Continuing the discussion from Diffracting + Decentralisation: exploring collective asymmetry:

This is a wiki.


Related Concepts

First morning, summary


These topics were mentionned as a discussion starter:

  • Location: being secured where you are
  • Resonance: create system that goes beyond your political intentions
  • Speculative fiction: collective model of approaching reality using narrative
  • Common time: (bernard Aspe) the idea is that the precious time we have together is to be shared

We agree to focus the discussion on political and decentralized activism.

Organization strategies and hierarchy

Hierrrrarchical, Swarm, Federated, Localized

Self organizational dynamics theory is something that was quite popular in the 60s, 70s?. Some people the speaker remembers who were into Timothy Leary, and something called Trialogs at the age of the west (maybe relevant?) were talking about this, reconeccted with one of them to talk about some of these theories this year when I researched about self organization possibilities based around digital communications technology.

good example of a self organization system: a hurricane is a self organisational dynamic, it will organize itself to disapear. Organization doesn’t mean there is something organized at the end. Self-eliminating or self-exhausting organizing.

In human groups when you have 20 people not knowing eachother some very strong people can take over the group.

There are some drawbacks with self organization: “do it yourself, do your thing”, what are the limits of the group.

There is a dissonance between the fact we have this computing/organizational power, yet we seem to create another hierarchy.

  • silicon-valley: californian-ideology failed to implement a fully self-organized society.

A hurricane is a self organisation , organisation does not mean there is something at the end that is organised. Self organising is easy to be interpreted as individualist attitude.

questions: how big is the group, what are the limits of the group. Silicon valley dream of non state based organization was called self organisation but…

There is a dissonance in the belief that now that we have computers we should be able to organize but what we are doing is creating incredible inequal system.

Game and other theory

How game theory can be useful for the discussion:

  • Prisonners dilemma

People interaction can happen under different strategies, that have different costs,

  • Force/violence, you get everything but it have a cost
  • Share: costs are reduced, but it’s more involved

“But players are autonomous they can choose to fight” in the wild you can find different species having different strategies, standing on one’s territory is a protection, but not all animals have a territory.

Each species implements different strategies, but cheaters appear all the time to bypass the rules. How do we deal with them?

Autonomy of the agents may be questionned (does such a thing exist?).

Also, why are we organizing?

when we think at scale, we find ourselves powerless and isolated, and we feel like we need to use the tools of the pople inpower to organize, so it’s easier to organize locally.

Swarm theory

Local groups should have freedom of decision on their terrain, but the head organisation is defined (once) the larger goal. (Pirate party)

Lanier writes that people used to say in the 70’s that computers would help us to optimize, to avoid centralised goverment control, did this stay along time.

Consensus problems

Working on decentralized botnet networks, and it’s really hard to understand how movements start and spread on networks. It’s not envirely deterministic.

Byzantine fault tolerance

You can only attack a city if everyone attaks in the same time. But generals are everywhere and you cannot trust the messengers. How do you coordinate.


The problem is that when you take a lot of responsibility in the group you agregate information and power, need of docuentation and pre-organisation, but the issue of labor associated synthesis is needed and therefore access to different levels of details.

“I do not have an immediate problem with hierarchy among people, but I do not know if it is about the vocabulary, group leaders seem to emerge, (athough they are often the most priviledged), but there may be a ‘most suitable’ person for a task or to lead coordination in a group, so it would seem to make sense to have that happen?”.

You need some mecanism to keep specialized knowledge available to anyone. The more information you share, the more poer everyone have. It also has to be structured and accurate.

It also creates a hierarchy in information.

Democracy and trust based systems, or the lack of them

Scale, skills, diversity and specialization

We’re having a process called “in common” about creating a cartography of commons, in a shared and structured format.

The remaining discussion drifted on agriculture (productivist, specialized, etc.), cities, specialization, the issues caused by scaling up, the need and ways to scale down, and find the proper balance.


  • How do you attribute tasks making sure that skills are respected? zapatista do it in a locally organised
  • Should everybody be able to code to read to speak french english etc…
  • Diversity is what saves life. It seems that our current society pretend to respond to all our individualized desire in the process they tend to uniformize our desires in a process of control.


Aspe, dans une entrevue donnée à Débordements entre septembre et octobre 2018, reprend la proposition centrale du travail récent de Jacques Rancière : « ouvrir un espace politique, c’est introduire un autre temps dans le temps. Le temps d’un collectif, qui s’invente lui-même, ou qui invente lui-même son mode d’être, à l’intérieur de ce qu’on peut appeler le temps dominant. Ce dernier, on peut dire que c’est le temps des horloges en tant qu’il règle les activités de telle sorte que chacun puisse se tenir exactement à sa place. »

Il pose la question :

« de l’intérieur » ce que peut être ce temps propre du collectif qui s’insère comme un autre temps dans le temps dominant. C’est pour cela que j’ai fait appel à Simondon et à son concept de « transindividualité », cette idée d’une résonance entre les individus qui permet à chacun d’être autre chose que son individualité, et d’en déplacer les limites.

Deuxièmement, il y a la question de l’urgence, l’idée que « le temps presse », et que cette pression du temps est liée à l’état de la planète. C’est ce que l’on trouve exprimé chez Benjamin, il me semble : le capitalisme a allumé une mèche, et il s’agit de l’éteindre avant l’explosion.

Aspe, in an interview given to Débordements between September and October 2018, takes up the central proposal of Jacques Rancière’s recent work: “to open a political space is to introduce another time in time. The time of a collective, which invents itself, or which invents itself its way of being, within what can be called the dominant time. The latter, we can say that it is the time of clocks as it regulates activities in such a way that everyone can stand exactly in their place.”

He asks the question:

“from within” what can be this proper time of the collective which is inserted as another time in the dominant time. That’s why I called on Simondon and his concept of “transindividuality”, the idea of a resonance between individuals that allows everyone to be something other than their individuality, and to shift its limits.

Secondly, there is the question of urgency, the idea that “time is running out”, and that this time pressure is linked to the state of the planet. This is what we find expressed in Benjamin, it seems to me: capitalism has lit a fuse, and it is a question of extinguishing it before the explosion.

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