FairCoop and Commons Transition
By Stacco Troncoso
Enric Duran initially approached the P2P Foundation during the late spring. He’d read Michel Bauwens’ policy paper for Transitioning to a Common Based Society and said that he was interested in collaborating with the P2P Foundation on a number of projects. When we asked for his impressions on Michel’s policy paper, he replied, “Yeah, we’re already doing half of what you describe in the paper at the CIC (Catalan Integral Cooperative)…now we want to do the other half”.
It is this brash, hands-on attitude that I admire so much about Enric Duran. While others were criticising the banking system and monetary creation as interest-bearing debt, Duran dared to have these same banks lend him money which he then redistributed to social justice collectives. Michel and I feel much the same way about the Fair.Coop initiative, promoted by (among others) Duran, Amir Taaki, the CIC and the P2P Foundation itself.
Monetary and economic theories centered on the fairer distribution and stewardship of the earth’s wealth abound. As invaluable as these theories are, we’re still sorely lacking practical examples to refine and adapt them to local and transnational realities. Something similar has happened in the realm of cryptocurrencies. While people are understandably excited by Bitcoin and its potential, I think that it’s a stretch to believe that a cryptocurrency with a Gini coefficient higher than traditional fiat currencies, combined with the fact that 1% of Bitcoin owners hoard 50% of the wealth, will do much to address global social inequality. Thankfully, alternatives abound, but many of them remain theoretical at best, and at worst, mired in never-ending discussions about whose monetary theory is the best, and why the rest are naive.
Back to Duran and Fair.Coop. The punk rock spirit that underlies the Fair.Coop initiative is admirable. Infused with an attitude transcending punk’s DIY ethos and arriving at a DIWO (Do it with Others) position, Fair.Coop has decided to tackle the big picture, reaching out to people and collectives who want practical action to offset the abundance of rhetoric. Rather than undermining the wealth of theoretical work promoting new models of monetary creation and wealth distribution, initiatives like Fair.Coop can only strengthen the validity of such work (in my opinion), feeding back into it and refining proposed approaches.
Whether the project succeeds or not, the experience and insights gained will prove to be invaluable. It is also worth mentioning that Fair.Coop isn’t merely a stunt designed to engorge a cryptocurrency detached from any social or environmental responsibilities. Instead, it is a working project for a whole financial eco-system as articulated by the P2P Foundation’s proposed guidelines for Open Cooperativism, which underlie the transnational structure of the coop. I won’t describe the project itself here, for that you should read what’s copied below, originally published by Duran on his personal blog, where he offers a personal narrative and perspective on the project. For more technical details and an abundance of supporting material, please visit Fair.Coop’s excellent new website, and if you’re motivated to contribute, join their social network.
The Earth Cooperative for a Fair Economy
The following texts are extracted from FairCoop’s website.
Earth’s cooperative for economic fairness
Fair.coop is an open global cooperative, self-organized via the Internet and remaining outside nation-state control.
Its aim is to make the transition to a new world by reducing the economic and social inequalities among human beings as much as possible, and at the same time gradually contribute to a new global wealth, accessible to all humankind as commons.
Fair.coop understands that the transformation to a fairer monetary system is a key element. Therefore, Faircoin was proposed as the cryptocurrency upon which to base its resource-redistribution actions and building of a new global economic system.
FairCoop will not define or create new principles. Too many of us, with different perspectives and from different corners of the planet, have wondered if an alternative is possible and whether the world could work otherwise. We know where we want to go and that we don’t want to stay here in this carousel empty of principles or values, which pushes us to destroy each other.
The principles, lots of them, are there and have led many of us here.
We will not keep wondering how it started, the transition is underway and the answer has already been given, is given daily from the homes of those who day after day build alternatives and prove it is possible to live in a world where justice is ordinary.
Integral revolution, peer2peer, cryptocurrencies, free knowledge, hacker ethics, degrowth, good living… It all emerges from clear principles and objectives that unite us to help us make the transition to a new world, reducing as much as possible economic and social inequalities among human beings, and at the same time contributing to a new global wealth, accessible to all mankind as commons.
These are our principles, the principles for those who have made a simple decision, to get off the carousel.
The call for integral revolution
A call to all of you who resist being dominated and enslaved, to get together under one conscious personal and collective action for the improvement and recovery of the qualities and values that enable us to live a life together, as well as the construction of new organizational forms and structures in all aspects of life to ensure equality and equity in the coverage of vital needs.
- Equitable relationships based on freedom
- Self-organization and sovereign popular assemblies
- Public and commons
- Retrieve common property as the common good, under popular possession and control
- Build a cooperative and self-managed public system from mutual support
- Freeing up access to information and knowledge
- A new economy based on cooperation and close relationships
- Cooperate with life and nature
Learn about these principles in depth here
The p2p model of social organization
Spread it all away. Take it all apart. When you have these components, make them all independent. Replicate them widely. Allow them to talk to each other. Allow them to look for each other, share with each other, so that together they create something larger than the sum of all its parts.
Peer-to-peer is not only a way to network computers together; it goes much further, meaning a peer network where we are all important but no one is essential. The group is in everyone and everyone is part of the collective self, and what we create adds up to the commons.
Here’s how the p2p Foundation defines p2p:
– Voluntary peer contribution and participatory processes aimed at production of common good.
– Peer to peer dynamics are characterized by free self-aggregation in order to create common value without direct expectation of reciprocity from any particular individual, while always maintaining reciprocity and solidarity mechanisms with the Commons as a whole.
– Thus, it is not a hierarchical allocation method, nor is it based on an commodity exchange system; its is not an economy based on giving and expecting something in return.
– We can also use it in a broader sense, as a mere form of self-organizing peers. We use “peer information” to indicate this process.
– So the context determines whether the precise definition, or large aggregation principles are relevant.
– Finally, there are several levels: the definition itself described above, the underlying values and ethical principles on which it is based, and the social ideals and praxis it inspires.
To learn further about these principles, visit the p2p Foundation website.
Let go of the media-enforced point of view and listen to a community that speaks for their actions…
1. All information should be free
2. Access to computers—and anything which might teach you something about the way the world works—should be unlimited and total. Always yield to the Hands-On Imperative!
3. Mistrust authority—promote decentralization
4. Hackers should be judged by their hacking, not criteria such as degrees, age, race, sex, or position
5. You can create art and beauty on a computer
6. Computers can change your life for the better
You see? “After all, we are all equal …”
Many people have begun the journey and give us roots, and there will be more who will join and show new horizons… We’re getting off the carousel to recover some principles and start walking together, cooperating. Here is the beauty, in building a world that includes us all without waiting for anyone else to do it for us, because everything is to-be-done and everything is possible.
So fair.coop’s plan is clear; to move cooperatively and build a world based on the principles presented, which can can be summarized as:
– Redistribution and economic exchange between equals
– Open political participation
– Decentralization of organizational forms
– Production of commons
– Sharing and distribution of open knowledge