The P2P Foundation website is a terrific resource for anyone interested in peer-to-peer practices and collaboration, both in the university and beyond.
From their mission statement:
The Foundation for P2P Alternatives proposes to be a meeting place for those who can broadly agree with the following propositions, which are also argued in the essay or book in progress, P2P and Human Evolution:
- that technology reflects a change of consciousness towards participation, and in turn strengthens it
- that the networked format, expressed in the specific manner of peer to peer relations, is a new form of political organizing and subjectivity, and an alternative for the political/economic order, which though it does not offer solutions per se, points the way to a variety of dialogical and self-organizing formats, i.e. it represents different processes for arriving at such solutions; it ushers in a era of “non-representational democracy”, where an increasing number of people are able to manage their social and productive life through the use of a variety of autonomous and interdependent networks and peer circles
- that it creates a new public domain, an information commons, which should be protected and extended, especially in the domain of common knowledge creation; and that this domain, where the cost of reproducing knowledge is near zero, requires fundamental changes in the intellectual property regime, as reflected by new forms such as the free software movement
- that the principles developed by the free software movement, in particular the General Public License, provides for models that could be used in other areas of social and productive life
- that it reconnects with the older traditions and attempts for a more cooperative social order, but this time obviates the need for authoritarianism and centralization; it has the potential of showing that the new egalitarian digital culture, is connected to the older traditions of cooperation of the workers and peasants, and to the search for an engaged and meaningful life as expressed in one’s work, which becomes an expression of individual and collective creativity, rather than as a salaried means of survival
- that it offers youth a vision of renewal and hope, to create a world that is more in tune with their values; that it creates a new language and discourse in tune with the new historical phase of “cognitive capitalism”; P2P is a language which every “digital youngster” can understand. However, ‘peer to peer theory’ addresses itself not just to the network-enabled and to knowledge workers, but to the whole of civil society, and to whoever agrees that the core of decision-making should be located in civil society, and not in the market or in the state.
- it combines subjectivity (new values), intersubjectivity (new relations), objectivity (an enabling technology) and interobjectivity (new forms of organization) that mutually strengthen each other in a positive feedback loop, and it is clearly on the offensive and growing, but lacking “political self-consciousness”. It is this form of awareness that the P2P Foundation wants to promote.