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

Michel Bauwens michel at p2pfoundation.net
Sun Jun 19 06:52:49 CEST 2016

Dear Roberto,

You are probably aware of that report that showed that not a single
industry would be profitable if they had to pay for their destructive
externalities ..

This in echo of your strategy, which I think is very complementary to our
transvestment proposals, as we grow our power to impeach their destructive
behaviours, and as they are increasinly unable to outlets for their
investments .. funneling their surpluses into the commons networks will be
seen as reasonable

I have just become an advisor of an investment fund that will do just that,
only invest in purpose driven companies in which investment shares give no
voting shares, and the voting shares are in the hands of the purpose-driven
creators, with capped returns and all the techniques to subsume formerly
extractive capital

have you worked out somewhere, this strategy of yours, i..e. how do we make
'extraction' so difficult, that 'generation' becomes a rational option ?


<<Message: 2
Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2016 10:41:44 +0800
From: Roberto Verzola <rverzola at gn.apc.org>
Subject: Re: [P2P-F] [NetworkedLabour] A note on the post-capitalist
        strategy of the P2P Foundation
To: p2p-foundation at lists.ourproject.org
Message-ID: <20160619104144.1c102a30 at hotline>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

I agree with Kevin that at the hardware-software level much can be
done locally, given the technologies that he cites.

My own worry is more about the increasingly vast info-gathering powers
(the technologies also improving rapidly) that centralized
institutions--govt and private--are acquiring: the
NSA-Microsoft-Google-Facebook complex. Just to give one
example: the increasing numbers of CCTV cameras deployed in public
places. In some areas, even small businesses are now required (using
crime and terrorism as excuse) to install them. Almost every
computer/smartphone now comes with a camera. And microphone too. Sooner
or later, if it has not happened already, these can be remotely
activated for surveillance. Plus all the info we willingly give in
every online transaction, in exchange for convenience.

In short, we can choose to go small-scale/local/p2p/foss/organic/
renewable/bike transpo PGP Duckduckgo Bitcoin etc but how many are
willing to put up with the inconveniences (the central institutions
will make sure of that) that go with them? How many on this list, for
instance? It is dilemma of The Matrix. The mere use of technologies
themselves, as E.F.Schumacher observed a long time ago, shapes minds
and changes mindsets.

Eric's earlier post about adaptive reuse describes a decaying
civilization that has lost a lot of its powers. Unfortunately at the
level I'm describing (control of information, behavior and mind), their
powers are increasing day by day.

I am reminded of a debate here (on media) between mining companies and
the local farmers who opposed them. The mining rep accused the
anti-mining leader of hypocrisy because he used the metal products of
mining like laptops and cellphones. The leader replied, "Ok, we can
stop using your products if you also stop using ours. Let's see who
gives in first!" Very powerful riposte, but are we willing to exercise
that option? (I try, one reason why my posts are very occasional, only
when I think what I'll say is important enough.)

All this implied suggestion about violence (behind the word
"expropriation") recalls to me the old Marx Lenin Mao etc approach
though cast in contemporary terms. Be careful what you ask for... Had
they won the Cold War, can you imagine where we'd be today? (I can
already hear in my head a friend's reply, "Probably like China!" Or
like North Korea?, who knows...). The law of unintended consequences
can play cruel historical jokes sometimes.

I've tried that route too by the way. Today, in case anybody is
interested, my personal "ideology" if you can call it that, is the
prayer "Give me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to
accept the things I can't, and the wisdom to know the difference."

I couple this apparently less "revolutionary" approach with the insights
from the sciences of complexity, which have seeming equivalents in
quantum physics although I don't know if they are real or imagined.
These insights say even ordinary termites, working only locally and
aware only of what their immediate neighbors are doing, can build
architectural/ecological wonders, which somehow emerge out of local
interactions without need for a grand design (or a grand designer for
that matter).

But then again, termites are the products of millions of years of
evolution and God knows how many failures, before the species that
survive today got it right. We don't have that luxury. We will probably
need to act with more intentionality and mindfulness than termites do.

As you can see, although I am somewhat confident in my own ideas, I'm
not so sure about them that I'd be willing to ask people to
"expropriate" others for these ideas. Also those others will probably
"expropriate" back and we end up with the law of unintended
consequences again.

I do have an idea how to deal with corporations, which I try every so
often. It is not expropriation. It is more about asking everyone
(you have to do it yourself of course) to take all kinds of steps, big
and small, legal or otherwise, to whittle down their profits,
until existing is not profitable anymore. For Monsanto, for instance,
mandatory labelling of GMOs will probably do it. Even at the 5% content
level (big debate I know), they cannot be profitable with only 5% of the
market, and as a contaminant at that. Edward Abbey's Monkey Wrench
Gang described other ways, probably applicable to mining companies.
Just keep whittling down their profits. We can be very creative here,
more than termites. Deny them markets. Raise their costs. etc. I call
this approach "working with the nature of corporations." Like termites
bringing down an unwelcome house.

Greetings to all,

Roberto Verzola--
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

#82 on the (En)Rich list: http://enrichlist.org/the-complete-list/
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