The spoken English language occasionally creates a nuance that is amusing. In English, a fair cop is slang for being arrested when you know and admit you have done something illegal. But FairCoop is not anything to do with a fair cop, even though that is how it phonetically sounded in the meeting I attended on Thursday 25 January.
Nenad Maljković, hosted a global zoom call of about 25 people in English. This in itself is a magnificent feat of technological facilitation. Nenad is from the Transition Hub in Croatia and the 7th Cluster coordinator for the Cooperative for Ethical Financing (Zadruga za etično financiranje); as well as the practice coordinator for the global network of REconomy practitioners.
Nenad extended an invitation to Nikola Buric, to talk about FairCoop and FairCoin. Nikola is an environmental engineer based in Berne, Switzerland who is active in Transition and Permaculture initiatives, the cooperatives Radiesli and WBG Warmbächli and the Association Service Civil International Switzerland and in FairCoop. Nikola’s focus is Education for Sustainable Development and “Metabolism of the Anthroposphere” (Baccini, Brunner).
The major question in my mind was what lessons and opportunities do FairCoop offer to Transition / Permaculture type people and the wider community?
At least, here in Portugal, the session was a chance for a late afternoon interactive discussion. As people showed up on the screen, the time zones were represented by different shades of light, dark and the various assistance provided by electric lights. I tried to list the various participant countries involved and I have probably missed some, but here goes:
A fair few vocal and enthusiastic people connected from the Balkans, from places that still echo recent wars, now peace and a deep human understanding of what is needed for a fairer society.
Montenegro, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
There were people from the old European member states of Germany, UK, France and Portugal. California, Montana, and New York also made an appearance.
Cape Town, South Africa came smiling in.
Nenad explained the process of hand and finger signals to attract attention in silence, so the speaker is not interrupted. It worked beautifully.
Nikola began a colourful, dynamic presentation that lasted around 20 minutes. He delved into the recent history and the principles of FairCoop. The screen seemed to explode with colour, circles and words. I wrote down very few words from the screen as the circulation of the presentation was promised.
I noted the principles:
P2P Model of social organisation
Nikola explained the idea of using collective intelligence to drive a movement. For that is what FairCoop is, an embryonic global movement of open co-operativism, which has created tools and channels of communication, alongside local nodes and global representatives.
Some of the language used made me smile and added to my confusion. I made a note to self. Do more research before coming into a zoom session.
The terms I noted for future research are:
Local nodes: I think this expression means groups?
Ecosystem: I think this means how we organise and do things? How the overall process works and evolves?
Nikola explained FairCoin is based on Blockchain currency. This provides a way of creating cooperation not competition for services. This is important for people without official documents and is operating in Spain, France, Italy and Greece. He explained the creation of a toolkit for cooperation and mentioned the Open Collaborative Platform (OCP).
The questions from the participants, especially from the Balkans opened up further details of how the system works through plastic cards, QR Codes and an android app, downloadable from Googleplay.
Nikola admitted the whole ecosystem would not work without volunteer labour and this initiative is just the beginning, involving about 2000 people.
People asked about direct experiences and examples of how the process was helping people. Nikola said, “there are some examples on the website in 12 languages.”
He said, “The ecosystem is essentially a different way of relating to one another.”
I asked about how women were involved and he mentioned part of this work is about addressing gender imbalance and reducing generational gaps.
I am very grateful for all the information shared and the questions asked. We were promised further information by email. In the meantime I did a little research about FairCoop and here are some links.
According to Wikipedia
On the long run FairCoop aims to create an environment for building a new social and economic system based on decentralized cooperation, avoiding the need of nation states and central banks. In a short term, the cooperative is creating a space for real collaboration, with projects all around the world for humanity as a whole
FairCoop online guide