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Accepted Contribution:

Reflections on Ikarian commons  
Frosini Koutsouti (Documentation Research and Action Center of Ikaria)

Contribution short abstract:

This is a reflection on the commons of the Greek island of Ikaria. I will look at land, water and mountains - the first "casualties" of neoliberal green policies. I will also discuss the consequences of enclosures for the fabric of Ikarian culture and explore avenues of resistance for local society.

Contribution long abstract:

This paper reflects on the commons of Ikaria. As commons are becoming the "casualties" to this never-ending series of privatizations, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be an objective witness to processes of uncommoning of our mountain, its water sources and forests. Commons have supported our lives and are attached to our cultural memories.

Ikarian commons have not survived to the present day intact. The waning of agricultural production, the opening of rural roads, that have intersected footpaths and have redirected water sources and disrupted grazing land, EU subsidies, which have given the incentive for the increase of the population of goats, and the abandonment of the rotation system between winter and summer grazing land, have contributed to the gradual dismantling of the island's commons and to its ecological degradation.

But commons have never been static nor have been lifeless "things". Quite the opposite; they breathe, nurture and inspire human presence. They are embedded in space, time and memories. Through land we own, we recognize ancestral lines and our relations to each other. The mountain above our villages is recognized as community land that has to be left alone ensuring clean water supplies. And we still celebrate our community ties, our civic commons and our intergenerational knowledge in our annual feasts.

Drawing from Bareli's dissertation on Ikarian commoning and my experiences from community struggles, this paper asks; can we construct a network that transcends borders and instructs and teaches effective measures? Can art be a powerful avenue of resistance?

Roundtable RT07
Methodologies of the commons toward/in green transitions: Uncommoning, knowledge commons and social justice
  Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -