This is part three, and the last segment, of this series. In this final and short response to questions about the future, Bauwen’s discusses two possible futures for the development of peer to peer society globally, the ‘High Road’ and ‘Low Road’.
This is part II of Occupy Wall Street and the Peer-to-Peer Revolution, a discussion with Michel Bauwens, founder of the The Foundation for P2P Alternatives. How does Occupy Wall Street prefigure wider changes? Bauwens talks about the failings of the current system: artificial scarcity and ecological crisis. Peer production prefigures a way of life which is based on sharing and which is situated in communities, which addresses these failings. Bauwens argues thus that peer production is ‘congruent and convergent with the logic of the commons’. A number of existing alternatives outside of the dominant system needs to interconnect to form a system within a system which can resist capture by capitalist commodification and which can change the system from within.
Bauwens’ argument for the development of a system within a system is consistent with my thesis work on Alternative Futures of Globalization, which argued for emerging structural synergies of counter power in the context of the alter-globalization movement.
I was fortunate to catch up with friend and colleague Michel Bauwens in Chiang Mai in Nov. of 2011. It was truly inspiring to be with Michel, who I consider one of the most brilliant minds I have come across in my lifetime. For him, Peer-to-Peer is not just a few examples of web2+, but a macro-historical analysis combined with an integrative philosophy. I have met few people who can straddle diverse discourses while maintaining the raw energy of the creative global change agent, and an amazing vision for our common futures. Over the last half year we have had a few opportunities to engage in some of these discourses for global social change, or what I call ‘alternative globalisation’, in the discussion “From the Crisis of Capitalism to the Emergence of Peer to Peer Political Ecologies“. As articulated by Michel, peer production / peer to peer is a counter-hegemonic discourse that rests on the ancient and re-emerging philosophy of the (global / human) commons. As such it is squarely aligned with the aims and aspirations of OWS.
This is part one of this series. Parts II and III will come out over the next few days.
[audio:http://af.openfutures.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/michel1.mp3|titles=Michel Bauwens: OWS and the peer to peer revolution]
This is an audio recording I did of Dr. Jim Ife, professor in Community Development (previously at Curtin University, now at Victoria University), back in 2009. Jim had just completed his book “Human Rights From Below” on the intrinsic connection between human rights and community development, and was kind enough to spend time with some of my and Charles Mphande’s VU community development students. I put this talk up on another blog, but was closed, so putting it back up here. It is a very candid lecture with a good Q&A with the students.