Occupy as a Peer Production of a Political Commons

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Michel Bauwens (from an interview with Jean Lievens):

"Michel Bauwens of the P2P Foundation on the #Occupy Movement

JL: You describe #Occupy as an example of peer producing political commons. In what way is this different from historical ‘anarchist’ or ‘communist’ movements like the Paris Commune, Barcelona 1937, or perhaps even the Russian Revolution?

Michel Bauwens: If you observe an occupation, you see a community that is producing its politics autonomously, not following hierarchical or authoritarian political movements with a pre-ordained program; you see for-benefit institutions in charge of the provisioning of the occupiers (food, healthcare), and the creation of an ethical economy around it (such as Occupy’s Street Vendor Project). This is prefigurative of a new form of society in which the commons is at the core of value creation; these commons’ are maintained by non-profit institutions, and the livelihoods are guaranteed through an ethical economy. Of course there are historical precedents, but what is new is the extraordinary organisational, mobilization and co-learning potential of their networks. Occupy works as an open API with modules, such as ‘protest camping’, ‘general assemblies’, which can be used as templates and modified by all, without the need for central leadership. We can now have global coordination and mutual alignment of a multitude of small-group dynamics, and this requires a new type of leadership. The realization of historical moment of Peak Hierarchy, the moment in which distributed networks asymmetrically challenge vertical institutions in a way they could not do before, forces social movements to look for new ways of governance… but these are not given, and have to be discovered experimentally, and of course, there will be valuable lessons to learn from predecessor movements! (http://seanfitz.tumblr.com/post/17485367172/michel-bauwens-of-the-p2p-foundation-on-the-occupy)


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