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Commons in the political mainstream?

By: 
Brian Davey

The Labour Party in the UK, which has a good chance of taking political power at the next election, has been involved in a process of policy development which involves taking up ideas from the commons movement and is focused around the revival of and protection of commons.

In one week I have now been to three public events commemorating the Charter of the Forest of 1217 – a companion volume to the famous Magna Carta. Whereas the Magna Carta was about political and civil rights, the Charter of the Forest was about economic rights and, most sigificantly, it pre-supposed a commons based economy. At the three events that I attended the main speakers were Peter Linebaugh and Guy Standing who explained the historical significance of the Charter and of the enclosures over many centuries, and started the process of discussion about what a Charter for the Commons in the UK would and could mean today.