Hello P.S. friends, we hope you are doing well. Here is a proposal for a
discussion at OFFDEM, if there is interest. Do you think this could
work? Grts Allen & Arie
Greetings! We would like to propose a discussion about building a
network of collectively owned enterprises which share common values and
We could first tell about how our own initiative (AlleyCat) works and
what it took to set it up in the Netherlands, the tasks which are
necessary to keep it running and the tools we use for collaboration and
If you are interested in setting up your own collectively owned and
horizontally managed initiative, we can help you to the extent we can,
particularly if you are based in the Netherlands. We can share our
templates for GnuCash (for accounting), Scribus (for invoicing), and
enough .rc files to make your head spin.
The next step is the more interesting part (<-- we are here). We are
interested in forming an association of many such initiatives based on a
common cluster of values: opposition to surveillance and personal data
gathering; embrace of free software & free culture; opposition to
exploitative industries; embrace of the use of software to enhance
education, culture, science, emancipatory social change, and maybe even
to tackle the really big problems; an interest in research and in
improving the existing software ecosystem.
The goal is to all help provide each other with meaningful and decent
work and economic self-sufficiency without bosses, managers, or venture
capital. And to provide an alternative for young people who are
interested in these topics before they are slurped into the existing
With a stronger network we can engage in skill-sharing, pooling of
resources and office space, common administration and billing where it
makes sense, and collaboration on research ideas, funding opportunities,
client contracts, tools and side projects.
Predictably, this presents a number of a challenges. What are the steps
for accepting new members? And more painfully, the steps for cutting off
ties with a member initiative for whatever reason? What counts as
collectively owned? What sort of conduct do we expect from each other
and how explicitly do we position ourselves in the issues of racism,
sexism, and other forms of oppression? What to do if a sister initiative
is working for a client you think is exploitative? What level of quality
do we expect from each other and how to gauge that?
What will we call ourselves and who will design the logo and tag-line
that will take the world by storm?
It would be interesting to talk about the questions in the group, and