platforms2share at Bits & Bäume conference

Picture: Bits & Bäume

On November 17 & 18 2018, the Bits&Bäume-conference for digitization and sustainability took place at Technische Universität in Berlin. Members of platforms2share participated by hosting both a workshop as well as a panel on current issues in the platform economy.

In the workshop From Platform Capitalism to Platform Cooperativism?, Dominik Piétron introduced the process of platformization that is currently taking place within the larger economy. His presentation pointed out problematic side-effects of this process, such as precarious working conditions for providers, the privatization of law and newly emerging economic dependencies. To sketch out an alternative, Santje Kludas introduced the burgeoning social movement of Platform Cooperativism, which has been promoted heavily in recent years by labor scholars such as Trebor Scholz and which proposes to apply the traditional idea of cooperativism to the digital age and its related platform economy. During these two inputs, the 70 workshop participants were asked to comment and ask questions via an analogue Twitter Wall. These questions and comments were then discussed among the audience.

On the second day of the conference, Clara Wolff and Jonas Pentzien hosted the panel Platform-Cooperativism, data ownership and free software - Different paths towards the same goal? which brought together activist from the platform cooperativism and free and open software movement (FLOSS). The central aim of the panel was to identify what these two movements have in common – and where they diverge. The discussants Felix Weth (Fairmondo), Alexander Segura (CoopCycle) und Silvan Heintze (FSFE) claimed that besides some commonalities, there are also decisive barriers that hinder closer cooperation among the two movements. One of these barriers are the four freedoms claimed as the highest good for the FSFE movement, which – for example –  are not compatible with the reciprocity license of the CoopCycle software that enforces its use by coops only. The panel can be streamed here.