[p2p-research] Crisis at the Factor E Farm

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Mon Aug 10 09:56:54 CEST 2009

Crisis at the Factor E Farm <http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/?p=4378>
[image: photo of Michel Bauwens]Michel Bauwens
10th August 2009

 Readers of this blog will know that we have consistently supported the Open
Source Ecology project, which consists of creating a full set of open source
technologies for resilient communities.

We have not writtent his anywhere, but in conversations at the Oekonux
conference we also suggested to Marcin Jacubowski that this was not yet in
any way a true global open design project, since it all dependent on the
leadership of one person in a particular locale. My own vision suggests that
what should happen is that OSE should work through a ’sourceforge’, where
people in the whole world can contribute to the designs, while different
locales try it out. And therefore NOT one locale trying to control and
funnel all energies to itself under the control of one person. Such change
has not happened and instead we have a long series of personal conflicts
unfolding at Factor E Farm.

So to be clear, my take is that this is not a local leadership issue, as
that affects only one locale, but rather the design of the project itself,
which should be globally centered as a true open commons with different
locales collaborating, and Marcin Jacubowski’s Factor E Farm as just one
project, working with those who can accept this type of leadership.

So, here’s the documentation on the latest crisis.

“Inga” describes the last, more serious, conflict
here<http://openfarmtech.org/weblog/?p=979>and it is followed by
interesting comments from which we select some
material below. You probably want to read the official account first, before
reading the comments here below.

Molly offers the following analysis:

*“I was at Factor E Farm for the month of March when it was just Marcin and
Jeremy at the Farm. I checked the blog because my boyfriend got a distressed
message from Ben about leaving the site, otherwise I don’t like to follow
the project anymore.*

*I left the Factor E Farm project because I do not believe that one dictator
(Marcin) can save the world. The idea of creating an open source tool kit
for building a global village is excellent, but it will take much more than
one person to lead the project.*

*Inga I am very sorry to hear you have thoroughly absorbed Marcin’s dogma.
In regard to the failure of the vegetable garden, have you ever wondered why
a garden was created in such a lousy site? Why was a garden put on a slope
towards the flood plain? Why are all the houses placed in the flood plain
where mud is a perpetual problem? It was put there because Marcin decided to
put it there without considering whether it was appropriate under the belief
that there was “no time to waste, just gotta get going!” Marcin has been
claiming there is “no time to debate” as a method of ending discussion,
which effectively creates a dictatorship.*

*As for Jeremy and Ben, I don’t know Ben but Jeremy is a hard working guy
who has put all of his energy into Factory E Farm since he arrived last
November. I don’t know why he’s stayed at the farm, but I don’t think anyone
should question his significant contributions. Jeremy did consistent and
quality work on the MicroTrac, the website, the lathe and many other
projects on the Farm while I was there.*

*I am sorry that Jeremy has had to learn first hand, like I did, that Marcin
does not care for any one who helps him. Everyone who has ever worked with
Marcin has now left. He’s been working on this for about 3 years in
Maysville. Has anyone stayed with him? I’m not sure how many people have
visited Factor E Farm since it started. There were 4 visitors the month I
was there so at that rate he’s had 144 visitors. Many of the visitors wanted
to contribute to the project in some way, but none have been able to stand
his style of leadership.*

*Ben is exactly right in saying that this event shows much more about
Marcin’s psychopathic behavior than anything else.*

*Inga you will be the next person to realize that Marcin does not care about
you. He is only interested in using you to complete his dream. A vision as
complex and ambitious as Open Source Ecology can only be achieved through
debate, rigorous experimentation, genuine collaboration and a little love.*

*It’s interesting that Marcin has the power to attract new people which
allows him a new pawn as the old pawns leave.*

*Jeremy and Ben- I am so sorry that Marcin and Inga treated you this way.
The pipe problem would be solved if Marcin stored equipment properly. The
airport problem (Mat and I had the same problem when we arrived), could of
been solved with radios or cellphone communication.*

*Marcin- You’re right, one dictator can change the world, but it’s not
always a good thing.*

*Inga- Remember that Marcin set up the environment physically and
emotionally at FeF. His craftsmanship is poor, just check out his brazing
technique, his writing is terrible but his charisma is amazing. He tells
people what to do, but he blames them when he sets them up to fail (by
providing poor quality supplies, tools or discouraging them from spending
enough time on research) and takes credit in any successes. Watch out for
yourself and pay attention to the physical details out there, they’ll tell
you about Marcin.*

*I’m sorry to hear the equipment issues have caused so much drama and

*This project is officially discredited.”*

Our friend Sam Rose also pitches in, offering the following assessment:

*“When Marcin came to visit me here in the winter of 2007, I spent some time
talking to him about the work of Clare W Graves.
http://clarewgraves.com/and Graves’s finding that people will not
change in ways that they are not
ready to change. Nor will people readily accept a paradigm being foisted
upon them, that they see as being left behind for them in solving problems
of existence.*

*Instead, Graves found that people will either “circle the wagons”, or they
will regress back to earlier ways of solving problems, when people are
confronted with change in ways that they are not resonant with.*

*I do not know all of the facts and circumstances. But, I do know 100% from
watching this video that Ben and Jeremy are not resonant with total
Hierarchical leadership over them. I can also tell from reading the
exchanges over the last 6+ months, plus my own knowledge of open source
software development, that a huge amount of the people who are attracted to
“open source”, voluntary development efforts are people who are generally
averse to hierarchies in social structures. Averse to being controlled.
This, I think is the source of tension and problems(not just in this
project, but around the world). Different worldviews are colliding.
Different ways of solving problems of existence.*

*In simpler terms, if you try to control people who do not want to be
controlled, this is what will happen. Clare W Graves observed this in
hundreds of people over 15+ years.*

*However, by the same token, the secret to “Open Source” is that it is open.
This means that you have the right to fork, the right to leave, the right to
start a new branch with different rules and approaches. If you disagree with
Marcin to the point that you feel you cannot work with him, I would contend
that it is better to fork, to leave, than to spend time railing against him.
If you believed in the ideals behind “Open Source Ecology”, the best thing
you could do is work on what you were interested in wherever you are at, and
under your own rules, and share that with the world.”*

Franz Nahrada pitches in on the same leadership topic:

*“In Open Source Development, there is the saying of the “benevolent
dictator”. I think it is correct to say that in the development of a piece
of software it is better to have one person finally decide. The consequences
for the others are not grave. But the more we center our lives in Open
Source circumstances (and people who decide to move to FeF do!), the more it
is about a whole environment that is shaped by the collective action, the
more a real commons emerges that requires responsible and caring leadership
that seeks consensus and creative solutions.*

*I know this phenomenon from Arcosanti, a fantastic experiment that has
fallen prey to the “lonely leader syndrome”. Lots of people there have had
tons of creative ideas, and I met some of them. Instead of considering and
incorporating them into the design, this way making it richer and more
interesting, or instead of finding consensual ways to at least appreciate
them, the stereotypical answer of Paolo Soleri and his people was: Go to the
next mesa and do your own thing.”*

Work: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhurakij_Pundit_University - Research:
http://www.dpu.ac.th/dpuic/info/Research.html - Think thank:

P2P Foundation: http://p2pfoundation.net  - http://blog.p2pfoundation.net

Connect: http://p2pfoundation.ning.com; Discuss:

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