Crisis of the California Commons Conference

Apr. 27-29, 2007
Berkeley City College, 2050 Center Street

Presented by the California Studies Association;
The Commons Group;
California Studies Center, U.C. Berkeley;
Heyday Books

The rich and bountiful commons that Californians once enjoyed as a gift of nature and fruit of public efforts are under assault today. Our resources are degraded, our services privatized and our public spaces increasingly pre-empted. But the state’s commons-wealth are not mere amenities for our private lives or raw materials for the economy. They are collective goods, shared resources and collective achievements that underpin our and future generations’ well-being, our civic life and our possibility for a democratic life together.
What exactly are commons? How do they work? How can we protect them? Join scholars, activists, scientists and writers from around the state to examine the crises of California’s commons, recover their history and imagine their possible futures.

Conference Schedule

April 27, Friday night, 7:00-9:00

Welcome, Jeff Lustig, Chair, Conference Organizing Committee
Keynote: Peter Linebaugh, Univ. of Toledo, The Magna Carta Manifesto, U. C.
Press, 2007: "The Commons: From Magna Carta to May Day"
Welcome Reception

April 28, Saturday   8:30-10:00 a.m.

1)  California Water: Public Resource or Private Commodity?
Chair: Richard Orsi, CSU-East Bay; author, The Octopus Reconsidered
Bill Kier, William Kier Associates
Stacey Li, National Marine Fisheries Service
Suzanne Michel, Prof of Geography, Cuyamaca College
Adam Scow, Food and Water Watch
Tim Stroshane, editor Spillway newsletter

2)  Cutbacks!  The Evisceration of the Public Service Commons
Chair: Lauren Coodley, author, California: a Multicultural Documentary History
Anatole Anton, S.F. State University; Not for Sale: In Defense of Public Goods
Ken Jacobs, Labor Center UCB, author of The Hidden Costs of Wal-Mart Jobs
Fred Glass, California Federation of Teachers
Melissa Riley, San Francisco Public Library

April 28, 10:30-12:00

3) Struggles for the Resource Commons: From Mono Lake to the Redwood Forest
Chair:  Cal Winslow, Director, Mendocino Institute
Will Russell, Environmental Studies, San Jose State University
Dick Walker, Geography, UCB; The Country in the City; The Conquest of Bread Cal Winslow, Director, Mendocino Institute
Angus Wright, Environmental Studies, CSU-Sacramento, The Death of Ramon
 Gonzalez: The Modern Agricultural Dilemma.

4)  The Cooperative Legacy:  Co-ops in the East Bay
Chair:  Chuck Wollenberg, Berkeley City College; author Golden Gate Metropolis; and
Ethnic Conflict in California History
John Curl, author History of Collectivity in the Bay Area
Cathy Goldsmith,  Cheeseboard Cooperative
Bernard Marszalek, Inkworks
Adam Wight, Worker at two new Berkeley Food Co-ops

April 28, 11:45-12:30 p.m.

Box Lunch in atrium
Film: The New Los Angeles from series American and the California Dream
by Lynn Goldfarb et al.

April 28,  12:30-1:30

Luncheon Address: “The New Deal Legacy in California,” Gray Brechin, author
Imperial San Francisco; and Farewell Promised Land
Introduction by Gerald Haslam, author The Great Central Valley: California Heartland; Okies;
Voices of Place.

April 28, 1:45-3:15

5)  Organizing the Commons: Creating Community
Chair: Cynthia Kaufman, DeAnza College, Ideas for Action and Radical Change
Gilda Gonzalez, Unity Council
David Kakishiba, East Bay Asian Youth Center
Binh Nguyen, Asian Pacific Environmental Network
David Roach, Mo’ Better Foods
Eric Vega, Freedom Bound Center, Sol Art Collective, Sacramento

6)  Enclosing the Knowledge Commons: Capture of the Public University
Chair: Janet Fireman, Loyola-Marymount; and Ed., California History
Ignacio Chapela, Dept. of Microbial Ecology, U.C. Berkeley
Linda Collins, former Pres., Community Colleges Statewide Faculty
Senate; Exec. Dir., Career Ladders Project
Kamal Kapadia, Energy & Resources Group, U.C. Berkeley
Jeff Lustig, CSU Sacramento, author, Corporate Liberalism
Michael Perelman, CSU Chico; Steal this Idea: Intellectual Property
Rights and the Corporate Confiscation of Creativity

7)  Voice of the Commons: Poetry and Literature of a Shared World
Chair: Janferie Stone, Native American Studies, U.C. Davis
Gerald Haslam, Sonoma State University, author The Great Central Valley:
California Heartland, Okies, That Constant Coyote
Vijaya R. Nagarajan, NEH Chair of Humanities, USF; Institute of Natural
and Cultural Resources
Julia Stein, Santa Monica College, Under the Ladder to Heaven; Walker Woman.

April 28, 3:30-5:00

8)  Plenary: The Destiny of The Commons
Chair: Jeff Lustig, C.S.U. Sacramento; Founding Chair, California Studies Assoc.
Iain Boal, author, The Long Theft: Episodes in the History of Enclosure
Richard Prelinger, Prelinger Assocs.; founder of Prelinger Film Archive
Ruth Rosen, historian, journalist, Longview Institute; author, The World Split
Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America
Jonathon Rowe, Tomales Bay Institute; West Marin Commons Assoc.

April 28, 5:10-5:45

California Studies Association Business Meeting
Nomination of association officers.

April 28, 8:00

The Musical Commons
Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way (downtown Berkeley)
Country Joe McDonald, “A Tribute to Woody Guthrie”

April 29, Sunday 9:00-10:30 a.m.

9) The Right to the City: Public Space as Commons
Chair: Carmen Rojas, City and Regional Planning, U.C. Berkeley
Chris Carlsson, activist & author of San Francisco: The Political Edge Christopher Ratcliff, architect and designer of Berkeley City College
Amy Trachtenberg, public and civic artist, San Francisco

10)  The Broadcast Commons: From Pacifica to Pirate Radio
Chair: Iain Boal, author, The Long Theft; Chair, The Commons Group
Maria Gilardin, TUC Radio
Anyi-Malik Howell, Youth Radio
Sasha Lilly, Interim General Manager, KPFA
Marian Smith, General Manager, KFOK, Georgetown, CA (invited)

April 29, 10:45-12:15

11)  Seeds of the Future: Local Food Supply
Chair: Chris Shein, Landscape Horticulture, Merritt College; Wildheart Gardens
Christine Churdboonmaung, East Bay Asian Youth Center
Shereen d'Souza, Sustaining Ourselves Locally
Jason Harvey, Exec. Dir., Oakland Food Connection
Aaron Shapiro, LA Farmers’ Market Organizer
Chris Shein, Landscape Horticulture, Merritt College; Wildheart Gardens

12)  The Information Commons: Rebirth or Siren Song?
Chair: Peter Wiley, author, The National Trust Guide to San Francisco
Bodo Balazs, Visiting Scholar, Stanford
James Jacobs, International Document Librarian, Stanford University
Annalee Newitz, Bay Guardian, column Techsploitation
Megan Shaw, Prelinger library
Shinjoung Yeo, Coordinator, Reference & Outreach Services, Stanford Univ.

NEH Chair in the Humanities, University of San Francisco


The Institute of Natural and Cultural Resources, The Mendocino Institute, San Francisco State University Environmental Studies Center, West Marin Commons Group

Conference Planning Committee

Jeff Lustig, Chair; Dick Walker, Iain Boal, Gray Brechin, Malcolm Margolin, Vijaya Nagarajan, Janferie Stone, Lee Swenson, Cal Winslow, Chuck Wollenberg; Conference Assistant, Carmen Rojas.