Edited by Trebor Scholz and Nathan Schneider

Ours to Hack and Own
Part of the books by Nathan Schneider series:
Part of the books by Trebor Scholz series:
Editions:Paperback: € 15.99
ISBN: 978-1-682190-62-3
Pages: 252
ISBN: 978-1-682190-63-0

Ours to Hack and Own presents, for the first time in one volume, some of the most cogent thinkers and doers on the subject of the cooptation of the Internet, and how we can resist and reverse the process. The activists who have put together Ours to Hack and to Own argue for a new kind of online economy: platform cooperativism, which combines the rich heritage of cooperatives with the promise of 21st-century technologies, free from monopoly, exploitation, and surveillance.

The on-demand economy is reversing the rights and protections workers fought for centuries to win. Ordinary Internet users, meanwhile, retain little control over their personal data. While promising to be the great equalizers, online platforms have often exacerbated social inequalities. Can the Internet be owned and governed differently? What if Uber drivers set up their own platform, or if a city’s residents controlled their own version of Airbnb? Ours to Hack and to Own shows that another kind of Internet is possible—and that, in a new generation of online platforms, it is already taking shape.

Included in this volume are contributions from Michel Bauwens, Yochai Benkler, Francesca Bria, Susie Cagle, Miriam Cherry, Ra Criscitiello, John Duda, Marina Gorbis, Karen Gregory, Seda Gürses, Steven Hill, Dmytri Kleiner, Vasilis Kostakis, Brendan Martin, Micky Metts, Kristy Milland, Mayo Fuster Morell, Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Rachel O’Dwyer, Janelle Orsi, Michael Peck, Carmen Rojas, Douglas Rushkoff, Saskia Sassen, Juliet Schor, Palak Shah, Tom Slee, Danny Spitzberg, Arun Sundararajan, Astra Taylor, Cameron Tonkinwise, McKenzie Wark, and Caroline Woolard.

Publisher: OR Books

Reviews:Richard D. Bartlett on Medium wrote:

"This tone shows up throughout the book: it’s critical, urgent and hopeful. The critique is razor-sharp, but always delivered along with something to say 'yes!' to. The most exciting thing about Ours To Hack and To Own is that it opens a space for conversation between two groups that have been basically ignoring each other. In the first camp you have the start-uppers, techies, entrepreneurs and blockchainers… people focused on the future. They’re motivated by what’s new. In just about every innovation they can see the promise of a more equitable society, right around the corner. In the second camp you have the political activists, academics, and labor organisers… people who have read enough history to understand that nearly all these innovations are doomed to be absorbed by the logic of capitalism. [...] For me, the jury is out, but this impressive collection of thoughts, experiences, resources and new collaborators is likely to have a significant impact on the outcome."

Jonas Algers on Political Economy Research Centre wrote:

"to challenge the Silicon Valley narrative and propose alternatives is what ties together the texts in the anthology Ours to Hack and to Own. Editors Trebor Scholz and Nathan Schneider calls it a 'guidebook for a fairer kind of Internet'. [...] The contributors to Ours to Hack and to Own outline strategies, methods, theory and perspectives for an Internet of decentralised ownership. With backgrounds in cooperatives, tech businesses, unions, community organisation, online labour, public policy, law and academia to name a few, the collection of texts offers a varied and thorough source of ideas and perspectives for this new and broad cooperative movement. Each part is a short insight into the greater trends of the online capitalist economy or a handful of tips for online cooperativists who want to start a new cooperative. Reading from bind to bind one is almost blinded by the variety of arguments made and the lists of trends or tips contributors wish to stress. Therefore, if you are working on a specific project, like launching a cooperative, find the specific texts that are useful to you. Otherwise this is a book to read slowly, perhaps a couple of texts at a time to have time to reflect on the ideas put forward.
But Ours to Hack and to Own supplies something that is currently scarce; a positive vision of our collective future and how to get there. [...] When some tech companies dominate the world markets, more money is made on ownership than on work, and ownership inequality is greater than wage inequality, how do we not reverse the trend to bygone days, but take control over it? Ours to Hack and to Own offers 40 perspectives, small and large on how to cooperativise tech and say good-bye to absentee owners."

Table of Contents of Ours to Hack and to Own

Part 1 - Something to Say Yes To

  1. What This Is and Isn't About (Trebor Schulz and Nathan Schneider)
  2. The Meanings of Words (Nathan Schneider)
  3. How Platform Cooperativism Can Unleash the Network (Trebor Schulz)
  4. The Seven Cooperative Principles (Susie Cagle)
  5. Eight Facts about Cooperative Enterprise (Jessica Gordon Nembhard)

Part 2 - Platform Capitalism

  1. Renaissance Now (Douglas Rushkoff)
  2. Old Exclusion in Emergent Spaces (Juliet B. Schor)
  3. Worse than Capitalism (Mackenzie Wark)
  4. How the Un-Sharing Economy Treatens Workers (Steven Hill)
  5. SpongeBob, Why Don't You Work Harder? (Christoph Spher)
  6. Portable Reputation in the On-Demand Economy (Kati Sipp)
  7. Counterantidisintermediation (Dmytri Kleiner)
  8. From Open Access to Digital Commons (David Bollier)

Part 3 - An Internet of Our Own

  • Showcase 1 - Platforms: StocksyUnited, Fairmondo, Coopify, Gratipay, FairCoop, Member's Media (Ltd. Cooperative), TimesFree, Snowdrift.coop, Resonate, Loconomics Cooperative, NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative, Robin Hood Collective, Seed.coop
  1. The Realism of Cooperativism (Yochai Benkler)
  2. Three Essential Building Blocks for Your Platform Cooperative (Janelle Orsi)
  3. So You Want to Start a Platform Cooperative... (Caroline Woolard)
  4. What We Mean When We Say Cooperative (Melissa Hoover)
  5. A Different Kind of Startup Is Possible (David Carroll)
  6. Designing Positive Platforms (Marina Gorbis)
  7. Convenient Solidarity: Designing for Platform Cooperativism (Cameron Tonkinwise)
  8. Designing for Privacy (Seda Gurses)
  9. How Crowdfunding Become Stewardship (Danny Spitzberg)
  10. Economic Barriers and Enablers of Distributed Ownership (Arun Sundarararajan)
  11. There Is Platform-Power in a Union (Ra Criscitiello)
  12. Making Apps for Low-Wage Workers and Their Neighborhoods (Saskia Sassen)
  13. The Crowd: Naturally Cooperative, Unnaturally Silenced (Kristy Milland)
  14. Platforms and Trust: Beyond Reputation Systems (Tom Slee)
  15. Why Platform Co-ops Should Be Open Co-ops (Michel Bauwens & Valisis Kostakis)

Part 4 - Conditions of Possibility

  • Showcase 2 - Ecosystem: Loomio Cooperative, Ltd., The FairShares Model, Swarm Alliance, The Madeline System, Purpose Fund, rCredits, External Revenue Service, Data Commons Cooperative, Coliga, CommunityOS: Callicoon Project, Backfeed, My User Agreement
  1. Beyond Luxury Cooperativism (John Duda)
  2. Money Is the Root of All Platforms (Brendan Martin)
  3. From People-Centered Ideas to People-Powered Capital (Carmen Rojas)
  4. Can Code Schools Go Cooperative? (Karen Gregory)
  5. A Code for Good Work (Palak Shah)
  6. Meet Your Friendly Neighborhood Tech Co-op (Micky Metts)
  7. Building the People's Ownership Economy through Union Co-ops (Michael Peck)
  8. Toward a Theory of Value for Platform Cooperatives (Mayo Fuster Morell)
  9. Public Policies for Digital Sovereignty (Francesca Bria)
  10. Legal and Governance Structures Built to Share (Miriam A. Cherry)
  11. Blockchains and Their Pittfalls (Rachel O'Dwyer)
  12. Non-Cooperativism (Astra Taylor)

About Trebor Scholz and Nathan Schneider

Trebor ScholzTrebor Scholz, scholar-activist, is Associate Professor for Culture & Media at The New School in NYC, where he convenes the Digital Labor conference series. His articles and ideas have appeared in The Nation, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Le Monde, and The Washington Post. Among other books, he is the author of Uber-Worked and Underpaid: How Workers are Taking Back the Digital Economy.

Nathan SchneiderNathan Schneider is a Scholar-in-Residence of media studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has written for Harper’s, The Nation, The New York Times, The Catholic Worker, and other publications. His most recent book is Everything for Everyone: The Radical Tradition that Is Shaping the Next Economy.