[P2P-F] a strategic analysis of where we are, and the role of the 'everywhere's

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Mon Jan 3 16:13:41 CET 2022


Here is how I see our conundrum

   - While capitalism and neoliberalism have been contradictory phenomenon
   in human history, creating both a lot of wealth, as well as substantial
   misery, the very least we can say is that it does not seem to be
   sustainable in the longer term: it is an agent of destruction of vital
   planetary resources, and is creating in its current phase, acute social
   inequalities; it seems in a process of de-legimization and disintegration,
   and the seeds are being sown for much more authoritarian and totalitarian

At the same time, it is doubtful if this can succeed, and ‘distributed
disintegration’ seems a realistic counter-scenario. This might lead both to
local deterioration but also to local re-organizations that may be more
sustainable and socially just.

As global and national identities are weakened by the inability of both the
global and national systems to satisfy human needs and dreams, two
counter-reactions are occurring.

On the side of the ‘somewheres’, broadly the working classes that are
rooted to place and community, the search is for more closer-knit potential
solidarities; this leads to a revival of localist, communautarian,
regionalist, but also nation-state ideologies, along with ethnic and
religious revivals, the binding element is a search for cultural roots that
can create common identity;

* for the ‘nowheres’, broadly the intellectual and managerial classes, the
regression is to the ‘woke’ identities, mostly linked to biological
conditions such as skin colour, gender, sexual preferences, etc .. The
first reaction leads to new coalitions of the rooted, with the more local
‘powers that be’,i.e. the territorially rooted entrepreneurs, SME's etc
...; the latter ‘unity of victimhood’ is powerfully backed by the
culturally progressive neoliberal elites, i.e. woke inc., the woke state
formations, etc .. Both reactions lead to increased othering, are based on
scapegoating mechanisms that may lead to social violence. (the inner group
being consolidated by a 'common enemy', rather than choosing for common
humanity approaches). We have historical examples on this on both sides of
the political spectrum.

Indeed the first form of reaction may lead to increased xenophobia and to
local and national forms of competition, with substantial dangers for
increased warfare for scarce resources; the second leads to the
consolidation of a new knowledge elite, led by a intellectual cartel, and
means an all-out warfare against the poor and the working class. Equal
outcome ideologies have historically led to disasters (right from the
Mazdaceans in Ancient Persia up to the Cultural Revolution under Mao)

So it must be said that the return to the nation-state, and ‘sovereignism’,
in the current context, is much more inclusive and pro-diversity in nature,
it aims to revive collective stories that bind, but at the cost of an
increased effort towards ‘assimilation’ towards national identities; it
means a slowing down of migration (the classic position of  Marxism, the
left and the labor movement until the 70s), but it is also attached to the
rule of law, equality under the law, and reinforced forms of national
solidarity, along with forms of protectionism; the second option aims for a
new racial and group identity based society, based on racial and other
hierarchies, based on permanent active discrimination, in other words, a
segregated society modelled on the realities that were prevalent before
modernity and before the advent of ‘universalist egalitarianism’. I
sincerely hope that a more progressive version of this may develop, but I
am not putting my hopes on it.

My bet is therefore that the sociology of the first coalition is better
poised for victories in the current context, and that the second, despite
its alliance with neoliberal forces, cannot command local and national
majorities. As stated, both reactions will increase othering, the first
against perceived ‘foreign elements that refuse to assimilate’, the second
a particular racial group but that will likely lead to a permanent purity
spiral and social implosions. But it is important to realize that the
nation-state, and its idea of legal equality between all citizens, which
can receive a progressive translation through building infrastructures of
opportunity for all, is in all circumstances preferable to a society based
on biological profiling and hierarchization, group allocation and
unequality before the law.

[This may sound counter-intuitive, but if we posit 3 factions:

* the conservative position of equality before the law, but which tends to
ignore the objective physical realities needed to realize these rights

* the traditional progressive position of concretizing these rights through
infrastructures of access and personal development for the majority working

* the neo-identitarian position of equality of outcome which requires the
abolition of merit in selection, group allocation of the surplus, and
active discrimination (i.e. abolishing equality before the law)

Then it seems that there is a potential for a re-alignment of politics as
position 1 and 2 are potentially closer to each other, than position 2 and
3. The reality that complicates such a scenario is that the second position
is melting.]

Neither side offers permanent solutions to the current meta-crisis which is
inevitably planetary. If we rule out a world state scenario (though
elements of the public-private Great Reset scenario will be attempted to
play out and the World Social Forum website shows that this will be
accompanied by attempts to impose a strong dose of global wokism through
the DIE bureaucracies of the big corporations), and if we rule out national
protectionism as a permanent solution because of the dangers of inter-state
war, then the COSMO-LOCAL scenario that we are proposing becomes a
realistic THIRD WAY.

(The above could be called the 'anywheres' scenario  except that this
indicates 'rootlessness' and I believe it is rather a case of
'rootfullness' as this is a part of the population that is very active in
term of projected passionate projects. They are the agents of the
trans-localisation of politics)

This means a revival and relocalisation of local economies using
distributed models, but accompanied with global cooperation through global
open design communities, which are the ‘protocol cooperatives’ carrying the
vital regenerative knowledge that is needed to be both local, regional,
national and global challenges.
In this scenario, the role of geographical public authorities, such as the
nation-state, changes from the neoliberal role of attracting global finance
investments, to the role of inserting the revived territories in the global
streams of technical and scientific, ‘regenerative’ knowledge.

The vehicle for this will be the cosmo-local nomads, which form a bridge
between the local, in which they are permanently or non-permanently
embedded, and the global communities. These brahmin-workers types, now to
be found in makerspaces and in digital nomad cities and regions across the
world, and which are also expressed through ledger-based transnational
ecosystems with its potential for ‘cloud nations’ (aka 'neoguild systems)
will be the cultural and ideological vehicle for this transition. They will
supplement the localism, including nation-state localism, with the seeds of
a broadening of identity towards translocal and transnational
cosmo-localism. These people have their feet in the mud, their heart in
both local and trans-local communities, and their brain in the global
noosphere. The vehicle for this is neo-regional territoritial development
around ‘open source third spaces’ which connect local and rooted know-how,
to global technical knowhow, embedded in cosmo-local cyber-physical
infrastructures. Neo-guilds will connect the local with the cosmic
polarities, i.e. a organized neo-nomadic working class.

The question is, which social-political movement(s) can express this
transition ?
As the left are in processes of self-destruction through their adoption of
neo-racist and segregationist policies that destroy any chance of popular
alignment outside of their elite circles, and exception made for potential
movements that will refuse this slide; and since generally speaking
conservative movements are oblivious until now to the ecological and social
issues, that question remains quite open.
In the meantime, the recommendation is for the cosmo-local forces to keep
constructing their seed forms, interconnect, and seek without political
prejudice for representational forces that are willing to support partner
state (and ‘productive democracy’ approaches) frameworks and regulations
that support this transition.

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