As the holidays and year comes to a close, I find myself asking again a long asked question. What kind of holidays should be celebrated by a citizen, sharer, and commons advocate?
The need for an answer seems more urgent that ever for what we have is partly rotten and personally speaking, I need something different. As it is, many holidays have been hopelessly co-opted by corporations or they're no longer appropriate for public observance in a pluralistic global society. I've long restrained my participation in certain holidays, but abstaining is no longer enough. I seek a world that the makes sense to me, a complete world, one I belong in. This includes a calendar that celebrates the most important things to me and millions of others - democracy and the commons; the institutions that help individuals and communities provision themselves, get along across differences of all kinds, and strive toward self-determination.
I have a proposal at the end of this post to do just that, but let's reflect for a moment on the value of redefining the calendar through the lens of the commons and global civil society. Occupy and its inspirations redefined geographic space and social relations through reclaiming public space and consensus decision making. It reminded us that space and the political process should be for all people, not just the monied few.
This has had an enormous impact on political dialog across the globe. Occupy has served as a credible rejection of the current order. There's now broad public recognition that social contract is broken and something entirely new is needed.
If something entirely new is needed, then it follows that a new calendar is needed. To observe old holidays or observe them in debased ways supports that which oppresses and drains energy needed for change. And if occupying physical space and redefining social relations on a peer basis has had such a profound impact, imagine the power of occupying time.
Also, consider that calendars reinforce a social order. Take for example the Catholic calendar. You can celebrate 22 of 31 days in December alone. In fact, a large majority of calendar days are significant for one reason or another. Among these are feast days for saints. And since there are over 10,000 saints, each feast day commemorates multiple saints. Each saint represents a unique facet of the Catholic experience. Through feast days and other commemorations, which occupy almost the entire calendar, a complete world is signified.
Another powerful example is the industrial-era imposition of railway time and how that changed the way people experienced everyday life. The coordination of railway service depended on standardizing time across geographies. Railway service and standard time were essential to creating national and international market economies.
So, if we're to create a new civilization that works for everybody, then we need a calendar that speaks to the experience of making that world real on a weekly if not daily basis.
That said, I know only a few days to celebrate the commons and global civil society. While I want a new calendar, my existing ideas still reflect a religious, patriotic, and consumerist worldview that I've left or I'm leaving behind. So if you share even a tiny bit of what I'm feeling, please share in comments ideas for days to celebrate citizenship, the commons, and sharing.
Note that I don't see these days replacing existing holidays, even if that was possible. Rather a calendar of the commons can run parallel offering new celebratory options for those that want to strengthen the commons.
Below are some ideas to get us started. Things to celebrate might include birthdays of significant commons advocates, types of commons, or social innovations that help us share like families or cooperatives. Or add to potential holidays "this day in sharing history" ideas. All ideas are welcome. If we get enough responses, Shareable's editors will begin mentioning significant days in our weekly "This Week in Sharing" posts.
Suggestions for a Calendar of the Commons:
- July, each first Saturday - International Day of Cooperatives
- September 15th - International Day of Democracy
- September 17th - Constitution and Citizenship Day (U.S.)
- October 29th, the first link on ARPANET was establish on this day in 1969, perhaps the birthday of the Internet.
- December 21 - the opening of the first modern consumer cooperative by the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers in England.
- Election days should be holidays so market activities do not interfere with voting. Election Day is already a civic holiday in Guyana, some US states, and probably other places too.
- Need a day to celebrate the Free and Open Source Software movement. Any suggestions?
UPDATE March 5, 2012: Just heard from Nancy Roof of Kosmos Journal. The UN apparently has an extensive calendar celebrating days, weeks, and years with issues that are important to their work. Here's a list of days:
8 International Women's Day http://www.unac.org/en/news_events/un_days/women1.asp and
United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace
21 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/racial
21-28 Week of Solidarity with the Peoples Struggling against Racism and Racial Discrimination
22 World Water Day http://www.unesco.org/water/water_celebrations
23 World Meteorological Day http://www.wmo.int/wmd
4 International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action
7 World Health Day http://www.who.int/world-health-day
23 World Book and Copyright Day http://www.un.org/Depts/dhl/book/index.html
3 World Press Freedom Day http://www.unac.org/en/news_events/un_days/press.asp
15 International Day of Families http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/family
17 World Information Society Day http://www.un.org/events/infoday/2006 (formerly World Telecommunication Day)
21 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/cultural_diversity
22 International Day for Biological Diversity http://www.biodiv.org/programmes/outreach/awareness/biodiv-day-2005.asp (formerly December 29, changed in 2001)
25-June 1 Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories
29 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers http://www.un.org/events/peacekeepers
31 World No-Tobacco Day http://www.who.int/tobacco/communications/events/wntd/2005/en
4 International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression
5 World Environment Day http://www.unep.org/wed
17 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought http://www.unccd.int/publicinfo/menu.php
20 World Refugee Day http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/refugee/index.html
23 United Nations Public Service Day http://www.unpan.org/dpepa_psaward.asp
26 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/drug/index.html and
International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
9 International Day of the World's Indigenous People http://www.un.org/events/indigenous
12 International Youth Day http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/iyouthday.htm
23 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
8 International Literacy Day http://www.un.org/Depts/dhl/literacy/index.html
15 International Day of Democracy
16 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer http://www.uneptie.org/ozonaction/events/ozoneday/main.html
21 International Day of Peace http://www.un.org/events/peaceday/2005 (formerly the opening day of the UN General Assembly, changed to a set date as of 2002)
During last Week World Maritime Day http://www.imo.org/About/mainframe.asp?topic_id=320
1 International Day for Older Persons http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/olderpersons/index.html
4 - 10 World Space Week http://www.oosa.unvienna.org/wsw
5 World Teacher's Day
First Monday World Habitat Day http://www.unchs.org/whd/2005/default.asp
Second Wednesday International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction
9 World Post Day http://www.upu.int/world_post_day/en/index.shtml
10 World Mental Health Day http://www.wfmh.org/wmhday/about.html
16 World Food Day http://www.fao.org/wfd/index_en.asp
17 International Day for the Eradication of Proverty
24 United Nations Day http://www.unac.org/en/news_events/un_days/un_day1.asp and
World Development Information Day
6 International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/environment_war/index.html
14 World Diabetes Day http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events/2006/world_diabetes_day/en
16 International Day of Tolerance http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/tolerance/index.html
Third Sunday World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims
20 Universal Children's Day http://www.unac.org/en/news_events/un_days/children1.asp , and
Africa Industrialization Day
21 World Television Day
25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women http://www.unifem.org/campaigns/november25
29 International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/palestinian/index.html
1 World AIDS Day http://www.unac.org/en/news_events/un_days/aids1.asp
2 International Day for the Abolition of Slavery http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/slavery/index.html
3 International Day of Disabled Persons http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable
5 International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development http://www.unv.org/infobase/facts/04_08_17DEU_fs_IVD.htm
7 International Civil Aviation Day http://www.icao.int/icao/en/aviation_day.htm
9 International Anti-Corruption Day http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/events/anti_corruption/index.html
10 Human Rights Day http://www.un.org/events/humanrights
11 International Mountain Day http://www.mountainpartnership.org/imd/imd.html
18 International Migrants Day http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/events/migrants
19 United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/events/south/index.html
20 International Human Solidarity Day