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Paperback – 448 pages
6 Inches × 9 Inches (w × h)

Weight: 662.26 Grams
BISAC: POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Economy
Publisher: New Society Publishers
ISBN: 9780865719217
Pub. Date: 2019-09-03

About the Authors

David Bollier

David Bollier is an activist, scholar, and blogger who is focused on the commons as a new/old paradigm for re-imagining economics, politics, and culture. He pursues his commons scholarship and activism as Director of the Reinventing the Commons Program at the Schumacher Center for a New Economics and as cofounder of the Commons Strategies Group, an international advocacy project. Author of Think Like a Commoner and other books, he blogs at www.Bollier.org, and lives in Amherst, MA.

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Silke Helfrich

Silke Helfrich is an independent activist, author, scholar, and speaker. She cofounded the Commons Strategies Group and Commons-Institute, was former head of the regional office of Heinrich Böll Foundation for Central America, Cuba, and Mexico, and holds degrees in Romance languages/pedagogy and in social sciences. Helfrich is the editor and co-author of several books on the Commons, and she blogs at www.commons.blog. She lives in Neudenau, Germany.

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Free, Fair, and Alive

The Insurgent Power of the Commons

by David Bollier & Silke Helfrich



From co-housing and agroecology to fisheries and open-source everything, people are increasingly using "commoning" to emancipate themselves from a predatory market-state system.

Free, Fair, and Alive presents a foundational re-thinking of the commons — the self-organized social system that humans have used for millennia to meet their needs. It offers a compelling vision of a future beyond the dead-end binary of capitalism versus socialism that has almost brought the world to its knees.

Written by two leading commons activists of our time, this guide is a penetrating cultural critique, table-pounding political treatise, and practical playbook. Highly readable and full of colorful stories, coverage includes:

  • Internal dynamics of commoning
  • How the commons worldview opens up new possibilities for change
  • Role of language in reorienting our perceptions and political strategies
  • Seeing the potential of commoning everywhere.

Free, Fair, and Alive provides a fresh, non-academic synthesis of contemporary commons written for a popular, activist-minded audience. It presents a compelling narrative: that we can be free and creative people, govern ourselves through fair and accountable institutions, and experience the aliveness of authentic human presence.

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