P2P Foundation Guiding Principles

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The P2P Foundation proposes to be a meeting place for those who broadly agree with the following guiding ideas, principles and propositions, which are also argued in the essay P2P and Human Evolution:

  • That peer-to-peer based technology reflects and holds the potential for a consciousness shift towards individual and networked participation, and in turn strengthens it.
  • That the “distributed network” format, expressed in the specific manner of peer-to-peer relations, is a new form of organizing and subjectivity, and an alternative for many systems within the current socio-economic and cultural-political order. Though this does not offer solutions per se, it points the way to a variety of dialogical and self-organizing formats. It represents different processes for arriving at such solutions; it ushers in an era of ‘non-representational democracy’, where an increasing number of people are able to manage their social and productive lives using a variety of autonomous, interdependent networks and peer circles.
  • That global governance and the global market will be, and will have to be, more influenced by modes of governance involving multi-stakeholdership.
  • That it creates a new public domain – an information commons – which should be protected and extended, especially in the domain of common knowledge creation; and that this domain, where the cost of reproducing knowledge is near zero, requires fundamental changes in the intellectual property regime as reflected by new forms such as the free software movement; that universal common property regimes, i.e. modes of peer property, such as the General Public License and the Creative Commons licenses and the CopyFair License (or Commons-Based Reciprocity License) should be promoted and extended.
  • That the principles developed by the free software movement, in particular the General Public License, and the general principles behind the open source and open access movements, provides for models that could be used in other areas of social and productive life.
  • That it reconnects with the older traditions and attempts for a more cooperative social order, but this time obviates the need for authoritarianism and centralization; it has the potential of showing that the new more egalitarian digital culture is connected to the older traditions of cooperation of the workers and peasants, and to the search for an engaged and meaningful life as expressed in one’s work, which becomes an expression of individual and collective creativity rather than a salaried means of survival.
  • That it offers not only youth but people of all ages a vision of renewal and hope to create a world that is more in tune with their values; that it creates a new language and discourse in tune with the new historical phase of ‘cognitive capitalism’. P2P is a language which every digital literate can understand. However, ‘peer-to-peer theory’ addresses itself not only to knowledge workers and the network-enabled but to the whole of civil society, and to whoever agrees that the core of decision-making should be located in civil society, not in the market or in the state, and that the latters should be the servants of civil society.

It combines subjectivity (new values), inter-subjectivity (new relations), objectivity (an enabling technology) and inter-objectivity (new forms of organization) to mutually strengthen one another in a positive feedback loop; it is clearly growing, but as yet lacking in ‘political self-consciousness’. It is this form of awareness that the P2P Foundation wants to promote, and to learn more about our plans and current activities in that area, please see Our Mission.