The ‘free market’ line is a lie. Like many of the platform firms, Uber is a venture-capitalist funded monopoly-in-formation. As Srnicek writes, the point about platform capitalism is that it depends on ‘network effects’ to work: the more users it has, the more valuable it becomes, the more users it gets. The result, as with Facebook and Google, is monopoly. Uber’s price-cutting practices, hugely subsidised by venture-capital, are intended to expedite its own market dominance.
The problem is less that these new ways of organising society have been radically successful than they’re being run in a way which is exploitative and undemocratic. Since 2008, Scholz has been considering the ramifications of the internet for labour. As the trends to platforms became more pertinent, he shifted his focus from cognitive work to labour in the more traditional sense. ‘In the United States in 2016, 24% of workers had worked on some kind of platform. Every third person is a freelancer – fifty five million people. How do you make an intervention in this kind of work?’
All my doctors counsel me against being open about having a serious mental illness. Finding ways to massage the truth to people – and explain away periods of absence from the workforce – has become second nature to me. But, as a gay man who has been open and proud about his sexuality, I can’t help but feel a bit conflicted. Is the counselling to stay secret actually denying people their proper supports in society and jeopardising mental health?
SUFF seeks to program independent international and local films that won’t make it to a cinema. But this does not mean that they are all low-budget, lo-fi or unheard of. ‘We’ve had films from Cannes, we’ve had films from Berlin and South By Southwest – these are films that have played at major world festivals – it’s not the sideshow part of the film festival. Here, they are marginalised.’
I live with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), commonly referred to as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Far more of a handicap than commonly thought, it is a devastating invisible burden we know very little about. ME is an umbrella term simplifying a host of smaller conditions and symptoms. Coming wave after wave, they adversely affect the body’s systems, severely cutting one’s ability to think, sleep, concentrate, work, exercise, filter toxins and fight infection.
While the right’s response to the postal survey has been somewhat predictable, what has also been hard to watch is the response of some in the ‘yes’ campaign. Despite the unfolding homophobia and transphobia around the postal survey, it is clear that groups like Australian Marriage Equality and GetUp have decided to steer away from these topics. These groups have rolled out doctors and heterosexual families to provide reassurance that marriage equality does not involve a gay agenda of radical ‘gender theory’.
What we don’t know about Joan of Arc could fill a server farm. Yet the basic facts of her life are simple enough that they’ve continuously inspired children’s books. A teenage peasant who never held a formal position of power, she is more famous today than the French king she fought for or the English king she opposed. (Charles VII, to us, is simply the king who met Joan.) She has spawned movies, plays, fashion lines, advertisements and 1920s flapper hairstyles. Christians, feminists, transgender activists, neopagans, leftists, the French Resistance and Marine Le Pen supporters have all revered (and repurposed) her story.
As we brace ourselves for the endurance test of what is set to be another shocking chapter for the LGBTQI community, we need people of influence to stand with us in solidarity, unflinchingly. We need the support, love and bravery of allies, not through tokenistic messages and throwaway hash tags (#lovers), but through heartfelt compassionate declarations and grandiose gestures.
Driving through the West Bank, you get the sense that the hope-turned-disappointment cycles of the failed, successive peace accords have been replaced by grim resignation to the reality of an implacable occupation and settlement project. All the trappings of occupation and land theft have only reinforced the incongruity of the Israeli settlements, not least of which is the prison-like fencing and barbed wire that encircle them.
At the start of the election campaign, the Labour Party’s position on immigration was clear. Armed with a raft of new policies and an inflammatory vow to stop ‘tens of thousands’ from coming to New Zealand, Labour signalled loudly that reducing migration was one its key electoral pledges. With the recent turnover in leadership and accompanying guarded sound bites on immigration, one could be fooled into believing that the party has softened its stance.
The argument that is made with the most passion is the one that says that the rights of minorities should not be the subject of a popular vote. This seems reasonable, but it rather misunderstands the nature of rights in a society like Australia. Here, rights are not to be found in the Constitution. They are not inherent in the human being; nor are they bestowed by the gods. Rather, rights are accumulated over time. At particular moment in history some section of the population will decide that, for example, women should have the right to vote, or own property.