P2P in the anthropocene with the Convergence gathering as a case study
Keywords:P2P, acephalous, peer production, Causal Layered Analysis
There are many threats as we move deeper into the anthropocene age. The dominance based hierarchies that have become an unquestioned part of 21st century life are a reflection of the linear profit driven paradigm that fails to see the interconnectedness between us, and between us and the world we inhabit. In order to find a pathway out of the looming dystopic futures that appear to be unfolding, a new paradigm that recognises the connectedness within nature and the social world is necessary to generate new social structures that can lead to more sustainable, thriving futures.
One weak signal on the horizon that might foreshadow a change in paradigm towards a more healthy way of seeing the world and interacting in it is the peer to peer movement. The peer to peer movement creates ways for people to interact without intervening controlling hierarchies that build value for those involved. There are a number of forms from digitally based platforms like Wikipedia, Linux, couch surfing and ride sharing through to the Arab Spring and occupy Wall Street. There are also links to the co-operative movement and community initiatives like transition towns and permacultural living.
A case study is presented examining one type of peer to peer group in more detail to reveal practical issues of operating within this new paradigm. The Convergence gathering is a group of people interested in alternative lifestyles that has met for five or six days over the New Year in North Canterbury, New Zealand for almost thirty years. It has developed an organisational style with no ongoing structured leadership.