In the face of COVID-19, it’s hard to know what the world will look like next week, let alone 6 months from now. For November 2020, we are planning to bring the annual conference of the Platform Coooperativism Consortium to Berlin. But this moment calls on us to unite and act!
The spread of the virus reminds us that the economy is failing us. From India, Italy, Germany, and Brazil to the United States, the virus does not discriminate, yet its economic and social impact is unevenly distributed. Workers in tourism, the arts, retail, education, and all informal workers are the hardest hit. Low-income, marginalized, working-class people and immigrants are more adversely affected. The economy is buckling under the weight of people’s most basic needs.
This moment also highlights our sad dependence on digital surveillance platforms. All of us subjugated to centralized VC-funded platforms truly is Silicon Valley’s dream come true.
Alternatives, however, are gaining momentum! At this moment, platform co-ops can be a powerful response to our profoundly unequal system and failing governments in many countries. They can support people seeking health, safety, shelter, and jobs with a living wage. Platform co-ops democratize digital-business-as-usual. They transform traditional cooperatives and spawn the development of co-ops into entirely new sectors. Yet, contrary to big digital businesses with all their market power, these co-ops rely on democratic decision-making and shared ownership of the platform by workers and users.
We must not reboot an economy that did not work for most people in the first place. This moment calls for big ideas, practical implementation, acts of solidarity, and passionate rejection of an economic system that affords healthcare only for some and debt for all. We still hope to be able to meet in person in November at Humboldt University in Berlin but our ad hoc response looks like this:
- Over the months leading up to November, we will convene talks, workshops, case clinics, virtual tool sheds, open bars, concerts, and performances with representatives of platform co-ops, scientists, policymakers, foundations, cooperative associations, trade unions, and activists. The goal is to build a stronger network in support of the cooperative digital economy.
- We are starting this Friday, April 10 at noon (ET) with a platform co-op ideathon to respond to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 disaster.
Share small stories and tell your own. There is more to a disaster than press releases.
Share ideas for scalable startups.
- After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
In moments of crisis like this, things that had been considered impossible can become common sense.
Join us in building the cooperative digital economy now!
Let’s remember Cesar Chavez:
“History will judge societies and governments – and their institutions – not by how big they are or how well they serve the rich and the powerful, but by how effectively they respond to the needs of the poor and the helpless.”
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love to hear your thoughts and ideas. This webpage will intermittently be updated with more information.
Organizers and Partners:
Platform Cooperativism Consortium (PCC)
- Trebor Scholz
Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB)
- Martin Krzywdzinski
- Christine Gerber
- Gesche Joost
- Bianca Herlo
- Rashid Owoyele
Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW)
- Jonas Pentzien
- Santje Kludas
Humboldt University Berlin
- Philipp Staab
- Dominik Piétron
Platform Cooperatives Germany eG
- Ela Kagel
- Andreas Arnold
- Thomas Dönnebrink
- Claudia Henke
- Magdalena Ziomek
Trebor Scholz Founding Director of the Institute for the Cooperative Digital Economy, Platform Cooperativism Consortium, The New School
Ela Kagel Co-Initiator, Platform Co-op Berlin
Jonas Pentzien Research Fellow, Institute for the Cooperative Digital Economy
Thomas Doennebrink Partner at SUPERMARKT