from the ongoing privatization and exploitation of the commons. The democraticrevolutions occuring in North Africa and the Arab world are a call to action, an inspirationand a challenge for the democratic rebels of Europe and the Mediterranean.What could not be done by other means has been attempted with a new cycle of socialstruggles and mobilizations of the poor and immigrants. In these struggles, poverty isconstructed as power, not as lack. It is not necessary to guess what will be the themes ofthe new urban mobilizations. They have to do with problems already on the agenda ofthese developing mobilizations - problems which are presented as the first draft in theformulation of new and emerging rights. We formulate these issues now as a charter - thecharter of the Rights for the Urban Commons:
1. Universal and Unconditional Right to a Basic Income.
Without hesitation, we can saythat the majority of reproductive and creative work is not remunerated in any form. Earninga salary cannot be the only consideration for how productive work is defined, andremunerated work cannot be viewed as the general form taken by labor. The law system,however, only grants rights based on salaried work. The weakness and narrowness of thisfoundational assumption leads to less social protection and fewer rights for a growingnumber of people. It is for this reason that a universal and unconditional income (we placethe amount at 800 euros a month) would not only alleviate the suffering of millions ofpeople subject to unemployment and hyper-exploitation, but would also be a just paymentfor work that is currently not remunerated. Along the same lines as the basic income, thestate can make other important advances: limiting speculative activities related to land andhousing, taxing financial transactions, eliminating inequalities in various types of publicbenefits (transportation, housing, etc.), laying the groundwork for an effective, equaldistribution of wealth that exceeds efforts from previous eras.
2. Recognition of the Commons
. There is no life, society, or dignified collective existencewithout the recognition of the common means and resources that sustain them. The cityappears as the site of this collective existence by virtue of its public and commondimensions. As a public space, the city also potentially embodies the collection of necessaryguarantees for the reproduction of social life: from healthcare to care-giving, from theenvironment and natural resources (e.g. water and air); from education to pensions.Without recognizing the common condition of these assets and resources, urban life wouldnot only deteriorate into a chain of obligations subject to distinct mechanisms ofexploitation (e.g. the mortgage, precaritized work, private forms of social insurance, etc.): itwould vanish into a concatenation of individuated lives oriented solely around survival. Theeconomic powers have found in the city a privileged site for the expansion of new forms ofself-enrichment: privatizing public health services, attacking pensions, assailing publiceducation. What is at stake in these struggles is the future of our society: the recognition ofcommunal forms of property and management - not merely as assets in the hands of publicinstitutions - is the best defence we have against the privatization of our social existence.
3. Right to Information and to the Free Production and Reproduction of Knowledge.
Knowledge is one of the most important common assets of our time: produced by mediathat are increasingly collective, resulting out of an enormous social investment (as well as