[p2p-research] The Non-Corporate Fortune 500

Ryan Lanham rlanham1963 at gmail.com
Sun Nov 29 14:06:37 CET 2009

I find these sorts of essays...the Marx-based talk of Europe, so full of
judgment and name-calling that they become impenetrable.   They remind me of
the anger and bile of the US right wing...a know-nothingness combined with a
marriage to a worldview that cannot amend.  It is as if the perspective is
so rutted into the wagon tracks that nothing can ever again be thought
unless it is based on critical theory.

P2P may well have some intellectual linkage to what has been typically
termed "utopian socialism" e.g Fourier.  But I doubt it is significant.  The
past is, decidedly, the past.  Funny that those of us doomed to repeat it by
forgetting it are never very much aware that the present maps in any
interesting way with what has come before.

My own feeling is that history helps us little.  Instead, it bogs us down in
culturalism and name calling rather than allowing a capacity for fresh ideas
and new analyses. The trouble is, historical scholarship is rather easy.
Plus it is certain.  We have some inkling that the facts are actually
facts.  True social science, true social philosophy are harder.

The essay by Theret (or Michel's interesting comments on it) mentions
Michael Walzer's  communitarianism in one breadth and then state that civil
servants led the closure of the capitalist plot in another. This is ironic
since the main standard carriers for communitarianism have been government
and legal scholars...like Walzer himself.  Amy Guttman, President of the
University of Pennsylvania is another classic example.  All this leads back
to sterile discussions carried on by people like Habermas that take us
nowhere.  Those are not action people.  Those are "play with words" people
far better suited to the pasts they so preciously study.  Few if any of them
wander into the chat rooms and social networks that define the present to
see what they think they are talking about.

To my mind, P2P would be well served by a happy divorce from all political
theory past.  It's sterile Euro or American cultured stuff that really
doesn't serve the future.


On Sun, Nov 29, 2009 at 1:17 AM, Michel Bauwens <michelsub2004 at gmail.com>wrote:

> > Is P2P a sort of neo-Fourierist movement in some ways?
> Hi Paul, if a 'prehistory' of p2p movements would be written, my guess is
> that indeed, a historical connection would be made to the civil socialism
> that existed prior to the hold of social-democracy and Marxism over the
> labour movement.
> here's an item that makes the connection:
> Bruno Theret, on the tradition of 'civil socialism'
> The peer to peer movement differs from the traditional socialist movement
> in that it does not rely on the state, but on autonomous developments within
> civil society. Such a movement was prefigured by what Bruno Theret calls the
> tradition of civil socialism. Very interesting French-language essay.
> The essay by Bruno Theret is at
> http://fr.pekea-fr.org/?p=11&c=2-3-Theret.html
> Theret also refers to three historical traditions necessary to develop
> these ideas further: 1) the pre-marxist socialism of Pierre Leroux, very
> strong in the revolutions of 1848; 2) the federal or guild socialism of Karl
> Polanly, author of the landmark book The Great Transformation; 3) the
> contemporary neo-communautarian theory of Michael Walzer.

>       The Foucaultian and Frankfurt School critics of the Enlightenment
> live off the impoverishment of the left by its extended romance with a
> one-sided appropriation of the  Enlightenment, by the left's century-long
> confusion of the completion of the bourgeois revolution by state civil
> servants with socialism,  and by the worldwide crackup of that project. The
> pre-Enlightenment, Renaissance-Reformation cosmobiology which passed through
> German idealism into Marx's species-being means even less to them than it
> does to figures such as Habermas.  Yet the usual critique of them is
> undermined by the tacit agreement across the board that "nature is boring",
> i.e. the realm of mechanism, as Hegel, articulating the ultimate state civil
> servant view, cut off from practice in nature, said. Both sides of this
> debate still inhabit the separation of culture and nature, Geist and Natur,
> which came into existence through the Enlightenment's deflation of
> cosmobiology. It is the rehabilitation, in suitably contemporary form, of
> the outlook  of Paracelsus and Kepler, not of Voltaire and Newton, which the
> left requires today for a (necessarily simultaneous) regeneration of nature,
> culture and society, out of Blake's fallen world of Urizen and what he
> called "single vision and Newton's
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