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.
It's time to occupy the calendar. It's time to celebrate all that we share, our commonality and our commons.
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:
27 International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust https://www.un.org/
8 International Women's Day https://www.unac.org/en/news_
United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace
21 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination https://www.un.org/depts/dhl/
21-28 Week of Solidarity with the Peoples Struggling against Racism and Racial Discrimination
22 World Water Day https://www.unesco.org/water/
23 World Meteorological Day https://www.wmo.int/wmd
4 International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action
7 World Health Day https://www.who.int/world-
23 World Book and Copyright Day https://www.un.org/Depts/dhl/
3 World Press Freedom Day https://www.unac.org/en/news_
15 International Day of Families https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/
17 World Information Society Day https://www.un.org/events/
21 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development https://www.un.org/depts/dhl/
22 International Day for Biological Diversity https://www.biodiv.org/
25-June 1 Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories
29 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers https://www.un.org/events/
31 World No-Tobacco Day https://www.who.int/tobacco/
4 International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression
5 World Environment Day https://www.unep.org/wed
17 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought https://www.unccd.int/
20 World Refugee Day https://www.un.org/depts/dhl/
23 United Nations Public Service Day https://www.unpan.org/dpepa_
26 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking https://www.un.org/depts/dhl/
International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
9 International Day of the World's Indigenous People https://www.un.org/events/
12 International Youth Day https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/
23 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
8 International Literacy Day https://www.un.org/Depts/dhl/
15 International Day of Democracy
16 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer https://www.uneptie.org/
21 International Day of Peace https://www.un.org/events/
During last Week World Maritime Day https://www.imo.org/About/
1 International Day for Older Persons https://www.un.org/depts/dhl/
4 – 10 World Space Week https://www.oosa.unvienna.org/
5 World Teacher's Day
First Monday World Habitat Day https://www.unchs.org/whd/
Second Wednesday International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction
9 World Post Day https://www.upu.int/world_
10 World Mental Health Day https://www.wfmh.org/wmhday/
16 World Food Day https://www.fao.org/wfd/index_
17 International Day for the Eradication of Proverty
24 United Nations Day https://www.unac.org/en/news_
World Development Information Day
6 International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict https://www.un.org/depts/dhl/
14 World Diabetes Day https://www.who.int/
16 International Day of Tolerance https://www.un.org/depts/dhl/
Third Sunday World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims
20 Universal Children's Day https://www.unac.org/en/news_
Africa Industrialization Day
21 World Television Day
25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women https://www.unifem.org/
29 International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People https://www.un.org/depts/dhl/
1 World AIDS Day https://www.unac.org/en/news_
2 International Day for the Abolition of Slavery https://www.un.org/depts/dhl/
3 International Day of Disabled Persons https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/
5 International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development https://www.unv.org/infobase/
7 International Civil Aviation Day https://www.icao.int/icao/en/
9 International Anti-Corruption Day https://www.un.org/depts/dhl/
10 Human Rights Day https://www.un.org/events/
11 International Mountain Day https://www.
18 International Migrants Day https://www.un.org/depts/dhl/
19 United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation https://www.un.org/depts/dhl/
20 International Human Solidarity Day