Excerpted from Gavin Mendel-Gleason and James O’Brien:
“The question of which system is desirable, in detail, is quite important. Unfortunately we cannot determine in abstract which system will work best and what problems will develop, though we can make guesses. To fully understand the consequences of an economic system can only be decided experimentally. This leads us to the chicken and the egg problem. How can we promote a new system without knowing what it will look like and if we don’t have a new system to promote, how can we convince the broad masses that we should remove the presently existing system – however deformed our present system becomes.
The most viable solution to this Gordian knot is to attempt to create the new modes of production experimentally…… now. It is the corporation which gives us the best experimental laboratory currently within reach and it is the democratically controlled corporation, or cooperative, which gives us the form most likely to succeed in a radically egalitarian programme of transformation.
This idea is not new at all. In fact, it was believed to be a necessary component of the struggle for socialism by both Marx and the Anarchists during the first international.… Continue reading »
Excerpted from Slawomir Sierakowski of the Polish group Krytyka:
“What may really persuade people to come together is common experience as the experience of commonness. It is undertakings rather than abstract theory. In today’s world, it is not the argument or emotion that can form social bonds, but common actions that build real and long-term trust. Sociologists express concern about the decrease of social capital, what Robert Putnam calls the phenomenon of “bowling alone.” Less is written about how one can act politically in such a “post-society.” It appears that “social glue” cannot be produced on a mass scale. “Together,” in real life, refers to a very few, later to a few dozen, at most to a few hundred people, if it is to be a real together, one that derives from common experiences. But the power of close-knit people is enormous, and their determination is far greater than that which emerges from the logic of the market or NGOs, much less the glitzy but desiccated party structures.
The “action plans” proposed in the past works of such East European thinkers and activists as Jacek Kuro? and Václav Havel suggest a way forward. The theory and practice of small groups… Continue reading »
“The ideas we have about our government systems have been dramatically shaped by the energy sources that power them. If the physical characteristics of coal and oil have developed the expectations of our 20th century politics, how they also invent ‘the economy’? Will it be possible to sabotage a system that has an entirely different energy profile than the one that gave birth to organized labor?
Peercoin is less wasteful than Bitcoin in its energy usage, to calculate and agree on who transacted what with whom.
Bitcoin is based on the “proof of work” principle, which means the more computer power you apply to the problem, the more likely you are to get rewarded. This leads to a computer power arms race, as Bitcoin “miners” need to heavily invest in both hardware and electricity to constantly run it, where “… as of April 2013 the generation of Bitcoins was using approximately $150,000 USD per day in power consumption costs.”
Peercoin has introduced a less calculation intensive concept called “proof of stake” which is more economical with computing power. Proof of stake uses the concept of “coin age”, which is the sum of the number of coins you own and the number of days you held them, to allow those holding the most coins for the longest time to calculate additions to the block chain in a more simple manner, using much less computing power.
Actually, Peercoin is using both the “proof of work” and the “proof of… Continue reading »
“New garden cities are needed to tackle the UK’s housing crisis, create sustainable communities and help young people get on the housing ladder, a new report, ‘Commons Sense’ from Co-operatives UK argues.
With 1.7m people waiting for social housing and half a million overcrowded households, radical housing solutions are needed. Whilst there is an urgent need for 1.5m new homes by 2020, house building actually decreased by 11% in 2012, to just 117,190 homes – its lowest level since the 1920s.
Support for a new generation of garden cities is growing with the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition all making supportive statements in the last two years.
And the 2014 Wolfson Economics Prize, backed by Conservative Peer and Chief Executive of Next, Lord Wolfson, is offering £250,000 for the best proposal for a popular, visionary, self-financing 21st Century Garden City.
Garden cities history
Garden cities were pioneered in Letchworth by Ebenezer Howard, whose aim was to provide healthy homes for ordinary working people in leafy and spacious surroundings. Land was commonly owned by the community for the benefit of residents.
The following is precisely the same as the key argument of P2P Theory, but I add an important corrollary, that the emergent proto-mode of peer production is the missing piece in the phase transition process. The authors below are still looking for it.
Excerpted from Gavin Mendel-Gleason and James O’Brien:
” The political aim of revolutionaries in the French revolution ranged from constitutional monarchism to radical democracy, but economically the ideas of how the economy would change were dominated by an envy of England. By contrast, the masses of society in the Russian revolution took up the banner of socialism. They were not looking to replace the economic system with that of a competitor, but instead hoped to forge a new one from scratch. The complete collapse of the Tsarist regime and the incompetence, financial weakness and disorganisation of the middle classes gave a window for the better organised Bolsheviks to take a stab at power buoyed by the help of a supportive mass movement of peasants and workers.
When in power, they sought to establish a new mode of production entirely ex post facto; a mode of production with which they themselves had spent far too little time imagining… Continue reading »
Greece might have seriously been criticised for a lack of competiveness and a market that does not catalyse innovation; however, the country is arguably a “social innovation paradise”. The Social Kitchens is one more example of this “social innovation paradise” neoliberals have inadvertently succeeded in creating. According to the Greek project “Solidarity for All“:
“In the area of food, a series of initiatives and practices have been developed. Along the collective kitchens, with actions for the unemployed, homeless but also solidarity cooking for workers’ on strike, movements for the collection and distrubution of foodstuff have developed, for households that cannot meet their needs for survival. In every case, the target is the participation and activation of the those very people who have the problem, the break of social isolation and individualisation of the problem, against despair, personal interest, social fragmentation that feeds fascist tendencies, for the strengthening of social cohesion and of the community spirit in every neighbourhood. Some examples of such interventions are the Solidarity Network of Vyronas (Athens) which, in a period of half a year it started July-August 2012– reached the point of supplying food to 240 families twice a month. The… Continue reading »
* Paper: Occupy the Farm: A Study of Civil Society Tactics to Cultivate Commons and Construct Food Sovereignty in the United States. Antonio Roman-Alcalá. INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE YALE UNIVERSITY, SEPTEMBER 14-15, 2013. Food Sovereignty: A Critical Dialogue. Conference Paper #75
“Using the case study of the 2012 illegal occupation of farmland owned by the University of California (“Occupy the Farm”), this paper investigates the promises and practical limits of constructing food sovereignty through direct action in the global North. Many grassroots activists find inspiration in the work of the Landless Peasant Movement (MST), La Via Campesina, and the concept(s) of Food Sovereignty (FS); many also express desires to transcend the market/state dichotomy through the creation of “commons”. Through interviews with Occupy the Farm activists, this investigation will show that despite the theoretical strength of the internationally-recognized “commons” framework for land ownership and management and the framework’s potential articulation with FS as a political movement, its weakly developed state within existing cultural, governance, and property institutions of market industrial societies limits implementation of that framework—even in a case concerning public resources and the presence of an active public committed to commons ideals. Practical challenges to the implementation of land and… Continue reading »
“We are all now citizens of an Internet-enabled world whether we are “users” or not. And as citizens of an Internet-enabled world we have interests and perspectives on how the Internet is deployed and managed now and well into the future; and those need to be expressed and articulated as demands in all the forums where the future of the Internet is being discussed.
A preliminary list of what we might call the elements of “Internet Justice” would include:
* fair and equitable means to access and use the Internet–affordable by all and designed and deployed in such a manner that all may realize the benefits of effective use
* a fair and equitable distribution of the benefits of the Internet including the benefits of the widest possible access to information and the opportunities to communicate; the financial and other benefits that are accruing as a result of increased efficiencies and effectiveness of communications and information management; the benefits that result from users contribution to and participation in system development and content creation; and of the benefits that are rapidly accruing as a result of
* increased mastery over the elements of physical being in all its complexity… Continue reading »