I found the text very interesting. I lived in Belgium for a while and so I read the text in the original dutch and it was interesting to read about the Commons and the general idea of the concept along side my experience and memories of Belgian culture and social structure.
I have seen similar ideas appearing and gaining traction for example with the self sustainable communities, permaculture groups and even in the democratic schools. In Brazil, at least, we see these examples in many places but I believe its a tendency all around the world, as we have the wwoof.net site and other initiatives.
The democratic schools are just like this, they build a structure of rules together with parents, teachers and students. Any problem, idea or suggestion are discussed in assembly. Some of these schools apply the "Democratic" part literally and reproduce outside society. The students elect a mayor or a president and their representatives in the school. The children take responsibility and deal with planning, conflicts and different ways to make things work in a better way. But others are more flexible. They have the assembly structure and the collective approach to problem solving but not necessarily the formal roles.
I believe that the marjory of commons have arisen today because they are looking for a new way to build a different world. One that has in it more equality and is a fairer society, using things like crowndfounding to organize themselves. But also it got me thinking about a different example of the commons from history, one which today is partly sustained buy the government because of past injustices. Goiás (the state in Brazil where I live) is home to the biggest Quilombo** community in the country. They fought for their freedom and hid themselves in places of difficult access, such as in the mountains to escape the brutality of slavery. These communities where a kind of common and today still work in similar ways, although now they have support from the government (this is always tenuous, but now even more so due to one of the leading presidential candidates promising that if he wins he will strip away their rights to the land they occupy and their self determination). There, they elect their own community representatives, including a president, and decide collectively how resources, infrastructure and their rights will be manage. They have some jurisdiction over their own territory with some finical and infrastructure support from the federal government.
The basis for these communities and the more recent commons phenomenon is that they are trying to build a new world where people respect each other more and create new rules together to live by. Its funny, but I went to a meeting this week around the same time I started to read this text and I realised that it was like a illustration of what the director of the school was trying to say. She started a school based on "natural learning", a method that was made famous by a school in Ecuador. Basically the facilitator (there are no teachers) is not aloud to interfere in anything or to propose activities to the children, unless the children propose it themselves or ask directly about something. The director, however, is trying to build something beyond the school and to create a kind of "life style" based on creating collectively and on exchange. For example labor and knowhow can be exchanged for a place to stay and meals. But in my opinion this method has limites. We still live in a capitalist society and you will need money at some point to buy necessities or even health care and so on.
I think the ideas o the commons is a beautiful initiative and I want to live in a world where it is possible to collectively create our own rules and have some self determination. I think there are still many obstacles to achieve this however and we need to overcome these in order to create it.
** The Quilombos are communities composed of run away slaves who fled from the plantations and mines during the colonial period in Brazil. The Quilombos exited ever since the first African slaves were brought here but they exploded in number between the 18th and 19th centuries. Many communities where organised in similar ways to the traditional methods in Africa.
There was a division of tasks and everyone worked. A leader usually commanded the Quilombo. They lived mainly from subsistence agriculture and fishing. They could practise their cultural and religious traditions freely this way and much of these traditions and rituals survive to this day because of their resistance.