Last year the platform cooperativism movement — the concept of collectively owning digital platforms — made great strides. One of the highlights was the Platform Cooperativism Consortium (PCC), which was launched at the Second Platform Cooperativism Conference at The New School in New York City last November.
The PCC, which Shareable is a part of, aims to aid the many facets of this burgeoning movement by supporting research, advocacy, education, and other activities. Although the group is still in its infancy, it has already made significant progress in developing the platform co-op economy.
This week Trebor Scholz, author and platform cooperativism scholar, laid out plans for the coming year. Here are nine priorities Scholz has outlined in the plan:
1. A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) about the platform cooperativism economy. We are immediately moving to fundraise and create a free, massively open online course on the subject of the cooperative platform economy. This course will be for motivated individuals and groups worldwide who would like to start a platform co-op or reflect more on its the implications of an open social economy. It will also serve as a resource for those in the academy, providing teachable segments which instructors can use in their classes. If the task at hand is, as Benkler argues, the seizure of this unique historical moment to reframe the way politico-economic processes are understood, the availability of this courseware will be a vital tool in the dissemination of this new understanding which we are building together.
2. Templates. We plan to work on legal templates to help the community to launch platform co-ops, at least in the U.S.
3. Design. A design team already started a design overhaul of the platform.coop website. It will be rolled out in February. Send us your input or requests for features, please.
4. Fundraising. We are about to launch a donation channel and are looking for first donations to support i) the operation of the PCC, ii) the massively open online course about the cooperative platform economy, and iii) our work on legal templates that make it easier to start up platform co-ops.
5. The Platform Cooperativism Consortium will continue to interview different platform co-ops about their ethical commitments, lessons learned, ownership models, and systems of self-governance and publish articles, which make the community aware of projects within the ecosystem. The goal of these stories is to bring people within the ecosystem closer together. Our network will be as potent as the relationships of the people within it. You can keep abreast of this effort by following the stories we post here, on http://platform.coop/stories. A list of articles appears at the end of this article. We are open to review your platform co-op story. Submit it to us!
6. We will also our project of mapping the growing landscape of platform cooperatives and related democratically-run projects by promoting the excellent work by the team at Internet of Ownership who have produced a comprehensive directory of platform cooperatives, many articles, and are keeping a running calendar of events related to platform cooperativism.
7. In the fall of 2017, we will convene the next event at the New School. Write us your wish list for the event.
8. We are planning on launching a European sister organization of the Platform Cooperativism Consortium.
9. Platform cooperativism events are coming up in many cities including London, Brussels, Melbourne, and Berlin.
Want to learn more about platform cooperativism? Explore our comprehensive explainer.
Header photo of the launch of the Platform Cooperativism Consortium at The New School by Christopher Chavez.