occupy Movement.

An engaging memoir of personal and political discovery, Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good combines moving reflections on our common heritage with a contemporary call to action, individually and collectively, locally and globally. Readers will be inspired by the book’s vision of reviving the commons ethos of empathy and mutual respect, and energized by her practical suggestions for connecting people and place for the common good.

Order your copy from New Society Publishers today!