Reflections on Platform Cooperativism
In the wake of the Trump election victory, I found myself in New York City at a conference on Platform Cooperativism. It was opened by the organiser with this statement: “After the election I thought that I should cancel the conference and instead hold another on what to do now. But then I realised that platform cooperativism is part of it; to come up with cooperative solutions to the crises we face.”
Platform cooperativism explores how cooperatives and commons can function as anti-enclosures of the digital sphere. In the age of companies such as Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, Google, Amazon and Microsoft, platform cooperativism has become part of a movement to make the Internet more participatory, common and non-corporate. The idea of platform cooperativism is that the people who make the success of the Internet platforms possible should own them themselves. The profits of an exchange taking place in Barcelona should stay in Barcelona and not be extracted to companies in Silicon Valley.