varvaras on Sun, 18 May 2014 07:27:06 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> CfP Special issue Krisis Dec. 2014: Pirates and Privateers

Call for Papers: Pirates and Privateers


The idea that in an ever globalising world the sovereignty and centrality
of the nation state is declining is so well established that it has become
a truism. Yet state agencies such as the NSA are in the process of
reestablishing their grip on todays network societies. So perhaps the
proclaiming of the end of the state (not in terms of its national scope but
as to the essence of its function) was premature. This raises the following
questions: What is or will be the role of the state-function (national or
international) in this globalised social-economic landscape? Will it be
able to secure its de jure and de facto sovereignty by enforcing the
distinction between pirates and privateers through law, i.e. by authorising
neoliberal but restricting alternative appropriations of the commons? And
is this state power a necessary condition for, or instead a limit to, the
implementation of neoliberal principles? These questions are important
because the distinction between pirate and privateer has substantial
practical consequences in terms of the distribution of power.

Neoliberal privatisation (e.g. the exodus of financial capital from the
welfare state system) is sanctioned by state. It is in the process of
realising its particular solutions to the crises of the nation state,
creating the conditions of its own legitimacy, in the form of gated
communities, tax havens and special economic zones protected by private
security firms. Seemingly bypassing state sovereignty, whilst
simultaneously sanctioned by it, they are contemporary privateers.

Is this type of privatisation the destiny of this historical junction or
are there alternatives? The institutionalised left does not seem to think
so as it continues to defend the welfare system as a place of last resort
against the powers of neoliberal globalisation. However, in the margins of
the neoliberal project various different solutions are being experimented
with. Insofar as these are not sanctioned by state, these are todays
pirates. Think of: torrent sites (The Pirate Bay comes to mind), hacker
communities tied to international criminal syndicates, new local and
digital currencies (Bristol Pound, Bitcoin, Litecoin), new forms of digital
activism (Anonymous), counter-banking (OccupyBank, Timebank), anonymising
networks (TORs Hidden Wiki and Silk Road), freestates and micronations
(Principality of Sealand), eco-communities or hacker colonies (
and alternative internets (GNUnet).

How can or should we think about and critically evaluate the distinction
between privateers and pirates in political-philosophical terms? What is
the utility, in this particular context, of the conceptual and normative
schemas still operative in political philosophy today? If not a return to a
Hobbesian state of nature, yet also short of being a Commonwealth; if not
the emergence of a post-state, anarchist or libertarian utopia, nor a
technologically updated 1984 in which the state function has become
absolute; how to understand and conceptualise the ambiguous in-between?

Krisis welcomes interdisciplinary answers to such questions, and encourages
approaches that engage political-philosophical reflections on issues of
state sovereignty, law and justice, to the above mentioned case-studies (or
others). We also invite speculative approaches to future scenarios: will
the conflict between neoliberal and alternative solutions take place in
ever more deterritorialised, technocratic networks beyond state control?
Will we witness the proliferation of large self-regulative parallel
systems, of password-protected enclaves, local communication ecologies and
gated communities? Will the state be reduced to one of the players in this
game, or will strategic shifts in its constitution as an apparatus in
conjunction with neoliberalism secure its function as a sovereign mediator?

Contributions may be up to 7000 words (including references). If you would
like to contribute, please send us a proposal of about 500 words. Abstracts
are due 15 June. We will notify you before 1 July about acceptance of your
proposal. The deadline for final contributions is 15 September. Editorial

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