Dmytri Kleiner

The Telecommunist Arts Collective, based in Berlin, has been engaged in exploring the political economy of communication platforms for many years. Part of this exploration led me to coin the term “venture communism” over a decade ago. This concept was developed to explore the opportunities for federated cooperatives to create communication platforms that can counter the centralized, capitalist, controlled, and privacy-violating platforms that have emerged recently. This topic is particularly relevant to one of the conference themes here.

Today, my contribution was to explain venture communism and the principles upon which it’s based, while also addressing the challenges faced by those attempting to create alternatives to capitalist systems. An important starting point for this discussion is recognizing that the internet was originally a cooperative platform. In its early days, the internet was quite cooperative but later evolved into the centralized, privacy-violating, and authoritarian systems we see today. If we are to discuss building alternatives to these systems, we must first understand how the cooperative, decentralized internet became centralized. The primary reason we emphasize is capitalism itself, and the fact that the business model of most of these platforms focuses on behavioral control through the surveillance of user data and interactions.