If you live in California, you have been blitzed by messages to vote for #Prop22, a rule that would allow Uber, Lyft, Postmates and other money-losing, destructive bezzles to continue to abuse their employees through the fiction that they are "independent contractors."

Prop 22 is the most expensive ballot initiative in California history, with a pricetag of $186m and counting, money transfered from the never-to-be-profitable app companies that have destroyed so many Californian businesses and lives.


These companies launched with deep cash reserves from the Saudi royals, funneled through Softbank, and they were a bet that they could monopolize our state's transport, logistics and food by losing money on every transaction until all the real, money-making businesses failed.

That that failed, Plan B was to unload the companies onto naive investors who would reason that if the companies had survived through years of loss-making, there must be a pony underneath that giant pile of manure they'd been burrowing into.

There was no pony. Uber and Lyft drivers earn far below the minimum wage (once you amortize wear and tear on their vehicles) and this only gets worse as the companies seek to staunch their bleeding without raising prices - by cutting drivers' wages.

Under Prop 22, app companies would have an even freer hand to abuse this desperate, precarious workforce as they seek a path to profitability - a path that does not exist and will never exist.


But Prop 22 has a legacy that will outlast Uber: if it passes, it will become a PERMANENT FIXTURE of our state law: under its language, it can only be repealed or amended by a SEVEN-EIGHTHS MAJORITY. This is not democracy, it is oligarchic tyranny.

Prop 22 has gotten a tailwind thanks to defects in #AB5, a California law that tried to address the exploitation of gig workers but managed to capture large numbers of bona-fide freelancers, including writers like me. AB5 is imperfect and needs fixing.

Prop 22 is not that fix. Prop 22 is a license to indenture the most precarious and vulnerable Californians to a Ponzi scheme rigged by oil tyrants half a world away. Vote no on Prop 22.


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More from @doctorow

15 Oct
Today's Twitter threads (a Twitter thread).

Inside: Dystopia as clickbait; Trail of Mars; Bride of Frankenstein and the Monster; The Passenger Pigeon Manifesto; Bricked Ferrari; The Dennis Ball Show; and more!

Archived at: pluralistic.net/2020/10/15/exp…


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Tonight's Attack Surface Lecture: ​​Intersectionality: Race, Surveillance, and Tech and Its History with Malkia Cyril and Meredith Whittaker app.gopassage.com/events/cory-do…

Full schedule: read.macmillan.com/torforge/cory-…

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Dystopia as clickbait: Chris Brown on uncozy apocalypses.

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Read 18 tweets
15 Oct
A great hero of the copyright wars is @realdjbc, AKA Bob Cronin, creator of the amazing groundbreaking #Beastles mashups, a virtuosic combination of the Beastie Boys and The Beatles:


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Cronin's new project is VERY different. He's hosting a Youtube channel starring a dad-joke-cracking tennis-ball puppet called The Dennis Ball Show.

We recorded an episode last month that was nominally about my new book but swiftly became a discussion of the Haunted Mansion.

Read 5 tweets
15 Oct
DRM is a system for prohibiting legal conduct that manufacturers and their shareholders don't like.

Laws like the US DMCA 1201 (and its equivalents all over the world) ban tampering with DRM, even if no copyright infringement takes place.

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That means that manufacturers can design products so that doing things that displease them requires bypassing DRM, and thus committing a felony. It amounts to "felony contempt of business model."

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Read 21 tweets
14 Oct
In 2014, I gave a keynote at Museums and the Web on the suicide-mission of cultural institutions that had decided to sacrifice access - making their collections as broadly available as possible - for revenues (selling licenses to rich people).


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I argued that rich people didn't want museums, they wanted to own the things the museums had in their collections; so if museums eschewed universal access to get crumbs from plutes, they'd end up with rich people slavering to dismantle them and no public to help them resist.

Now, a group of professionals and institutions from the galleries, libraries, archives and museums (#GLAM) sector have published the "Passenger Pigeon Manifesto," in which they eloquently make the same point.


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14 Oct
I first encountered @jmcdaid through "Uncle Buddy's Funhouse," his 1993 ground-breaking, award-winning hypertext project - one of the first CD ROMs written up in the NY Times. It was such an exciting, original, weird and artistically satisfying piece, especially the music.

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Later, John and I became writing colleagues, attending workshops together, and then friends - for decades now. His work remains weird, erudite, accessible, madcap and brilliant.

He's just released a new album of filk/folk music: "Trail Of Mars," recorded during the plague months with an all-star set of session musicians whom John was able to contract with thanks to the unprecedented drought in musical work.


Read 6 tweets

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