June 3, 2021


“You look ridiculous if you dance.
You look ridiculous if you don’t dance.
So you might as well dance.”

Gertrude Stein

“No person is your friend who demands
your silence or denies your right to grow.”

Alice Walker

“The more I’ve been able to learn about gay rights and equal pay
and gender equity and racial inequality,
the more that it all intersects.
You can’t really pick it apart.
It’s all intertwined.”

Megan Rapino

DisCO CAT here, ready to share more tales from a DisCO, welcoming June, Pride and the power of love and care to change the world. Are you tired of feeling locked in, pent up and ZOOM’d out? Us too. We’re eager for connection, celebration.

So, what’s new, you ask?  We started the year with a healthy blend of good intentions and reality checks, mostly landing on our feet and with a fair bit of hard road now behind us. We’ve also spent a few of our lives trying to get past some considerable obstacles. But as you know, not even a closed door can shut out a capable CAT.

Here are a few updates we are proud to share:

We’ve been adopted! Yes, a collaboration between, Tazebaez and Mondragon Team Academy is preparing the launch of the DisCO Foundation, which will be our cozy spot on top of the fridge from which we’ll take on the challenges of furthering the growth of DisCOs in the wild.

  • Complementary to the DisCO Foundation, the DisCONAUTs are launching our worker self-directed non profit co-op. This is a legal model combining the social objectives of a non-profit with the worker-ownership and democracy inherent in co-ops. Take a peep at our in-progress DisCO Governance model for Non-Profits here.
  • And what cat doesn’t like some shiny tech to stretch out and shed all over? Because we’re cats, work in the DisCO Deck has slowed as we reflect and rescope some of the spec to make it even more awesome. Despite the delays, we keep developing at a smooth, confident pace just like my friend Rover who I’m definitely not jealous of, at all. Apart from our total cat sisters at Mikorizal and the awesome tech work of DisCONauts Jill Ada Burrows and Javier Rodriguez, we are establishing new tech partnerships which will be announced soon. Are you a feminist techie and want to find a woke crowd to reimagine what coding and value means? Get in touch.
  • A new, fresher and more accessible website is coming! Are you excited? We are swimming in catnip over this! Stay tuned for the next issue of the DisCO BEAT for the grand unveiling!

Let me hand the chew-toy mic to my teammate Timothy, here to introduce some very special people…

Meet our team members at their most poorly anonymized in this light – but not THAT light – take on personal experiences of working and subverting the typical job-job.

“The tragedy is that most of us are backed into a wall where we don’t actually have any options for alternative styles of employment. Even worse, we’re then gaslighted into feeling that we should be thankful for the abusive and exploitative jobs that we can get. This is the trauma perpetuated by a system that tricks you into feeling the need to keep your head down and work your way up. It’s one of our primary motivations for putting so much time and effort into experimenting with heterarchical ways of working together that are based primarily on care. It’s the shared experience that makes everyone look at DisCO and think, “Of course! Finally!”

You can read the full article here or clicking on the image above.

Here’s your DisCO reading and discovery!

Radical Care: Embracing Feminist Finance

Amateur Cities and the Institute of Network Cultures present this cooperative future-thinking effort from the MoneyLab network. We live in an economic system that is global, competitive, and centred around the rational and egoistic vision of the homo economicus. How we can embrace different values focusing on locality, cooperation, and caring?

Read more and download it here.

Artists Re:Thinking the Blockchain

“The blockchain is janus-faced. On one side its traits of transparency and decentralization promise much in terms of fairness and accountability, but on the other its monetary roots born as a financial payment system, albeit grounded in open-source software, mean its implementations are often stridently capitalistic.

Furthermore, those involved in its development seem to oscillate between radical ethical standpoints and reductionist technological determinism. The blockchain engenders what has been called a ‘digital metalism’ with the ability, like a modern philosopher’s stone, to transmute life through a distributed ledger. That such a pecuniary minded technology is being touted as a new technology to underpin a newfangled internet, compels an exploration of both its current state and how it may be rethought.”

You can read it and download it here.

Emergent Practices from the Decentralized Co-operative Web

Silvia López, member of DisCO.Coop and interpreter, translator and editor in Guerrilla Media Collective, shared her experience building tools and guides for decentralized, cooperative organizations to run more efficiently and equitably, explaining how the values from cooperativism, commoning, open value accounting, feminist economics, social and environmental goals are built into DisCOs’ DNA. As an alternative model to DAOs, they provide governance templates and proposals for groups to collaborate in a decentralized team while also integrating their values into the ways they work together.

In our most recent publication, the DisCO Elements, we map out three types of “value streams” — livelihood work, love work, and care work. Livelihood work is the labor that creates the income for a project, for example, contract work commissioned by a client. Love work is the pro bono work that is done to benefit the community at large by contributing to the commons. For example, publishing an organizational handbook publicly so others can learn how to manage a cooperative. And finally care work, is all the labor that goes into supporting members of a project, such as the administrative work of organizing documents, schedules, and processes. By explicitly naming these three value streams,we seek to make visible all the types of labor that go into sustaining values-driven projects. Whereas livelihood work is usually the only labor that is most highly compensated, they stress that these other types of work are equally vital.

Silvia described how they have developed a formula for tracking these value streams within projects. It takes into account that people should be spending 75% of their time on the livelihood work, 25% on the love/commons work, and a dynamic tax of care work, wherein contributors are expected to do their regular, fair share of this administrative labor. A soon-to-be-published PinkPaper will lay out the technical specificities of a tool they are building to visualize and track these value streams.

Join our monthly AMA Community Calls!

So, you want to learn more about DisCO?

Starting this Thursday 3rd of June, we’re going to be holding monthly AMA Community Call sessions.

And all of you are invited!

In these calls we’ll answer your questions about the DisCO project and we’ll get to know each other, maybe even explore possible paths of collaboration and co-development (or just vibe and dance together!)

Since we’re planning to have these DisCO Community AMA calls on a monthly basis, don’t worry if you miss this first train. Register for the event here and a few days prior to the date we’ll send you a mail with more info about how to access the conference room as well as some explanation/rules about the AMA.

So bring your questions and your favorite drink and board the DisCO Mothership dancefloor to learn more about how to build more distributed, fairer futures!

Have you missed previous issues of the DisCO.beat? Don’t worry! We got you covered!

Visit our newsletter archive here.

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.