(I wrote this as a reply to https://thebolditalic.com/attention-bay-area-liberals-stop-ignoring-how-exploitative-the-gig-economy-is-b3f1224a5266).
Ordinarily, this would be a pretty generic PR reply where I’d pitch my company by itself.
(It’s called RIDE and drivers set their own rates.)
However, as an anarchist (without adjectives, circa Rudolf Rocker), I wanted the chance to open conversation about radicalism and truly look into your article, which is written from a different perspective than the (corporate-owned, state-supported, directly and/or indirectly, some call them ‘liberal’ or ‘neoliberal’) mainstream ($300k annual salary to start at the New York Times, even if you write a fashion blog) authors.
So, I’ve decided to write you an exclusive reply email which you can either respond to, publish, offer me an interview or just throw away. (I can be kinda annoying, so if you choose 4, I won’t be mad.)
“Uber’s users could similarly use their collective purchasing power to force the company to treat its “independent contractors” fairly, yet Uber users have never had a strong response to the often-horrifying reports about the mistreatment and exploitation of drivers.”
They could. They could also do this to their governments. The first response to State power, however, by design, is apathy. 46.9% of registered voters chose not to vote in the 2016 Presidential Election. A strong response can only exist in minorities and individuals. The result is that the State can simply censor, remove or otherwise target these minorities and individuals to restore apathy via the monopoly upon the use of violence within a given territory. If you consider our government to be a small flock of wolves, the average citizen is a sheep who believes the wolves are sheepdogs, protecting them. When actual sheepdogs come along (anarchists), they’re often confused for wolves and put down. The difference between the biological plane and the philosophical plane is that sheep can and often do become wolves or sheepdogs – but wolves and sheepdogs do not become sheep. Uber presents itself as a sheepdog, but it’s really another wolf, not unlike Google, Microsoft/LinkedIn, Apple, Twitter, or any other corporate monopoly.
The only goal of wolves is to eat sheep and sometimes fuck, kill or eat other wolves.
“The Uber consumer revolt that exploded on social media — with more than 200,000 people deleting their accounts following Uber’s decision to remove surge pricing on trips to JFK airport — showed the power of collective action. The #DeleteUber campaign was arguably the first in a series of missteps that led to Kalanick’s resignation.”
This is true. With those numbers you could very easily start a new company. (That’s my choice, after all.) However, it’s not necessarily the power of ‘collective action’, but something called “multiple discovery”. Over 200,000 people who had never met reached the same conclusion.
“In a survey of the on-demand economy, Pew Research found that people who use ride-hailing apps tend to be urban college grads, ages 18–29, who earn more than $75,000 a year. Whether liberal or conservative, they believe that ride-hailing companies should not be subject to the same regulations as taxi companies because they believe Uber’s and Lyft’s assertions that they’re software platforms, not transportation companies. An overwhelming majority of ride-hailing users agree that such services “save users time and stress” and that they provide “good jobs for those who want flexible hours,” which illustrates how users believe the claims that Uber makes rather than the reported experiences of the company’s drivers.”
In general, no one should be subject to any regulations which do not immediately pertain to violence or theft. Regulations exist to punish the working and middle class. Society functions independently of the State, whose sole reason for creating more and more redundant laws is to reinforce the apathy and conformity that keeps people from rising up and resisting corporate juggernauts, while the State reinforces the merger of business and government to keep the working and middle class poor. The rising tide of anarchism is a simple step away, once people realize the State does nothing to protect them and that only they can fight for their own interests. Soon, anarchism will be a real choice available to the masses, where they can peacefully abolish external government and restore the full value of their labor.
“Pew’s findings paint a damning picture of ride-hailing users. Many are professionals who have benefited from the tech boom and earn salaries that place them in the upper part of the middle-income bracket, if not above it.”
It isn’t that the professionals have benefited from the tech boom. Rather, it is that the State has created an artificial bubble where the working and middle class, whose core pre-inflation earnings place the entire US into the top income brackets ($500k+ annual gross value is what the average person making $20k currently earns once the State strips away 480k+ via Fractional Reserve Banking, aka counterfeiting). The existence of the working and middle class is a sign that the State is working the way the supposedly ‘legitimate’ oligarchs have wanted it to since 1865. Without the State, everyone would be wildly rich – some would be wildly, wildly rich, true, but the entry level wages would be in the hundreds of thousands by today’s numbers. (Or, subsequently, you could convert them into whatever distribution system you prefer if you feel that capitalist economics would decline in popularity as a result of anarchism. The results would still be far superior to the system we have now).
“Bay Area liberals must realize that the goal of equal rights for women and minorities can never be achieved while they ignore economic inequality. The distribution of income and wealth plays a significant role in determining where power lies in society, and the only way that that dynamic will change is by challenging the economic system and the inequalities it generates.”
The State cannot provide equality to anyone. Rather, the existence of inequality is a sign that the State has succeeded in extending the gap which they deliberately created. The belief in State ‘reform’ (attempting to reform the monopoly on violence) is an attempt to transform something which has historically always been evil into something good. Silicon Valley liberals have no interest in doing anything other than exploiting the ideas of ‘diversity’, ‘immigration’ and ‘equality’ to further the State, which allows them to in turn abuse the very same people they recruited via the “War on Drugs” (which defies the very principles of the Founding Fathers of this country, all of whom used opiates regularly), or what some on the left would call “systematic racism”, “white supremacism” or “patriarchy”. All of these terms for the State are synonymous. They aren’t interested in your goals. They’re interested in control, fear, and keeping you pacified.
All individuals are equally capable regardless of their traits. While the default human condition can never truly be equal, the end result can be spectacular, and even more so for those who have endured hard times to reach their goals. There is no such thing as a straight path, and each individual’s path is unique. Those who have suffered most will appreciate their success and we must remove the obstacles that stand in the way of these individually capable and diverse people – with the State being the foremost obstacle and State-backed corporate monopolies being a close second.
The State has never provided autonomy to minorities, only taken it away, starting at the smallest minority and ending at political cannibalism in which the wolves claw and eat each other to decide whose turn it is to abuse the sheep at any given moment. Minorities have attained their own liberty a
Societal and economic reform can only come through anarchism and the complete, immediate abolition of the State. Democracy is an illusion. We live under oligarchy. We cannot let the imperialist-monarchist-rooted belief that abolition would lead to a worse State than the one we have sway us from our goal of complete, immediate abolition of the US Federal Government and subsequent recognition of autarchy (circa Robert LeFevre), which recognizes each individual as capable of being their own sovereign and peaceful governor.
That is how we can best return the current sheep to their natural condition of being their own sheepdogs – by rightly abolishing the den of wolves called the State.
– RIDE CEO,
Mixed-race anarchist (without adjectives),
Craig R. Brittain