P2P and Marxism II – How does P2P collaboration differ from other forms of collaboration?

peer-to-peerSMALL

Collaboration has existed before P2P production and many different forms continue to exist side by side with it. It could therefore be easy to dismiss P2P as nothing new under the sun. Yet that would be a mistake. Several things make P2P unique. In order to understand that it is worth comparing with other forms of collaboration.

The most common form of collaboration, outside the private sphere, exists at any workplace. Simply in order to get the work done people must collaborate. Superficially, it would be easy to identify the difference between P2P and other collaboration on the work place by saying that collaboration at a workplace is based upon bosses deciding and ‘creating’ a team. Formally speaking that is true, but in practice, collaboration at most workplaces is, like P2P, more of a bottom up collaboration.

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FEASIBLE SOCIALISM — a concrete programme for the left (part 1)

Graffito_Destroy_Capitalism_Steyr

It is not enough for the left to bemoan social-democrats’ abandonment of any socialist or even specifically meaningful policies. Is neither enough to speak in general terms of the need for radical and socialist policies. The left must elaborate a feasible alternative programme in specific terms.

Introduction

It is the highest time to spell out concretely what should be done by a socialist government, not in the distant future, but in the actual present. To quote Alec Nove 1, it must define a “feasible socialism” conceivable in the lifetime of a child already conceived.

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Notes:

  1. Aleksandr Yakovlevich Novakovsky (24 November 1915 — 15 May 1994), Professor of Economics at the University of Glasgow and a noted authority on Russian and Soviet economic history. More >>>

P2P & Marxism — the death of an old model

Image courtesy of Vlado / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In order to change society it is necessary to understand it. Especially new phenomena that can give a hint as to what is in the making. One important new trend has been peer-to peer production, a new voluntary form of cooperation whose products are shared freely. Based on the previous discussion on this website, here is another contribution to the discussion.

The peer-to-peer movement has been accused of utopianism. While it is true that some pretty far fetched ideas exist in the movement (as in any movement), it is absurd to accuse something which has been developing by leaps and bounds in the past 10-15 years of being utopian.

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Left behind modern times

The left in general lives far too much in the past. Society screams for radical solutions, but the left is seen as the defenders of the status quo because it lacks an alternative. The vicious demagogues of the so-called populist and extreme right parties and movements such as the Tea Party in the US are filling the gap.

Source: freedigitalphotos.net
Source: freedigitalphotos.net

As for the other sectors in society: revolution is ‘le mot du jour’ (Fr., ‘the word of the day’): they speak about the technical revolution, the digital revolution, the bio-technical revolution, the scientific revolution, or talk about the need for a revolution in education, in business models, etc. The matter of fact is, that the only people who don’t speak about revolution, is the revolutionary left. Lots of examples ca be given. Workers understand that you won’t solve the budget crisis, the debt crisis, the migration crisis, mass unemployment, etc. with a tax on wealth or the establishment of a public bank. They know that radical measures are needed.

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On the irrationality of modern capitalism


Many on the left still seem to be trapped in the strange concept of ‘human nature’ as something solid, rigid and fixed. And to justify this – rather having little to do with science – approach they claim that in fact, ‘human nature’ is predisposed for socialism which many aspects of today’s capitalist decay show. Such a reasoning can only be described as utopian.

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No matter what social and economic transformation in history we take it has never been based on any kind of shifts in human nature, but on conditions around the people, that is around the ‘humans’ and their ‘nature’. And no matter how important the latter is it can hardly have any priority before the first. What we should be looking for is not socialist traits in human nature but processes within capitalism that exhaust its possibilities and render existing relations among human beings obsolete.

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What should today’s Communist Manifesto look like? Modern working class and its program

modern-workersIt has been repeated many times that the traditional industrial working class in the West has been declining over the last decades. Nevertheless, it is still a substantial minority. On a world scale the traditional working class is actually growing.

What we see developing in Western Europe, North America, Australia and many parts of Asia, is the so called knowledge society, where cognitive and creative skills are becoming more and more important and where the old methods of the stick and the carrot do not work anymore. On the other hand, more and more work in the service sector becomes also routine-based and is exported to the countries of the underdeveloped world: certain kinds of accountancy, computer programming, etc.

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