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Re: Organizational Culture (Part I): Introduction -- autogestion

by Discipulus (Abbot)
on Jun 12, 2021 at 16:30 UTC ( #11133805=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Organizational Culture (Part I): Introduction

dear eyepopslikeamosquito,

as always thanks for you sane encyclopedism.

>The recent turmoil in Perl's organizational culture ... made me realise that organizational cultural problems are dauntingly difficult ... For therapy ...

I was and I'm exactly of the same mood, even if probably by a very different starting point. In my contributing in the above turmoil I suggested to face the problem analyzing the autogestion theory. I also suggested to hire a professionist (a sociologist or a psychologist) to help the perl community to get out of this impasse

I said I come probably from a different starting point: I grown in the world of movements, internationalism, autogestion and so on. For me the Organizational Colture (thanks for this and links: it was an unkown word binomial expression until now) means autogestion and even if it is a clear concept in my mind I find it difficult to find some useful link: Workers' self-management is something very near even if in a specific and very different context.

Infact I have started a little research (probably on the same time of you) to find some theoretical approach to autogestion but unfortunately it seems I was not able to find something.

All movememnts I have partecipated over years claimed to be autogestioned even if many times it was just, sadly, an empty word, a slogan.

- A step back to pre history -

I enjoyed the read you proposed to us but I'd like to stress to another point of view. Before the Neolithic Revolution there was not the warrior class, nor wars in the sense we intend todays. The hunting and gathering society was not pervaded by idea of prevarication ( update see below for the wrong choice of word). The hunter is not a warrior: they hhave a profond respect for the animal they kill and for other beings and among them for humans.

By the other hand with the advent of agricolture was possible to accomulate resources and recently (I cannot find the article I read about it..) historicians moved the Age of Warriors in the very near past, around 7000 BC, as consoquence of the possibility to steal and defend the resource accomulated with a newer and more productive agricolture.

It is now (well not now but 7000 BC ;) that the original sin of the violence-power binomial appeared in its whole terrible form. We are still sitting there.

- The mother of all sins: the power -

So I'd date these ancient genetic impulses away from the hunter-gatheres era to a more recent period where the violence made it possible to put hands on a big source of food produced by a new agricolture. The accomulation of resources was specularly followed by the accumulation of power: city-state arose here and there ruled by a king, owner of the military power.

Power comes into two flavors and while the first one is obvious (someone has some power) the latter is the other side of the coin: the frustration of not have power. Once the power concept (with its corollaries: prevarication and violence) it seems impossible to escape from it: or you have it in some degree or you have not. You cannot de-draw yourself from this background because everything is permeated by power. Lack of power bring frustration.

Frustration by other hand makes some, many people to over excercise the power they hold, maybe in some micro environments: family, work toward their subjected, online communities..

- How to break this chain? -

We are so assuefacted to be the target or to excercise power that we end considering it something natural, inherent to the human being. This is not true and if we look around in our lives the best we can remember and live are situations where the power is absent and more prominently something different come in play: affect, esteem or love.

Back to my little reasearch, only few things come to my mind: the Yugoslavian organizations of work was prominently aimed to revolt upside down the factory environment and was directly against capitalism but also against sovietic dirigism. I was not able to find some theoretical paper about this and anyway I think it is too much bound to the economic and political environment to be of some use.

The other situation where autogestion was really applied was during the brief summer of anarchism, in Spain but I suspect they had no the time for too much theoretical investigations and they were wiped out so quickly to left very few. I have a book by Pierre Besnard, "The New World" and it contains a lot theoretical work (I must confess I have only glanced it..) but strictly bound to the French industry workers and federations of workers.

More recently Noam Chomsky probably touched these arguments but I'm not able to point to something precisely due his huge production.

In the middle '90s of the laste century Neozapatismo seriously affronted the crucial point of power, breaking it and reverting it using a mix of autogestion, comunitary control and personal responsability.

How this is related to free software projects? A lot in my opinion. What I saw recently demonstrates we ( no|one|many perl communities ) are at a primary school level in this respect.

-Conclusions -

I think we need a big theoretic effort aimed to squeeze a definition of how an open source community or multi community has to work togheter sanely in the era of ipercomunication and lockdown. I have a strong suspect that a Code of Conduct is not enough at all. A new ethic of collaboration must be defined. The little power we have must be dissected, redistribuited and organized sanely and it cannot only be the origin of judgemnts and bans. Why cant we ask for the support of sociologists or psychologists in this? As I said we can live with some bug in the source code, but I suspect we cannot in community melting down itself.

The other option is to capitulate.

L*

There are no rules, there are no thumbs..
Reinvent the wheel, then learn The Wheel; may be one day you reinvent one of THE WHEELS.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re^2: Organizational Culture (Part I): Introduction -- autogestion
by eyepopslikeamosquito (Bishop) on Jun 13, 2021 at 07:20 UTC

    Thanks for your thought provoking reply (as usual ;-). Because of the many interesting points you raised, I'll make a separate response to each one that piqued my interest.

    > The hunting and gathering society was not pervaded by idea of prevarication

    I may have misunderstood your intent but -- taking prevarication to mean evasion of the truth; deceit, evasiveness -- it is widely accepted that prevarication was indeed common and widespread in hunter-gatherer communities ... and among many other Ape species too!

    Stronger, lying and bluffing is rife throughout the animal kingdom (not just in Apes), deception conferring strong evolutionary advantages. See for example:

    I'd also like to highlight, by quoting Sapiens, that the time scales involved indicate that the ancient hunter-gatherer era is the dominant influence on our genes today:

    For nearly the entire history of our species, Sapiens lived as foragers. The past 200 years, during which ever increasing numbers of Sapiens have obtained their daily bread as urban labourers and office workers, and the preceding 10,000 years, during which most Sapiens lived as farmers and herders, are the blink of an eye compared to the tens of thousands of years during which our ancestors hunted and gathered ...

    The flourishing field of evolutionary psychology argues that many of our present-day social and psychological characteristics were shaped during this long pre-agricultural era. Even today, scholars in this field claim, our brains and minds are adapted to a life of hunting and gathering.

    Why, for example, do people gorge on high-calorie food that is doing little good to their bodies? Today's affluent societies are in the throes of a plague of obesity ... If a Stone Age woman came across a tree groaning with figs, the most sensible thing to do was to eat as many of them as she could on the spot, before the local baboon band picked the tree bare.

      I may have misunderstood your intent but -- taking prevarication to mean evasion of the truth; deceit, evasiveness -- it is widely accepted that prevarication was indeed common and widespread in hunter-gatherer communities ... and among many other Ape species too!

      This may well be the case, but isn't very helpful. References to the animal kingdom must not lead to indulgence. As long as I define myself as human, there is a strong distinction between animals and humans - not wrt to the physical apparatus, where this distinction is pointless (which is why the term zoonosis is ridiculous), and not by the psychical pontential - but by the basic needs and aims of what can be coined human.

      Somebody said (was it Steiner?): "humans have instincts, while animals are instincts". Which of course is an over-generalization, since animals do love and have emotions, and the same or even more potential than humans, and many species are e.g. able to transcend themselves and help even members of other species out of critical situations (think dolphins). And then, much of human intelligence is instinct driven, is tied to instincts and nothing but a refinement of them.

      So, among the most basic needs of a human (his animal needs aren't looked at here, among which are many human liberties) are: transcendence and introspection, pursuit of knowledge and happiness (which is distinct from animal pleasure, but a delight of inner peace and achievement). This leads to the necessity of containment of men's animal condition and its instinct-driven forces (which btw is the meaning of Genesis 1, 28 "fill the earth and subdue it": it is men's own earthly condition which shall be subdued and filled with humanness). This never ever can be achieved by war against the animal condition, nor by negation or torturing it, only with love.

      Having said this and coming back to prevarication: the human needs are present and don't die, and if they are overcome by the animal condition and subdued (by self or society), they don't go away but are perverted, and lead to abuse of both the animal and human condition of the human being. And this is the kind of prevarication Discipulus talkes about, at least I perceive it that way. It leads to atomic bombs and gain of function virus research.

      I can smell abuse of power miles against the wind, and in hindsight I guess that this is one strong reason for me not to pursuit any kind of career whatsoever. And in the same notion, "Codes Of Conduct" are a bill of shame any community expedites to itself, not only to those who are blamed for making such proceedings necessary, but also for those who believe in fixing anything with that codes.

      Prevarication is related to privatization (in fact "privare" in latin means "to rob"), and capitalism is built upon privatization and abuse of power, and it is nothing but the expression of lack of "subdueing the earth" wrt some aspects in the above sense.

      There are and have been other ways. E.g., even in the US, and more so in Canada, there are small towns whose inhabitants leave their ignition keys stuck to the cars: to make sure anybody in need of a car gets one. There are as much or more unlocked doors in Canada (in percent of households) as those with rifles in the US. Go figure.

      perl -le'print map{pack c,($-++?1:13)+ord}split//,ESEL'
        Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals . . . except the weasels. — H. Simpson

        The cake is a lie.
        The cake is a lie.
        The cake is a lie.

        Well said. Points made apply to many more areas of life and work. I totally agree. And at least once in my life I did apply the "I am Human, I refuse to downgrade", so, I am proud I try to be Human.

        But the total sum of the trajectory of average human is "the belly", food, substinence, economy. And that amounts to a force so strong that takes away even the strongest humanists or it breaks them. Are there any humanists among the daily commuters of the metro in New York (judging only by films, never been there)?

        Economy is Capitalism today. But there are different stages to Capitalism although it has always been brutal to a varying number people although, sometimes, it balanced out with its positive effects, like driving economy and technology to a max. Today it is brutal to a maximum number of people.

        OT: Are there alternatives? Yes, I claim that technology as it is today can drive and sustain an alternative economy, although I respect the point of view of those saying "it has been tried before", my point is that technology is an important, qualitative factor in this new endeavour. And so, I am all for the abolishment of Capitalist Economy, confident that the alternative will succeed.

        Back to the point of "Codes of Conduct", they are embelishments to the brutality we feel all around us. And often distract from the real issues. Like for example, human labour exploitation, different opportunites depending on income and class, 2nd/3rd-world exploitation (vaccines and India is a case in point), unemployment (for those who feel the need to Create). It reminds me of the anti-bullying campaigns in schools which totally ignore that the majority of those kids are already hit by inequalities and later will be bullied within and by the Economy they are destined to serve.

        The above issues have become central in my life when it fell in my hands a marxist pamphlet in a boring train ride. That's why I keep mentioning them here, mostly as "FYI" and definetely not as "Proselytism", in PM with every opportunity (and elsewhere), but I do sense that I am overstepping the mark, PM being a Perl-forum. Well, I can not stop and I think PM is not just a Perl-forum and Perl is not just a computer language.

        bw, bliako

      hello again eyepopslikeamosquito,

      > taking prevarication to mean..

      Ouch.. I have this habit to choose words from my mother tongue hoping they have the same meaning (and the same semantic) in English due to their common latin roots!

      This time, as many other ones, I was was unlucky: it seems that English maintained a meaning closer to the Latin one, infact prevarication has quiet the same meaning of prevaricatio but in my language it took a more common meaning of violent arrogance or simply the act to overwhelm, overcome, overpower someone else.

      L*

      There are no rules, there are no thumbs..
      Reinvent the wheel, then learn The Wheel; may be one day you reinvent one of THE WHEELS.
Re^2: Organizational Culture (Part I): Introduction -- autogestion
by eyepopslikeamosquito (Bishop) on Jun 13, 2021 at 11:29 UTC

    > I'd date these ancient genetic impulses away from the hunter-gatherers era to a more recent period where the violence made it possible to put hands on a big source of food produced by a new agriculture

    I don't think evolution works that fast. Given the time-scales involved (as noted in my earlier response) most experts believe there's a greater genetic influence from the (vastly longer) Prehistory period than the Neolithic revolution (aka Agricultural Revolution), which occurred only 12,000 years ago.

    > The hunter is not a warrior: they have a profound respect for the animal they kill and for other beings and among them for humans

    While that's often the case, it's a bit too romantic for my tastes. Quoting Sapiens again:

    It would be a mistake, however, to idealise the lives of these ancients. Though they lived better lives than most people in agricultural and industrial societies, their world could still be harsh and unforgiving ... modern foragers occasionally abandon and even kill old or disabled people who cannot keep up with the band ... when an old Ache woman became a burden to the rest of the band, one of the younger men would sneak behind her and kill her with an axe-blow to the head.

      It would be a mistake, however, to idealise the lives of these ancients.

      I have enjoyed and benefited by the film "Quest for Fire" by Jean-Jacques Annaud, based on the book The_Quest_for_Fire.

Re^2: Organizational Culture (Part I): Introduction -- autogestion
by shmem (Chancellor) on Jun 17, 2021 at 23:02 UTC
    Infact I have started a little research (probably on the same time of you) to find some theoretical approach to autogestion but unfortunately it seems I was not able to find something.

    Ernest Mandel has written about this topic. I do (or did, now where did I put it?) own a book titled "Autogestión Obrera" by E.Mandel, a remnant of my time in Chile, most likely a translation of Arbeiterkontrolle, Arbeiterräte, Arbeiterselbstverwaltung. Eine Anthologie, Frankfurt am Main 1971 which I don't own. Maybe there's an italian translation available.

    Autogestión, sí, but key is: accumulate to give away regarding power and money - in fact everything. This leads to the principle of subsidiarity and a different approach to money: it is not something to gain and hoard to achieve individual wealth, but a means to help others and foster things worth it - much like venture capitalism, but without the selfishness, concurrency and value-gaining inherent in capitalism.

    Capitalism stands on three legs:

    • property
    • alienation
    • concurrency

    Take away one of these legs, and capitalism topples. To make our time a better place to live (sic!) we need to weaken all three legs with their dialectic counterparts , much in the sense of how programmers virtues map to social virtues, understand each principle and put them in their right place. For now, I guess that most programmers are busy on the alienation leg.

    perl -le'print map{pack c,($-++?1:13)+ord}split//,ESEL'

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