Conference 2015

Platform Cooperativism: The Internet. Ownership. Democracy.

  • November 13–14, 2015

  • The New School
    63 5th Avenue
    New York, New York
    United States

An archive of the program for this event can be found here

Archive footage of the event can be found here

The archive of the event website can be found here

A coming-out party for the cooperative Internet.

“Platform cooperativism is a way to put power back in the hands of the workers.”
– Kristy Milland (worker at Amazon Mechnical Turk) 


The seeds are being planted for a new kind of online economy. For all the wonders the Internet brings us, it is dominated by an economics of monopoly, extraction, and surveillance. Ordinary users retain little control over their personal data, and the digital workplace is creeping into every corner of workers’ lives. Online platforms often exploit and exacerbate existing inequalities in society, even while promising to be the great equalizers. Could the Internet be owned and governed differently? What if Uber drivers could set up their own platform, or if cities could control their own version of Airbnb? Can Silicon Alley do things more democratically than Silicon Valley? What are the prospects for platform cooperativism?

On November 13 and 14, the New School in New York City will host a coming-out party for the cooperative Internet, built of platforms owned and governed by the people who rely on them. The program will include discussion sessions, screenings, monologues, legal hacks, workshops, and dialogues, as well as a showcase of projects, both conceptual and actual, under the purview of celebrity judges. We’ll learn from coders and worker cooperatives, scholars and designers. Together, we’ll put their lessons to work as we work toward usable apps and structural economic change. This is your chance to get on the ground floor of the next Internet, and to help make it a reality.

Platform Cooperativism is convened by Trebor Scholz (The New School) and Nathan Schneider (University of Colorado Boulder).

Further reading:

Sponsors & Partners

Platform Cooperativism is sponsored by Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts, The Ford Foundation, The Freelancers Union, The New School University Student Senate, The Workers Lab, IG Metal, Institute for the Future, Demand Progress, Internet and Society, The Robert L. Heilbronner Center for Capitalism Studies, the University of Colorado Boulder, Democracy at Work Institute, The Digital Humanities Minor at The New School, The Lang Student Senate, and The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation NYC. 

The event is presented in partnership with Carnegie Mellon School of Design, Civic Hall, Democracy Collaborative, Green Worker Cooperatives, The Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies at CUNY, the New Economy Coalition,, The Robin Hood Foundation, Shareable, The United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives, Ver.di, The Working World, The Laura Flanders Show, and The Yale Information Society Project.

This is the fourth event in The New School’s series The Politics of Digital Culture, which included  The Internet as Playground & Factory (2009) and Digital Labor (2014), among other conferences. There will be two additional summits in this series, following up on these themes, in 2016.

Twitter:  @platformcoop #platformcoop


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