Chapter 3: OurGoods.org & TradeSchool.coop
OurGoods.org was a resource sharing network for cultural producers that was co-founded by Jen Abrams, Louise Ma, Carl Tashian, Rich Watts, and Caroline Woolard in 2008 and run by the group as a collective until 2016. The website and public events connected over 7000 artists, craftspeople, and activists in New York City to share skills, spaces, and objects and to get independent projects done in a culture of mutual aid. More information is online at: http://ourgoods.org
TradeSchool.coop was a self-organized learning platform that ran on barter from 2009–2019. Students exchanged barter items rather than money with their teachers, making space for reciprocal and radical pedagogy. Co-founded by Louise Ma, Rich Watts, and Caroline Woolard in New York in 2009, and then run by Christhian Diaz, Aimée Lutkin, Louise Ma, Rachel Vera Steinberg, Caroline Woolard, and Or Zubalsky in New York until 2012, TradeSchool.coop expanded to become a global network of barter-based schools, with thirty local chapters and over 22,000 students and teachers. More information is online at: http://tradeschool.coop/story
While forced digital mediation of the body is a political tragedy, the coding of digital space against global capitalist platforms should be taken very seriously. The digital infrastructure for radical permanence should be a tool to break the process of individualization of people, to make them gather and come together in the physical space, it should aim to organize political common encounters as opposed to tear us apart into the depoliticized isolations of individual time.
—Marco Baravalle, 2020
When you barter with someone, especially a creative person, the labor is known. When you talk to that person about the thing they have made, they can even show you the shop where it’s made and where they sourced the materials. So barter is a way to think about the economy in a very direct manner. You are meeting the person whose labor is embodied in the object you’re trading.
—Caroline Woolard, 2010