Civic education, Community development, The pilots are socially inclusive, environmentally sustainable and dedicated to regional and rural development. Participatory by nature, DisCOs visibilise democratic deliberation, inclusivity and care work as part of ongoing educational processes.

DisCO: A Toolkit for Radical Workplace Democracy

DisCO (Distributed Cooperative Organizations) uses inclusive methods drawn from Feminist Economics, Blockchain, Cooperatives and Commons to help people collaborate on social and environmental causes.

Creators

Who is behind this?

Stacco Troncoso

DisCO.coop

https://disco.coop/

Spain

Who is joining forces?

GeoAlternativa

http://geoalternativa.org/

Spain


Laneras

http://www.cooperactyva.org/2016/03/17/dehesalana-y-laneras/

Spain


LaFábrika detodalavida (LFdTV)

https://lafabrikadetodalavida.org/

Spain


We are also partnered with two regional institutional partners: Fundación Maimona (maimona.org) and FUNDECYT (fundecyt.es/). Many other projects have also expressed interest in becoming project pilots

Idea

Idea pitch

To create radically democratic cooperatives, people need access to practical methods, tools and knowledge. DisCO provides these learning experiences. Using feminist economic principles and P2P technologies, DisCO offers education on the commons and blockchains, including accessible opportunities for people to engage with urgent social and environmental issues in their daily work. We are working with 3 pilots in western Spain to build open-source networks for a more democratic future of work.

Where will your project idea take place?

The project will take place in the region of Extremadura (Spain).

What is the local challenge?

Situated in western Spain, Extremadura is the paradigmatic "civic desert". With one of the lowest population densities in the country, the region averages 26 inhabitants per km², with half of the territory holding around 10 inhabitants/km². The region is mostly rural, with only 29% residing in towns of over 50,000 inhabitants, and 52,3% of its territory composed of towns of less than 2000 inhabitants. A victim of Spanish Civil war fascist purges, it holds some of the largest land ownership inequalities, the second largest unemployment levels and the lowest GDP per capita in the country. Extremadura has a strong cooperative sector, but mainly centered on agrarian activity, disconnected from the latest advances in digital cooperativism and new economy practices.

How does your idea strengthen democracy and active citizenship at a local and community level?

Democracy, notoriously absent from the workplace, is integral to DisCO. From ownership to decision-making and voluntary social practices, DisCO prototypes sustainable pathways for activism that is not dependent on free time or privilege. DisCOs have a unique value model where 3 types of work (market, voluntary, and reproductive/care work) are assigned relevant metrics to ensure fair compensation. This democratizes normative notions of value by incorporating the often invisibilized but socially necessary work into everyday activity. The pilot projects are highly engaged in their local contexts, providing educational opportunities and discussion spaces to feature new ways of working while offering practical examples of commoning, feminist economics and decentralised tech in action.

Who are you doing it for?

Oriented towards socially and ecologically restorative work, DisCOs are multi-stakeholder co-ops, enfranchising various constituents (supporters, municipalities, surrounding communities) in participative, community oriented economic activity. Pilot projects are the main beneficiaries, supporting each other through shared economic value flows using P2P technologies, and also benefiting the wider community by directly addressing socio-ecological challenges. Turning existing cooperative projects into inspiring examples, the pilots will bolster the replicability of the DisCO model not just in Extremadura, but internationally through translated communication materials. This can also benefit other Idea Challenge projects in adopting the DisCO model for their own ends.

How do you plan to get there?

We will work closely with the pilots to co-create governance models and customized software tools based on their particular needs and circumstances. The work will be hands-on and in-person when possible, generating thorough documentation and resources as an open knowledge commons which can also serve as a basis for participatory action research papers and policy proposals. Through workshops, the pilots will work together to prototype shared regional economic networks and value mutualization. Pilots will actively advocate for the adoption of the DisCO methodology in the region and beyond. A practice- and evidence-based narrative will be created to share worldwide.

What are the expected results?

In a year, we expect the three pilots to have adopted and actively contributed to the development of the DisCO methodology and tools. Showcasing these operational pilots as success stories would pave the way for other iterations of the model locally and abroad. We would have evidence-based examples of bioregional networks of value flows with detailed, measurable impact, reflecting economic activity, civic participation and well-being. The project is designed to be generative and the pilots themselves can also work to help create other DisCOs and network with them in economic and personal ways.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

The effects of representative democracy are hampered when democracy is overwhelmingly absent from the workplace. What we propose in DisCOs is radical workplace democracy, where communication is informed by other notions of value that reflect our experiences as human beings, in the workplace and beyond. Based on the practices of commoning, DisCOs center community-led, shared stewardship of resources in daily work life. They prioritise active, inclusive and practice based education on bottom up democracy and multi-constituent processes of deliberation. With the backing of institutions such as ILO and ICA and sympathetic political players, DisCO pilots can extend these democratic practices to the EU public sphere through evidence-based policy proposals.

What is your story?

We are deeply committed to this work. As activists frustrated with the lack of language and idea sharing during the 15-M/Occupy movements we created GuerrillaTranslation.org, an activist translation agency and the first iteration of DisCO. We also worked for many years at the P2P Foundation to expand our knowledge, but we felt that the P2P framework lacked a care-orientation and integration of feminist economics values. We are inspired by the emancipatory potential of the blockchain space, and critical of its exclusionary nature and individualistic orientation. All of this resulted in DisCO. Interest has been shown in adapting and expanding on these ideas within our bioregional networks in Extremadura and exemplifying radical workplace democracy in our networks.

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 50000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

- Facilitation/development: 30k
- Software dev/customization 5k
- Workshops (incl. travel) 10k
- Translation, social media and communications 10k

DisCO has been funded by FPH, FundAction, TNI and Guerrilla Foundation. We have secured research partnerships with funding amounts in discussion.

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We welcome feedback on the materials in DisCO.coop, this application, our pilots and regional situation. Commons-based patterns are kernel solutions to recurring problems and we see the community as a space for these solutions to ferment and thrive.

Team

Stacco

ilopezdevallejo

Idea created on May 27, 2020

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