The way I see it, we need three elements to succeed.
First, we need to construct the alternatives. I want to insist that this is not a reactionary struggle for say, pure relocalization, or small utopian communities, like the utopian socialists of the 19th century, what Marx called ‘dwarfish forms’. Rather we are building a new system of production which recombines an important amount of relocalization (because physical material globalization is a disaster for sustainability), but combined by a globally connected infrastructure of mutual coordination and collective learning, which can achieve a hyper-growth in human productive innovation.
At the same time, we need to build and associate with powerful social movements, that struggle against the attacks of the now ‘extreme neoliberal’ state, which attacks the very social fabric of society to save the predatory financial system. But for such social movements, it is not sufficient just to say no, and have a politics of refusal, and it is certainly not sufficient to return to socialist statist approaches, but they need an awareness of the alternative social and productive infrastructures that need to be strengthened in order to have a better alternative.
Finally, we need a political extension, one that, based on a commons-oriented policy framework, and a push towards replacing the corporate welfare state with a Partner State, that institutes commonfare (Andrea Fumagalli) and retakes control of the ‘commanding heights of the economy’, now in the hands of the destructive predatory factions that have taken control of the market states (as proposed by Nick Dyer-Whiteford).
It is the combination of constructive open communities, mobilized social movements, and a political extension of the power of both, in a grand alliance of the commons, which will be necessary to turn the maturation of open practices and infrastructures, into the necessary phase transition that can save us from the coming barbarisms.
Michel Bauwens on the P2P Foundation Blog: “Is the P2P approach utopian?”
(He says it isn’t, because it’s not about a perfect society, just one where artificial restraints on agency don’t slow individuals and society down.
“It’s not about a classless society,” he says, as one example of a non-utopian aim. I found myself agreeing with much of his piece (though I’m going to have to go Wiki “partner state”, and twitched a little at the word) but would ask him to consider how class would operate in his future scenario. Moving to a more self-aware global economy, especially one where labor is organized and assertive, necessarily means imaging how this transition works for class. If labor became globally unionized (and I strongly suspect it will eventually), would wages flatten out across economies? This would certainly help incentivize the relocalization Bauwens suggests is needed. But we as humans would likely have choices on how this played out, and I have to think left to reflex we’d just produce a new, global class system that could end up being a source of a lot of tyranny. What do we need to think about ahead of time to avoid accidentally recreating our current paradigm?)