Against the grain of “There-is-no-alternative” discourse, such a platform can be successful without focusing on profit-making. BeWelcome.org offers lessons for other endeavors promoting the Commons.
DisCOs are a commons-oriented, feminist, cooperative way for people to work together. A set of ideals and criteria for ensuring that patterns of oppression and violence that permeate our society are not replicated within intentional, cooperative spaces. DisCOs systematize fairness and the recognition of care work.
The commons are nothing new. Historically citizens always came together to pool resources and manage them collectively and autonomously. It is the responsibility of cities and states to identify, connect and support them. Today the commons appear as a choice of society in a world at the end of its lifespan.
Why should you read this latest report of the P2P Foundation, and why does it matter?
Our inspiration comes from the great synthesis provided by Kate Raworth in her book, Doughnut Economics, which graphically presents the great question of our age: can we produce for human needs, without exceeding planetary boundaries?
One of the worst effects of capitalist realism is the endless bad-mouthing of alternatives to its toxicity. With this in mind, I’d like to share with you some extraordinary examples of imaginative prototyping exercises towards commons-oriented futures — presented by the very people who will bring them about in the face of darker possibilities.
The intuitive belief that technology can manifest from money alone, anthropologists tell us, is a culturally rooted notion which hides the fact that the scarcity experienced by some is linked to the abundance enjoyed only by a few.
Peer to peer is a relational dynamic which allows every individual to connect ‘permissionlessly’ to any other individual. You could call it ‘networking freedom’ if you like.
For the majority of people on the earth, the ever-present question of survival is becoming increasingly de-linked from work and wages, as traditional sources of employment and industry collapse, downsize and automate. The class struggle has become not just the struggle for fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, but for freedom to define oneself apart from work, as the holder of multiple, creative, active networked identities and idle pursuits.
The first Fab Lab outside of MIT, the Vigyan Ashram Fab Lab worked with MIT in procuring the latest tools and machines for collaborative production, rather than relying on ready-made solutions. Since then, several Fab Labs have been created worldwide.
As Michel Bauwens puts it, the commons paradigm replaces the traditional Social Democratic paradigm in which value is created in the “private” (i.e. corporate) sector through commodity labor, and a portion of this value is redistributed by the state and by labor unions, to one in which value is co-created within the social commons outside the framework of wage labor and the cash nexus, and the process of value creation is governed by the co-creators themselves.
You are not likely to encounter a more welcoming set of texts and infographics to introduce the commons and peer production than the Commons Transition Primer website. The new site features four types of materials suited different levels of interest: short Q&A-style articles with illustrations; longer, in-depth articles for the more serious reader; a library of downloaded PDF versions of research publications by the P2P Foundation; and a collection of videos, audio interviews and links to other content.
For postmodernism to have any ultimate positive meaning, it must be followed by a trans-formative, reconstructive phase. A trans-modernism if you like, which goes ‘beyond’ modernity and modernism. In that new phase, tradition can not just be appropriated any longer as an object, but requires a dialogue of equals with traditional communities. They are vital, because they already have the required skills to survive and thrive in a post-material age.