My first contributions to the foundation

And as I’m writing this my first contribution to the blog. Therefore I will use this moment to introduce myself and what my connection with the foundation is. The first time I heard about P2P as a new form of organizing was when professor Maes announced the forthcoming seminar of Michel Bauwens on the University of Amsterdam. This announcement immediately drew my attention and so I witnessed his story late April 2006.

As a result of the seminar I signed up for the integral newsletter and Michel Bauwens asked me to contribute on the Wiki if I would like that. I agreed on that and since then I started to populate the Dutch language page on the wiki. This contribution only consists of Dutch material, so there is not as much available on the topic. If you read this and know some Dutch material that should be listed on the Dutch language page, please let me know. You can find my contact details on the Dutch language page.
One of the latest additions is called ‘Webmarxism’, a term that came to my mind during the seminar of Michel Bauwens. Maybe communism can work as a subsystem on the Internet, where people are really equals and have the same power as being a peer. As a subsystem, because the real world is still dominant, and probably will stay dominant the coming era’s. The story about ‘Webmarxism’ explains some of the drawbacks of pure P2P Internet.

Another nice story to read is about self-organizing networks. Some topics that are addressed are the democracy of these networks, where the term ‘heterarchies’ is used for a model of complex, adaptive, human organisations capable to evolve and innovate in fast changing environments.

So far my first contribution, maybe a next one the coming week.

Bas Reus

3 Comments My first contributions to the foundation

  1. AvatarSam Rose

    I wish that I could read the webmarxism essay, but sadly I am illiterate in that language.

    I guess I want to comment that I persoanlly don’t think that a lot of the things that are happening in the P2P realm actually resemble “communist”, nor “Marxist” philosophy.

    I think a lot of people make this mistake association because of the rhetoric that actual Communists and Marxists used to try and sell their way of doing things to people.

    However, if this is published in english somewhere, I’d be interested to see it so that I can better understand the argument being put forth.

  2. AvatarMichel

    I would like to add my own five cents too, without having read the original too.

    First, the meeting points between Marxism and P2P, then the essential differences. P2P Theory aims to be integral and meta-paradigmatic, so it feels free to pick and choose amongst different traditions, which can be from both liberal and socialist stock, including many others.

    Second,the peer to peer dynamics of non’reciprocal exchange resemble Marx own definition of the end stage of his vision, but crucially, in peer to peer, it is already a reality.

    But the differences are equally crucial: the various socialisms are expressions of industrial society, p2p of the networked information society, really existing socialist movements where orientated towards the state, and obtaining power within the state (social democrats) or changing it to a new state, p2p is firmly within civil society, and reinforces the autonomy of civil society.

    P2P is post-ideological, and because it is an actual existing practice, based on free cooperation, it can and does appeal to anyone who wants to work on common projects, it can appeal to progressive liberals (Benkler, Lessig), capitalist libertarians (Eric Raymond and many programmers), and post-workerist left traditions (Gorz in France)

    I personally believe, though I’m personally myself definitely a left-of-center type of person, that any identification, or even explicit usage, of exclusivelysocialist type of language, is counterproductive. What counts is the mutual agreement on common projects, that these use free-open code and content, are collaboratively managed, and produce results that are commonly accessible. It is commons-oriented, rather than market or state oriented, but can collaborate with both.

    Michel Bauwens

  3. AvatarBas Reus

    @Sam: you can try to translate the text with, not perfect but definately worth a try.
    I certainly think that the biggest difference with communism is the freedom that comes with P2P, and also that it is self-organizing. That makes the comparison with communism peculiar. Therefore I think the article on self-organizing networks is more ‘true’, and also nice to read. In line with the article on self-organizing is called ‘Peer-to-peer: Networks of unknown friends’, available in Dutch and English.

    Bas Reus

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.