the collective journal of Las Indias.
intro’d to Las Indias via Kevin Carson’s desktop regulatory state… esp ch 4.
things i’m learning from Las Indias:
distributed (rather than collective)
Maria Rodriguez (co-author of p2p production mode…
image from book (2012) & links to book:
– – – – from Kevin’s reg state – ch 4:
p. 4 – phyles: las indias and DAvid de Ugarte
.. the phyle itself could be consensually defined as a networked, distributed, small sized, hacker ethic empowered, internet born organism with high productivity and great resilience (which) has its own universe of myths, narratives and tools…
p. 5 – the las indias cooperative arose from the cyberpunk milieu in europe, centered in berlin, and more particularly spanish circles affiliated with it:
a time ago, in the far, far days of the falling of communism some cyberpunk young people started in berlin a kind of small virtual community trying to understand what was happening in the world. with the years it developed into an ezine and a civil rights’ cyberactivist group )de Ugarte, from my ninja please interview).
las indias is the result of the spanish-speaking cyberpunk movement. originally a civil rights group, during the late 90’s it became strongly influenced by Juan Urrutia’s “economics of abundance” theory. very soon, we linked “abundance” with the idea of empowerment in distributed networks. we are very clear on this point: it is not the internet by itself, it is the distributed p2p architecture that allows the new commons (de Ugarte, from shareable interview).
p. 6 – the business would be the economic structure of the community we were creating, and as such, would have all the sources of wealth and income; we would not have – and still don’t have – savings, properties, or personal clients. the cooperative is our community savings and he only owner of all that we enjoy. with the passage of time and the growth of the indies’ community and economy, the first indies headquarters appeared with the same spirit: wide[open common facilities, with accommodations and offices, personal and common spaces all as property shared among everyone. in short: economically, we’re closer to a kibbutz that to the big cooperatives at mondragon
p. 7 – las indias is a phyle based largely in the spanish-speaking world, with it s tow primary physical bases in madrid and montevideo. as the members of the phyle explained in the my ninja please interview:
David de Ugarte: they are the first two dots of a distributed network of places, offices, business and social infrastructures e are dedicated to build. probably the third one will be in africa.. or maybe in ohter part of america. more dots: more security for our way of living more welfare for us, more social action in our everyday’s social environment.. more phyle we will be
p. 8 – the term platform probably gives too weak an idea of the relation between the phyle and its enterprises. as de Ugarte’s reference to the phyle as “owner” of the cooperatives suggests, it is not just a secondary network built on member oops as primary units; the cooperative enterprises bear the same intimate relationship to the phyle that their counterparts to in the mondragon system or kibbutzim
indianos are communities that are similar to kibbutzim )no individual savings, collective and democratic control of their own coops, etc.)..
when it is time to make decisions about the common structure and its resources, the indianos act as freely associated people, each one speaks,contributes, and participates in decisionmaking for him/herself. the demos for the indiano economic structure is made up exclusively of indianos, and not groups, projects, or structures
p. 10 – the distributed network architecture is intended to achieve maximum freedom and autonomy for the participating communities, by avoiding dependence on some single node (which would generate “control and dependence”).
as a result of the evolution from a virtual community (cyberpunk movement), we never had a unique location or a national identity.
p. 11 – talking about obstacle – just as ip, then says: the alternative will not be build through govt regulations, but inside our own networks. it will not defeat the corporate organization through courts or elections, but through competition.
i don’t get that. i don’t see anything enduring coming through competition. what am i missing?
Natalia Fernandez: the cooperative group is the legal form that orders our economic activity. in our organization, people are above companies, this means we organize ourselves according to out needs. the happiness and welfare of each of us is above the economic benefit. this allows us to decline those well-paid jobs that do not satisfy us and this also allows us to build together a free and full life.
the lifestyle combines a much lower material footprint and cost of living with a high quality of life, largely through ephemeralization and informalization. that means, in particular, a shift toward low-rent housing and a quality of life based mainly on immaterial goods. a large share of the things they consider indispensable for a high quality of life are free, abundant, non-rival goods.
p. 12 – the hacker ethic represents the values of a distributed network world and forms our way to understand cooperativism. we would sum it up as: […] 3) the freedom of doing as fundamental value: against the existing institutions we don’t demand things to be done, we do it by ourselves and if there is a claim, it would be to eliminate the obstacles of any kind that stop us from building the necessary skills to develop freedom and well-being in our environment.
of the obstacle Rodriguez mentions, “probably one of the most important is the existence of artificial monopolies established by law, like intellectual property and copyrights. it’s another way to create artificial shortage that benefits a few, using the repressive power of the state. accordingly, las indias advocates a progressive reduction in patent and copyright laws to the point of “their complete extinction.”
the internal democracy of the phyle is based on principles of distributed intelligence and deliberation.
David de Ugarte: i believe in deliberation as the way to develop a common open source intelligence by a community.
deliberation means long term discussion without the urgency of taking a decision.
..a permanent and open deliberation – what you can see in our chat rooms, blogs and newsgroups – leads, in time, to consensus, but also to a great diversity of personal positions and points of view.
we try to build from these consensus a guide for decisions on scarcity (economy_ but we also know that our most precious treasure is diversity.
Maria Rodriguez: i believe distributed intelligence. ants or bees use to be associated with collective intelligence, but we are non hierarchical, we are plurispecialists, we are multifunctionals.
Jose F. Alcantara: if there’s a way of improving the intelligence we all own as single persons, it is not to aggregate them as they used to toll us on “the wisdom of crowds”. no, if there’s something that really makes a difference is the intelligence you give birth when different people put their efforts on a distributed way. under this architecture, when yo let people work and coordinate their efforts freely, synergies emerge. whether it is or not something higher, the only think i’ll admit is that its..
success is not based on collective efforts, but on the way you let them interact:
..the distributed architecture is the key.
Natalia Fernandez: the key word would be “distributed” instead of collective. connect all nodes, eliminate the hierarchy and you’ll be allowing that ll knowledge to flow through the members of the network.
How they resolve the tension between mechanical elements—structures—and organic—interpersonal relationships—is the difference between a community that empowers its members and one that drains them.
Anything that can be “org-charted” is a antibiotic that should be carefully reserved for times of need, because just as it allows us to confront extraordinary limitations, its prolonged use hopelessly weakens the body that we’re trying to care for.
The problem with the mechanical conception of community isn’t just that it destroys real communities that decide to adopt it, but it destroys the whole field of meanings around community values by association.
in the end, what is unbearable is the logic of scarcity as the governor of life in common because it’s inevitably going to create an intimate ideology that will see every decision as a “zero-sum game”. Regarding the rest of the world, what’s left of all mechanical communitarianism is the same thing that’s left of monasticism: the idea that a community is a zero-sum game where, when the “community” wins, the individual loses. So, when tensions become unsustainable, the crisis always blows up due to fairly rapacious and suicidal individualism, but ultimately, isolating, myopic, and defeatist individualism.
the highest poverty ness
if we need it to tell others what we are, normally it’s because we have an over-scaling problem. If we tell ourselves what we are by using it, we don’t value the real community that supposedly is are underneath–the individuals and organic relationships that make it.
@ for everyone!! But the way is not to inforce nationalism and unequality but to change how we produce (read the manifesto pl)
so..reading the manifesto:
- The dilemma of our time
- Abundance within reach
- Never before in History of humanity have technical capacities been as potent and accessible to common people as today. … The “hacker ethic,” as it was termed at the turn of the century, inspired the birth of first universal public good to be intentionally constructed by our species: free software, which, by itself, has meant a transfer of knowledge and technology greater than all developmental aid from rich countries…..And, yet, not even the other great crisis of the last hundred years—the one that started with the “Crash of ’29″—created such discontent, such a dark spirit, and so much widespread pessimism. *1Neither admonitions nor hope work any longer to create attractive narratives. Well-being has ceased to be a credible expectation of analysts’ predictions or political parties’ options, whether old or new. All lines of contention have been shown to be futile for the common people. We’re entering a time in which no narrative can be believed if can’t demonstrate, here and now, that it successfully allows a new generation to develop and live decently through work.
- Inequality, unemployment and demoralization
- And, if anything has been really global over the last ten years, it’s been the experience of social decomposition. ….Work has ceased to be considered the center of collective action, the origin of personal autonomy, and each person’s contribution to society. ……*2It has gone from being universally considered the center of social organization to being perceived as facing extinction, from being experienced as the basis of personal realization to being seen as a source of anguish…..In a world where being able to contribute to the common well-being, work is talked about as if it was a privilege, and the only way of building a life seems to be getting rents. Rents are not just any income, but an opportunistic and undeserved position, a extraordinary benefit produced outside of the value that one contributes. Rents are the benefits created by big businesses thanks to made-to-fit regulations or monopolies that only exist by legal imposition, like intellectual property. Rents are “incentives” that are decided on and inflated by the same directors that receive them, or the consequences in cold, hard cash of belonging to certain social spheres where certain positions and contracts, public or private, can be accessed. Rents easily become cumulative and create a spiral of inequality when access to information and education depends on personal income, or when competition to assure them is systematically restricted, as the State routinely does in key sectors like energy, telecommunications or the media.In a world of rents, everything looks like a zero-sum game, where one wins because others lose. Distrust of everything and everyone, institutions and people, is the norm. It shows an individualism of the worst kind, for which life is senseless, and mere survival.
- What is decomposing is not only the economic system, but what the human experience means
- It’s not just social cohesion that’s decomposing. *3The rules of the economic system are decomposing, and with them, the human experience and what it means to be human in our time. *4It’s the inability of the economic system to create a future for everyone the that produces loneliness and distrust of everyone; it’s the pettiness of a system in which businesses depend on the benefits they get thanks to rents more than selling their products, or on eliminating competitors more than improve themselves, that produces lives of dependency, begging, and voracity.
- Capitalism and its critics
- Capitalism shaped the world because, before changing the State, it was able to create a new form of human experience
- In the first place, capitalism made a commodity of land, the principle means of production of the times. .. with it, the real community of the family, the clan or the village, in which everyone knows each other by face and name, because they are linked to them by interpersonal relationships and affection. ….Secondly, work became indistinguishable from whoever did it, because of the homogenization of the processes in the new productive space of society: the factory. The new relationship with work and, through it, with society and nature, was impersonal and anonymous, and no longer had to do with “being,” with lineage, or with geography. The vacuum created by the dilution of the servant, the communard and the guild craftsman was filled by a new abstract human type: the “individual.”*5Although it may sound strange today, that whole advance—which allowed humanity to grow in number, well-being, and knowledge like never before—was produced thanks to making a commodity of everything that, until then, had not been, like land, which hadn’t usually been rented or sold, only possessed.
- Revolutionaries that loved crises and large scales
- But those revolutionaries saw something more: the growth of capitalism, in the first place, wasn’t the least bit linear. Its crises, like all prior crises, produced underconsumption (scandalous, miserable situations for those excluded from production). But, in contrast to the crises of agrarian societies, capitalist crises weren’t crises of under-production, but of “over-production”: it’s not that the factories couldn’t produce enough for the needs of all, it’s that the very dynamic of the economic system made it impossible for them to sell it to the great masses that needed it, because they didn’t have the money to buy what was produced. …… the proletariat would take control of the State with one purpose: to direct a massive process of decommodification, giving way to a society of abundance where the essential purpose of production was to serve this or that need, instead of being sold as objects and services for a price……..Marx and Kropotkin never proposed to to close the factories. They thought that crises of overproduction signaled a limit of capitalism, ….*6 They thought that by eliminating the commodity nature of objects, the “productive forces would be released,” which is to say, that productivity would be developed even more, and with it knowledge, well-being, etc. The very scale of production would also develop, until it constituted a great global factory-State, so productive that it could satisfy the material needs of all humanity with nothing more than volunteer work…..Nothing of the sort happened. No “global revolution” took place. Since 1871, there were local and national revolutions in which communists and anarchists looked for its first signs.
- The history we weren’t told
- The new world will be born and affirmed inside the old
- Decades before the first socialist and libertarian groups of any weight were formed, an alternative trend had started down a long path with a very different focus: communitarianism…………..*7The basic idea of communitarianism is that the new world will be born and grow inside the old. Profound changes in social and economic relationships—system changes—are not the product of revolutions and political changes. It happens the other way around: systemic political changes are the expression of new forms of social organizing, new values, and ways of working and living, that have reached enough maturity to be able to establish a broad social consensus. As of a certain point in development, a “competition between systems” is established. ….For communitarians, egalitarian forms should accompany capitalism in its evolution as a parallel society, not as a utopia—the promise of a society to come—except as a heterotopia: a different, alternative social place, with values and ways of its own. …….*8The first objective was always to show the feasibility of a decommodified life, “here and now,” on any scale. Communitarianism is not centered on creating political parties, but networks of small productive egalitarian communities. The maxim of economic organization comes to be “from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs”: communities of goods, revenue, and savings are established, production is organized by consensus, and from the beginning, the highest diversification is sought to serve the diversity of personal needs and gain autonomy for all.
- New relationships, here and now
- From 1849 to today, egalitarian communities have always been working: Icarian communities, Russian artels, Israeli kibbutzim, US, Japanese, or German egalitarian farms… *9They’ve been on practically all continents, they’ve had different names and nuances in different times and places, they’ve been through all manner of crises, and their members have made enormous sacrifices. In place of the centrality of the class nature of the collectivist narrative, they wrote a story of their community and their experience, which gave substance to the central idea of constructive socialism: building—here and now, within the community and between it and its surroundings—social and economic relationships that are desired or postulated as valid alternatives to the existing socioeconomic system, without delegating power to parties or organizational structures outside of the communities themselves. Without thinking of themselves as “experimental” or having detailed “roadmaps,” they have created a heritage and a culture themselves, little by little. They are the seeds of a society of abundance.In the framework of the young and expansive capitalism of the nineteenth century, or the capitalism of technological revolution and permanent war that followed up through the present, *10if these “decommodified islets” want to maintain their autonomy and approach abundance, they have to enter the market: to live without needing money at all within the community, they must learn to think like merchants outside of it. It’s no contradiction: being in the market is the only way to not lose the technological pace of the system they want to overcome. But, at the same time, it’s the way to bring the first cultural and technological fruits of the new society to the old society. It is, in many senses—including the moral, since it aspires to expand the improvement in living conditions to more people—the first step towards a *11competition between systems………..In contrast, communitarianism *12demonstrated from the first day the feasibility of an economic organization thought of in terms of the needs. …..The appearance of new ways of producing based on new forms of communal property—..put forth the notion that we are on the threshold of a new phase in which we will be able to change the nature of that competition between systems……*13But, above all, what justifies a new time for the development of communitarianism is an irreversible economic change that has been imposed gradually: the reduction of the optimal scales of production. This decline in the optimal productive scale explains the deep trends that have produced the current economic crises, and why the political and corporate responses are often times counterproductive. And any alternative is not centered on social class or the nation, but on community.
- Scale and scope
- From the era of economies of scale…
- ……technological development reduces the optimal dimensions, because the better the technology, the fewer resources—work hours, capital and raw material—are needed to produce the same quantity of products………………………Every time productive capacity increases, the benefit that each unit of product contributes is reduced, so to maintain or increase the total benefit, the owner has to produce even more quantity, which requires the incorporation of new machines and processes to reach a still-greater scale. Finally, according to these authors, when production approaches or even exceeds the potential size of the market, crises of overproduction erupt.This model, described for the first time by Marx, is known as “law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall.” ………However, underneath both models, revolutionary and reformist-nationalizing, was a presumption that would soon be shown to be erroneous: that in each cycle, greater effective demand would appear. …………Colonialism, by subjugating backward economies and tearing down trade barriers for British and French products, continuously increased the demand for manufactured products, overcoming the tendency to reduce the size of the productive units that drove technological development.
- …to the era of the inefficiencies of scale
- We could put the date of the change at 1914. …. The war that was about to break out was a “world war” precisely because it meant the end of the first stage of the configuration of a unified global market. —the evidence set about dismantling the idea that capitalism was constantly evolving towards increases in the scale of businesses.……… In every case, they were a shortcut to get production underway and reinvigorate industry after the enormous destruction left by the crisis and war. But they soon reached a ceiling, …….That was when economist Kenneth Boulding called attention to problems of communication, management, and control in large, pyramidal organizations. …..Following Boulding’s warnings, technological research then became centered on information science and data management, on communications, and on forms of work. The “information revolution” .. It wasn’t enough, however. ………This was when the set of policies called “neoliberalism” was designed. It was basically an attempt to confront the results of over-scaling in the other possible way: by expanding markets. What’s original about neoliberalism is that not only does it extend markets in space—through reduction of tariff barriers and creation of free-trade zones—but also over time, with the use of new tools such as “financialization.”
- Today, capital is too big for the real productive scale…
- …“exuberance of capital” that preceded the crash, a problem of excessive scale was manifested. Investment exuberance is a mass mirage produced by the hopelessness of investors who can’t find a place for their capital….. The State had deregulated financial activity for the benefit of the big banks beyond a reasonable point. …The result is a system that, even in midst of the crash, they contained their damage by abusing asymmetries of information and their power to set prices at the expense of their own customers. Today, eight years after the fall of Lehman Brothers, that system remains basically intact…….The root of the problem was that the financial system was also suffering form the inefficiencies of over-scaling: …The problem to solve was—and is— “placing” big piles of capital that couldn’t, and can’t, find enough projects of their size……The crisis of 2008 made clear the origin of the “decomposition” with which we begin this manifesto: the simultaneous destruction of the two main social institutions, the State and the market, by the hunger for rents of over-scaled companies—and financial companies are just the tip of the iceberg—which see in them the only way to make up for their own inefficiencies of scale. .
- … and the optimal scale is approaching community dimensions
- But if the result of neoliberal financial policies was object of a profound public scrutiny, what does not usually receive so much attention is how the information revolution joined the globalization of commerce in goods with the reduction of optimal scales to create a whole series of new productive forms. ….We can group these new forms around two broad trends: the “P2P mode of production” and the “direct economy.” The P2P mode of production replicates the free software model in all kinds of industries where knowledge condensed into design, software, creativity, blueprints, etc., is central to the creation of value; and can accumulate in a “immaterial universal commons” that can be improved, reformed, and used in alternative ways for many kinds of different projects…..This multifunctionality of tools and value chains—which is what economists call “scope”— is the key to the direct conomy, a way of creating products created by small groups and launching them on global markets by using, on the one hand, low-cost, adaptable, external industrial chains and free software and, on the other, advance sales systems or collaborative financing…………That is, before our eyes, before and after the large financial crisis, a new kind of small-scale industry has developed, which is characterized by being global and *14by getting capital and credit outside the financial system, some in collaborative financing platforms, others announcing their own pre-sales and getting donations in exchange for merchandising. In fact, it’s an industry of “free” capital, which doesn’t have to give up ownership of the business to the owners of capital because, on the one hand, it reduces its needs by using publicly available technological tools, like free software, and on the other, obtaining the little capital it needs in the form of advance sales and donations…………..Taken together, P2P production and the direct economy, two ways of substituting scale with scope, are the leading edge of a productive economy moving more and more quickly towards the reduction of scale. That makes them essential to understanding why communitarianism has a unique opportunity in the new century.
- Building abundance here and now
- Abundance has to do with production, not with consumption
- Abundance is an economic concept in the setting of production, not consumption. Abundance exists when an extra unit can be produced without that meaning a perceptible increase in costs. For economists, it can be reduced to a formula: “zero marginal cost.” …… It is at that theoretical moment, with zero price, when a business stops thinking about the market and starts to seek the maximization of meeting the human needs its products match……….That is, if the marginal cost approached zero, the products would be “decommodified,” would stop being commodities that have to be sold, ………….would lead to an economy centered on satisfying human needs: anyone could enjoy as much as they need without giving up anything…….This does not mean that capitalism tends to be “decommodified” by the mere *15effect of competition. But this extreme solution of a basic model of economic analysis is, in any case, very illuminating…….
- A scarce product in a decentralized network is abundant in a distributed network
- We should say that this example would only be true within a definable range of requests, but that if the number of people who want read our book were to pass a certain critical point, we would have to increase our bandwidth and the number of servers as well. So, if we look at it over the long term, these cost increases should be attributed to the units served. The marginal cost, the cost associated with the last copy distributed, wouldn’t be zero. Abundance, in that case, would have been just an illusion, a mirage, sort of like the cost of taking more person to work in our car: it’s practically zero… until the seats run out. Once the places are full, we need other car, or at least a bus ticket, for each additional person we’d like to transport. The marginal cost, the increase in costs for one more person, would be positive and easily perceptible……..This is doubtlessly the most important thing the Internet has taught us: the same product that is abundant in a distributed network certainly would not be in a centralized or decentralized network. And, conversely, what is scarce in a centralized or decentralized network, can be abundant in a distributed network……..Their conversion into free goods can’t help but have a profound effect on the whole productive system……That’s how, for example, the creation of free software works, as does the whole growing economy in general, the immense majority of it decommodified, that we include under the label “the P2P mode of production.”
- The “P2P mode of production” is the model for the production of abundance
- Although we are still far from general abundance, we have a model of the production of abundance for intangible goods and innovation—the “P2P mode of production.” ………This social and productive space around the “new digital commons” or simply, the “commons,” is today’s equivalent of the first cities and markets of the medieval bourgeoisie, a space where new non-commercial social relationships appeared, and the new logic, together with signs of autonomy, begin to show a limited but direct impact on productivity. Throughout the lower Middle Ages, the bourgeoisie was able to *16drive those cities to turn them, first, into a big “urban workshop,” and later, into “municipal democracies.” A similar historical task, now with a society of abundance as the goal, is what lies ahead for communitarianism……….This is because this whole reduction of scales brings the optimum size of productive units *17ever closer to the community dimension, and therefore, points to community as the protagonist of a society of abundance. And it is in community that we can understand why the struggle to overcome a socioeconomic system cannot be proposed as an electoral platform, revolutionary as it may be, but rather, *18happens in the setting of more profound competition: productivity.
- The two faces of productivity
- “Productivity” is a word that evokes rejection among large sectors of the population. For years, salaries have been reduced, workdays extended, and thousands of workers fired in the name of increasing productivity. It’s normal for the word to cause a shiver, because in stagnant situations, and in the capitalist framework, that’s exactly what it means………In reality, however, increasing *19productivity means being able to do more with fewer resources and is the measure of all systemic alternative. The famous “liberation of productive forces,” that the old revolutionaries expected to succeed capitalism, is nothing more than a general development of productivity. The engine of the increase in productivity is technological change, understood broadly to include forms of organizing and structures. From the community point of view, the center of the development of productivity today is in free software, in distributed networks, and in multipurpose, low-cost tools of production and chains: everything that brings us closer to abundance.
- Artificially creating scarcity has become a way of life for over-scaled industry
- …….but the content industries have held a legal and political grip for years, which costs them millions every year in lawyers and lobbyists, to be able to fence off such networks by law and jail their supporters………..an authentic society of abundance: an expression of skills motivated by the pleasure of enjoying interaction with others, the pleasure of learning, experimenting, and contributing. This it the opposite of the sophisticated form of slavery imposed by scarcity.
- Abundance is the magic that shines through the “hacker ethic”
- Anyone who has lived or spent enough time in an egalitarian community has sensed how abundance advances through the reduction of work forced by scarcity and its gradual substitution by work understood as a personal and voluntary expression of the pleasure of learning and contributing. When everything is communal and responsibility is shared, there is no division between life time and work time. You can be yourself, and development in work drives us to learn new things, in new fields, and continue advancing. Then we stop being mere “technicians” or “specialists” and become “multispecialists.” This is a way of developing intellectually that fits naturally not only with the reduction of scale, but above all with the development of scope, the capacity to create many different things with the same productive base. Multispecialization is progress towards the end of the atomization of knowledge that paralleled the division of labor to the limit in the industrial factory………Abundance is the magic that shines through the “hacker ethic” and assorted user groups. *20It’s no coincidence that a work ethic based on knowledge and enjoyment is extending beyond the communard world—where it always existed—coinciding with the social expansion of the Internet and the first forms of P2P production. The first cultural manifestations of distributed networks cultivated the pleasure of discovering all those applications of knowledge that do a lot of good but are not commodities. They celebrated these being valuable, because, even though they have a zero price, they reveal to us the fraternity of shared knowledge and, in in time, improve the life of thousands or millions of people………. The “hacker ethic” connected with P2P production shows how the development of abundance leads, right from day one, to the progressive abolition of labor forced by need.
- The path of abundance does not mean producing less
- Abundance has nothing to do with consumption and even less with consumerism.*21 In reality, consumerism is not a “state of capitalism,” but a compulsive form of consumption with which some people, reduced to isolated individuals when they reach the market, try to recover from anguish, loneliness, the anxiety of work without meaning, and an atomized way of life that, like the system that produces them, “aren’t going anywhere.” …… a myopic view: consumerism is not the center of the current economic system. It is the spiritual symptom, visible only in a privileged minority, of a more serious and widespread disease—the same one that produces the chronic underconsumption in which the majority of humanity continues to live and the environmental disasters that move them………To cure that disease does not mean producing less or “returning” to pre-capitalist technologies. To renounce the productivity conquered by scientific knowledge would mean more exclusion and poverty…..Quite to the contrary, *22we want to produce abundance here and now, on another scale and using another logic—those of the community and the needs of real people—developing more and more productive free technologies, because only with higher productivity will we be able to consume fewer non-renewable natural resources, fewer hours of labor forced by need, and less capital, while still taking responsibility for the well-being of others……*23If there’s anything we can’t renounce without making things worse, it’s abundance.
- What will we do about the overuse of natural resources?
- The end of the overuse of natural resources will not be reached by producing less or returning to outdated technologies, but on the path towards abundance……..This can be seen clearly in agricultural exploitation. In Israel, where the kibbutz and cooperative movement was the nucleus of agrarian production and the leader in technological innovation, production between 1948 and today multiplied by sixteenfold, three times more than the population. And while irrigated land went from 30,000 to 190,000 Ha, 12% less water is consumed. …………In the name of the imminent catastrophe, we needed to pay car companies for their infrastructure costs as they moved to electric cars, and give crazy subsi
- Connecting the dots
- If we connect the dots of economic change in our time, certainly the first thing that comes into view is a great crisis of scale in which large funds and companies of dysfunctional volume are asphyxiating the two main institutions of the system—the State and the market—and accelerating their global decomposition, decomposition that has enormous human and environmental costs. But if we expand the framework, we also see that the “globalization of the small,” free software, and distributed networks have created the first system of technological non-commercial innovation—the “P2P mode of production”—and a growing industrial sector—the direct economy—which is supported by it, is competing face to face with overscaled agrarian and industrial businesses, even though it has communal dimensions……We think that time is arriving. But to be able take advantage of it, we first need to conquer something that the narrative of decomposition is grinding down: the centrality of work.
- Conquer work, reconquer life
- To be unable to access work is to be in social exile
- The constant increase in productive scales over nearly two centuries, and with them, in the division of labor and of knowledge, has produced an erosion of the relationship between people and the concrete work they do. …………………………….During 15M [widespread anti-austerity protests that began on May 15, 2011 in Madrid] it became fashionable in Spain call young people who went to work in other places around the world “exiles.” Meanwhile, according to official statistics, 40% of those who remained were unemployed. These were the true exiles: they were separated from productive life, separated from collaboration and from doing things socially, and separated from a relationship with nature……By being alien to the very reality they were part of, they became spectators, even of themselves; once, people used cell phones in demonstrations, and now they use cameras. T……..One of the ways of expressing that general alienation was substituting the traditional centrality of the demand for access to work with the demand for a rent guaranteed by the State…….*24To live outside the social space created by work is to go into social exile, to lose or never have had the position of a real member of a community: to not be among those who turn work into wealth, but among those who depend on rents……..Everything led to their solitary confinement as individual-consumer. That isolation is necessarily frustrating. It’s alienation that is felt as such, as meaninglessness. But the search for meaning outside of work—which is to say: outside of community, society, and nature—can easily lead people to search for consolation in illusory communities that absorb us without providing what makes us a useful part of a real community: the ability to contribute to the well-being of one another by producing. That’s why these have been years of growth in racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, jihadism, and political and religious sectarianism.
- There’s no self-realization without work
- And, precisely because of that, the old communitarian slogan of the “conquest of work” is more current than ever. “Conquering work,” recovering it as central to society by way of the community, leading it and creating it, is the only thing that can turn back the drift towards the void of the consumerist narrative, the rejection of differences, xenophobia, and the thousand and one nationalisms that arise, seeking to create even more borders and rents. *25It’s the only thing that can recreate meaning and allow for self-knowledge and self-realization, which is to say, each person living their own values. So, work has an inevitable moral dimension, and that’s why conquering work has the value of regeneration, of true personal re-empowerment for a whole generation and a great mass of people, which political activism or conformity will never be able to offer………..Never have technology and knowledge allowed so much well-being to be produced at scales as small as today. Never has it been so easy to become protagonists of production and of the construction of our surroundings; …..And yet, despite it all, rarely before has the spirit of time been as disconnected from the possibilities of the historical moment. The cause is, once more, the impact moral of decomposition and unemployment. *26Unemployment is the expression of the destruction of productive capacity. In economic terms, it’s the worst form of waste, the bloodiest of inefficiencies. And the effect on the mood of anyone who suffers it is a like millstone around the neck, or an acid that destroys self-confidence, security, and conviction about their potential to create. Unemployment feeds fear, and fear paralyzes and blinds.
- To conquer work is reconquer life
- Taking the things that fear and insecurity would have us think are impossible and making them visible is the first way to empower those who have been exiled from work and deprived of its meaning, which will encourage them to take responsibility for their own communities. The generation that was expelled from the productive system is called to conquer work and, with it, life…….The time has come to take the initiative, to begin to build egalitarian and productive communities, and not as experiments or “islands” in a ocean of large scales. In the beginning, they will only be “examples.” But examples, accompanied by the idea that emulation is possible, are more powerful than any form of propaganda……….Belonging to a community is recognition through work and learning, not an “essence” inherited from national culture or birth, or the result of insubstantial adherence or an ID card. …*27It’s the opposite of the feeling of impunity that “frees” the “follower” who is protected by a leader, a flag, or a political brand in the din of street fighting, online bickering, or media “smackdowns.” To be a communard is to gain autonomy and security in the fraternity of learning, to be rediscovered as valuable and valued in shared work. To be a communard is to put the values we believe in into action, not compete to shout them the loudest or wield them like a menacing weapon. To be a communard does not give the static tranquility of the yogi or the mystic who seeks the silence of loneliness, but the serenity that listens to and seeks to include others, without using outrage as an excuse to do nothing or hiding behind the disdain of supposed superiority. To be a communard is a way of living, learning, and building by sharing it all with others…….We need grow with others to be able to reconquer real life. ……..*28So, existing egalitarian communities should open themselves up and become a launching point for the experience of a new generation.
- From adding to multiplying
- The scene will be urban
- …..The time has come to carry out what the bourgeoisie was able to do to overcome feudalism: *29turn the expulsion from work created by the system into an alternative society. ……a world where “everyone shares everything” through communal ownership and savings, and “everyone receives according to their need”………………………to add very diverse people and build a life experience, a glimpse of abundance in daily life, that many already openly call “post-capitalist.” Now our challenge is learning to multiply. We know how to offer an alternative, the “conquest of work,” to the generation exiled from the productive system by the crisis……..And that challenge will be faced, above all, in cities, among other things because, from the point of view of the human experience, *30the relationship with nature is measured by the ability to transform our productive activities. A software developer today has a more intense relationship with nature than a medieval peasant ever had.
- The tasks of the communards
- Egalitarian communities should undertake a path that allows them to go from the current model, based on the resistance and resilience of the “small community,” to another that starts from a large network of egalitarian and productive communities. *31We must feed the new sprouts, which are capable of maintaining themselves in the market, and at the same time, create more spaces of abundance and decommodification. Additionally, we need to take decommodification beyond our interior, and make it permeate all our surroundings. It’s time to begin the competition between systems……………A time is coming when *32we will have to learn to grow in many new ways: incorporating new members, incubating communities, teaching community techniques in neighborhoods, or creating popular universities of a new kind, that give tools for multispecialization.
- You are the protagonist
- Imagine yourself as a new kind of pioneer, as the leader of a large collective adventure……You’re not alone. Thousands of people joined communard initiatives throughout the world over the last year: egalitarian communities, kibbutzim, cooperatives that unite work and housing… Not too far from you, there’s a community already underway. You can participate in its activities, collaborate in its development projects, or join it as another communard. …*33Today, it’s our turn to demonstrate that the best life serves to create abundance for everyone, and is already preparing to be able to offer a place and a meaning to everyone.
2 – was it ever that..? i don’t know
3 – decomposing .. because of rents.. no?
4 – whoa.. or perhaps it’s not about keeping us from future.. but..the econ system that binds us to .. rents.. as you say.. keeping us from our day (the now).. to connect (w others/self) et al..
5 – so commodity allowed us to grow in well-being..? perhaps.. some.. but not all. [that’s the main point of my whole twitter exchange – we’ve got to go deep/simple/open enough.. for all of us]
6 – perhaps true. perhaps they didn’t go whole system.
7 – sounds like two loop theory (connected adjacency) – .. but plus competition..
8 – nice. that.
9 – my crazy point..vision.. is that we haven’t gotten there yet because it has never been all of us. and we need all of us.. for the dance to dance. and now we’re so big.. and so messed/entwined in ie: money/measuring.. that in order to get all.. we have to leap.. for (blank)’s sake…
10 – only have to enter markets.. if it’s not all of us. otherwise we disengage from market ness all at once.. i see bi as a possible placebo/temp transition if needed.
11 – perhaps less a competition.. more just a choice.. a life choice.. making sure the system that will sustain us.. is infinitely more pleasing to the soul..(problem deep enough) .. simple/accessible enough for everyone to jump/leap into today (mechanism simple enough) .. and able to set/keep us all free (system open enough)
12 – perhaps just w/o means (we have today) to facilitate that kind of chaos.. have/need (as one) ness for 7 billion people..
13 – ? reduction of optimal scales of production… then.. centered on community… so i’m asking.. does community .. true community… require/desire optimal scales of production..? or simply time in the day to be together..?
14 – perhaps more than outside.. we need to disengage from completely
15 – decommod – by mere effect of competition…? not following
16 – urban workshops.. in the city. as the day.
17 – yes that. ginorm small ness
18 – a more profound competition – productivity..? i don’t know.. i think being trumps productivity.. if we ask each soul. and i don’t think competition has a place there.
19 – all sounds fine and great.. until we realize we’re being utterly productive.. but our souls aren’t settled/home/alive. ie: who cares if we have so many cars now.. when our souls crave connection (hari et al). i think if we just trust people… and we are all dancing together.. a natural productivity occurs.. our abundant energy of being alive.. helps us both crave/use less and make more out of less.. i don’t know… i mean it really begs we ask (everyday and in everyplace) – what we mean by more abundance.. no?… t hinking of orch/harmonic out of waste.. i would call that art rather than productivity.. i think when we live in the realm of art.. so many things we think we need to abundance ize today.. wouldn’t be of interest to us. (thinking the diff mindset we’d all have via gershenfeld something else law)
20 – yes that.
21 – yes
22 – yes
23 – i don’t know. i prefer enough ness.
24 – ?
25 – ?
26 – whoa. unemployment – doesn’t that mean you don’t get paid to work..?… i’d say what’s missing is.. freedom to do the thing you can’t not do… for no pay.
27 – like
28 – yes.. and what if we only needed on example.. (sounds crazy.. i know.. but we’ve had the many examples thing going on forever.. there’s got to be something we’re missing.. we have the means to leap.. for (blank)’s sake…and we haven’t yet.. so why not.. perhaps we try this: short
29 – yes yes
30 – ? diversity yes… closer to nature..?
31 – perhaps.. or perhaps there’s a nother way to do this.. a more hastening way. w/o competition. w much less resistance… in fact.. perhaps.. w/only wanted resistance.. from our inborn energy ness on fire/alive
32 – maybe not.. maybe that’s the dance we keep missing.. because we keep not trusting it.. maybe it emerges more as we seek to teach/manage less
33 – again – i’d go with enough rather than abundance.. and i’d say .. if we want it bad enough.. we leap.. for (blank)’s sake…
so… after reading.. back to David’s (las indias) tweet:
for everyone!! But the way is not to inforce nationalism and unequality but to change how we produce (read the manifesto pl)
totally agree on the not enforcing anything… but i’m still not sold on the produce ness.. and some of the wording.. ie: abundance ness.. i think if we focus on being.. via self talk everyday.. yes how we produce will change.. but it will all be felt more as doing/being our art… more eudaimoniative surplus than producing.. like .. if we’re more focussed on our fittingness…(a and a).. we’ll want less.. production will be less of a focus.
i don’t know.
i do know that i think we need to leap. rather than tiny partials all over. but of course.. i could be all wet there as well.
and again.. my reason for continuing the twitter exchange.. was the bit about everyone. to me.. everyone today is the thing.
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