The Breakdown of Global Capitalism: 2000-2030 | CEO

May 16, 2012 – 11:09

A year ago, on May 10th 2011, the Spanish activist and writer Ramón Fernández Durán died. Together with the Transnational Institute and Ecologistas en Acción, Corporate Europe Observatory has just published an English edition of his last book, the Breakdown of Global Capitalism. Here Belen Balanya talks about why the book is so important and shares her memories of the author.

I want to talk to you about the book, what it is about and why I think is important to read it in these times of crisis. And I also want to talk you about Ramón, an extraordinary person with whom I had the privilege of sharing many struggles and friendship.

I met Ramón almost 20 years ago when I joined Ecologistas en Acción (then called Aedenat) in Spain. He was one of the founders. I discovered his unique way of being an activist. Apart from having a bright and strategic mind, he had a great sense of humour and was a very kind, loving and generous person. And all this he put into building networks of resistance.

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Co-operatise the state? by Hilary Wainwright | red pepper

Can the co-op movement be one source of alternatives to marketisation? Hilary Wainwright explores

In the free-for-all over the spoils of the public sector, Tory ministers are playing fast and loose with the concepts of co-operatives and mutuals. They talk blithely about ‘the John Lewis model’. One might smile at the fact that Tories have to raid progressive history, such is the crisis of legitimacy of big business. Rhetorically, one can simply apply the ‘private sector test’. Would ministers apply the right to form a co-op to workers in privatised services, as a recent Unison report proposed? Would the investment managers proclaiming ‘John Lewis style’ academies apply the John Lewis model to private companies?

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The Peer to Peer Manifesto: The Emergence of P2P Civilization and Political Economy by Michel Bauwens


Our current political economy is based on a fundamental mistake. It is based on the assumption that natural resources are unlimited, and that it is an endless sink. This false assumption creates artificial scarcity for potentially abundant cultural resources. This combination of quasi-abundance and quasi-scarcity destroys the biosphere and hampers the expansion of social innovation and a free culture.In a P2P-based society, this situation is reversed: the limits of natural resources are recognized, and the abundance of immaterial resources becomes the core operating principle.

The vision of P2P theory is the following:

  1. the core intellectual, cultural and spiritual value will be produced through non-reciprocal peer production;
  2. it is surrounded by a reformed, peer-inspired, sphere of material exchange;
  3. it is globally managed by a peer-inspired and reformed state and governance system.

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Michel Bauwens on the Peer Production Economy

December 12, 2008 | by David Bollier

Photo by “Gullig,”: via Flickr, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

Last week, in my post about “peak hierarchy,” I referred to a talk by Michel Bauwens of The P2P Foundation at UMass Amherst on November 25. Bauwens, who lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is a leading student and proponent of “peer production” as a new paradigm of economics and culture. The term comes from the Internet culture and describes the ability of dispersed individuals to come together and collaborate on projects of shared interest.

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Hundreds Arrested In Massive Crackdown on #Blockupy

May 19, 2012 By Jérôme E. Roos

Jérôme E. Roos’s ZSpace Page / ZSpace

Frankfurt on lock-down as over 5.000 police are deployed in an unprecedented operation to keep protesters out of the city and away from the banks.

The atmosphere here in Frankfurt is tense. The police are omnipresent. The sound of sirens permeates the city streets.

As I write this, some thousands of protesters are huddled together at the university, pitching tents or simply squatting a place on the ground to try and catch some sleep before tomorrow’s big actions. But as the activists here prepare to physically block the headquarters of the European Central Bank, the police already seem to have done the job for them.

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NO to the EU Fiscal Treaty-Solidarity with Blockupy

No to the EU Fiscal Treaty – No to cutbacks

TODAY in Spain Friday, 18th May – 1900h Location: European Commission Offices – Irish Embassy

Against the Financial Coup d’Etat


other languages here:


Pan banging today Demonstration

Friday, 18th May – 1900h Location: European Commission Offices – Irish Embassy   Paseo de la Castellana, 46, Madrid – Metro: Rubén Darío (L5)
Calling initiative: EconomiaSol 15M Working Group from Madrid Sol assembly

property of @DILLEI2

Against European institutions that are undemocratic, opaque and beyond society’s control, and which work in the interests of capital.

Against a European Central Bank that exists to promote speculation by the private banking sector, increases in public debt, privatisations, and cutbacks in public services.

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Networks Without a Cause; A Critique of Social Media by Geert Lovink

 (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)


With the vast majority of Facebook users caught in a frenzy of ‘friending’, ‘liking’ and ‘commenting’, at what point do we pause to grasp the consequences of our info-saturated lives? What compels us to engage so diligently with social networking systems? Networks Without a Cause examines our collective obsession with identity and self-management coupled with the fragmentation and information overload endemic to contemporary online culture.

With a dearth of theory on the social and cultural ramifications of hugely popular online services, Lovink provides a path-breaking critical analysis of our over-hyped, networked world with case studies on search engines, online video, blogging, digital radio, media activism and the Wikileaks saga. This book offers a powerful message to media practitioners and theorists: let us collectively unleash our critical capacities to influence technology design and workspaces, otherwise we will disappear into the cloud. Probing but never pessimistic, Lovink draws from his long history in media research to offer a critique of the political structures and conceptual powers embedded in the technologies that shape our daily lives.

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Commons/P2P Next Steps: Creating Sustainable Commons Based Institutions

A major theme that came up throughout our first School of Commoning workshop with Michel Bauwens concerned the need to co-create sustainable commons based institutions. The overriding sentiment was to create institutions that are commons and are therefore inherently sustainable by their nature. In the transition to these commons based institutions Michel spoke of the kinds of actions we will need to take. The rest of this post highlights what was discussed by Michel and our workshop on this important next step we must take.

Virtual Commons: The Need for a Shift in Priority

Following on from the Furtherfield event in which Michel spoke ofthe three key peer to peer developments that have unfolded starting with open sharing, open code and more recently open design, Michel built on this the following day, in our workshop:

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The 99% Solution

May 16, 2012 — Poor Richard

Sidney Paget: Sherlock Holmes(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Sign of the Four opens with an alarming scene:

“Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantel-piece and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case.   With his long, white, nervous fingers he adjusted the delicate needle, and rolled back his left shirt-cuff. For some little time his eyes rested thoughtfully upon the sinewy forearm and wrist all dotted and scarred with innumerable puncture-marks.  Finally he thrust the sharp point home, pressed down the tiny piston, and sank back into the velvet-lined arm-chair with a long sigh of satisfaction.”

A little later in the story Holmes states,

“It is cocaine,” he said, “a seven-per-cent solution.  Would you care to try it?”

Limitation of classical social movements

Classical social movements have often been limited by tunnel vision, cooptation,  astroturfing, diversion, attrition, intimidation, repression, legal injunction, corruption, constraints of philanthropy, etc. Meanwhile, today, the 1% (the looter elite), are attacking the 99% on every side,  capturing every institution of society, and privatizing every resource on the planet.

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Organizing P2P organizations

April 7, 2011 — Poor Richard

overlay network
Image via Wikipedia

I probably should have titled this “Hacking the Organization”.

What follows is not a primer of organizational design but simply a back-of-the-envelope sketch of how a number of organizational design and management ideas might be applied to peer-to-peer (P2P) organizations. My intention is for these ideas to be adapted or “hacked” for P2P applications without getting hung up on ideology or terminology, much of which has historical baggage. The idea is to ignore the baggage, take what you can use, and leave the rest. However, if this gets picked apart and criticized from top to bottom it may still have served some purpose.

I recognize that many p2p activities may be amorphous, fluid, informally organized, or conducted by completely autonomous  and independent individuals. My own preferred lifestyle is agrarian and communitarian. I’m not a particularly good team player. But I would like to think of a world where p2p organizations can launch satellites, build solar-powered factories, and make trains run on time.

In The Political Economy of Peer ProductionMichel Bauwens describes peerism as “cooperative individualism”. I think that is an important perspective and I think it can be extended to groups as well. Whether cooperation is one to one, one to many, many to one, or many to many, all cooperators are peers. If they are not peers, the enterprise should not be called cooperation.

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The P2P sector an opportunity for low-cost local reindustrialization

Grupo Cooperativo de las Indias ~ ~

History of the industrial P2P sector

The explosion in the social use of the Internet in the ’90s generated notable changes in the whole productive process. One of the most striking effects was the apperance in the area of the dissemination of information of what economist Juan Urrutia then called a “logic of abundance.”

The logic of abundance appears when the structure of production and costs becomes unnecessary to collectively settle on what is produced and what not. Urrutia departs from the topics of the information economy to imagine markets that are evolving towards a situation of Pareto sub-optimality in an undefined way, as a product of the extension of the network effect. At its limits, the consequence would be the equivalent of what would be produced by a market with perfect competition in neoclassical models. Which is to say, the price would be equivalent to the marginal cost… but the marginal cost of spreading one more unit of information on the network is zero.

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Five Elements (and a coda) for the Counter-Hegemonic Project

Five basic elements, with linked explanatory text, to develop a comprehensible narrative of the transition to the P2P production method as the only substantive alternative to systemic crisis… with a confederalist coda that has a Prodhounian aftertaste.

P2P production cycle

  1. Since the ’90s, we have been living through the first steps of the transition towards a P2P production method
  2. While the forefront of this transition over the last couple of decades was in the immaterial realm (content, free software, etc.), today, it’s laying the foundations of a new Industrial Revolution.
  3. The ultimate origin of the crisis is the reduction of the optimal scale of production, which the financial system has not adapted to, making it the “bubble-making machine” whose consequences we’re all paying for today. If large scale is still sought after today, it’s not because it generates greater efficiency, but because the rents derived from power (and irresponsibility it gives them) compensate managers for the inefficiencies of size and let them play in a market captured by financialization. Continue reading

Blueprint for P2P Society: The Partner State & Ethical Economy

By , 04.07.12

Image: Dave Gray

A new way to produce is emerging. By this I mean: a new way to produce anything and everything, whether it is software, food, or cities. What once required rigid organisations and a society defined by the mentality of hierarchies, we are discovering now (and in many cases re-discovering) how to do through free association of peers.

It is also becoming clear that entering an era defined by an ethos of free association and horizontality doesn’t mean institutionality itself will dissappear, but that it will undergo the deepest of transformations. In the emerging institutional model of peer production, most visibly in the free software industry, we can distinguish an interplay between three partners:

  1. A community of contributors that create commons of knowledge, software or design;
  2. An enterpreneurial coalition that creates market value on top of that commons; and
  3. A set of for-benefit institutions which manage the “infrastructure of cooperation”

There is a clear institutional division of labour between these three players.

The contributors create the use value that is deposited in the shared innovation commons of knowledge, design and code.

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The Future Now: An Interview with David de Ugarte | Shareable

In this interview, Shareable publisher Neal Gorenflo, John Robb of Global Guerrillas, and P2P foundation’s Michel Bauwens talk to David de Ugarte, one of the originators of the Spanish cyberpunk scene about his more recent work developing a multinational worker cooperative, Las Indias, that is a culmination of his community’s thinking and work for the last decade. Las Indias is the manifestation of a unique socio-economic philosophy that synthesizes many strains of thinking and culture including cyberpunk, anarchism, network thinking, and cooperatives – all with a Spanish twist. It’s important because it points to a possible future for those who think outside of national boundaries and desire or need to take control of their own economic destiny. It’s a possible future that takes the centuries old logic of cooperatives and remixes it for the urban-centered, global network society we live in today.

Michel Bauwens: Explain to us what Las Indias is, and where it comes from, and what makes it distinctive?

David de Ugarte: Las Indias is the result of the Spanish-speaking cyberpunk movement. Originally a civil rights group, during the late 90s it became strongly influenced by Juan Urrutia’s “Economics of Abundance” theory. Very soon, we linked “abundance” with the idea of empowerment in distributed networks. We are very clear on this point: it is not the Internet by itself, it is the distributed P2P architecture that allows the new commons. As one of our old slogans put it: “Under every informational architechture lays a structure of power.” Re-centralizing structures – as Google, Twitter, Facebook, Megaupload, etc. do around their servers – weakens us all. The blogosphere, torrents, freenet, etc. are tools of empowerment.

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M15: A look toward the future by Esther Vivas

Untimely and unexpected. That’s what the emergence of this movement of collective outrage at the Spanish state was. If we had been told on M14 (May 14th, 2011) the next day thousands of people would start taking to the streets week by week and occupy squares, organized meetings, challenge the power with massive civil disobedience while staying in the streets… we would never have imagined it possible. But that’s what happened. People, two and a half years after the outbreak of the “great crisis,” said “Enough.”

In the countries of Europe’s periphery, emulating the popular uprisings in the Arab world, drawing warmth from Tunis’s Qasbah and Cairo’s Tahrir Square, people took back and took over the public space. The Arab Spring gave us confidence in “ourselves” and our collective ability to change the existing order. And looking also at Iceland and Greece, the 15M movement broke with the prevailing skepticism, resignation and climate of apathy. But a year after popping up, what remains of it? What has been achieved? What challenges and prospects lie ahead?

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Peer-to-peer and Marxism: The Berlin Debate by Jean Lievens

On May 3, Jonathan, Leona, Alex and I had a discussion with Michel Bauwens on peer-to-peer and Marxism.  The discussion took place in the lobby of the Palace Hotel in Berlin. Here’s a slightly edited transcript of the discussion. The recording was reasonably good, but our voices were sometimes unintelligible because there were other guests talking in the lobby and there was also a piano playing (from the theme song from Titanic to What a Wonderful World, all very appropriate).

So my apologies if I misinterpreted some of the interventions, because sometimes I had to guess what has actually been said (words between parentheses are added). If that was the case, please react so I can change it. I hope this debate will continue. 

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Against the crisis: P2P Industrial Revolution!



Guardado en maxiposts

Join this campaign. In all likelihood, the markets and States of the Iberian Peninsula, more than those of Ireland or Greece, are going to show the limits and horrors of this crisis. What happens in this part of Europe is in our hands — and there are also shining alternatives.

Creating real change from the current situation, the building of an economic foundation for social cohesion — these are not things we can expect from macroeconomic government policies. That’s not what the peninsular States, and a good part of the European States, are there for any more. Rather, they are debating the rent captures that public debts represent, and the pressure from a few Big Businesses made more powerful (and irresponsible) by the crisis, in a general framework of job destruction.

We should have no illusions that the process will be turned back at the macro level. Today, the levers of Macroeconomics, the economic devices traditionally used as control levers for national economies, are broken or blocked.

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“Os quiero, os respeto, os necesito”- 15M “FROM THE INSIDE” (Doc)

                      TWEETER: @NomadEyesSol

I love you, I respect you, I need you (15M from inside)” DOCUMENTARY. 77 Min


“I love you, I respect you, I need you”. With these words, Roman began his speech. This is the story of a generation who waited for change to come all his life, to finally find it in the squares of Spanish Revolution, as the young generation wake up from it`s slumber into moral indignation. On May 15, 2011, thousands of young people, previously assumed to be asleep and indifferent, swarmed Puerta Del Sol square and opened a door into a new society – to be joined by their elders.The “15-M” Movement or “Spanish Revolution” has lead many spaniards like Roman away from the frustration they suffered for so many years. This is the story of a collective awakening. The “Indignant People” as they call themselves, have taken Spain’s main squares and started a revolution that has been extended worldwide. Yes, they camp, that’s how they organise themselves into commissions and a daily assembly focused on achieving consensus through a horizontal system that proposes a change of paradigm. “They call it democracy, and it´s not” “People from Europe rise up!” “They don’t represent us” The squares are listening to all their protests. Directed by a group of members from the Audiovisual Commission of the 15M Movement, this documentary reveals the inside of the revolution through their own protagonist and people like Roman, who falls in love with this young generation that has decided to change the world.

The meaning and necessity of revolution in the 21st century

By Jerome Roos On May 11, 2012

Post image for The meaning and necessity of revolution in the 21st centuryThe global day of action on May 12 will mark the resurgence of our resistance. But what is the way forward for our movement in these times of crisis?

This is the transcript of a presentation given at the OVNI 2012 festival in theCentre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona on May 11, 2012.

It’s amazing to be here in Barcelona – home to one of the most inspiringrevolutionary episodes in European history and today once again a hotbed of popular resistance against market fundamentalism and a false democracy. Before I start, I would like to thank the OVNI organization and Carlos Delclós — a lecturer at Pompeu Fabra, an active member of the movement here in Barcelona, and a contributor to — for giving me the opportunity to speak to you today, on the eve of the global day of action of May 12.

On the Edge of History

We are living through historic times. While the future may look bleak and uncertain, we are – in our own particular way – blessed to live through an era in which the very word ‘revolution’ is no longer just the abstract obsession of some fringe romantics inside the Old Left. We are living through a time in which the word capitalism no longer invokes hard work and ample reward, but the lack of work and opportunity for a growing number of people around the world. This is a time in which the very existence of revolutionary theory and practice is no longer considered just an academic or activist privilege, but a pressing global necessity and – increasingly – a factual reality on the ground.

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