Category:P2P Class Theory

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Key Articles

From the P2P Foundation

  • Bauwens, M. and V. Kostakis (2014) “From the Communism of Capital to Capital for the Commons: Towards an Open Co-operativism”. tripleC: Communication, Capitalism and Critique. Open Access Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society 12(1): 356–361.


  • A strategy for the commons in the context of social transformation: Massimo de Angelis, Crises, Movements and Commons. Borderlands e-journal, VOLUME 11 NUMBER 2, 2012. [2]

Bernard Stiegler

For the moment, the only specific p2p philosopher, using the concept of a contributive society, is Bernard Stiegler:

Read this interview on the New Desires of Post-Capitalism:



"Notwithstanding his rather bleak diagnosis of contemporary society, Stiegler is not pessimistic with regard to the future. Whereas today’s capitalism is headed for destruction, it is precisely in the digitalized networks through which it tries to control the populations that a new kind of economy is emerging, one that is not only inventing new modes of production like open source and peer-to-peer, but that is also slowly creating a new economy of desire that could lead to the invention of new ways of life, new modes of individual and collective existence. A new society could arise on the same technological base that is now still predominantly destroying the social bonds. The digital networks might be the prime catalysts in the transformation from today’s consumer society into what he calls a ‘society of contribution’. In this context he talks in this interview about technologies in terms of pharmaka (a term derived from Plato and from his teacher Derrida) that can act both as a poison, destroying sociality and proletarianizing human existence, as well as a medicine, producing social ties and deproletarianzing human existence."

Key Books


  • The Creation of Inequality. How Our Prehistorical Ancestors set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire. by Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus (Harvard University Press, 2012): "Flannery and Marcus want to the understand the hows and whys of major evolutionary transitions in human history: from egalitarian to achievement-based societies, from those to chiefdoms with hereditary inequality, and subsequently to states and empires."
  • Global Magic. Technologies of Appropriation from Ancient Rome to Wall Street. By Alf Hornborg. [4] : "This book reveals how our ideas about growth and progress ignore how money and machines throughout history have been used to exploit less affluent parts of world society."


  • Cognitive Capitalism, Welfare and Labour. The Commonfare Hypothesis. By Andrea Fumagalli, Alfonso Giuliani, Stefano Lucarelli, Carlo Vercellone. Routledge, 2020 [5]
  • Guy Standing. Precariat Charter: From Denizens to Citizens. Bloomsbury, 2014 [6]: discusses how rights - political, civil, social and economic - have been denied to the Precariat, and argues for the importance of redefining our social contract around notions of associational freedom, agency and the commons."

* The Bleeding Edge. Why Technology Turns Toxic in an Unequal World. By Bob Hughes. New Internationalist Books, 2016 [7]

Key Quotes

"The leftist milieus hold onto a notion of the working class that has become historically static, they refuse to see that a main condition of work today is a flexibility of contract, a form of generic working and a collapsing of the division between intellectual and manual labour. A decline in social struggles mirrors the decline of the workplace as the rooted-site where a working class identity, with its ‘shared assumptions’, was enabled to come into being. This decline in workplace struggles and the redefinition of the ‘factory’ may also be indicative of the ‘disaggregation’ of the working class, its being broken into components and work units of a much smaller scale. It could be said that the dichotomy between individual and collective is being played out in just such a zone where working class people are experiencing themselves as ‘working-class individuals’ severed from a wider class belonging. When this is coupled to the ways in which the content of work is changing - ‘the transformation of working class labour into a labour of control, of handling information, into a decision-making capacity’ - we see that what is being demanded from employees is an ‘investment of subjectivity’, the willingness to enter into a ‘vocational’ relationship to work. A crucial component of working class experience today is just this conflict around the production of subjectivity: ‘If production today is directly the production of social relations, then the raw material of immaterial labour is subjectivity and the ideological environment in which this subjectivity lives and reproduces’. (See Maurizio Lazzarato, Immaterial Labour in Radical Though in Italy (University of Minnesota, 1996).)

- Howard Slater [8]

Exploiting information is now key

""Rather than think of the commodity form philosophically, as a kind of eternal essence of capital, I think it is more interesting to think about how the information form comes into contact with the commodity form and forces it to mutate. What emerges is a commodity form far more abstract than anything hitherto, a derivative form, one that does not need any particular material being at all, even though it is in no sense immaterial. Rather, the fact that information can have an arbitrary relation to materiality infects the commodity form itself. Property is no longer a thing. Whole new relations of production have to be concocted to canalize information as a force of production into some new exploitative economy, one now based in the first instance on asymmetries of information. The “business model” of any contemporary corporation is to extract surplus information from both labor and non-labor."

- McKenzie Wark [9]

Non-extractive commons producers are the new political subject

The "potentially progressive political subject-in-itself is rather formed by all those whose labour produces the commons, but does not control, expropriate and dispossess the commons of nature, the social, knowledge, culture, technology, care, and education. The 1% are not part of this political subject, but rather form its dialectical opposite."

- Christian Fuchs (tripleC 14(1): 232-242, 2016)

Fighting for a piece of the pie is not the real struggle

"There can be nothing more fundamental to the understanding of society than the manner in which it organizes its metabolism with nature. How does our society meet our basic needs: clothing, food, shelter, warmth etc. And what is the character of wealth in our society? If wealth is money as more money, then really the satisfaction of human needs is a mere sideshow – in fact, this sideshow is what the class struggle is all about. It is struggle for the means of subsistence, the satisfaction of needs. Class struggle is not the struggle for socialism. It is a struggle for material security. The circumstance that the class tied to work has to struggle to make ends meet posits a devastating judgment about bourgeois society."

- Werner Bonefeld [10]

Emancipation of labor vs emancipation from labor

"At the moment, we find an abundance of research dedicated to building spaces of labor independence within the productive networks most invested in the capitalist mode of value extraction. This rebirth of mutualism and the growth of online cooperation are only the first steps in the struggle. With regard to breaking the sequence of desire-consumption (and its forced monetization), there are widespread efforts to create currencies like Bitcoin and to build autonomous communication networks and/or independent consumption networks, and these efforts are partial but significant. They cannot become decisive, however, without offensively seizing that crucial point where capitalist production transforms productive subjectification into the autocratic production of subjects.

It is clear that the strike against the extraction of value and the strike that operates at the level of the capitalist abstraction of social exploitation are not the same thing. In the first case, the struggle is directed at the appropriation of profit; in the second, at the overturning of models of the reproduction of society, of its capitalist rule, and of the contextual minting of functional currency. Today it is clear that these two levels of struggle are not identical, but they are nonetheless closely connected. The first one is horizontal; the second is vertical. The first is a struggle for the emancipation of labor; the second for liberation from labor. From the point of view of the struggles, it would be impossible to distinguish them. Nor, however, can they be conflated—because the one struggles and the other builds. They must do it separately; they must do it together."

- Antonio Negri [11]

Key Statistics

  • Oxfam’s 2017 report: the eight richest men today have the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity [12]

Pages in category "P2P Class Theory"

The following 200 pages are in this category, out of 462 total.

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