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The P2P – Marxism Debate Takes Off

As an intro to a recent post ‘And the Debate Begins… Peer-to-Peer and Marxism: analogies and diff...‘ we have said:
“We are posting a critically timed and very important interview on P2P-Marxism nexus. Conducted by Jean Lievens with the founder of the Foundation for P2P Alternatives Michel Bauwens on some aspects of his P2P theory and Marxist theory, the interview might be the opening of the greatest debate of coming years. While the rising ‘mode of P2P Production’ and new P2P political processes have obviously overdetermined the massive social change process that came about in 2011, with the contribution of such productive debate we would be able to get much clearer projections

on real alternatives to capitalism, and how to make these alternatives happen. In the aftermath of the death of  the ‘postmodern condition’ and with the return of  the ‘class warfare’ , such debate would level the field for a constructive engagement between marxist, anarchist, and post-marxist critical traditions.”

The debate has been recently took off with impulses coming from a short article by Bohm and Land, and Jakob Rigi’s response to them. We reproduce the email exchange below. The debate will likely continue here and/orhere. In order to join the debate on the first link you will need to register P2P Foundation’s social network on Ning first.


Bauwen’s reactions embedded in Rigi’s previous reaction (28.02.2012): 

Hi Muchel.Thanks for the reply. Actually, our difference  is  a difference on the nature of money and commodity, i.e, the theory of value. I hold to Max’s theory of value, in which money is the universal form which expresses the abstract labor congealed in commodities.  Trade is the exchange of these values in the market by means of money. If commons (the products of peer production),  will replace the commodity form, then money, trade and market will have no relevance.

Hi Jacob, I’m partial to, but ultimately agnostic to Marx’ value theory, because whatever its truth, it is not necessary to adhere to it to reject capitalism. I agree with the statement, ‘if the commons replaces the commodity form, money will have no relevance’…. But if commons is communism,  and it is, do you really think that one day we will wake up with commonism? If you are a marxist, then you know that Marx himself, and all important marxists after him, all agreed to the necessity of transition, the one they called socialism  … and as long as not everything is 100% commons, then you need reciprocity, and means to account for the reciprocity … this does not have to be capitalist money, nor capitalist market, but certain forms of trade and exchange are very likely to be part of the mix. And the existence of non-capitalist markets, both in the past and in the present, are well documented, and recognized by people like David Graeber, Kleiner and many others. This is why the debate to transform money, in myriad ways, is important, because we will need practical implementation of such alternatives to accompany non-capitalist practices. The transition will be impossible if we retain capitalist money as it is designed now. Please also note that the revolutionary regimes after WWI, such as in Hungary, did exactly that, and perhaps you know more about this than me. Otherwise, I think you will benefit from studying Allan Butcher’s detailed studies of communal economics and how intentional communities have dealth with reciprocity-based arrangements without the use of classic money. Seehttp://p2pfoundation.net/Category:Community_Economics

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