I have lot of sympathy for Matt Slater's arguments for Protocol Cooperativism. This is essentially the songbook I was singing from, since the late 90s, and throughout my time working on the Aotearoa localizations of and . But in hindsight, those songs were naive. As Matt points out within his own essay, capitalists have already figured out ways to dominate open networks based on open protocols (eg Microsoft's "embrace, extend, extinguish"). Ownership matters.

@strypey

Have capitalists dominated the fediverse yet?

Or SSB?

@bhaugen
> Have capitalists dominated the fediverse yet?

Not yet, but what's stopping them? History makes it clear that relying on the decentralized nature of the protocol is not enough. If we don't want the going the way of email (vast majority of users on a handful of ), we need ways to ensure that both software development and the deployment of non-capitalist instances are economically sustainable. The point I was making was that is one way to do that.

@strypey

Economic sustainability in a capitalist economy is tricky. Cooperatives find themselves immersed in capitalism and then infected, maybe in the first place by needing to get money from either capitalist markets or competing for investments or grants, which are never as close to "free money" as they might seem.

It's all tradeoffs and good strategy and good tactical maneuvers.

@bhaugen
This is true, yet the cooperative form is still far, far better than any other form of economic organisation as it has democratic values baked in by default. Also, cooperatives are a good way to exploit the capitalist obsession about private property and entrepreneurship in our favor: by posing as "businesses" FOSS projects would be harder to attack as dismantling them would appear as an attack on people doing business, a taboo under capitalism
@strypey

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@Antanicus THIS! 1000 times this! Cooperatives are a kind of anticapitalist aikido. They *both* help us improve our lives in the here and now, *and* prefigure post-capitalist democratic economies (at least in a larval way), all while posing as business-as-usual in a way that's hard to justify attacking (openly).
@bhaugen

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