[P2P-F] [NetworkedLabour] questions re funding of p2p value conference

Michel Bauwens michel at p2pfoundation.net
Mon Jul 4 19:22:14 CEST 2016

hi Orsan,

this is my response only, I am not speaking for James or anyone else,

quick online reactions

On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 10:15 PM, Orsan <orsan1234 at gmail.com> wrote:

> I will try to give a considered respond to your answer, which I am
> guessing is the public reply James mentioned.
> > I think the realities of organizing events is underestimated. They are
> two choices, one is the grassroots barcamp type events, in which everyone
> is welcome, and everyone has to fund his own trip; these events are great,
> and important, but have advantages as well as disadvantages One
> disadvantage is that it excludes those who can't self-fund their trips.
> I assume it is more than me underestimate the realities of organizing
> event then organizers undervalue the practices of peer to peer and
> commoners. In response to Boiler's book title 'Think like a commoner', it
> could be more then possible to 'Act like a commoner'. So it is more of a
> choices, philosophy and politics, more then 'realities' or 'practices' of,
> those who like to 'think' and 'research' about the real practices;
> coincidentally this makes you star, solve income problems, and moreover
> allow one to deliver politics, and gain influence and power. I think this
> is not only underestimated, but totally absence in your response Michel. Of
> course there is not only two options, there are plenty of alternatives.
> Other wise realities of 'organizing' or 'organization', could be only 'the
> state' / 'corporation' or 'anarchy and there would be no commons,
> commonning, peer to peer alternatives. Are they exist or not? Are they
> reliable or not? Are they believable or not.. Or only theorizing or
> researching about them is important? I know you really believe in p2p and
> commons, but it is hardly possible to see any prefigurative action and
> practice Michel. This is a public and open critique, meaning very sincere
> and friendly way, you need to really think about it.

I am not organizing any of those two events Orsan. I have lightly
co-organized barcamps, enough to know how they work; I like them but they
can only go so far, it's not the only legitimate formula.

The events I have co-organized more intensely were not on the lines of such
open access events, but selective events, like the ones you organized for
networked labour. What are the p2p/commons aspects about them ? 1)They
aimed at creating a diverse and balanced participation 2) they aimed to
balance self-organisation and prior organisation 3) they aimed to balance
inclusion and expertise 4) they aimed at being no-cost for the participants

But like in your event, they were characterized by a careful selection.

> > The other choice is to go for paid conferences. This involves other
> disadvantages, such as the rules imposed by funders (very stringent demands
> for transparency for example with EU funding). But it has some advantages
> ...  one is the choice of speakers, which can be more focused on past
> expertise; the other is that speakers' trip can be paid, as well as small,
> or sometimes bigger stipends; the paid entries can help fund those without
> the means of self-funding.
> Actually, and to be honest, I really wonder if you really ever organized
> something what you call barcamp type, self-organized, do it yourself, peer
> to peer event. Since I never saw any disadvantage then not being able to
> have star speakers, who would occupy all the space; and the rest of the
> participants who pay for the cost of starts, would only listen and leave
> the space with lots of frustration. May be only one disadvantage is not
> being able to make a show and attract media attention. The rest is
> negligible in my opinion.

I have a different experience, I very much enjoy listening to speakers with
more experience than myself, I don't find that frustating. The conferences
I enjoy the most are 'mixed', i.e. they mix the opportunity to listen to
more experienced people, inclusionary sessions with panels, and the
opportunity for deep conversations in circle type events, i.e. they include
peer to peer dynamics, but not exclusively.

> > So, in the case of the Synergia conference, this is an entirely unfunded
> conference. The price was set taken into account the travel costs and very
> small per diems for the teachers/speakers; and full lodging of
> participants. In this context, the fee amounts to 900 EURO per week, full
> pension, which is, in the context of the prices of Tuscany, actually very
> cheap, though of course, will also exclude those with financial
> difficulties. For this, you get access to a quite extraordinary roster of
> teachers/speakers and intense dialogue with other participants. For people
> with jobs in the cooperative economy, for which this conference is
> intended, the cost is not un-realistic. For those without income, the price
> is prohibitive, but bursaries are available. According to John Restakis,
> the program requires 15 paid students to achieve break-even; after that,
> bursaries can be funded.
> Yes, Synergia conference... You say this 900 per week, several thousands
> euro per all course is, or should be okay for cooperative workers, worker
> owned cooperatives.. while you can not effort only your trip to
> self-organized, barcamp events.
> > I for example, would not be able to attend neither Tuscany nor the P2P
> Value events on my own, in either format, but I can attend both because my
> travel and basic costs are provided for. This is not a gift, but a small
> reciprocal payment for my contribution to the event. In contrast, the
> self-organized barcamp absolutely preclude me from making a living from my
> contributions.
> Would if you can not effort, how do you think workers, cooperative owners,
> peer producers could so.

that's what I said, it requires effort and investment on the part of the
students, or of those institutions that fund them; it is mostly only
realistic for those with links to institutions; I'm fully aware of this;
bursaries are a solution to attenuate this

> > The second issue is that of 'democracy'. The P2P Value event has been
> organized and decided by all those involved in the research project, i.e. a
> consortium of 8 organizations, and James was responsible for organizing the
> event as part of the contract; in the Synergie case, this is also a
> collaborative effort of many dozen people, involved in the Synergia
> consortium, a voluntary association of cooperativists the world over.
> Second issue is not only democracy, transparency, nor participation. Not
> about politics, but it is about generation of culture. It is prefigurative
> act. In case of its lack, or while main evangelists or preachers of
> communism, would not see any problem in ruling people's soviets from the
> winter palace of the old-rulers, then that revolution is over before it
> started. P2P Revolution is going down before it starts, not because it is
> un-democratic, or as you argue against democracy that is it is
> meritocratic. I think including you, Silke, David, as well as all other
> commoners, and theory leaders do lack practical aspect that generates no
> culture at the 'strategist' level.
> About Restakis.. My remark was a reference to his email, accidentally sent
> to the list, in his response to you, Jason Nardi, Pat Conaty and some
> others about the four wheels of the 'radical change car'.. He was making a
> joke of 'you' as the strategists of commons transition, open cooperativism,
> peer - license, what ever.. Being on the 'driver seat'. Then there was a
> cold silence, no one replied or asked or commented on his joke. But history
> registered. I can find and redistribute that exchange if you like.

please do redistribute, I haven't seen it

> > They take their decisions in good faith, given the funding and other
> realities they contend with. Yes, it means not everyone can attend, but
> within the parameters they work with, they strive for the maximum inclusion
> of motivated participants, and find individual solutions when possible.
> Division is not between 'not every body' and 'everybody'. But 'organizers'
> and 'organized'; 'agenda setters' and those agendas are set, strategists
> and strategised; so sort of masters and puppets.
> > Now the alternative of barcamps of the massively self-organized WSF ...
> well, I can't afford to go those either, they exclude all those that are
> not able to self-fund. So no system is perfect,
> Come on Michel, some one like you can easily receive support to go there,
> of any kind.

the fact Orsan is that I haven't; nobody ever offered to finance my
participation to the WSF; and until 2014, I was extremely precarious and
the P2P-F itself has zero funds; so if you know of easy forms of support,
please do forward

> > and both are easy to critique from the outside, by people who are
> unwilling to dive into the real difficulties and constraints of organizing
> these events,As far as I can recall, Orsan, you organized exclusive events
> with TNI, and you did that very well. Far from critiquing you for these
> exclusionary events, I would commend you for it, for bringing important
> players together, and for funding our trips and participation. I feel the
> same about John Restakis and James Burke, and given their efforts and
> responsibilities, I can find sympathy for their irritation when they are
> critiqued by outsiders who are not contributing to the organization of
> these events, and unaware of the constraints they are operating with.
> My critique of TNI, and end of my relationships with it is declared by me
> on several occasions. Now same critique, of NGO world in general, is
> covering to commons NGOs, which present same mistakes, same fault lines,
> and these are not a complain of some one humpy dumpy, it is documented and
> agreed wide spread critique. Of course people, individually doing their
> best, to survive and combine income and passion and idealism would get
> irritated. But what irritate us, ordinary people, is them finding this not
> enough and when that also like to tell us what to do, what to say, what to
> chose, what to like and dislike.. So when they feel power of ideas, and
> wish to define the course, on the driving seat of the 'radical'  change car.

you are no more ordinary than anyone else; I dont think most ordinary
people would be irritated by open debate and exchange of opinions : I will
certainly restrict my own rights of free speech on the basis of other's

> Well, without managing to combine applying self-labour, mental and
> manually, apologies but this is not going to happen. Because, now,
> irritation of being rule, is so high, and those who are wanted to be
> managed posses high skills, like political analysis.

thanks for this exchange, end of my comments

> In solidarity,
> Orsan

Check out the Commons Transition Plan here at: http://commonstransition.org

P2P Foundation: http://p2pfoundation.net  - http://blog.p2pfoundation.net

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