December 3, 2020

Where’s my future? Where’s yours?

“The future is already here,
just not evenly distributed”

William Gibson

Welcome to Issue 1 of the DisCO Beat newsletter, where we’ll introduce you to our world: the DisCO projects, our teams, and the ideas behind DisCO.

What is a DisCO?

Weaving together practices and principles learned from movements including the Commons and P2P, cooperatives, Feminist Economics and the Social and Solidarity Economy, DisCOs offer a proposal for a future of work. Have a look at for a lot more info and updates.

We have an announcement!

The DisCO Team*, along with our sisters at Geeks Without Bounds, (GWOB) are happy to announce that we’ve received support from the US-based Grant For The Web, led by a council including Coil, Creative Commons, and Mozilla.

Grant for the Web is a “$100m Plan to Spur New Business Models for Online Creators”. The DisCO and GWOB teams have each been awarded a Flagship-level grant. The DisCO project helps people engage with urgent social and environmental issues in their daily work, using human-friendly tools and practices, web-based collaboration, value sovereignty, and self-determination to create open commons and inclusive communities.

On the technical side, GWOB will build the software described in the DisCO Manifesto as the DisCO DECK, a tool allowing cooperatives to track value flows, manage resources and direct payments. Along with and GWOB, we’re overjoyed to see our colleagues from COMPOST, Metagov, QuartzOA and among the other grantees.

Here’s your DisCO reading (and watching!)

Platforming Equality

Autonomy’s ‘Platforming Equality’ is a collection of papers on the challenges that the digital economy poses to policymakers, activists and researchers. A range of contributors, including members of the DisCO Team, were invited to probe deeper into under-examined topics in the digital economy and to shed light on how they operate, and to explore policy options for alleviating a range of new challenges that have emerged within the digital economy.

Read our contribution here

DisCOs Dancing Together: Value Flows and Future Economies

What if your community had a way to organize itself, so that it better represented ALL the work that was happening? Not just that which is deemed of “economic value”, but inclusive of commons care work and mutual value exchange, within a tight group of trusted friends. Read more. 

Introducing DisCO LABS

Multi-Talented Makerspace (MTM)

Part of the joy of DisCO is that it is designed to be shared, replicable and adaptable to any number of situations and environments. DisCO LABS are how we do  this – we take on a mentorship role with collectives that align with DisCO’s values but maybe need some guidance in implementing them or tips on how to make sure everyone is cared for and valued while working together. One such DisCO LAB is the Multi-Talented Makerspace (MTM) Nook in Sakubva, Zimbabwe.

The vision and brainchild of Brian Tinoota, the MTM Nook seeks to transform Sakubva, a township ravaged by widespread poverty, unemployment, and crime and dependent on cheap, imported goods from nearby Mozambique, into a focal point for a new, local Made-in-Zimbabwe industry.

The catalyst? An open and inclusive makerspace that encourages people to design their own education, teach and learn, support each other and form a creative community that works together to improve their lives and transform their surroundings. Starting with a strong DIY and DIWO ethic, the MTM Nook is no longer waiting for the mainstream education system or the government to provide answers. They’re taking initiative and creating an open and participatory process.

What DisCO offers the MTM Nook is personalized guidance and educational materials explaining the seven DisCO principles and how to use them to build a strong community around shared values, goals and – most importantly – mutual care. So far, we’re helping the Nook to formulate their mission, soup up their website and take the first steps towards introducing the project to the local community. Most exciting, though, is the recent news that Brian has secured a space for the Nook to base itself and flourish. A large community center building, previously reserved for white people only, has now been reclaimed by the community and offers the ideal facilities for a community of creatives: music and art studios, a café, an auditorium, meeting rooms and offices, indoor and outdoor events spaces, a riverside location and more.

We can’t wait to see what the MTM Nook team does with this space and how their work pulls people in, generates interest, and engages the community in new and dynamic ways.

Next Time on the DisCO.beat

*Meet the team(s)!

  • Which of us got fired from Apple for having great customer feedback (by telling people not to buy tech-obsolescent crap and steering people to Android instead)?
  • Who missed Occupy Brazil because of one very bad hot dog? 
  • Which of us is an herbalist and grandma, who set up cybersecurity at Standing Rock?
  • Who nearly joined a cult, but stayed on a little longer because the rituals were so fun?
  • Who gets followed around by crows, worldwide? (DisCO crows, obviously!)
  • Extra credit: how many art-school dropouts does it take to change the economy?

The DisCO Manifesto presents a deep dive into the worlds of the Commons, Cooperatives Feminist Economics and Distributed Ledger Technologies.

Image credits:

Logo DisCO — Distributed Cooperative Organizations

Distributed Cooperative Organizations are: cooperative, feminist, value-sovereign, carework oriented, and much more.

Except where otherwise specified, content on this newsletter is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.