Re: [ox-en] Labor contradictions
- From: Raoul <raoulv club-internet.fr>
- Date: Mon, 03 Dec 2007 12:40:03 +0100
Hi Stefan (Mz),
On Dec, 1 2007 - 15:13 Stefan Meretz wrote:
We dealt with that question some months ago (see the thread "Free
Software and social movements in Latin America", March 18th-June 9th). I
am always surprised by the fact that you, as Stefan (Mn) and Michel,
have a tendency to identify "traditional social movements", or "workers
movements" ONLY with "unions".
The essential function of unions is indeed the bargaining of the price
of labor force. As such, since long, they have become part of the
capitalist institutions. In the economic field, they contribute to
regulate the labor-market. In the political field, they are a powerful
means to encapsulate, to confine any workers fight within the
capitalistic logic, within the "commercial process", as you say.
On this basis, it is clear that one can hardly imagine a way to connect
peer-Free Software spirit with unionist spirit. As Stefan Merten put it
in the past discussion: "The goals of Free Software movement, however,
can not be expressed in terms of money. Maybe this is the fundamental
But do you really think that workers movements, in the past and in the
future, can only be movements for bargaining the price of the
labor-force? That they can never "accept any step away from commercial
Would you say that the workers movements in Germany, for example, which
stopped the first world war in 1918 and were bloody repressed in January
1919 did not went "a step away from commercial processes"? Would you say
the same for the workers movements at the end of the 1960s and during
the 1970s, most of the time started against the unions machines, like
May 68 in France, 1969 in Italy, etc.?
At a smaller scale, but in a more recent scope, (May 2007, would you say
the same for the fight of the Buenos Aires subway workers who, as a
reaction against the accord signed by the union and the concessionary
company, allowed passengers to travel free, without paying?
It is true that it is very difficult for workers fights to escape the
capitalistic logic and legality. Not only because of the
coercion/repression system which makes "illegal" any step outside that
framework, (the Buenos-Aires-subway corporation has immediately lodged a
penal complaint against the workers who animated the free travel
action), but also, and I would say mainly, because it is not easy to see
the possibility of an alternative framework.
Don't you think that it is at this level - the possibility of developing
a non-capitalist logic - that a connection between "peer production" and
the workers fights can develop? Even if, for the moment, things are only
at a germ level?
On 2007-12-01 05:18, Michael Bauwens wrote:
how can peer producers connect with the older social movements, and
I don't see much options. Traditional social movements like unions are
not only workers movements, but also hard-core working-movements. They
base on wage labour and can't accept any step away from commercial
processes, because M-C-M' (making more money from money) pays their
Don't you think that this link is a key element to achieve the
"triple-free peer production", defined by Tere Vaden (23.11.2007) as
including "the ownership [not the best term] of the means of production
down to the level of electricity, the physical infra, etc."?
Contact: projekt oekonux.de