Shock and austerity. Stock market instability. Stagnant wages and the decline of purchasing power. War. Climate change. Despite these multiplying crises, capitalism retains an essential tool that allows it to perpetuate itself on a global level despite its internal contradictions: the ability to leverage technological developments to liquidate the political power of those who would oppose it. At such a crossroads, when labor as an organized force is being dissolved into flexible precarity, how does one attempt to tip the scales and reverse our accelerating fragility? The answer lies in a shift of focus, from a politics of power to a politics that looks critically at infrastructure, a politics of re-purpose, (re-)design, appropriation and the reclamation of space, and of new forms of economic expression.
Whatever the future will be, or whatever name we want to label the path to it, there is one realization that is facing us: it must be post-capitalist. We firmly believe that another world is possible, but it must be built, and the rules and programs for this construction are still largely unwritten.
We propose the creation of a zone of experimentation with the intention of bringing together dissenting agencies with critical practices in hopes of finding prototypes and models for a post-capitalist society. Such a platform calls for a cross-pollination of ideas, a shared and in-depth dialogue, and easily accessible means for hands-on experimentation. This new space will be open to all wanting to participate.
The topics we hope to cover include – but are not limited to:
The politics of infrastructure
The remaking of space by neoliberal capitalism
The relationships between big data, media, and infrastructure
Tactics and strategies for re-purposing technologies, complex systems, infrastructure and the politicization of spatial practices
D.I.Y. techniques and how-to guides
Sustainable living, agriculture, energy, and architecture
The possibilities and pitfalls of automation
Eco-activism and infra-activism
New and experimental cartographies
Peer-to-peer approaches to production and distribution
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. 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. 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.
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.Continue reading →
Calafou is dedicated to encourage productive projects related with our ideas about ecology (environmental care, waste management, etc.), social economy, assemblies and a list of other requirements specified in this document. All productive projects are presented and coordinated through the Projects workgroup, and are then proposed for approval at Calafou’s general assembly.
Collective projects (which profits go for the colony), autonomous projects (initiatives from a person or a specific collective), and collective spaces (which enable project development or are the framework for community life) all coexist in Calafou. Some current projects are: the social center; Circe, a chemistry lab for research and production of soaps, oleates and essences; the hacklab, a place for collective work and learning; the serigraphy workshop; the collective workshop. All of them have been developed by Calafou’s inhabitants.
Among the projects for self-provision or sale we have home-made preserves, marmalades, or bread. There are also autonomous projects such as the garage “El noi del sucre“ or the MutangerLab (electronics, welding, and more).
Considering the total enclosure of the Internet, the enslavement of mass free labor on it, and the rise of meta-data Orweillian society, what should one make of celebration of the rise of the Internet of Everything (IoE) or Industrial Internet and calling for the demise of capitalism by people like Jeremy Rifkin! What would be Rifkin’s advise to his ruling class clients, but more importantly why the neoconservatives and Chinese state class elite pay him high compensations?
The ruling elite way of dealing with the problem of ‘near zero marginal costs’ has been massive exploitation of zero labor cost (free labor). Now they like to capture free labor in the physical world by connecting devices and people “putting them at work on the move” -as Cisco and GE founders of the Industrial Internet Consortium publicly declare. While the translation of this ideal is the objectification of entire living labor and commons (should be read as human) to a global production process, why Rifkin celebrates this! If the plan is clearly to giving IP addresses to 50 billion devices in coming 10 years to form the IoE infrastructure, making it is possible a global scale surveillance an most logical outcome would be the total exploitation of artificially constructed happy playbouring produsers who would be living in sterile smart cities. As for the masses, there shall not be need for an hegemonic governance like bourgeois parliamentarian model what so ever in this new digital world. It has become clear by now that this ambitious capitalist project has the potential to replace the ancient industrial capitalism. It is certain by now that the fall of capitalism as we know it won’t be quite and painless. The attempt towards realizing this transition has brought about imperialist peripheral wars. If one look to the fierce clashes between Russian, Westerns and Chinese rulers in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Georgia, Chechnya, Ukraine and other frontiers of the Empires, the naked truth would appears in clear vision. The fact that crack between two giant tectonic plates is about to break up to a truly global corrective war between ruling classes. Titans are getting ready to clash, and planning for the aftermath of the great cleansing, of billions of un-exploitable and expensive to feed human.
This interview with Dmytri Kleiner, conducted by KMO for his C-Realm Podcast, was transcripted by Guerrilla Translation at KMO’s request. The audio was, unfortunately, unusable for the podcast because of background noise, but the resulting interview was too good to not to share. The following isre-posted from the C-Realm blog.
KMO:You are listening to the C-Realm Podcast, I am your host, KMO, and I’m speaking with Dmytri Kleiner, venture capitalist and miscommunications technologist. Dmytri, welcome to the C-Realm Podcast.
Dmytri: Thank you, but that’s “venture communist.”
Did I say “capitalist?”
It’s an easy mistake.
You know, I’ve read the phrase “venture communist” several times in the past few hours in preparing for this interview, and yeah… it just rolled out “venture capitalist,” didn’t it?
So, Dmytri Kleiner, “Venture Communist” – what does that mean?
Well, it’s sort of the name of a research project I started awhile ago. My background comes from the social justice movement of the 90s. I was part of some of the kinds of hacker groups that eventually became things like Indymedia, and stuff that we called technology affinity groups. At that time there was something going on called the dotcom boom, that you probably remember. A lot of us who were part of these hacker affinity groups supporting activist projects were working for these dotcoms.
The left can learn from recent popular uprisings – the Arab spring, Greece or Turkey – that have no leaders, parties or common ideology, then build on the energy and imagination these movements have created
The 2011 protests in Greece’s Syntagma Square. Photograph: News Pictures/Rex Features
On 17 June 2011, I was invited to address the Syntagma Square occupation in Athens. After the talks, following the usual procedure, members of the occupation who had their number drawn came to the front to speak to the 10,000 people present. One man in particular was shaking and trembling with evident symptoms of stagefright before his address. He then proceeded to give a beautiful talk in perfectly formed sentences and paragraphs, presenting a complete and persuasive plan for the future of the movement.
“How did you do it?” I asked him later. “I thought you were going to collapse.”
“When I started speaking,” he replied nonchalantly, “I was mouthing the words but someone else was speaking. A stranger inside me was dictating what to say.”
Many participants in the recent insurrections and revolts make similar statements. My recent work addresses this stranger in me (a usual description of the unconscious), this miraculous transubstantiation shared by people in different parts of the world. 
We are the workers whose free labour and privacy has been stolen, and sold
for greed! We have been abused, spied on and betrayed constantly. Before
this massive exploitation and surveillance machine turns into a global
apparatus in the hands of fascism, being operationalized for direct
oppression, we have to unite our fists and strike back!
This May Day is the time… How and what is not decided yet, there are
initial ideas but much is needed to put the global collective intelligence
at work to defend our and our children’s rights and dignity! Join us this
Sunday and bring your most free, creative, powerful and peaceful ideas and
dreams along… We did beat Freon, Caesars, Barons, Kings, Emperors,
Merchants, Industrial Capitalists and Nazis in the past, we can beat the
TNCs, CEOs and 1% as well!
We call all the workers, hackers, makers, farmers, artists, indignant and
outraged to GNUnite all their constructive capacity around the most
spectacular free libre and open sourced swarm to fight back and win!
Hosted by GNUnion – One Big Meshwork for All the Working People
Again, 2014 will be full of struggles, actions and mobilisations for a real global change. This Mumble call will be about starting a new series of forums and assemblies that are open to all individuals who will able to make independent efforts from any corporate, state and NGO funded agenda and; who could be exactly themselves when changing the world, when getting together, discussing and collaborating with others; either as a part of a collective, group, network or individually, and by using either online, or face to face means, or both.
Today is the 20th anniversary of the Zapatista uprising that took place the same day that NAFTA got into effect. With the presence of thousands of students attending the Zapatista Freedom School from all over the world in December and January (including some of our fellows in Occupy Wall Street), the Tsotsil Mayan female Indian Comandanta Hortencia read a message on behalf of all the Zapatista Autonomous Communities. “Twenty years ago, we had nothing. We now have our own hospitals, schools and democratic governments. In our towns and liberated territories, the bad politicians no longer have power, and the political parties can no longer manipulate us. Twenty years ago, we threw to the garbage basket all the political parties, and we keep improving our heath care, education and political system. We are certain that there is still a long way to go, but we will keep making progress (…) This is a true cleansing war against the original inhabitants, the Indians – there are dozens of thousands of soldiers occupying the lands that belong to us. In spite of so much evil we learned to survive and resist in an organized way. We are sharing our experience and preparing our young people to resist. We are here and we will stay here.”
Global Networked Labour Union, GNUnion – One Big Mesh Network, is the released 1.0 Beta version of new generation, free to join, borderless worker self-organisation, a work in progress. Its main ispiration is the history, struggle and experiences of Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) on the one hand, and free-libre, and open source software GNU/Linux, on the other.
GNUnion is also inspired by comrades standing against global capitalism in women, Lgbt, immigrant, environmental and social justice movements, Zapatistas, anti & alter golobalisation movements, social forums, free knowledge- information and culture movements; as part of organisations like WikilLeaks, Caos Computer Club, MayFirst People Link, or of recent wave of digital and real world uprisings Anonymous, 15M, Occupy, Gezi and others.
With Americans’ interest in socialism rising, we need to seriously consider alternative designs to the current system, argues Alperovitz, in this practical critique of some known models.
Little noticed by most Americans, Merriam Webster, one of the world’s most important dictionaries, announced a few months ago that the two most looked-up words in 2012 were “socialism” and “capitalism.”
Traffic for the pair on the company’s website roughly doubled from the year before. The choice was a “kind of no-brainer,” observed editor at large, Peter Sokolowski. “They’re words that sort of encapsulate the zeitgeist.”