Patterns of COMMONING

Patterns of COMMONING

Films and Videos about the Commons

There are hundreds of worthy films and videos dealing with issues related to the commons in one way or another – forestry, finance, water, copyright, and more. However, the number of them that deal directly with the commons as commons are fairly few. Below, some of the more noteworthy productions of the past five years. All films and videos are in English unless otherwise noted.

The Commons

A documentary film about communities all over the world reasserting sustainable, responsible futures using ancient commons principles. The film visits cooperatives, ecovillages, commons lawyers, Occupy activists, Internet commoners, indigenous peoples, community banks and others around the world to explore how commons work for them.

USA, 2016 (forthcoming). Produced and directed by Kevin Hansen.


The Promise of the Commons

A beautifully produced film that focuses on natural resource commons in the global South, with special attention to land grabbing and land rights in India, Nepal, and Mexico.

India/China, 2013. Length, 50 minutes. Produced by Environmental Education Media Project, with the India-based Foundation for Ecological Security. Written by environmental educator John D. Liu and directed by Patrick Augenstein.

50-minute version:

20-minute version:

16-minute version:


Peter Linebaugh: Who Owns the Commons? on The Laura Flanders Show

An interview with historian and author Peter Linebaugh on the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and the significance of that legal document and the struggle behind it today.

USA, 2015. Length, 18 minutes. Produced by GRITtv.


The Commons

A left-libertarian-anarchist perspective on the commons that explains the logic of capitalism and the potential of the commons to meet needs beyond the state and market. The video features a variety of slides and a voiceover narration.

USA, 2013. Produced by Anarchist Collective. Length, 36 minutes.

Script for video narration:


This Land is Our Land: The Fight to Reclaim the Commons

Author and activist David Bollier provides a survey of notable enclosures of the commons, especially in the American context, and the growing international movement to reclaim the commons.

USA 2010. Length, 46 minutes. Directed by Jeremy Earp & Sut Jhally. Written by David Bollier & Jeremy Earp.

Short Videos

Better Not More: Principles and Practices Towards the Next Economy

This video provides an overview of activist movements to decommodify nature, re-imagine the character of work, liberate knowledge and democratize wealth. USA. Length, 5 minutes. Produced by Kontent Film and EDGE Funders Alliance.


Mutiny! Why We Love Pirates and How They Can Save Us

Kester Brewin, a mathematics teacher in South East London, explains what our love of pirates tells us about renewing the commons. The talk draws upon his 2012 book, Mutiny!

UK, 2013. Length, 13 minutes. Produced by TEDx Exeter (UK).


A Commons Conversation

Participants in a workshop hosted by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) and the German Institute for Human Rights provide a thoughtful introduction to subsistence and traditional commons, especially in Africa, with a focus on secure land tenure and food security.

Germany, 2014. Length, 5 minutes. Produced by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies and German Institute for Human Rights.


Remix The Commons

The website for this collaborative multimedia project (see profile on pp. 132-135) features dozens of short video interviews with commoners from around the world, focusing on key ideas and practices.

France/Canada, 2010 – 2015. In English and French.


Commons in Action

A series of short animated videos about a variety of different types of commons.

USA, 2014. Each is less than three minutes. Produced by the International Association for the Study of the Commons. Animations by Viumasters.

  1. Knowledge Commons
  2. A Japanese story
  3. Grupo de Estudios Ambientales’ story
  4. Foundation for Ecological Security story
  5. Grupo Autonómo para la Investigación Ambiental’s story
  6. Open Spaces Society story

All videos are available at

Patterns of Commoning