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Essay of the Day: Multitude, Assemblies, and a New Politics of the Common

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
29th March 2015


* Essay: A Common Assembly: Multitude, Assemblies, and a New Politics of the Common. Elise Danielle Thorburn. Interface: a journal for and about social movements, Volume 4 (2): 254 – 279 (November 2012)

From the Abstract:

“Contemporary experiments in organising the “multitude” have proliferated of late – from the encampments of Occupy to the Quebec student strike, the Arab Spring, and the European anti-austerity movements. These experiments, all appearing highly networked, have a political form in common – the assembly.

This organising model, the “assembly” as form, now seems to provide a point of convergence for a variety of left tendencies – including both jaded transversal activists who want a bit more vertical organization and vanguardists who have been forced to learn the lessons of horizontality.

It is a politics no longer split along traditional lineages, but rather opens us on to a politics of the common – something shared between people, not mediated by the State or capital. Using concepts drawn both from concrete activist experience and from the tradition of autonomism. This paper explores some of the genealogy of the assembly as form, and examines the autonomist notion of the common in order to see the convergences between emergent assembly… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Commons, Featured Essay |

Greenstone, a powerful mesh extender for FireChat

photo of Guy James
Guy James
29th March 2015


GreenStone_by_Open_GardenFire Chat has already been mentioned here in the context of enabling peer-to-peer networking during the recent protests in Hong Kong, now I am glad to see that they are planning to produce a device which will further empower this mesh networking concept:

“Open Garden, the company behind FireChat, is taking mesh networking beyond our mobile devices. It’s working on GreenStone, a prototype piece of hardware that acts as a connectivity node and messaging beacon. It’s a dual-purpose piece of hardware: If someone walks in the vicinity of the beacon with FireChat installed, GreenStone picks up the most recent messages and stores them in its memory. When someone else with FireChat walks by, they will receive those messages. GreenStone stores up to 1,000 messages, and will update with the most recent chats from whoever walks by.

Not only does it send and store messages, but it also works to extend the connection in the mesh network.”

Read more here.

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Posted in: Mobile Developments, Networks, Technology |

Book of the Day: Proposals For A Democratic Economy

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hartsellml
29th March 2015


* eBook: Alternatives To Capitalism: Proposals For A Democratic Economy. by Robin Hahnel, Erik Olin Wright. New Left Project, 2014

URL=http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/alternatives_to_capitalism_proposals_for_a_democratic_economy

Description

“New Left Project’s new e-book, Alternatives to Capitalism: Proposals for a Democratic Economy, is now available for download.

In it the leading radical thinkers Robin Hahnel and Erik Olin Wright take on the crucial but all-too neglected question: what kind of society should we be fighting for instead of capitalism?

Hahnel favours ‘participatory economics’. Wright advocates ‘real utopian socialism’. Alternatives to Capitalism puts these practical proposals through their paces in an in-depth, frank and extremely instructive debate about the central question of our time.” (http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/alternatives_to_capitalism_proposals_for_a_democratic_economy)

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Posted in: Ethical Economy, Featured Book |

Movement of the Day: Kick It Over, these insane neoclassical economics

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
28th March 2015


Jeff Guo explained the project to the Washington Post:

“Harrington now runs a campaign called Kick it Over, which aims to combat what it describes as “the fantasy world of neoclassical economics — a faith-based religion of perfect markets, enlightened consumers and infinite growth that shapes the fates of billions.” The project is connected with the anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters, which had gestated the original idea behind the Occupy Wall Street movement. Harrington, who studied alternative economics at The New School, hopes to reform the profession from the inside, starting with the way it’s taught.

“When I was in school, I started realizing how limited was the range of economic ideas that students were exposed to in the classroom,” he said. “Neoclassicism is essentially the standard for 95 percent of the graduate departments in the country.”

Through mailing lists and word of mouth, Harrington recruited economics students from around the country to hold the campaign’s first official demonstration here, at this tweedy conference of academics. About nine students showed up at the Sheraton on Friday night to hand out fliers and smash the orthodoxy.”

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Posted in: Featured Movement |

Radical Democracy: Reclaiming the #Commons Part 4 #Spain

photo of Kevin Flanagan
Kevin Flanagan
28th March 2015


Spain: Taking back the city

Source: Doc Next Network – http://www.docnextnetwork.org/radical-democracy-reclaiming-commons/

 

For the last several years, Spain has been a laboratory for bottom-up organisation and empowerment. The 15M movement that began in 2011 not only managed to set the political agenda by framing the euro crisis and austerity as contrary to democratic principles, but also generate countless neighbourhood assemblies and amplify pre-existing assembly-based movements, such as the multicoloured mareas (tides) for social rights and the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (the PAH or Mortgage Victims’ Platform). However, the ability of these movements to gather support from the vast majority of the country’s population did not translate to much in the way of institutional change, despite their efforts to use all of the formal mechanisms at their disposal. As people grew increasingly frustrated with the indifference of the political class, many began to perceive an institutional glass ceiling. Thus, 2014 saw the emergence of new electoral experiments that not only spoke the language of the post-2011 social movements, but also contained some of their most familiar faces. This is especially true in the case of Guanyem (Catalan for “Let’s Win”) Barcelona and… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Culture & Ideas, P2P Art and Culture |

You Must Always Looks for Those Sparks of Life

photo of Øyvind Holmstad
Øyvind Holmstad
28th March 2015


By Christopher Alexander. Original text here.

Whenever you start a project, or whenever you begin to take action, you must always looks for those sparks of life, among the buildings, or in the open land — places that, just very slightly, have a quality that make you feel fractionally a little more alive and a little more inclined to love life.

You need to be very discriminating when you do this. If you get good at recognizing such places, they may be fragments, only, in the middle of stuff that is not worth much.

These small fragments are too precious to be swept carelessly out of the way, or destroyed, or casually rebuilt. They are capable, like seeds, of starting the new life of the place, like fresh shoots.

Indeed, if you start with nothing but these fragments — a bench here, the base of a tree that has primroses around it in spring, an archway from an ancient building, a piece of a brick wall with lovely scarlet bricks — keep all of them. These are what we mean by “magic configurations.” You can always find a way to build whatever new you are going to build, without… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Guest Post, P2P Architecture and Urbanism |

The Emergence of Peerist Synergism

photo of hartsellml
hartsellml
28th March 2015


by Layne Hartsell

There are any number of areas where emergence is occurring such as in nanotechnology, micromanufacturing (not to be confused with molecular manufacturing which is about 15 years away), economics, politics, and thus the term emergence takes on near metaphysical force, though I do not intend something on the order of the dialectical materialism which Bertrand Russell put to rest in his essay by the same name.

Here I want to add that I think what is emerging in the current or near future time, which is a peerist synergism which comes right out of P2P and the hackers of the 1980s and 1990s, and the tremendous development in information-communication technologies and then the 3D printers which were proprietary at the time. The astounding achievement of hacker communities was to make horizontal knowledge systems emergent due to connectivity, open design, open hardware and on up to the present more sophisticated forms such as Arduino, the Maker Movement, Occupy, and Wikispeed. These were peerist systems almost completely outside of the official system and have developed to include three major points: free association or the honor of human liberty, peer review which maintains excellence, and commons-based peer… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Collective Intelligence, Original Content, P2P Epistemology, P2P Manufacturing, P2P Theory, Peer Production |

Rojava Secret Revolution

photo of Øyvind Holmstad
Øyvind Holmstad
27th March 2015


The Middle East’s newest territory is called «Rojava». Out of the chaos of Syria’s civil war, mainly Kurdish leftists have forged a radical, egalitarian, multi-ethnic mini-state run on communal lines. But with Daesh Jihadists attacking them at every opportunity – especially around the beleaguered city of Kobane, how long can this idealistic social experiment last? Our World has gained exclusive access to Rojava, from the frontlines, to the politicians and refugee camps.

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Posted in: Open Government, Videos |

Radical Democracy: Reclaiming the #Commons Part 3 #UK

photo of Kevin Flanagan
Kevin Flanagan
27th March 2015


United Kingdom: Finding a home in the city

Source: Doc Next Network – http://www.docnextnetwork.org/radical-democracy-reclaiming-commons/

 

In London, urbanisation is pricing citizens further and further away from the places they called home. Housing prices have soared recently by up to 20% from one year to another, yet nearly 12% of residents have too few rooms in their dwellings for the number of people living in them. As waiting lists for council housing grow endless, council housing itself is being privatised along with social housing. Though some policymakers and urbanists consider this to be just another part of a process of “urban regeneration”, many citizens are fed up with their powerlessness and the lack of rights for renters. In some cases, they have begun to organise and disobey. In Hackney, squatters occupied the Central Police Station citing that they simply could not find affordable housing. And many of the squatters who occupied Carpenters Estate in the fall of 2014 cited a lack of social housing as the motive behind their occupation. As London’s housing and renters’ rights movement progresses, Radical Democracy: Reclaiming the Commons seeks to both champion and connect London’s often disparate tenants organisations, and respond… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Culture & Ideas, P2P Art and Culture |

Peak Meaninglessness

photo of Øyvind Holmstad
Øyvind Holmstad
27th March 2015


By John Michael Greer. Original post here.

Last week’s discussion of externalities—costs of doing business that get dumped onto the economy, the community, or the environment, so that those doing the dumping can make a bigger profit—is, I’m glad to say, not the first time this issue has been raised recently. The long silence that closed around such things three decades ago is finally cracking; they’re being mentioned again, and not just by archdruids. One of my readers—tip of the archdruidical hat to Jay McInerney—noted an article in Grist a while back that pointed out the awkward fact that none of the twenty biggest industries in today’s world could break even, much less make a profit, if they had to pay for the damage they do to the environment.

Now of course the conventional wisdom these days interprets that statement to mean that it’s unfair to make those industries pay for the costs they impose on the rest of us—after all, they have a God-given right to profit at everyone else’s expense, right? That’s certainly the attitude of fracking firms in North Dakota, who recently proposed that… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Ethical Economy, Guest Post, P2P Labor, P2P Lifestyles, Peer Production |