Omnia Sunt Communia

On the Commons and the Transformation to Postcapitalism

Massimo De Angelis


This book reveals the potential for radical transformation contained in a conceptualisation of the commons as a set of social systems, rather than just common goods.

In this weaving of radical political economy, Omnia Sunt Communia sets out the steps to postcapitalism. By conceptualising the commons not just as common goods but as a set of social systems, Massimo De Angelis shows their pervasive presence in everyday life, mapping out a strategy for total social transformation.

From the micro to the macro, De Angelis unveils the commons as fields of power relations – shared space, objects, subjects – that explode the limits of daily life under capitalism. He exposes attempts to co-opt the commons, through the use of code words such as 'participation' and 'governance', and reveals the potential for radical transformation rooted in the reproduction of our communities, of life, of work and of society as a whole.

Author Bio

Massimo De Angelis is professor of political economy at the University of East London, and founder and editor of the web journal The Commoner ( His previous books include The Beginning of History (2007).

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Part One: Commons as systems
    • 1. Common goods
    • 2. Systems
    • 3. Elements
  • Part Two: From Elinor Ostrom to Karl Marx
    • 4. Commons governance
    • 5. The money nexus and the commons formula
  • Part Three: Commoning: the source of grassroots power
    • 6. Mobilising social labour for commoning
    • 7. The production of autonomy, boundaries and sense
  • Part Four: Social change
    • 8. Boundary commoning
    • 9. Commons and capital/state
    • 10. Towards postcapitalism


‘Does for the commons what Marx did for capitalism in Capital. Omnia Sunt Communia will be indispensable to scholars and activists grappling with the most important question of our time: what system, if any, should follow the end of capitalism?’
George Caffentzis, author of In Letters of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines, and the Crisis of Capitalism

'An ambitious and path-breaking work. It makes for a powerful and challenging book that all educators and activists in movements for social justice should read.’
Silvia Federici, author of Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle

‘This book is at once expansively curious and politically urgent. De Angelis does justice to the complex heat and light of the commons: our hidden past, our living present and our potential future.’
Max Haiven, author of Crises of Imagination, Crises of Power

‘De Angelis offers us a sweeping framework for understanding how commons can provide practical pathways for political and social emancipation. Timely, insightful and hopeful.’
David Bollier, author of Think Like a Commoner

'De Angelis has applied his considerable academic understanding to his practical experience of communing to advance a critical conversation on social change.'
Green Left Weekly

'An extraordinary new book.'


Publication Date: 15 April 2017
456 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781783600625
Hardback: 9781783600632
eBook ePub: 9781783600649
eBook PDF: 9781783600656
eBook Kindle: 9781783600663

Appears in

Why is peer review so important?

Learn more about the various types of peer review, why it’s so important, what the social and political considerations of peer review are and how we use it at Zed Books.