Recently, Commons Network added a new member to our team: Irene Alonso joined us in January as an intern from our office in Berlin. We are very happy to be working with her. In a new series of blogs, she introduces herself, and shares her motivations for becoming a commons activist. Today, we publish the first part.
I am originally from Galicia, a region on the Atlantic coast of Spain, in which agriculture and fishing are the main economic activities. The way people have lived their lives there has had this kind of familiar basis that surrounds everything and creates community. Sometimes you are a bit too controlled, but you will never feel alone.
In 2008, with the start of the economic crisis, things changed in that region, as it did in the entire world. Before that year my mom would pay monthly to the fishmonger, who would keep an open bill for the neighbors. However, after the hit of the crisis, the trust system closed itself. People started to be afraid of the others, the confidence between the community was being destroyed in a turn towards the so-called social individualism. I was just too young at that time to understand what was going on. The only thing I knew was that we were losing one of our most important values as a society, the solidarity.
In 2011, a teenager of 17 years old spends her afternoons after school sitting in a square, talking with people. It was the apogee of the Indignados movement, my first real activist experience, in which I felt again as in my childhood, creating the trust to be able to cooperate, reinforcing the community. There, in one of those multiple assemblies, I learned what was the meaning of the Commons.
The corruption and economic issues in my country, the decrease in the budget for education and health was gathering people to create something by themselves, being pro-active citizens. “Del Pueblo, para el pueblo” as Hahnel would say.
In personal terms, I was struggling with the system I was living in. The capitalism logic disgusted me and I did not see a clear path on what is usually considered as the other side of the coin. What about going back to where I started? That was the network that I had before, where the cooperation and participation of everybody, but especially the solidarity, was our life rhythm. Without noticing, I had already lived in a sort of common good based society. The goal now is proving to the rest that the commons system is the best possible society model.