08. Multitudes 8 : March-April 2002

Multitudes : March-April

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MAJEURE : Garantir le revenu

L’autre globalisation
According to Moulier Boutang, there are four possible solutions to the crisis of the Welfare State: first, a tax credit or a universal allocation at a minimum level, accompanied by a dismantling of the systems protecting salaried work. At the other extreme lies the reinforcement of the latter systems of protection with a guaranteed minimum wage and further restrictions placed upon redundancy rights. The logic of these latter measures is tied to a return to full employment, where those in a precarious position are offered the utopia of the universally employed. A third intermediary position bases itself upon the raising of social minimums, and an unconditional universal income set at a level sufficient to make work less infernal by enlarging the domain of liberty. The fourth solution enters into a resonance with the slide towards cognitive capitalism and allows for a move beyond the limits of a strategy of pure resistance.

Justification écologiste du revenu d’existence.
For the economist Bernard Guibert it is necessary to find the justification for basic social income- one that he places at the centre of an ecological social policy – in a rehabilitation of the relationship of unearned income. Not a parasitic income but one based on its own social and productive qualities, on its own body. The regulation of this income, like that of durable development is an act of a political nature.

À l’origine du revenu garanti : Thomas Paine
In a chapter of his forthcoming book (Éditions de la Découverte, April2002), Laurent Geoffroy, traces the origins of demands for a basic income to the Eighteenth Century English Quaker, Thomas Paine. An obligation to provide financial aid through taxes was quite in keeping with the spirit of the French Revolution. This Babeuf inspired passion for equality still inspires emulation…

Une mobilisation hétérogène.
Two graduates in Political Science respond to some questions posed by Yann Moulier Boutang on the motivations that have led them to their interest in basic income and on the principal conclusions of their research. Their, essentially political, motivation is the translation of their interest in new social movements. The idea of a basic income is complex and heterogeneous notably because it borrows from traditions of political liberalism as well as from ideas of personal autonomy.

Allemagne : État social « catalyseur » et revenu d’existence.
This article review the debate on the German Left around the basic income, concentrating on the contribution of the group FELS who see in it the opportunity for a radical transformation of the Welfare State. At a time when the Social-Democrats are transforming the Welfare State into a state, catalytic of civil society, claims to a right to a decent living made on anything other than work is likely to lead to a calling into question of the socialdemocratic politics of the self-regulation of society, based on the figure of the “seller of his own labour power” carrying out “work on his own”. Critics from the left of the basic income take into account neither new forms of regulation nor the most recent developments in the world of work.

L’AAH : une course d’obstacle pour les malades
For the persons affected by the VIH / AIDS , it is more and more difficult to obtain the ” Allocation Adulte Handicapé ” (AAH). The difficulties which they meet with concerned administrations well show the logic which presides over the allocation of this social minimum: for authorities, it is about a charity which it is necessary to deserve, by proving constantly that one is enough handicapped to deserve it. It is particularly true for the HIVpositive persons, whom the social institutions hold for cured, so capable to jobs.

Droit aux transports et revenu garanti
This collective which militates in favour of free urban transport explains its motivations. The clogging of the flow of traffic in towns and cities necessitates the introduction of measures prioritising mass public transport systems and alternatives to the car. New modes of networked existence or working from home allow people to maintain a looser relationship to their workplace crystallising increasing needs for mobility and permitting the advocacy of the transport as a form of collective basic income. The multiplication of fore reductions and fare dodging as a mass practice strengthens this perspective. But the group’s attempts at free transport have always resulted in prosecution.

Note néerlandaise sur le revenu d’existence
Our correspondent in Amsterdam guides us through the partial implementation of a guaranteed income in Holland The generous measures were taken at the moment when the Welfare system was flourishing and ended up at a quasi guaranteed income found themselves called into question with the rise in mass unemployment, by diverse forms of social control articulated around the rhetoric of employability’. The debate focused on the question of the university-educated unemployed who had the free time to dedicate themselves to diverse social movements under a statute guaranteeing the right to carry out volunteer work without a loss in benefits. The political reaction was to attempt to control the unemployed and the handicapped by forcing them to enter into obligatory training programmes.

Redéployer de manière pluraliste le droit social
In response to Yann Moulier Boutang’s efforts to make him change his position on the question of guaranteed income, Robert Castel hasn’t conceded an inch of ground. Even if they have been weakened, our society is still traversed by various guarantees tied to work, this is why, Castel maintains, the CDI must be defended as it is. It would be preferable to regulate the market as Karl Polanyi has proposed than to seek to compensate those who fall victim to the market. The fortunes of the RSG are tied to the maintenance of mass unemployment. Hence, everything that leads towards employment is good. The extreme diversity of forms of work indicates that we need to redistribute social rights in a pluralist manner.

« Vivant » ou l’allocation universelle pour seul programme électoral
The universal allowance became, in Belgium, the sole theme of the electoral campaign of a political party. During the general elections 0f13 June 1999, Vivant, until that point a small unknown party, united around its programme, 2% of the vote. Founded in 1997 by the businessman and member of the Basic Income European Network (BIEN) Roland Duchâtelet, V I VA NT participated nevertheless for the first time in the electoral game. Through an enormous campaign, financed entirely by Duchâtelet, this party without an elected representative, succeeded in making its key concerns the focal point of public attention. With the slogan ‘free yourself by giving yourself a basic income”, VIVANT brought the universal allowance into public debate in the Low Countries.

La force du non !
The Argentinean pueblada of 19-20 December has demonstrated that the principal role of the multitude lies in its power of refusal; and in this respect, it is authorless. This power which has proven capable of outwitting the state of siege as well as attempts made by both trade union and party apparatuses to recover their positions, resides only in a multiplicity of demonstrations, meeting points, and all sorts of small gatherings and aa_lomerations. Neither subordinated to a political strategy nor a “situation of situations”, the pueblada has focused on the reappropriation of social ties, without turning itself into a centralised, unitary organisation, but on the contrary, by constructing true experience of contre-power. In this lies its force- a force that deserves careful consideration, elaboration and development

MINEURE : Cultures activistes du réseau

LÉthique hacker de Pekka Himanen
In spite of the general crisis in the Internet, Hackers show themselves to be in radiant health- their veritable originality lying in the socially productive processes that they set in motion. Social processes founded on the Internet, on cooperative production across networks office software, and on an alternative relationship to work, to money and time characterize an ethics that Pekka Himanen opposes to Weber’s Protestant work ethic. This ethic recovers an impassioned relationship with work whose principal motivations are pleasure, play, and passion. Added to these is a conception of status independent of wage and an adhesion to the cooperative practices current in the scient communities that Pascal Jollivet dubs ‘scientific communism.

De l’éthique à la politique : l’institution d’une cité libre
For Nicolas Auray, works relationships in an information society would recover, an illusion, pleasure would obliterate an exploitation of resources. So informatics which creates a mutant humanity ends, actually, to a pastoral govermentality. As far as he thinks hacker’s ethics by analogy with the University, Pekka Himanen does not propose any perspective of transformation. The understanding of the freedom of hackers, is a vision which protect their sovereign power with regard to the users, but which not allows them to play role, in moral regulation of the city, for which Nicolas Auray waits.

Quelques réflexions sur le concept de « Culture hacker »
Autonomous bearers of technical know-how, the Hackers have constituted themselves as the first social movement tied to information technology. Here, Patrice Riemens examines the forms taken by this activism and its relationships with political militancy. Whilst the Internet is the site of the convergence/confrontation where technical facts are combined with socio-political battles, Riemens is sceptical about the value of confusing the two movements, and warns of the dangers of mystification which lie in merging both in the vague concept of ‘Hacker culture’. Whilst freedom of expression and the free pursuit of knowledge mark the specificity of the Hacker movement, the y are by no means entirely committed to the all of the ideals of the anti-globalisation movement.

Napster partout
In reviewing John Aldermann’s recent The Sonic Boom, Richard Barbrook, traces a passage in the history of the Net where a young subculture, supported by Napster, has proved itself far more powerful than all the supposedly well established ‘business models’ of the music industry. These quietly transgressive practices ended up damaging well defended copyrights in the musical domain. As a result of what Barbrook calls mutual, egalitarian, and open computing, principally the principal of P2P exchange, this new generation has been able to freely exercise its passion-the free exchange of music files on the Net. Whilst Napster has been condemned by the courts, the free exchange of files has proliferated and become generalised. In this article, Barbrook treats this development-stimulated by the force of practices originating in Hacker culture- as the paradigm of Net based, social, cultural and economic transformations, and concludes that far from opposing these evolutions, the best path to take is to adapt to them.


A girl and a machine
Long restricted to ‘reproductive’ activity- and thus considered economically ‘inactive’- women were judged lacking in the capacity to create economic value. She appears today at the very heart of the production of knowledge, wealth, language and affect. Today, whilst capital aims its valorisation directly at the interior of circuits of creation (science, art etc), it remains incapable of subsuming it.


Le front populaire du risque.
The crisis of the Welfare State led François Ewald to reject the ‘union’ between risk and politics as pedestal of ‘social refoundation’ and to greet the economy as the ‘dominant knowledge’ of the epoch of risk. But what economy is this at a time at which he is also proclaiming the crisis of the State? The response is evident: he recommends the introduction into the ‘social’ domain of the most recent financial technology for the management of financial risk. However, the- somewhat precarious-functioning of these techniques in the world market is very poorly understood. The bankruptcy of the glorious hedge fund, LTCM, gave an unambiguous example of these problems in 1998. The most recent technology of risk has been so powerful that it has crushed the neoliberal dream of the new economy. This article identifies- upstream of this paradoxical sequence- the value theory of values as an apparatus of capture which hoarding for an unspecified period, brings the surprofit to the Capital, and ultimately, wants control of the State in the entire market.