Transition according to P2P

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Dans la collection : Commons Space

Enjeu(x) : Politisation des communs,  P2P  Résultat(s) attendu(s) : Démocratie  


Auteur(s) FLANAGAN Kevin
Date de publication 2017/01/02
Durée 00:19:27
Langue du contenu EN
Pays Irlande
Fait partie de Commons Space
Média Vidéo
URL de diffusion
Service de diffusion youtube
Identifiant de diffusion mZ3KFERXiPc
Contexte de production Commons Space
Producteur(s) Remix the commons
Participant(s) AMBROSI Alain
Contributeur(s) LÉONARD Nicole, FREDRIKSSON Sylvia, LESSARD-BÉRUBÉ Stéphanie
Type de licence CC-BY-SA


AA: Can you present yourself

KF: My name is Kevin Flanagan, and I’m an independent activist working in the area of the commons. I’ve worked for a number of years with the P2P Foundation.

AA: My first question is, how do you see the emergence... there is an emergence of the commons and the entrance that the commons in the political space?

KF: Over the last few years there has been a sort of a growing political maturity within the commons, the interests of people who are getting involved in the commons, particularly the fields that I’ve been involved with which is coming from the area that I’ve been involved with which is digital commons, collaborative economy, peer to peer... so there has always been a politics to the commons, but my feeling is that politics has moved from being a sort of a cultural politics embedded in a sort of tech culture into a broader politics, not just within maybe perhaps first spreading from the hacker culture to the maker spaces, I think it follows quite broadly in some ways how the idea if you take, you see how these ideas about open source and creative commons have spread from software, into all these other aspects, into education, scientific research, open design, open hardware. So the ideas have been spreading, but the political maturity I think is when you start to think not just about the licenses and the what we can do together in terms of collaboration, but also how we can work together with political movements and exploring sort of shared values with more traditional political movements, such as the cooperative movement or the social and solidarity economy. And while there have been discussions for a number of years around things like "so what would open cooperatives look like" - a marriage of cooperatives and the collaborative economy and peer production... this has really sort of taken off a lot over the last two years. And that’s really quite exciting because we are really starting to see some very interesting initiatives coming to life that integrate or take a commons approach in a very holisitc way, both in terms of democratic governance, sharing within the community, sharing our resources but also looking at other forms of exchange, that can be currency, alternative currency, community currency, these kinds of things, and seeing how they can work together.

AA: What we’re seeing now as the commons enters big cities like Barcelona, Bologna, and in other contexts, I mean at the local regional level, the commons are really something that’s becoming real. That’s not nothing, that’s really a new way, a real way of doing things, and doing politics etc. People say that these might be a way for a post-capitalist transition. I know that P2P Foundation proposed this, a kind of communal towards for a transition beyond capitalism...

KF: One of the core things about the commons is it’s a movement beyond the market and the binary of market and state. And historically, our typical way of meeting the needs of society have often been through the state, through re-distirbution, or via the market, through private enterprise. And we really see that this binary system is in a crisis, and what the commons is coming from is showing that things can be done outside of the market and state binary and that there are other ways of organizing and producing value in society.

So in terms of the post capitalist, the commons transition plan of the p2p society, P2P Foundation, there’s a few sort of core elements that work together. So, you would have, it’s based on 3 pillars: ethical economy, the partner state, and the commons. So these are 3 key concepts. So the partner state is really a question of "how do we as commoners, how do we engage with the state? how can the state work with us to actually support commons? How can it be a partner in supporting grassroots initiatives, social movements, economic democracy, and the production of commons?" So if we want to see this in society, then we need to have a new vision of the tate and how it works. So, that would involve, for example, integrating processes for participatory democracy. You could involve new forms of deliberation with communities. That’s a first part. But how does the partner state support the commons? And when I’m speaking of the commons, really I’m speaking about it in an expanded sense, so not solely knowledge commons, but our environmental resources, water, land, the atmosphere, but also more broadly in I guess a the sort of democratic practice of commoning and how we organize our enterprises, solidarity economy, cooperatives, so it’s a very broad umbrella. There are many ways in which the partner state can support the commons. There’s a connection here I think with movements like Degrowth in the sense that, what you’re doing when you’re creating commons is in a way creating a kind of buffer between... at the moment there is very little social protection. The influence of finance capital over the nation state and our lives in general is completely out of whack. And one of the ways that we can create more resilient communities is through a kind of process of decommodification. It creates a bit of a buffer between the ups and downs of the global market by putting ownership under democratic control, or putting ownership into commons, open commons. So what you’re doing is you’re taking both creative work out of the world of commodities, tradeable commodities, into the world of sharing. And also taking enterprises out of the world of shareholder enterprises and transforming them into democratic, community-owned enterprises. So how can the partner state support them? In many ways it can do that. If for example, making a privilege for socially driven enterprise so that they have lower tax rates, for example. Or they pay lower rates with the municipalities or government. The examples you noted there of Bologna and Barcelona, well one of the interesting things about Bologna is it’s a real enabler, the Bologna regulation for the urban commons is a real enabler of civic activity in which local government and local institutions have come together to sort of reduce, think of it as reducing the barriers to civic participation and culture of the commons. So they provide, working with the local municipality, educational institutions, and other partners. They provide spaces, they provide training, there’s support I think for some kind of insurance cover, things like that. So that really reduces the overheads for grassroots initiatives, creative initiatives, culture initiatives, to get organized and do things. So that’s one example that’s happening now.

AA: Would you say for example Bologna is a kind of laboratory for partner-state model ?

KF: Certainly, you certainly would. And Barcelona is another example where, of course, Barcelona en Común, is very rooted within the social movements, in neighborhood assemblies, and it’s in the name, they’re very much thinking of the commons as well. They’ve been working with people in Barcelona to change the policies there about the collaborative economy. It’s a different experience, and another that is quite interesting to look at and to pay attention to. So there’s two of them - there’s the partner state and then there’s commons. And the third would be the ethical economy. so that’s cooperative enterprise, social initiatives, solidarity economy, that not only are they, they have a benefit towards society, but also benefiting and contributing for the commons. So on the one hand you have civic participation and contribution to the commons, and you also have the ethical economy, who might build enterprises around the commons, so they co-produce commons, and they work together. To represent as representation of the commons or of this ethical economy enterprise... you could have a chamber of the commons. Where you could have different enterprise, businesses coming together and advocating on behalf of, in the interest of the commons on the local regional and national levels. And I think it’s important to have a balance between the interest of those who are, I guess, making business in relation to the commons, and the civic commons. So in this sense you have assemblies of the commons, so that are also democratically managed to represent the interest of commoners more broadly, rather than just necessarily in the interest of the businesses that depend on the commons. So it’s a broader representation.

AA: Just a question about the chamber of the commons. The chamber of the commons is the only commons-based enterprise, or it’s a mix with other kinds of enterprise like uber, collaborative economy (not commons kind of collaborative economy)?

KF: No, I think the chamber of the commons is really - it’s in the name- it’s ethical enterprise that has an interest in the commons. They contribute and participate in sustaining the commons. companies like uber which are based on an extractive model, they have people - people sign up and they you know, it’s like peer to peer, but uber is an extractive model, it’s not contributing to the commons in that way.

AA: And talking about the assembly of commons - and I’ve seen in the peer 2 peer blog the example of the assembly of commons in Chicago. Can you comment on that?

KF: I actually can’t. I don’t know that much about that. I know that some people are working on the commons in Chicago. I think it’s early days...I think one of the things that needs to happen is really for a lot more, it’s not so exciting to say dialogue, but there is a need for a lot more dialogue between people that are passionate about the commons and the social movements, and social economy actors, so that people recognize that there are a lot of shared values here and an opportunity to work together. So I’m really not so familiar with what is happening in Chicago, I know there’s a group there but, I think it’s really important to have a broad array of civil society actors participating in any kind of assembly of the commons. Building those kinds of alliances take time. That’s all.

AA: So I think that to explain the strategy is enough, but if you want to add something?

KF: I think that’s good, I’m happy with that.

Entrevue réalisée à l'occasion du 12ème Forum Social Mondial tenu à Montréal du 9 au 14 août 2016. Pour la première fois dans l'histoire du FSM un Espace des Communs offrait différents ateliers et activités culturelles avec la participation de « commoners » théoriciens et praticiens de nombreux pays.
Entrevista realizada en ocasion del 12mo Foro social Mundial realizado en Montreal del 9 al 14 de agosto de 2016. Por primera vez en la historia del FSM un Espacio de los Comunes ofrecia varios talleres y actividades culturales con la participacion de « commoners » teoricos y activistas de numerosos paises.
Interview taped at the 12 th World Social Forum in Montreal August 9th to 14th 2016. For the first time in the history of WSF a Commons Space held various workshops and cultural activities with the participation of commoners, both theoreticians and practitioners, from numerous countries.