CommonBound Track: "Pathways to the Next System"

Massive inequality, ecological degradation, a politics dominated by money, and a predatory financial sector are among the symptoms of a system in crisis. The seeds of system change are already being nourished in diverse ways across many countries -– from food and finance, to renewable energy, land reform, and social care.

Can these cohere around a vision of a system that generates deeper community ties, economic equality, ecological sustainability and rooted democracy? Drawing on the innovations and insights of the New Economy ecosystem, "Building Toward the Next System" will host a bold and participatory conversation to develop the design and vision of a new political economy together, rooted in the experience of practical projects that point to systemic alternatives.

Workshops in this track should enrich, add clarity to, and specify the features and principles of a next system, and chart paths toward achieving it. In attempting to spark a bold and audacious national/international conversation on system change, this track encourages proposals that stem directly from communities, networks, sectors and policy activists currently working to achieve a sustainable and fair transition at many scales. Sessions will aim to accelerate cross-learning already underway between grassroots organizers and policy researchers by offering all participants--regardless of professional and educational background--greater practical, analytical grounding that can be put into practice across a range of communities.

We’re looking for session proposals that:

HIGHLIGHT and CHALLENGE us to deepen our understanding of policy and institutional innovations that enable transition efforts to diffuse and scale up job creation and reductions in GHG emissions, while strengthening local and regional economies and transforming key sectors on an ecologically sustainable and democratic footing.

SHARE case studies and stories of successes and failures (policy, sector and territorial initiatives) to foment systems change supportive of decentralized, democratic and distributed ownership, especially in key transition sectors: food, energy, land tenure, social care, and finance.

STRENGTHEN our analysis of our debt-based private money creation system and what the options and related movements exist for both repatriating sovereignty over the money supply, and expanding the resources available for direct investment in the transition to a low carbon economy with a far more equitable distribution of income and wealth

EXPAND our understanding of how movements to reclaim the commons, establish solidarity economies and bring about ecological well-being might more effectively communicate, collaborate and federate their respective efforts to foster systems change.

CREATE an environment of mutual learning that can tap the wisdom in the room and hold the productive tensions present in this work.

EXCHANGE best practices and new initiatives for broadly communicating, animating and educating various constituencies on policy and practice innovations.

For more information, please contact keane [at]

Coordinated By:

  • Keane Bhatt, The Next System Project
  • Noel Ortega, The Next System Project
  • John Restakis, Community Evolution Foundation
  • Michael Lewis, Canadian Centre For Community Renewal

Propose a Session