Me organizando posso desorganizar

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Há alguns meses, encontrei o broda Oliver Schultz em um evento no centro de sampa. Ele me entregou alguns livros que saíram pelo postmedialab. Um deles era o Provocative Alloys, que contém uma conversa entre Oliver, Alejo Duque e eu na qual minha parte deve soar razoavelmente datada. A conversa aconteceu antes das manifestações de junho. Ali no meio havia, se bem lembro, alguns comentários meus sobre a inércia do engajamento político no Brasil em tempos de inclusão consumista. Infelizmente, o livro só saiu depois que os fatos haviam contradito esses comentários. Me enganei, e ainda não entendi se fico feliz por isso ou não.

Mas havia também outras publicações no meio. Nesta virada de ano tive a oportunidade de ler uma deles, o livro "Organisation of the organisationless: Collective action after networks", do professor da PUC-Rio Rodrigo Nunes. Confesso que não conhecia o trabalho de Nunes, e achei bem interessantes algumas contribuições que ele dá ao vocabulário das redes. Em primeiro lugar buscando formas intermediárias entre os extremos do indivíduo e da multidão. E também trabalhando questões que, percebi ao ler, eram de certa forma correntes nos tempos mais ativos da rede MetaReciclagem (que na minha opinião, como já falei na lista, já morreu mas anda por aí como um ancestral que permanece por perto pra dar umas dicas ou incomodar de vez em quando). Nunes trata da questão das lideranças distribuídas - afirmando que existe naturalmente um papel de lideranças mas também o potencial para o surgimento de novas lideranças. Na MetaReciclagem, chegamos algumas vezes a conversar também sobre a importância da autossabotagem consciente das lideranças - um tipo de bloqueio com a intenção de anular a inércia que frequentemente seguia-se aos processos de ascendência. Foi interessante ver alguns desses elementos estruturados no texto de Nunes.

Segue abaixo uma seleção de trechos que assinalei enquanto lia. Encontrei também um artigo de Nunes na Universidade Nômade que trata de alguns assuntos que estão na publicação.

To say that leadership exists in networks while absolute horizontality does not has nothing to do with the fantasy of ‘hidden leaders’ that functions, in the discourse of the media and the political class, as the underside of the fantasy of throngs of previously unrelated individuals magically coming together around a goal. (p.13)

The discussion ceases to be about how to achieve absolute horizontality, which will have been demonstrated to be impossible, or how to eliminate leadership, representation and closure, and becomes about how to negotiate them, what balances to strike between openness and closure, dispersion and unity, strategic action and process and so forth. (p.13)

Any description such as ‘Egyptian Revolution network-system’ or ‘Diren Gezi network-system’ is a reflection on the given network-system. That is, while they are obviously produced from within that network-system, and thus presuppose its existence, they exist at a second-order, reflexive level in which the network-system consciously apprehends itself. If the network-system is the ‘movement’ in-itself, this level is the ‘movement’ for-itself. We can call it the network-movement: the conscious, self-reflexive understanding held by some that the multiple elements and layers assembled in the network-system constitute an interacting system of actors, intentions, goals, actions, affects etc., however heterogeneous these may be. The network-movement is at once the act of self-recognition that takes place when people start talking about ‘the movement’ to refer to these heterogeneous elements, and the ensemble that they have in mind when they do so. (p. 25)

As such, the network-movement is a prerequisite for strategic and tactical thinking. Whereas ‘the movement’ inevitably implies some presupposition of a unity that is not given, ‘network-movement’ starts from a dynamic multiplicity – a dynamic system whose parts are also dynamic systems – and points towards the continuous project of the construction of commons, temporary or permanent, whose form is not presupposed in advance. The choice for either dispersion or unification is not inscribed in advance in the notion of a network-movement. On the contrary, the idea of network-movement opens the possibility that several ways of combining the two – swarming, distributed action, diversity of tactics, institutionalisation, forking, even (why not?) parties – can be selected according to what the occasion requires. Once these are considered in the context of a network-system, the point is not what solution is valid for the whole, but what solutions work within the whole. (p.29)

Leadership occurs as an event in those situations in which some initiatives manage to momentarily focus and structure collective action around a goal, a place or a kind of action. They may take several forms, at different scales and in different layers, from more to less ‘spontaneous’. This could be a crowd at a protest suddenly following a handful of people in a change of direction, a small group’s decision to camp attracting thousands of others, a newly created website attracting a lot of traffic and corporate media attention, and so forth. The most important characteristic of distributed leadership is precisely that these can, in principle, come from anywhere: not just anyone (a boost, no doubt, to activists’ egalitarian sensibilities) but literally anywhere. (p. 35)

Distributed leadership is therefore to be understood as the combination of a topological property (the presence of hubs) and two dynamic ones (hubs can increase and decrease, and new hubs can appear or, alternatively, nodes can ‘lead’ without necessarily becoming a hub or authority in the process). If the first of these entails that networks are constitutively unable to become the perfectly flat, totally transparent, absolutely horizontal media they are sometimes posited as at least potentially being, the latter two indicate the measure of democracy they can be said to have. Individual networks can of course be more or less democratic according to how distributed leadership potential is, and how open they are to new initiatives and hubs emerging. It is only if we understood ‘democracy’ as synonymous with ‘absolute horizontality’ that they could be called undemocratic. Horizontality, despite being an impossible goal to achieve, has its use as a regulative principle, indicating the need to cultivate the two dynamic properties of distributed leadership. (p.39)

Not everyone needs to back an initiative, although it requires support proportional to its aims; but what is backed is not a group or position that exists outside the strategic wager which the initiative embodies, but the wager itself. This amounts to occupying the vanguard-function, or being a vanguard, without vanguardism. (p. 43)