Sat 10 Mar 2018 9:34AM

international Social charter

E Elspeth Public Seen by 300

i would like a definition of "Peer", read on to see what I mean.

Thanks to Stacco Troncoso and Simon Grant for drawing attention to P2P International Social Charter. Brief comment - good document - covers ground not covered by UN Declaration on Human Rights. BUT does not mention Rights - so often poorly understood. It is hard to express briefly, this thought below is a work in progress. in my view the implicit message of UN doc is that RIGHTS ARE TO BE ACCORDED TO OTHERS [include self as another in society maybe] but are often grasped/promoted as ONLY for the self, or ones own group. The doc which does a better job might be the UN Rights of the Child because this doc explicitly gets around to the need for PARTICIPATION - that all children i.e dependents should be participants in that which concerns them.
By extension (my view), everyone, (even those of whatever mindsets, but especially those caught in circumstances created by systems) need explicit mention of participation. This matters for all who at whatever stage and context of their lives are dependent on others. Think sexism, racism, disablism etc as strong examples of how this works and own that even "white men" need others as was rather nicely put by the person who wrote "Who Cooked Adam Smiths Dinner".
So, would the P2P document not be very much improved by an explicit recognition - DEFINTION? - of what is meant by the essential word PEER, and link that with the right of all to participation. I hope peer never means equal in status or capacity to articulate - but is instead equal in human right to participate and might show how their participation will be sought. Could a definition of PEER be used to acknowledge that commons thinking is a "how" to enable rights? At the same time showing acceptance of responsibility for all of us existing in the present discriminatory systems and could bring many such as the non-techy who don't have a clue about networked distributory systems .

Off my hobby horse and into particular - you probably know about the US transition movement who have recently launched online "trainings" to help other groups - I don't know what this would be like, some cost to join, http://transitionus.org/event/transition-launch-online-training .
We can only begin with where we are at, most of what I do is in my US home, not connected with transition as there is not yet sufficient move from others to do so. I found a book https://revolutionwhereyoulive.org/the-book-the-revolution-where-you-live/ that has very little connection with the big ideas or technological advance and systems networking BUT ORDINARY PEOPLE I KNOW LIKE IT. This seems to me the most important task, to find out how to bring the mindset of P2P type thinking to those who are just doing their living their way, often human and networked, though not named as such. Some of my own thoughts are posted here https://wp.me/p1KgFC-pj and I will try to share what is relevant from the activity that takes place in Block Island, RI, USA.

In the meantime, think about what "peer" means to people who hear it without the definition you intend, and thanks for reading:
"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all"
- Emily Dickinson


Elspeth Sat 10 Mar 2018 9:35AM

like I say, thinking is a work in progress, comments welcome


Liam Murphy Sat 10 Mar 2018 11:27AM

Hi Elspeth,

Thanks for sharing those thoughts.

Here are a couple of mine in response - you rang many bells!

  1. I’ve been involved in some ‘Cultural Education Partnership’ steering in the UK. My current ‘bug bear’ is to have a place for parents and children in the ‘partnership’. Your rights of the child point was an excellent reminder for me of how to tackle my current ‘peer’ problem: The ‘partners or peers’ I am working with are nearly all, despite being museums, libraries and NGO’s, acting as private companies. The problem, I have diagnosed, was that the genesis of the idea of cultural education was never conceived as having ‘recipients’ form part of the ‘partnership’. Hence, much shuffling in the boardroom when I insist we should go no further after 4 years of failing to include ‘service users’. ‘Peer’ is a better word to describe people, it seems, who have some equality of interest, stake and agency. It’s always necessary to distinguish roles, but at the highest level, I think the question here is about how ‘individuals’ can be ‘peers’ to ‘organisations’. In this network - as in others I guess, there is actually no founding concept of the individual having agency - though this is not explicitly stated - even when the individuals ( children) are subject of the initiative. Any parent or child can be elected to speak in behalf of, but in this corner of the real world, the actual problem is that it is schools, young people and parents, who need to ‘own’ both cultural education - and the organisations delivering it. Broadly, in the UK, the academisation of schools has undermined a ‘peer’ voice for parents and children. I will take the issue forward under rights of the child. Thank you.

  2. As a general comment for consideration in setting up UK P2P networks, defining Peers seems fairly crucial. Maybe, in auditing what works and what doesn’t, it would also be useful to understand when people, organisations etc are acting as peers and when not. We might also, by defining what ‘peers’ are in given situations, begin to solve this quandary of organisational self appointment to the exclusion of individuals - as recipients and owners - peers? - of services/assets etc. Clearly, in the case in point I describe, ‘peers’, on the delivery and planning end, are orgs and schools. Whilst ‘peers’ on the receiving end are ‘parents and children’. It’s wrong and it’s a mess and most people involved see this but also see no way of acting with peers to change it as their organisations bind them to a code of conduct which is presumably set by those in higher authority. I appreciate and try to share your keen-ness to apply ‘commons thinking’ to real life scenarios. One thing I’ve been very mindful of in developing the Culturebanking project, is that by working with Intellectual Property Assets, we are starting from a point where Individuals and groups of individuals ( ie not necessarily organisations) can begin on an equal footing to organisations - ie, they do actually own and control the ideas they can reproduce in material form!

Begging the pardon of all for so many words, entirely un-edited and highly formative, but still, for your consideration....

(The Emily Dickinson quote is great)