P2PF International Social Charter

Do you feel inspired to create a P2P Foundation regional spin-off? Please read the following text and then contact us to discuss this possibility.

We encourage the formation of language- or geography- based groups using the P2P Foundation name, to observe and promote commons-oriented P2P Practices.

Regional groups should be in accord with the P2P Foundation’s starting positions (see below) and fulfill certain criteria before adopting the P2P Foundation name (including visual identity markers, such as logos, etc.).

P2P Foundation Starting Positions

The following summary by P2P Foundation founder Michel Bauwens, should be thoroughly considered by prospective groups. In the event of disagreement, a need for clarifications or proposed changes, please contact the Foundation core team:

General Socio-political analysis

  • In capitalism there is a specific articulation of market/community (nation)/command (state) in which the market is dominant.
  • A commons-centric economy has a different articulation in which the communal mechanisms of pooling shared resources are dominant.
  • The commons-based processes are increasing in importance within capitalism facing systemic crises
  • It is possible to develop a strategy for deepening and expanding the weight of the commons-based processes.
  • If sustained, such a strategy could ultimately erode the dominance of capitalism.

Peer to Peer systems analysis

P2P Foundation members agree that:

  • Peer-to-peer based technology reflects and holds the potential for a consciousness shift towards individual and networked participation, and in turn strengthens it.
  • The “distributed network” format, expressed in the specific manner of peer-to-peer relations, is a new form of organizing and subjectivity, and an alternative for many systems within the current socio-economic and cultural-political order. Though this does not offer solutions per se, it points the way to a variety of dialogical and self-organizing formats. It represents different processes for arriving at such solutions; it ushers in an era of ‘non-representational democracy’, where an increasing number of people are able to manage their social and productive lives using a variety of autonomous, interdependent networks and peer circles.
  • Global governance and the global market will be, and will have to be, more influenced by modes of governance involving multi-stakeholdership.
  • It creates a new public domain – an information commons – which should be protected and extended, especially in the domain of common knowledge creation; and that this domain, where the cost of reproducing knowledge is near zero, requires fundamental changes in the intellectual property regime as reflected by new forms such as the free software movement; that universal common property regimes, i.e. modes of peer property, such as the General Public License and the Creative Commons licenses and the CopyFair License (or Commons-Based Reciprocity License) should be promoted and extended.
  • The principles developed by the free software movement, in particular the General Public License, and the general principles behind the open source and open access movements, provides for models that could be used in other areas of social and productive life.
  • It reconnects with the older traditions and attempts for a more cooperative social order, but this time obviates the need for authoritarianism and centralization; it has the potential of showing that the new more egalitarian digital culture is connected to the older traditions of cooperation of the workers and peasants, and to the search for an engaged and meaningful life as expressed in one’s work, which becomes an expression of individual and collective creativity rather than a salaried means of survival.
  • It offers not only youth but people of all ages a vision of renewal and hope to create a world that is more in tune with their values; it creates a new language and discourse in tune with the new historical phase of ‘cognitive capitalism’. P2P is a language which every digital literate can understand. However, ‘peer-to-peer theory’ addresses itself not only to knowledge workers and the network-enabled but to the whole of civil society, and to whoever agrees that the core of decision-making should be located in civil society, not in the market or in the state, and that the latters should be the servants of civil society.

Please contact us to clarify any points above. We would be happy to provide any additional materials to expand your understanding of the P2P Foundation and its positions.

Criteria for International (language or geographic) Groups

P2P Foundation criteria for international groups include adaptations from the European Commons Assembly draft charter and the legal statutes prepared for the development of P2P Foundation France.

Connection with P2P Foundation

  • Familiarity and accordance with the P2P Foundation’s mission.
  • Familiarity with our current workstreams.
    • Willingness to frame at least some part of the group’s efforts within these workstreams where possible and practical.

Local Context and Collaborations

  • Knowledge of similar groups working in the same language/geographical area.
    • Willing to collaborate with these existing groups when possible, and not duplicate existing efforts
  • Knowledge of local commoning traditions.
    • Able and willing to share the P2P Foundation message in ways relevant to the local contexts (cultural/linguistic).

Organizational Strategy

  • Presentation of a year-long plan for the group.
  • Provide a list of currently involved members, potential partner organizations and a yearly evaluation/report on the group’s activity (in English).
  • Request and receive the Foundation’s written approval before creating any legal structures that bear the name “P2P Foundation” for the new organization.


  • Participate in quarterly check-ins with P2PF core team coordinators.
  • Create and maintain language- or region-specific P2P Foundation blogs and wikis. The P2P Foundation will provide the hosting and technical assistance.


  • Groups should be conceived as heterarchies, with no uneven distributions of power.
  • Groups should prioritize operational transparency.
  • We operate via the principle that all actions are okay unless there is explicit objection. If there is objection, it should be resolved through discussion.
  • Groups are autonomous in their decision-making, as long as the decision does not implicate the P2P Foundation at large.
    • For any decision that may affect the P2P Foundation at large, group representatives should communicate with the P2PF CoreTeam.


  • Although groups may claim that their ideas or work emerge from the P2P Foundation, groups should refrain from speaking on behalf of the P2P Foundation as a whole unless this representation is discussed in advance.
  • Groups may legitimately speak of behalf of themselves as P2P Foundation/(local name), provided that the message does not contradict the starting positions detailed above.

If all these criteria are met, we encourage you to contact us to discuss the next steps. Please include as much information as possible in your email to us so we can make time to prepare for our conversation with you. Once we all agree, we will provide you with assistance, resources and diffusion.

Ours will be a relationship of partnership, not patronage; we expect that we will collaborate with each emerging group, and offer our experiences and opinions on how to become self-sustaining. We currently cannot allocate monetary resources to international groups for their ongoing operations. Of course, we will share information about potential project funding, where relevant.