Intrinsic Commons

A Brief Commons History

The history of the enclosures in England is conventionally coupled with the so called agricultural revolution. Supposedly room for innovation only came when land owners had large amounts of land, for experimentation with some and enough to make up for any losses. However, other historians dispute that rotation of cultivation, grazing periods for recovery & sewing new seeds were all pre-enclosure innovations.

Still more historians dispute that open-field & commons approaches left many folks in poverty in some parts of England where enclosure remained illegal. The last point being important only because it points to multiple layers of top down institutions of brutal extraction in these periods of English society beyond enclosure alone. Matrilineal Celtic societies, were the last of Celtic nations to be colonized by first Rome, then Scandinavian settlers. Precolonial regenerative modes of production may be the place to look to find a less contaminated base line for comparison of history’s socioeconomic models.

What might be found is that with the absence of often exclusively male top down control that comes in Middle Ages, agricultural, glorious or industrial revolutions; institutions of brutal extraction from generators of value inherently removes intrinsic motivations that were carefully protected by their indigenous predecessors. What remains is a very limited spectrum of extrinsic pressures for motivation. Along with even further limiting extrinsic flows of coercion, competitive conflict, and trauma in the structures in which we work & live. Survival in spite of all these flows is relegated to narrow monetary metrics of value(s). While the root of top down power & wealth concentration usually remains unchecked.

Web3 gives us the power to build something very unique into our community incentive structures — we can go beyond the monetary & even beyond GDP at scale. This is by creating our own value(s) flows. And ensuring we design systems for unalienated circulation & exchanges between each other. If tokenization becomes a robust tool rather than being merely commodified itself, this can help build a path towards this transformation of conventional external motivations in our living & working environments.

The Unalienated Intrinsic

But if we replace alienated value(s) design with careful unalienated engineering, We open the door to building our own intrinsic motivation flows. These flows, if properly tracked can inform a kind modular structure building. If this flow tracking is deemed an accurate representation by our community, We can use the flows named, for our unique community token engineering. A community token of this kind would remove the limits of conventional incentive structures by decoupling top down power from p2p innovation & organization.

And most importantly the token would be inherently protected as a tool that is not to become merely commodified itself. It remains a tool for tracking & managing socio-tech innovation morphology over time. This unlocks a perspective of abundance when getting a beautiful view of all the value exchanges that are usually made invisible, while often happening in spite of horrible environments. Imagine what’s possible to see when the environment is built horizontally by the generators of value themselves.

What is usually hidden capital of our diverse global backgrounds can be made visible in our very medium of exchange. This can be a much more accurate metric for our ecosystem’s innovation, one that moves us away from scarcity driven motivations & toward a return to robust p2p mechanisms for management of innovation.


DaDa

Bea is a cofounder of the DADA art Platform. Here is a beautiful piece she created on the platform itself. A view of an indigenous trading center. Indigenous decentralized exchange, between autonomous Native nations is powerful precedent for web3.

Wampum Beads

Intrinsic core values in the form of cosmologies were wrapped around indigenous mediums of exchange. There was built-in autonomous currency design, as the cosmologies of different nations had diverse variations. But a meta language that spoke to constants across confederacies of peaceful nations, or nations coming into peace. This made their currencies or “tokens” a modular tool, that enabled true decentralization. This protection mechanism for identity preservation was first built into the working, living structures & protocols. Then made visible with shellwork, beadwork, fiberwork etc.

These tokens gave limitless expression of collective dynamics, which then informs a recursive loop of innovation in the system. Only after the breakout of war, did artificial scarcity arise, according to the oral documentation of the Longhouse Five Nations Confederacy. A commodification of the shells & danger by the lakes where shells were collected began over 2k years ago; and this began a mere commodification of everything & anyone. But this was successfully rerouted, back to tracking abundance, first by establishing peace. They did so specifically by building the voices of regenerative value(s) including women, into their very medium of exchange of agreements in the council process that established peace until colonization millennia later.

Peaceful protocols built into our modes of exchange means no more artificial scarcity left over from totalitarian & feudal systems. No more structures of war in our work or living environments means we get to make visible accurate representations of our realities via tracking flows of unalienated intrinsic value(s). We get to see the regenerative abundance in our collective exchanges & commons. Robust p2p management in place of conventional top down efficiency means innovation is built into our incentive structures too!

Ayati a.k.a Haiti

Precedence for this unconventional approach to incentive structure design comes from important histories that we often miss in curricula. One of the biggest examples being the Haitian(Ayati)Revolution. Ayati being being the over 3k year old name of the island passed down from native Arawak nations to incoming African nations escaping and revolting against the slave trade on the island.

Power in authentic autonomy in identity was important to the Native protocols for non hostile nations. To ensure when knowledge, tools, & culture is shared, there is actually a restoration of identity rather than a loss of culture, whether in a vicious slaving environment or ideal conditions. This is extremely important over generations, while the revolution culminates in 1804, it starts in 1492. It’s a hell of an organizational feat to ensure there is no contamination of tools or structure design over hundreds of years of generations, especially when the predominant system is a top down slave trade & war market.

Even as native populations decrease, their protocols for organization lived on through African nations, to not only free the island of slavery but countless other territories across the entire hemisphere were directly & indirectly aided to do the same over the century. What grew to be an international network of Ayatian efforts successfully organized the collapse of the socioeconomic feasibility of the global chattel slave system. The modern slavery systems would have to evolve to persist.


Some of the territories that outlawed & drove out slave trading as a direct impact of Ayatian resistance & support to end slavery in the hemisphere. Screenshot from Ayatian Raul Peck’s Exterminate all the Brutes.

What can we learn from this precedence? We learn matrilineal modes of organization is possible in the limiting context of a hyper extractive system and can these modes can scale in many ways! Even between autonomous & distinct cultures. Many African nations were in fact from disparate parts of their continent, yet seamlessly constructed mixed cosmologies, language & core values from the framework of native protocols & also managed to preserve their own matrilineal heritages. But this means there was a decontamination mechanism too, as exclusively male top down religious institutions were well in place on the African continent well before 1492 & further refined as the slave trade expanded settler colonial wealth & reach.

Incentive Structure: Freedom

Freedom was Ayati’s incentive structure, we know this because it was declared in their constitution once independence was claimed — anyone who desired to be free was welcome to the island & geopolitical support. But we also see it is clearly evident in design and engineering too. From the beginning of interactions between the African & Native nations, legally, leadership was to be both male and female. So in 1804 Queen Felicite was not lip service for a female a titleholder but carried real weight, all regenerative strains of life were to be answered to & given voices without interference of autonomy.


In addition to the matrilineal Ayatian language, cosmology iconography, this script was specifically designed by female councils, to survive the West African slave trade, it can be found on both sides of the Atlantic.

We can see it further built into design in the indigenous modes of organization. We can see tools that aid modes of design in native & African protocols, like clan systems design in the Vodun cosmology, VeVe and Nsibidi scripts. The latter enabling built in tracking of value(s) flows that then wraps into core values of the collective. Even describing events and flows of generations! These visualizations of exchanges capture hidden capital even beyond the exchange of goods or services — simply coming together to meet and organize between plantations is dangerously valuable in both these historical & even some of today’s circumstances.


Value(s) tracking can take beautiful forms.

While sustaining still more beautiful functions in long term complex dynamics!


This tracks value(s) flows across important events, and generations.

This is not African, But Arawak. Ayizan velekete — Organization, Mastery, Creativity. Most of the Veve are Arawak and very important to modes across Caribbean & South America’s displaced Native & African Nations. Ayizan is 1/7 in the African Ayatian clan system.

Tracking the emotions behind exchanges and or important intrinsic motivations also becomes important for clarity and connection to the past, present & future. This gives a strong collective cohesiveness for long term sustainability, even without considering trade networks, skills sharing, agreements or decisions etc. We learn from this history, that commons when managed properly, after accurate collective assessment based on tracking of value(s) flows, are key pieces to an incentive design anchored in freedom. Even when severely limited by brutal overarching circumstances.

The Stacks ecosystem dev tools and even the underlying technology stack were designed with the digital equivalents of autonomy in property value & even dev labor & expressive value(s) in mind. And with an adequate social layer we can sustainably extend this into labor, expressive and ecological value(s) flow across disciplines in the Stacks ecosystem. We can even design accessibility to commons for lay folks on the ground in the severe circumstances of today.

With Vevè pictured above, we see one part of a seven clan design theme, we also see indigenous science constants guiding meta clan structures for decentralized scalability. But the cosmologies also include infinite creases between the constants to avoid strict dogma. Note even modularity in the clan system design, as the Kanienke’ha’ka Five Nations have a three clan system, showing means to extend design if needed for autonomy & cultural identity preservation. Avoiding contamination of top down coercion, interference or even “the perception of corruption.”

Extituitions Beyond GDP


Conversations happening across continents on the DaDa platform.

Decontamination of institutions can finally be described by Primavera De Filippi’s discourse on enclosure vs exclosure to the DaDa working group — Primavera says that institutions are to suffocating rules & procedures like enclosures, colonization of territory; as extitutions are to exclosures, that shields against unwanted harm of individuals & their relationships to the social collective. She speaks of the need to speak the language of institutions while actually building extituitions, building bridges on our terms — to institutional left overs that are still needed to facilitate transformation: like the transparent monetary flows of our Sourcecred ledger in the Advocates program.


Emotion morphology during contributions on DaDa!

We can use the language of token engineering & sustainability metrics. This language is often relegated to lip service, but it can also be our means of real built-in structures for authentic sustainability. Token models emphasizing tokens as tools , with careful design of intrinsic value based systems into our governance token engineering. Robust initial conditions are extremely important to complex dynamics in the long term. So building in robust community tooling for deep morphology tracking, can incentivize accessibility to unalienated commons & the freedom of p2p management for socio-technical innovation. This can tangibly take us beyond mere monetary metrics of self sufficiency & governance and even beyond GDP.


Conversations through space and time on the DaDA platform!

We can ultimately use tokenization as a tool to redesign our value metrics to include hidden capital we rediscover in r+d in our respective autonomous communities, that are then wrapped into Stacks CBE core values. The abundance visible thereafter hopefully last enough generations to transform brutally limiting institutional metrics like concentrations of monetary control & top down power. Transformation for long term sustainability of social organization and technological innovation.

Part 2:

Regenerative Commons

We use the example of Veta La Palma to emphasize a wicked food problem. A multidisciplinary or wicked problem that extends well beyond mainstream or surface level approaches to the structures of Agriculture systems. We then show ‘recursivity’ as a novel metric for wicked innovation, which dovetails nicely with commons management tools and tokenization we discussed in part one.

Veta La Palma in southern Spain, marsh land turned cattle ranch, turned back into marsh land and then a self sustaining[no feed needed] fish farm.[8] A biologist with a background studying the dynamics within ecosystems took over 8,000 acres of dry drained land destroyed by a failed cattle business; reversed the expensive canal system used to drain the land. Then restored the wetlands while making sure to nurture the ecosystem from the algae up to the birds. Yes, the birds would be the predator eating the profits. But the hundreds of species that travel unbelievable distances from nesting locations just for the fish of this farm; actually tell this unconcerned biologist that the health of this self sustaining farm is doing just what it is supposed to do. And supply is plentiful. All this is information that usually comes before being told — water that enters this beautiful landscape’s diverse ecosystem, leaves significantly cleaner than when it comes in…

Veta La Palma is a wonder all on its lonesome. So when put next to the image above and the article California’s Legacy of Swamplands, it becomes a beautiful illustration for historical context that can help frame precedence of decentralized innovation. The document shown above is the Venetian Statute of Monopolies, 1474 —

“The statute encouraged thoughtful prospecting in manufacturing and industry, as well as the “mud technologies” that were developed and transferred between the Netherlands, Venice, France, and England. Decades prior to the drafting of an official patent law, patents were issued for the construction of Venetian canals and for land reclamation to attract experts and inventors to the city and territories of Venice. Centuries later the English Statute of Monopolies (1624) helped to create conditions for the Industrial Revolution, and laid the groundwork for the inclusion of patent rights in the U.S. Constitution.”

The article continues to explain how the tradition of incentivizing settlement through technology patent grabs being coupled with land grabs extends into the middle of the 1800s in the form of the U.S settling the west. The year 1474 is actually a similar moment in European history to U.S history in the 1800s. The land grabs of the inquisition era are approaching a peak that eventually crosses the hemisphere. While in 1849, 50, and 60 America used just three Swampland Acts to remove remaining native and maroon[escaped free Africans] populations from the last areas of the continent to be settled.

Just three acts of congress but 64,895,415 acres were converted from ‘wetlands’ by private citizens and then reclamation companies. The list of states makes this massive number a little more concrete— Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin, Minnesota and Oregon. Making America’s wicked food problem directly relatable to the failed ranching project which destroyed the wetlands of Veta La Palma before receiving its national park status and ecosystem rebirth.

The author of this article Richard L. Hindle, is careful to articulate the wide spectrum of technology innovation that emerge from this massive reconfiguration of the landscape. From those that caused ecological tragedies to engineering marvels. Even the familiar caterpillar technology shown above comes from this time. Originally made to navigate the soft soils of the California’s central valley, which were revealed after ‘proper’ drainage technologies significantly lowered the water table. What Hindle is also sure to emphasize is that all this patent creation was a decentralized effort. A decentralized effort driven by incentives that aligned with extractive and exploitive values as old as the inquisition. Beginning our first federally backed levees along the Mississippi river—

“A windfall for those who could afford a dollar an acre and the slave labor to build a levee…In true American style, individual landowners and corporations became default infrastructuralists, building the levees, installing the drains, and edifying the countries most extensive water infrastructure in a freewheeling manner premised on radical environmental transformation and profit.” Though Hindle acknowledges the extractive premise of this effort he actually calls for a decentralized solution by the conclusion; this time with a premise of ecological sustainability."

We believe in this approach as well. But it is important to mention that designing extraction and concentration of wealth into decentralization in the first place, defeats the purpose intrinsic to the word decentralized. It confines the self organizing potential of truly fairly distributed power. And significantly simplifies the governance of such systems —to mechanisms built strictly for profit, extraction & settler colonial power.

Fortunately, designing for long term sustainability can actually preserve a more desirable outcome of decentralization — engendering tools for distributed power. This is what has a lot of folk excited about blockchain tech. But this requires the due diligence of a genuine two way conversation between local & regional communities and the institutions & technical firms that engineer the structures we live and work in everyday.

The Stacks Advocates program is an effort to create structures which make these conversations possible. Truly fair bottom up governance is not as simple or easy as strict structures premised on profit & top down power concentration. Because these structures make the labor, expression, and ecological rights of communities invisible — leaving little to be governed outside of ensured extraction. But we already see tangible avenues that can enable bottom up governance for wicked solutions across industries & fields in the world of blockchain based open source innovation.

Brief History

The decentralized precedence mentioned above & below are a few of many historical references where self organization is being poorly implemented, but none the less has had huge impact on modern systems & nation scale infrastructure. The conventional discourse of the first and second amendment of the US Constitution for example, often leaves out a decentralized military effort that included class collaboration, guiding the advent of exclusively white male identity politics. Winning a pragmatic numbers game by welcoming various religious backgrounds was a fundamental end goal, for a very small protestant sect of British colonist, finding leverage against their Catholic Italian, Iberian & Muslim Ottoman seniors in the colonial race; a facade of equality of voice & tolerance, while colonial forerunners required at least faux conversion to participate in looting & pillaging.

The legislation of the second at one point included a requirement of settlers to be armed, down to the number of rounds of ammunition, which was even required in church. The fear of Native & African revolts against the slave and settler system, guiding the amendments more than bottom up protections to bare arms. The American revolution being more accurately described as a counter-revolution to maintain a slave based colonial system, and continue to move westward. When there were many signs London was thinking differently.

Especially after the Seven years war, removing Spanish from Florida & Royal Proclamation 1772-1773, keeping settlers from military & monetary costly movements west; June 1772, courts look to ban slavery in England, sparking fears of this reaching into colonies. Precisely because the true to definition Native & African revolts, including far reaching Ayatian Revolution, culminating in 1804 but starting in 1492, had just began to render the slave system economically infeasible. The more Africans brought over (often out numbering white settlers), the more revolts threatened the entire system. As a real estate speculator (Native Land) since 21 years old, this was a sharp contradiction for George Washington & others with strong convictions of skin in the colonial game.

Recursivity

Black populations in the central valley area of California, like Alabama and Mississippi didn’t leave the cotton fields until around the 1970s, about a hundred years later than most people realize. Mexican/Native nation populations being displaced in large numbers, have replaced these black populations in the fields in recent decades. Cotton was king in the Antebellum south, but the secret empire & global king of contemporary cotton extraction since early 20th century has been in the west’s central California. The Kings river is third to the Nile & the Indus in agricultural production.


Alabama & Mississippi 1970s


Historical California Fires 2018

When redesigning systems, we should not see numbers to be analyzed here; we should see faces & landscapes suffering in modern extractive and exploitive structures. We see conventional ‘efficiency’ metrics as a major culprit in making these faces in all strains of life invisible. Hindle describes the California Central Valley before European contact. We will use this to illustrate the sustainable initial conditions that went on to impact human civilization for millennia in food innovation alone—

The pre-contact delta of the Sacramento–San Joaquin was as a vast, relatively flat, inland estuary of tule grasses and forbes, rich with water fowl, game, and fish, flanked with evergreen oaks in areas of higher ground. The ecology of this massive delta was fed by extensive snowmelt from the Sierra Nevada, ample sunshine, and deep organic soils stabilized by dense tule grasses that in combination act like a sponge and sieve to retain water and sediment washed down from the mountains.

Ecological assemblages supported a diverse indigenous population, estimated in the tens of thousands, and distributed through the diverse waterways that converge in California’s Central Valley. Nations of the Interior Miwok, Maidu, Yokuts, and other speakers of the Penutian language lived in relative balance with the cycles of the riverine and valley ecosystems with little modification of the larger environment. Designation of the delta as swamp reframed the landscape as something in need of improvement—a landscape to be drained, leveed, cultivated, and assimilated.

Recursivity is a metric that comes from the generative justice research group, which Banks defines as —

"social conditions that contain within them all of the parts and practices for their maturation and expansion…Recursion is a conceptual basis for recursivity in the same way that “equality” is a conceptual basis for democracy; one need not ask how mathematicians define equality to use it. Recursivity is a social condition, not the dutiful execution of a mathematical property."

Recursivity as a broad metric to guide our system designing will be important to building systems that speak to core CBE values while maintaining flexibility. The excerpt below describes the copyright analogy of what our open source design efforts can reference. Gold rush sediment displacement had begun to choke the central valley deltas, even significantly raising the valleys of the San Joaquin. And patent writing began to take a shift to address the problems of the era by learning from indigenous modes & the natural sediment cycles & riverine system design —

“Frank V. Wright’s swansong, US1262898, a “Method of Concurrently Maintaining and Cultivating Levees,” advances his aforementioned innovations and discloses a new art of growing crops, and raising levees simultaneously in a new multifunctional levee that integrates cultural practices of agriculture with flood protection. In its most basic form, Wright’s system maintains levees through the furrowing irrigation trenches and the addition of sediment slurry as irrigation water to berms. Wright claims that addition of sediment to the berms reduces cracking due to dehydration and increases levee height incrementally by the addition of new sediment and organic materials.

His process orchestrates the application of fresh, sediment-rich water, from adjacent waterway to irrigate crops and thus cultivates new ground in a manner reminiscent of Mexico’s Chinampas. The patent is striking for its durational qualities, but also for its evocation of contemporary themes of multifunctional landscape infrastructure that integrates programs and cultural practices. One can envision the combination of wet soil and sediment leading to a healthy process of soil formation that evokes the process of wetland growth native to the Delta landscape.”

Conclusion

Similarly to the Wright patent’s consideration for the riverine heritage, but in our open source context, engineering & design of flows with recursivity in mind for constraints of self organization is what we hope to achieve with the Stacks Advocates program tools and models for the ecosystem. Poor intent & decentralized organization has been a potent mechanism that has crossed many eras and scaled nations. With this in mind, our best attempt at exceptional decentralized modes means a truly exciting effort is ahead of us at our discretion.

1 Like