[p2p-research] Building Alliances (state and commons)

Kevin Carson free.market.anticapitalist at gmail.com
Mon Nov 9 20:38:08 CET 2009

On 11/9/09, Michel Bauwens <michelsub2004 at gmail.com> wrote:

> I would argue, different from Kevin, that there is a common social good that
> transcends mutualization, i.e. society exists beyond just individuals and
> their relations, and that there can be institutions for that. But such
> public instiutions could be very far removed from what we understand today
> as the state, and may be much more acceptable to anti-state people like
> Kevin, even if they are theoretically against it.

Well, I'm a methodological individualist (i.e., social wholes exist
only as patterned interactions between individuals--social cognition
or "general will" exist only in a metaphorical sense).  But I wouldn't
take it as far as Margaret Thatcher's Randroid bravado and say
"there's no such thing as society."  Rather, I just think that
whatever social good exists is the cumulative effect of individual
acts of voluntary cooperation, and consensual relationships between

I'm extremely skeptical about the ability of any representative
organization, which is not both directly democratic and an entirely
consensual/voluntary effort of those who choose to belong, to reflect
any genuine kind of "common good" or "general welfare."  I believe
very strongly that such organizations, in practice, come to serve the
interests of those who control their day-to-day machinery.

> The problem however is as Ryan states, what could be a 'transition'.
> I see two possibilities. One is the classic political struggle, which forces
> the existing state to take into account new social demands; the other is
> that we get better at replacing its current functions through different
> means, and that some of it functions gradually 'die out'. I think that this
> is what the p2p way is about, and how it differs from classical anarchism as
> I understand it.

This "getting better" at things, IMO, is key to the transition.  It's
one of the dovetailing crisis tendencies that's making state
capitalism non-viable.  It's at the root of your crisis of realization
in the cognitive realm (p2p is so good that copyright is becoming
unenforceable), and of Rushkoff's crisis of surplus capital.

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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