The Political Defence of the Commons: The Case of Community Networks

  • Félix Tréguer
  • Melanie Dulong de Rosnay French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)
Keywords: commons, political advocacy, telecommunications, regulation, social movements


This article reflects on experiences of political advocacy which have been led by Community Networks activists in Germany, France and Spain to support the sustainability of bottom-up initiatives aiming at building community-owned telecom infrastructures, or “telecommons”. While pointing to the diversity of action repertoires used by various Community Networks across Europe, the article points to the potential of these instances of political advocacy to democratise both telecommunications and policy-making in the telecom sector, an area that is prone to both eviction of small actors and regulatory capture by special economic interests. It also suggests that their repertoires offer a set of reproducible tactics available to very small actors without dedicated advocacy staff or budget. Speaking to the inventiveness of grassroots initiatives, the article concludes by analysing the potential and pitfalls of political advocacy for small-scale social movements working for the political defence of the commons, and communities which are under risk of enclosure and capitalist co-optation.

Author Biographies

Félix Tréguer

Félix Tréguer is associate researcher at the CNRS Center for Internet and Society and postdoctoral fellow at CERI-Sciences Po. He is also a founding member of La Quadrature du Net, an advocacy group dedicated to the defence of civil rights in relation with digital technologies.

Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)

Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay has been associate research professor at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) since 2010 and is director of the CNRS Center for Internet and Society (CIS CNRS) which she co-founded in 2019.