The P2P Prince?: The form and the program of the transnational REvolutionary subjectivity

Below text is an excpert from unpublished and unedited 2012 article Another World, Now! Coming of the Transnational REvolutions and the P2P Prince.

The  modern  prince,  the  myth-prince,  cannot  be  a  real  person,  a  concrete individual. It can only be an organism, a complex element of society in which a collective will, which has  already been recognised and has to some  extent asserted itself in action, begins to take concrete form. (A. Gramsci)

 

Italian political activist and theorist Antonio Gramsci’s core concepts like hegemony, organic crisis, historic bloc, war of position and war of manoeuvre are central to our understanding of today’s complex global capitalist system as well as the catastrophic changes that are currently taking place in it. Referring to the original concept developed by Gramsci, global political economy theorist Stephen Gill describes the 2008 global financial turmoil as the manifestation of an organic crisis at the global level. [1] We can also read the outcomes of the global organic crisis following another neo-Gramscian theorist Robert Cox as a mixture of three scenarios he describes.[2] First one is a global (military) Keynesian recovery being pushed by the West. Regional wars moving from the periphery to the centre involving massive destruction of lives, cities and the nature, as we witness it happening since the 9/11. The second scenario is the rise of global fascism in tandem with the regional wars. This has also been happening, especially increasingly in the centre, since 2007; highlighting the race to the bottom caused by the strengthening of totalitarian forms of capitalism at the main contenders like China, Russia and India. Finally and the last scenario is accompanying transnational revolutions, like the uprisings in the northern Africa, Americas and Europe also happening.[3]

What brought humanity to this point is not a secret and also made clear by many thinkers, intellectuals, and activists. The above mentioned article by Gill is only one of the public records. It is very clear however where we have to drive history as the humanity, the third option: Transnational revolutions. Again, following Gramsci and Gill, we can think of the realisation of the transnational revolutions in relation to the ‘Prince’. For his time Gramsci thought of it as the collective subjectivity which will give the moral leadership to a wider counter-hegemonic historic bloc, and shape the form and content of the communist revolution in a national context. And it was the communist part of the working class. Gill referred to the anti- and alter-globalisation movement.

In order to lead transnational revolutions of today we have a native transnational and digital prince that masters the cyberspace and operate in many national context simultaneously in order to bring many autonomous forces in alignment. For the formation of such a collaborative global subjectivity and a global alliance, and to lead the revolution would take a clear transnational counter-hegemonic narrative. So that the Prince would be able to convince different class forces that have varying realities, interests, ideological back grounds, visions so on, on the possibility and necessity of creating new worlds needed, and able to motivate and mobilize them to collaborate in an truly egalitarian and truly democratic manner to realise those worlds.

Tere are strong positive indicators in the above mentioned developments and processes indicating the emergence of this new Prince and transnational revolutionary project, which would transcend the capitalist mode of production in an egalitarian, democratic, and hopefully non-violent way. The new forms of grass-roots alliances that are being formed among old, new, newer and the newest social movements with direct reference to and strategic input from the P2P movements have this potential of forming the new P2P Prince. In order to develop a genuine cooperation among different levels, generations, fields of struggle and so on, and to lead the transnational solidarity further. there is a need for a clear vision of real transitions that would hack the existing capitalist relations and go beyond them. The exact content of how and when and what, needs to be, and already being given. by the rising alliances in a bottom up and distributed way -as it has usually been happening within the P2P horizontal movements. By now it is getting clear that the alternative to the capitalist mode of production can be framed as the P2P mode of production as Jacob Rigi puts it: the new communist horizon.[4]

The P2P as a reference for the new global movement, as well as the relational dynamics adopted by the new societal actors and inter-subjectivities within this movement, growing since the late 80s till today, have actually been reflection of changing cultural, ideological, economic, and political social relationships within capitalism. This was happening under the conditions created by the global crisis of the late 60s and early 70s. The new communication and transportation technologies had to be developed and employed since then in order to create a transnational ‘world market’ as a response to this crisis. This have made a great impact on the primary productive forces: Society itself and the other means of production. The capitalist relations of production have gone through massive changes. Commodification in depth and length infected all the aspects of social relations. The new infrastructure created for the well functioning of the transnationalisation process was replacing the old one. While it was doing so it also paved a way to the rise of new alternative cultures, forces, and forms. Distributed, decentralised or peer to peer (P2P) networks among individuals and collectives that are capable of engaging in innovative new forms of collaborative value production, ownership and distribution relationships have emerged and spread.[5] A germ form of a new mode of “commons based peer production”, which is also transnational in nature, appeared first in the realm of digital production of knowledge-information. More recently such forms have started to penetrate in the realm of physical production, with a growing movement, shaped recently, for peer production of hardware. The strength of the P2P movement, Free and Open Source Software, or Wikipedia have been exemplary cases of the success achieved. The spread in new informational capitalistic forms, such as Google or Facebook, etc. of a logic hybridised with the digital commons, and of projects that are based on open innovation further testify the growing impact and maturation of these new forms of production. 

The economic, cultural and political spheres always shape each other dialectically This emergent P2P mode of production has been underlying the structural changes that become increasingly reflected on a global scale in the cultural sphere, arts, politics since the new millennium during the 80s, 90s and 2000s. As mentioned earlier, the enclosure of free and P2P Internet, somehow triggered critical interactions between the P2P movement and the global justice and solidarity movements of the 90s. Between 2004 and 2009 important initiatives had been undertaken in order to link these movement, like the Networked Politics and Free Culture Forum.[6] Following the 2008 systemic collapse, P2P relational dynamics and relationships caused a ‘viral spiral’ around the formation of an increasingly radicalised global political agency. The new social actors have been often sharing common claims and positions on civil rights, direct democracy / participation, copyright and patent law, free sharing of knowledge, data privacy, transparency, freedom of information, free education, universal health care and services etc. These actors have advocated in their own ways that the network neutrality and universal, unrestricted access to the Internet are indispensable conditions to realise these claims. Same issues have initially been taken up at the grass-roots level by increasingly politicised P2P communities. FLOSS movement, Free Culture and Free Knowledge movement. However the rise of Pirate Parties, Wikileaks, Anonymous increasingly enabled, facilitated, supported social resistance and uprisings like Arab Spring, 15M and Occupy Wall Street. Following this many networks of individual, activists, and activist collectives got transnationally networked with each other. This was the coming of a truly hybrid for of political agency into the centre of the global political battle field. As discussed before P2P movements, old and new generation social justice and solidarity activists overlapped, influenced and contributed to the fundamental aspects of each other in a P2P way.

Taking one step back: The Arab Spring, 15M, OWS, 1MGS, 121M15M, Blockupy, and globalNOISE have been the key actions that constantly re-named the same movement and every initiative took the whole thing one step further; in an identical fashion with the peer production of an Open Source and Free Software. This was done by potentially equal peers participating in a transnational distributed network around the project at hand.[7] The mobilisations were put forward, coordinated and organised via distributed networks of individuals and collectives; based on free and open participation, contribution, initiatives taking, pooling feedbacks and moving upon the most attractive ideas. Therefore no single group, national or international could not capture the ‘leadership’ of the leaderless movement. Information about the initiatives and mobilisation, as well as all connections made in principal open to all the nodes in the system, from the very birth of an each and every new idea and throughout of their development. This was survival in order to be able to grow and continue it had to be like that other wise people would people would not respond. These processes were and still are open to all external parties, including enemies and ‘trolls’, so they are still on the web somewhere and  traceable. Since every time new people join and they are willing to involve, and every time different things come up, there has been no deadly danger of infiltration and manipulation. So in a way, the real functional leader has been the P2P commonsense. These forms of relationships and producing politics were identical to the P2P and distributed networks and production of the commons within such networks, as well and the relational dynamics driving them.[8] That is why, in my opinion, that the global movement in  between 2010-2011 made a qualitative jump in a global sense. It has been very successful and will be even more successful. Sine it protects activists from exhaustions by distributing the work needs to be done, P2P collaboration also trains the ego of the individual activists and the collectives in the process, is is unexpected and  creative enough to capture mass media and public attention and could not be manipulated by trolls, government agents etc according to the grand strategy of clashing elite fractions and there are many powerful qualities more it has. In a sense, the new movements constituting the global movement of movements are open and free P2P political public spaces, in which members of more horizontal organisations, parties, NGOs, civil society organisations have come together, but in a very different from than the previous experiences like social forum movement experiences since this time they enable the formation of an hyperempowered collective subjectivity.[9]

At the moment, on the one hand progressive organisations getting increasingly, at least partly, networked and ‘horizontalised’ (becoming into networgs) and on the other loose distributed networks of individuals or groups becoming more and more organised in an intercontinental and transnational manner (forming orgnets). To rephrase, what we witness today is the coming of a new subjectivity which is global in nature. Emerging P2P collaboration among the two previous forms of progressive and revolutionary agency is very likely to develop into a higher synthesis soon which would gradually replace the traditional form of organisations. ‘alliances’, ‘platforms’ or ‘ blocs’ as in Gramsci’s ‘Historic Bloc’. As these networgs and orgnets are adopting distributed P2P relational dynamics based on the principle of equipotentiality, which accepts each participating nodes in the network are potential equals and consciously disperse any hierarchy among those equals, and P2P online networking tools in order to mediate those relations globally, a real sense of global and diverse ‘One Big Union’ (as coined by Industrial Workers of the World a century ago) will be reinvented in a strongly egalitarian and transnational terms. These two processes are taking place under the great structural pressures of the crisis and that’s why they move faster than usual So they may produce a working  synthesis between the vertical organisation (party), and horizontal network (movement) in a foreseeable future and melt these into a hyper-empowered new form that I call the REvolutionary networganisation. Such synthesis can bring about a potential force and project to create another worlds from today, by linking the existing spaces, projects, movements to each other and by hacking the entirety  of the capitalist system and transforming it to its negative.[10] 

So, the mentioned changes in the nature of the productive forces and productive relations are not only structural forces bringing about an organic crisis of capitalism but they also are providing us with the possibility to negate the contradictions between the substructure and superstructure of capitalism and inter capitalist-state politics while solving the organisational and leadership problems. There are surely many challenges. But the creation of a truly egalitarian subjectivity with a clear vision towards transition to P2P / advanced communist civilization, can in fact be the only way left for humanity in order to prevent from a collateral destruction and lead the world to dignity. Our walk since Wisconsin in 2010 than Tunisia, Tahrir, Puerta del Sol, Wall Street, 15O, May Day 2012, 12M15M, Blockupy, anti-NATO and G8 had been making of a such road to dignity for all.[11] On this road we have been building a P2P REvolutionary subjectivity, in a distributed and absolute democratic way. At the moment of writing we are headed to the #13O #globalNOISE mobilisation which is only a part of many other actions. In November we will have spaces like Agora 99 and Firenze 10+10 and the Alter Summit will be launched in Florance. Student’s general strike. global day of action for precarious workers, Anonymous Project Meyhem 2012, and WSF for Palestine and WSF 2013 in Tunisia are some of the important dates the road.[12] There will surely be many other events and actions in between and for the 2013. There are already observable signs on the road of the formulation of transnational REvolutionary programs that are based on ideas and projects related to the emerging P2P communal mode of production and P2P democracy as the governance form within this mode. All we need is to open our hearts and minds to others, and contribute to it sincerely as much as we could, so we can reclaim the another world we have long been waiting for today.

 

Another World, Now!


[1]                Theorisation of transnational hegemony, transnational capitalist class and Empire have also been inspired by Gramsci’s writings and they have been enlightening for social justice activists. A discussion on Cox’ contribution: http://p2pfoundation.net/Production,_Power_and_World_Orders, K, van der Pijl (1998) Transnational Classes and International Relations: http://libcom.org/files/van%20der%20pijl-transnational%20classes%20and%20IR.pdf ,  M. Hardt and A. Negri (2000) Empire http://books.google.nl/books/about/Empire.html?id=_Hrwu8KSmBIC&redir_esc=y, W.I. Robinson (2005) ‘Gramsci and Globalisation: From Nation‐State to Transnational Hegemony’:

                http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/faculty/robinson/Assets/pdf/gramsci_glob.pdf,     utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+P2pFoundation+%28P2P+Foundation%29   

[2]               S. Gill (2000) ”Toward a Postmodern Prince?’: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/Users/ssfa2/gill%20seattle.pdf and (2010) ‘The Global Organic Crisis’:  http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2010/gill150210.html .

[3]               K. van der Pijl (1996) ‘Transnational Revolutions‘:  https://snuproject.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/a-theory-of-transnational-revolution-by-kees-van-der-pijl/

[4]               J. Rigi (2012)  ‘Peer to Peer Production as the Alternative to Capitalism’: http://peerproduction.net/issues/issue-1/invited-comments/a-new-communist-horizon/

[5]               O. Senalp (2012) ‘Thinking of Peer production and Transnationalisation of Production Together’: http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/thinking-of-peer-production-and-transnationalization-of-production-together/2012/07/16?

[6]               M. Berlinguer (2012) ‘Exploring the Commons’: http://www.opendemocracy.net/marco-berlinguer/exploring-commons

[7]               M. Bauwens (2011) ‘Understanding Peer to Peer as a Relational Dynamics’  http://www.i-r-i-e.net/inhalt/015/015_full.pdf , (2006) ‘Defining P2P as the relational dynamic of distributed networks’:

                 http://p2pfoundation.net/Defining_P2P_as_the_relational_dynamic_of_distributed_networks

[8]               M. Bauwens (2005) ‘P2P and Human Evolution: Peer to peer as the premise of a new mode of civilization’: http://www.networkcultures.org/weblog/archives/P2P_essay.pdf 

[9]               M. Pesce (2010) ‘The new tool kit’, the human network: http://blog.futurestreetconsulting.com/2011/02/20/the-new-toolkit/

[10]             Networganisation: http://networg.wordpress.com

[11]             International Road to Dignity: http://roadtodignity.blogspot.nl/p/timeline.html

[12]             J. Teunissen (2012) ‘Another World Social Forum is possible’: https://snuproject.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/another-world-social-forum-is-possible-the-road-to-the-wsf-2013-in-tunis-and-beyond/

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