Could the Power of Networked Micro-politics overthrow Capitalism? #ARTS3091

6 May

Guattari and Rolnik state that micro-politics is about “the formation of desire in the social field” (1986, p. 182).

 

As online networking empowers individuals to collaborate on a common ground, it has arguably developed and strengthened the concept of micro-politics. Global networking has given society the freedom to push for social, cultural and political change without having to fight the rigid policies of top-down institutions that may prohibit change for capatilist-thirsty reasons.

 

Here are three examples of how online networking has pushed forward, and continues to strengthen, the construction of micro-politics:

 

1. On a personal level, Micro-politics have enabled my family and I to go on holiday to the south of France without having to pay for accommodation. Through the network of HomeForExchange we arranged a “house swap” with a French family– they came and lived in our Sydney home for three weeks while we lived in their French home. As Michel Bauwens stated, we shared our resources as a “common good”, rather than trying to make a profits from rent (P2P Foundation Blog 2014).

 

2. A friend of mine in the UK who loves dogs, but cannot get one as she can’t afford one and her land lord doesn’t allow pets, has still been able to walk, feed and spend time with many different dogs through the website of ‘Borrow My Doggy’ (This network “match doggy owners with local borrowers for walkies, playdays, sleepovers and happy holidays.” This network is collaboratively beneficialas individuals with busy family/working lives are given a break from the time-consuming responsibilities of owning a pet, dog lovers are able to borrow the dogs for “happy doggy time”, and the dogs themselves are getting more walks and playtime.

 

3. WIKISPEED, is another example of how networked micro-politics breaks down entrenched capitalist values through sharing knowledge. This Network is a volunteer-based company, which developed, as Bauwens stated, an “open source car called WIKISPEED…in 3 months times they designed a car from scratch, which has a 5 times more fuel efficient motor than industrial cars. It’s sustainable and based on participatory design so people in the whole world can design parts of the car…and can manufacture on demand” (P2P Foundation Blog 2014). All money earned by or donated to WIKISPEED is invested back into the company to assure movement forward with WIKISPEED’s vision (WIKISPEED 2014). This network, like the two mentioned above is “egalitarian” (P2P Foundation Blog 2014) – there is no owner or manager who claims profits for personal benefit.

 

Clearly, the concept of micro-politics has developed and had practical effects on society through the medium of online networks. However, it must be questioned whether micro-politics – the idea of each individual sharing resources and knowledge in order to “change the world into a better place” (WIKISPEED 2014) – would eventually grow popular and powerful enough to overthrow capitalism? Cicero argues that, “the capitalist era is passing” in a way that inevitable, and that the “new economic paradigm, the Collaborative Commons, is starting to “transform the way we live” (Meedabyte 2014). However, I would have to disagree. As evident from William Golding’s 1954 novel Lord of the Flies – a society arguably cannot function without a civilised capitalist structure. Certain people, like young Jack (the antagonist), desire to control others for personal gain rather than to work as a team in order to promote communal equality. Arguably, humans are too selfish to simply share all knowledge, ideas and resources. Structured and accountable political institutions are essential for social order to be maintained and for capitalism to be kept under control.

 

 

References

Bauwens, M (2014) ’Openness, a necessary revolution into a smarter world’, P2P Foundation, February 4, accessed 6 May 2014, <http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/what-is-p2p-an-introduction/2014/02/04>

 

BorrowMyDoggy 2014, accessed 6 May 2014, <https://www.borrowmydoggy.com>

 

Cicero, S 2014, ‘Welcome to Postcapitalism’, Meedabyte, 22 April, accessed 6 May 2014, <http://meedabyte.com/2014/04/22/welcome-to-post-capitalism-plus-5-layers-of-corporate-transformation/>

 

Golding, W 1954, Lord Of the Flies, Faber and Faber, UK

 

Guattari, F and Rolnik, S 1986, Molecular Revolution in Brazil, Micropolitica: Cartografias do desejo, Brazil.

 

HomeForExcahnge 2014, accessed 5 May 2014, <http://www.homeforexchange.com/index2.php?gclid=CNSJz7yDl74CFdd7vQod1RkANg>

 

Terranova,T (2004) ‘From Organisms to Multitudes’ in Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age London: Pluto: 101-106

 

WIKISPEED 2014, accessed 6 May 2014, <http://wikispeed.org&gt;

 

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