This is a follow-up of our article of July 15, and the second part of our article in the Journal of Peer Production, which reviewed various related P2P movements:
“Like Oekonux, the P2P Foundation is a collective marked by diversity, but it also has dominant personalities and themes, with a substantial influence of the author of this article, who is also the initiator and founder of the initiative. So, when I make claims here below, and above, on the ‘P2P Foundation’s approach, they are my own approach, not necessarily the approach of every participant in our community and knowledge commons.
In the interpretation of the P2P Foundation, social change occurs because proto-modes of production, which are initially embedded in a dominant economic system, and benefit that system, become gradually more efficient, and capable of self-reproduction, and therefore create the conditions for a phase transition to occur, in which the new emergent mode of production, achieves its independence over the formerly dominant model. In the transition phase, multiple hybrid expressions are unavoidable, and crucially, it is only because the older domimant model needs the new emergent model for its own survival, that it can emerge and grow and eventually replace the older domimant model.
For the P2P Foundation, an integration needs to occur between the new prototype model, i.e. the field of peer production proper, as it emerges in multiple social fields and attempts to become more autonomous; the social mobilization of progressive social forces (i.e. politics and even ‘revolution’ are crucial remaining aspects of social evolution), and political/policy oriented movements that are capable of creating new institutions.
The P2P Foundation aims first of all to be knowledge commons and observatory of these multiple movements and practices, and by showing what exists, offer new possiblities of mutual alignment. The second aim is to create a community of interpreters and P2P theory producers who can increase mutual sense-making around the knowledge commons. In other words, our aim is ‘peer produce theory about peer production’. Through this activity of observation, dialogue, theory building, we hope to stimulate new and better p2p practices and to offer collective learnig.
§ we differ from the Benklerite approach because we believe peer production has the potential to succeed capitalism as the core value and organisational model of a post-capitalist society
§ we differ from Oekonux by stressing the lack of autonomy of peer production under current conditions
we differ from the Telekommunisten approach by stressing it a proto-mode of production
§ we differ from the Caffentzis approach by stressing a post-capitalist approach centered on the autonomy and self-reproduction needs of peer producers, rather than guided by a core hostility to capitalism
But, the P2P Foundation also has an integrative and integral approach, this means that despite differences, we seek commonality around aspects of our friends and allies that we may differ from in other aspects.
This means that it is also important to recognize that,
§ we agree with Benkler and similar approaches that peer production improves on the current conditions of capitalism, i.e. we generally support the spread of commons and p2p-oriented practices
§ we agree with Oekonux that peer production carries within itself the seeds of a post-capitalist value system
§ we agree with Kleiner’s proposal for a peer-based counter-economy
§ we agree with Caffentzis that we need a preferential treatment towards autonomous commons approaches that create a counter-logic within the present system
The P2P Foundation is not a political and social movement, only a collaborative to create increased understanding of the emancipatory potential of peer production, and to promote the knowledge and insight in what works for augmenting the potential for a phase transition towards a peer-production based society and economy. What we aim for is to offer a continuously evolving knowledge base, and to offer for debate a synthetic interpretation of the evolution towards more broader acceptance and practice of p2p-modes of production.
Our interpretive synthesis is evolving itself. Originally, we were probably closer to an Oekonuxian understanding, but an increased experience with the embeddedness of current peer production within capitalism has generated a greater sympathy for the positioning of Dmytri Kleiner.”