[P2P-F] New article from Michel Bauwens

Kevin Carson free.market.anticapitalist at gmail.com
Sun Jun 19 03:01:58 CEST 2016

This would make an AMAZING standalone blog post, Eric (with a few added
paragraph divisions). If you don't publish it anywhere else, can I use it
for C4SS?

On Fri, Jun 17, 2016 at 9:34 AM, Eric Hunting <erichunting at gmail.com> wrote:

> When I was a child I was particularly fascinated with books like Stuart
> Little, The Borrowers, classic fairy tales, The Secret of NIMH, The
> Rescuers, and the like. Stories of little creatures that had created
> secret, hidden, civilizations within the overlooked and forgotten
> interstitial spaces of our built habitat, repurposing the detritus of our
> own civilization. In cartoons mice are always repurposing our misplaced
> stuff into some model of casual suburban living on their scale. Thimbles
> become sinks and ottomans. Thread spools become various kinds of furniture.
> Xmas lights become track lighting. Vast communities carrying on their daily
> routine unseen in the spaces behind walls, under floors, in the forgotten
> sealed-up space created as we built up our own infrastructures. Often they
> would have their own independent infrastructures. They would create
> miniature railways from toys, use pigeons as an airline, scavenge wiring
> and electronics parts from our cast-off consumer junk and create their own
> telegraph, telephone, and radio networks, all operating independently and
> in parallel to our own.
> Then, as I got older, I moved on to SciFi but found similar themes. There
> was Arthur C. Clarke's Rama; a vast, ancient, alien spacecraft housing a
> rotating space colony. Its creators, purpose, and destination unknown, its
> complex enigmatic systems and robots running on their own, Rama became the
> host of multiple species who simply boarded and setup shop within its vast
> space when it passed through their solar systems. They could live well by
> simply not drawing the attention of the Raman systems, exploiting the
> spaces the robots seemed to ignore, learning and exploiting their routine
> patterns of activity and behavior. Then there was Larry Niven's Ringworld.
> Another vast alien construction whose creator's original civilization
> collapsed, leaving it running on its own automated systems as they reverted
> to more primitive, fractured, societies and came to think of the ring as
> some natural or divine phenomenon.
> As I began to study Post-Industrial futurism I encountered Ken Isaacs' and
> the Urban Nomads of the late '60s and '70s. This brief movement was based
> on the expectation of a new youth movement emerging amidst the slow
> collapse of the Industrial Age to repurpose the urban and industrial
> detritus to facilitate a mobile lifestyle. It's from this we got the
> 'upcycling' craze, Lofting, Cargotecture, and the High-Tech design movement
> based on the repurposing of industrial goods, hardware, and cast-offs in a
> domestic context. Back in that middle third of the century futurists seemed
> quite convinced of an imminent and dramatic collapse of corporate
> capitalism, its economics, and institutions as suggested by the civil
> unrest erupting at the time, though this prediction would prove premature.
> The dinosaurs had a few last tricks up their sleeves and the oft-predicted
> era of Total Automation was still a ways off. Later, I encountered Alex
> Steffan's and Cory Doctorow's notion of Outquisition. They imagined a near
> future where the growth of intentional communities in the late 20th century
> had come to shelter, like cloisters, a counter-cultural civilization in the
> midst of the mainstream culture and that this had become quite
> self-sufficient in its cultivation of sustainable technologies ignored or
> suppressed by the dominant culture. And as that dominant culture began to
> incrementally fail from its inherent unsustainability, abandoning one
> community after another to states of crisis, evangelistic missionaries, of
> a sort, would emerge from these cloistered communities to intervene,
> introducing the locals to the suppressed technologies that could rescue
> them.
> And so I've come to regard the emergent Post-Industrial culture as a kind
> of insurgent civilization emerging amidst the declining Industrial Age,
> filling the gaps in its progressively crumbling edifice with new systems
> and structures of its own, recycling and repurposing its detritus. New life
> emerging in the decaying hulk of a fallen tree. The objective of the
> Industrial Age was the creation of a kind of Santa Claus machine intended
> to provide all our needs in its particular fashion. The market. But it has
> become akin to some AI master computer that has succumbed to dementia as
> its circuitry has corroded and been repeatedly hacked. It has become
> pathological in behavior. A jealous god that seeks our total dependence
> upon it, eliminating alternatives to itself by the systematic division and
> enclosure of the commons, oblivious to its failing, unsustainable,
> self-destructive, logic. But there is, in fact a lot that it has overlooked
> or discarded because it didn't suit its limited paradigms and models. A lot
> of blind spots. A lot of interstitial spaces. A lot of 'sodai gomi'. And as
> it fails in expanding ways in its progressing decrepitude it produces even
> more to exploit. And it's in that where we might find the initial resources
> for the creation of a new commons and infrastructures deriving from it.
> So I see the task of contemporary Commons development as the cultivation
> and engineering of an alternative, parallel, infrastructure building on
> these overlooked resources. Adaptive reuse as a way of life. We are like
> settlers in the ruins of a prior, alien, civilization whose sometimes still
> dangerous machinery carries on blindly, stupidly, pursuing programmed
> imperatives that no longer make sense or matter to us. We lack the power at
> present to tear it all down and rebuild. Historically, that approach is a
> bit rare anyway. But we can still exploit it. Settle in its forgotten
> spaces. Exploit its behaviors. Repurpose its structures. Scavenge its
> failing hardware. Defuse its hazards. Build on its decay and thus transform
> it into something new. Now that the frontiers are all gone here on Earth,
> now that the old machine has encircled everything, adaptive reuse is all we
> can do.
> Subject:
> [P2P-F] New article from Michel Bauwens
> From:
> Orsan <orsan1234 at gmail.com> <orsan1234 at gmail.com>
> Date:
> 6/13/16, 10:01 AM
> --
> Eric Huntingerichunting at gmail.com
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Kevin Carson
Senior Fellow, Karl Hess Scholar in Social Theory
Center for a Stateless Society http://c4ss.org

"You have no authority that we are bound to respect" -- John Perry Barlow
"We are legion. We never forgive. We never forget. Expect us" -- Anonymous

Homebrew Industrial Revolution:  A Low-Overhead Manifesto
Desktop Regulatory State http://desktopregulatorystate.wordpress.com
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