Re: [ox-en] Re: Next successful Free Product?
- From: Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de>
- Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2006 09:12:09 +0200
Hi Raoul and all!
4 months (121 days) ago Raoul wrote:
This is a text written as part of debates in a "revolutionary" mailing-list.
But it deals with some questions discussed in this thread (P2P, free
software, Wikipedia, etc) as it tries to see which practices allowed by the
new technologies tend to make more "visible" the "revolutionary project".
A very nice text. Indeed I agree with very most of it.
This point about the visibility of a revolutionary project is indeed
something which accompanies me for my whole "political life". For a
long time I was very much involved in project anarchism which had
(has?) exactly this visibility of a revolutionary project in mind. It
was just the idea to show people how things could be in very practical
In the 1970s/80s this idea materialized in self-governed firms which,
however, nearly always where founded in the agricultural and artisan
(wrong term? I mean "Handwerker") branches - i.e. relating to a state
of productive forces 150+ years old - i.e. pre-capitalist. At that
time I was very much in favor of these experiments and saw them as one
of the more useful ways to put forward a revolutionary project. Indeed
there were many nice people - however, the great plans never worked
out and most of these projects vanished again. In other words: Not a
very sustainable vision.
Well, after the Oekonux experience I changed my mind. I understood
that on the level of productive forces these projects operated there
can not be a breakthrough to another society. I also learned that this
level of productive forces was what the people pursuing these projects
had in their hearts and stomachs. Today I think that anarchism
generally has a tendency to glorify the pre-capitalist time.
Well, in a way the Oekonux experience was a new visible revolutionary
project - insofar I didn't change my mind ;-) .
A few comments and questions.
The anti-capitalist revolution can only be the work of the immense
majority of society and it must be a conscious work. Such a
consciousness cannot be the product of the preaching -
however well formulated - of a minority of "enlightened"
revolutionaries. It is historical practice, the evolution of
material and social conditions that alone can convince billions of
individuals, including "revolutionaries," that their discourse has a
I completely agree that preaching makes no sense. However, I'd like to
know in what sense you are referring to consciousness. Do you mean
consciousness in the sense that the actors need to know that
objectively they pursue goals leading to a new society? I'd like to
call this a political consciousness. I don't think such political
consciousness is really necessary. AFAICS bourgeoise revolutions
didn't need it either for the majority of actors. Similarly Free
Software people usually don't have that political consciousness.
However, I think consciousness is necessary in the sense that people
feel that there is a better life to win. I'd like to call this felt
consciousness. In this sense it is indeed only practice which does
everything necessary. We can see this in Free Software as well as in
P2P file sharing.
Do you think that at some point the felt consciousness needs to switch
to the political consciousness? If so why and when?
Private property and its corollary, commodity exchange, are the most
effective means of managing material scarcity. The project of a
non-commodity society can rest only on the possibility of going
beyond this state of scarcity.
Commodity exchange and its corollary private property are the most
effective means of creating material scarcity as well as material
wealth. The project of a non-commodity society can rest only on the
possibility of keeping up the production of material wealth while
destroying the need for creation of material scarcity.
It is interesting to note that certain "modern" economists had
announced the failure of the P2P at its outset because its operation
does not comply with the elementary rules of "economic rationality",
founded on individual selfishness. They announced learnedly that
everyone would be ready to take, but that nobody would be ready to
give, to make the effort to put something at the disposal of the
others. Some recognized thereafter their error and the need to
"reconsider" the theory. At least, they recognize that there is
something new. The old but effective argument against the very idea
of a truly communist society - "human selfishness" - has been
shaken, not just on ethical grounds but in practice.
I agree wholeheartedly and think this practically and on a large scale
basis overcoming of bourgeoise logic can not be overestimated.
AFAICS a couple of file sharing systems require the user to publish
stuff - at least what s/he downloaded herself. In a way this is more
of an exchange that simple file sharing. Can someone give us an update
about the current practices? I think it is important to think about
this. I have some ideas on this but since I'm not practicing file
sharing I'd like to hear about the practice first.
Mit Freien Grüßen
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Contact: projekt oekonux.de