From today, food platforms in Spain will have to recognize delivery riders as workers, not bogus self-employed contractors. But businesses are already defying the law — showing the need to break corporate control over the sector as a whole.
James Muldoon is senior lecturer in political science at the University of Exeter and author of the forthcoming Platform Socialism: How to Reclaim Our Digital Future From Big Tech.
We should be concerned about the power big tech firms have in our lives. But antitrust lawsuits against tech monopolies are just a Band-Aid for the real problem: the need to free the social networks we use from private profit and the drive to sell our data.
Platforms like Airbnb claim to be building online “communities” — even as their business undermines the real communities in cities. But the history of cooperatives shows that it really is possible to democratize the services we use — so long as it’s connected to a wider redistribution of power in society.
Denounced and then lost to history, the radical Karl Kautsky’s thought still offers a compelling vision of how to democratize all aspects of our lives.