work on stage

Image: Pedro Cordero
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By DANIELE BARBOSA*

The App Workers on Scene project aims to make the voices of male and female workers on digital platforms appear in the main scene

With the advance of politically induced precariousness2 in Brazil, we are watching uberization become a model for labor relations. Faced with this serious situation, a question arises: how to find ways to resist this neoliberal project of destruction of rights, which accelerated with the Labor Reform of 2017?

Among the possible forms of resistance, the construction of the column Workers of Apps on the scene sought to “reconsider the restrictive ways through which the “public sphere” has been uncritically proposed by those who assume full access and full rights of appearance in a designated platform.”3 Considering Judith Butler's warning that the media select what and who can appear4 and that “the highly regulated field of appearance does not admit everyone, demarcating zones where it is expected that many do not appear”5, the App Workers on Scene project had the purpose of making the voices of male and female workers on digital platforms appear in the main scene, calling into question the framing commonly produced by the mainstream media.6

After publishing a survey7 in which I sought to make a diagnosis about the ongoing political project in Brazil for drivers on digital platforms, I proposed, in 2021, to professors from different areas of knowledge and from different Brazilian universities that they formulate a single question for the collective construction of a series of interviews to be carried out with drivers and couriers on digital platforms.

The idea was to put the academy in the construction of questions and listening to the voices of those who work in uberized conditions. As a result, academics, who are often invited to speak, when formulating questions, moved to the place of not knowing and listening. The option was to publish a single interview8 per week, because it was necessary to listen carefully to the unique experiences of the interviewees. It was imperative that these voices circulate in a statement that the lives of workers on digital platforms matter.

With the gym, but beyond it! This is how the project continued in 2022. At this stage, in addition to academics, I sought dialogue with judges, prosecutors and lawyers, in a bet that it was necessary to obtain institutional advances, since the fight against politically induced precariousness must also involve those who work in the Labor Court, in the unions and the defense of human rights. With the publication of reports from the column by the National Association of Magistrates of Labor Justice (ANAMATRA), the scope of listening to the voices of workers on digital platforms was expanded to within the Judiciary.

In the scene built in the media, by the alliance of workers on digital platforms, universities and jurists, we hear the working and living conditions of drivers and delivery people on digital platforms. Issues related to the regulation of work on digital platforms, which is currently being discussed in Brazil, were addressed, such as: self-entrepreneurship; conditions of subjectivation; social solidarity; cooperativism and employment relationship; city ​​and racial issue; struggle of social movements; gender; pandemic and work; strike; minimum income; risk transfer; time available; entrepreneurship and collective organization; platform liability; future of working life; regulation; accident; music and suffering at work; exploitation at work; isolation and time; struggles and rights; future perspective; strategies for equality; work identity; new form of contradiction between capital and work; work per application; algorithm; popular education; metamorphosis or collapse of the world of work; forms of organization and struggle; labor rights; gender and work; cost composition; expropriation and indebtedness; solidarity and resistance; work control; gender discrimination; racial discrimination and evaluation. By affirming the existence, leadership and non-leadership of drivers and couriers on digital platforms − because no life can be neglected − they produced important knowledge about the uberization of work in Brazil.

Building the App Workers project on the scene in the media was essential to establish a great public hearing. Pains in circulation, joys too. Lives in circulation! Listening to what male and female workers on digital platforms have to say, opening a dialogue with society, is to enable political recognition of these lives, which are often disregarded. It is also to say that the public space, to be democratic, must also be built by the voices of workers on digital platforms.

*Daniele Barbosa, lawyer, is the founder of Rede Trabalho em Cena. author of the book Politically induced precariousness and the self-entrepreneur in the case of Uber (Lumen Juris).

Notes


2BARBOSA, Danielle. Politically induced precariousness and the self-entrepreneur in the Uber case: From a perspective of dialogue between Butler, Dardot and Laval. RJ: Lumen Juris, 2020.

3BUTLER, Judith. Bodies in alliance and street politics: notes for a performative theory of assembly. RJ: Brazilian Civilization, 2018, p. 14.

4Ibidem, P. 62.

5Ibidem, P. 42.

6BARBOSA, op. cit., p. 100.

7BARBOSA, op. cit.

8Available in https://jornalggn.com.br/?s=TRABALHADORES+DE+APPS+EM+CENA


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