The final entry in the of the series in which we’ve created a panorama of the three principle figures of the new communitarianism, as expressed in English.
In the two previous articles in this series, we looked at the evolution of Michel Bauwens and John Robb‘s thought (with a important coda by Nat), two of the main figures of the English-speaking “new communalism” that was born from debate on the transition towards the P2P mode of production. In the first, we find a growing concern about the role of institutions–and the new institutionality–which connects with the area of concerns of the most lucid groups in Latin American social movements; in the second, we were in the universe of the “community economies” sketched out in the final chapter of The Coming Futures.
It remains for us to focus on the most militant, which surely is the C4SS, known outside of USA primarily for the works of Kevin Carson. Just this week, James Tuttle synthesized the C4SS’s thought in recent years into two main areas of emphasis: the “open source” insurgency (a concept which is, to be sure, original to John Robb) and the homebrew industrial revolution (the title of one of Carson’s books). These two strategic lines, as Kevin pointed out, would have these goals:
Our goal is not to assume leadership of existing institutions, but rather to render them irrelevant. (…) We don’t want to take over corporations and make them more ‘socially responsible.’ We want to build a counter-economy of open-source information, neighborhood garage manufacturing, permaculture, encrypted currency and mutual banks, leaving the corporations to die on the vine along with the state.
The idea, as Tuttle develops it in the same post, would be something like what Juanjo Pina calls market activism:
Challenging established groups to update their game and break their preconceived limits by offering them competition. The state is sinking in a hole of total surveilance and captured economies. We need preemption, dislocation and disruption – now! We want virtualization, repetition and coopetition… now! We are dedicated to finding the cracks in the state’s system, wedging them open, freeing all prisoners and pulverizing the foundations. We are calling this project: Entrepreneurial Anti-Capitalism.
Which, in practice, leads them to finance projects like Dark Wallet:
Beyond this activist vision and really, over the long term, Carson has also dedicated a lot of work to the emergence of a new institutionality of the P2P mode of production. It’s not for nothing that his last book, The Desktop Regulatory State, is subtitled The Countervailing Power of Networks and Super-Empowered Individuals. His fourth chapter, “Basic Infrastructure,” needs to be pointed out, with its extensive development of the concept of phyles, the different expressions of their transnational dimension, and the different approaches to creators and cooperators.
But, is there no more to the “new communalism?”
To date, the “new communalism,” led in the English-speaking world by these authors, is primarily a research project, with many topics to develop, from the role of global NGOs, advanced by Bruce Sterling ten years ago, and still only outlined by Michel Bauwens, to a reflection on the adjustment of the productive model and its problems in the real industrial realm. But, for the moment, it has only begun to be noted in the Anglo-Saxon world, and for greater depths, one must search in other places, closer to the industrial day-by-day.