by Kevin Carson
“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” –Arundhati Roy..t
(focus on organizational size and coordination, insurrectionary assault to capture institutions — particularly Old Left)
I. Both prefigurative visions and visions based on mass and hierarchy coexisted within the nineteenth century
II. The latter triumphed and became the dominant model in the 20th century
I should note, at the outset, that in this section I deal with two dichotomies which are theoretically distinct, but tend to heavily overlap in practice. The first is between 1\ prefigurative visions of change based on creating the building blocks of the future society within the present one, and insurrectional visions based on seizure or conquest of the state and other commanding institutions of the existing society. The second is 2\ between organizational forms modeled on prefiguring the future society, and organizational forms (defined mainly by mass, hierarchy and the central imposition of discipline) aimed primarily at the strategic requirements of seizing power.
We have seen above, that the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy.
thinking of the liminality ness.. and the minorities being .. in my words.. free to make the shift.. and while proletariat is more majority.. their voiceless ness.. their power less ness.. their voluntary consent ness.. makes them more as minority.. which in my thinking now.. is a plus.. minority as ginorm small.. as non defined.. as a plus…
Marx himself, in The Class Struggles in France, 1848 to 1850 (a collection of contemporary newspaper articles he had written analyzing the Revolution of 1848), stressed the mutually determining character of industrial capitalism and the proletariat in creating both the material prerequisites of socialism and a revolutionary class capable of building it.
And in his 1895 Introduction to the same work, Engels framed the destruction of capitalism and creation of socialism as the work of a mass proletarian “army,” based on “big industry” and giant industrial centers.
and so became our best means of propaganda; that it accurately informed us concerning our own strength and that of all hostile parties, and thereby provided us with a measure of proportion for our actions second to none, safeguarding us from untimely timidity as much as from untimely foolhardiness —if this had been the only advantage we gained from the suffrage, then it would still have been more than enough.
sounds like – being woke to pluralistic ignorance
And so it happened that the bourgeoisie and the government came to be much more afraid of the legal than of the illegal action of the workers’ party, of the results of elections than of those of rebellion.
Revolution by spontaneous insurrection and street fighting was no longer feasible, and if it played a part at all it would be in the later states of a revolution based primarily on political organization.
The working class would win by using legal methods, and avoiding being drawn into premature street fighting. The only way the ruling class would thwart the revolutionary project would be by itself resorting to illegality and repression; and the proper strategy of the working class was to so permeate the majority of society, mass political institutions and the army that — as with the Christian permeation of Roman society — by the time the ruling class resorted to full-scale repression, it would be too late.
The first large wave of worker cooperatives was created by the labor movement as counter-institutions in the early 19th century, by skilled artisans who owned their tools of production and could set up shop anywhere with little to no capital outlay.
On both sides of the Atlantic, striking artisan workers frequently formed workers’ cooperatives, along with bazaars or alternative currency systems for trading their wares with one another.
But by the 1840s the increasing dominance of factory production and the cost of the machinery required had largely closed off this possibility.
There has been a tendency in much of the Left — especially the Old Left — to equate size, capital accumulation and overhead with productivity, to view the gigantism fostered by capitalism as “progressive,” and to equate “Revolution” to putting capitalism’s hierarchical institutions under new management.
under new management (sounds like david talking of multitude’s ambiguity)
tend more and more to replace isolated action by combined action of individuals. Modern industry, with its big factories and mills, where hundreds of workers supervise complicated machines driven by steam, has superseded the small workshops of the separate producers;
part following this sounds like a process of turning the minority (individuals) into a voluntary compliant majority
But whoever mentions combined action speaks of organisation; now, is it possible to have organisation without authority?..t
meadows undisturbed ecosystem
…[The anti-authoritarians] demand that the first act of the social revolution shall be the abolition of authority. Have these gentlemen ever seen a revolution? A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is;
The proletarians cannot become masters of the productive forces of society, except by abolishing their own previous mode of appropriation, ….their mission is to destroy all previous securities for, and insurances of, individual property..t
Guy Standing used the term “labourism” to describe this tendency …Unlike earlier socialist and anarchist models that looked forward to increasing leisure and autonomy and a shrinkage of both the cash nexus and the wage system, social democracy and industrial unionism presupposed universal full-time employment at wage labor as the norm. …It also erased a vision of freedom from labour that had figured powerfully in radical thinking in previous ages
(technological changes that have made a focus on mass and insurrection obsolete)
I. Cheap, ephemeral production technology, the social factory, and the primacy of social relationships as a source of value
II. Networked communications and free information
III. The impotence of enforcement, and the primacy of circumvention over resistance
Ephemeral production technologies and distributed, stigmergic coordination mechanisms have made it possible to build a society entirely outside the old institutional framework, and leave the old institutions to crumble..t
tech as it could be..
Permissionlessness is a central characteristic of stigmergic organization. David de Ugarte quotes the Rand theorists John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, in “Swarming and the Future of Conflict.” In Netwar, the many small units “already know what they must do”, and are aware that “they must communicate with each other not in order to prepare for action, but only as a consequence of action, and, above all, through action.”..t
meadows undisturbed ecosystem: in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole.
Every individual is free to formulate any innovation she sees fit, without any need for permission from the collective.
this ideal can only be fully attained when the unit of governance is the individual. So majority rule was the lesser evil, a way to approximate as closely as possible to the spirit of unanimous consent in cases where an entire group of people had to be bound by a single decision. Stigmergy removes the need for any individual to be bound by the group will..t
public consensus always oppresses someone (s)
Pirate Party co-founder Rick Falkvinge (@Falkvinge) also regards permissionlessness—the ability to act without first getting everybody on the same page—as a major advantage of stigmergic organization:
..The recipe is ridiculously simple: communicate your *vision to **everybody, and let the thousands of activists translate your ***vision into ****words that fit their specific social context. Don’t make a one-size-fits-all message that *****everybody has to learn. It will be a one-size-fits-none…t
(Rick Falkvinge): a Swarm can change the world: it runs in circles around traditional organizations, in terms of
entry into higher organizational circles depends upon accepting their general design and purpose. This means that people in “responsible” positions are most often blind to immoral consequences of their work.. t Their blindness is intensified by the belief that they are close to people’s problems and that administrative remedies exist for whatever arises. This is the usual attitude among public servants, from police to administrators of the war on poverty.
there is, in fact, little evidence to justify the view that the social reforms of the past thirty years actually improved the quality of American life in a lasting way. And there is much evidence which suggests that the reforms gained were illusory or token, serving chiefly to sharpen the capacity of the system for manipulation and oppression…t
The tragedy, however, is not simply that these programs fall short of their goals. Rather, the goals themselves are far from desirable to anyone interested in greater democracy and a richer quality of social life. Welfare and public housing policies, for instance, are creating a new and public kind of authoritarianism..t
To the Free Speech Movement, the university—as exemplified by Berkeley in particular— “appeared to be the living example of the integration of liberalism with actual policy,”
for its physical scientists do research on behalf of the military, and the social scientists provide the government with vast amounts of material designed to implement foreign and domestic policies. The university has also achieved a fruitful integration with large corporations throughout the nation. Its agricultural science departments are tied closely to the large growers; university graduates are placed in corporations; and the university provides basic research for every level of corporate needs..t
…It seemed to have defined its educational function as one of producing for
society’s needs as defined by government and the large corporations..t…Various thinkers like Immanuel Wallerstein, and Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt, have
treated the New Left uprisings of 1968 as a transitional phase to the fully horizontal
movements of the 1990s (about which more later in this chapter).
Hayden et al noted that the left wing of the civil rights movement (SNCC, Freedom
Democratic Party, etc.) was still partially dependent on the moderate civil rights
establishment. Certainly it is desirable to loosen this conservative grip. But for this to take place, there must be something to break toward: other people in the society who together can make up an alternative community to the establishment. But such people are not available at the present time in sufficient numbers and strength and, unless they are, it is hollow to call for a “radical center.”..t
Almost everyone develops a vested interest of some kind in the American systemas a whole, and within the system there are virtually no legitimate places from which to launch a total opposition movement.
What we should try to do… is assume that we have failed so far to discover the relationships and the forms that will free individuals to think and work as radicals, and build a movement where “everybody is a leader.” Not until then will a “center” reflect anything radical and deep in society. t
defenders of the previous issue’s editorial (James Weinstein, Stanley Aronowitz, Lee Baxandall, Eugene Genovese and Helen Kramer):
…Assuming that the poor can be fully organized and will become fully conscious of the need for radical politics, by themselves they must remain impotent. There are not enough of them, nor do they command sufficient resources to constitute a political force that can win power…. [Hayden] presents no prospective for organizing a mass radical student movement, and explicitly denies or ignores the existence of other possible components of a radical coalition. Yet if a significant movement is to be built it must be around a coalition large enough, at least in theory, to contest for political power…. Programs of action should be developed to facilitate connections between the various components—including the poor—when they become sufficiently conscious to
engage in explicitly political action. Such a coalition needs a common view of the
existing society, common programmatic demands (or at least complementary ones), a common vision of a new form of social organization designed to satisfy human needs. .t
David Graeber, an anarchist who played a major part in the formation of the Occupy
movement, puts the networked movements of the 1990s and 2000s in context:
In recent years we have seen a kind of continual series of tiny ’68s..t.. After the Zapatista world revolution—they called it the Fourth World War—began in ’94, such mini-’68s began happening so thick and fast the process almost seemed to have become institutionalized: Seattle, Genoa, Cancun, Quebec, Hong Kong…
And insofar as it was indeed institutionalized, by global networks the Zapatistas
had helped set up, it was on the basis of a kind of small-a anarchism based on
principles of decentralized direct democracy and direct action. The prospect of facing a genuine global democratic movement seems to have so frightened the
US authorities, in particular, that they went into veritable panic mode. There is
of course a traditional antidote to the threat of mass mobilization from below. You start a war. It doesn’t really matter who the war is against. The point is just to have one; preferably, on as wide a scale as possible.. t.. In this case the US government had the extraordinary advantage of a genuine pretext – a ragtag crew of hitherto largely ineffective right-wing Islamists who, for once in history, had attempted a wildly ambitious terrorist scheme and actually pulled it off. Rather than simply track down those responsible, the US began throwing
billions of dollars of armament at anything in sight. Ten years later, the resulting paroxysm of imperial overstretch appears to have undermined the very basis of the American Empire. What we are now witnessing is the process of that empire’s collapse.
It is, accordingly, a mistake to talk about the “death” of networked movements like
Occupy. Even asking “What happened to Occupy?” or “What happened to M15?” as though they were discrete entities with a beginning and an end reflects a misconception as to their nature. It makes more sense to think of the whole trajectory of movements including the Arab Spring, M15 and Syntagma, Madison, Occupy, and its successors, as one loose global network of associated networked movements..t
Here’s how Nathan Schneider described the phenomenon in an interview:
What did Occupy Wall Street succeed at? What did it fail at?
It very powerfully succeeded at introducing activists from around the country to one another and turned a lot of people into activists that weren’t before. It produced a tremendous number of networks, both online and offline, which continue to mobilize people on a number of fronts, though few are still called Occupy. It also won a ton of disparate victories in communities across the country, from small and large labor disputes, a dramatic reduction in stop and frisks in New York, to the overturning of regulations concerning the policing of the homeless in various cities. It strengthened and encouraged various types of political organization as well as turned movements into international networks around the world that didn’t exist before.
The most important thing to remember, as Graeber pointed out, is that “once people’s political horizons have been broadened, the change is permanent.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans (and not only Americans, of course, but Greeks, Spaniards, and Tunisians) now have direct experience of self-organization, collective action, and human solidarity. This makes it almost impossible to go back to one’s previous life and see things the same way. .t..While the world’s financial and political elites skate blindly toward the next 2008-scale crisis, we’re continuing to carry out occupations of buildings, farms, foreclosed homes, and workplaces—temporary or permanent—organizing rent strikes, seminars, and debtors’ assemblies, and in doing so, laying the groundwork for a genuinely democratic culture, and introducing the skills, habits, and experience that would make an entirely new conception of politics come to life.
The horizontal movements of the last few decades differ from the revolutionary
movements of the 19th and early 20th centuries, among other ways, in that the methods of struggle are becoming more and more prefigurative—in Marina Sitrin’s words, movements that are creating the future in their present social relationships. Unlike past movements, social change isn’t deferred to a later date by demanding reform from the state, or by taking state power and eventually, instituting these reforms…. [T]heir strategy for the creation of a new society is not grounded in either state dependency or the taking of power to create another state. Their intention is, to borrow John Holloway’s phrase, to change the world without taking power..t
Sitrin, in the Introduction to her book of the same name, says horizontalidad was a word coined to reflect the principles of the new social movements in Argentina, “a break with vertical ways of organizing and relating” based on “democratic communication on a level plane.” Movements based on “horizontalism” are
prefigurative revolutionary movements; movements, that create the future in the
present. These new movements are not creating party platforms or programs….
Writing in retrospect about the post-Seattle anti-globalization movement in 2005, Michel Bauwens anticipated many of the most remarked-on features of the Arab Spring and Occupy:
A key underlying philosophy of the movement is the paradigm of non-
representationality. In classic modern political ideology, participating members elect representatives, and delegate their authority to them. Decisions taken by
councils of such representatives then can take binding decisions, and are
allowed to speak ‘for the movement’. But such a feature is totally absent from the alter globalisation movement. No one… can speak for anyone else, though they can speak in their own name. Another distinguishing feature, is that we can no longer speak of ‘permanent organizations’. .t..
While unions, political movements, and international environmental and human rights NGO’s do participate, and have an important role, the movement innovates by mobilizing many unaffiliated individuals, as well as all kinds of temporary ad hoc groups created within or without the internet….
A commonly heard criticism is that ‘they have no alternative’, but this in fact reflects their new approach to politics. The main demand is not for specifics, though that can occasionally be part of a consensus platform (such as ‘abandoning the debt for developing countries’), more importantly is the underlying philosophy, that ‘another world is possible’, but that what is most important is not asking for specific alternative, but rather for an open process of world governance that is not governed by the power politics and private interests of the elite, but determined by all the people in an autonomous fashion that recognized the wide diversity of desired futures..t
“Rather than looking for a ‘to do’ list that will be implemented by someone else, they are building their own power ‘to do‘….t
Tom Hayden, writing in 1966, sketched out a Movement centered not on the industrial proletariat, but on the poor of all races–and particularly the rural southern black poor and the poor of the northern ghettoes..t
cc @jack (from twitter thread today – on homeless in san fran)
Alongside the poor, another major component of Hayden’s Movement was radical students rejecting the Organization Man lifestyle of their parents, which they were expected to pursue as a matter of course. And the role of students went beyond alliance with the poor in support of the latter’s goals.
The working class’s struggle was for freedom from work— leisure..t
Davidson sets aside the facile debate over whether the Internet was created by the state or the market, and quotes Steven Johnson that it is actually the first large-scale artifact of peer production:
So was the Internet created by Big Government or Big Capital? The answer is:
Neither. Peer networks break from the conventions of states and corporations in several crucial respects. They lack the traditional economic incentives of the private sector: almost all of the key technology standards are not owned by any one individual or organization, and a vast majority of contributors to open-source projects do not receive direct compensation for their work. (The Harvard legal scholar Yochai Benkler has called this phenomenon “commons-based peer production.”) And yet because peer networks are decentralized, they don’t suffer from the sclerosis of government bureaucracies. [Graeber on “everyday communism”]..t
Paul Mason also sees post-capitalism as something emerging primarily through an
evolutionary process similar to the emergence of the feudal from the classical political economy and the capitalist from the feudal, rather than the revolutionary models of the twentieth century.
Capitalism… will not be abolished by forced-march techniques. It will be abolished by creating something more dynamic that exists, at first, almost unseen within the old system, but which breaks through, reshaping the economy around new values, behaviours and norms..t..
As with feudalism 500 years ago, capitalism’s demise will be accelerated by external shocks and shaped by the emergence of a new kind of human being. And it has started.
The socialists of the early twentieth century were absolutely convinced that nothing preliminary was possible within the old system. ‘The socialist system,’ Preobrazhensky once insisted categorically, ‘cannot be built up molecularly within the world of capitalism.’ The most courageous thing an adaptive left could do is to abandon that conviction. It is entirely possible to build the elements of the new system molecularly within the old.In the
cooperatives, the credit unions, the peer-networks, the unmanaged enterprises and the parallel, subcultural economies, these elements already exist.
Michel Bauwens and Franco Iacomella of the Foundation for Peer-to-Peer Alternatives have worked out a sophisticated theoretical model of how such a transition will take place.Commons-based peer production is a post-capitalist mode of production that will succeed capitalism, growing out of it in a matter analogous to how the manorial economy emerged from the collapse of the slave economy of classical antiquity and capitalism emerged from late feudalism. And like the previous transitions, peer-production will evolve as a solution to the crisis tendencies of late capitalism when the latter reaches its limits.
The first transition: Rome to feudalism –
..the phase transition goes something like this: 1) systemic crisis ; 2) exodus 3) mutual reconfiguration of the classes.
The second transition: feudalism to capitalism
In short, we have the same scheme: 1) Systemic crisis; 2) Exodus; 3) Mutual reconfiguration of classes; 4) After a long period of re-orientation and phase transitions: the political revolutions that configure the new capitalist system as dominant
Hypothesis of a third transition: capitalism to peer to peer
Again, we have a system faced with a crisis of extensive globalization, where nature itself has become the ultimate limit. It’s way out, cognitive capitalism, shows itself to be a mirage. What we have then is an exodus, which takes multiple forms: precarity and flight from the salaried conditions; disenchantement with the salaried condition and turn towards
passionate production. The formation of communities and commons are shared knowledge, code and design which show themselves to be a superior mode of social and economic organization. The exodus into peer production creates a mutual reconfiguration of the classes. A section of capital becomes netarchical and ‘empowers and enables peer production’, while attempting to extract value from it, but thereby also building the new infrastructures of
cooperation. This process will take time but there is one crucial difference: the biosphere will not allow centuries of transition. So the maturation of the new configuration will have to consolidate faster and the political revolutions come earlier.
Perhaps the most important form of artificial scarcity today is so-called “intellectual property,” which is a legal monopoly on the right to perform certain tasks or use certain knowledge, rather than engrossment of the means of production themselves..Artificial scarcity, like artificial abundance, is becoming increasingly unsustainable. Copyright is rapidly becoming unenforceable..
Intensive growing techniques like Permaculture are far more efficient in terms of output per acre than factory-farming, thus reducing the necessity and value of engrossed land for people to feed themselves.
“Cognitive capitalism” is increasingly dependent on p2p productive relations and
communications infrastructures, and is attempting to incorporate them into its old corporate framework as a way of injecting life into the dying system. But it is a force that cannot be contained within the institutional framework of the old society, and can only come into its full development as the basis for a successor society.
why cognitive..? and why capitalism..?
i’m thinking we focus too much on intellect
practices. It can be argued that the adoption of P2P processes is in fact essential for competitiveness.. P2P is both ‘within’ and ‘beyond’ the current system.. – bauwens
please no.. competition as killer/disturbance or symptom of those
Some of the more “progressive” elites see “cognitive capitalism” as a way out of the crisis, but it simply isn’t a viable alternative. Although cognitive capitalism needs P2P, “it cannot cope with it very well, and often P2P is seen as a threat….t [W]hile being part and parcel of the capitalist and postmodern logics, it also already points beyond it….” – bauwens
What this announces is a crisis of value, most such value is beyond measure, but also essentially a crisis of accumulation of capital. Furthermore, we lack a mechanism for the existing institutional world to re-fund what it receives from the social world. So on top of all of that, we have a crisis of social reproduction: *peer production is collective sustainable, but not individually. For all of this, **we will need new policies, major reforms and restructurations in our economy and society..t
But ***one thing is sure: we will have markets, but the core logic of the emerging experience economy, operating as it does in the world of non-rival exchange, is unlikely to have capitalism as its core logic. It can no longer grow extensively, but it cannot replace it by intensive growth. The history of slave empires and their transition to feudal structures is about to repeat itself, but in a different form… – bauwens
*as it should be
***not sure i get this.. but i think i disagree
The common is a positive externality created by the multitude, which capital parasitizes on. But more importantly, the multitude creates this social capital faster than capital can enclose it, and thus builds a new society in part outside the boundaries of capital. – hardt & negri..t
Paul Mason, who comes from an autonomist background, takes a similar view of capitalism’s contradictions in Postcapitalism. The technologies and institutions of post-capitalism are unleashing productive forces that cannot be contained within the productive relations of capitalism, and therefore must eventually “burst out of their capitalist integument” and become the basis for a fundamentally new system.
And like Bauwens and Iacomella, he (mason) sees capitalism attempting to prolong its own life by incorporating the new technologies and social relationships into a corporate institutional structure, and enclosing them as a source of rents.
Once you can copy and paste something, it can be reproduced for free.
Like the classical slave economy and feudalism, capitalist political economy is reaching crises of extensive inputs and will be supplanted by a successor system that is able to pursue intensive use of inputs in ways its predecessor couldn’t. And the phase transition includes an “Exodus” very much like that envisioned (as we will see below) by Negri and Hardt.
As in previous transitions, the gravedigger mode of production and the gravedigger class which are driving the old system to crisis are also the core of the successor system which is emerging from it. Much as when “Marx identified the manufacturing plants of Manchester as the blueprint for the new capitalist society,” *Bauwens sees commons-based peer production as the core logic of the post-capitalist successor society..t
With P2P, people voluntarily and cooperatively construct a commons according to the communist principle: “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.“..t
i agree with this.. but no measureing.. or we get the communism we fear
The basic principles of the emerging post-capitalist economy, with the peer-to-peer
movement as its core, are: “Firstly, there is the mutualisation of knowledge, the idea that it is unethical to withhold basic keys of knowledge that could solve the problems of the world. “The second key point of open-source is called the `sharing economy’. It involves mutualising idle resources. “The third point is relocalising production.
i think there’s too much emphasis on knowledge and productivity..
It’s a twist on the traditional economic paradigm of supply and demand.
“At present we have a supply-driven economy in which companies either respond to
real needs or try to create a perception of need; they centralise production, have massive over-production then require marketing and advertising to get rid of products. “Studies have shown that two-thirds of matter and energy go into the transportation of goods, not their actual production. If we can diminish that transportation, we can have a much lighter impact on the planet.”
so too .. diminish the production
The peer-to-peer vision relies upon the three major sectors of society—the state, market and civil society—but with different roles and in a revitalized equilibrium.
i don’t see market and state in an undisturbed ecosystem.. i think if we zoom out meta enough.. and trust self org.. we’ll be needing/making less.. and no one will have to org the big picture (initially we will because currently we’re all intoxicated whales in sea world)
because of the pathological and destructive nature of profit-maximizing corporations, in the P2P economy this private sphere is reformed to serve more ethical ends by using proper taxation, revenue and benefit-sharing
modalities to help generate positive externalities, e.g., infrastructure, shareable knowledge, and by using taxation, competition, and rent-for-use to minimize negative externalities, e.g., pollution, overuse of collective resources.
that would compromise us.. we’d get right back to where we started..
we have other options..
The markets will be non-capitalist—without the artificially cheap material inputs and the artificial scarcity of naturally free information—and the state will increasingly take on the character of a networked support platform in its relationship to self-managed, horizontal civilsociety organizations.
● A powerful and re-invigorated sphere of reciprocity (gift-economy) centered around the introduction of time-based complementary currencies.
● A reformed sphere for market exchange, the kind of ‘natural capitalism’ described
by Paul Hawken, David Korten and Hazel Henderson, where the costs for natural
and social reproduction are no longer externalized, and which abandons the growth
any measured exchange will compromise us
● A reformed state that operates within a context of multistakeholdership and which
is no longer subsumed to corporate interests, but act as a fair arbiter between the
Commons, the market and the gift economy.
no arbiters (a person who settles a dispute or has ultimate authority in a matter. and no market/gift)
It is very important here to distinguish the market from capitalism. Markets predate
capitalism, and are a simple technique to allocate resources through the meeting of supply and demand *using some medium of exchange..t
The *allocation mechanism is compatible with a wide variety of other, eventually dominant systems. It is compatible with methods of “just pricing,” full or “true cost accounting” (internalization of all costs), fair trade, etc. It does not require that labor and money be considered as commodities nor that workers be separated from the means of production. Markets can be subsumed to other logics and modalities such as the state or the commons.
In the vision of a commons-oriented society, the market is subsumed under the
dominant logic of the commons and regulated by the Partner State….The essential characteristic of the new system is that the commons is the new core, and a variety of hybrid mechanisms can productively coexist around it, including reformed market and state forms.
i think that would mess with us.. getting us right back to where we are now..
But everything we’ve considered in this section so far involves a *god’s eye view of the transition process. The question remains, for us down here on the ground, of **what forms of praxis are proper to that state of affairs.
Most of the thinkers we’ve considered who believe in a long-term, gradual transition to post-capitalism also tend to emphasize institution-building and prefigurative politics rather than an insurrectionary approach.
Thus, if there is an ‘offensive’ strategy it would look like this: to build the commons, day after day, the process of creating of a society within society. In this context, the emergence of the internet and the web, is a tremendous step forward….
Regarding the commons such an approach would entail:
1) a defense of the physical commons and the development of new institutions such as *trusts to manage the environment;
2) an end to exaggerated private appropriation of the knowledge commons;
3) **a universal basic income to create the conditions for the expansion of peer
4) any measure that speeds up the distribution of capital.
**only as temp placebo.. so that people can quit thinking about money.. otherwise right back where we are now
This is why happiness researchers show that it is not poverty that makes us unhappy, but inequality.
Thus, the P2P ethos demands a conversion, to a point of view, to *a set of skills,
which allow us to focus ourselves to fulfilling our immaterial and spiritual needs directly, and not through a perverted mechanism of consumption..t.. As we focus on friendships, connections, love, knowledge exchange, the cooperative search for wisdom, the construction of common resources and use value, we direct our attention away from the artificial needs that are currently promoted, and this time we personally and collectively stop feeding the Beast that we have ourselves created. – bauwens
But although his approach is closer to the Exodus and horizontalism of Negri and Hardt, it is not purely one of quietism towards the state. Bauwens sees a need for active engagement with the state to manage the transition and to run interference on behalf of emergent P2P institutions, even if the primary path is evolutionary rather than by seizure of the state and implementation of a post-capitalist successor society through it. Mason also sees the state playing a vital role in managing the transition, certainly to a greater degree than in Holloway’s model, or in Negri and Hardt’s horizontalist vision. All the individual elements—cooperatives, peer-networks, and the like—will only coalesce into post- capitalism if “we… promote them with regulation just as vigorous as that which capitalism used to drive the peasants off the land or destroy handicraft work in the eighteenth century.”40
Post-capitalism may offer an “escape route”—
In fact what Mason calls the “wiki-state”42 is a lot like the “Partner State” that Bauwens advocates. It’s in keeping with a long line of visions that fall under the general heading of (in Saint-Simon’s’s phrase) “replacing the domination of man over man with the administration of things.” The wiki-state, much like the Partner State, is more a support platform than an issuer of commands..t
so perhaps.. hosting-life-bits
And to give him credit, he at least leaves some rhetorical wiggle room for finding ground with us full-blown anarchists. What happens to the state? It probably gets less powerful *over time — and in the end its functions are assumed by society. I’ve tried to make this a project usable both by people who see states as useful and those who don’t; you could probably model an anarchist version and a statist version and try them out. – bauwens
i’m thinking if not gone in *a year ish.. then doing it wrong.. ie: short bp
Finally, most of these thinkers have largely abandoned, along with the Old Left’s emphasis on insurrectionary transitions or abrupt changes of regime, the distinction between “reform” and “revolution.”
Paul Mason speaks, in terms that echo Andre Gorz’s “non-reformist reforms,” of policy measures that simultaneously promote postcapitalist transition and liberal capitalism: In the event of a city like Barcelona adopting a basic income and promoting commons-based peer production, he asks, Would capitalism collapse?
No. The desperate, frantic “survival capitalists” would go away—the rip-off
consultancies; the low-wage businesses; the rent-extractors. But you would attract the most innovative capitalists on earth, and you would make the city vastly more livable for the million-plus people who call it home. – mason
Indeed Negri and Hardt, in Multitude, treat the distinction between reform and revolution itself as meaningless: There is no conflict here between reform and revolution. We say this not because we think that reform and revolution are the same thing, but that in today’s conditions they cannot be separated. Today the historical processes of transformation are so radical that even reformist proposals can lead to revolutionary change. And when democratic reforms of the global system prove to be incapable of providing the bases of a real democracy, they
demonstrate even more forcefully that a revolutionary change is needed and make it even more possible. It is useless to rack our brains over whether a proposal is reformist or revolutionary; what matters is that it enters into the constituent process. – multitude
I would add that books could be written — and I think a couple actually have been by Kropotkin at least — on how the commons was the fundamental basis of human society from the first neolithic open field villages until the rise of class differentiation and the state, t.. and that successive systems of class exploitation and class states since then have been parasitic layers extracting surpluses from the commons.
In either form of peasant proprietorship, as it existed before robbery and enclosure, “the individuals relate not as workers but as proprietors –”.. “The property in
one’s own labour is mediated by property in the condition of labour…” flowing from one’s membership in the commune.
Conversely, the renascence of the commons and expansion of the commons circuit
presupposed reuniting productive property with commoners, and reincorporation of the..means of production into the commons..t
i don’t see this as viable to commoning
He (deangelis) calls for a social revolution based on the “multiplication of existing commons,” and “coming together and interlacing of the different commons so as to leverage social powers and constitute ecology and scale” and “growing commons powers vis-a-vis capital and the state.”
The process of social revolution is ultimately a process of finding solutions to the problems that capital systems cannot solve….
For sustained social change to occur, commons ecologies need to develop and intensify their presence in social space up to a point where they present a viable alternative for most people. This point is the point of critical mass..t
In short, emancipatory social transportation is predicated not only on increasing complexity, but also on the *multiplication of commons governing such a complexity.
i’m not sure if you govern complexity.. unless.. you’re talking *limit approaching infinity and/or 7bn commoning .. at least
I. The Split Within Autonomism
II. The Shift From the Factory to Society as the Main Locus of Productivity
III. Negri et al vs. the Commons
IV. Theoretical Implications
V. The Vulnerability of the Social Factory
VII. The Vulnerability of the Social Factory to the “Outside.”
VIII. Note on Synthesis.
now also a ch 6 part 2 – practical: Chapter 6. The Age of Exodus 4: Interstitial Development and Exodus over Insurrection (Part 2 — Practical) (epub)
IX. Post-1968 (-1994?) Movements
XI. The Question of Engagement With the State
unlike that of the maroons, this exodus does not necessarily mean going elsewhere. We can pursue a line of flight while staying right here, by transforming the relations of production and mode of social organization under which we live..t
Negri and Hardt, in an extended passage, explain that the purpose of today’s movements is not the conquest of power but exodus from it:..t
..It was not just a matter of
“winning hearts and minds,” in other words, but rather of creating new hearts
and minds through the construction of new circuits of communication, new
forms of social collaboration, and new modes of interaction. In this process we
can discern a tendency toward moving beyond the modern guerrilla model
toward more democratic network forms of organization….
Unlike the old revolutionary movements, the new horizontal movements aren’t fighting to capture anything..t.. The following description refers specifically to Occupy, but applies more generally to all the horizontalist movements of the past two decades:
..One of the most telling formulations regarding the Occupy movement comes
from Yotam Marom, when he writes that, ‘Occupation in general, as a tactic, is a
really brilliant form of dual-power struggle because the occupation is both a
home where we get to practice the alternative—by practicing a participatory
democracy, by having our radical libraries, by having a medical tent where
anybody can get treatment, that kind of thing on a small level—and it’s also a
staging ground for struggle outwards’.
Despite some hat tipping to the old guerrilla army model in their nomenclature, “their (zapatistas) goal has never been to defeat the state and claim sovereign authority but rather to change the world without taking power.”t
The very notion of direct action, with its rejection of a politics which appeals to
governments to modify their behaviour, in favour of physical intervention
against state power in a form that itself prefigures an alternative—all of this
emerges directly from the libertarian tradition. Anarchism is the heart of the
movement, its soul; the source of most of what’s new and hopeful about it.
This, the Declaration made clear, was ‘not an organizing structure; it has no
central head or decision maker; it has no central command or hierarchies. We
are the network, all of us who resist.’ – david graeber
as regards social evolution, the hour of revolution is not an hour of begetting but an hour of birth – provided there was a begetting beforehand. – buber
Chapter 7. Critiques From the Old Guard and Responses
I. The Growth of the Commons Sector as a Lifeline
II. Municipalism: The City as Commons and Platform
III. Local Case Studies: North America
IV. Local Case Studies: Europe
V. Building Blocks
VI. Municipalism & Commons-Based Local Economies in the Global South
There’s no need for us ever to go back to the capitalists’ factories, let alone fight for control of them. We can feed ourselves using intensive cultivation techniques like Permaculture on small amounts of land, and let the giant subsidized agribusiness plantations go back to prairie. We can produce for ourselves in neighborhood garage factories, home microbakeries, unlicensed cab companies, and the like, and let their giant factories full of obsolete machinery turn to rust.
As technological progress makes the physical capital required for production cheaper and cheaper, and brings it back within the realm of ownership by individuals and small cooperative groups—like the craft tools that prevailed before the industrial revolution—the main source of productivity becomes human cooperation itself, and knowledge as a commons.
and i’d say.. productivity and knowledge are both over rated.. and that’s distracting us from our potential.. i see commoning as rendering them both irrelevant
Mass and scale, and the seizure of major institutions from the ruling class, are no longer of primary importance. As I wrote elsewhere:
Our goal is not to assume leadership of existing institutions, but rather to render
them irrelevant. We don’t want to take over the state or change its policies. We
want to render its laws unenforceable. We don’t want to take over corporations and make them more “socially responsible.” We want to build a counter-
economy of open-source information, neighborhood garage manufacturing, Permaculture, encrypted currency and mutual banks, leaving the corporations to die on the vine along with the state. We do not hope to reform the existing order. We intend to serve as its grave-diggers
yeah .. that.. but.. no need for grave diggers for people.. (unless you just mean the institution).. this new/old way to live has to be for everyone.. something that everyone already craves..
David Graeber has been influenced by the same autonomist tradition Hardt and Negri come from. In response to Russell Brand’s query about formulating “a centralized revolutionary movement to coordinate transition,” he replied:
well, my own approach is to avoid constituting any sort of new authority, … my
dream is to create a *thousand autonomous institutions that can gradually take over the business of organizing everyday life, pretty much ignoring the authorities, until gradually the whole apparatus of state comes to seem silly, unnecessary...t
If the object of war is really the “destruction of the enemy,” that goal is best understood not in terms of physically destroying the enemy’s entire army soldier by soldier, but destroying its capabilities. And the best way to achieve that is by rendering the enemy’s army practically unusable by creating a strategic situation so advantageous that an attack would obviously be counter-productive. – liddel hart
or.. by creating a situation – way of living – everyone already craves.. ie: when they see it.. no desire to resist