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March 31, 2020
by Trebor Scholz

Our Moment

At the Platform Co-op Consortium, we hope that you and your loved ones are safe and in good health. From India, Italy, 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.

What comes next? Amazon, Wholefoods, and Instacart workers walking out may just be the beginning. A general strike of gig workers? A student loan holders strike? We see it all over the world. In moments of crisis like this, things that had been considered impossible can become common sense:  The Great Depression gave rise to the original New Deal. We need to show possibilities for how the world could be better. Digital cooperatives can provide better jobs at scale. They can do so now.

For decades, the economy has failed working people and its harshness has become palpable. The economy is buckling under the weight of people’s most basic needs. With a bleak recession all but inevitable, we don't want to restart an economy that did not work for most people in the first place.  

This moment calls for a lucid political framing, acts of solidarity, and passionate rejection of an economic system that affords healthcare only for some and debt for all. We reject dominant digital platforms owned by groups so small that you could fit them into a single Google bus. At this moment, platform co-ops are a powerful response to our profoundly unequal system. We need all of you with us now to build the next economy!

We stand with all who are suffering and those demanding a more equitable economic system that also responds to the climate crisis. Let’s come together.

isolated but in solidarity,
Trebor Scholz & Wilma Liebman

What Is the PCC Doing to Help?

We will be doing everything we can to keep our extraordinary community together as we navigate this public health crisis.  This truly is a cooperative moment, as daily news stories illustrate. It is a moment for understanding, compassion, and love across borders. It is a moment for international cooperation. This is also a moment to passionately pursue and demand institutional transformation. And this is a moment for worker ownership and platform cooperatives. The co-op principles of solidarity and autonomy have never been more relevant.

  • The PCC's Institute for the Cooperative Digital Economy and Mondragon Corporation will launch an online course on platform co-ops. A month from now, we'll open it up for co-design and feedback. 
  • We will host a bi-weekly PCC IDEATHON to respond to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 disaster. In each session, we'd first like you to share small stories and tell your own. There is more to a disaster than press releases. But then, we'd also like to hear your scalable startup ideas that respond to COVID-19. How can platform co-ops help people to build democratic workplaces?
    Friday, April 10 at noon
  • Last week Friday, we already hosted a meeting of 23 organizations that are part of PCC Circle of Cooperators. Mirai Mukerjee of the Sewa Federation in India contributed a pre-recorded video
  • Together with Abdul Nasser and Mario De Conto (Brazil), we published an urgent call on platform cooperatives and their service providers to open their codebase. Read it now.
  • Toward the end of this newsletter, learn about the various ways in which people in the platform co-op community have responded to the COVID-19  pandemic.

Updates From the Platform Cooperativism Consortium in NYC

As you may know, New York City is being hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. We want to keep you updated on how we are managing this situation and take a moment to let you know that we hold all of you in our thoughts.

Given the New York Governor’s order, our offices will be closed until further notice. We have been working rapidly to shift to modalities that ensure that we can still support you as best as possible in this unprecedented situation. All PCC public programming is canceled through the end of May. But here we are, working remotely.

In March, DIESIS Network became a new member of the PCC Circle of cooperators. Congratulations.

You, too, can join the Circle now. This is when we need your resources to support those who need it most!

We also congratulate Platform Cooperatives Germany to the launch of their new website:

Our Ecosystem Responds to the
COVID-19 Pandemic

New Platform Co-Ops

Collective tools. Many of us are spending our days isolated on under-the-skin-surveillance platforms like Zoom!! We have to stop pretending that the cooperative Internet infrastructure is scaled enough to board all the people who are trying to leave the sinking corporate Titanic. We need to build for capacity. Surely, there is much co-op tech infrastructure hidden in plain sight with experiments like or other instances of Jitsi. In small groups of 5 or 6, they work well but many of us report that at scale, they quickly fail. Let's change that.

SAMOURAÏ COOP, a decentralized cooperative company

Arabica-bean cooperative, Minasul (Brazil), is planning to launch a blockchain-based digital coin that will be backed by coffee supplies.


Les Oiseaux de Passage

Invisible, France TV on couriers

The Solidarity Economy in Barcelona

Support Our Work

The Platform Co-op Consortium is a grassroots organization, dependent on the contributions of individuals and organizations who believe in fighting for a democratic, cooperative economy. Consider supporting our work by joining our Circle of Cooperators. Your contributions make our work possible.



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