What capitalism does so excellently

Pandemic


Gig economy

Because of course they are:

It’s fucked up that there will be struggling working-class people who will be drawn to gigs like furniture-hauling or process-serving for a company like Civvl, evicting fellow working-class people from their homes so they themselves can make rent.[1]

But some do it.[2] They will undoubtedly rationalize it, saying among other things that they have families to support. Because this is what capitalism does so very excellently: Pit subaltern people against each other,[3] just as elites need done to protect their own positions and privileges.[4]

In its Craigslist ads, posted across the country, Civvl explains the opportunity plainly: “There is plenty of work due to the dismal economy.”

“Unemployment is at a record high and many cannot or simply are not paying rent and mortgages,” the ads state. “We are being contracted by frustrated property owners and banks to secure foreclosed residential properties.”

Civvl aims to marry the gig economy with the devastation of a pandemic, complete with signature gig startup language like “be your own boss,” and “flexible hours,” and “looking for self-motivated individuals with positive attitudes:” “FASTEST GROWING MONEY MAKING GIG DUE TO COVID-19,” its website says. “Literally thousands of process servers are needed in the coming months due courts being backed up in judgements that needs to be served to defendants.”[5]

Landlords are pursuing evictions despite[6] a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ban.[7]

But most of these management companies, they’re not necessarily evicting people through courts. They’re just evicting people through pressure. So that’s why I see a company like [Civvl] would be coming in.[8]

“Civvl’s marketing language that portrays underwater tenants and homeowners as scammers looking for an excuse to skip out on their obligations is not only factually inaccurate, but plays into a general victim-blaming PR myth perpetuated by the real estate industry to justify their exploitative business practices.”

For a company like Civvl to merely exist, the [Autonomous Tenants Union] said, is “a frank admission that our housing system is predicated on violence.”[9]

John Kingston, “Uber/Postmates Driver Loses Court Challenge To California’s AB5 Law,” Yahoo!, September 21, 2020, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/uber-postmates-driver-loses-court-160318843.html

Ashwin Rodrigues, “Gig Economy Company Launches Uber, But for Evicting People,” Vice, September 21, 2020, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep435n/gig-economy-company-launches-uber-but-for-evicting-people


Supreme Court

I had suspected that Nancy Pelosi’s quiver was empty when “pressed again on what Democrats may do [to forestall Republicans from confirming Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement before the election], the House speaker said: ‘We have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now.’”[10] And sure enough, it is essentially limited to threats,[11] which one might suspect are empty.

Paul Kane and Rachael Bade, “Democrats largely powerless to stop GOP from confirming Trump’s court choice,” Washington Post, September 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/senate-trump-court-democrats/2020/09/21/12295b82-fc1c-11ea-9ceb-061d646d9c67_story.html


  1. [1]Helena Duncan, quoted in Ashwin Rodrigues, “Gig Economy Company Launches Uber, But for Evicting People,” Vice, September 21, 2020, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep435n/gig-economy-company-launches-uber-but-for-evicting-people
  2. [2]Ashwin Rodrigues, “Gig Economy Company Launches Uber, But for Evicting People,” Vice, September 21, 2020, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep435n/gig-economy-company-launches-uber-but-for-evicting-people
  3. [3]Indeed, neoliberals posit that the only organizations that should generally be subject to antitrust action are labor unions: Daniel Stedman Jones, Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 2012).
  4. [4]David Benfell, “We ‘need to know how it works,’” Not Housebroken, March 19, 2012, https://disunitedstates.org/2012/03/19/we-need-to-know-how-it-works/
  5. [5]Ashwin Rodrigues, “Gig Economy Company Launches Uber, But for Evicting People,” Vice, September 21, 2020, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep435n/gig-economy-company-launches-uber-but-for-evicting-people
  6. [6]Ashwin Rodrigues, “Gig Economy Company Launches Uber, But for Evicting People,” Vice, September 21, 2020, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep435n/gig-economy-company-launches-uber-but-for-evicting-people
  7. [7]John Fritze and Nicholas Wu, “Trump administration announces nationwide eviction moratorium through end of the year,” USA Today, September 1, 2020, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/09/01/trump-imposes-eviction-moratorium-because-covid-19-pandemic/5686402002/
  8. [8]Javier Ruiz, quoted in Ashwin Rodrigues, “Gig Economy Company Launches Uber, But for Evicting People,” Vice, September 21, 2020, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep435n/gig-economy-company-launches-uber-but-for-evicting-people
  9. [9]Ashwin Rodrigues, “Gig Economy Company Launches Uber, But for Evicting People,” Vice, September 21, 2020, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep435n/gig-economy-company-launches-uber-but-for-evicting-people
  10. [10]Nicky Robertson, “Pelosi says she will not leverage government shutdown to avoid Senate vote on court seat,” CNN, September 20, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/20/politics/pelosi-government-shutdown-supreme-court-seat/index.html
  11. [11]Paul Kane and Rachael Bade, “Democrats largely powerless to stop GOP from confirming Trump’s court choice,” Washington Post, September 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/senate-trump-court-democrats/2020/09/21/12295b82-fc1c-11ea-9ceb-061d646d9c67_story.html

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