The controversy over the Uberization PL



The real interests of the working class and the challenges to building an effectively fair, egalitarian and humane society are not included in the debate on the Uberization Bill


There have been many demonstrations against the Uberization PL (PLP 12/24) coming from conservative and liberal sectors (entities, movements and personalities) and this has caused some perplexity in some sectors of the left.

I've heard it said that as these segments are positioning themselves against the PL, it's up to the left to be in favor. Some admitting that support would be linked to the need to seek some improvement, but, certainly, without changing the essence; and, others, concluding, from now on, that the project presented was the best that could be done and the only one capable of being approved under the adverse conditions imposed by the ideologically unfavorable composition of Congress.

Others, more adherent to the government's political support base, claim that the conservatives and liberals are opposed because they do not want to admit the great advances recommended in the PL, with regard to the rights guaranteed to workers. In other words, the opposition of representatives of these ideological biases would be sufficient proof of how positive the proposal presented by the government is.

There is also no shortage of those who understand that the opposition of conservatives and liberals to the project is nothing more than a political act, an opposition to weaken the government, warning that any criticism of the PL, from wherever it may come, represents a way of fueling the opposition and weaken the government.

On the other hand, still on the left, it is argued that the opposition to the PL is a mere game of scene, the result of opportunism, that is, to oppose a proposal that, deep down, serves the interests of those who position themselves against, because, with this strategy, they seek, in fact, to prevent that, in the congressional debate, the proposal takes different directions from those that were initially pronounced and even so that it can go further, in the sense of expanding regulation to other proposals categories of workers.

When faced with all these evaluations, I cannot help but reiterate the concerns that have long been (and repeatedly) expressed, in terms of how much the reasoning is shaped by the logic of the results, especially when induced by electoral calculation or by the concern about maintaining the The so-called “governability” has prevented us from promoting objective analyzes and debates that are effectively involved and committed to the construction of a social, economic and political reality more consistent with the human condition, based on the assumptions of real freedom and equality.


The power of reflection is something that demands to be exercised. In mental atrophy, he is lost. In the state of intellective abstinence, all types of reasoning, even devoid of logic or empiricism, including those of a denialist nature or based on hate speech, are presented as valid and of the same order of magnitude as any other.

This, in fact, is the big problem with putting, in the foreground, the abstract defense of freedom of expression, making concerns about content completely left out of discussions. The point is that censorship, in itself, does not promote knowledge.

And the biggest problem is that when the concern with knowledge is disregarded or removed by the emergency circumstance of prioritizing the creation of an obstacle to the advent of something considered even worse (logic of the lesser evil), the commitment to reality and the search for the knowing whether they disappear, above all, when, in order to achieve these objectives, rhetorical arguments are presented as reasonable and inexorable and, admittedly, falsified, devoid of logic and coherence.

This is the process by which the irrational has pointed out what would be even more irrational, to become rational.

Taking as a basis the national policy that has long been in force, the Workers' Party, within its concern of presenting itself as a left-wing party, but which, concretely, supported by the strategy of class conciliation, reproduces and reinforces the neoliberal logic that is interest of the ruling class, needs the creation of a conservative threat, to present itself as a possible advance.

But as this is the very logic of its existence, the PT needs to name a concrete enemy that represents an effective threat. This is how it used to feed on the ghost of the PSDB, and now it is dependent on Bolsonarism.

The problem is that, in this context, the rhetoric comes to life and the threat created takes concrete form and feeds back every time the falsified arguments to combat it appear.

When the dominant irrational attracts new irrationalities, with which it competes, what is established is a vicious circle towards barbarism. Wars are there to demonstrate this…

Antagonisms, when they escape any concern with reality and the production of knowledge, developing on the plane of convenience and dissimulation, encourage the naturalization of the absurd.

In this wheel that moves backwards, even denialism, flat-earthism and hate speech gain strength.

When it is said, for example, that authoritarianism is necessary to defend democracy or that any act and arguments are valid to combat fascism, what is achieved is only to attract authoritarianism and fascism to a rivalry on the same plane. This, moreover, is the great risk of granting the title of hero to anyone who commits arbitrary acts in the name of defending democracy, even leaving aside the essential discussion of what democracy, after all, we are talking about. What democracy is being defended, for which subjects and with what objectives?


The real interests of the working class and the challenges to building an effectively fair, egalitarian and humane society are definitely not included in this debate. The fact is that, given the ideological fragility that directs the actions and thoughts of the current government, what is happening is the increased risk of the return of fascism, which even presents itself as a defender of freedom. And so, in a spiral of setbacks, we head towards chaos.

The uberization PL and the arguments for its defense clearly demonstrate the ongoing process, as has already been highlighted in several other texts. It is now important to explain how the strategic use of the opposition of conservatives and liberals against the project to defend the government is an even more in-depth form of this “epstemicide”.

It is worth noting that in the demonstrations about the conservative and liberal opposition to the PL, exposed above, there is no attempt to understand the effective reasons why the opposition was made explicit, which even generated street mobilizations by many drivers.

Reactions to setbacks reject any degree of rationality in the opponents and transfer their own rationality to them. According to the logic of the PL's defenders, if the PL advances in rights and someone is against it, it is because they either did not understand the PL well or because their intention is to prevent the advances from being enshrined or the government obtaining political benefit from the approval of the PL. PL.

This assessment represents total analytical abstinence. The first major observation that needs to be made and that this abstinence is explicit concerns the movement of placing PL and government as the same object, making what is put up for debate is governability and not the relevance of the content of the PL.

What matters, concretely, is the discussion about the content of the PL and its possible effects on the concrete reality of labor relations. However, what these assessments envisage is preventing erosion of governability. So, from this perspective, it is necessary to say that the objections to the PL are of the same order, that is, that they do not concern the content, or that they distort the content and are intended, solely, to destabilize the government.

The adoption of this method to divert the focus of the debate on the content can be seen by the fact that the official demonstrations in defense of the PL target only the arguments of conservatives and liberals, in order to show that, in fact, the contradiction it is merely a partisan political act.

See that the Note of Central Unions, issued on April 05th of this year, “dialogues” only with the objections coming from conservatives and liberals, even though numerous very different arguments against the PL have already been explained by academics, researchers, jurists, sociologists and entities and movements from the world of work, in addition to various workers, especially those in the delivery category (who did not accept the government's regulation proposal, it is worth remembering), all connected( as) to left-wing thinking.

First, the Central Note deepens the lack of commitment to reality, when it says, for example, that “self-employment, as duly characterized, “is now considered as a work relationship“between the company that operates the application and the person who works independently”, as if the exclusion from the employment relationship, as well as all the ensuing rights, were an advantage, or that the PL guarantees “a base remuneration of R$ 5.650,00”, when, in fact, 3/4 of this amount, according to the terms of the PL itself, is intended to replace work costs, resulting in effective remuneration, for the number of hours of work indicated in said Note, in the amount of R$1.412,00.

But the most serious thing, as said from the beginning of this text, is the stance taken of not trying to understand the motivations, linked to the content, that lead conservatives and liberals to be against a Bill that, as we know, meets the interests of these ideological segments.

Certainly, the defenders of the PL will not recognize this and there is already an unavoidable primary flaw, which is the motivator for all other deviations in evaluation. Now, the PL, by denying the recognition of the employment relationship and, consequently, removing the application of the guarantees set out in the CLT and in all other labor standards, especially constitutional ones, goes in the direction of what liberals and conservatives have been advocating for decades and which they were unable to carry out, not even in the 2017 labor “reform”, supported by the coup government of Michel Temer, and in the Green and Yellow Card Project, by the ultra-liberal and fascist government of Jair Bolsonaro.

It turns out that conservatives and liberals have effective reasons to position themselves against the content of the PL and the purposeful denial of this perception is indicative of a limitation that has seriously affected a certain portion of the Brazilian left for many years.

After all, why are liberals and conservatives against the PL? This is the question, which needs a more detailed analysis, as some lessons and apprehensions can be extracted from it, as we will see.


Firstly, the fact that they oppose a bill that meets their ideas is related to an idea that was long ago abandoned by a sector of the left and that ended up, in a certain way, being appropriated by the right: utopia.

Conservative and liberal governments have been radical in defending their claims, often even going so far as to speak of “revolution”. The fact is that these segments, since the weakening of the socialist utopia, abandoned their defensive posture and started to attack openly. They always want and seek more: more profits; more privileges; more social irresponsibility; more oppression; more exploration…

In other words, the PL, by not recognizing the employment relationship and removing labor rights, is very good for their interests, but they want more. It is even worth noting that this part of the PL is not objectionable. What goes against it are the propositions of the PL in which attempts are made, even in a very timid way, to couple it with some formulas of a social nature.

However, tragically, the rejection of these links is more coherent than their defense. I say tragically because this situation ends up giving the right, on the balance of arguments, an advantage in terms of reasonableness.

The PL and the arguments in its defense are also bad for this reason. Otherwise, let's see.

The PL states that drivers are autonomous and when this assumption is established, what is accepted are the classical liberal values ​​of freedom, individualism and entrepreneurship. However, in a disguised way, it treats them as workers integrated into a category that must move in a spirit of solidarity and collectively, with the caveat that the collective organization advocated is not one that represents the effect of a spontaneous movement of the category but rather a link imposed from top to bottom, based on pre-conceived structures that are linked to the different logic of employment relationships.

This bipolar forecast makes the rejection of the union link alluded to in the PL coherent and, in a strategic way, but due to the content of the PL itself, it feeds and reinforces the right-wing arguments against unions, unionization and collective mobilization of workers, since artificialism and authoritarian capture constitute the basis of the designed link.

Furthermore, if the PL reaffirms to drivers that they are managed by autonomy, the maximum expression of free expression of will, they will then have good reasons to believe that social contributions, pre-fixed values ​​for the cost of work, cannot be imposed on them. or even limits on working hours.

The inconsistency of the PL, when dealing with this imaginary figure of the “self-employed person with rights”, but rights that, in fact, do not represent social inclusion and improvement of living and working conditions, in terms of what has been constitutionally guaranteed to workers in general, being, in fact, limitations to the free expression of will, ends up providing sufficient reasons for liberals and conservatives to invoke coherence and reasonableness to extract from the PL everything (even if it is very little or almost nothing) that overflows the condition of autonomy .

After all, unlike the institutional policies of this bureaucratized left, long guided by the logic of the lesser evil or the circumstantially possible, the right is not satisfied with little. And it is important to understand this tragic difference in horizons: this part of the left says that the PL is the maximum that can be achieved (and, concretely, it is already several steps backwards); while the right, already having in its favor the steps taken by the left, envisages further steps, as far as greed can reach, even if, in order to do so, lives and the planet itself are destroyed.

This, in fact, forces us to explain how unfeasible the objectives of the right are. On the other hand, it does not lead us to believe that simply being resistant to destruction can be our horizon for a life and socialization project.

In the context of the previously drawn horizon delimitation lines, from the left, already at its maximum, and from the right, with a field to be expanded, the only result that can be achieved in the legislative process, especially if considered the so-called “correlation of forces in the Congress”, is at the worst of the PL, notably in the aspect of expanding the same logic of full autonomy to other categories of workers.

And the worst of all is that bearing in mind governability, based on class conciliation, the horizon of lesser evil, the disregard for carrying out critical analyzes and the abandonment of utopias, what is announced is that they could come, at the hands of government and with the support of left-wing parties and workers' unions, other regulatory initiatives with the same logic as the fight against CLT.

Perhaps in this way, who knows, President Lula will fulfill his promise, made during the campaign, in yet another moment of rhetorical carelessness, to revoke the labor “reform”, since, with the approval of the PL and the reverberation of its neoliberal rationality by voice of union representations, in particular, all labor legislation will cease to exist.

Jorge Luiz Souto Maior is a professor of labor law at the Faculty of Law at USP. Author, among other books, of Moral damage in employment relationships (Studio editors). []

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