I fell under the spell of sharism in 2003 when I started the Creative Commons France chapter with the full support of my then Ph.D. advisor and the director of our research center. Since then, my participation in the movement has landed me a blissful life with lifelong friends, love, and several paid jobs and grants both in my country and abroad with lovely, smart, dedicated and gifted people animated by the values of open access, open science, open licensing, peer production, the public domain and the commons.
In 2007, several teams coordinated by Creative Commons Italy received a grant from the European Commission to start Communia network in the public domain and support our work. All this provided opportunities to have a political impact and travel. It is possible to develop serious research and policy contributions with a network of amazing colleagues all over the world, people coming from diverse backgrounds who share similar ideals.
The cruel detention of Bassel Khartabil reminds us of the incredible luck of living in such a privileged environment with freedom of expression. My only social cost has been exclusion by conservative people from whom I needed neither approval nor friendship, and this doesn’t even happen so much anymore since openness is becoming more politically correct and even hyped in Western culture.
To newcomers wondering if the cost in terms of time and efforts is worth the involvement: it is nothing compared to the inspiration gained and the joy and pride of contributing to a global movement that is developing positive alternatives to enclosures, and promoting social justice, freedom and access to knowledge, information, culture and education, good food and medicine.
Even though some of us are techno-idealist, our work is not, neither is it economically insane, but rather highly political and ideological. Freedom of knowledge and circulation are battles to win over the corruption and censorship of those whose addiction to unlimited commodification, unsustainable growth and a vision of development based on globalized extractivism that prevents personal and collective development and the right to a good life for 99% of the population.