[P2P-F] questions re funding of p2p value conference (?rsan ?enalp)

Michel Bauwens michel at p2pfoundation.net
Thu Jul 7 03:33:31 CEST 2016

my replies are after the << inline

Michel, in response to your reply I also like to direct this email to
the attention of Silke, David, Pat, James, Chico.. and other
self-claimed strategists, organisers, leaders, of global justice and
solidarity, and now commons movements..

<< you are one of them Orsan, there is no us and them there

First issue, is the one you avoid to respond; lack of prefiguration
hence moral - cultural leadership, neede for the hegemony you are
willing to build over first other movements, then against the ruling
classes. This is a general issue, and is a critique of all NGO sector;
'progressive' or 'supportive' NGO cadre, degenerate 'solidairty and
justice' culture, by getting stuck and generate 'capitalist'
competitive culture. That is why, in a Gramscian sense, it would never
be possible to get real moral and intellectual leadership over the
progressive movements, like commons movement, that you are trying to
'build' or mould out of real people's real struggles.

I absolute do not refuse to respond;  I can't talk for the others, but for
myself, walking the talk and being prefigurative is essential ; as for
strategy, my own strategy is entirely invitational, i.e. I never lobby and
never ask for any invitation nor leadership position ; however, I do
generally respond positively to any request for assistance ; I do ask for
my costs to be re-imbursed, and to be paid for lectures when I have no
other income (for example, here in the US, I get paid for a project, so I
don't ask for any lecture fees while here); the p2p-f and CSG apply commons
and p2p governance principles ; no one in these organizations command
others ; that is even normally the case when funding is possible ; for
example, Kevin asked for exceptional funding to be able to go to the WSF,
and there was zero interference from us in his work there

you refer to occupy etc .. note that these had strong meritocratic and
contributory principles, i.e. you had no voice if you did not participate >>

In 2013, and 2014, together with others from most recent movements,
from Occupy, 15M, Arab spring, and including Carminda McLorin -from
Occupy Montreal and Classe, an initiative formed and called itself
'Global Square'. We have designed and tried to open up an occupied
Commons Space, within the WSF in Tunis 2013 and 2014:
Carminda was had participated all calls and meetings of Global Square
actively and she become the face of the WSF Montreal local
coordination team (with Chico Whiteaker being on her side). Based on
unique experience we developed, in a really p2p and commoning way,
during 2011-2014 period, at Agora99, Frienze 10+10, WSF Tunis under
the Banner of Global Square (with combined methodologies) in 2014 I
tried out to scratch the below designs on the way to Montreal. I
shared it with you, and it has been picked up by you, and others; then
it was modified into un-P2P and un-common ways and translated in to
NGO format with carefully controlled access (over the funding
opportunities and competitiveness reasons I assume).. and we have a
modified Commons Space. Here is the Hackpad where Kevin, of the P2P
Foundation has been the main organiser from the beginning, with
Elisabetta of Transform:

<< so you are accusing Kevin and Elisabetta of creating an uncommons space
and derailing your initiative ? Kevin already responded that he is not on
the funding roll of any organization ; while I did not participate, I have
seen the occasional emails pass by, and my impression is that it was an
entirely open, contributory and collegial process, through the email list
and the hackpad, seeking consensus ; personally, I think your accusations
are unfair and fantastical, but they can speak for themselves >>

As response to your question what is the easy way to go to WSF and
finding support for that: I think your is a political answer, since it
is your choice not to go to WSF personally, you expressed it before;

<< no, this is NOT the case, I would love to go the WSF and if dates are
compatible, would accept such an invitation ; I have no political
objections whatsoever about participating in the WSF, we just don't have
the means to do so ; last time's participation by Kevin, funded by us, was
very exceptional ; we've never done it before and may never do it after ;
my colleagues work in the same spirit as myself I believe ; they go where
there are invited and can be useful, and also do not have funds for this :
kevin can reply about how he funded his present engagement

so you are sending Kevin to do the ground work for the Foundation to
build an event I foresee and suggested to you last year -on the
Commons. Meanwhile, James of the P2P foundation, is responsible from
the Global Commons Conference, in Amsterdam where I live. You say you
would recommend me, to people, but about the idea I desingned and
shared with you, James, your secretariat is recommended.

<< no, we did not send Kevin, he asked for our assistance ; and we thought
of course that it was a good think to establish connections that we did not
have previously ; but Kevin was not sent there with instructions ; Orsan, I
would certainly recommend you for activities around labor, given your
experience and interests ; I did not recommend you to James specifically
because I'm not aware of your expertise in value practices ; however, had
you asked me, even without that expertise, I would certainly have
recommended you, but I'm not aware of such a query>>

You are expected to be invited to WSF and paid for some other
organisations, while Kevin's participation and ground work labour is
paid by P2P Foundation. You personally are not able to go WSF, but P2P
Foundation is taking the responsibility to organise a major Commons
event at the WSF in August, and James organise another global event in
Amsterdam for the EU project of which P2P Foundation is a partner.
Which was originally my suggestion..

<< I am not expecting any invitation from the WSF and nothing is due to me
Orsan, but I am happy to go whenever people believe I can be useful ; I was
just stating a fact there, and confirm, I have never been invited nor
funded to attend WSF meetings and since I have prior experience with them,
I have no idea how that works either ; but again, we are not an
organization trying to push views and lobby for them, we are a pluralistic
platform and we go where we are invited, because people themselves have
decided that it could be useful for them ; you may want to read up on the
concept of servant leadership it is entirely different from the kind of
activities and politics you are assuming ; about the role of James ; so,
there is a EU-funded research consortium with 8 organizations researching
p2p value; the p2p-f was contracted to do communication and conference
organizing for this event ; James and others have been funded to do that.
along with others in the p2p-f network (for the record, I have received no
penny from this project, ; as far as I know, I won't be paid for my
participation in Amsterdam either) >>

Here is the genuinely p2p and commons way design for WSF Commons Space
event, I designed in 2014:
Peer to Peer Transnational Networking for a Commons Humanity

The below design I made it in 2013 to ensure a broader alliance
between variety of forces; in an open and peer to peer solider way..
based on ideas re the development of open spaces, towards and during
the WSF as well as other events. It was taken, modified and adopted to
NGO style. Below is how it was translated to NGO language by
Stacco,who was an occupy activist and ex-worker owned coop
practitioner, now professional expert hired by P2P Foundation:

And during 2014, there was an email discussion about avoiding
cooptation and developing a pool resource for commoners, using the
funding recuperated by commons NGOs type organisations; supposed to be
supportive of commons. Discussion taken place mid 2014, before or
after Degrowth conference, and then Michel, you suggested the below
idea, which has not been implemented, yet. Open Coop development
agency idea:

Although I find EDGE Founders, under the leadership of commons
friendly Nicolas Krauzs of P2P Foundations funder FHP (Charles Leopold
Mayer Foundation), it is clearly an human-washorganisation with Soros'
open society and US' large corporate funders behind, they might have
been imposing their own agenda over the commons; about which you guys
have no idea.

<< for the record, we are extremely happy with the support given by FPH ,
which has been very limited, but tremendously important in finally
attenuating the precarity of the core group of contributors ; they're
support is unconditional and structural, which is exactly what
organizations like ours need, since it fully protects our freedom ; of
course, it is entirely possible that they have a secret agenda, though from
my end, I have seen no trace of it, they have been genuinely interested in
promoting the commons as a new structural alternative, but in any case,
since we operate in total freedom, I am not worried about this; we would
refuse any conditional funding that would force us to do things that are
not in line with our values and strategic priorities)

I will provide a deeper analysis of this, with proves.
But for the moment I just like to share the nice and sincere-open
reports of the events, documented by Pat Conaty and David Boiler, and
am guessing are the selective events organised and you have been able
to join:
This is the event on Open Cooperativism:

And this is the top-down vision of alliance building:
Part I:
Part II:

I like to reader to pay attention of funders, participants'
composition, and the content. The total picture is clearly top-down
movement building, beyond the closed doors. These are not supportive
nice, exchange wise productive events.

<< I was there Orsan, and I can tell you, there are amongst the nicest,
most supportive and productive events that I have been lucky to attend. Let
me explain how this works. These events are aiming at creating bridges
between movements to attentuate gaps. So for example, our events aimed at:
1) building bridges between physical and digital commons (first big conf in
berlin, 2010), 2) to build bridges between the three Polanyian fictitious
commodities and see how they would function as commons i.e money , labour
and land); 4) to create bridges between peer production communities and
ethical finance 5) to create bridges between cooperativists and the
solidarity economy, and commons/peer production actors, etc ... So how,
does this work? Silke, David and I discuss what we believe are the urgents
tasks of the commons movement; we consult with our networks about who the
interesting players are in these different submovements ; all this is done
with intensive consultation and consensus; we compile lists, discuss how to
best create balanced groups, and then look at balances, i.e. age groups,
gender, north-south. The meetings themselves are only minimally
structured,i.e. very short framings at the beginning of the day ; the
dialogue is entirely free flow.

Of course, there is undoubtedly an elitist aspect to this ... the idea is
to bring thoughtful activists together, so that they can learn from each
other, and build more connections. Trips and lodging are paid, otherwise no
fees are given. In conclusion, these events are a mix of selections and
peer to peer dynamics. Attendees generally find them very useful, because
there are simply very few occasions in life, including activist lives, in
which people can take time to talk, and create bridges with movements they
are not normally encountering. What comes out of it is always unexpected,
usually rich, and leads to all kinds of new joint initiatives. Silke, David
and I are happy to initiative these dialogues, but have otherwise no
influence on what happens afterwards between the people who attended.

Now, of course one could prefer other types of meetings, in which the
self-selected activists who can afford it, come together, but that would
exclude in other ways. I personally feel there should be diversity in
forms, not just one. I feel the formula we work with has been very

To finish, I like to make one constructive suggestion. If you guys,
really really sincere, please consider use the some part of the
fundings getting collected -i take it recuperated from the public
resources stolen by state elite- and give it back to commoners, by for
instance creating totally autonomous spaces for them; so by time for
them; inviting commoners from the Global South, paying their
registration fees, arrange them a permentant space in the Montreal
WSF; in where they can have time and energy to exchange and build
their own agenda in their own ways and means.

<<so far, our support has come from HBF (taxation funds) and FPH (private
endowment in Switzerland from many decades ago, dedicated to advancing
global governance). The WSF is hugely funded by NGO's and other funders
already, and is able to attract tens of thousands of participants. I'm
pretty sure HBF and FPH are already doing what your suggest, i.e.
supporting various people who can't afford it, to go and participate in the
WSF, and specifically the commons activities in Montreal. So your wish has
already been granted.>>

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

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

http://twitter.com/mbauwens; http://www.facebook.com/mbauwens

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