Tech Co-ops Assembly 34C3
Tech-Coops Meetup at Chaos Communications Congress 2017 (34C3): "Meetup for everyone that is or wants to be part of a tech-coops or is just interested. We will mainly focus on the exchange of ideas, experiences and on getting to know each other." Hosted by German co-operative IT Kollektiv.
The group was made up of about 20 people, including 3 people from CoTech co-ops Aptivate and Autonomic and about 5 people from IT Kollektiv. We discussed what a co-operative is and then went round in a circle so folks could introduce themselves and talk a little about their interest in co-operation. We introduced ourselves and talked about the CoTech network.
We found out that there is no clear legal structure for worker co-operatives in Germany and therefore many choose to register as a normal company but function in practice as a worker co-operative. Workers from IT Kollektiv discussed forming a network of small co-ops and self employed workers in a similar fashion to CoTech. We then discussed concerns raised around issues such as the development of informal hierarchies within federated structures (e.g. the bigger co-ops having to contribute dis-proportionally) and the potential for disagreements on strategy and financial issues.
We also discussed the importance of co-operatives being unionised (with a strong preference for radical unions such at the IWW and FAU) to act as a counter power to protect workers rights within the co-operatives. We touched on the relation between labour and housing as many of the participants of the assembly are also involved in housing projects/co-operatives around Europe.
Overall, it was an inspiring meeting between the two networks which was hopefully informative for folks who were looking to start a co-operative or just curious to find out more. It made us consider how we document CoTech activities in order to be accessible and useful for those outside the network who could benefit from our experiences and knowledge.
It's also clear that co-operatives are an interesting intersection of radical ideas that are very appealing to those seeking to make the world better using technology. Co-operatives can and do support other radical struggles and create valuable breathing space for it's workers under capitalism.
- Email were shared so we can stay in touch. This list is in the possession of Tom from Aptivate.
- We created an International Solidarity category on the CoTech Forum and use it to co-ordinate further communications with international co-ops. We can invite everyone from the list of collected emails.
- Our documentation should be presented in a way that is accessible to those outside of the network.
- It is definitly worth going to events such as CCC and promoting CoTech and co-operative ideas :)
- We need cool stickers and flyers ready to go!
- Hacking the planet together is the future!