industryterm:transportation

  • Connecticut legislators to consider minimum pay for Uber and Lyft drivers - Connecticut Post
    https://www.ctpost.com/politics/article/Connecticut-legislators-to-consider-minimum-pay-13608071.php

    By Emilie Munson, February 11, 2019 - Prompted by growing numbers of frustrated Uber and Lyft drivers, lawmakers will hold a hearing on establishing minimum pay for app-based drivers.

    After three separate legislative proposals regarding pay for drivers flooded the Labor and Public Employees Committee, the committee will raise the concept of driver earnings as a bill, said state Rep. Robyn Porter, D-New Haven, who chairs the committee, on Friday night.

    A coalition of Uber and Lyft drivers from New Haven has been pressuring lawmakers to pass a pay standard, following New York City’s landmark minimum pay ordinance for app-based drivers approved in December. The legislation, which set an earnings floor of $17.22 an hour for the independent contractors, took effect on Feb. 1.

    Connecticut drivers have no minimum pay guarantees.

    Guillermo Estrella, who drives for Uber, worked about 60 hours per week last year and received $25,422.65 in gross pay. His pay stub doesn’t reflect how much Estrella paid for insurance, gas, oil changes and wear-and-tear on his car. Factor those expenses in, and the Branford resident said his yearly take-home earnings were about $18,000 last year.

    Estrella and other New Haven drivers have suggested bill language to cap the portion of riders’ fares that Uber and Lyft can take at 25 percent, with the remaining 75 percent heading to drivers’ pockets. The idea has already received pushback from Uber, which said it was unrealistic given their current pay structure.

    Connecticut legislators have suggested two other models for regulating driver pay. State Sen. Steve Cassano, D-Manchester, filed a bill to set a minimum pay rate per mile and per minute for drivers. His bill has not assigned numbers to those minimums yet.

    “What (drivers) were making when Uber started and got its name, they are not making that anymore,” said Cassano. “The company is taking advantage of the success of the company. I understand that to a point, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of the drivers.”

    State Rep. Peter Tercyak, D-New Britain, proposed legislation that says if drivers’ earnings do not amount to hourly minimum wage payments, Uber or Lyft should have to kick in the difference. Connecticut’s minimum wage is now $10.10, although Democrats are making a strong push this year to raise it.

    As lawmakers consider these proposals, they will confront issues raised by the growing “gig economy”: a clash between companies seeking thousands of flexible, independent contractors and a workforce that wants the benefits and rights of traditional, paid employment.

    Some Democrats at the Capitol support the changes that favor drivers.

    “I thought it was important to make sure our labor laws are keeping up with the changes we are seeing in this emerging gig economy, that we have sufficient safeguards to make sure that drivers are not being exploited,” said Sen. Matt Lesser, D-Middletown.

    But the proposals also raise broad, difficult questions like what protections does a large independent contractor workforce need? And how would constraining the business model of Uber and Lyft impact service availability around the state?

    Sen. Craig Miner, a Republican of Litchfield who sits on the Labor committee, wondered why Uber and Lyft drivers should have guaranteed pay, when other independent contractors do not. How would this impact the tax benefits realized by independent contractors, he asked.

    Uber and Lyft declined to provide data on how many drivers they have in the state, and the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles does not keep count. In Connecticut, 82 percent of Lyft drivers drive fewer than 20 hours per week, said Kaelan Richards, a Lyft spokesperson.

    Last week, Hearst Connecticut Media spoke to 20 Uber and Lyft drivers in New Haven who are demanding lawmakers protect their pay. All drove full-time for Uber or Lyft or both.

    An immigrant from Ecuador, Estrella, the Branford driver, struggles to pay for rent and groceries for his pregnant wife and seven-year-old son using his Uber wages.

    “A cup of coffee at the local Starbucks cost $3 or $4,” said Estrella. “How can a trip can cost $3 when you have to drive to them five minutes away and drop them off after seven or eight minutes?”

    In December, 50 Uber and Lyft drivers held a strike in New Haven demanding better pay. The New Haven drivers last week said they are planning more strikes soon.

    “Why is Uber lowering the rates and why do we have to say yes to keep working?” asked Carlos Gomez, a Guilford Uber driver, last week.

    The drivers believe Uber and Lyft are decreasing driver pay and taking a larger chunk of rider fares for company profits. Many New Haven drivers said pay per mile has been decreasing. They liked Sen. Cassano’s idea of setting minimum pay per mile and per minute.

    “The payment by mile, it went down by 10 cents,” said Rosanna Olan, a driver from West Haven. “Before it was more than one dollar and now when you have a big truck SUV, working long distance especially is not worth it anymore.”

    Uber and Lyft both declined to provide pay rates per mile and per minute for drivers. Drivers are not paid for time spent driving to pick up a passenger, nor for time spent idling waiting for a ride, although the companies’ model depends on having drivers ready to pick up passengers at any moment.

    Lyft said nationally drivers earn an average of $18.83 an hour, but did not provide Connecticut specific earnings.

    “Our goal has always been to empower drivers to get the most out of Lyft, and we look forward to continBy Emilie Munson Updated 4:49 pm EST, Monday, February 11, 2019uing to do so in Connecticut, and across the country," said Rich Power, public policy manager at Lyft.

    Uber discouraged lawmakers from considering the drivers’ proposal of capping the transportation companies’ cut of rider fares. Uber spokesman Harry Hartfield said the idea wouldn’t work because Uber no longer uses the “commission model” — that stopped about two years ago.

    “In order to make sure we can provide customers with an up-front price, driver fares are not tied to what the rider pays,” said Hartfield. “In fact, on many trips drivers actually make more money than the rider pays.”

    What the rider is pays to Uber is an estimated price, calculated before the ride starts, Hartfield explained, while the driver receives from Uber a fare that is calculated based on actual drive time and distance. Changing the model could make it hard to give customers up-front pricing and “lead to reduced price transparency,” Hartfield said. New York’s changes raised rates for riders.

    James Bhandary-Alexander, a New Haven Legal Assistance attorney who is working with the drivers, said Uber’s current pay model is “irrelevant to how drivers want to be paid for the work.”

    “The reason that drivers care is it seems fundamentally unfair that the rider is willing to pay or has paid $100 for the ride and the driver has only gotten $30 or $40 of that,” he said.

    Pursuing any of the three driver-pay proposals would bring Uber and Lyft lobbyists back to the Capitol, where they negotiated legislation spearheaded by Rep. Sean Scanlon, D-Guilford, from 2015 to 2017.

    Scanlon said the companies eventually favored the bill passed in 2017, which, after some compromise, required drivers have insurance, limited “surge pricing,” mandated background checks for drivers, imposed a 25 cent tax collected by the state and stated passengers must be picked up and delivered anywhere without discrimination.

    “One of my biggest regrets about that bill, which I think is really good for consumers in Connecticut, is that we didn’t do anything to try to help the driver,” said Scanlon, who briefly drove for Uber.
    By Emilie Munson Updated 4:49 pm EST, Monday, February 11, 2019
    emunson@hearstmediact.com; Twitter: @emiliemunson

    #USA #Uber #Connecticut #Mindestlohn #Klassenkampf

  • Federal judge rules Uber calling its drivers independent contractors may violate antitrust and harm competition / Boing Boing
    https://boingboing.net/2019/06/21/labor-uber.html

    A federal judge has ruled that alleged misclassification of drivers as independent contractors by the ride-hailing service app Uber could harm competition and violate the spirit of America’s antitrust laws.

    • Lawsuit says misclassifying workers creates competitive harm
    • 30 days to amend complaint with new information

    The ruling by Judge Edward Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is not a final decision in the case, but is a “significant warning to ride-hailing companies,” Bloomberg News reports.

    “It signals how a 2018 California Supreme Court case and future worker classification laws could open the floodgates to worker misclassification and antitrust claims.”

    Uber’s Worker Business Model May Harm Competition, Judge Says
    https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/ubers-worker-business-model-may-harm-competition-judge-says

    Uber’s Worker Business Model May Harm Competition, Judge Says
    Posted June 21, 2019
    Suit: Misclassifying workers produces competitive harm
    Complaint must be amended within 30 days with new information
    Uber‘s alleged misclassification of drivers as independent contractors could significantly harm competition and violate the spirit of antitrust laws, a federal judge ruled.

    The ruling, although not a final decision in the case, is a significant warning to ride-hailing companies. It signals how a 2018 California Supreme Court case and future worker classification laws could open the floodgates to worker misclassification and antitrust claims.

    Judge Edward Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California declined to dismiss all of the claims brought against Uber by Los Angeles-based transportation service Diva Limousine, saying the company established a causal link between Uber’s behavior and real economic harm being felt by competitors.

    Driver misclassification could save Uber as much as $500 million annually just in California, according to Diva’s lawyers.

    “Diva’s allegations support the inference that Uber could not have undercut market prices to the same degree without misclassifying its drivers to skirt significant costs,” the judge wrote in the June 20 ruling.

    Unlike employees, independent contractors aren’t entitled to benefits such as health care, unemployment insurance, minimum wages, and overtime.

    An attorney for Diva said he was pleased with the court’s decision and that it was a warning that the company couldn’t skirt California labor laws.

    “There’s an acknowledgement here that Uber not only harms its drivers but also that its conduct crosses the line from robust competition to unfair competition,” said attorney Aaron Sheanin of Robins Kaplan LLP. “And that injures its competitiors, including Diva.”

    Uber didn’t return a request for comment.

    Overall, Uber was only able to get part of Diva’s complaint fully dismissed—specifically, its claims under the state’s Unfair Practices Act. Diva’s claims under the California Unfair Competition Law can proceed once it amends its complaint to address jurisdictional issues and other legal arguments.

    Diva’s lawyers have 30 days to refile an updated complaint which is likely to move forward given the judge’s ruling that the claims have merit.

    The ruling was based in part from language drawn from the California Supreme Court’s April 2018 ruling in Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court. That decision made it harder for California employers to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees. It also condemns misclassification as a type of unfair competition.

    Uber identified Dynamex in regulatory filings as a long-term potential risk factor for its business success.

    The case is Diva Limousine, Ltd. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., N.D. Cal., No. 3:18-cv-05546, Order Issued 6/20/19.

    #USA #Uber #Wettbewerb #Monopol #Urteil #Justiz

  • Hundreds of Uber Drivers in Toronto Are Joining a Union
    https://gizmodo.com/hundreds-of-uber-drivers-in-toronto-are-joining-a-union-1835878097

    In a growing number of cities where rideshare platforms operate, drivers are fed up with the low pay, long hours, and lack of basic worker protections that shlepping strangers around entails. In the U.S., this has led to large, coordinated protests and attempts to game the system to achieve a living wage. Canadian drivers, however, took a more traditional route: signing union cards.

    First announced on Monday, Uber drivers based in Toronto expressed their intention to join the United Food and Commercial Workers, a 250,000-strong trade union which operates in both Canada and the U.S. The actual number of drivers who had signed cards was not released, but during a press conference this afternoon, UFCW Canada staffer Pablo Godoy claimed their support had hit the “high hundreds” and were growing rapidly.

    As with grassroots groups like Rideshare Drivers United, the hope is to bring Uber’s work standards into closer parity with that of traditional cabs by upholding the regional minimum wage, sick day, vacation, and break standards, as well as an overhaul of the deactivation system that effectively allows Uber to fire drivers without recourse. “These are human rights, and all drivers deserve this basic level of respect,” Ejaz Butt, a local driver, said today.

    What makes Ontario an interesting test bed is that by signing with UFCW, drivers are effectively shooting first and asking questions later—which may end up being the wiser tactic. “Today is the beginning of a process that we’re embarking on. The first step of that process is to call Uber come to the table,” Godoy said, though he readily admits Uber has yet to offer a response. (For whatever it’s worth, Gizmodo also reached out to Uber for comment on Monday and has also not received a reply.) The same business model that allows Uber to consider its drivers independent contractors rather than employees exists in Canada just as it does in the U.S., and Uber is certain to defend its claim vociferously if it’s forced to acknowledge a threat to said claim at all.

    At the moment, the UFCW-signed drivers in Canada’s largest city are not certified as a union, and matters may be further complicated by the fact that most rideshare drivers operate on multiple platforms concurrently. “Having multiple employers does not mean that you’re not an employee of the company that you drive or work for,” Godoy stated, but it may still pose representation issues down the line.

    Currently, Toronto’s city government is weighing how to balance the interests of rideshare and cab companies—something New York already had a protracted fight over, eventually ruling in favor of drivers. Ultimately, Godoy told the press that “we believe Uber will listen to the concerns.”

    Toronto Uber drivers join the union - UFCW Canada – MEDIA CONFERENCE ALERT
    https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/06/24/1873334/0/en/Toronto-Uber-drivers-join-the-union-UFCW-Canada-MEDIA-CONFERENCE-ALER

    TORONTO, June 24, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Hundreds of Uber drivers in Toronto have joined UFCW Canada (United Food and Commercial Workers union), the country’s leading private-sector union. On Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 11 a.m., Uber drivers and their union will hold a media conference at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel to discuss the challenges Uber drivers face, and the redress they and their union are seeking from Uber. 

    Uber drivers don’t get paid sick days, vacation days or extended health coverage, and must cover their own fuel and repair costs. A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute calculated that after costs, most Uber drivers earned less than $10 an hour. “Uber calls us partners, but we have absolutely no say about our working conditions, or even being able to take a bathroom break,” says Ejaz Butt, who works for Uber and helped start the union drive. “We know we make a lot of money for Uber but in return we get treated like we don’t matter.” Butt and other Uber drivers will be at the June 26th Toronto media conference.

    “Companies like UBER, who can hire and fire drivers and fully dictate the terms of employment should be held accountable for the well-being of their employees,” says Paul Meinema, the National President of UFCW Canada. “Uber is the employer. The drivers are employees. The technology is just a management tool and the company should adhere to the labour laws,” says the UFCW Canada leader, who will also be participating in the June 26th media conference in Toronto.

    About UFCW Canada: UFCW Canada represents more than 250,000 union members across the country working in food retail and processing, transportation, health, logistics, warehousing, agriculture, hospitality, manufacturing, security and professional sectors. UFCW Canada is the country’s most innovative organization dedicated to building fairness in workplaces and communities. UFCW Canada members are your neighbours who work at your local grocery stores, hotels, airport food courts, taxi firms, car rental agencies, nursing homes, restaurants, food processing plants and thousands of other locations across the country. To find out more about UFCW and its ground-breaking work, visit www.ufcw.ca.

    CONTACT:
    Pablo Godoy
    National Coordinator, Gig and Platform-Employer Initiatives
    416-675-1104, extension 2236
    pablo.godoy@ufcw.ca
    www.ufcw.ca

    #Kanada #Uber #Gewerkschaft

  • https://eand.co/half-of-americans-are-effectively-poor-now-what-the-c944c518db6a

    via @julien1

    There are days I feel like I read dystopian statistics for a living. And then there are day when the dystopian statistics take even my jaded breath away. Here’s one: 43% of American households can’t afford a budget that includes housing, food, childcare, healthcare, transportation, and a cellphone. Translation: nearly half of Americans can’t afford the basics of life anymore.

    Déjà dans les années 80 quand je vivais aux États-Unis j’avais le sentiment d’un pays pauvre.

  • How New York could respond to the taxi medallion lending crisis | CSNY
    https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/policy/infrastructure/how-new-york-could-respond-to-taxi-medallion-lending-crisis.html

    Experts and lawmakers weigh in on easing the pain of burdened medallion owners and preventing predatory lending in the future.
    By ANNIE MCDONOUGH
    MAY 22, 2019

    After a two-part New York Times investigation into predatory lending practices for taxi medallions delineated how industry leaders and government agencies participated in, encouraged or ignored risky lending, calls for action sprang forth – sometimes from the very same officials or agencies that had been asleep at the switch.

    Various deceptive or exploitative lending practices contributed to the rise and precipitous fall of taxi medallions in New York City. Medallions worth $200,000 in 2002 rose to more than $1 million in 2014, before crashing to less than $200,000. The bubble was inflated by loans made without down payments, requirements that loans had to be paid back in three years or extended with inflated interest rates, and interest-only loans that required borrowers to forfeit legal rights and give up much of their income. Borrowers – typically low-income, immigrant drivers – were left in the lurch when the bubble burst, an event that the taxi industry has long blamed primarily on the rise of app-based ride hail services like Uber and Lyft. While the rise of app-based ride hail did contribute to the now-ailing taxi industry, the revelations in the Times show government officials – including the Taxi and Limousine Commission which acted as a “cheerleader” for medallion sales – ignored the warning signs.

    Since Sunday, when the first Times story was published, New York Attorney General Letitia James has announced an inquiry into the business and lending practices that “may have created” the crisis, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a joint probe by the TLC, Department of Finance and Department of Consumer Affairs into the brokers who helped arrange the loans, Sen. Chuck Schumer called for an investigation into the credit unions involved in the lending, and members of the New York City Council and state Legislature, and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, have called for hearings and legislation to resolve the issue.

    The various proposals raised thus far are unlikely to fully address the damage caused to many medallion owners, some experts say. The Times investigation found that since 2016, more than 950 taxi drivers have filed for bankruptcy, with thousands more still suffering under the crippling loans. This is combined with a string of taxi and other professional drivers who have committed suicide in the past year and a half.

    Some of the solutions offered have focused on preventing the kind of reckless lending practices exhibited for taxi medallions. Stringer called on state lawmakers to close a loophole that allows lenders to classify their loans as business deals – as opposed to consumer loans, which have more protections for borrowers. A bill introduced last week by state Sen. Jessica Ramos would also establish a program to assist medallion owners who are unable to obtain financing, refinancing or restructuring of an existing loan through a loan loss reserve. State Sen. James Sanders and Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, who chair the state Legislature’s committees on banks, declined to comment.

    But classifying loans for medallions as consumer loans might not be appropriate, said Bruce Schaller, a transportation expert and former deputy commissioner at the New York City Department of Transportation. “I think the difficult question with the individual drivers is that they are in business, they are planning to make money off of their increase in medallion prices. Should they have the same protections as someone who is taking out a mortgage on a house, who is presumed to be very vulnerable?” he asked. “That may well be the case, but (drivers) are also in a business in a way that the prospective homeowner isn’t.”

    The TLC told the Times that it is the responsibility of bank examiners to control lending practices, while the state Department of Financial Services said that it supervised some of the banks involved, but often deferred to federal inspectors. “The TLC is gravely concerned that unsound lending practices have hurt taxi drivers and has raised these concerns publicly,” Acting Commissioner Bill Heinzen said in an emailed statement. “Banks and credit unions are regulated by federal agencies that have substantial oversight powers that the TLC does not have. The TLC has taken steps within our regulatory power to help owners and drivers by easing regulatory burdens and working with City Council to limit the number of for-hire vehicles on the road. We have pushed banks to restructure loan balances and payment amounts to reflect actual trip revenue.”

    Seth Stein, a spokesman for de Blasio, also mentioned interest in preventing risky lending practices. “We are deeply concerned about predatory lending in the medallion business,” Stein wrote in an email. “While TLC has no direct regulatory oversight over lenders – that is squarely under the purview of federal regulators – we continue to look for every means of helping owners and drivers make ends meet. We’ve discontinued medallion sales, secured a cap on app-based for-hire-vehicles, and we strongly urge federal regulators to do more as well.”

    But remedies at the federal level may not be realistic, according to David King, a professor of urban planning at Arizona State University, with a speciality in transportation and land use planning. “There doesn’t seem to be any appetite for what would be reasonable lending standards. Reasonable standards that would include verifiable collateral or values that were based on something other than made-up dollar amounts,” King said, adding that he doesn’t see those changes being made under the current administration. “The housing bubble of 11 years ago, I think that was a sufficiently national concern that has inspired some movement from Washington. Whereas I think something like an asset bubble in New York, just like an asset bubble in one region, isn’t going to be enough to spur federal legislation.”

    Schaller said that while lending regulation fixes could be beneficial for preventing this kind of crisis in other industries, there’s action that can be taken now by the city to alleviate some pain. “The real question is, if the city now decides that they were part of the fraud, then they should refund the money,” he said. “It’s one thing to close a loophole, it’s another thing to decide that you need to make restitution.”

    City Councilman Mark Levine, who has been working on legislation along those lines for nearly a year, agreed that the city needs to take responsibility. “There has been a lot of attention to the whole industry of lenders and brokers who push these loans on the drivers in ways that were not transparent and really deceived them, and may very well constitute some sort of legal fraud,” he said. “But the city itself also bears responsibility for this, because we were selling medallions with the goal of bringing in revenue to the city and we were promoting them and pumping them up in ways that I think masks the true risks that drivers were taking on. And, most egregiously, we had a round of sales in 2014 when it was abundantly clear that we were headed for a price drop, because by that point app-based competitors had emerged and there were other challenges.”

    Levine’s vision for immediately helping those drivers still suffering under unsustainable loans would involve the city acquiring the loans from lenders who either cannot or will not be flexible with borrowers, and then forgiving the debts. Though the bill hasn’t been introduced yet, the idea is to partially finance the buy-back by placing a surcharge on app-based ride-hail companies like Uber and Lyft. Levine’s office is still working on confirming that the City Council would have the authority to levy that kind of surcharge. If it doesn’t, they would encourage that action be taken in Albany.

    But, as the Times’ investigation into the issue has revealed, much of the damage to drivers and medallion owners has already been done – including to the hundreds of medallion owners who have declared bankruptcy. “If someone paid $800,000 for a medallion loan and paid part of that off, and has had their house repossessed, now Mark Levine is saying, ‘well, we’ll just refund whatever’s left dangling out there,’” Schaller said. “If I were on the losing end of that bargain, I’d say I want my $800,000 back.”

    The idea of a buy-back, Levine admitted, is not a perfect solution, but it’s one he said can help the thousands of medallion owners stuck right now. “It would not address that kind of horrible, horrible hardship,” he said, referring to those owners who have forfeited assets and sustained other losses.

    If there’s any upside to the stories relayed in the Times about medallion owners financially devastated by bad loans and the failing taxi industry, it may be that it’s a call to action – even if it’s coming too late for some. “It’s had a dramatic impact on the interest in the Council about finding solutions,” Levine said of the heavy punch packed by the Times’ investigation. “It gives new impetus to this effort, which is good, because it’s complicated, and it’s going to require a political push to make it happen. The revelations in this article made that more likely.”

    Annie McDonough is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.

    #USA #New_York #Taxi #Betrug #Ausbeutung

  • Hundreds of Europeans ‘criminalised’ for helping migrants – as far right aims to win big in European elections

    Elderly women, priests and firefighters among those arrested, charged or ‘harassed’ by police for supporting migrants, with numbers soaring in the past 18 months.

    These cases – compiled from news reports and other records from researchers, NGOs and activist groups, as well as new interviews across Europe – suggest a sharp increase in the number of people targeted since the start of 2018. At least 100 people were arrested, charged or investigated last year (a doubling of that figure for the preceding year).


    https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/5050/hundreds-of-europeans-criminalised-for-helping-migrants-new-data-show
    #délit_de_solidarité #solidarité #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Europe
    #Allemagne #criminalisation #statistiques #chiffres #Suisse #Danemark #Espagne #France #journalisme #journalistes #presse #Grèce #Calais

    #Norbert_Valley #Christian_Hartung #Miguel_Roldan #Lise_Ramslog #Claire_Marsol #Anouk_Van_Gestel #Lisbeth_Zornig_Andersen #Daphne_Vloumidi #Mikael_Lindholm #Fernand_Bosson #Benoit_Duclois #Mussie_Zerai #Manuel_Blanco #Tom_Ciotkowski #Rob_Lawrie

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Opinion | America’s Cities Are Unlivable. Blame Wealthy Liberals. - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/22/opinion/california-housing-nimby.html

    To live in California at this time is to experience every day the cryptic phrase that George W. Bush once used to describe the invasion of Iraq: “Catastrophic success.” The economy here is booming, but no one feels especially good about it. When the cost of living is taken into account, billionaire-brimming California ranks as the most poverty-stricken state, with a fifth of the population struggling to get by. Since 2010, migration out of California has surged.

    The basic problem is the steady collapse of livability. Across my home state, traffic and transportation is a developing-world nightmare. Child care and education seem impossible for all but the wealthiest. The problems of affordable housing and homelessness have surpassed all superlatives — what was a crisis is now an emergency that feels like a dystopian showcase of American inequality.

    #états-unis #Californie #succès_catastrophique #pauvreté #inégalité #dystopie

    • Just look at San Francisco, Nancy Pelosi’s city. One of every 11,600 residents is a billionaire, and the annual household income necessary to buy a median-priced home now tops $320,000. Yet the streets there are a plague of garbage and needles and feces, and every morning brings fresh horror stories from a “Black Mirror” hellscape

      Democrats on the 2020 presidential trail rarely mention their ideas for housing affordability, an issue eating American cities alive. I watched Joe Biden’s campaign kick off the other day; the only house he mentioned was the White House.

      What Republicans want to do with I.C.E. and border walls, wealthy progressive Democrats are doing with zoning and Nimbyism. Preserving “local character,” maintaining “local control,” keeping housing scarce and inaccessible — the goals of both sides are really the same: to keep people out.

      “We’re saying we welcome immigration, we welcome refugees, we welcome outsiders — but you’ve got to have a $2 million entrance fee to live here, otherwise you can use this part of a sidewalk for a tent,” said Brian Hanlon, president of the pro-density group California Yimby.

      #logement
      Comment le #pavillon détruit la planète et le contrat social

  • Millions of senior citizens can’t afford food — and they’re not all living in poverty - MarketWatch
    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/millions-of-senior-citizens-cant-afford-food-and-theyre-not-all-living-

    Two-thirds of hungry seniors have incomes above the federal poverty line
    Two-thirds of all hungry seniors (65.3%) have incomes above the federal poverty line ($12,140 a year, or $1,012 per month for a single person household in 2017). And younger seniors — aged 60 to 64 — are twice as likely to be food insecure as seniors who are 80 or older.

    While food insecurity is associated with income, it isn’t just limited to people living in poverty, researchers found. Some seniors end up skipping meals due to the high cost of health care, housing, utilities and transportation, the study suggests.

    #etats-unis #pauvreté #faim #précarité

  • Do transportation network companies decrease or increase congestion ?
    https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/5/eaau2670

    Transportation network companies (TNCs) have grown rapidly in recent years. In 2016, TNCs were 15% of all intra-San Francisco vehicle trips, which is 12 times the number of taxi trips (1), while in New York in 2016, TNC ridership equaled that of yellow cab and doubled annually between 2014 and 2016 (2). TNCs are on-demand ride services where rides are arranged through a mobile app to connect the passenger with a driver, often a private individual driving their personal vehicle (3). The (...)

    #Lyft #Uber #urbanisme

  • When a Town Takes Uber Instead of Public Transit - CityLab
    https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2019/04/innisfil-transit-ride-hailing-bus-public-transportation-uber/588154

    Ihr Gemeinde hat keine öffentliches Busnetz, sie brauchen aber eins? Kein Problem, Uber macht das. Sofort, unkompliziert, flexibel, alle sind froh. Dann kommt der Erfolg. Und dann wird es teuer. So geschehen in einer Gemeinde in Kanada.

    Will das jemand in Deutschland?

    Das Rechenexempel zeigt, dass es egal ist, wie der private vermittler oder Beförderer heißt. Öffenliche System werden mit zunehmendem Erfolg immer billiger, private immer teurer. Ergo sind private Anbieter gut für Zwischenlösungen bis zum Aufbau eines funktionsfähigen öffentlichen Nahverkehrssystems. Wer sie beauftragt, muss den Zeitpunkt des Wechsels zur öffentlichen Lösung von Anfang an planen, sonst schlägt die Kostenfalle zu.

    Noch dümmer ist es, wenn öffentliche Angebote privatisiert werden. Dann wird es auch bei eingeschänktem Service sofort teuer.

    LAURA BLISS APR 29, 2019 - Innisfil, Ontario, decided to partially subsidize ride-hailing trips rather than pay for a public bus system. It worked so well that now they have to raise fares and cap rides.

    In 2017, the growing Toronto exurb of Innisfil, Ontario, became one of the first towns in the world to subsidize Uber rides in lieu of a traditional bus. Riders could pay a flat fare of just $3-$5 to travel to community hubs in the backseat of a car, or get $5 off regular fares to other destinations in and around town.

    People loved it. By the end of the Uber program’s first full year of service, they were taking 8,000 trips a month. Riders like 20-year-old Holley Hudson, who works for daycare programs at YMCAs around the area, relied on it heavily, since she doesn’t drive. To get to the college course practicums she was taking when the service launched, “I used Ubers on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday basis,” she said.

    Now “Innisfil Transit” is changing its structure. As of April 1, flat fares for the city-brokered Ubers rose by $1. Trip discounts dropped to $4, and a 30-ride monthly cap was implemented. Town leaders say this will allow Innisfil to continue to cover costs.

    But Hudson and others see the changes as harmful, and a strange way of declaring success. As cities around the world turn to Uber, Lyft, and other apps as a quick fix for mobility service gaps, what’s now happening in Innisfil may be a good example of the risks.

    Innisfil’s journey with Uber began in 2015. Thickening traffic and an expanding population of seniors, students, and carless adults all signaled the need for some sort of shared mobility option in town. Just 45 minutes north of Toronto, the once-agricultural hamlet has recently ballooned in population, growing 17 percent from 2006 to 2016 to 37,000 residents.

    But as local leaders studied options for a fixed-route bus service, the cost/benefit analysis didn’t seem to add up. One bus to serve a projected 17,000 annual riders would cost $270,000 in Canadian dollars for the first year of service, or about $16 per passenger. And designing the system would be a drawn-out process.

    So instead, Innisfil did as so many people do when they’re in a hurry and facing a cumbersome bus ride: It hailed an Uber instead.

    “Rather than place a bus on the road to serve just a few residents, we’re moving ahead with a better service that can transport people from all across our town to wherever they need to go,” Gord Wauchope, then the mayor, said at the time.

    That logic is informing ride-hailing partnerships in dozens of communities across North America, all testing the notion that companies like Uber and Lyft can supplement or substitute for traditional service in some fashion. In certain cases, ride-hailing is replacing bus routes wholesale. In others, it’s responding to 911 calls, paratransit needs, and commuters traveling the last leg of a transit trip. Innisfil’s program was unique, in that the city branded the Uber partnership not as a complement to public transit, but as transit itself in a town without existing bus lines.

    Adoption of Innisfil Transit was fast and steady: The program racked up 86,000 rides in 2018. Nearly 70 percent of respondents to a city survey said that they were satisfied or more than satisfied with the new service—figures that would be the envy of any traditional public transit agency.

    But that popularity meant costs grew for the town. So now residents will have to cover more of their own trips. “It’s the growing ridership and popularity of the service,” town planner Paul Pentikainen said. “It’s been a great success, but there are also challenges with working with a budget.”

    “I would never get on a bus in Toronto and hear the driver say, ‘Sorry, but you’ve hit your cap.’”
    Normally, though, raising transit fares when ridership is growing is backwards logic. While passenger fares almost never cover the full cost of service, more passengers riding fixed-route buses and trains should shrink the per-capita public subsidy, at least until additional routes are added. On a well-designed mass transit system, the more people using it, the “cheaper” it gets.

    But the opposite is happening in Innisfil. Only so many passengers can fit in the backseat of an Uber, and the ride-hailing company, not the town, is pocketing most of the revenue. With per-capita costs essentially fixed, the town is forced to hike rates and cap trips as adoption grows. But this can create a perverse incentive: Fare bumps and ridership drops tend to go hand-in-hand on traditional systems.

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    The trip cap in particular bothers Hudson, who continues to rely on the Uber service as her primary mode of transportation. She expects that she’ll burn through her allotted 30 trips in a couple of weeks. The city has an application for residents to qualify for an extra 20 trips per month, but Hudson doesn’t plan to file. She’s opposed to the idea on principle.

    “I would never get on a bus in Toronto and hear the driver say, ‘Sorry, but you’ve hit your cap,’” Hudson said. “Uber was supposed to be our bus.”

    Hudson emailed town officials to complain about the new trip limit. In a reply, a city councillor named Donna Orsatti wrote that the cap had been implemented because “the system was being abused by those in the youth bracket who were using Uber at $3 to go to Starbucks (as an example), purchase a drink, then go back to school or meet their friends.”

    That sounded oddly judgmental to Hudson’s ears. And it’s not how public transit is supposed to work: “We shouldn’t be criticized for where we’re going,” she said.

    In an email to CityLab, Orsatti explained her intentions. The cap was never meant to restrict residents, but rather “to ensure it is available to all residents to allow them transportation to essential service areas,” she wrote. And Pentikainen acknowledged that, while the rate structure might work differently from traditional transit, Uber still makes more sense for Innisfil. The city’s subsidy for the program grew from $150,000 in 2017 to about $640,000 in 2018, and for 2019, it has allocated another $900,000. On a per trip basis, Pentikainen said, it’s still a lot cheaper than the projected bus costs, and more equitable.

    “It’s a service that the whole town has access to, versus providing a service that only those who can walk to bus stops can,” he said.

    Pentikainen says that—despite Orsatti’s email—no city report called out Starbucks-toting teens for “abusing” the system. But he did note that the cap was partly designed to discourage short-distance trips that can be accomplished on foot or bike for most people.

    According to an Uber spokesperson, the ride-hailing company also advised the city to implement the cap as a way to control costs.

    Uber has touted the success of the Innisfil program as it invites other cities to adopt its model. Part of the attraction is that ridership is sinking on public transit systems across North America, as on-demand transportation apps has boomed. City decision-makers sometimes opt for Lyft and Uber as a way to lure travelers back, or to cut costs on low-performing routes. In other cases, the rise of ride-hailing is used as a bad-faith justification for further slashing bus service.

    Success has been mixed for transit agency/ride-hailing marriages. Many programs have seen weak ridership, and cities can find themselves hamstrung in their ability to make adjustments, since ride-hailing companies are famously guarded about sharing trip data. Some, including Pinellas County, Florida, which subsidizes certain Uber trips, have heard complaints that municipal discounts don’t go very far as the on-demand transportation giant has raised its own fares.

    Now that both Uber and Lyft have filed initial public offerings, industry analysts predict that the costs of these services—which have been heavily subsidized by their billions in venture capital backing—will creep steadily upwards as public investors expect returns. And city governments and commuters who come to rely on ride-hailing as a social service won’t have much control.

    In Innisfil, Uber fares have held steady, according to Pentikainen. And the company has shared certain data upon request. As the city grows and ride-hailing services evolve, it will continue to evaluate the best way to mobilize its residents, Pentikainen said. Eventually, Innisfil might be interested in adopting Uber’s latest transit-like offering, which is called Uber Bus. Similar to the microtransit startup Via and its failed predecessors Chariot and Bridj, riders are scooped up in larger vans at designated locations on a schedule that is determined based on demand.

    And if Uber ever raised fares to the point where riders could no longer rationalize the costs, the city would go back to the drawing board. In some parts of town, Pentikainen said, they might even consider a regular fixed-route bus. “There are a range of ways to consider efficiencies from the town’s perspective,” he said. “All along, this was a starting point. We have to react along the way.”

    Still, the idea of further changes made in reaction to the app’s contingencies worries Hudson. That doesn’t sound like very reliable service for her, nor for the older people and students she sees riding in Ubers en route to school and doctor’s appointments. If Innisfil makes further tweaks, Hudson says she might consider getting her license in order to avoid the stress. But she fears more for what could happen to those who can’t.

    “Uber was supposed to be our public transit,” she said. “Now we have to think about whether we can take an Uber or not.”

    #Kanada #ÖPNV #Bus #Taxi #Uber #disruption #Rekommunalisierung

  • The Power Elite
    https://www1.udel.edu/htr/Psc105/Texts/power.html

    Thomas Dye, a political scientist, and his students have been studying the upper echelons of leadership in America since 1972. These “top positions” encompassed the posts with the authority to run programs and activities of major political, economic, legal, educational, cultural, scientific, and civic institutions. The occupants of these offices, Dye’s investigators found, control half of the nation’s industrial, communications, transportation, and banking assets, and two-thirds of all insurance assets. In addition, they direct about 40 percent of the resources of private foundations and 50 percent of university endowments. Furthermore, less than 250 people hold the most influential posts in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government, while approximately 200 men and women run the three major television networks and most of the national newspaper chains.

    Facts like these, which have been duplicated in countless other studies, suggest to many observers that power in the United States is concentrated in the hands of a single power elite. Scores of versions of this idea exist, probably one for each person who holds it, but they all interpret government and politics very differently than pluralists. Instead of seeing hundreds of competing groups hammering out policy, the elite model perceives a pyramid of power. At the top, a tiny elite makes all of the most important decisions for everyone below. A relatively small middle level consists of the types of individuals one normally thinks of when discussing American government: senators, representatives, mayors, governors, judges, lobbyists, and party leaders. The masses occupy the bottom. They are the average men and women in the country who are powerless to hold the top level accountable.

    The power elite theory, in short, claims that a single elite, not a multiplicity of competing groups, decides the life-and-death issues for the nation as a whole, leaving relatively minor matters for the middle level and almost nothing for the common person. It thus paints a dark picture. Whereas pluralists are somewhat content with what they believe is a fair, if admittedly imperfect, system, the power elite school decries the grossly unequal and unjust distribution of power it finds everywhere.

    People living in a country that prides itself on democracy, that is surrounded by the trappings of free government, and that constantly witnesses the comings and goings of elected officials may find the idea of a power elite farfetched. Yet many very intelligent social scientists accept it and present compelling reasons for believing it to be true. Thus, before dismissing it out of hand, one ought to listen to their arguments.

    #politique #théorie_politique #USA #États_Unis #gouvernement #idéologie #impérialisme

  • The human rights monitoring ship #Mare_Liberum is being prevented from leaving port.
    Press release 29th of april 2019

    The Berlin based non-governmental organization (NGO) Mare Liberum e.V. conducts human rights monitoring in the Aegean Sea to draw attention to the deadly sea route between Turkey and Greece. The aim is to strengthen solidarity and promote fundamental human rights.

    Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transportation (Bundesverkehrsministeriums) sent an order of suspension for the ship Mare Liberum to the German association of traffic and transportation (Berufsgenossenschaft Verkehr)—which handles the registration, licenses and flags for ships—to further scrutinize civil rescue vessels in the Mediterranean Sea.

    “The ministry of transportation, led by the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) politician Andreas Scheuer, apparently wants to perfidiously prevent any civil presence in the Mediterranean Sea to document human rights violations and the effects of the European Union’s deadly border policy. We are urging for an accelerated response to repeal the decision,” says Hanno Bruchmann, spokesperson for Mare Liberum e.V.

    The suspension order presupposes that Mare Liberum is a rescue ship which should be classified in the same category as commercial freightliner and not, as hitherto customary, as a sport and leisure boat.

    The crew on Mare Liberum observes—without pay and in their spare time—the human rights situation in the Aegean Sea. With Mare Liberum’s presence on the water, authorities should be more inclined to rescue refugees and migrants and adhere to basic human rights standards while doing so. The ship Mare Liberum was never operated as a freightliner; nevertheless, the authorities incorrectly compare the 1917 built fishing boat which was converted to a houseboat in 1964 as a ship holding containers or tank vessels. The classification of Mare Liberum as a commercial vessel imposes equipment requirements that cannot be fulfilled by Mare Liberum.

    “The claim that we operate a freightliner leaves us stunned. It is an insult to our volunteers that our dedication for human rights is not recognized,” said Bruchmann.


    https://mare-liberum.org/en/presse

    #ONG #sauvetage #asile #migrations #Méditerranée #réfugiés

    Ajouté à la métaliste ici:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/706177

    • Mare Liberum interdit de mission d’observation des frontières maritimes

      Lesbos, Grèce : Les autorités allemandes ont interdit le départ du port du bateau humanitaire Mare Liberum (https://mare-liberum.org/en/our-mission), démontrant ainsi une énième fois que la politique de l’UE repose sur la pénalisation de la solidarité. Voir leur communiqué de presse (https://mare-liberum.org/en/presse).

      Le bateau Mare Liberum se trouve à Lesbos pour une mission de « surveillance des droits humains en Egée » ; l’équipage est chargé de vérifier si les autorités respectent bien la législation lors de l’arrivée des bateaux de réfugiés. C’est une mission d’observation qui concernent toute opération violente qui pourraient y avoir lieu- refoulement illégals, sabottages de bateau, etc- soit de la part des forces militaires turques, soit de la part des forces européennes qui patrouillent dans la région. Le gouvernement allemand justifie sa décision par un raisonnement fallacieux : il met en avant le fait que le bateau n’est pas équipé pour mener des opérations de sauvetage, ce qui n’est point sa mission. Par contre pour une opération de surveillance la certification d’un bateau de plaisance dont Mare Liberum est doté est largement suffisante. Mais, comme au large de la Libye, au large de Lesbos aussi, il ne faut pas qu’il y ait des observateurs internationaux, c’est-à-dire des témoins des crimes qui pourraient y avoir lieu.

      Au moment où Mare Liberum reste immobilisé au port, le bateau Open arms de l’ONG espagnole Proactiva est interdit d’accoster à Lesbos : il a été forcé de mouiller au large, à l’extérieur du port de Lesbos, avec à son bord 20 tonnes d’aide humanitaires pour les réfugiés en attente d’être déchargés. Il s’agit de l’opération décrite par l’InfoMigrants ici : https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/16402/spanish-ngos-to-deliver-aid-supplies-to-greek-islands.

      Open arms, après une opération de sauvetage en Méditéranée, a été immobilisé au port de Barcelone par les autorités espagnoles pendant 100 jours, avant de recevoir l’autorisation de naviguer, non plus pour des opérations de sauvetage cette fois-ci, mais pour transporter l’aide humanitaire récoltée par plusieurs ONG aux réfugiés confinés aux îles grecques.

      La cargaison était initialement destinée en partie au hot-spot de Samos où les autorités portuaires ont aussi interdit au bateau l’accès au port. A Lesbos, ce sont les douaniers qui ont stoppé le déchargement de l’aide humanitaire, pour vérifier la conformité des certificats qui l’accompagne. Ainsi pour l’instant l’aide humanitaire dont plusieurs tonnes de médicaments reste bloquée au bord du bateau. C’est la troisième fois dans un mois qu’un bateau humanitaire –soit transportant de l’aide humanitaire, soit en mission d’observation- est empêché de mener à bien sa mission : il y a quelques semaines, la présidente de la région nord de la mer Egée Mme Christiania Kaloghirou avait protesté contre le déchargement d’aide humanitaire par un bateau espagnol. Il s’agit très probablement du bateau Alta Mari, également en mission humanitaire dans la région voir ici : https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/16715/hoping-to-help-the-long-journey-of-a-spanish-rescue-ship-banned-from-r

      –---------

      Communiqué de presse :

      Press release Mare Liberum 29th of april 2019

      The human rights monitoring ship Mare Liberum is being prevented from leaving port.

      The Berlin based non-governmental organization (NGO) Mare Liberum e.V. conducts human rights monitoring in the Aegean Sea to draw attention to the deadly sea route between Turkey and Greece. The aim is to strengthen solidarity and promote fundamental human rights.

      Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transportation (Bundesverkehrsministeriums) sent an order of suspension for the ship Mare Liberum to the German association of traffic and transportation (Berufsgenossenschaft Verkehr)—which handles the registration, licenses and flags for ships—to further scrutinize civil rescue vessels in the Mediterranean Sea.

      “The ministry of transportation, led by the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) politician Andreas Scheuer, apparently wants to perfidiously prevent any civil presence in the Mediterranean Sea to document human rights violations and the effects of the European Union’s deadly border policy. We are urging for an accelerated response to repeal the decision,” says Hanno Bruchmann, spokesperson for Mare Liberum e.V.

      The suspension order presupposes that Mare Liberum is a rescue ship which should be classified in the same category as commercial freightliner and not, as hitherto customary, as a sport and leisure boat.

      The crew on Mare Liberum observes—without pay and in their spare time—the human rights situation in the Aegean Sea. With Mare Liberum’s presence on the water, authorities should be more inclined to rescue refugees and migrants and adhere to basic human rights standards while doing so. The ship Mare Liberum was never operated as a freightliner; nevertheless, the authorities incorrectly compare the 1917 built fishing boat which was converted to a houseboat in 1964 as a ship holding containers or tank vessels. The classification of Mare Liberum as a commercial vessel imposes equipment requirements that cannot be fulfilled by Mare Liberum.

      “The claim that we operate a freightliner leaves us stunned. It is an insult to our volunteers that our dedication for human rights is not recognized,” said Bruchmann.

      contact: press@mare-liberum.org

  • Getting started with Dockerizing your Node.js Application
    https://hackernoon.com/getting-started-with-dockerizing-your-node-js-application-bab6b2451cde?s

    Photo by chuttersnap on UnsplashThere has been a conscious move within SaaS companies towards microservice architectures. To facilitate that, we generally use #docker setups. Well, let us not skip steps and see why people recommend this.To better understand #containerization and Docker, let’ use the example of the actual thing it is modeled after, Shipping Containers.Why use Shipping Containers?Well, shipping containers revolutionized the transportation industry by standardizing and making it simple to transport large quantities of goods. This could be over sea or land. Now with these standard containers, we are able to ship multiple things in one container or even ship large quantities of a single thing in multiple containers. Some of the key features here are:Standardized: These shipping (...)

    #software-development #devops #nodejs

  • Ahead of IPO, Uber’s Losing Less—but Growing Less Too | WIRED
    https://www.wired.com/story/ubers-losing-less-moneybut-growing-less-too

    THE YEAR OF the gig economy IPO continues, as Uber on Thursday made public its first bit of official paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission, a sign that the firm is preparing to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange. The filing shows a sprawling transportation business with operations in 63 countries and 700 cities, providing 5.2 billion rides in 2018—roughly one for every person in Europe and Asia.

    Uber pulled in $11.3 billion in revenue in 2018, a 42 percent jump over the year before. And though its operating losses are still heavy—$3 billion in 2018—the company has slowed the bleeding, at least a bit, bringing operating losses down from $4.1 billion in 2017. Uber had 91 million active users at the end of 2018, 23 million more than a year earlier. Revenue growth, however, fell by half in 2018. This is due in part to the increasing might of Lyft, which is now snapping up users faster than its larger rival, but also because of tightening competition in meal delivery, where Uber’s big success story, Eats, is no longer growing as quickly.

    Still, the company is reportedly expected to go public at a valuation of $90 billion to $100 billion, which would make it the largest US tech IPO in the past half-decade. (Facebook went public in 2012 at a $104 billion valuation.)

    Uber is ride-hail; Uber is e-scooters and ebikes; Uber is a burgeoning delivery business; Uber is trucking and logistics software; Uber wants to build a fully functional self-driving car. And Uber only wants to get bigger: “Today, Uber accounts for less than 1 percent of all miles driven globally,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote in a letter included in the filing. “Because we are not even 1 percent done with our work, we will operate with an eye toward the future.”

    But the filing also depicts a company struggling to recover from its messy past. The company said it lost “hundreds of thousands” of customers in early 2017, when its drivers continued to operate in airports during protests against the Trump administration’s immigration restrictions on visitors from Muslim countries; that led to the #DeleteUber campaign. The filing notes reams of bad press stemming from accusations of sexual harassment, discrimination, and a then-toxic company culture. It also references, obliquely, investigations into its Greyball tool, software that attempted to circumvent regulation in cities that did not want the company operating on its roads. These events prompted, if not presaged, today’s tech-lash. And from a business standpoint, the company says that history has made it more difficult for Uber to retain users, stay on the right side of important city and federal regulators, and to avoid writing very large checks to lawyers, who are representing Uber in lawsuits and investigations around the world.

    Now, as it prepares to go public, Uber faces critical questions. What happens if the company fails to achieve profitability … ever? Uber believes it will need to invest in finding new users, be they riders, drivers, restaurants, or shippers—and use incentives, discounts, and promotions to do it. (More than $3 billion, over a third of total operating costs, went to sales and marketing last year.) It will need to pour money into new markets and operations. It will need to keep finding new employees and drivers. It will have to write checks for expensive “flying taxi” and autonomous vehicle research along the way. (The company acknowledges in the filing that it expects a competitor such as Waymo, General Motors/Cruise, Tesla, Apple, or Zoox to “develop such technologies before us.”)

    “Many of our efforts to generate revenue are new and unproven, and any failure to adequately increase revenue or contain the related costs could prevent us from attaining or increasing profitability,” the company writes in its filing.

    What happens if regulators decide Uber’s drivers are no longer independent contractors, but employees entitled to benefits and more intense oversight? Today, Uber faces litigation and driver protests challenging its core business model all over the globe. The filing notes that more than 60,000 drivers have entered into (or expressed interest in entering into) arbitration over employee misclassification, which the company writes “could result in significant costs to us.” The company also expects to spend significant money recruiting and retaining drivers in the years ahead.

    #Uber #disruption #Börse #Spekulation #IPO

  • #CBP terminates controversial $297 million #Accenture contract amid continued staffing struggles

    #Customs_and_Border_Protection on Thursday ended its controversial $297 million hiring contract with Accenture, according to two senior DHS officials and an Accenture representative.
    As of December, when CBP terminated part of its contract, the company had only completed processing 58 applicants and only 22 had made it onto the payroll about a year after the company was hired.
    At the time, the 3,500 applicants that remained in the Accenture hiring pipeline were transferred to CBP’s own hiring center to complete the process.

    CBP cut ties with Accenture on processing applicants a few months ago, it retained some services, including marketing, advertising and applicant support.
    This week, the entire contract was terminated for “convenience,” government speak for agreeing to part ways without placing blame on Accenture.
    While government hiring is “slow and onerous, it’s also part of being in the government” and that’s “something we have to accept and deal with as we go forward,” said one of the officials.
    For its efforts, CBP paid Accenture around $19 million in start-up costs, and around $2 million for 58 people who got job offers, according to the officials.
    Over the last couple of months, CBP explored how to modify the contract, but ultimately decided to completely stop work and return any remaining funds to taxpayers.
    But it’s unclear how much money, if any, that will be.

    In addition, to the funds already paid to Accenture, CBP has around $39 million left to “settle and close the books” with the company, an amount which has yet to be determined.
    In November 2017, CBP awarded Accenture the contract to help meet the hiring demands of an executive order on border security that President Donald Trump signed during his first week in office. The administration directed CBP to hire an additional 7,500 agents and officers on top of its current hiring goals.
    “We were in a situation where we needed to try something new” and “break the cycle of going backwards,” said a DHS official about why the agency started the contract.

    Meanwhile, hiring remains difficult for the agency amid a surge of migrants at the southern border that is stretching CBP resources thin.
    It “continues to be a very challenging environment,” said one official about hiring efforts this year.

    In fact, one of the reasons that CBP didn’t need Accenture to process applicants, is because the agency didn’t receive as many applications as it initially planned for.
    The agency has been focused on beating attrition and has been able to recently “beat it by a modest amount,” said the official. “Ultimately we would like to beat it by a heck of a lot, but we’re not there yet.”

    https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/05/politics/cbp-terminate-hiring-contract-accenture/index.html
    #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #USA #Ests-Unis #complexe_militaro-industriel #business

    • Border Profiteers

      On a recent sunny spring afternoon in Texas, a couple hundred Border Patrol agents, Homeland Security officials, and salespeople from a wide array of defense and security contractors gathered at the Bandera Gun Club about an hour northwest of San Antonio to eat barbecue and shoot each other’s guns. The techies wore flip-flops; the veterans wore combat boots. Everyone had a good time. They were letting loose, having spent the last forty-eight hours cooped up in suits and ties back at San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez convention center, mingling and schmoozing, hawking their wares, and listening to immigration officials rail about how those serving in enforcement agencies are not, under any circumstances, Nazis.

      These profiteers and bureaucrats of the immigration-industrial complex were fresh from the 2019 #Border_Security_Expo —essentially a trade show for state violence, where law enforcement officers and weapons manufacturers gather, per the Expo’s marketing materials, to “identify and address new and emerging border challenges and opportunities through technology, partnership, and innovation.” The previous two days of panels, speeches, and presentations had been informative, a major in the Argentine Special Forces told me at the gun range, but boring. He was glad to be outside, where handguns popped and automatic rifles spat around us. I emptied a pistol into a target while a man in a Three Percenter militia baseball hat told me that I was a “natural-born killer.” A drone buzzed overhead until, in a demonstration of a company’s new anti-drone technology, a device that looked like a rocket launcher and fired a sort of exploding net took it down. “This is music to me,” the Argentine major said.

      Perhaps it’s not surprising the Border Security Expo attendees were so eager to blow off steam. This year’s event found many of them in a defensive posture, given the waves of bad press they’d endured since President Trump’s inauguration, and especially since the disastrous implementation of his family separation policy, officially announced by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April of 2018, before being rescinded by Trump two-and-a-half months later. Throughout the Expo, in public events and in background roundtable conversations with reporters, officials from the various component parts of the Department of Homeland Security rolled out a series of carefully rehearsed talking points: Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) need more money, personnel, and technology; taking migrants to hospitals distracts CBP officers from their real mission; and the 1997 Flores court settlement, which prohibits immigration enforcement agencies from detaining migrant families with children for more than twenty days, is undermining the very sovereignty of the United States. “We want a secure border, we want an immigration system that has integrity,” Ronald Vitiello, then–acting head of ICE, said in a keynote address to the hundreds of people gathered in San Antonio. “We have a generous immigration system in this country, but it has to have integrity in order for us to continue to be so generous.”

      More of a technocrat than his thuggish predecessor Thomas Homan, Vitiello also spoke at length about using the “dark web” to take down smugglers and the importance of having the most up-to-date data-management technology. But he spoke most adamantly about needing “a fix” for the Flores settlement. “If you prosecute crimes and you give people consequences, you get less of it,” he said. “With Flores, there’s no consequence, and everybody knows that,” a senior ICE official echoed to reporters during a background conversation immediately following Vitiello’s keynote remarks. “That’s why you’re seeing so many family units. We cannot apply a consequence to a family unit, because we have to release them.”

      Meanwhile, around 550 miles to the west, in El Paso, hundreds of migrants, including children and families, were being held by CBP under a bridge, reportedly forced to sleep on the ground, with inadequate medical attention. “They treated us like we are animals,” one Honduran man told Texas Monthly. “I felt what they were trying to do was to hurt us psychologically, so we would understand that this is a lesson we were being taught, that we shouldn’t have crossed.” Less than a week after the holding pen beneath the bridge closed, Vitiello’s nomination to run ICE would be pulled amid a spate of firings across DHS; President Trump wanted to go “in a tougher direction.”

      Family Values

      On the second day of the Border Security Expo, in a speech over catered lunch, Scott Luck, deputy chief of Customs and Border Protection and a career Border Patrol agent, lamented that the influx of children and families at the border meant that resources were being diverted from traditional enforcement practices. “Every day, about 150 agents spend their shifts at hospitals and medical facilities with illegal aliens receiving treatment,” he said. “The annual salary cost for agents on hospital watch is more than $11.5 million. Budget analysts estimate that 13 percent of our operational budget—the budget that we use to buy equipment, to buy vehicles for our men and women—is now used for transportation, medical expenses, diapers, food, and other necessities to care for illegal aliens in Border Patrol custody.”

      As far as Luck was concerned, every dollar spent on food and diapers is one not spent on drones and weapons, and every hour an agent spends guarding a migrant in a hospital is an hour they don’t spend on the border. “It’s not what they signed up for. The mission they signed up for is to protect the United States border, to protect the communities in which they live and serve,” he told reporters after his speech. “The influx, the volume, the clutter that this creates is frustrating.” Vitiello applied an Orwellian inversion: “We’re not helping them as fast as we want to,” he said of migrant families apprehended at the border.

      Even when discussing the intimate needs of detained migrant families, the language border officials used to describe their remit throughout the Expo was explicitly militaristic: achieving “operational control,” Luck said, requires “impedance and denial” and “situational awareness.” He referred to technology as a “vital force multiplier.” He at least stopped short of endorsing the president’s framing that what is happening on the border constitutes an invasion, instead describing it as a “deluge.”

      According to the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank, the U.S. immigrant population has continued to grow—although at a slower rate than it did before the 2007 recession, and undocumented people appear to make up a smaller proportion of the overall population. Regardless, in fiscal year 2018, both ICE and CBP stepped up their enforcement activities, arresting, apprehending, and deporting people at significantly higher rates than the previous year. More than three times as many family members were apprehended at the border last year than in 2017, the Pew Research Center reports, and in the first six months of FY 2019 alone there were 189,584 apprehensions of “family units”: more than half of all apprehensions at the border during that time, and more than the full-year total of apprehended families for any other year on record. While the overall numbers have not yet begun to approach those of the 1980s and 1990s, when apprehensions regularly exceeded one million per year, the demographics of who is arriving at the United States southern border are changing: fewer single men from Mexico and more children and families from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador—in other words, an ever-wider range of desperate victims of drug gangs and American policies that have long supported corrupt regimes.

      This change has presented people like Luck with problems they insist are merely logistical: aging Border Patrol stations, he told us at the Expo, “are not luxurious in any way, and they were never intended to handle families and children.” The solution, according to Vitiello, is “continued capital investment” in those facilities, as well as the cars and trucks necessary to patrol the border region and transport those apprehended from CBP custody to ICE detention centers, the IT necessary to sift through vast amounts of data accumulated through untold surveillance methods, and all of “the systems by which we do our work.”

      Neither Vitiello nor Luck would consider whether those systems—wherein thousands of children, ostensibly under the federal government’s care, have been sexually abused and five, from December through May of this year, have died—ought to be questioned. Both laughed off calls from migrant justice organizers, activists, and politicians to abolish ICE. “The concept of the Department of Homeland Security—and ICE as an agency within it—was designed for us to learn the lessons from 9/11,” Vitiello said. “Those needs still exist in this society. We’re gonna do our part.” DHS officials have even considered holding migrant children at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to the New York Times, where a new $23 million “contingency mass migration complex” is being built. The complex, which is to be completed by the end of the year, will have a capacity of thirteen thousand.

      Violence is the Point

      The existence of ICE may be a consequence of 9/11, but the first sections of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border—originally to contain livestock—went up in 1909 through 1911. In 1945, in response to a shift in border crossings from Texas to California, the U.S. Border Patrol and the Immigration and Naturalization Service recycled fencing wire and posts from internment camps in Crystal City, Texas, where more than a hundred thousand Japanese Americans had been imprisoned during World War II. “Although the INS could not erect a continuous line of fence along the border, they hoped that strategic placement of the fence would ‘compel persons seeking to enter the United States illegally to attempt to go around the ends of the fence,’” historian Kelly Lytle Hernández, quoting from government documents, writes in Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol. “What lay at the end of the fences and canals were desert lands and mountains extremely dangerous to cross without guidance or sufficient water. The fences, therefore, discouraged illegal immigration by exposing undocumented border crossers to the dangers of daytime dehydration and nighttime hypothermia.”

      Apprehension and deportation tactics continued to escalate in the years following World War II—including Operation Wetback, the infamous (and heavily propagandized) mass-deportation campaign of 1954—but the modern, militarized border era was greatly boosted by Bill Clinton. It was during Clinton’s first administration that Border Patrol released its “Strategic Plan: 1994 and Beyond,” which introduced the idea of “prevention through deterrence,” a theory of border policing that built on the logic of the original wall and hinges upon increasing the “cost” of migration “to the point that many will consider it futile to continue to attempt illegal entry.” With the Strategic Plan, the agency was requesting more money, officers, and equipment in order to “enhance national security and safeguard our immigration heritage.”

      The plan also noted that “a strong interior enforcement posture works well for border control,” and in 1996, amid a flurry of legislation targeting people of color and the poor, Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which empowered the federal government to deport more people more quickly and made it nearly impossible for undocumented immigrants to obtain legal status. “Before 1996, internal enforcement activities had not played a very significant role in immigration enforcement,” the sociologists Douglas Massey and Karen A. Pren wrote in 2012. “Afterward these activities rose to levels not seen since the deportation campaigns of the Great Depression.” With the passage of the Patriot Act in 2001 and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2002, immigration was further securitized and criminalized, paving the way for an explosion in border policing technology that has further aligned the state with the defense and security industry. And at least one of Border Patrol’s “key assumptions,” explicitly stated in the 1994 strategy document, has borne out: “Violence will increase as effects of strategy are felt.”

      What this phrasing obscures, however, is that violence is the border strategy. In practice, what “prevention through deterrence” has meant is forcing migrants to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in the desert, putting already vulnerable people at even greater risk. Closing urban points of entry, for example, or making asylum-seekers wait indefinitely in Mexico while their claims are processed, pushes migrants into remote areas where there is a higher likelihood they will suffer injury and death, as in the case of seven-year-old Jakil Caal Maquin, who died of dehydration and shock after being taken into CBP custody in December. (A spokesperson for CBP, in an email response, deflected questions about whether the agency considers children dying in its custody a deterrent.) Maquin is one of many thousands who have died attempting to cross into the United States: the most conservative estimate comes from CBP itself, which has recovered the remains of 7,505 people from its southwest border sectors between 1998 and 2018. This figure accounts for neither those who die on the Mexican side of the border, nor those whose bodies remain lost to the desert.

      Draconian immigration policing causes migrants to resort to smugglers and traffickers, creating the conditions for their exploitation by cartels and other violent actors and increasing the likelihood that they will be kidnapped, coerced, or extorted. As a result, some migrants have sought the safety of collective action in the form of the “caravan” or “exodus,” which has then led the U.S. media and immigration enforcement agencies to justify further militarization of the border. Indeed, in his keynote address at the Expo, Luck described “the emerging prevalence of large groups of one hundred people or more” as “troubling and especially dangerous.” Later, a sales representative for the gun manufacturer Glock very confidently explained to me that this was because agents of al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, were embedded with the caravans.

      Branding the Border

      Unsurprisingly, caravans came up frequently at the Border Security Expo. (An ICE spokesperson would later decline to explain what specific threat they pose to national security, instead citing general statistics about the terrorist watchlist, “special interest aliens,” and “suspicious travel patterns.”) During his own keynote speech, Vitiello described how ICE, and specifically its subcomponent Homeland Security Investigations, had deployed surveillance and intelligence-gathering techniques to monitor the progress of caravans toward the border. “When these caravans have come, we’ve had trained, vetted individuals on the ground in those countries reporting in real time what they were seeing: who the organizers were, how they were being funded,” he said, before going on an astonishing tangent:

      That’s the kind of capability that also does amazing things to protecting brands, property rights, economic security. Think about it. If you start a company, introduce a product that’s innovative, there are people in the world who can take that, deconstruct it, and create their own version of it and sell it as yours. All the sweat that went into whatever that product was, to build your brand, they’ll take it away and slap it on some substandard product. It’s not good for consumers, it’s not good for public safety, and it’s certainly an economic drain on the country. That’s part of the mission.

      That the then–acting director of ICE, the germ-cell of fascism in the bourgeois American state, would admit that an important part of his agency’s mission is the protection of private property is a testament to the Trump administration’s commitment to saying the quiet part out loud.

      In fact, brands and private industry had pride of place at the Border Security Expo. A memorial ceremony for men and women of Border Patrol who have been killed in the line of duty was sponsored by Sava Solutions, an IT firm that has been awarded at least $482 million in federal contracts since 2008. Sava, whose president spent twenty-four years with the DEA and whose director of business development spent twenty with the FBI, was just one of the scores of firms in attendance at the Expo, each hoping to persuade the bureaucrats in charge of acquiring new gear for border security agencies that their drones, their facial recognition technology, their “smart” fences were the best of the bunch. Corporate sponsors included familiar names like Verizon and Motorola, and other less well-known ones, like Elbit Systems of America, a subsidiary of Israel’s largest private defense contractor, as well as a handful of IT firms with aggressive slogans like “Ever Vigilant” (CACI), “Securing the Future” (ManTech), and “Securing Your Tomorrow” (Unisys).

      The presence of these firms—and indeed the very existence of the Expo—underscores an important truth that anyone attempting to understand immigration politics must reckon with: border security is big business. The “homeland security and emergency management market,” driven by “increasing terrorist threats and biohazard attacks and occurrence of unpredictable natural disasters,” is projected to grow to more than $742 billion by 2023 from $557 billion in 2018, one financial analysis has found. In the coming decades, as more people are displaced by climate catastrophe and economic crises—estimates vary between 150 million and 1 billion by 2050—the industry dedicated to policing the vulnerable stands to profit enormously. By 2013, the United States was already spending more on federal immigration enforcement than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined, including the FBI and DEA; ICE’s budget has doubled since its inception in 2003, while CBP’s has nearly tripled. Between 1993 and 2018, the number of Border Patrol agents grew from 4,139 to 19,555. And year after year, Democrats and Republicans alike have been happy to fuel an ever more high-tech deportation machine. “Congress has given us a lot of money in technology,” Luck told reporters after his keynote speech. “They’ve given us over what we’ve asked for in technology!”

      “As all of this rhetoric around security has increased, so has the impetus to give them more weapons and more tools and more gadgets,” Jacinta Gonzalez, a senior campaign organizer with Mijente, a national network of migrant justice activists, told me. “That’s also where the profiteering comes in.” She continued: “Industries understand what’s good for business and adapt themselves to what they see is happening. If they see an administration coming into power that is pro-militarization, anti-immigrant, pro-police, anti-communities of color, then that’s going to shape where they put their money.”

      By way of example, Gonzalez pointed to Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who spent $1.25 million supporting Trump’s 2016 election campaign and followed that up last year by donating $1 million to the Club for Growth—a far-right libertarian organization founded by Heritage Foundation fellow and one-time Federal Reserve Board prospect Stephen Moore—as well as about $350,000 to the Republican National Committee and other GOP groups. ICE has awarded Palantir, the $20 billion surveillance firm founded by Thiel, several contracts worth tens of millions of dollars to manage its data streams—a partnership the agency considers “mission critical,” according to documents reviewed by The Intercept. Palantir, in turn, runs on Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing service provided by the world’s most valuable public company, which is itself a key contractor in managing the Department of Homeland Security’s $6.8 billion IT portfolio.

      Meanwhile, former DHS secretary John Kelly, who was Trump’s chief of staff when the administration enacted its “zero-tolerance” border policy, has joined the board of Caliburn International—parent organization of the only for-profit company operating shelters for migrant children. “Border enforcement and immigration policy,” Caliburn reported in an SEC filing last year, “is driving significant growth.” As Harsha Walia writes in Undoing Border Imperialism, “the state and capitalism are again in mutual alliance.”

      Triumph of the Techno-Nativists

      At one point during the Expo, between speeches, I stopped by a booth for Network Integrity Systems, a security firm that had set up a demonstration of its Sentinel™ Perimeter Intrusion Detection System. A sales representative stuck out his hand and introduced himself, eager to explain how his employer’s fiber optic motion sensors could be used at the border, or—he paused to correct himself—“any kind of perimeter.” He invited me to step inside the space that his coworkers had built, starting to say “cage” but then correcting himself, again, to say “small enclosure.” (It was literally a cage.) If I could get out, climbing over the fencing, without triggering the alarm, I would win a $500 Amazon gift card. I did not succeed.

      Overwhelmingly, the vendors in attendance at the Expo were there to promote this kind of technology: not concrete and steel, but motion sensors, high-powered cameras, and drones. Customs and Border Patrol’s chief operating officer John Sanders—whose biography on the CBP website describes him as a “seasoned entrepreneur and innovator” who has “served on the Board of Directors for several leading providers of contraband detection, geospatial intelligence, and data analytics solutions”—concluded his address by bestowing on CBP the highest compliment he could muster: declaring the agency comparable “to any start-up.” Rhetoric like Sanders’s, ubiquitous at the Expo, renders the border both bureaucratic and boring: a problem to be solved with some algorithmic mixture of brutality and Big Data. The future of border security, as shaped by the material interests that benefit from border securitization, is not a wall of the sort imagined by President Trump, but a “smart” wall.

      High-ranking Democrats—leaders in the second party of capital—and Republicans from the border region have championed this compromise. During the 2018-2019 government shutdown, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson told reporters that Democrats would appropriate $5.7 billion for “border security,” so long as that did not include a wall of Trump’s description. “Walls are primitive. What we need to do is have border security,” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said in January. He later expanded to CNN: “I’ve said that we ought to have a smart wall. I defined that as a wall using drones to make it too high to get over, using x-ray equipment to make it too wide to get around, and using scanners to go deep enough not to be able to tunnel under it. To me, that would be a smart thing to do.”

      Even the social democratic vision of Senator Bernie Sanders stops short at the border. “If you open the borders, my God, there’s a lot of poverty in this world, and you’re going to have people from all over the world,” he told Iowa voters in early April, “and I don’t think that’s something that we can do at this point.” Over a week later, during a Fox News town hall with Pennsylvania voters, he recommitted: “We need border security. Of course we do. Who argues with that? That goes without saying.”

      To the extent that Trump’s rhetoric, his administration’s immigration policies, and the enforcement agencies’ practices have made the “border crisis” more visible than ever before, they’ve done so on terms that most Democrats and liberals fundamentally agree with: immigration must be controlled and policed; the border must be enforced. One need look no further than the high priest of sensible centrism, Thomas Friedman, whose major complaint about Trump’s immigration politics is that he is “wasting” the crisis—an allusion to Rahm Emanuel’s now-clichéd remark that “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” (Frequently stripped of context, it is worth remembering that Emanuel made this comment in the throes of the 2008 financial meltdown, at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council, shortly following President Obama’s election.) “Regarding the border, the right place for Democrats to be is for a high wall with a big gate,” Friedman wrote in November of 2018. A few months later, a tour led by Border Patrol agents of the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego left Friedman “more certain than ever that we have a real immigration crisis and that the solution is a high wall with a big gate—but a smart gate.”

      As reasonable as this might sound to anxious New York Times readers looking for what passes as humanitarian thinking in James Bennet’s opinion pages, the horror of Friedman’s logic eventually reveals itself when he considers who might pass through the big, smart gate in the high, high wall: “those who deserve asylum” and “a steady flow of legal, high-energy, and high-I.Q. immigrants.” Friedman’s tortured hypothetical shows us who he considers to be acceptable subjects of deportation and deprivation: the poor, the lazy, and the stupid. This is corporate-sponsored, state-sanctioned eugenics: the nativism of technocrats.

      The vision of a hermetically sealed border being sold, in different ways, by Trump and his allies, by Democrats, and by the Border Security Expo is in reality a selectively permeable one that strictly regulates the movement of migrant labor while allowing for the unimpeded flow of capital. Immigrants in the United States, regardless of their legal status, are caught between two factions of the capitalist class, each of which seek their immiseration: the citrus farmers, construction firms, and meat packing plants that benefit from an underclass of unorganized and impoverished workers, and the defense and security firms that keep them in a state of constant criminality and deportability.

      You could even argue that nobody in a position of power really wants a literal wall. Even before taking office, Trump himself knew he could only go so far. “We’re going to do a wall,” he said on the campaign trail in 2015. However: “We’re going to have a big, fat beautiful door on the wall.” In January 2019, speaking to the American Farm Bureau Association, Trump acknowledged the necessity of a mechanism allowing seasonal farmworkers from Mexico to cross the border, actually promising to loosen regulations on employers who rely on temporary migrant labor. “It’s going to be easier for them to get in than what they have to go through now,” he said, “I know a lot about the farming world.”

      At bottom, there is little material difference between this and what Friedman imagines to be the smarter, more humane approach. While establishment liberals would no doubt prefer that immigration enforcement be undertaken quietly, quickly, and efficiently, they have no categorical objection to the idea that noncitizens should enjoy fewer rights than citizens or be subject to different standards of due process (standards that are already applied in deeply inequitable fashion).

      As the smorgasbord of technologies and services so garishly on display at the Border Security Expo attests, maintaining the contradiction between citizens and noncitizens (or between the imperial core and the colonized periphery) requires an ever-expanding security apparatus, which itself becomes a source of ever-expanding profit. The border, shaped by centuries of bourgeois interests and the genocidal machinations of the settler-colonial nation-state, constantly generates fresh crises on which the immigration-industrial complex feeds. In other words, there is not a crisis at the border; the border is the crisis.

      CBP has recently allowed Anduril, a start-up founded by one of Peter Thiel’s mentees, Palmer Luckey, to begin testing its artificial intelligence-powered surveillance towers and drones in Texas and California. Sam Ecker, an Anduril engineer, expounded on the benefits of such technology at the Expo. “A tower doesn’t get tired. It doesn’t care about being in the middle of the desert or a river around the clock,” he told me. “We just let the computers do what they do best.”

      https://thebaffler.com/outbursts/border-profiteers-oconnor

  • Drug Sites Upend Doctor-Patient Relations: ‘It’s Restaurant-Menu Medicine’ - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/02/technology/for-him-for-hers-get-roman.html

    On the sites, people self-diagnose and select the drug they want, then enter some personal health and credit card information. A doctor then assesses their choice, with no in-person consultation. If approved, the medicine arrives in the mail days or weeks later.

    The sites invert the usual practice of medicine by turning the act of prescribing drugs into a service. Instead of doctors making diagnoses and then suggesting treatments, patients request drugs and physicians serve largely as gatekeepers.

    Much like Uber, which argues that it is not a transportation company even as it connects drivers and passengers, the drug sites argue that they are tech platforms, not health providers. The sites connect consumers — and often process their payments — to doctors who may prescribe drugs and pharmacies that can ship the medications.

    To comply with state laws, the doctors work for separate companies that cater to the sites. The doctors are typically paid for each health consultation, or by the hour, not the number of prescriptions written. The sites generate revenue for themselves by charging service or processing fees to consumers, the doctors or both.

    The new wave of sites that market drugs directly to consumers began popping up several years ago, promising to streamline medical care with software.

    Several gained traction with cheeky TV commercials, billboard ads and social media feeds featuring sexual imagery like cactuses. They use slick packaging, wrapping doses of Viagra in condom-size envelopes or sending chocolate along with birth control pills.

    The premise is so attractive to investors that Hims and Ro have raised nearly $100 million each. They have also tapped experts for advice, including Dr. Joycelyn Elders, a former surgeon general who is a medical adviser to Ro, and men’s health specialists at leading hospitals.

    Dr. Elders said she had signed on to advise Ro to promote accurate information about sexual health.

    The Food and Drug Administration generally prohibits pharmaceutical companies from marketing medicines for unapproved uses, as they have not been federally vetted for safety and effectiveness. Over the last decade, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson have each paid fines of more than $2 billion to settle government charges of illegally marketing unapproved drug uses.

    Doctors are permitted to practice medicine as they see fit, including prescribing drugs for unapproved uses. Mr. Ip of Kick noted that doctors regularly prescribed propranolol to treat anxiety.

    #Big_pharma #Médecine #Pharmacie #Internet #Le_fric_avant_tout

  • How #iot Could Solve Traffic Congestion In Cities
    https://hackernoon.com/how-iot-can-solve-traffic-congestion-in-cities-66c2aa132bcf?source=rss--

    One of the best things about IoT (Internet of Things) is its ability to solve the most common problems that we have around us and one of them is traffic. I would like to explain the capacity of IoT in optimizing the traffic because of today’s world population and the large number of transports that exist in the world. This issue even rises when most of the world’s population begins to migrate to metropolitan areas. According to research, by the year 2032, nearly 61% of the world population will be in metropolitan areas.No matter what area you are living in, you will always meet traffic difficulties around the clock. And this problem grows even worse when the city’s population & the vehicles they own increase. Moreover, each country’s transportation method will become worse and also it (...)

    #internet-of-things #traffic-congestion #future-of-iot-in-traffic #iot-in-traffic-congestion

  • But it is worse than that, par Marc Doll
    https://www.facebook.com/SoilLifeQuadra/posts/10156656875720199

    I realize there is something I have known for some time but have never said, and, since I have just spent another 4 hours of my life in climate change academia I have to get this out of my system.

    Please understand that many you reading this won’t live to an old age... and likely will start scrolling after one or 2 more paragraphs... (edit...Ok I was wrong on this point. This is now my 2nd most shared post of all time..(edit)...make that my most shared)

    The IPCC report and Paris accord are incredibly overly optimistic and that commits the world to a target that means the death of hundreds of millions if not more.

    But it is worse than that.

    Even the commitments made by countries in the Paris accord don’t get us to a 2 degree world.

    But it is worse than that.

    The 2 degree target is now unattainable (unless of course the entirety of civilization does a 180 today...) and is based on geo-engineering the climate of the earth as well as the sequestering of every molecule of carbon we have produced since 1987, as well as every molecule we are producing today,as well as every molecule we produce tomorrow.... with magical technologies that don’t exist, wont exist and, even if they did would likely cause as many if not more problems than they fix.

    But it is worse than that.

    The 2 degree target of the IPCC does not factor in the feedback loops such as the increase absorption of heat due to a drastic reduction in the albedo (reflectivity) effect caused by the 70% loss of arctic ice,..- the release of methane from a thawing arctic. (there is more energy stored in the arctic methane than there is in coal in the world). This is called the methane dragon. If the process of the release of the methane, currently frozen in the soil and ocean beds of the arctic, which may have already begun, but if it spins out of control we are looking a an 8 degree rise in temperature.

    But it is worse than that.

    The report which gives us 12 years to get our head’s out of our arses underestimated the amount of heat stored in the world’s oceans, as we descovered in mid-January by 40%... so no , we don’t have 12 more years.

    But it is worse than that.

    The IPCC report ignores the effects of humans messing up the Nitrogen cycle through agricultural fertilizers and more... Don’t go down this rabbit hole if you want to sleep at night.

    But it is worse than that.

    Sea level rise will not be gradual. Even assuming that the billions of tons of water that is currently being dumped down to the ground level of Greenland isn’t creating a lubricant which eventually will allow the ice to free-flow into the northern oceans; it is only the friction to the islands surface that is currently holding the ice back. Then consider the same process is happening in Antarctica but is also coupled with the disappearance of the ice shelves which act as buttresses holding the glaciers from free flowing into the southern ocean. then factor in thermal expansions; the simple fact that warmer water takes up more space and It becomes clear that we are not looking at maintaining the current 3.4mm/yr increase in sea level rise (which incidentally is terrifying when you multiply it out over decades and centuries.) We will be looking at major calving events that will result in much bigger yearly increases coupled with an exponential increase in glacial melting. We know that every increase of 100ppm of C02 increases sea level by about 100 feet. We have already baked in 130 feet of sea level rise. It is just a question of how long it is going to take to get there... and then keep on rising..

    But it is worse than that.

    Insects are disappearing at 6 times the speed of larger animals and at a rate of about 2.5% of their biomass every year. These are our pollinators. These are links in our food chain. These represent the basic functioning of every terrestrial ecosystem.

    But it is worse than that.

    58% of the biomass of vertebrae life on earth has been lost since 1970. That is basically in my lifetime!

    But it is worse than that.

    The amount of Carbon we add to the atmosphere is equal to a yearly a human caused forest fire 20% bigger than the continent of Africa. Yes, that is every single year!

    But it is worse than that.

    Drought in nearly every food producing place in the world is expected to intensify by mid-century and make them basically unusable by the end of the century... Then factor in the end of Phosphorus (China and Russia have already stopped exporting it knowing this) and the depletion of aquifers and you come to the conclusion that feeding the planet becomes impossible.

    But it is worse than that.

    We can no longer save the society that we live in and many of us are going to be dead long before our life expectancy would suggest.

    If your idea of hope is having some slightly modified Standard of living going forward and live to ripe old age... there is no hope. This civilization is over...

    ..but there is hope..

    There is a way for some to come through this and have an enjoyable life on the other side. Every day we delay can be measured in human lives. There will come a day of inaction when that number includes someone you love, yourself or myself.

    So we have 2 options.

    Wake the fuck up. If we do we will only have to experience the end of our society as we know it aka...the inevitable economic collapse which is now unavoidable, but be able to save and rebuild something new on the other side. This would require a deep adaptation. Words like sustainability would need to be seen as toxic and our focus needs be on regeneration. Regeneration of soil, forests, grasslands, oceans etc.... This is all possible.

    Option 2 is the path we are on thinking that we can slowly adapt to change. This not only ensures we experience collapse but also condemns humanity to not just economic and social collapse but in a 4-6 or even an 8 degree world... extinction.

    I am sick of pipeline discussions. I am sick of any argument that is predicated on the defeatist assumption that we will continue to burn oil at an ever increasing rate simply because it is what we have always done. Fact is if we do we are not just fucked, we are dead. I am sick of people who don’t understand how their food is produced, and its effect on the climate.(both carnivores who eat feed-lot meat and vegans who eat industrially-produced-mono-cropped-veggies as they are equally guilty here. The consumption of either is devastating). I am sick of the tons of shiny new clothes people are wearing without realizing 1 Kg of cotton takes over 10 thousand Liters of water and incredible amounts of energy to produce. I am sickened by the amount of that same clothing hits the landfill in near new condition. I am sick of the argument that our oil is less poisonous than someone else’s. Firstly, no it isn’t and secondly, It doesn’t fucking matter. I am sick of people that can’t even handle the ridiculously-small, only-the-tip-of- the-iceberg-of-changes we need to accept; a carbon tax. I am sick of the fact that the political will seems only capable of focusing on the individual consumer through small measures like a carbon tax but no elected Party seems to have the fortitude to enact policies that take it to the small handful of companies that are responsible for 70% of our current C02 production. I am sick of my own hypocrisy that allows me to still use fossil fuels for transportation. I am sick of those who use hypocrisy as an argument against action. I am sick of the Leadership of my country that argues we can have economic growth and survivable environment... we can’t. I am sickened by the normalizing of the leadership of our Southern neighbour who as the most polluting nation in the world officially ignores even the tragedy that is the Paris accord. I am sick of the politicians I worked to get elected being impotent on this subject. Naheed and Greg I’m looking at you. (BTW...Druh, you are an exception) I am sick that the next image I put up of my kids, cheese, pets or bread is going to gain immeasurably more attention than a post such as this which actually has meaning... I am sick about the fact that all the information I referenced here is easily discoverable in scientific journals through a simple google search but will be characterized by many as hyperbolic.

    I am confused as to who I am more upset with. Those who have fallen for the denier propaganda, those who choose to be willfully ignorant, those who understand this issue and throw their hands up in a fit of lazy despair or those who are as cognitive as I am to the urgency of this issue yet continue living day-to-day feeling self-satisfied with their recycling, electric car, voting record or some other equally inane lifestyle modification while waiting for society to hit the tipping point so they don’t have to actually put their values into practice (which despite my recent life changes still more or less includes me). All that said...

    There is a path forward.

    But every day we delay the path forward includes fewer of us. Build community, build resilience, work for food security, think regeneration, plant food producing trees, think perennial food production, turn your waste products into resources, eat food that does not mine the soil and is locally produced, eat meat that is grass fed in a holistic or intensively rotated (ideally holistically grazed in a silvopasture ) that is used to provide nutrients to vegetation, get to know a farmer or become one yourself, park your car, do not vote for anyone who either ignores climate change or says we can have our cake and eat it too, quit your job if it is fossil fuel related (it is better than losing it... which you will), stop buying shit, stop buying expensive cars and overly large houses and then complain that local planet saving food costs more than Costco. Stop buying things that are designed to break and be disposed-of, let go of this society slowly and by your own volition (its better than being forced to do it quickly), Rip up your lawn and plant a garden with perennial veggies, fruit bushes, fruit trees and nut trees. Learn to compost your own poop (it is easy and doesn’t stink). Buy an apple with a blemish, Get a smaller house on a bigger lot and regenerate that land, Plant a guerrilla garden on a city road allowance. Return to the multi-generational house, Realize that growth has only been a thing in human civilization for 250 years and it is about to end and make preparations for this change. Teach this to your children. Buy only the necessities, don’t buy new clothes-go to the thrift store. Don’t use single use plastic or if you do re-purpose it, Unplug your garberator and compost everything, Relearn old forgotten skills. Don’t let yourself get away with the argument that the plane is going there anyway when you book a holiday. Understand that there is no such thing as the new normal because next year will be worse, Understand before you make the argument that we need to reduce human population ... meaning the population elsewhere... that it is not overpopulation in China or India that is causing the current problem... It is us and our “western” lifestyle, Understand that those that are currently arguing against refugees and climate change are both increasing the effects of climate change and causing millions of climate refugees... which will be arriving on Canada’s doorstep because Canada, due to our size and Northern Latitude, will on the whole have some of the best climate refuges. Understand that the densification of cities is condemning those in that density to a food-less future. Stop tolerating the middle ground on climate change. there is no middle ground on gravity, the earth is round, and we are on the verge of collapse.

    –----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    At last check over 25000 shares. Thank you for reading.

    Thanks to Dr. Eric Rignot, Rupert Read , Dr. Jim Anderson, everyone at Berkely Earth those that put keep C02.earth and Environmental Advanced Sciences on FB upto date and so many other climate scientists who’s work have inspired this piece. Thanks as well to the 16 yr old Gretta Thunburg who gave me the courage to take what was in my head and put it to paper,. I encourage you to dig deep. Listen to talks where scientist are talking to scientists. They are less likely then to use the conservative filters they impose on themselves and you will get to the cutting edge.

    *on a personal note, since I post about my children, I don’t accept friend requests from people I haven’t met. That said as of today, I have figured out how to enable the “follow” button on my account. I have been blown away by all the fantastic and heartfelt messages and commitments to change I have received due to this post and look forward to reading them.

  • Three Theses on Neoliberal Migration and Social Reproduction

    Today there are more than 1 billion regional and international migrants, and the number continues to rise: within 40 years, it might double because of climate change. While many of these migrants might not cross a regional or international border, people change residences and jobs more often, while commuting longer and farther to work. This increase in human mobility and expulsion affects us all. It should be recognized as a defining feature of our epoch: The twenty-first century will be the century of the migrant.

    The argument of this paper is that the migrant is also a defining figure of neoliberal social reproduction. This argument is composed of three interlocking theses on what I am calling the “neoliberal migrant.”

    Thesis 1 : The first thesis argues that the migrant is foremost a socially constitutive figure. That is, we should not think of the migrant as a derivative or socially exceptional figure who merely travels between pre- constituted states. The movement and circulation of migrants has always played an important historical role in the social and kinetic production and reproduction of society itself.1

    Thesis 2 : The second thesis therefore argues that social reproduction itself is a fundamentally kinetic or mobile process. The fact that a historically record number of human beings are now migrating and commuting between countries, cities, rural and urban areas, multiple part time precarious jobs, means that humans are now spending a world historical record amount of unpaid labor-time just moving around. This mobility is itself a form of social reproduction.

    Thesis 3 : The third thesis is that neoliberalism functions as a migration regime of social reproduction. Under neoliberalism, the burden of social reproduction has been increasingly displaced from the state to the population itself (health care, child care, transportation, and other traditionally social services). At the same time, workers now have less time than ever before to do this labor because of increasing reproductive mobility regimes (thesis two). This leads then to a massively expanded global market for surplus reproductive laborers who can mow lawns, clean houses, and care for children so first world laborers can commute longer and more frequently. Neoliberalism completes the cycle by providing a new “surplus reproductive labor army” in the form of displaced migrants from the global South.

    We turn now to a defense of these theses.

    Thesis 1 : The Migrant is Socially Constitutive

    This is the case, in short, because societies are themselves defined by a continual movement of circulation, expansion, and expulsion that relies on the mobility of migrants to accommodate its social expansions and contractions.

    The migrant is the political figure who is socially expelled or dispossessed, to some degree as a result, or as the cause, of their mobility. We are not all migrants, but most of us are becoming migrants. At the turn of the twenty- first century, there were more regional and international migrants than ever before in recorded history—a fact that political theory has yet to take seriously.2

    If we are going to take the figure of the migrant seriously as a constitutive, and not derivative, figure of Western politics, we have to change the starting point of political theory. Instead of starting with a set of pre-existing citizens, we should begin with the flows of migrants and the ways they have circulated or sedimented into citizens and states in the first place—as well as emphasizing how migrants have constituted a counterpower and alternative to state structures.

    This requires first of all that we take seriously the constitutive role played by migrants before the 19th century, and give up the arbitrary starting point of the nation-state. In this way we will be able to see how the nation-state itself was not the origin but the product of migration and bordering techniques that existed long before it came on the scene.3

    Second of all, and based on this, we need to rethink the idea of political inclusion as a fundamentally kinetic process of circulation, not just as a formal legal, economic, or other kind of status. In other words, instead of a formal political distinction between inclusion/exclusion or a formal economic distinc- tion between productive/unproductive, we need a material one of circulation/ recirculation showing how social activity is defined by lived cycles of socially reproductive motions.

    One way to think about the constitutive role played by migrants is as a kinetic radicalization of Karl Marx’s theory of primitive accumulation.

    Primitive Accumulation
    Marx develops this concept from a passage in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations: “The accumulation of stock must, in the nature of things, be previous to the division of labour.”4 In other words, before humans can be divided into owners and workers, there must have already been an accu- mulation such that those in power could enforce the division in the first place. The superior peoples of history naturally accumulate power and stock and then wield it to perpetuate the subordination of their inferiors. For Smith, this process is simply a natural phenomenon: Powerful people always already have accumulated stock, as if from nowhere.

    For Marx, however, this quote is perfectly emblematic of the historical obfuscation of political economists regarding the violence and expulsion required for those in power to maintain and expand their stock. Instead of acknowledging this violence, political economy mythologizes and naturalizes it just like the citizen-centric nation state does politically. For Marx the concept of primitive accumulation has a material history. It is the precapitalist condition for capitalist production. In particular, Marx identifies this process with the expulsion of peasants and indigenous peoples from their land through enclosure, colonialism, and anti-vagabond laws in sixteenth-century England. Marx’s thesis is that the condition of the social expansion of capitalism is the prior expulsion of people from their land and from their legal status under customary law. Without the expulsion of these people, there is no expansion of private property and thus no capitalism.

    While some scholars argue that primitive accumulation was merely a single historical event in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, others argue that it plays a recurring logical function within capitalism itself: In order to expand, capitalism today still relies on non-capitalist methods of social expulsion and violence.5

    The idea of expansion by expulsion broadens the idea of primitive accumulation in two ways. First, the process of dispossessing people of their social status (expulsion) in order to further develop or advance a given form of social motion (expansion) is not at all unique to the capitalist regime of social motion. We see the same social process in early human societies whose progressive cultivation of land and animals (territorial expansion) with the material technology of fencing also expelled (territorial dispossession) a part of the human population. This includes hunter-gatherers whose territory was transformed into agricultural land, as well as surplus agriculturalists for whom there was no more arable land left to cultivate at a certain point. Thus social expulsion is the condition of social expansion in two ways: It is an internal condition that allows for the removal of part of the population when certain internal limits have been reached (carrying capacity of a given territory, for example) and it is an external condition that allows for the removal of part of the population outside these limits when the territory is able to expand outward into the lands of other groups (hunter gatherers). In this case, territorial expansion was only possible on the condition that part of the population was expelled in the form of migratory nomads, forced into the surrounding mountains and deserts.

    We later see the same logic in the ancient world, whose dominant polit- ical form, the state, would not have been possible without the material tech- nology of the border wall that both fended off as enemies and held captive as slaves a large body of barbarians (through political dispossession) from the mountains of the Middle East and Mediterranean. The social conditions for the expansion of a growing political order, including warfare, colonialism, and massive public works, were precisely the expulsion of a population of barbarians who had to be walled out and walled in by political power. This technique occurs again and again throughout history, as I have tried to show in my work.

    The second difference between previous theories of primitive accumulation and the more expansive one offered here is that this process of prior expulsion or social deprivation Marx noted is not only territorial or juridical, and its expansion is not only economic.6 Expulsion does not simply mean forcing people off their land, although in many cases it may include this. It also means depriving people of their political rights by walling off the city, criminalizing types of persons by the cellular techniques of enclosure and incarceration, or restricting their access to work by identification and checkpoint techniques.

    Expulsion is the degree to which a political subject is deprived or dispossessed of a certain status in the social order. Accordingly, societies also expand and reproduce their power in several major ways: through territorial accumulation, political power, juridical order, and economic

    profit. What is similar between the theory of primitive accumulation and the kinetic theory of expansion by expulsion is that most major expan- sions of social kinetic power also require a prior or primitive violence of kinetic social expulsion. The border is the material technology and social regime that directly enacts this expulsion. The concept of primitive accu- mulation is merely one historical instance of a more general kinopolitical logic at work in the emergence and reproduction of previous societies.

    Marx even makes several general statements in Capital that justify this kind of interpretive extension. For Marx, the social motion of production in general strives to reproduce itself. He calls this “periodicity”: “Just as the heavenly bodies always repeat a certain movement, once they have been flung into it, so also does social production, once it has been flung into this movement of alternate expansion and contraction. Effects become causes in their turn, and the various vicissitudes of the whole process, which always reproduces its own conditions, take on the form of periodicity.”7 According to Marx, every society, not just capitalist ones, engages in some form of social production. Like the movements of the planets, society expands and contracts itself according to a certain logic, which strives to reproduce and expand the conditions that brought it about in the first place. Its effects in turn become causes in a feedback loop of social circulation. For Marx, social production is thus fundamentally a social motion of circulation or reproduction.

    In short, the material-kinetic conditions for the expansion of societies re- quires the use of borders (fences, walls, cells, checkpoints) to produce a system of marginalized territorial, political, legal, and economic migrants that can be more easily recirculated elsewhere as needed. Just as the vagabond migrant is dispossessed by enclosures and transformed into the economic proletariat, so each dominant social system has its own structure of expansion by expulsion and reproduction as well.

    Expansion by Expulsion

    Expulsion is therefore a social movement that drives out and entails a deprivation of social status.8 Social expulsion is not simply the deprivation of territorial status (i.e., removal from the land); it includes three other major types of social deprivation: political, juridical, and economic. This is not a spatial or temporal concept but a fundamentally kinetic concept insofar as we understand movement extensively and intensively, that is, quantitatively and qualitatively. Social expulsion is the qualitative transformation of deprivation in status, resulting in or as a result of extensive movement in spacetime.

    The social expulsion of migrants, for example, is not always free or forced. In certain cases, some migrants may decide to move, but they are not free to determine the social or qualitative conditions of their movement or the degree to which they may be expelled from certain social orders. Therefore, even in this case, expulsion is still a driving-out insofar as its conditions are not freely or individually chosen but socially instituted and compelled. Expulsion is a fundamentally social and collective process because it is the loss of a socially determined status, even if only temporarily and to a small degree.9

    Expansion, on the other hand, is the process of opening up that allows something to pass through. This opening-up also entails a simultaneous extension or spreading out. Expansion is thus an enlargement or exten- sion through a selective opening. Like the process of social expulsion, the process of social expansion is not strictly territorial or primarily spatial; it is also an intensive or qualitative growth in territorial, political, juridical, and economic kinopower. It is both an intensive and extensive increase in the conjunction of new social flows and a broadening of social circulation. Colonialism is a good example of an expansion which is clearly territorial as well as political, juridical, and economic.

    Kinopower is thus defined by a constitutive circulation, but this circulation functions according to a dual logic of reproduction. At one end, social circulation is a motion that drives flows outside its circulatory system: expulsion. This is accomplished by redirecting and driving out certain flows through exile, slavery, criminalization, or unemployment. At the other end of circulation there is an opening out and passing in of newly conjoined flows through a growth of territorial, political, juridical, and economic power. Expansion by expulsion is the social logic by which some members of society are dispossessed of their status as migrants so that social power can be expanded elsewhere. Power is not only a question of repression; it is a question of mobilization and kinetic reproduction.

    For circulation to open up to more flows and become more powerful than it was, it has historically relied on the disjunction or expulsion of mi- grant flows. In other words, the expansion of power has historically relied on a socially constitutive migrant population.

    Thesis 2: Mobility is a form of Social Reproduction

    People today continually move greater distances more frequently than ever before in human history. Even when people are not moving across a regional or international border, they tend to have more jobs, change jobs more often, commute longer and farther to their places of work,10 change their residences repeatedly, and tour internationally more often.11

    Some of these phenomena are directly related to recent events, such as the impoverishment of middle classes in certain rich countries after the financial crisis of 2008, neoliberal austerity cuts to social-welfare programs, and rising unemployment. The subprime-mortgage crisis, for example, led to the expul- sion of millions of people from their homes worldwide (9 million in the United States alone). Globally, foreign investors and governments have acquired 540 million acres since 2006, resulting in the eviction of millions of small farmers in poor countries, and mining practices have become increasingly destructive around the world—including hydraulic fracturing and tar sands.

    In 2006, the world crossed a monumental historical threshold, with more than half of the world’s population living in urban centers, compared with just fifteen percent a hundred years ago. This number is now expected to rise above seventy-five percent by 2050, with more than two billion more people moving to cities.12 The term “global urbanization,” as Saskia Sassen rightly observes, is only another way of politely describing large-scale human migration and displacement from rural areas, often caused by corporate land grabs.13 What this means is not only that more people are migrating to cities but now within cities and between suburban and urban areas for work. This general increase in human mobility and expulsion is now widely recognized as a defining feature of the twenty-first century so far.14

    Accordingly, this situation is having and will continue to have major social consequences for social relations in the twenty-first century. It there- fore demands the attention of critical theory. In particular, it should call our attention to the fact that this epic increase in human mobility and migration around the world is not just a minor or one-time “inconvenience” or “eco- nomic risk” that migrants make and then join the ranks of other “settled” urban workers. It is a continuous, ongoing, and nearly universal massive ex- traction of unpaid reproductive labor.

    Urban workers have become increasingly unsettled and mobile.The world average commuting time is now 40 minutes, one-way.15 This unpaid transport time is not a form of simply unproductive or unpaid labor. It is actually the material and kinetic conditions for the reproduction of the worker herself to arrive at work ready for labor. Not only this, but unpaid transport labor also continuously reproduces the spatial architecture of capitalist urban centers and suburban peripheries.16 The increasing neoliberal privatization of roadway construction and tollways is yet another way in which unpaid transport labor is not “unproductive” at all but rather continues to reproduce a massive new private transport market.This goes hand in hand with the neoliberal decline of affordable public transportation, especially in the US.

    Unfortunately, transport mobility has not traditionally been considered a form of social reproductive activity, but as global commute times and traffic increase, it is now becoming extremely obvious how important and constitu- tive this migratory labor actually is to the functioning of capital. If we define social reproduction as including all the conditions for the worker to arrive at work, then surely mobility is one of these necessary conditions. Perhaps one of the reasons it has not been recognized as such is because transport is an activity that looks least like an activity, since the worker is typically just sitting in a vehicle. Or perhaps the historical identification of vehicles and migration as sites of freedom (especially in America) has covered over the oppressive and increasingly obligatory unpaid labor time they often entail.

    The consequences of this new situation appeared at first as merely tempo- ral inconveniences for first-world commuters or what we might call BMWs (bourgeoise migrant workers).This burden initially fell and still falls dispropor- tionally on women who are called on to make up for the lost reproductive labor of their traveling spouses (even if they themselves also commute). Increasingly, however, as more women have begun to commute farther and more often this apparently or merely reproductive neoliberal transport labor has actually pro- duced a growing new market demand for a “surplus reproductive labor army” to take up these domestic and care labors. This brings us to our third thesis.

    Thesis: 3: Neoliberal Migration is a Regime of Social Reproduction

    The third thesis is that neoliberalism functions as a migration regime of social reproduction. This is the case insofar as neoliberalism expands itself in the form of a newly enlarged reproductive labor market, accomplished through the relative expulsion of the workers from their homes (and into

    vehicles) and the absolute expulsion of a migrant labor force from the global south to fill this new market.

    Migration therefore has and continues to function as a constitutive form of social reproduction (thesis one). This is a crucial thesis because it stresses the active role migrants play in the production and reproduction of society, but it is not a new phenomenon. Marx was of course one of the first to identify this process with respect to the capitalist mode of production. The proletariat is always already a migrant proletariat. At any moment an employed worker could be unemployed and forced to relocate according to the demands of capitalist valorization. In fact, the worker’s mobility is the condition of modern industry’s whole form of motion. Without the migration of a surplus population to new markets, from the rural to the city, from city to city, from country to country (what Marx calls the “floating population”) capitalist accumulation would not be possible at all. “Modern industry’s whole form of motion,” Marx claims, “therefore depends on the constant transformation of a part of the working population into unemployed or semi-employed ‘hands.’”17 As capitalist markets expand, contract, and multiply “by fits and starts,” Marx says, capital requires the possibility of suddenly adding and subtracting “great masses of men into decisive areas without doing any damage to the scale of production. The surplus population supplies these masses.”18

    What is historically new about the neoliberal migration regime is not merely that it simply expels a portion of the population in order to put it into waged labor elsewhere. What is new is that late-capitalist neoliberalism has now expelled one portion of the workers from a portion of their ownun-waged reproductive activity in order open up a new market for the waged activity of an as yet unexploited productive population of migrants from the global South. In other words reproductive labor itself has become a site of capitalist expansion. Wherever objects and activities have not yet been commodified, there we will find the next frontier of capitalist valorization.

    The consequence of this is a dramatic double expulsion. On the one hand, the bourgeois migrant worker is expelled from her home in the form of unpaid reproductive transport labor so that on the other hand the proletarian migrant worker can be expelled from her home as an international migrant and then expelled from her home again as a commuting worker to do someone else’s reproductive activity. The burden of social reproduction then falls disproportionately on the last link in the chain: the unpaid reproductive labor that sustains the domestic and social life of the migrant family. This is what must be ultimately expelled to expand the market of social reproduction at another level. This expulsion falls disproportionally on migrant women from the global south who must somehow reproduce their family’s social conditions, commute, and then reproduce someone else’s family’s conditions well.19

    Neoliberalism thus works on both fronts at the same time. On one side it increasingly withdraws and/or privatizes state social services that aid in social reproductive activities (child care, health care, public transit, and so on) while at the same increasing transport and commute times making a portion of those activities increasingly difficult for workers. On the other side it introduces the same structural adjustment policies (curtailed state and increased privatization) into the global South with the effect of mass economic migration to Northern countries where migrants can become waged producers in what was previously an “unproductive” (with respect to capital) sector of human activity: social reproduction itself.

    Conclusion

    This is the sense in which migrants play a constitutive role in the kinopolitics of social reproduction and neoliberal expansion. In other words, neoliberal migration has made possible a new level of commodification of social reproduction itself. Waged domestic labor is not new, of course, but what is new is the newly expanded nature of this sector of labor and its entanglement with a global regime of neoliberal expulsion and forced migration.

    One of the features that defines the uniquely neoliberal form of social reproduction today is the degree to which capitalism has relied directly on economically liberal trade policies and politically liberal international governments in order to redistribute record-breaking numbers of “surplus migrant reproductive labor” into Western countries. Global migration is therefore not the side-effect of neoliberal globalization; it is the main effect. Neoliberalism should thus be understood as a migration regime for expanding Western power through the expulsion and accumulation of migrant reproductive labor.

    https://philosophyofmovementblog.com/2019/02/28/three-theses-on-neoliberal-migration-and-social-reproducti

    #migrations #exploitation #néolibéralisme #mobilité #travail #main_d'oeuvre #reproduction_sociale #philosophie

    Mise en exergue d’une citation (fin de l’article) :

    Global migration is therefore not the side-effect of neoliberal globalization; it is the main effect. Neoliberalism should thus be understood as a migration regime for expanding Western power through the expulsion and accumulation of migrant reproductive labor.

    Article publié ici :


    https://polygraphjournal.com/issue-27-neoliberalism-and-social-reproduction

  • For six months, these Palestinian villages had running water. Israel put a stop to it
    For six months, Palestinian villagers living on West Bank land that Israel deems a closed firing range saw their dream of running water come true. Then the Civil Administration put an end to it

    Amira Hass Feb 22, 2019 3:25 PM

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-why-doesn-t-israel-want-palestinians-to-have-running-water-1.69595

    The dream that came true, in the form of a two-inch water line, was too good to be true. For about six months, 12 Palestinian West Bank villages in the South Hebron Hills enjoyed clean running water. That was until February 13, when staff from the Israeli Civil Administration, accompanied by soldiers and Border Police and a couple of bulldozers, arrived.

    The troops dug up the pipes, cut and sawed them apart and watched the jets of water that spurted out. About 350 cubic meters of water were wasted. Of a 20 kilometer long (12 mile) network, the Civil Administration confiscated remnants and sections of a total of about 6 kilometers of piping. They loaded them on four garbage trucks emblazoned with the name of the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan on them.

    The demolition work lasted six and a half hours. Construction of the water line network had taken about four months. It had been a clear act of civil rebellion in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King against one of the most brutal bans that Israel imposes on Palestinian communities in Area C, the portion of the West Bank under full Israeli control. It bars Palestinians from hooking into existing water infrastructure.

    The residential caves in the Masafer Yatta village region south of Hebron and the ancient cisterns used for collecting rainwater confirm the local residents’ claim that their villages have existed for decades, long before the founding of the State of Israel. In the 1970s, Israel declared some 30,000 dunams (7,500 acres) in the area Firing Range 918.

    In 1999, under the auspices of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the army expelled the residents of the villages and demolished their structures and water cisterns. The government claimed that the residents were trespassing on the firing range, even though these were their lands and they have lived in the area long before the West Bank was captured by Israel.

    When the matter was brought to the High Court of Justice, the court approved a partial return to the villages but did not allow construction or hookups to utility infrastructure. Mediation attempts failed, because the state was demanding that the residents leave their villages and live in the West Bank town of Yatta and come to graze their flocks and work their land only on a few specific days per year.

    But the residents continued to live in their homes, risking military raids and demolition action — including the demolition of public facilities such as schools, medical clinics and even toilets. They give up a lot to maintain their way of life as shepherds, but could not forgo water.

    “The rainy season has grown much shorter in recent years, to only about 45 days a year,” explained Nidal Younes, the chairman of the Masafer Yatta council of villages. “In the past, we didn’t immediately fill the cisterns with rainwater, allowing them to be washed and cleaned first. Since the amount of rain has decreased, people stored water right away. It turns out the dirty water harmed the sheep and the people.”

    Because the number of residents has increased, even in years with abundant rain, at a certain stage the cisterns ran dry and the shepherds would bring in water by tractor. They would haul a 4 cubic meter (140 square foot) tank along the area’s narrow, poor roads — which Israel does not permit to have widened and paved. “The water has become every family’s largest expense,” Younes said.

    In the village of Halawa, he pointed out Abu Ziyad, a man of about 60. “I always see him on a tractor, bringing in water or setting out to bring back water.”

    Sometimes the tractors overturn and drivers are injured. Tires quickly wear out and precious work days go to waste. “We are drowning in debt to pay for the transportation of water,” Abu Ziyad said.

    In 2017, the Civil Administration and the Israeli army closed and demolished the roads to the villages, which the council had earlier managed to widen and rebuild. That had been done to make it easier to haul water in particular, but also more generally to give the villages better access.

    The right-wing Regavim non-profit group “exposed” the great crime committed in upgrading the roads and pressured the Civil Administration and the army to rip them up. “The residents’ suffering increased,” Younes remarked. “We asked ourselves how to solve the water problem.”

    The not very surprising solution was installing pipes to carry the water from the main water line in the village of Al-Tuwani, through privately owned lands of the other villages. “I checked it out, looking to see if there was any ban on laying water lines on private land and couldn’t find one,” Younes said.

    Work done by volunteers

    The plumbing work was done by volunteers, mostly at night and without heavy machinery, almost with their bare hands. Ali Debabseh, 77, of the village of Khalet al-Daba, recalled the moment when he opened the spigot installed near his home and washed his face with running water. “I wanted to jump for joy. I was as happy as a groom before his wedding.”

    Umm Fadi of the village of Halawa also resorted to the word “joy” in describing the six months when she had a faucet near the small shack in which she lives. “The water was clean, not brown from rust or dust. I didn’t need to go as far as the cistern to draw water, didn’t need to measure every drop.”

    Now it’s more difficult to again get used to being dependent on water dispensed from tanks.

    The piping and connections and water meters were bought with a 100,000 euro ($113,000) European donation. Instead of paying 40 shekels ($11) per cubic meter for water brought in with water tanks, the residents paid only about 6 shekels for the same amount of running water. Suddenly they not only saved money, but also had more precious time.

    The water lines also could have saved European taxpayers money. A European project to help the residents remain in their homes had been up and running since 2011, providing annual funding of 120,000 euros to cover the cost of buying and transporting drinking water during the three summer months for the residents (but not their livestock).

    The cost was based on a calculation involving consumption of 750 liters per person a month, far below the World Health Organization’s recommended quantity. There are between 1,500 and 2,000 residents. The project made things much easier for such a poor community, which continued to pay out of its own pocket for the water for some 40,000 sheep and for the residents’ drinking water during the remainder of the year. Now that the Civil Administration has demolished the water lines, the European donor countries may be forced to once again pay for the high price of transporting water during the summer months, at seven times the cost.

    For its part, the Civil Administration issued a statement noting that the area is a closed military zone. “On February 13,” the statement said, “enforcement action was taken against water infrastructure that was connected to illegal structures in this area and that were built without the required permits.”

    Ismail Bahis should have been sorry that the pipes were laid last year. He and his brothers, residents of Yatta, own water tankers and were the main water suppliers to the Masafer Yatta villages. Through a system of coupons purchased with the European donation, they received 800 shekels for every shipment of 20 cubic meters of water. But Bahis said he was happy he had lost out on the work.

    “The roads to the villages of Masafer Yatta are rough and dangerous, particularly after the army closed them,” he said. “Every trip of a few kilometers took at least three and a half hours. Once I tipped over with the tanker. Another time the army confiscated my brother’s truck, claiming it was a closed military zone. We got the truck released three weeks later in return for 5,000 shekels. We always had other additional expenses replacing tires and other repairs for the truck.

    Nidal Younes recounted that the council signed a contract with another water carrier to meet the demand. But that supplier quit after three weeks. He wouldn’t agree to drive on the poor and dangerous roads.

    On February 13, Younes heard the large group of forces sent by the Civil Administration beginning to demolish the water lines near the village of Al-Fakhit. He rushed to the scene and began arguing with the soldiers and Civil Administration staff.

    Border Police arrests

    Border Police officers arrested him, handcuffed him and put him in a jeep. His colleague, the head of the Al-Tuwani council, Mohammed al-Raba’i, also approached those carrying out the demolition work to protest. “But they arrested me after I said two words. At least Nidal managed to say a lot,” he said with a smile that concealed sadness.

    Two teams carried out the demolition work, one proceeding toward the village of Jinbah, to the southeast, the second advanced in the direction of Al-Tuwani, to the northwest. They also demolished the access road leading to the village of Sha’ab al-Butum, so that even if Bahis wanted to transport water again, he would have had to make a large detour to do so.

    Younes was shocked to spot a man named Marco among the team carrying out the demolition. “I remembered him from when I was a child, from the 1980s when he was an inspector for the Civil Administration. In 1985, he supervised the demolition of houses in our village, Jinbah — twice, during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr [marking the end of the Ramadan holy month],” he said.

    “They knew him very well in all the villages in the area because he attended all the demolitions. The name Marco was a synonym for an evil spirit. Our parents who saw him demolish their homes, have died. He disappeared, and suddenly he has reappeared,” Younes remarked.

    Marco is Marco Ben-Shabbat, who has lead the Civil Administration’s supervision unit for the past 10 years. Speaking to a reporter from the Israel Hayom daily who accompanied the forces carrying out the demolition work, Ben-Shabbat said: “The [water line] project was not carried out by the individual village. The Palestinian Authority definitely put a project manager here and invested a lot of money.”

    More precisely, it was European governments that did so.

    From all of the villages where the Civil Administration destroyed water lines, the Jewish outposts of Mitzpeh Yair and Avigayil can be seen on the hilltops. Although they are unauthorized and illegal even according to lenient Israeli settlement laws, the outposts were connected almost immediately to water and electricity grids and paved roads lead to them.

    “I asked why they demolished the water lines,” Nidal Younes recalled. He said one of the Border Police officers answered him, in English, telling him it was done “to replace Arabs with Jews.”

    #Financementeuropéen

    • Under Israeli Occupation, Water Is a Luxury

      Of all the methods Israel uses to expel Palestinians from their land, the deprivation of water is the most cruel. And so the Palestinians are forced to buy water that Israel stole from them
      Amira Hass
      Feb 24, 2019 9:45 PM
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-under-israeli-occupation-water-is-a-luxury-1.6962821

      Water pipes cut by the Israeli military in the village of Khalet al-Daba, February 17, 2019. Eliyahu Hershkovitz

      When I wrote my questions and asked the spokesperson’s office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories to explain the destruction of the water pipelines in the Palestinian villages southeast of Yatta, on February 13, my fingers started itching wanting to type the following question: “Tell me, aren’t you ashamed?” You may interpret it as a didactic urge, you can see it as a vestige of faith in the possibility of exerting an influence, or a crumb of hope that there’s somebody there who doesn’t automatically carry out orders and will feel a niggling doubt. But the itching in my fingers disappeared quickly.

      This is not the first time that I’m repressing my didactic urge to ask the representatives of the destroyers, and the deprivers of water, if they aren’t ashamed. After all, every day our forces carry out some brutal act of demolition or prevent construction or assist the settlers who are permeated with a sense of racial superiority, to expel shepherds and farmers from their land. The vast majority of these acts of destruction and expulsion are not reported in the Israeli media. After all, writing about them would require the hiring of another two full-time reporters.

      These acts are carried out in the name of every Israeli citizen, who also pays the taxes to fund the salaries of the officials and the army officers and the demolition contractors. When I write about one small sampling from among the many acts of destruction, I have every right as a citizen and a journalist to ask those who hand down the orders, and those who carry them out: “Tell me, can you look at yourself in the mirror?”

      But I don’t ask. Because we know the answer: They’re pleased with what they see in the mirror. Shame has disappeared from our lives. Here’s another axiom that has come down to us from Mount Sinai: The Jews have a right to water, wherever they are. Not the Palestinians. If they insist on living outside the enclaves we assigned to them in Area A, outside the crowded reservations (the city of Yatta, for example), let them bear the responsibility of becoming accustomed to living without water. It’s impossible without water? You don’t say. Then please, let the Palestinians pay for water that is carried in containers, seven times the cost of the water in the faucet.

      It’s none of our business that most of the income of these impoverished communities is spent on water. It’s none of our business that water delivery is dangerous because of the poor roads. It’s none of our business that the Israel Defense Forces and the Civil Administration dig pits in them and pile up rocks – so that it will be truly impossible to use them to transport water for about 1,500 to 2,000 people, and another 40,000 sheep and goats. What do we care that only one road remains, a long detour that makes delivery even more expensive? After all, it’s written in the Torah: What’s good for us, we’ll deny to others.

      I confess: The fact that the pyramid that carries out the policy of depriving the Palestinians of water is now headed by a Druze (Brig. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) made the itching in my fingers last longer. Maybe because when Abu Rokon approaches the faucet, he thinks the word “thirsty” in the same language used by the elderly Ali Dababseh from the village of Khalet al-Daba to describe life with a dry spigot and waiting for the tractor that will bring water in a container. Or because Abu Rokon first learned from his mother how to say in Arabic that he wants to drink.

      Water towers used by villages due to lack of running water in their homes. Eliyahu Hershkovitz

      But that longer itching is irrational, at least based on the test of reality. The Civil Administration and COGAT are filled with Druze soldiers and officers whose mother tongue is Arabic. They carry out the orders to implement Israel’s settler colonial policy, to expel Palestinians and to take over as much land as possible for Jews, with the same unhesitant efficiency as their colleagues whose mother tongue is Hebrew, Russian or Spanish.

      Of all the Israeli methods of removing Palestinians from their land in order to allocate it to Jews from Israel and the Diaspora, the policy of water deprivation is the cruelest. And these are the main points of this policy: Israel does not recognize the right of all the human beings living under its control to equal access to water and to quantities of water. On the contrary. It believes in the right of the Jews as lords and masters to far greater quantities of water than the Palestinians. It controls the water sources everywhere in the country, including in the West Bank. It carries out drilling in the West Bank and draws water in the occupied territory, and transfers most of it to Israel and the settlements.

      The Palestinians have wells from the Jordanian period, some of which have already dried up, and several new ones from the past 20 years, not as deep as the Israeli ones, and together they don’t yield sufficient quantities of water. The Palestinians are therefore forced to buy from Israel water that Israel is stealing from them.

      Because Israel has full administrative control over 60 percent of the area of the West Bank (among other things it decides on the master plans and approves construction permits), it also forbids the Palestinians who live there to link up to the water infrastructure. The reason for the prohibition: They have no master plan. Or that’s a firing zone. And of course firing zones were declared on Mount Sinai, and an absence of a master plan for the Palestinian is not a deliberate human omission but the act of God.

    • Pendant six mois, ces villages palestiniens ont eu de l’eau courante. Israël y a mis fin
      25 février | Amira Hass pour Haaretz |Traduction SF pour l’AURDIP
      https://www.aurdip.org/pendant-six-mois-ces-villages.html

      Pendant six mois, des villageois palestiniens vivant en Cisjordanie sur une terre qu’Israël considère comme une zone de feu fermée, ont vu leur rêve d’eau courante devenir réalité. Puis l’administration civile y a mis fin.

  • Small is Beautiful — The Big Bang Launch Failure of #healthcare.gov
    https://hackernoon.com/small-is-beautiful-the-launch-failure-of-healthcare-gov-5e60f20eb967?sou

    Small is Beautiful — The Big Bang Launch Failure of Healthcare.govHealthcare.gov Error MessageThe 5th anniversary of the Healthcare.gov launch failure offers an opportunity to reflect upon computer system defects, human error, organization flaws, and the best principles and practices for solution delivery in the information technology industry. In this blog and my upcoming book, Bugs: A Short History of Computer System Failure, I will chronicle some important system failures in the past and discuss ideas for improving the future of system quality. As IT becomes increasingly woven into Life, the quality of hardware and software impacts our commerce, health, infrastructure, military, politics, science, security, and transportation. The Big Idea is that we have no choice but to get better at (...)

    #obamacare #project-management #software-development #healthcare-dot-gov

  • GRAIN — The Belt and Road Initiative: Chinese agribusiness going global
    https://www.grain.org/article/entries/6133-the-belt-and-road-initiative-chinese-agribusiness-going-global

    One of the world’s biggest e-commerce companies, Beijing-based JD.com, says it will soon be able to deliver fruit from anywhere in the world to the doorsteps of Chinese consumers within 48 hours. It takes highly integrated global infrastructure—connecting farms to warehouses to transportation to consumers—to achieve a goal like this. China’s new mega-infrastructure plan, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), will help make JD.com’s vision a reality. It will also increase the concentration of global food production and distribution, potentially pushing small-scale farmers, fisherfolk, forest peoples and rural communities further to the margins. There are also serious concerns that BRI could worsen land grabs, human rights abuses, indebtedness, and environmental and health impacts in target countries.

    Pas encore regardé #obor #BRI #Chine #commerce #agroindustrie #route_de_la_soie #nouvelle_route_de_la_soie

  • Calling Cars“Self-Driving” May Leave Consumers Asleep at the Wheel
    https://hackernoon.com/calling-cars-self-driving-may-leave-consumers-asleep-at-the-wheel-53c750

    Calling a car, “self-driving,” may be the K-car of autonomous vehicle branding, according to a studyTech experts are trying to convince people that self-driving cars are the next big thing in transportation. But, for consumers, cars labeled “self-driving,” or “autonomous,” are about as exciting as a long, lonely, coffee-less stretch of Midwestern interstate.According to a Penn State study that appeared in Science Communications, calling a car, “self-driving,” actually made people less excited about the vehicle. Terms like “autonomous” and “driverless” didn’t do much for the consumers, either. Those terms could even add to consumer confusion about the vehicles, the researchers found. The term, “driverless vehicle,” for example, made some study participants think there was no driver in the car but not (...)

    #autonomous-vehicles #ai #artificial-intelligence #autonomous-cars #self-driving-cars

  • Child Inmates of South Korea’s Immigration Jail

    Helene* had a challenge that no mother would want. She, with her husband, was a refugee in a foreign land with a foreign language, trying despite all odds to raise her children as best she could. If this weren’t enough of a challenge, Helene was in jail, locked up in a 10-person cell with others she didn’t know. The only time she could leave her cell was for a 30-minute exercise time each day. But her task was more daunting still. Her children were locked up with her.

    Helene’s jail was an immigration detention facility, and her crime was not having enough money to begin refugee applicant proceedings. She spent 23 days in that cell with her two sons. Her oldest, Emerson, was three years and eight months old, and her youngest, Aaron, was only 13 months old. She watched their mental health and physical health slowly deteriorate while her pleadings for help fell on deaf ears.

    *

    In June, American news media were shocked by the revelation that migrant children, who were only guilty of not possessing legal migrant status, were being held in large-scale detention facilities. This was something new—a part of President Donald Trump’s ‘tough on immigration’ stance.

    In South Korea, detaining children simply due to their migration status, or the migration status of their parents, is standard practice.

    Children make up a very small percentage of the total picture of unregistered migrants in South Korea. However, as the nation’s foreign population reaches 2 million and beyond, that small percentage becomes a large number in real terms. The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) doesn’t keep statistics on the exact number of unregistered child migrants in the country.

    Most unregistered child migrants in South Korea fall into one of two broad categories: teenagers who come alone, and infants or toddlers brought by their parents or born to migrants already living in the country. In both cases, the majority of children (or their parents) come from other parts of Asia seeking work in the industrial sector.

    These children often end up in detention facilities when immigration authorities carry out routine crackdowns targeting workplaces in industrial districts or transportation routes workers use to get to these districts. Authorities, by policy, detain any unregistered migrant who is 14 or older. Younger children are technically exempt from detention orders, but parents are often caught in crackdowns while with their children. The parents can’t leave their children on the street to fend for themselves, and so, left with no other options, they choose to bring their children with them into the detention facilities.

    Helene’s case was different. She and her husband brought their sons to South Korea with them when they fled religious persecution in their home country of Liberia. The South Korean government rejected their refugee applications, and the family only had enough money to begin a legal challenge for one person. Emerson and Aaron, along with Helene, became unregistered migrants.

    How they were detained would be comical if their case were not so tragic. After a trip to a hospital, the family was trying to board a subway to return home. Their stroller could not fit through the turnstiles, and after a brief altercation an upset station manager called the police. The police asked to see the family’s papers, but only Helene’s husband had legal status. The police were obligated to arrest Helene due to her unregistered status and turn her over to immigration authorities. Because her children were very young – the youngest was still breastfeeding – she had no viable option but to bring her children with her.

    *

    Helene and her sons were sent to an immigration detention facility in Hwaseong, some 60 kilometers southwest of Seoul. Inside and out, the facility is indistinguishable from a prison. Detainees wear blue jumpsuits with the ironic Korean phrase “protected foreigner” printed in large white letters on the back. They live in 10-person cells with cement walls and steel bars at the front. Each cell has a small common area up front with tables, a sleeping area in the middle, and a bathroom at the back.

    For detainees, these cells become the entirety of their existence until they are released. Food is delivered through a gap in the bars, and the only opportunity to leave the cell is for a brief 30-minute exercise period each day.

    These facilities were never intended to house children, and authorities make little to no effort to accommodate them. Young children have to live in a cell with a parent and as many as eight other adults, all unknown to the child. The detention center doesn’t provide access to pediatricians, child appropriate play and rest time, or even food suitable for young children.

    Government policy states that education is provided only for children detained for more than 30 days. Children have no other children to interact with, and no space to play or explore. During daytime, when the sleeping mats are rolled up and stored, the sleeping area becomes a large open space where children could play. According to Helene, whenever her sons entered that area guards would shout at them to come back to the common area at the front of the cell.

    Emerson’s fear of the guards’ reprimand grew to the point that he refused to use the toilets at the back of the cell because that would mean crossing the sleeping area, instead choosing to soil himself. Even after the family was eventually released, Emerson’s psychological trauma and his refusal to use bathrooms remained.

    The stress and anxiety of being locked in a prison cell naturally takes a severe toll on children’s wellbeing. Like the adults they’re detained with, they don’t know what will happen to them or when they will be released. Unlike the adults, they don’t understand why they are in a prison cell to begin with. Without any way to alleviate the situation, the stress and anxiety they feel turn into mental disorders. These conditions can include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even increased rates of suicide and self-harm.

    Kim Jong Chul has seen many examples of these symptoms firsthand. Kim is a lawyer with APIL, a public interest law firm, and he’s worked to secure the release of many migrant children held in detention.

    In one such case, May, a 5-year-old migrant from China, spent 20 days in a detention facility with her mother. Over those 20 days, May’s extreme anxiety produced insomnia, a high fever, swollen lips and more. Despite this, her guards never brought a doctor to examine her.

    For most migrants in immigration custody, children included, their release comes only when they are deported. In 2016, authorities held 29,926 migrants in detention, and 96 percent of them were deported. The whole deportation process, from arrest to boarding a plane, typically takes ten days.

    But for children, ten days in detention are enough to develop severe stress and anxiety. Special cases, including refugee applications or a migrant laborer with unpaid wages, can take much longer to process. South Korea’s immigration law doesn’t set an upper limit on migrant detention, and there are cases of migrants held for more than a year. The law also doesn’t require regular judicial review or in-person checks from a case worker at any point in the process. According to Kim from APIL, the longest child detention in recent years was 141 days.

    Existing children’s welfare services would benefit migrant children, but the MOJ opposes any such idea. In the view of the MOJ and the Ministry of Health and Welfare, welfare facilities should be reserved only for citizens and foreigners with legal status.

    Children between the ages of 14 and 18 are yet another matter. The MOJ’s stance is that most of these children are physically similar to adults, highly likely to commit crimes and in general a danger to society, and they need to be detained.

    Kim argues that it’s hard to interpret the MOJ’s stance that migrant teenagers are all potential criminals as anything other than institutional racism. South Korean citizens who are under 18 are considered minors and treated differently in the eyes of the law.

    International treaties ban detaining children, including teenagers, due to migration status, and the South Korean government has signed and ratified each of the UN treaties that relate to children’s rights. It means that under the country’s constitution, the treaties have the same power as domestic law. And yet abuses persist.

    Lawmaker Keum Tae-seob from the ruling Minjoo Party—often called one of the most progressive members of the National Assembly— is fighting this reality. He has proposed a revision to the current immigration law that would ban detention of migrant children, but it has met opposition from the MOJ. Ironically, the ministry argues that because South Korea has signed the relevant international treaties, there is no need to pass a separate domestic law that would ban such detention. This is despite the fact that immigration authorities, who belong to the MOJ, have detained over 200 children over the past 3 years, including many under the age of 14.

    To rally support for a ban on detaining migrant children, APIL and World Vision Korea launched an awareness campaign in 2016, complete with a slick website, emotional videos and a petition. As of this writing, the petition has just under 9,000 signatures, and APIL is hoping to reach 10,000.
    Back in June of last year, another petition received significant media attention. A group of Yemeni refugee applicants—fewer than 600—arrived on the island of Jeju, and in response a citizen’s petition against accepting refugees on the office of the president’s website garnered over 714,000 signatures. A collection of civic groups even organized an anti-refugee rally in Seoul that same month.

    APIL’s campaign has been underway for more than two years, but the recent reaction to Yemeni refugees in Jeju has unveiled how difficult it will be change the government’s position on asylum seekers. A Human Rights Watch report released on Thursday also minced no words in critiquing the government policies: “even though [South Korean president] Moon Jae-in is a former human rights lawyer,” he “did little to defend the rights of women, refugees, and LGBT persons in South Korea.”

    For now, Keum’s bill is still sitting in committee, pending the next round of reviews. Helene’s family has been in the UK since her husband’s refugee status lawsuit failed.

    *Helene is a pseudonym to protect the identity of her and her family.

    https://www.koreaexpose.com/child-migrant-inmates-south-korea-immigration-jail-hwaseong
    #enfants #enfance #mineurs #rétention #détention_administrative #Corée_du_Sud #migrations #sans-papiers #réfugiés #asile

  • https://www.arch2o.com/oculus-nyc-santiago-calatrava
    The World Trade Center Transportation Hub ‘Oculus NYC’ designed by Santiago Calatrava, is conceived at street level as a freestanding structure situated on axis along the southern edge of the “Wedge of Light” plaza. As described in Daniel Libeskind’s master plan for the site, the Plaza is bounded by Fulton, Greenwich and Church Streets to the North, West and East respectively and Tower 3 to the south.


    #Architecture #Art #Design #calatrava #santiago #Oculus #wtc_transportation_hub #World_Trade_Center_Transportation_Hub #oculus_nyc