The Foundation for P2P Alternatives
The Foundation for P2P Alternatives proposes to be a meeting place for those who can broadly agree with the following propositions, which are also argued in the essay or book in progress, P2P and Human Evolution:
- that technology reflects a change of consciousness towards participation, and in turn strengthens it
- that the networked format, expressed in the specific manner of peer to peer relations, is a new form of political organizing and subjectivity, and an alternative for the political/economic order, which though it does not offer solutions per se, points the way to a variety of dialogical and self-organizing formats, i.e. it represents different processes for arriving at such solutions; it ushers in a era of ‘nonrepresentational democracy’, where an increasing number of people are able to manage their social and productive life through the use of a variety of autonomous and interdependent networks and peer circles
- that it creates a new public domain, an information commons, which should be protected and extended, especially in the domain of common knowledge creation; and that this domain, where the cost of reproducing knowledge is near zero, requires fundamental changes in the intellectual property regime, as reflected by new forms such as the free software movement
- that the principles developed by the free software movement, in particular the General Public License, provides for models that could be used in other areas of social and productive life
- that it reconnects with the older traditions and attempts for a more cooperative social order, but this time obviates the need for authoritarianism and centralization; it has the potential of showing that the new egalitarian digital culture, is connected to the older traditions of cooperation of the workers and peasants, and to the search for an engaged and meaningful life as expressed in one’s work, which becomes an expression of individual and collective creativity, rather than as a salaried means of survival
- that it offers youth a vision of renewal and hope, to create a world that is more in tune with their values; that it creates a new language and discourse in tune with the new historical phase of ‘cognitive capitalism’; P2P is a language which every ‘digital youngster’ can understand. However, 'peer to peer theory' addresses itself not just to the network-enabled and to knowledge workers, but to the whole of civil society, and to whoever agrees that the core of decision-making should be located in civil society, and not in the market or in the state.
- it combines subjectivity (new values), intersubjectivity (new relations), objectivity (an enabling technology) and interobjectivity (new forms of organization) that mutually strengthen each other in a positive feedback loop, and it is clearly on the offensive and growing, but lacking ‘political self-consciousness’. It is this form of awareness that the P2P Foundation wants to promote.
The Foundation for P2P Alternatives would address the following issues:
- P2P currently exists in discrete separate movements and projects but these different movements are often unaware of the common P2P ethos that binds them
- thus, there is a need for a common initiative, which 1) brings information together; 2) connects people and mutually informs them 3) strives for integrative insights coming from the many subfields; 4) can organize events for reflection and action; 5) can educate people about critical and creative tools for world-making
- the Foundation would be a matrix or womb which would inspire the creation and linking of other nodes active in the P2P field, organized around topics and common interests, locality, and any form of identity and organization which makes sense for the people involved
- the zero node website would have a website with directories, an electronic newsletter and blog, and a magazine.