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Grupo de Cooperativas de las Indias

Foundation of the Indiano Phyle

The Foundation of the Indiano phyle is the basic organizational definition of the phyle and the link between its communitarian logic and its economic metabolism.

Origins and values

Gonfalon.pngFor more than a decade, the Indiano phyle represented a unique experience of deliberation and construction of knowledge, centered on the enrichment of the commons and sustained on the principle of pluriarchy.

Our success was based on our community’s determination to build and maintain an economic structure sufficient to maintain serenity about our lifestyle, the development of our ideas, and the course of our debates.

That common economic metabolism is dedicated to giving sustenance to a community centered on the development of the people in it, the knowledge they develop, and the social cohesion of their surroundings. Their development is based on the affirmation of a work ethic born in distributed networks and which understands knowledge as the engine and prime mover of productive activity and life in community.

Our work ethic demands a non-separation between life time and work time in the social production of knowledge, which implies vindication and practice the plurispecialization in our projects and holds up, as a fundamental value, the “freedom to do.” That is to say, both in internal ordering and faced with existing institutions in the places where we develop, we Indianos don’t demand that things “be done,” we do them for ourselves. If we demand anything, it’s the withdrawl of prohibitions and obstacles of any kind that prevent us from constructing the tools needed to develop freedom and well-being in our surroundings.

We Indianos jealously guard our freedoms, and have a limitless hunger for them, but we don’t trust or pursue rents, privileges, or rights.

As a direct consequence of this ethical conception of life and work, the three guiding principles of our structure were born:

  • Abundance and communal development. One of the institutional obstacles to the serene development of knowledge is the existence of artificial monopolies created by States, such as intellectual property. This amounts to a way of artificially generating scarcity for the benefit of a few. By excluding people from the enjoyment of knowledge, such monopolies are harmful to everyone’s freedoms, innovation in general, and social cohesion. That’s why the generation of abundance in the form of a knowledge commons open to all is, for us, the foundation of each person’s freedom to be able build new projects  for him/herself in his/her own search for knowledge. That freedom, born of the abundance of the commons, is measured in the diversity of projects and alternatives.
  • With that logic, economic democracy isn’t just democratic management of scarcity in our common structures, but also each person’s freedom to build a new project. That freedom is built through guarantees of access to training and resources — which is why we provided ourselves a common economic structure — but it’s not a right to “do” out on the far reaches of reality or of free agreement, but rather a freedom to make proposals to others and to our surroundings, because we are profoundly convinced that the greatest freedom for each person and the greatest serenity for the community are found concurrently in the market, and not depending on donations or subsidies, external or internal.
  • That’s why we think about the relationship between the projects that we foster with confederal logic, since the responsibility for each project also implies sovereignty over it by those who unite to develop it. This sovereignty is not at odds with the common sovereignty of the common structures which make the new initiatives possible and ensure the common good of the Indianos and their impact on the surroundings. In fact, it is the autonomy of the projects and their teams that sustains the viability and the unity of our common funds and their common, democratic management by the full Indiano community.


The general objective of the economic structure of the Indianos is to constitute for our community a space for personal development, security, and well-being, which is transnational and resilient, sustained on the above-mentioned values, and decidedly involved in the cohesion of our real surroundings.


The means through which we develop these objectives are

  • structural projects created for the development of specific functions
  • the common generation of funds dedicated to training, well-being, the development of our surroundings, and setting new projects in motion.

Structure and demos

The structure of the Indiano phyle is based on a work ethic centered on knowledge and based on the principles of economic democracy, confederalism and the generation of abundance, defined and developed in this foundation.

Anyone can be an Indiano who, after declaring their identification with these values as defined, works in an Indiano working group, calls him or herself an Indiano/a, participates in the deliberation of the Indiano community, and is recognized as such by the rest.

The structure of the Indiano phyle is made up of

  • The Assembly of the Indianos. Made up of all the Indianos, it decides in common what part of the available surplus from the Indianos’ work will be dedicated to the common funds, and gives direction about its management to the specific working groups or projects charged with its use, evaluating their results and tutoring their performance.
When it is time to make decisions about the common structure and its resources, the Indianos act as freely associated people, each one speaks, contributes, and participates in decisionmaking for him/herself. The demos of the Indiano economic structure is made up exclusively of Indianos, and not groups, projects, or structures.
  • The working groups. The Indianos develop their economic activity in different productive projects born of their initiative, but which can be shared with other people, projects, and organizations. Each one will have its own forms and balances, born of free agreement among the parties, and each one is sovereign to dictate its own course through its guiding bodies, which are made up, to a greater or lesser extent, by Indianos who work on that project or on others. The Indianos can’t be a brake on that sovereignty or subordinate support for it to interests other than those of the project itself and the people who develop it.
So, considering the general organization of our social structure, it’s not the projects themselves that sustain the common structure, but rather their working groups, when they are formed by Indianos.
  • The structural projects. In spite of the above, we Indianos have created projects with different forms — cooperatives, associations, societies — formed exclusively by us and oriented towards the development of specific functions to bring about a common system of entrepreneurship, training, well-being, and support for the cohesion of our surroundings.
That’s how the Cooperative Society of the Art of Things was born as an incubator of new projects, the Library of the Indies as a structure for formative projects and for action in our broader setting, etc. They are structural projects, the functional skeleton of the phyle and the guarantee of its serenity, with working groups, tasks, and responsibilities of their own, which subject its general actions to the strategy drawn up at any given time by the Assembly of the Indianos.
  • The Governor. This person represents and takes care of the Indiano “mood,” presides over the assemblies, is the external representative of the organizational and economic dimension of the phyle and has the “voice of command” in situations of scarcity or crisis.
  • The Dogo. He is the public representation of the deliberation and the phyle’s own “genius.” His opening speech marks the beginning of the Assembly of the Indianos.

Definition and accounting of the available surplus

Each working group, both in projects made up exclusively of Indianos and in projects formed in association with others, administers a fairly large part of the surplus of each project. That available surplus — and not the general results of the project — is the starting point from which each group can contribute to the common structure.

In the worker co-ops made up exclusively of Indiano worker-members, they are completely sovereign over the surplus, so, the total surplus of the project will be counted as the available surplus, after discounting the obligatory reserves and the contributions to the wider networks the group is part of.

In cooperative projects developed with other partners, available surpluses will be calculated after deducting reserves, contributions to common networks, and the portion dedicated to paying financial partners, provided they are not workers in the cooperative.

In the anonymous and limited societies [corporations], what will be counted as available surplus is participation in results, as well as the funds that respective management bodies may dedicate to training, well-being, etc., in cases where they leave the administration of their destiny in the hands of the members of the working group.

On the Assembly of the Indianos

The Assembly of the Indianos is the highest decision-making institution of the Indiano phyle. It will meet in person upon convocation of the governor at least once a year.

It decides:

  • The percentage of the total available surplus to be allocated to the funds. The total available surplus is the sum of the available surpluses from each working group.
  • How this budget will be distributed among the different funds.
  • The directives for the use of the funds and for the development of the structural projects.


  • It will evaluate the performance of the teams in fund management.
  • It will endorse the appointment of new governors and dogos through a qualified vote.
  • It will dictate the guidelines of the mobility of the Indianos between the different projects and groups, reconciling the economic possibilities, the structures of each project and the priorities of personal and professional developmentof each Indiano.
  • It will be sovereign in the formation of ad-hoc work groups for purposes which the Assembly considers opportune, and which may be provided with extraordinary funds of their own.
  • It will approve or reject, through a qualified vote, the incorporation or departure of new people from the demos.

On working groups

The Indianos commit to promoting, when proposing new projects and undertakings, whether their own or with partners, a working group statute that specifies:

  • The need to get the approval of the working group for any incorporation into itself.
  • A clear system of co-responsibility in the project based on the self-organization of agreement on objectives, which includes mechanisms to manage a part of the surplus.

On structural projects

Structural projects are those cooperatives, associations, and societies made up exclusively of Indianos and dedicated to developing specific functions for the development of the phyle with strategic orientation from the Assembly of the Indianos.

The structural projects are:

  • The Art of Things (S. Co-op). An incubator which administers venture funds and support for new projects. It administrates capitalization funds for new projects and support for existing projects, and organizes the mobility of the Indianos between projects and working groups in accordance with the directives of the Assembly.
  • The Library of the Indies (association). A center for training, digital publishing, and social action in the broader surroundings. It administrates the training funds and funds for development of the surroundings, and takes care of publishing and promoting the commons as books and documentation, in accordance with the directives of the Assembly.

Also, some Indiano cooperatives, which gain their autonomy in the market, are structural projects with respect to certain concrete functions:

  • The Cooperative Society of the Electronic Indies, our foundational project, is in charge of the general care of the phyle, sustaining the deliberative structure and coordination among the groups between assemblies. It has the job of logistically organizing the assemblies, as well as electing and sustaining the governor and the Dogo, after their endorsement by the Assembly.
  • Enkidu (S. Coop. Peq.) This is the development platform for free software and the structure of the phyle’s servers, and is in charge of the coordination and development of the commons which is published inthe form of free software.

On the governor

The governors are the external representives of the Indiano phyle, the voice of command in crisis situations, and the ones who are responsible for executing the agreements of the assemblies on the allocation of funds.

They watch over the Indiano “mood,” the tone and dynamic of the community, and are the executive principle in situations of scarcity, as well as the coherence of the economic and social strategy.

They are elected among and by the members of the Society of the Electronic Indies, and endorsed by the Assembly of the Indianos.

On the Dogo

The Indiano Dogo is a figure of special intellectual prestige, distinguished as a colaborating partner of the Cooperative Society of the Electronic Indies and endorsed — when it changes — by consensus of the Assembly of the Indianos.

It represents and publicly projects the “genius” of the phyle, its debate and fundamental concerns, which it instigates and regenerates through its contributions.

This figure will give a talk to open Indiano assemblies. Its principle task is to remind the Indianos that the logic of the economic structure should not absorb community life, nor should decision supplant deliberation, endangering the supremacy of the community and its members over their business.

On funds

Funds are the budgetary expression of the activity and the strategy of the Indiano phyle. There are five:

  • Well-being fund. Oriented towards gaining health and assistance benefits for the Indianos and their families, it will be managed by an organizational form that will be created expressly for it.
  • Training fund. It provides access to training for the Indianos, whether through their own activities or financing participation in external training. It will be managed through the Library of the Indies.
  • Fund for the development of our surroundings. This is destined to put real projects in motion in our surroundings that facilitate access to free infrastructure and knowledge that then allow for productive developments. It will be managed through the Library of the Indies.
  • Capitalization fund for new projects and support for existing projects. A common reserve fund destined to capitalize productive projects. It will be managed by the Art of Things, the phyle’s new project incubator.
  • Extraordinary funds. These are created ad hoc to launch concrete initiatives decided on by the assembly.

On the qualified vote and the reform of the foundation

A qualified vote is one which expresses a majoritarian consensus, which is to say, when it includes 2/3 of the Indianos when all the groups are present, or 3/4 when 3/4 of the groups are present.

This foundation may be transformed through consensus developed in deliberation and endorsed in the assembly through the qualified vote of the Indianos.

Translated from the original Indianopedia article by Steve Herrick

«Foundation of the Indiano Phyle» recibió 4 desde que se publicó el lunes 26 de noviembre de 2012 . Si te ha gustado este post quizá te gusten otros posts escritos por las Indias.

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