P2P Foundation

The Foundation for Peer to Peer Alternatives

Based on the insights drawn from Kees van der Pijl and Michel Bauwens, I have identified the rise of ‘P2P mode of foreign relations’ as the radical alternative to the top down ‘Global Governance’ mode.

Below slide presents the argument.

In the Modes of foreign relations project, sponsored by the Leverhulme Trust under a major research fellowship 2006-2009, Van der Pijl argues that inter-state relations (as well as the national state form itself) are transient, historical forms of more fundamental foreign relations. Just as Marx developed a critique of equilibrium economics by claiming that this was only one ‘mode of production’, which had been preceded and would be followed by others, Van der Pijl in this project challenges the ‘IR’ paradigm. Modes of foreign relations include a tribal, an empire/nomad, the sovereign equality, and the
global governance modes; in each, a specific way occupation of space, its protection, and the exchange with others, are made possible by a given level of civilisation.

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Comment by Tom Griffin on May 23, 2012 at 2:42

Very pleased to see someone working on a synthesis of Van der Pijl and Bauwens. I think the peer production paradigm could really address some of the possibilities that Van der Pijl raises in the last chapter of Transnational Classes and International Relations (although I have reservations about some of the teleological language here):

The rise of a cadre stratum expressing the socialisation dynamic, if necessarily
in an alienated fashion, and the fact that it already several times has followed a
course different from the one desired by the ruling class (however erratic, or
even disastrous, this course may have been), highlights a fault-line in the
structure of advanced capitalist society which is of crucial significance for its
transformation. What these experiences (including the Soviet experience which
in important respects and in the specific circumstances of a contender state role,
forms part of it) teach us is that the cadre stratum requires a reunification with
the working class to merge into the ‘proletarian’ historic subject, humanity
reclaiming its alienated self. In the confrontation between a capitalist class which
has no existence beyond privilege and private property, and a working class
resisting the discipline of capital, the cadres have all along tended to adopt
positions which look beyond the straight class antagonism. In terms of their
historic role they represent what Gorz calls (but unnecessarily restricts to the
marginalised and rejected) the non-class. For even if the general interest which
they claim to represent, is always the idealised special interest of a specific ruling
class constellation at the same time, the drift of their intervention is to overcome
this constraint. As we have argued above, the cadres are the class which
historically performs the role of shaping the structures for a classless society in
the context of class society.

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