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Brazil: Platform Cooperativism

Building the Movement

An interesting element of the emergence of platform cooperativism in Brazil is the possibility of overcoming these separations and crises of the past around the re-articulation of a common agenda. I maintain in this part that this re-articulation has not taken place at the strategic level, but at the tactical level, between institutionalized and non-institutionalized groups. The radical separation proposed by Paul Singer might not hold up twenty years later. There may be new forms of dialogue between the sectors, partially overcoming a political and ideological separation. A dual phenomenon explains this: first, by the emergence of a set of enablers (or brokers of platform cooperativism), which I will describe in this section; secondly, as Solidarity Economy broke apart from the debate on platforming and from a new discourse on social economy and innovation that finds parallels between institutionalized and non-institutionalized sectors.

I will describe how platform cooperativism, as a movement, spread through three stages: (i) emergence from the margins, (ii) internalization by institutionalized cooperativism, and (iii) bifurcation of discourses and agendas. My argument is that this construction of dialogues enables new forms of cooperation, despite the distinct objectives between self-managed groups like DigiLabour and the movement led by InovaCoop, which seeks solutions for platform cooperativism within the existing cooperative economy ecosystem in Brazil.

Platform cooperativism in Brazil presents distinct discourses and separation between institutionalized and non-institutionalized cooperativism. This does not prevent relationships, connections, and bridges between these two fields. Strengthening the platform cooperativism agenda in Brazil can take advantage of these early irrigation channels across these distinct fields to further spread the seeds of a new type of digital economy in the 21st century. Below, I explain how this is happening.