Michel Bauwens, Founder of the P2P Foundation, has recorded four short videos describing the FLOK Society’s pioneering research project in Ecuador. FLOK stands for “Free, Libre, Open Knowledge,” and the FLOK Society is a government-sponsored project to imagine how Ecuador might make a strategic transition to a workable post-capitalist knowledge economy. As Research Director of the project, Michel and his team are exploring the practical challenges of making commons-based peer production a widespread, feasible reality as a matter of national policy and law.
On one hand, it's obvious that there has been a huge transformation in popular political culture in the sense of empowerment, in the way people are able to organize and deal with things in their own lives. There have been many, many instances of mechanisms of participation relating to water issues, to health issues, to transport issues, to zoning issues in the barrios, etc., that have been quite successful. And Venezuela has a level of grassroots organization that it never had before. And that's a plus. I mean, that's--and that change in political culture is enormous, and it's there, and people are willing to fight for it.
In the six years since the 2008 global financial crisis, progressive politics has been struggling to find a new identity. In an over-reaction against the third way experience, it “threw out the baby with the bathwater”: instead of analysing carefully what Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Wim Kok, Gerhard Schröder and others got wrong, it yearned for a lost era of egalitarian basics without clearly working out what that meant and what its electoral implications would be. It saw the massive failure of markets as an opportunity to bring back the state when in fact rising public debt led to a crisis of the state, which in the public mind loomed larger than the crisis of the market. It struggled to formulate a publicly compelling alternative to austerity. In most countries, it has had to contend with the rise of anti-establishment populism, sometimes of the left, but mostly of the radical right.
I have to admit to relying on memories of some reading on Kalecki quite a while ago, but some further research yields this interesting statement from the Polish Marxist economist Włodzimierz Brus, which seems to be from his personal conversations with Kalecki (who had
For two months, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) held off a paramilitary police force, a billionaire mayor, and the combined ire of the world’s biggest, baddest global corporations. And it was done with bandanas, tarps, apples, and books. But it started small, on September 17, 2011, when rabble-rousers unrolled their sleeping bags in New York City’s financial district.
Jeremy Rifkin's new book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, The Collaborative Commons and the Eclipse of Capitalism, offers what might be termed a third vision of the future. He offers neither a Panglossian utopia nor a "doom and gloom" dystopia. Rather, he offers a serious extrapolations to a possible future built around several widely observed trends that have not previously been connected by those who are tracking them. Most of the major themes are mentioned in the title and subtitle: Declining marginal costs approaching zero constitute the latest development in the creative destruction of capitalism. The many different evocations of the commons in our time point to a future characterized by a civil society of nonprofit organization and "collaborative commons."
The donor page explained, “As filmmaker, Jen Senko, tries to understand the transformation of her father from a mild mannered life-long Democrat to an angry, Right-Wing fanatic, she uncovers the forces behind the media that changed him completely: a plan by Roger Ailes under Nixon for a media by the GOP, The Powell Memo and the dismantling of the Fairness Doctrine, all of which would ultimately misinform millions, divide families and even the country itself.”
For America, the prospect of the structural-ideological constancy of war preparation and occasional conflagration is a delight, conviction, compulsion. For how else demonstrate hegemony? How else, by arrogating to itself guardianship—and chief beneficiary—of the world system, legitimate, affirm, and secure the fruits of Exceptionalism? Beginning in the late-19th century, with the fusion of capitalism and national power, already prefigured in domestic expansion and railroad development, the earlier phrase, “Manifest Destiny,” albeit hackneyed and contrived from day one self-serving a ruling-class-in-formation and conveying moralistic ethnocentric content, accurately described the grandiosity of public policy to follow (up to the present and no doubt future). The psychopathology of the winner-take-all mental set fulfilled by the militarization of US capitalism has, since the end of World War II, created a closed system in which anticommunism—now counterterrorism—becomes CODE for stifling alternatives to ascendant monopoly capital and the internal regimentation of political-social thought.
Recently, a man at the allotments told me he was going to vote Ukip this time round, because he'd had enough. He then almost apologetically trotted out the very familiar reasons, 'they're over here breeding like rabbits, they're taking all our jobs, they don't even speak our language, there's too many of them'. All these statements seemed to make perfect sense to him, and he told them from the point of view of someone who was proud of his ancestry.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the age of revolutions is not over. It’s becoming equally clear that the global revolutionary movement in the twenty first century, will be one that traces its origins less to the tradition of Marxism, or even of socialism narrowly defined, but of anarchism.
I have recently completed doctoral studies in political science focusing on the relationship between participatory processes and policy making in representative institutions, so the topic was very relevant to me.
Rather predictably, the elite-serving glove puppet media has decided it is right and good at this time to wheel on its handpicked, most obedient and servile journalists to opine about Piketty's new book “Capital”. This coincides with David Stockman's almost triumphant declaration of Greenspan-and-Bernanke's come-uppance Truth Moment (“America's Housing Fiasco Is On You, Alan Greenspan”).
Dinesh D'Souza will let several prominent liberal thinkers have their say in his follow-up documentary to 2016: Obama's America. The conservative filmmaker told The Hollywood Reporter that the documentary, America, will feature the commentary of Alan Dershowitz, Noam Chomsky, Bill Ayers, Michael Eric Dyson and Charles Truxillo.
While theorist and provocateur Slavoj Žižek tends to get characterized—especially in a recent, testy exchange with Noam Chomsky—as obscurantist and muddle-headed, I’ve always found him quite readable, especially when compared to his mentor, psychoanalytic philosopher Jacques Lacan. As an interpreter of Lacan’s theories, Žižek always does his reader the courtesy of providing specific, concrete examples to anchor the theoretical jargon (where Lacan gives us pseudo-mathematical symbols). In the short Big Think clip above, Žižek’s examples range from the history of physics to the Declaration of Independence to the familiar “male chauvinist” scenario of a man, his wife, and his mistress. Žižek’s point, the point of psychoanalysis, he alleges, is that “people do not really want or desire happiness.”
You’ve heard of Thomas Piketty, non? In just a few short weeks this spring, the French economist has gone from dismal scientist to intellectual superstar. This past weekend, his book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, hit No. 1 on Amazon and came up in six New York Times articles. One hundred and eighty years after Alexis de Tocqueville came back to France with the news that he’d found true égalité in America, his countryman has arrived on our shores to deliver the opposite news: Not only is the U.S. doomed to accelerating inequality, but so are all capitalist societies, absent some fairly serious interventions — mostly taxes. The tough prognosis in Capital runs across nearly 700 graph-dappled pages and three centuries of economic history. No serious economist could afford to ignore its mountains of fresh data and analysis, but for the rest of us, it’s a heavier lift. Hence Piketty’s New York publicity push last week — a different kind of endurance test, involving midtown traffic, a publicist shouting “Short answers!,” and the unbridled fury of a WNYC producer facing 30 minutes of dead air.
Three years after the near collapse of global financial markets, America is still struggling with unemployment, debt, and foreclosure, European governments are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy—and the world’s billionaires are getting richer faster than ever before. The current situation is not sustainable. But what changes need to be made to overcome this mounting crisis of our world economic system? How radical an adaptation will be required? David Harvey, the brilliant theorist and scathing critic of postmodern society, looks at what the future holds for global capitalism.”
Kshama Sawant’s election victory has received repeated national media attention, helping to revive interest in socialist ideas and establishing Socialist Alternative as a pole of attraction for workers and youth looking to get active in the struggle against capitalist crisis. Since November, our work has been covered regularly by Seattle media and has also been featured in MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Nation, and even on the front page of The New York Times.
One reason the United States and the West aren’t particularly interested in defending their neoliberal policies is because by the time their effects are felt in a particular location, the world and its five-minute attention span has already moved on. Once the glamour of violence simmers down, the appetites of the bourgeoisie are sated. Whether Russia or Thailand or Korea or Chile or the Ukraine, the vicious coup d’état or knowingly-savage policy prescriptions that unlock a country’s economy quickly fade into obscurity. Into that fathomless swamp of imperial crimes. The media moves on to fresher fires, newer conflicts, and more entertaining waves of repression. Falling wages, rising prices, mass privatization, and vanishing tariffs are not newsworthy—at least when ‘newsworthy’ is defined by clicks and eyeballs. Who wants to listen to a cranky union vet opine on the evils of capitalist accumulation? Or see some reporter on RT or Al Jazeera wander through decaying communities in some far-flung hamlet? Not when you can listen to Wolf Blitzer’s riveting blow-by-blow of the latest artificial uprising on ‘The Situation Room’.
Who are all these people — and this goes for private bureaucracies as well as public ones — sitting around watching you, telling you what your work is worth, what you’re worth, basically employing thousands of people to make us feel bad about ourselves. Just get rid of those people; just give everybody some money, and I think everyone will be much better off.