From Magna Carta to the Sky Trust

It’s always invigorating when scholars and activists interested in the commons get together.  Last Friday more than 100 of us convened in Milwaukee to learn how commons activism stretches back to the Magna Carta – and how seeds, sky, airwaves and city spaces spaces are vulnerable commons that need to be protected.  The symposium was called, “From Magna Carta to the Sky Trust:  The Historical Arc of the Commons,” and it was hosted by the Center for 21st Century Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Kathryn Milun of the Tomales Bay Institute (and previous guest-blogger here) was a co-organizer of the event with Rachel Ida Buff of UWM.

Historian Peter Linebaugh opened with a brisk account of the role of the Magna Carta in guaranteeing certain rights to commoners.  Linbaugh has a new book coming out in February, The Magna Carta Manifesto (University of California Press), which explains why this pre-modern document has a great deal of contemporary relevance.  While you wait for the book (although pre-orders can be made now!), you may want to check out an essay that he wrote for the Boston Review, “The Secret History of the Magna Carta.” 

Taxonomy upgrade extras: