Jodi Dean at the Los Angeles Review of Books:
At a rally in 2019, California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced, “When you hear about folks talking about the new economy, the gig economy, the innovation economy, it’s fucking feudalism all over again.” Rendon was there to support legislation classifying most gig workers as employees rather than independent contractors. Assembly Bill 5 was intended to bring gig workers under the protection of existing California labor laws, and the bill passed. But the following year, California voters chose feudalism: they approved Proposition 22, a ballot measure heavily funded by Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart, that would exempt app-based drivers from the labor protections that Assembly Bill 5 tried to secure. In March 2023, a state appellate court upheld Prop 22. By making exceptions for the big transportation and delivery apps, by saying that employment laws do not apply to them, California is entrenching the labor relations—the feudalism—that Rendon warned against.