The Common House is an experiment in building a commons – by which we mean a resource that is organised and structured by our collective activity as a community and not by money or property rights. We always want new groups and people to get involved in running the space. It is only people, together, that can create commons.
In 2013 we got together and collectively rented The Common House because we had a common problem. Most spaces in London cost too much, were not open the hours we needed and we wanted to have food and kids at our meetings. We also wanted a space to have parties in, eat together, watch films, make banners, props and we needed a home for our printing press.
By imagining The Common House as a commons we are able think about how to manage and reproduce the resources that we need. We can imagine these resources not as objects, commodities or things we own – but instead as processes of our activity and labour. The Common House is not just a space to be used or consumed, but is a collective attempt to organise and maintain infrastructure and resources for radical ideas and practices. A commons is different to private space (individually owned) and public space (state maintained). It is maintained by the people who use it. It has members, not consumers.
Commons are not open in the sense that anyone or anything goes. Instead, it allows us to think about how to reproduce what we need within the constraints that we face and to manage resources outside of the regimes of both the state and capital. The commons are a pre-condition for, and an experiment in, building struggles capable of winning and bringing about the world that we want: one that is collectively owned and decided.