1: What is DisCO?
DisCO is a living, evolving framework that lets us choose how we want to spend our energy and creativity together to reignite the power of the commons. It begins with a goal: to restore our relationships to each other and the Earth.
This can start with a process of examining how we see and use our mental, spiritual and physical spaces, and build radically different notions of value that restore equity and power to groups who want to create lasting change in these powerful, terrifying and magical 2020s.
If you feel dissatisfied with how the world is going, if you're angry, worried, feeling a fuck-it attitude or inspired and want to do something about it, DisCO is for you. What we offer is free to use and designed to adapt to your needs and the needs of the people around you. We believe that we can do a much better job of addressing our collective problems with collectively created (or reclaimed) tools and ways of relating to the Earth.
DisCO stands for "Distributed Cooperative Organizations". Imagine a world-wide federation of small groups that consistently adapt their practices to meet one purpose: the vital restoration of our living planet, ecosystems and human relationships. Together, these groups can offer each other a full support system through making, being, giving and receiving.
MAKING: A DisCO can be a small cooperative, a social solidarity organization, a group of activists, or even a DAO or an NGO. The exact legal form doesn't matter. What all DisCOs have in common is they create things to share: objects, ideas, services, solutions, systems, or art, culture and music, and they do it with love, care and purpose. A DisCO’s end results, including their interpersonal relationships, are meant to be free from social harm, inequality and ecological devastation.
BEING: Productivity in the name of profit breaks the planet's capacity to keep us alive, let alone thriving. DisCO is also about non-doing: simply resting, recharging, observing and growing in community, balancing making with being, self-care, quality of life and joyfulness.
GIVING: DisCOs give from the heart, and by following DisCO Principles and practices, everything made is designed to a) create fairer livelihoods while we operate in the current system b) help us transition to a pluriverse of new economies, where power, knowledge and skills are mindfully used to ensure planetary well-being.
RECEIVING: From all according to their capacity, to all according to their need: Whenever people decide to work, create or simply abandon world- and life-destroying practices, they can choose to do so as a DisCO, bringing about new possibilities to create actual economic counterpower towards restorative, regenerative economic action. Living la Vida DisCO gives you access to a commons of care-centered, Earth-based economic practices.
DisCO is a brand, but used as a cultural hack.
We see “branding” as just one example of a process that was once the exclusive domain of big business (ie. advertising and marketing), but which is now commonly used as a DIY tool for individuals to stand out and promote themselves on social media, often (but not always) for some commercial purpose.
Zooming out, we can see that brands are magic. They’re culturally powerful; they can invoke desires for things we may want, but may not need, or for things that make us feel good about ourselves in the world, regardless of the state of that world.
DisCO, as a process but also as a brand, is our way of playing with shared needs and desires; to imagine and create for ourselves an empowered, collective future to take over the world (kidding/not kidding). Why? Because this world has been taken, slowly but forcefully, from the people, life forms and planetary systems who care for one another and the Earth.
DisCOs are designed for groups, not individuals
Working as a DisCO prioritizes building care and trust among the members of a small working group (we recommend between 4-20 persons). These groups can build economic counter power by joining other DisCOs in temporary (DisCO Clusters) or stable (SuperDisCOs) economic networks. Built from the bottom up by all DisCOs worldwide, the DisCOverse runs on care and trust but with the added support of DLT (distributed ledger) and Federated technologies.
DisCOs are inclusive and adaptable
In our main website (DisCO.coop) you will find a combination of DisCO-tailored digital tools alongside methods for building and maintaining trust-based relationships in multiple contexts. These open source tools and methodologies help groups balance restorative social and environmental work with self-care and mutual support. Expressed around Seven Basic Principles, DisCO helps groups create and develop unique, regenerative and distributed organizations. These can include cooperatives, NGOs, DAOs, associations, Community Land Trusts and other non-exploitative economic forms. As part of its history of influences, DisCO combines the best of worker-owned coops, the Commons and P2P, Feminist Economics, and cutting edge DLT and federated technologies. DisCO is not shy about stating its values: anticapitalist, decolonial and intersectional feminist, which sets us apart from other ‘new economy’ frameworks that might choose to avoid explicitly political positions.
Beyond these inspirations, DisCO is also designed to impart a sense of freedom to experiment and have fun, in service to the joy of life and living.
We can't DisCO if DisCO is Without You
Coop, DAOs, NGOs and social enterprises that want to infuse commoning into their DNA can explore DisCO and start the DisCO Journey, our immersive DisCO-making program, to develop, document and create distributed economic alternatives that work in the here and now. Ultimately, DisCOs are educational forms in interstitial spaces. They are syncretic in that they’re compatible with structures embedded in the current world economy, but are also ready to abandon any of those structures to play with emergent ones that better support our shared values.
In the ‘time of monsters’ where new worlds struggle to be born, DisCOs are an Open Source Conspiracy for functioning, collapse-ready, and future-proof economies. For the conspiracy to succeed DisCO needs more DisCOs. Keep reading to learn more and share with others who you think may find a good fit with our immodest proposals. If your group is ready, we again invite you to join the DisCO Journey. You're invited to dream, dance, and co-develop the tools to build economic counterpower together.
- DisCO stands for "Distributed Cooperative Organizations", an organizational model that combines Open Cooperativism, the Commons, P2P practices and Feminist Economics to inspire and enable systemic change.
- DisCOs are a method of working together that help define, reveal and highlight the commonly-held values of a working group, by viewing the work performed as either Livelihood (paid), Lovework (pro-bono) or Carework.
- These three working “streams” are made equally visible and valued according to the agreements of the group, to create a fairer and more transparent environment for group culture and structure.
- DisCOs are designed to build care and trust in groups, with a little help from DLT, federated technologies and open source tools and methodologies.
- DisCO is explicitly anticapitalist, decolonial and intersectional feminist.
- A DisCO’s legal form is not as important as its contributions to the commons.
- DisCO needs more DisCOs to succeed: primed for federation, DisCOs can network together to form greater economic counterpower.
- The DisCO Journey is a P2P learning process meant to help groups clarify their values, methodologies and governance.