[P2P-F] A note on the post-capitalist strategy of the P2P Foundation

Michel Bauwens michel at p2pfoundation.net
Wed Jun 15 03:56:41 CEST 2016

some of you may be interested in this short note:
Post-Capitalist Strategy of the P2P Foundation


Michel Bauwens:

"A note on the post-capitalist strategy of the P2P Foundation

Following Kojin Karatini, we agree that the present system is based on a
trinity of capital-state-nation, which represents an integration of three
modes of exchange. Capital represents a particular market form based on the
endless accumulation of capital, the state is the entity that keeps the
system together through coercion, law and redistribution (Karatini calls
this function ‘rule and protect’), and the nation is the ‘imagined
community’ that is the locus of the survival of community and reciprocity.
A post-capitalist strategy must necessarily overcome all three in a new

Overcoming the capitalist form of the market, means interfering in capital
accumulation. This can and must be done in two ways. First of all, the
capitalist market requires labor as a commodity, and therefore, overcoming
capitalism means refusing to work for capitalism as commodity labor. Hence
the stress on open cooperativism, i.e. commoners work for themselves, in
democratic associations and create autonomous livelihoods around our
commons, protected from value capture through membranes such as
reciprocity-based licenses. Measures like the basic income also
substantially remove the compulsion for workers to have to sell their labor
power, and would strengthen the capacity to create alternative economic
entities. However, we must proceed with the reality that exists today, and
create our own funding and resource allocation mechanisms. The second way
is to withdraw from capitalism and capital accumulation is by removing our
cooperation as consumers. Without workers as producers and workers as
consumers, there can be no reproduction of capital. The latter means the
invention and creation of new forms of consumption that are derived from
the creation of open cooperatives. Workers mutualize their consumption in
pooled market forms such as community-supported agriculture and the like.
To the degree that we systematically organize new provisioning and
consumption systems, outside of the sphere of capital, we undermine the
reproduction of capital and capital accumulation. In addition, we create
‘transvestment’ vehicles, which allow the acceptance of capital, as
disciplined by the new commons and market forms that we develop through
peer production, this creates a flow of value from the system of capital to
the system of the commons economy. Faced with a crisis of capital
accumulation, it is entirely realistic to expect a stream of value which
seeks a place in the commons economy. Instead of the cooptation of the
commons economy by capital, in the form of the netarchical capitalist
platforms which capture value from the commons, we coopt capital inside the
commons, and subject it to its rules.

I believe we can achieve similar effects with the state. Our strategy for a
‘partner state’ is to ‘commonify’ the state. We strive to transform state
functions so that they actually empower and enable the autonomy of the
citizens as individuals and groups, to create common resources, instead of
being ‘consumers’ of state services. We abolish the separation of the state
from the population by increasing democratic and participatory
decision-making. We consider the public service as a commons, giving every
citizen and resident the right to work in the commonified public services.
But we don’t ‘withdraw’ completely from the state because we need common
good institutions for everyone in a given territory, which creates equal
capacities for every citizen to contribute to the commons and the ethical
market organizations.

In another article we have argued that the capital-state-nation trinity is
no longer able to balance global capitalism, because it has created a very
powerful transnational financial class, which is able to move resources
globally and discipline the state and the nations that dare rebalance it.
Our answer is to create trans-local and trans-national civic and economic
entities that can eventually rebalance and counter the power of the
transnational capitalist class. This is realistic because peer production
technologies create global open design communities that mutualize knowledge
on a global scale, and because we can create global and ethical market
organizations around them. Even as we produce locally, we organize
trans-local productive communities. These trans-local productive
communities are no longer bound by the nation-state and project and require
forms of governance that can operate on the global scale. In this way, they
also transcend the power of the nation-state. As we explained in our
strategy regarding the global capitalist market, these forces can operate
against the accumulation of capital at the global level, and create global
counter-hegemonic power. In all likelihood, this will create global
governance mechanisms and institutions that are no longer inter-national,
but trans-national, but are not transnational capitalism.

In conclusion, our aim is to replace the capital-state-nation trinity,
which is no longer functioning, and to avoid global domination of private
capital, by creating a new integrative trinity, Commons-Ethical Market-
Partner State, that is not confined to the nation-state level, but can
operate trans-nationally and transcend the older and dysfunctional trinity.
Through these processes, citizens develop cosmopolitan subjectivities but
also allegiance to local and trans-national commons-oriented communities of
value creation and value distribution."

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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