The Transformative Potential of Platform Cooperativism: The Case of CoopCycle

  • Vangelis Papadimitropoulos
  • Haris Malamidis
Keywords: platform capitalism, platform cooperativism, CoopCycle, the commons, open cooperativism


The paper sets out to dissolve a contrast between traditional coop sectoral enclosure, on the one hand, and platform coop diversity, on the other hand, which often resonates with precariousness, marginalisation, fragmentation, whitewashing and corporatisation. To tackle traditional and platform coop discordance, the paper draws on the model of open cooperativism introduced by Vasilis Kostakis and Michel Bauwens, passed through the lens of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s discourse theory of hegemony, to weave a narrative that seeks to unite and broaden the scope of the cooperative sector. In doing so, the paper reviews CoopCycle as an illustrative case study of platform cooperativism. CoopCycle is a global federation of bike delivery coops that deploy the digital commons to install workplace democracy in the bike delivery sector. The paper aims at contributing to the understanding of platform cooperativism, all the while embedding the model of platform cooperativism into the counter-hegemony of open cooperativism aiming to challenge the current hegemony of neoliberalism. The main argument here is that the model of open cooperativism bears comparative advantages vis-à-vis closed proprietary socio-economic models.

Author Biographies

Vangelis Papadimitropoulos

Vangelis Papadimitropoulos is a post doc researcher affiliated with the Panteion University of Athens. Currently he is the principal investigator in the research project entitled “Techno-Social Innovation in the Collaborative Economy”. He holds a PhD in the political philosophy of Cornelius Castoriadis and has written extensively on democratic political theory, political economy, platform coops and the commons.

Haris Malamidis

Haris Malamidis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. His research interests focus on social movements, social and solidarity economy, the commons, migration, integration and social care.