Before knowing the historical work of Tine De Moor, the Belgian commons historian who studied the emergence of commons and guilds in the ‘high middle ages’ in the Low Countries (Holland and Belgium), I had assumed the commons were a permanent fixture of social life. And in a way they indeed are but they also ebb and flow throughout history. What you can learn from this important essay, a strongly recommended read, is that the number of guild and land commons agreements literally exploded in the 12th century, a real explosion of mutualisation practices that commoners and workers used to create solidarity in face of the insecurity of life.
Tine De Moor calls this a ‘Silent Revolution’ because it didn’t involve riots, but the construction of new social institutions. This is a big part of what is also happening now, and what the P2P Foundation has been cataloging, observing and trying to understand.