Why we are not (yet) a phyle, and where those who form them will come from


First note: today, in Europe, no phyles exist. A phyle is a confederation—which is to say, a network with no higher structure—of conversational communities with their own companies, which share a series of common funds in a transnational space: basically, “social security” and mutual economic support systems.

So, it must be said clearly: las Indias is not, and will not be, a phyle by itself. Our work so far and our perspective is aimed towards the construction of one. And our role will be, if the world goes the way we think it will, a node within one, but we don’t try to substitute for it or present ourselves today as if we were a network of nodes, even though we have a network around us. For as many projects as we support today, they’re all things that belong to las Indias and our immediate surroundings, things within the Indiano node or around it and above it, within a very limited geographic space, even though we have regular activities in three countries on two continents, and allies across half the world. But that isn’t (yet) a phyle. The phyle is a transnational network of nodes, and the normal thing is to think that everyone will have different directions, values and ways of building commitments around them, all on a broad stage, in various countries, which is not the result of a “parent company” or a given ideology and its products.

No particular ideology

So, who would those other nodes of the phyle be? Normally, they won’t have any special ideology, but will simply be community companies, which is to say, small groups of people who share conversation and creation together, who don’t have to live in community and can be a cooperative, a corporation, or even a corporation that’s managed in a more-or-less egalitarian way among worker-members. Nor do they need to be “pure” in any sense: they can be “drawing” from public rents or even from intellectual property. They don’t have to be transnational in practice, but they would have to want to ultimately become transnational, the same way that if everyone was of the same gender, it would be strange not to want to overcome that anamoly.

Where would the border lie? To date (and I’ll explain later why I say that) the least that can be asked for a community project to be considered serious is:

  • that it is productive and can take care of—or at least wants to be able to do so in the near future—their members and provide social coverage to their families under normal living and working conditions in the surrounding area, and that it is “competitive” with the life of a salaried worker or small businessperson. That is, models based on degrowth or on the “social economy” are no good. The former simply don’t offer a better life, and renounce a goal of abundance for everyone, and the latter, because of its dependence, cannot create a solid base.
  • that it doesn’t use an imaginary “we” (of nation, gender, race or any other thing) or see itself in terms of them (localism, sexism, etc.)
  • that it has a sincere desire for autonomy: that it not intend to live off public money or State rents like intellectual property.

I said “to date” because over time, networks like this will have much greater diversity than at first, but the pioneers will have to lay the cultural foundation for what is to come. It would be one thing for that openness to diversity to happen in a productive space founded on the libertarian and egalitarian spirit of the hacker, oriented towards the market and beyond (abundance) in a space for social and transnational exchange. It would be a very different thing for networks to reflect, from their very origins and in their economic activity, the decomposed spirit of our time, where rents and excessive regulations are seen as good things, where anti-marketism is commonplace, and utopias of a better world seem to have been replaced by pastoral, messianic, and nationalist fantasies.

But yes, basically, the phyle is a place where “everyone” would fit… everyone who is serious about building a resilient economy for their surroundings. And what we’re seeing emerge now are not phyles, but some of their possible future nodes.

Translated by Steve Herrick from the original (in Spanish)

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