[P2P-F] A globa-local synthesis of a possible city-supported public-commons partnership for climate- friendly and ecologically balanced provisioning systems

Michel Bauwens michel at p2pfoundation.net
Thu Oct 5 07:09:14 CEST 2017

dear Michael,

I will add some responses in-line

On Wed, Oct 4, 2017 at 11:51 PM, Michael Lewis <Lewiscccr at shaw.ca> wrote:

> Pat I really like the memo you sent. But I have several questions.
>  (Michel - I wrote this and then see you have replied to Pat) I will think
> about and perhaps comment later.  I the meantime here is my response to Pat)
> I am a poor student of history, but as I have come to understand Cole his
> guild strategy was rooted in the work place, although relevant to other
> kinds of association.  The role of the state was radially reduced. What
> emerged was a decentralized, democratic approach to provisioning, where
> workers were the central (but not only) actors.  Advise me here what I am
> missing.
> If this is the case there a large difference in what Michel is proposing?
> The foundation of his proposition is  public-commons partnerships. Is this
> not very different?  Given the radical difference in reference points -
> Cole with workers a the base and this 21st idea where globally mediated
> knowledge that enables localize production on an
> open-mutualized-cooperative basis; I wonder where the context renders some
> of Cole’s propositions less relevant.

in my interpretation, the commons are themselves multi-stakeholders, so
this include the workers and the user communities ; you may be familiar
with the idea of some that today the workplace has exploded and is no
longer confined to the factory; but there is an obvious linkage between the
commons seen as the locus of co-production, and thus a sphere of production
including workers, and industrial and craft workers as they used to exist

> Second, as I understand it Michel, your proposition is critically
> dependent of an member cities to be active at the city and global level,
> the latter through associations. In short, cities are organized into a body
> the coordinates and governs the terms under which sourcing technical
> solutions is build and maintained on an open source base.  Question here
> Michel is whether access to the knowledge repository requires cities to be
> active members of the global mutual…??

the code is open source, and would be accessible to everybody, but the
right to commercialization of that code may be subjected to some
reciprocity limitatations, in my opinion (reciprocity-based licensing)

> Third,  the territorial platform co-operatives become critical
> infrastructure for production, distribution and governing.  Michel…a
> question about the platform co-ops; are they conceived of as being
> multi-stakeholder and, if so, what is the role of local state actors, if
> any?

yes, they are conceived as multi-stakeholder and I'm open to co-governance
by local public actors

> Lastly,  I am wondering about the thinking to date on whether there will
> be limits to what is gathered into the global digital open source
> repository?  Is the focus on all the critical elements to aid and
> accelerate transition? Given the absolute urgencies emerging from climate
> breakdown, this might make senses. Or is it broader?  I think these are
> important questions as they will shape the counters of the politics that
> such a proposition would provoke.   Even if it is restricted to urgent
> transition related production, I can imagine that a global manufacturers of
> say, public transit vehicles,  and their employees,  would be none to
> pleased with a strategy that could has the potential for sidelining their
> businesses and jobs..   But, then again,  I may not be capturing the
> fullness of the vision.

for me, this would work for all provisioning systems, and is connected to
the climate/ecological/resource emergency of our time, i.e. this proposal
is one of the crucial ways to radicallly reduce our material footprint

> One interesting and attractive feature of what Michel is proposing is the
> bypassing of national governments. Given the growing network of cities
> collaborating on climate breakdown and transition strategies, and for those
> involved, their leadership in advancing more progressive transition
> politics,  the proposal being put forward has a strategic context where it
> can be tested.

national partner-state governments could decide at a later stage to join
and support these global depositories

by the way, this was written in the context of urban transitions, but I
realize it could be stronger in stressing the role of the cooperative
sector in supporting the deployment of such infrastructure


> Anyways, a bit more grist for the proverbial mill.
> Michael L
> On Oct 4, 2017, at 9:04 AM, Michel Bauwens <michel at p2pfoundation.net>
> wrote:
> Dear Pat,
> as I was schooled in marxism in my youth, and subsequently abandoned it,
> this means that much of the tradition you speak of is completely unknown to
> me, I had simply no idea that georgism and guild socialism even existed and
> where so big back then ... for me there were revolutionaries, reformists
> and anarchists (and stalinists <g>) ...
> when I decided to embark on p2p work, I decided to make a clear break with
> my dogmatic past, and start constructing a 'low theory' that would be a
> more direct expression of what is happening and possible today. Hence in my
> wiki, I only include things that exist (no projects or plans) and use
> concepts that are born from the very movement I am observing.
> as much as I think it is necessary, I don't see it as a very realistic
> possibility for me to dig into that history, so I am very much counting on
> you for this historical context and genealogy!!
> one note, you will have seen in my approach a combination of the local and
> the global, bypassing the nation-state level.
> There is both a opportunistic and strategic reason for this
> Opportunistic as it appears in a report on urban transitions,
> but strategic as I see coalesced cities (and bioregions/territorities) as
> a crucial new part of transnational governance, which can't be a
> inter-statist world government, but must be based on global public-commons
> alliances
> quid with the nation-state,
> I am not dissing it, but I think nation-states should now support
> transnational commons infrastructures
> the double movement has become inoperative because of the
> trans-nationalization of capital; national revolutions carry great risks
> and dangers (syriza, venezuela), and keynesianism can only be a small part
> of the solution in the context of overshoot
> so what is a progressive majority in a nation-state to do, for sure, let
> it do green  new deals at the national level, but crucially, it must also
> understand that change today is not going to come from a frontal assault
> against a stronger enemy, but from a global coalition of change efforts
> everywhere, which are the only ones that can overwhelm the repressive
> capacity of the transnational empire
> in other words, progressive national governments must absolute support the
> kind of global commoning policies we are proposing and cannot limit their
> vision on their own citizens
> Michel
> On Wed, Oct 4, 2017 at 10:21 PM, pat commonfutures <
> pat.commonfutures at phonecoop.coop> wrote:
>> Hi Michel
>> Some feedback for consideration.....
>> This is a really good summary and illustration. So much makes complete
>> sense to me. Thanks so much for this articulation. I think it is rich and
>> very helpful indeed. When will the report be coming out and who are the
>> authors?
>> I have a sense of deja vu however? So my comments are about the practical
>> articulation and the dynamics as other forces are in play.  For the past
>> two hundred plus years, the tension and indeed struggle between authority
>> at the political level and the striving for democratic authority from the
>> grassroots has been continuous and constant. Polanyi's Double movement
>> therefore has many dynamic aspects to consider. How is it best to do this
>> to be clear about the dialectical complexity?
>> Stephen Yeo, a very close colleague of Robin Murray's over decades, is
>> writing a book on the Three Socialisms. These are Statism (from social
>> democracy to communism), Collectivism and Associationism. The last form is
>> the most forms that are participatively democratic and includes working
>> class self-help associations for mutual aid and including of course trade
>> unions that we should try to include in your illustration of the layers.
>> The ideas you are advancing are a rekindling of the debates and thinking
>> from say 1900 right up to 1947 when the Cold War kicked off and when
>> Statism thereafter effectively crushed and suppressed associative democracy
>> thinking and ideas. Statists East and West told co-ops and unions thank,
>> but no thanks. We are taking over to make your bits and pieces integrated
>> and comprehensive.
>> But to guide this earlier struggle by commoners, In 1919 GDH Cole
>> produced his book Guild Socialism Restated when he set out a very clear
>> blueprint with a remarkable coincidence with what you, David B, Janelle
>> Orsi and others are working up here.
>> What is very creative about the Cole proposals that Bertrand Russell
>> fully supported in his book Roads to Freedom a century ago was to recognise
>> clearly that political socialism (social democracy shall we say) and
>> associative socialism need to be established at the territorial level and
>> at the national level in a system of checks and balances with a clear and
>> agreed division of labour between the politicos and the economic democrats.
>> Essentially the proposal of Cole set out a blue print for how economic
>> democracy though a Guild Congress at local, regional and national levels
>> would relate and complement Parliamentary democracy. But what was wonderful
>> about the Cole proposals is that it considered co-operative commonwealth
>> building in all industries, services, arts and sciences and worked out
>> sector solutions for them. Plus Cole also proposed that cities should be
>> based on land held in commons to capture economic rent and to stop
>> speculation. Thus he argued for co-operative garden cities.
>> 20 years earlier in Fields Factories and Workshops had attempted a very
>> creative blueprint as well for economic democracy and what in practice this
>> would look like.
>> Okay Polanyi did not arrive in the UK until about 1933 and his way to
>> escape fascism was paid for by crowd funding by Guild Socialist, but given
>> that in Vienna in the 1920s Polanyi was at the forefront of associative
>> democracy solutions and thinking, you can see the resonance.
>> Given that democratic socialism is being rekindled in parts of Europe
>> (Spain, Portugal, the UK and elsewhere), I think it would helpful to
>> connect the sound thinking from the 1920s before the lights began being
>> turned out with what you are proposing.
>> I would suggest we are rediscovering co-operative commonwealth thinking
>> and practice which you are doing such a brilliant job of updating to the
>> digital age.
>> I hope this helps.  Drawing on the best practices from the past will
>> enable us to contextualise the arguments and link these to this vernacular
>> part of the Double Movement we should not overlook.
>> All the best
>> Pat
>> On 04 October 2017 at 06:35 Michel Bauwens <michel at p2pfoundation.net>
>> wrote:
>> this is the very last section of our report which will come out soon with
>> the Boll foundation:
>> 3.6. Towards a global infrastructure for commons-based provisioning
>> We have argued in this overview that we are in a conjuncture in which
>> commons-based mutualizing is one of the keys for sustainability, fairness
>> and global-local well-being. In this conclusion, we suggest a global
>> infrastructure, in which cities can play a crucial role.
>> See the graphic below for the stacked layer that we propose, which is
>> described as follows:
>>    -
>>    The first layer is the cosmo-local institutional layer. Imagine
>>    global for-benefit associations which support the provisioning of
>>    infrastructures for urban and territorial commoning. These are structured
>>    as global public-commons partnerships, sustained by leagues of cities which
>>    are co-dependent and co-motivated to support these new infrastructures and
>>    overcome the fragmentation of effort that benefits the most extractive and
>>    centralized ‘netarchical’ firms. Instead, these infrastructural commons
>>    organizations co-support MuniRide, MuniBnB, and other applications
>>    necessary to commonify urban provisioning systems. These are the global
>>    “protocol cooperative” governance organizations.
>>    -
>>    The second layer consists of the actual global depositories of the
>>    commons applications themselves, a global technical infrastructure for open
>>    sourcing provisioning systems. They consists of what is globally common,
>>    but allow contextualized local adaptations, which in turn can serve as
>>    innovations and examples for other locales. These are the actual ‘protocol
>>    cooperatives’, in their concrete manifestation as usable infrastructure.
>>    -
>>    The third layer are the actual local (urban, territorial,
>>    bioregional) platform cooperatives, i.e. the local commons-based mechanisms
>>    that deliver access to services and exchange platforms, for the mutualized
>>    used of these provisioning systems. This is the layer where the Amsterdam
>>    FairBnb and the MuniRide application of the city of Ghent, organize the
>>    services for the local population and their visitors. It is where houses
>>    and cars are effectively shared.
>>    -
>>    The potential fourth layer is the actual production-based open
>>    cooperatives, where distributed manufacturing of goods and services
>>    produces the actual material services that can be shared and mutualized on
>>    the platform cooperatives.
>> ...
>> [image: Figure 8.png]
>> Figure 8: City-supported cosmo-local production infrastructure
>> --
>> Check out the Commons Transition Plan here at:
>> http://commonstransition.org
>> P2P Foundation: http://p2pfoundation.net  - http://blog.p2pfoundation.net
>> Updates: http://twitter.com/mbauwens; http://www.facebook.com/mbauwens
>> #82 on the (En)Rich list: http://enrichlist.org/the-complete-list/
> --
> Check out the Commons Transition Plan here at:
> http://commonstransition.org
> P2P Foundation: http://p2pfoundation.net  - http://blog.p2pfoundation.net
> <http://lists.ourproject.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/p2p-foundation>Updates:
> http://twitter.com/mbauwens; http://www.facebook.com/mbauwens
> #82 on the (En)Rich list: http://enrichlist.org/the-complete-list/

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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