New to DisCO?
Space of Urgency
Guerrilla Media Collective
DisCO in a nutshell please?
DisCO is a method for small orgs and businesses to work cooperatively in trust-based, values-aligned and future-oriented ways that are both self-determined and patterned on the cooperative DisCO principles.
Ultimately, DisCO is what you make it. There are many valid definitions of DisCO: Commons-oriented, cooperative, feminist economic and federated alternatives to DAOS, a Live Action, Economic Role-Playing game taking place in the real world, an anticapitalist, intersectional feminist and decolonial framework for organizations that care for each other and perform urgent social and ecological work… maybe even an Open Source Conspiracy to take over the world? These creative approaches are all well and good, but the main point is that once you “get” DisCO, you will see how it can help your own efforts and organizations, and how it can function at a global scale.
Systems change begins at home, at work, with yourself. DisCO is here to support you and your teams in creating fairer, sustainable futures. To get you up and dancing in no time, please read the DisCO Basics, our introductory mini-site.
What is DisCO.coop?
DisCO.coop is the organization stewarding the development and implementation of DisCO methodologies and tools. You can meet the DisCO core crew and Pink Board here. We are a legally registered cooperative, and a DisCO Non- Profit (or DisCO.NP). Unlike some in the DAO-space, we think that organizations are built around people, not code. We’re here to help other groups and organizations become DisCO LABs. Keeping it small means building real world (ie, not crypto-validated) trust and care for each DisCO’s mission and resident humans.
DisCO.coop is als0 the “brand” name, hashtag and what we use in social media to distinguish us from other platforms and mirror balls (although we love those too). It’s also our main website domain and where you are right now. Welcome!
How do we join DisCO?
One does not simply join DisCO — actually, one (group) simply forms a DisCO. What you need to do is figure out whether DisCO is right for you and your group. To help you get there, we recommend checking out the DisCO Basics and, specifically, chapter 7: How do I get involved? (By the way, even though we’re not a cult and we don’t have a hazing ritual that results in a T-shirt, you can just buy one here and help DisCO keep dancing).
How do we create a DisCO?
If you are creating or already have an existing group that is ready to become a DisCO, you can start by becoming a DisCO LAB. The DisCO LABs are pilot projects and every single DisCO (including DisCO.coop) is a DisCO LAB. All LABs are in perpetual beta, always reviewing and reiterating to suit actual, real-world conditions. This includes LABS that wither off and compost into new configurations. DisCO operates with human and ecological values that have little to do with capitalist, colonial and patriarchal notions of success at all costs, and infinite growth forever.
If you’re serious about becoming a DisCO LAB, get in touch to schedule a call. The only two conditions are that 1) You’re an actual group — not an interested individual that wants to form a group (in that’s the case, we have resources planned to help you find the others, stay tuned) and 2) That your group actively wants to become a DisCO and understands what that entails, namely addressing and responding to the Seven DisCO Principles. To get started we recommend you take the DisCO Challenge, our interactive two-step quiz to determine whether DisCO is right for you and your group.
Next, your group can join the DisCO Journey, our guided learning program to co-create advanced, mature DisCOs. The Journey is designed for DisCOs to build trust and federate with other DisCOs to create a network of practice and ultimately build an economic counterpower. Through the Journey’s steps, DisCO.coop guides communities that want to implement the DisCO framework. The work entails everything from community and trust-building to governance co-designing, geared towards answering the DisCO Principles and Values. This groundwork is meant to support the flexible integration of DisCO Elements and eventually, prepares the group for federation with other DisCOs.
Can I have a call with you?
Get in touch through our contact form, tell us what draws you to DisCO and what you’d like to do. We’re a small team, so please understand that we can’t attend to unspecific requests for “more info”. We prioritize calls with already existing groups that want to become a DisCO LAB and/or start the DisCO Journey. If that’s the case, click here to schedule a call. If you’re an organization in alignment with DisCO Principles and Values and would like to propose a partnership, please share your proposal and schedule a call here. Note: because DisCO is a program for groups, we simply can’t make time for calls with individuals interested in DisCO unless the request is for research or publication purposes. The material you’re reading right now and the links and resources provided have taken us time to write and collate just for you, so please take advantage of these materials and then, go on a self-directed mission of your own to form a group. We believe in you, go for it! We’ll be here when you’re ready.
Other ways to get to know us are DisCOverse Live, our regular community calls, our Loomio group, check out our in-person events or join the DisCO Journey. DisCO also offers DisCOnsultancy, a series of online or in-person workshops, as well as bespoke, structured programs to turn your organization into a DisCO, a DisCO Cluster or SuperDisCO with our personalized assistance. Click here for details.
Where's your fancy blockchain tech, bruh?
If that’s what you came looking for, you’ll be sorely disappointed. DisCO isn’t built from whitepapers or grand-architect visions. Read the DisCO Manifesto for our thorough critique of the DAO world and the relational solutions we are building.
In short, technology for the disenfranchised of the world — or, “the others” — can’t be built without the active design-level input of the communities the tech is meant to serve: nothing about us without us. We’ve seen too many self-described “revolutionary” projects, whether in the Web3 or publicly funded spaces, come and go with negligible impact. DisCO is a working-class, art-punk project. We heavily intersect with academia and the tech world, but our uniqueness comes from our realness — we’ve been doing this for over ten years in real-world conditions. Taking our cue from the Zapatistas, we are in a process of deep listening and mutual learning. This means working directly with diverse DisCO LABs on ascertaining what they need DisCO-tech to be.
Technology with real-world impact needs sufficient resources. Free-Libre Open Source Tools may be “cheaper” to develop than proprietary behemoths, but without attractive UX, user, support, education, real world testing and massive promotion most of this will end as abandonware.
So, when we get asked “where’s the tech”, we ask for a pause. DisCOtech needs to be a slow and thoughtful antidote to the Web3 high. The upcoming DisCO Pink Paper explicitly calls for Anticapitalist, Decolonial and Intersectional Feminist technology. These starting points cannot be rushed or used as cheap slogans. DisCOtech needs to be based on care and the Seven DisCO principles. It needs to be user friendly, modular, fully configurable, non coercive, non surveillance-based, firmly grounded in consent and safe online spaces and built to function in a world with a radically lessened material footprint.
All of this requires sufficient resources, not an excessive ‘start-up-then-die-quietly’ investment scheme.
If these ideas make sense to you, and you want to know where we’re headed, see DisCO Elements Chapter 5: The DisCO CAT and DisCO Tech and the Governance Modeling and Value Tracking section of the DisCO Project for early specifications of what we’re working on as part of the DisCO Pink Paper and beyond.
Why do you say "AntiCapitalist"? Can't you use less divisive language?
Capitalism is the world’s dominant economic system, although it’s by no measure the only one. Its proponents and their well-funded think tanks and propaganda machines will insist that capitalism is intrinsic to human nature (cue Gordon Gekko).
In reality, capitalism is founded on colonialism, slavery, economic exploitation, and the subjugation of women’s bodies. These acts, which persist today, are the ongoing drivers of enclosure, the process of turning nature into products and relationships into services. Is this the best option we can imagine?
We say anticapitalist because in a world of historically unparalleled economic inequality and doomsday-level ecological indicators, we need to speak with clarity and favor the many alternatives that are not bound by the systems creating the very problems that threaten us.
‘Playing nice’ with capitalism is not only pandering to the powerful, but allowing them to permit only unthreatening, superficial changes that leave intact the process of profit accumulation, financialization and enclosure. We need to normalize the conversation about capitalism to construct better alternatives that repair the damage and allow us to envision new horizons.
Where can I find more info?
Here you are! We have plenty of online and offline resources for you to dig into. This website, revamped for 2023, introduces you to the DisCO Crew and Pink Board, takes you through the DisCO Principles and introduces the DisCO LABs. The Media section features our publications, as well as DisCO Stories, with news, articles, interviews, research and events, as well as videos and our newsletter, the DisCO Beat.
The DisCO FLOOR section is all about resources to get you up and running and will be continually updated. This includes our Loomio group and DisCOverse Live (our regular community calls) and Governance Modelling. The DIWO (Do it with Others) section is all about how you can engage with us and our collaborations with other orgs. There, you can find sections on DisCO Swag, DisCO Partner orgs and how to support our mission.
Closely related to this site are these additional materials: DisCO Basics, our introductory tour through the DisCOverse, and the ever expanding DisCO Ball Wiki, where the majority of our knowledge resources live. You already know about the DisCO Journey, where you can learn how to walk the talk and build your own DisCO with us and other DisCOnauts. You can also catch us at one of our events, or contract us for direct DisCOnsulting.
Who or what is the DisCO CAT?
Cats rule the internet. Furthermore, we’d say that, rather than turtles, (Schoendiger) cats function beyond the planck level as the equivocal, stylish and beautifully chaotic building blocks of the universe. This massive power cannot be wasted and, as the internet devolves away from I Can Haz Cheezburger towards surveillance, enclosure and tech-broisms, the stage is set for the return of a famous Internet cat that, like all cats, is anticapitalist, decolonial and intersectional feminist. Mrow.
Beyond being our feline overlord (and through the convenient magic of quantum quackery), every DisCO has its own DisCO CAT! In this sense it stands for “Community Algorithmic Trust“. Just as standard organizations use branding, memetics and logos to imbue the org with a personality all DisCOs can image what their DisCO CAT looks like and how it behaves. It’s literally the “spirit” of a DisCO and the avatar for caring for the health of the collective and the actual-normal-people-designed algorithmic reflection of each DisCO’s values. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, the DisCO CAT is the author of the DisCO Beat Newsletter (when she feels like it)…
As a cult of personality feline superstar, the DisCO CAT appears and disappears at will. However, we have secured an exclusive interview with this elusive creature: All Your DAOs Are Belong to Us – The DisCO CAT Speaks.
Are you serious?
Yes. Are you?