[p2p-research] Crisis at the Factor E Farm

Kevin Carson free.market.anticapitalist at gmail.com
Mon Aug 10 10:52:22 CEST 2009

On 8/10/09, Michel Bauwens <michelsub2004 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Crisis at the Factor E Farm 			
> 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 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.

I just learned about it tonight catching up on my feeds.  I was
utterly astonished at the tone of Inga's post, and the way she tore in
to Jeremy and Ben with what seemed like a lawyer's brief aimed at
demonizing them to the outside world.  Then she followed it up a day
or so later with an apology, noting that they'd discovered the hoses
really did come loose on their own again after Ben and Jeremy had
left, so maybe it wasn't sabotage after all.  As Emily Latella would
say, "Never mind."  I was also taken aback by the follow-up post in
which Inga complained about the "hateful and destructive" tone of the
comments you quote here; nothing hateful and destructive in her
original comments about Ben and Jeremy, eh?

As a "true fan" and someone who's repeatedly tried to promote the
project in the larger alt economy world, I have to say this is really
disappointing.  I'm a fervent supporter of the OSE toolkit, and what
it promises for the future.  I'm just glad the projects and their
progress to date are all heavily documented so others can take them up
and finish them, in more than one place, whenever they want--without
the personality cults and drama.

In addition, this stuff thoroughly creeps me out.  Several months ago
I published a fund-raising bleg at Mutualist Blog for OSE, and Marcin
got into a really bizarre exchange with P.M. Lawrence, a respected
frequent commenter at my blog.  It degenerated into Marcin repeatedly
posting childish taunts like "liar, pants on fire" and so forth.  I
eventually started blocking his comments because they contained
absolutely nothing of substantive value--just a continuing grudge
match.  I was utterly amazed that this kind of meltdown came from the
same Marcin who was doing such wonderful work at Factor E Farm.

The other thing that creeps me out is the hint of Fuhrerprinzip
lurking in Inga's comments, both in the blog post and as quoted by
others in the comments.  The stuff about everybody being guided by
Marcin's vision, and such things not being achieved by democracy, etc.
  That's just really *weird*.  When I read her illustration of the
solar concentrator, with every facet of the array being focused in
common, I thought "Yeah!  Another edifying illustration might be a
bunch of sticks bound around a common axe handle--oh, wait, somebody
else already thought of that."

Kevin Carson
Center for a Stateless Society http://c4ss.org
Mutualist Blog:  Free Market Anti-Capitalism
Studies in Mutualist Political Economy
Organization Theory:  A Libertarian Perspective

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