by Örsan Şenalp
In the article I first give a personal review on some of the important spaces of convergence and mobilisations some of which took place in 2011 and 2012 and others are currenlty being planned: like, Joint Social Conferences, Hub Meetings of Indignados, Global May, Agora 99 and Firenze 10+10 among others. I will also argue that with the spread of the P2P or ‘advanced communal’ forms of value and public space creation, based on P2P relational dynamics and the involvement of the new generation P2P activists and technologies, we might this time have a potentially much stronger alternative to capitalist mode of production than the communism and socialism practices of the previous century. Formulate a clear and accessible counter hegemonic project, and a methodology for collaboration, it might be possible to form transnationally connected alliances between radical reformist and revolutionary forces; horizontal and vertical forms of agency. A clear anti-totalitarian and alter-systemic emancipatory discourse and political program in the hands of such alliances would serve to turn the tide in favour of the people. The rEvolution, as it was joined by the 15M and Occupy movements, in this sense might have already begun!
In 2011 the world witnessed the beginning of the first truly transnational and global grass-roots uprising. The peer to peer (P2P) self-organising, connectivity, horizontality, and commitment to non-violence have become the common characteristics of the rising global movement. Progressive and revolutionary civil society organizations and trade unions have played a highly crucial role in the uprisings that took place in Tunisia, Egypt, Iceland, Greece, Spain, Israel, Chile, the UK, the US as well as many other places.
This constellation might explain why 2012 has begun as a year in which the transnational capital and ruling elite have gathered around a consensus on various types of authoritarian and neoliberal state capitalism. More and more divorce between capitalism and democracy followed the market failure deepening in the West. Imperial confrontations and conflicts among the elite did not disappear but the offensive towards the nature, poor and working classes has structurally and strategically increased. The violence has been hardened against the peaceful social opposition almost everywhere. Not only austerity, flex-slavery and proletarianisation have spread throughout the world; peaceful public space occupations were violently evicted, militarisation, surveillance and criminalisation captured all domains of social life, strikes were banned, and even as happened in Marikana tragedy in South Africa, tens of striking workers have been massacred by the police forces in cold blood.1
On the other hand, 15M and Occupy movements have reached to a sustainable phase within 2012. After 15O, 11.11.11 Occupy the World, 1 May General Strike and Global May / Spring mobilisations a lot of experience has been gained.2 17 September, one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and the upcoming autumn 2012 mobilisations are the proof of the sustainability that the young movement has achieved for the time being.3 In time of writing a new global mobilisation is being rapidly and carefully organised from one town to other, from one country to other, and from one continent to other. More than 160 cities endorsed to a pot banging action in order to create a very meaningful noise. International work groups and local groups have been gathering and sharing new ideas all over the world and adopting into the mater plan. No one is able to estimates what will be the scale and the end form. Global Noise mobilisation will mark the first anniversary of the 15 October uprising. There will be many local and national mobilisations for various causes between 12and 20 October and the 13 October will be the global day of action. There are also many other initiatives and mobilisations going to take place during this autumn and beyond. Meanwhile we have been observing the formation of larger alliances among more traditional progressive forces,. Important spaces and convergence processes have been initiated launched by radical democratic as well as revolutionary alter-forces especially in Europe. In the beginning of November there will be two event taking place: Agora 99 in Madrid between 1-4 November and Firenze 10+10 in Florence Italy, between 8 and 11 November.4 Objective is enabling constructive interaction between non-representational new movements and progressive NGO networks and unions, and defining the common ground and common mobilisations towards alternative world.
In the article I first report on some of these important spaces of convergence and mobilisations, some already took place and others being planned. I will also argue that with the spread of the P2P or ‘advanced communal’ forms of value and public space creation based on P2P relational dynamics,5 involvement of the new generation of P2P activists and P2P technologies, we might this time have a potentially much stronger alternative to capitalist mode of production than the communism and socialism practices of the last century.6 Being able to formulate this new phenomenon into a clear and accessible counter hegemonic project as well as methodology for solidarity and collaboration, it might be possible to form global P2P alliances between radical reformist and revolutionary forces; horizontal and vertical forms of agency; in a way that transnationally connects them from local to global levels. A clear anti-totalitarian and alter-systemic emancipatory discourse and political program in the hands of such alliances would serve to gain non-centralised / distributed, creative, flexible, and effective mass power that could turn the tide in favour of the people. The rEvolution, as it was joined by the 15M and Occupy movements, in this sense might have already begun!7
Indignation, mobilisation, occupation, general strike
The work and plans around the idea of a Global Spring began to crystallise towards the end of 2011.8 First after the success of the Oakland General Strieon November 2. Such historical event not only prepared the ground for the May Day General Strikeidea, that took place in the US, but also made it possible for the West Coast dockworkers’ union (ILWU) to get stronger position vis-à-vis the company in dispute, and certainly played a role in the union winning the battle under-way.9
Since January 2012, Occupy General Assemblies (GAs) began organising the first federal level General Strike in US history, took place on May 1st, international worker’s day, symbol of the 8-hour-day struggle and the unity of subaltern classes. Indignadosin Europe both encouraged and responded to this call with a call to form popular worker/citizen assembliesthat would gather on May Day beside or after the mobilisations organised by unions, in order to give support to the labour movement struggle in general.10 On the other hand, beginning December 2011, the 15M and Occupy Movements in Europe were organising a day of global mobilisation on the May 12 (#12M), the anniversary of the ‘Spanish Revolution’ begun at Puerta del Sol square in Madrid a year ago on 15 May.11 Another idea on an ‘open source’ and indefinite global transition strikes on 15 May (#15M) has also been launched.12 Many initiatives has undertaken to link the dynamics of the new movement to organised groups like resisting workers, unions, campaign groups and NGO networks in order to increase the magnitude of the Spring mobilisations and the strikes. Although, these ambiguous plans of the self-organised masses did not find a strong resonance among large part of the hierarchically ‘organised’ forces, the new generation of activists has gained an immense amount of experience and confidence.
Connecting to the 1M, 12M and 15M actions, many groups that were linked to or acted in solidarity with the Occupy and 15M Movements in Europe had initiated the European mirror image of OWS: The Blockupyaction, to take place in Germany between 16-19 May.13 Massive mobilisations were planned to protest, block, and occupy the Frankfurt Financial Centre and the European Central Bank (ECB), which were seen as the European Head Office of Goldman Sachs. In the USA, anti-G8 and anti-NATO mobilisations were planned in Chicago for the May 15-21 in tandem to these preceding mobilisations.14 Although Frankfurt city government had issued a strong ban on all the protests in entire Frankfurt am Main.. Police repression was very strong and the and issuing a such ban issued for all protests did not happened since the Nazis were in power; indicating the depth of undemocratic rule dominating the old continent. Meanwhile, in the US, Obama was moving the venue of the G8 from his home town to Camp David. Under such conditions the Blockupy achieved to block the ECB and to get a 30 thousands people strong rally organized on the 19th.15
The successful organising and the global support given to the Oakland General Strike took the discontent in the North which has been growing since the Seattle 1999 and made a quantum leap with the OWS, even a step further. It underlined the historical roots of the current moment of the global uprising and strengthened connectivity, communication and solidarity among various forces. Around since the free fall of the Lehman Brothers in 2008, the general strike had already made a spectacular return in Europe.16 However the May Day General Strike in the US has actually awakened the legacy of ideas like ‘One Big Union’, ‘Shorter Work Day’, ‘International Strike’ and highlighted the ties connecting the old, new, newer and the newest progressive and revolutionary movements. Hundreds of millions marching around the world has given a strong echo to this ‘happening’, and allowed us to visualise clear images of new generation actions and general strikes that can start a radical social change processes.17
The above mentioned mobilisations and actions were the international ones directly organised by non-representational groups including Occupy, 15M and those who collaborated with them. For the sake of the argument of the paper we focus on the global level. In order to uncover the real number of the local, national and regional events, direct actions, mobilisations and strikes that had organised by these groups, and their impact we surely need an intense systematic study. In order build up my argument now I will have a look at the methods and tools that have been experimented and developed by the new generation activists when creating a shared feeling and experience, strategy and tactics, public space and an political impact.
General assemblies, transnational work groups, and hub meetings
Since Seattle and first World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, global solidarity and justice activists have been intensively using email lists, Skype meetings, video-sharing, websites and other software available in order to organise alter- or anti-summits as well as reach out the public. However since 2004, with the arrival of high capacity servers and fibreglass cables that allowed the transmitting of much larger amount of information in a shorter time, the available tools have become more and more interactive and accessible. The new Web (Web 2.0) opened up the cyberspace for users participation, for content production, self-publishing and sharing, without any computer programming knowledge. On the other hand the deepening of the crisis of neoliberal globalism, which already triggered radical politicisation of the cyberactivism during the late 80s and 90s.18 The first generation participants of the P2P movement was leading an underground fight against the commodification of the Internet against intellectual propriety regime launched by GATS trough the WTO.19 GATS was providing the legal framework for what has been called ‘the second enclosure’ -of the cyberspace and allowing private capital to build the client-server model (World Wide Web) on top of unprofitable distributed network known as Internet.20 While part of this first generation P2P activism had transformed into Free and Open Source Software movement and access to free information movement has generated useful tools and projects as result of their fight; like Linux, Wikipedia, Copy Left, Creative Commons, TOR, Telekommunisten etc., which were politically motivated and practically attractive for global audience, radical wing cyberactivstm collaborated in the globalisation of the Zapatista movement fighting against the NAFTA (and GATT) by using the new Web.21 The movement have been active in the terrain of capital, the Web, because this was allowed them to reach out the new activists, including non-cyber ones. The collaboration and cross fertilization had been extended via Seattle and the World Social Forum yet had to stay limited because of the form of the Web at the time. This has changed radically while the great anti-war movement of 2003 and Social Forum Movements were in decline during the second half of the 2000s. After the arrival of the new Web such interaction and cross fertilization among the cyber-activists and social justice activists has brought about the newest social movements which were globally taking off like the Pirates movement, hacker groups Anonymous and LulzSec, Wikileaks just to mention widely known ones.22 We were looking at the manifestation of empowered social organisation and collective action capacity that can create new possibilities and visions to realise radical change.
15M, widely known as Indignados, and Occupy movements have initially become a transnational political spaces for convergence among this new generation P2P movements and activists, activists involved in union and community organising, issue campaigns, progressive NGOs, previously non-active but politicised independent individuals and small scale political collectives, again of new generations, Following the 2007 crisis, and most recently during the protests in Wisconsin, US, and the student revolts in Europe in 2010, there was a rapid increase in the interactions between cyber-activism, internet based media activism, and digital activist artists. Therefore right after the Tahrir, the use of both P2P software and new Web-based technologies for the practice of transnational organising, decision making, visioning, strategy forming, reach out, logistics, so on suddenly exploded. The actions of Anonymous and Wikileaks have displayed the connectivity and solidarity between the newest movements and the social uprisings. Anonymous have created massive media channels for its own net. Produced very effective artistic video messages to declare their support, make a public statement, call for action or what they call ‘operations’.23 When the protesters in Wisconsin and Tahrir hailing each other, at that second visuals of the event was shared among millions on the Web and went viral.24 Live video channels were streaming to tens of thousands of people across the world when the masses at Puerta Del Sol Square in Madrid carrying messages for Athens, Iceland, and London. Wikileaks triggered the Arab spring and Anonymous attacked Egyptian sites and stayed in solidarity with uprisings everywhere and these pictures too were framed and shared with light speed. On the ground there were already online and real world communication between these spaces, groups and rebels were established and at work. When almost all the Spanish city squares were occupied for several weeks, starting from the May 15 2011 and with clear reference to the Tahrir Square, not many would guess that these occupations and regular citizen assemblies that were comparable to previous Latin American experiences was actually systematically being spread to many European cities and beyond the Atlantic.
Following the international assemblies organised in Lisbon and Paris, October 15 was decided as the date of the ‘Global Revolution’, that was turned into a massive mobilisation. First ties were established in the US and the first truly international/transnational networks of online and offline work groups and committees covering the uprising Mediterranean, European and the American regions were formed. ‘On the road to dignity’ graphic was reflecting the corner stones on the time table.25 These groups have gathered, shared, worked and discussed on a regular basis in order to build the movement and organise the 15O mobilisation. Hacktivists and artivists have actively formed the international infrastructure for organising the mobilisations and actions but also developing a practice of ‘real democracy’. Assembly protocols, methodologies, designs, signs, rules, etc. were formulated, experimented, tested and improved across European cities, but more intense in the Spanish context. This knowledge and experience with added value had crossed the Atlantic during the summer 2011. People’s assemblies started to pop up in US cities and Adbusters Magazinemade a call to Occupy Wall Street on the September 17 last year.26
On the same day when the Wall Street was occupied, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and European trade unions organised a mass mobilisation in Poland to protest the meeting of the European finance ministers.27 Yet no connection was made between these two deeply connected events, so that the impact of the both event could have increased. As a result, that day and for the following couple of weeks there was almost no media coverage of these two big and related events. People around the world did not hear much about what happened in Wall Street and Poland and could not see the connection. However, after several weeks of non-violent resistance of the citizens occupying the Zuccotti Park in Wall Street were severely attacked by the police mainstream media could not ignore what was happening. This eruption of unavoidable mass media attention, coming mainly by international rivals of the BBC and the CNN, like Russa Today (RT), Chinese news channel CCTV, as well as Al Jazeera, fed into the massive global mobilisations on the 15th of October, and concomitant occupations of more than 1000 central city squares in more than 90 countries across five continents.28
Just before the Wall Street occupation, in Barcelona Indignadoswere holding the transnational Hub Meetingto exchange on local situations and preparations, visions and future perspectives toward 15O and afterwards. The second hub meeting was held in Milan on 30-31 March and 1 April 2012 Activists from many European cities and camps in this meeting, shared information and discussed strategies towards May 2012.29 Global Spring/Global Mayworking group and Blockupy organisation gave an update and a Skype call made to a May Day organiser from the OWS. Titles for analysis discussed in the workshops were austerity policies, debt, privatisations, the anti-democratic wave, the rise of the right wing. Analyses were shared horizontally and brought back to local groups and collectives involved. Since there was no organisational representation, or objective of decision making during these meetings, no irresolvable dispute arose stemming from ideological, traditional, cultural diversity. The assembly style working was adopted by all and participants were individuals. Therefore it was easier and faster to work and reach a consensus. Everybody could join in spontaneous support giving promising initiatives about which they got first enough information, and raise points regarding the methodology. Since formal representation was not an issue, in practice the meeting was mainly one of exchange and giving feed back to the rising initiatives. The main impact of such organised network meetings, however, comes when these interlinked individuals bring back the information and consensual analyses to the local assemblies and groups. At the end of the second Hub Meeting, support for Global Spring, 12M and 15M mobilisations was agreed with full consensus. There was a big support to May Day in the US Blockupy, although there were concerns about the dedication to non-violence in Frankfurt, horizontality in the planning of the mobilisation, and collaboration with vertical organisations and groups.
To note before proceeding, as for the International level practices; information gathering and exchange before making proposals to the local General Assemblies of the mobilisation, action or alternative initiatives to be taken forward, have been representing a combination of direct democracy powered by P2P relational dynamics, which were developed and adopted by the previous and current generation P2P movement, like Anonymous (power and hierarchy in anonymous). We will elaborate below on the P2P relational dynamics and its importance.
European fellowship of the ring?
A month before the May Day 2012, on March 28-29, the next phase of an important experiment was taking place at the International Trade Union Building in Brussels, which hosts the established global union structures additional tothe International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and ETUC. Among the participants of the 2nd Spring Social Conferencethere were more than 140 representatives of around 40 progressive organisations, unions, and NGO networks based in Europe.30
The first edition of the Conference had been held at the same venue in March 2011 by the participants inthe ‘JointSocial Conference’ process. The Joint Social Conference initiative was officially born out of the European Social Forum in Malmo in 2009. Yet the roots of the process can be traced back to the foundation of the Labour and Globalisation Network (L&G) during the World Social Forum in 2007.31 L&Gis a loose network of labour and union activists originally aimed at making labour more visible within the social forum processes. Since theMalmo ESF, several social movements, NGO networks and labour unions have become involved in JSC process and they have developed mutual trust and recognition, and they tried to experiment with innovative ways of working together. The first Conference wasa product of some years of work, was not easy to put together and reach out. It was a difficult experiment of collaboration in order to deliver concrete results, because of the differences in cultures, ideologies, the ways of working and different interests. But lessons have been learned and mutual trust and recognition gained. Besides, the increasing pressure of the crisis and mobilisations on the streets contributed to a much more successful second edition.
During the 2nd Spring Social Conference many people, including the ETUC General Secretary, repeated the need for a European wide general strike and joint actions, in order to be able to resist capital and change the balance of power, although stating that it would very hard to realise such actions. However, standing closer to southern European union positions, as well as the Indignadosand Occupy movements’ actions, the General Secretary of the largest European union federation, European Public Services Unions (EPSU), declared that even today such transnational strikes are possible to realise, if only we bring the existing strugglestogether and linked ongoing national general strikes .
At the end of the day, there wasno direct support to a May Day strike in the US or Europe, nor acall for mobilisation as proposed by 12M and 15M, but the effort wasrelatively successful and a quitestrong final document was produced with an exciting content.32 Regardless of the difficulties and interest conflicts, predictable withthe combination of actors involved, a common analysis, resistance and mobilisations were identified.
After the end of the conference an inter-network meeting gathered with the same participants and others, to work on a call for organising an AlterSummitin the foreseeable future.33 The call was made to build a European wide social movement, sharing a common ground of analysis, and define collective actions and alternatives against the austerity policies, deregulations, privatisations, anti-democratic measures in Europe, as well as globally. The cornerstones for building such a movement were identified as 5-6 May 2012 TNI-CEO conference that took in Brussels, 17-20 May Blockupy for Global Change mobilisation in Frankfurt, 5-19 May Subversive Forum in Zagreb and Frienze 10+10 to be organised towards the end of 2012, were consideredas the cornerstones for the building of such movement.34
Individual activists joined the meeting and raised calls for support to the M1GS, 12M and 15M global actions organised by Occupy and 15M Movements. These participants from Indignados and Occupy movements reported on the conference to the 2. Hub Meetinggathering in Milan, which was mentioned above, right after this event on March 30. As I said both Spring Social Conference and Hub Meeting participants endorsed and declared active support to the Blockupy action, which was inspired by the OWS and 15M and organised by wider coalition of forces including Occupy groups in Germany.
Some of the participating networks like ATTAC and Transform, NGOs like CEO and TNI among others, have linked the outcomes of the conference to another process launched in collaboration with political actors like European Left, that took place on the March 30-31. 35 On 5 and 6 May 2012, following this line of interactions, another important alliance building event was organised in Brussels this time by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)and Transnational Institute. Around 300 participants, from across Europe came together to see the possibilities of taking collaboration among activists, unions, movements and networks one step further. They produced an inspiring statement calling for a halt to the EU Austerity Treaty.36 The two-day EU in Crisis Conference marked CEO’s 15th anniversary. Following two days of discussion and debate a new Pan-European network to fight against the EU’s austerity policies, and support a fairer, greener, more democratic Europe, was launched. There were calls made to support the occupation of the European Central Bank on the 17-20 Mayand the global Day of Actionon 12 May.37 There were also calls made to support the ‘No’ campaign in the Irish Referendum on the Austerity Treaty that took place on 31 May 2012. Significant elements of the transnational water justice movement were also at present in the conference. The valuable experience of these actors in terms of transnational alliance building contributed to the convergence. A new campaign to challenge the push for the privatisation of water services was launched, including support for the campaign for a European Citizens’ Initiative, stating that ‘Water and sanitation are human rights! Water is a public good, not a commodity.’38 Another important European networks that were emerging and interlinking with this process of wider alignment around similar issues was European Alternatives and the Another Road for Europe.39 During the TNI-CEO event these networks engaged closely to Alter Summit process and the Firenze 10+10 space. While European Alternative network makes strong emphasis on alternatives, commons and grass-roots, Another Road for Europe network consist of European political parties and research networks.
After the May mobilisations, during the summer of 2012, there were series of real world and cyber evaluations and re-evaluations took place, These evaluations helped to digest the experiences of May mobilisations and to draw lessons as well as to re-energise for the autumn. During the spring and end of the summer in the Northern hemisphere many actions organised mainly in the US and Spain but may be more importantly all evicted Occupy camps have developed their own online spaces and tools to keep in touch with local activists. Several important web portals were developed and launched.40 developing new communication channels local networks have built closer links among the previously created spaces for international communication and coordination among 15M and Occupy assemblies, camps, and networks in different continents. Building on the previous experiences, new ideas for date and content of the global mobilisations were discussed, and an international work group was formed -this time with even closer and wider international participation from varying localities. Global Noise action took a form in a distributed way. A new international road to dignity was drawn for the rest of 2012 and 2013 linking the corner stones towards the global change.41
At the end of August participants of the almost all above mentioned progressive and less horizontal networks organised a preparatory meeting on Skype in order to come up with a draft program for September 14-17 preparatory meeting and to work on it in Milan towards Firenze 10+10.42 The Milan meeting went relatively successful in terms of convergence of ideas and cultures. An online per-convergence process which is embedded in the preparatory work of five thematic groups established and last group to work on the convergence. Group and actors were asked to come up with proposals for common vision, strategy and action in order to improve the convergence in Firenze and move further on a concrete and shared path.43 The Milan meeting had coincided with the anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. Right after the opening session for the meeting Occupy and 15M activists who were participating gave individual input on globalNOISE preparations, Agora99 meeting, working methodologies of the movement. During the following days they made suggestions for the working themes and the methodology for the organisation of Firenze 10+10, They worked on several possible ideas about how to involve Occupy 15M networks in the space will be created in Florence.44
On the other hand, according to the decision taken by the transnational assembly at the end of Blockupy action in Frankfurt, a work group was formed in order to coordinate the organisation of a transnational and transversal meeting in Madrid called Agora 99. Agora 99 has been organised as an open meeting by collectives and individuals taking part in 15M, Occupy and Blockupy movements. As Firenze is an open space for organisations, unions, networks and individual activists; Agora99 is for political collectives, groups and individuals joining in Occupy and 15M assemblies mainly to work on practical issue. Based on self-representation. And while Firenze focuses on Europe, Debt, Commons, Labour& Social Rights, Democracy thematically, the themes of the Agora 99 gathering are Debt, Crisis and Democracy. Indicating the P2P dynamics behind the event some of the slogans on the banners are P2P Democracy, P2P Agora.45 While Madrid organisers have made direct reference to P2P, organisers of the Firenze has opened the preparatory process to online participation of individuals, networks and NGOs, by using open pads next to the email lists. There are also planes being mentioned like using German Pirates’ Liquid Democracy software which is developed and used especially for P2P policy and decision making, as one of the working methodologies for the people’s assembly will take place in Florence46
Following the summer, political momentum is rising once more. Upcoming elections in the US, Israel, and transition of power in China makes intra-class conflicts more and more difficult to handle in global term. The coming moths will potentially be full of a tension. The increasee in military confrontations, tension between China and Japan, Turkey and Syria, Israel & US vs. Iran, expose these fraternal conflicts. Which in most of the cases mercilessly hit hardest the innocent civilians, poor, children and elderly. The hope is always there and the above described convergences might be the signals of rising alliances: a ‘Fellowship of the Ring‘, as in Tolkien’s story. A force that can attract the eye of Mordor on herself and expand from the middle Earth towards the Mediterranean, the Americas and across the globe.47
The P2P Prince? form and the program of the transnational rEvolutionary subjectivity
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. 48 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.49 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.50
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, paraphrasing Gramsci and Gill, we can think of the realisation of this option in relation to the new ‘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.
For the transnational revolutions of today to be realised we need a native transnational prince that can operate in many national context simultaneously and in order to bring many autonomous forces in alignment we need a new Prince. The formation of such a collaborative global subjectivity, a global alliance, and it leading the revolution would also take a clear transnational ‘counter-hegemonic’ narrative. So that the Prince is able to convince different alter-class forces -which have varying interests, ideological back grounds, realities, visions so on- and the masses on the possibility and necessity of the worlds needed to be created, and able to motivate and mobilize them to fight back and collaborate in an truly egalitarian and truly democratic manner.
The good news is there are strong positive indicators in the above mentioned developments and processes that are indicating the emergence of both a new Prince and a 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.51
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. 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.52 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.
Going 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.53 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.54 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.55
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.56
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.57 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.58 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!
[Örsan Şenalp is a independent labour specialist, unionist, social justice activist and international political economist. In the past he involved in left party politics, labour and consumer movements in Turkey. He also worked for the National Assembly as a political/international relations expert and advisor. In the Netherlands he worked with Transnational Institute and TIE-Netherlands as freelance consultant and researcher. He has taken part in international movement-network-union collaborations like the Water Justice movement and Joint Social Conference. In 2010, he launched the Social Network Unionism Blog and initiated the GAIA experiment. Since January 2011 he has been active in the 15M and Occupy movements at the international and local levels. He has taken part in October 2011 #15O United for Global Change, 11 November 2012 #11.11.11 Occupy the World, May 2012 #GlobalMay and October 2012 #13O #globalNOISE mobilisations.]59