[iDC] MobilityShifts introduction, Bauwens & P2P Foundation 1 (personal intro)

Michael Bauwens michelsub2003 at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 21 06:18:34 UTC 2011

Most of you on this list, in which I have been inactive for most of this year, 
would probably know me as the founder  of the P2P Foundation, a global 
collaborative which aims to understand and promote p2p/commons oriented human 

Though I attented Playbour, and appreciate Trebor's conferences  as amongst the 
best prepared and organized on the planet, this invitation is a bit paradoxical, 
since both the 'mobile internet' and the 'gaming internet' are areas I 
specifically keep off my radar, which is already more than overwhelmed by 
following the emergence of p2p practices in every field of human activity. The 
p2p foundation wiki has now about 17m pageviews for its 13k articles, and our 
blog is a top 2% retweeted global blog.

Our work at the P2F foundation is based on the hypothesis that the current 
infinite growth system of capitalism is reaching its limits, and that the 
horizontalization of relationships offers an unprecedented opportunity to 
achieve a phase transition that  is most beneficial to peer producers and 
commoners. So, while our blog is a natural place for critical approaches towards 
p2p, we do not really find productive the  discussions of whether the internet 
or social media are 'goods' or 'bads' in and by  themselves, but rather the 
question for us is: to which degree can we use these tools of horizontalisation 
to achieve a phase transition.

Our attitude to mobility would be not different,  i.e. I/we would ask ourselves, 
to what degree to certain characteristics of the generalisation of 
internet-enabled mobile telephony (or more properly, the mobile use of the 
internet), create opportunities to create, maintain and defend autonomous 
productive communities which center around commons of knowledge, code and 
design. And in association with that, to which degree can the same be used to 
generalize current micro-practices as a dominant logic of value creation. In 
other words, how do we get from emergence to parity to becoming the core of a 
new political economy and civilizational form?

In our view, success would always be dependent on a merger of both 'constructive 
p2p practices', i.e. the creation of new life forms, centered also around the 
creation of multiple open infrastructures, and massive mobilization against the 
dominant system which directly challenge the current balance of power. We 
believe the latter is now occuring after the events in Spain and Greece, t(we 
consider the Puerta del Sol as Ground Zero of the P2P Revolution) and that these 
new movements are totally permeated by what we call the p2p ethos. However, what 
still needs to happen is the inspiration of the movement, by the many positive 
practices and solutions that have been experimented with by the p2p movements. 
Generation OS13 and its allies know what they are against, and have performed 
their first ontological affirmation of the new value system, but are still 
mostly at a loss about both practical and policy alternatives which would 
sustain a life based on the new value system.

This therefore yet needs to happen, but nevertheless, current events in Europe 
are an absolute crucial milestone.

A bit of my own background. My 'official' biography would be a narrative of a 
mostly 'business' career, both for large corporations and as serial internet 
enterpreneur, who after a reconsideration at midlife, decided to go back to the 
more radical ideas of his youth, hopefully tempered by experience, and seeking 
for a narrative that can be a new motivation for social change and large scale 
social movements; the alternative bio would be that of a searcher, who starting 
with the failed radicalism of his youth, went to search for a 'personal' 
revolution, seeking in eastern spiritual traditions first, esoteric western 
traditions later, and finally, through a crash course in the western 
philosophical tradition, came to an idiosyncratic understanding of human 
evolution. On a personal level, this means abandoning the search for 'vertical' 
enlightenment of the personal self, to a horizontal engagement with peers in the 
context of seeking autonomy with social justice, based on a participatory 
spirituality stressing the interconnectedness and solidarity of all beings.
Philosophically speaking, I adhere to the epistemological principles of 'left' 
integralism (sarkar, gebser, aurobindo, critical realism's second period, wilber 
before his neocon turn, clare graves), an approach which rejects both gross 
reductionism (reducing everything to its material basis) or subtle reductionism 
(reducing everything to the behaviour of flat dots in a system). Rather, an 
integral approach obliges a continuous taking into account of both 
(inter)objective and (inter)subjective aspects of any given phenomena, i.e. the 
intentionality and interiority of living beings can never be left out of any 

The P2P Foundation is a pluralist, but in the context of seeking a critical 
commonality in favour of understanding and promoting P2P practices and life 

Long enough already, and without much about my intervention to the mobility 
issue, but with the bio out of the way, that will be for a next contribution.

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