Resonate Cooperative has had a series of conversations with grassroots alliances and organizations in the United States and Europe focusing on a collaborative effort to draw in on the experience and expertise of frontline communities in co-constructing our platform and developing tech-tools with digital dignity. We understand how technology can actively support movements aimed at social transformation from the grassroots level. These tech-tools can further enhance cultural worker’s ability to tap into a global network of people interested in supporting the economic development and social transformation of oppressed communities.
Our initial conversations have been with Tykn, the Climate Justice Alliance, Repaired Nations, and Fairbnb Coop.
Tykn - an organization based in the Netherlands, focuses on self-sovereign identity i.e. creating online spaces where identities are private and secure.
- Conversations with founding members about digital dignity, community credentials and identity authentication processes. We aim to learn from their experience creating decentralized identity system technology used to verify and authenticate their users. This enables people to feel more assured to engage and exchange with others because they are confident that their persynal data is secure, and not sold or surveilled (as is the case with many popular applications and platforms).
Climate Justice Alliance - an alliance with over 70 rural and urban community-based organizations in the North America and the Caribbean, focusing on sustainability, development of underrepresented communities, race and ethnicity, economic development, and poverty alleviation— all with the wider aim of addressing climate change.
- Conversations with an executive director of this alliance about the intersection of music and culture and engaging in a process of transitioning outside of this extractive economy, to an sustainable solidarity economy that values people and the planet before profit. The capitalist logic of infinite growth on a finite planet is one of the primary reasons for climate change. Our aim is to connect with frontline community cultural workers throughout this alliance, who are rooted in addressing climate change by shifting current social, cultural, economic, and ecological relations in ways that affirm life. These technologies are essential to crossweave as we develop our platform.
Repaired Nations - an organization with the focus of creating redress for historical trends of oppression through cooperative training and development for collective ownership for and by Black people based in the Bay area of California
- Conversations with frontline community organizers, cultural workers, cooperative members and community land trust developers from Repaired Nations about ways in which our platform should be built to meet the needs of frontline communities. We are exploring having artists from Repaired Nations work closely with our team in supporting the building out the human centered aspects of our platform, in that what we create is also in alignment with our principles.
Fairbnb Coop - a non-extractive vacation rental platform and community aimed at providing authentic, sustainable and intimate travel experiences while facilitating the development of socially relevant projects within worldwide communities, based in Italy.
- Conversations with developers from Fairbnb about the Fair Experience aspect of their platform and connecting grassroots cultural workers, musicians, and performers from Resonate Coop to their platform with the idea of having artist add their concerts and activities to make booking in different cities a positive non-extractive experience, not only for the tourists, but more importantly for the locals. Fairbnb is also interested in creating a wallet function where supporters could fund bookings for artists who may be on tour.
The primary focus and reason we’re engaged in dialogue with these organizations has to do with our various entry points in relation to the development and manifestation of a concept called Digital Dignity. We want to keep online spaces safe for people, and a way we can do that is by protecting their privacy. To do this, Resonate is testing a kind of decentralized membership or ‘Community Credentials’ that allows co-op memberships, special purchases and simple agreements between Members to be validated without exposing the private data of the people involved. A system like this could allow members of one co-op or service to be recognized by others without personal information being exposed or stored in centralized databases.
Resonate is building these privacy-respecting validation tools to help co-operatives work together. We imagine a future with many life supporting services provided by different co-ops sharing this kind of safe authentication. For example, an artist might earn credit when their song plays in a co-op coffee shop. Then they could exchange their music earnings as credits for food at a co-op store, or rehearsal space at a land trust, or other services at a time bank in their neighborhood. By connecting co-ops together in this way, more and more people might have the opportunity to use spaces and services that are democratically-owned and managed. We might begin to inhabit a completely ‘co-operative lifestyle’ without the online tracking and data profiling common today.
We believe it doesn’t make sense to attempt to develop these technologies in silos, and it’d be beneficial to have the human-centered aspects of what we’re building to be co-developed with a global community of people carving out space for the solidarity economy, creating redress for historical oppression by fostering cooperation and building collective wealth with concrete conditions of ‘rootedness’. The culture of music coupled with technologies rooted in deep democracy, sharing and affirming life should be wielded in a way that centers repair and ecological balance.
This is why we’ve tapped the shoulders of cultural workers and community organizers from the Climate Justice Alliance and Repaired Nations, along with the developers of Fairbnb Coop and Tykn, with a goal of individuals within these formations guiding us as we build out our platform to ensure that what we build meets the needs of frontline communities. Our conversations have centered connecting people to organize and trade resources in ‘digital dignity’ without the market pressure for ever-increasing profits, data surveillance and coerced labor.
Our interests centers and supports the following:
decolonizing and democratizing community spaces and creative channels that are currently the domain of private capital
replacing corporate and venture capital governance with co-operative services to build accountability across communities.
connecting the international social power of music to community-led repair and material solidarity on the ground.
growing the reach and depth of intentional local cultural life support systems while building security and resilience against speculation, alienation and market pressures.
As we continue our work and collaboration efforts, we realize that having shared spaces to define the technical requirements that support ‘digital dignity’ for frontline communities MUST intimately involve and allow space for them to shape and empower the economic, social and cultural interactions between artists, worker co-ops and communities.