8: DisCO Terminology
After more than 40 years of bullshit neoliberal language (risk premium, derivatives, there is no alternative, there is no society!), why not rebel, and revel in the magic of creating terminology designed to transcend this dystopian reality.
The current language of economics is a form of doublespeak that seems designed to keep most people from exercising their self-determination and creating their economies. As a response, we can co-create new ways to describe much-needed alternatives. This is why we've created, and continually expand, the DisCO Glossary.
To better explain our position on language and terminology, here is the introduction to the Glossary, written by Timothy McKeon from Guerrilla Media Collective:
It’s shocking that our mainstream societies have been so removed from the concepts of cooperation, collectivity and caring for each other that as soon as we begin to talk about these ideas in any depth, we enter into the often alienating and exclusive realm of jargon. We live in a world in which terms such as “value sovereignty” and “care work” are used and understood by relatively few people, even though they describe concepts that are very basic and human.
This is why education is such an important part of the DisCO Project. We realize that everyone is entering the DisCO with different levels and manifestations of experience and knowledge. However, if we all want to share in the same discussion, it helps to speak the same language. To this end, we’ve put together this glossary to help navigate the sometimes intimidating language used to describe our specific approach to feminist, commons-oriented cooperativism.
Don’t let this new vocabulary scare you – it just describes concepts that you already feel deep inside, concepts that maybe you haven’t found the words for yet. We have coined some of these terms ourselves, but many will be recognized outside of DisCO as well. Take this language and use it well – it will open up new worlds for you. 
You already know the glossary through the pop-up definitions in this website, which are drawn from the DisCO Glossary entry in the DisCO Ball Wiki, our main written knowledge repository. The full glossary is continually being expanded and reimagined. Language, like value(s), is alive, never static, never dead.
The DisCO.coop Terminology Lowdown
This selection from the full DisCO Glossary will help you get started. Here we have compiled some DisCO-specific terminology that you may have seen in other articles in DisCO Basics. We present it altogether here for ease of reference, even if it may be redundant with content found in earlier chapters.
DisCO stands for "Distributed Cooperative Organizations", and is the name of the overall project.
If we say "a DisCO", we are talking about a single DisCO LAB (see below), which is an organization. We use DisCOs (plural) when we refer to various separate DisCOs as a group. These "groups of DisCOs" can become DisCO Clusters or SuperDisCOs, as we will see below.
DisCO.coop is the "brand" name, hashtag and what we use in social media to distinguish us from platforms and mirror balls (although we love those too). It's also our main website domain.
DisCO.coop is the organization that stewards the development and implementation of the DisCO methodology and Tools. Legally we are a Spanish Worker owned not-for-profit cooperative. This model allows us to have the social mission and tax benefits of a Non-Profit while retaining the workplace democracy and shared ownership of a worker-owned coop. Unlike some of our cousins in the DAO-space, we think that organizations should be composed of people, not code.
DisCO Applications Program
The DisCO Applications Program includes DisCO Governance Model templates for:
- DisCO.SSE is the original DisCO Governance model developed through Guerrilla Media Collective, the OG DisCO. DisCO.SSE is for Worker Owned Coops, Social and Solidarity Economy enterprises and mission-oriented SMEs.
- DisCO.NP is aimed at Non Profits in general and Worker Self-Directed Nonprofits in particular.
- DisCODelica offers anticapitalist, decolonial and intersectional feminist care-oriented solutions. It is aimed at psychedelic healing centers and science-grounded alternative medicine practitioners who are concerned about the ongoing exclusionary commodification of psychedelic spaces. DisCODelica approaches Mental Health from a DSM5-abolitionist perspective and psychedelics/plant medicine with an intersectional focus.
- DisCO.Living is for housing cooperatives, Community Land Trusts and co-living situations where people want to establish trust, agree on carework, set clear, consented boundaries.
- DisCO.Makes is aimed at Makerspaces, Repair Cafés and other productive Community Centers that need to incorporate clear Livehood, Love and Carework distinctions.
- DisCO.Onchain is for DAOS transitioning to SuperDisCO circuits of value and care, as well as Commons-Based Peer Production communities.
- DisCOThropic brings DisCO Governance and ethical funding practices for critical philanthropic and grantmaking organizations.
- DisCO.Unbundle is for Non-cooperatives, corporations and start-up structures ready to transition to the DisCO Model by federating into DisCO Nodes to evolve into complex, stable SuperDisCOs.
Every DisCO has a DisCO CAT. Just as standard organizations use branding, memetics and logos to imbue the org with a personality (often for the benefit of shareholders) 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.
Beyond an imagined entity, the DisCO CAT also has an actual algorithmic dimension. The CAT is an on-chain algorithmic entity that enables the collective’s consent to a set of voluntary, self-organized rules. DisCO’s algorithms support the collective in overseeing, simplifying and carrying out the human-level agreements and rules. Once these algorithms are entrusted to the on-chain entity, it is described as a Community Algorithmic Trust which oversees the health of the collective, i.e. that agreements are being met.
When we speak about the DisCO CAT we are also referring to all of DisCO's cultural and structural components. All components are modular, concurrent and in Perpetual Beta. The following is extracted from The DisCO Elements chapter 5 The DisCO CAT and DisCO-Tech:
Introduced in the DisCO Manifesto, the DisCO CAT (Community Algorithmic Trust) is a series of modular software platforms designed so people can teach themselves, play around and, ultimately, build viable DisCOs.
So, Community Algorithmic “Trust” -? Trust is used in two senses here: first, as a description of a legal entity that holds the ability to maintain tangible functions like contracts and agreements, and also intangible ones like commonly held values. Secondly, “trust” is used in the sense of team members working with a specific relationship to one another, according to defined principles and common goals. To build this trust, in both senses, we need to develop and test systems, platforms, software, research, experiments. Our related mission is to spread the word and teach people the magic of DisCO.
The DisCO CAT's legs and whiskers are starting to grow, and development in all areas is underway as part of the DisCO Project.
DisCO Clusters are situation-specific multi-DisCO formations. Within the concept of The DisCOVerse, individual DisCOs can network together into occasional or temporary, Federated, pop-up DisCOs. We call these "DisCO Clusters". By nature these are time-limited in their goals and focus. These can include fundraising, solidarity actions, defense from hostile attacks, artivisms, direct action and more. DisCO Clusters allow individual DisCOs to DisCOJam with purpose. DisCO Clusters are different from SuperDisCOs, which are stable, medium-large scale multi-DisCO groupings without any specific time-bound aspects.
DisCO Elements are distinct modular practices which you can add to your own DisCO (Culture). These are also the basis for the DisCO Blocks, a drag and drop software interface to allow you to build DisCOs modularly, one block at a time (Structure). DisCO Elements are a great way to create a healthy Cultural/Structural balance.
Standout examples of DisCO Elements as culture include Community Rhythms, Mutual Support, Commitment Statements, Dating, Mentoring and the Working Circles.
The DisCO Journey is a seven-step P2P learning process 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. Every step builds on previous ones. Through these steps, DisCO.coop guides the communities that desire to implement the DisCO framework from community and trust-building steps to governance co-designing steps geared towards answering theDisCO Principles and Values, then through flexible integration of DisCO Elements and eventually preparing the ground for federation.
DisCO LABS are pilot projects experimenting with the DisCO model. DisCO LABS need to present a diverse geographical and cultural focus, as well as a healthy representation of various types of mission-oriented productive work. Any group can choose to become a DisCO and make use of the resources posted in the educational platform and contribute to its development but only selected DisCO LABS will benefit from hands-on support from the project team. DisCO LABS should also benefit from financial resources and take part in the participatory action research components.
See DisCO.coop's LABS homepage to meet the current LABS, orDisCO LABS Worldwide for a list of Committed, Dating and Casual DisCO LABS. If you want to become a LAB, sign up for the DisCO Journey, our immersive P2P learning program.
Every single DisCO is a DisCO LAB, including DisCO.coop. There’s no hierarchical relationship between DisCO.coop and the other DisCO LABS, instead we operate heterarchically. The main difference is that DisCO.coop is a DisCO Non-Profit (DisCO.NP) that spends 100% of its time creating resources for the development and promotion of DisCO.
The DisCONauts are the crew of any given DisCO. In the case of DisCO.coop, meet the crew here! We are working to develop this unique system of governance, related documentation and educational materials, and DisCO-related projects.
DisCO Nodes are individual, related "sub-DisCOs" that operate under a shared umbrella, or "Mother" DisCO. DisCO Nodes typically function under the same umbrella legal entity and use the same workflow Tools. Nodes may overlap in terms of members, value accounting, Mutual Support, etc. They are autonomous on certain Value Streams, (mainly in Livelihood and Lovework) but share many Carework commitments with the other nodes. Their shared DisCO structure allows them to be rather permeable with and support each other in unique ways. Practically, they are sub-organizations within a DisCO providing specialized services. For example, Guerrilla Media Collective was designed to have specific nodes for Translation, Graphic Design, and Agitprop. .
DisCO Nodes may have overlapping or differing personnel from the other nodes. Regarding Value Streams, productive activities (such as Love and Livelihood work) can be kept distinct from one node to another. Conversely, Carework Valueflows can be mutualized, for example, Legal and Finance work, Social Media Promotion, Website upkeep etc. affect all nodes, so carework e has to be evenly distributed. This mutualization extends to the DisCO's Working Circles. Carework which only affects the node in question may be kept separate.
Extending out from In-DisCO Nodes, collaborations among DisCOs with different legal umbrellas can either be situational and time-limited (DisCO Clusters) or complex, stable circuits of value creation (SuperDisCOs). All existing DisCOs are part of The DisCOverse.
The DisCO Project is the journey the DisCONauts have embarked on, going boldly beyond and all that jazz. The DisCO Project describes the overall, multi-year arch of the project. Our mission is to turn DisCO into a viable economic counterpower for the 2020s and beyond. Read The Open Source Conspiracy for more details. The DisCO Project entails many relationships and partnerships and has been conceived as a series of modular DisCO Elements.
"Large-scale problems do not require large-scale solutions; they require small-scale solutions within a large-scale framework."
Individual DisCO LABS are the small-scale, trust-based solutions, and the DisCOVerse is the emergent large-scale framework.
The DisCOverse contains stable and well established interactions and alliances, (SuperDisCOs) or more punctual and transactional (DisCO Clusters). The former require more Carework and real-world trust-building, the latter rely more heavily on DisCO Decks and value-tracking tools.Click here for our thoughts on Federation.
SuperDisCOs are medium to large-scale, stable and federated circuits of value creation. SuperDisCOs are complex organisms composed of individual DisCOs who have experienced a Dating Phase together, built trust, shared goals and values and are ready to mutualize Value Sovereignty. SuperDisCOs are DisCO's answer to the problem of scaling. They are also how DisCO manifests as a viable anticapitalist, decolonial and intersectional feminist alternative to both Commons-Based Peer Production and DAOs.
DisCO Governance values and makes visible three main types of work:
- Livelihood Work (work paid via the market, or grants, etc.),
- Lovework (unfunded and mission-oriented pro-bono work)
- Carework includes well-being, admin and maintenance tasks)
The three types of work, or "value streams", are tracked with complementary metrics and rewards are dispensed accordingly. Value Streams are the building blocks of DisCO Principle 6: Origins and flows of value.
Get up offa that thing, and dance 'till you feel better
What’s in a name, indeed! DisCO is our project, communicated by our identity (disco.coop), led by our working team (DisCO.coop) and our team members (DisCOnauts) and supporting the creation of independent groups (DisCO LABS). DisCO uses methods that are both cultural and structural, animated by our DisCO CAT and its constituent parts (Disco Floor, Deck, Stack, Experience).
DisCO is our method, our goal, and our dream of a better way to move in rhythm together. Now, get up offa that thing and dance till you feel better! Get up offa that thing, and try to release the pressure
- As we learnt in Guerrilla Translation, it is essential to coin new terms to shape new realities, and that’s how the DisCO Glossary was conceived.
- Some of the most recurring and comprehensive terms of the DisCO-specific terminology are:
- DisCO (the framework)
- DisCO.coop (the legal entity and identity)
- DisCO Applications Program and all the templates for the motley modalities of DisCO it includes
- DisCO CAT (Culture and structure- and meowing!)
- DisCO Clusters (temporary DisCO multi-formations)
- DisCO Elements (modular practices)
- DisCO Journey (P2P learning process)
- DisCO LABS (groups implementing the DisCO model)
- DisCOnauts (our team members)
- DisCO Nodes (sub-DisCOs under an umbrella)
- DisCO Project (our plan and trajectory)
- DisCOverse (whole federation of DisCOs)
- SuperDisCO (comparatively large and stable DisCO federations)
- Value Streams (DisCO’s three types of work)