P2P and Human Evolution Appendix 2
Launch of The Foundation for P2P Alternatives
Appendix to P2P and Human Evolution
We are now reaching the conclusion of our essay. If I have been successful the reader has a descriptive, explanatory, and historical view of its emergence and potential.
Of course my purpose is also political. I believe that a P2P-based civilization, or at least one that has much stronger elements of it compared with today, would be a better civilization, more apt to tackle the global challenges that we are facing. This is why I propose that this essay is not just part of a process of understanding, but that it can be a guide to an active participation in the transformation of our world, into something better, more participative, more free, more creative.
I therefore announce the creation of a Foundation for P2P Alternatives. It would be centered around the following conclusions, the support for which you can find in the essay:
- that technology reflects a change of consciousness towards participation, and in turn strengthens it
- that the networked format, expressed in the specific manner of peer to peer relations, is a new form of political organizing and subjectivity, and an alternative for the political/economic order, which though it does not offer solutions per se, points the way to a variety of dialogical and self-organising formats to device different processes for arriving at such solutions; it ushers in a era of ‘nonrepresentational democracy’, where an increasing number of people are able to manage their social and productive life through the use of a variety of networks and peer circles 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 the principles developed by the free software movement, in particular the General Public Licence, 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 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 as a salaried means of survival
- that it offers youth 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 youngster’ can understand
- it combines subjectivity (new values), intersubjectivity (new relations), objectivity (an enabling technology) and interobjectivity (new forms of organization) that mutually strengthen each other in a positive feedback loop, and it is clearly on the offensive and growing, but lacking ‘political self-consciousness’.
The Foundation for P2P Alternatives would address the following issues:
- P2P currently exists in discrete separate movements and projects but these different movements are often unaware of the common P2P ethos that binds them
- thus, there is a need for a common initiative, which 1) brings information together; 2) connects people and mutually informs them 3) strives for integrative insights coming from the many subfields; 4) can organize events for reflection and action; 5) can educate people about critical and creative tools for world-making
- the Foundation would be a matrix or womb which would inspire the creation and linking of other nodes active in the P2P field, organized around topics and common interests, locality, and any form of identity and organization which makes sense for the people involved
- the zero node website would have a website with directories, an electronic newsletter and blog, and a magazine.