I agree with this: I think the idea of the "independent contractor" is also an absurd artifact of U.S. labor law.
We must distinguish between a worker who may owns her own tools and a person who actually owns the means of production.
In the early days of over the road trucking organizing the Minneapolis Teamsters (Trotskyists mostly) decided to treat "independent" truckers, truckers who owned their own trucks in the manner of machinists who owned their own tools. This is the way NYC taxi drivers should be treated, no matter what their individual consciousness, and no matter what the legalities of the situation happen to be. The same for Uber drivers for that matter. They are workers who own their tools, and not "independent contractors" who own the means of production.
This reasoning should be tested in all situations. A taxi driver who drives his own car but also owns five others is a "little capitalist" for instance.
On Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 6:19 PM, Bill Bartlett <william7 at aapt.net.au> wrote:
> On 01/02/201 Carrol Cox wrote:
> > A query. How do you define/describe the petty bourgeoisie?
> > How large is that element of the population?
> > And just for the hell of it, another query: How politically important
> (now or potentially) are those over 65?
> Assuming that "petty bourgeoisie" is just a miss-spelling of the French
> "petit bourgeoisie", I would define small capitalist pretty much the same
> as I define "capitalist". That is, a person who doesn't need to work for a
> living because they own enough capital to live by the profits extracted
> from the labour of others. What is small and what is large is difficult to
> define in that context and probably not important. Anyhow, its a vague and
> confusing concept, those who use the term are a little confused, as
> evidenced by the fact they confuse the French "petit" with the English
> "petty", which have different meanings.
> Except in the identity politics sense where many people tend identify with
> a certain class they would like to become part of. But that is just a
> symptom of the wider malaise of lack of class-consciousness. The bottom
> line, it seems to me, is that a capitalist needs to have sufficient capital
> to free him from the need to work himself, or he is simply a worker with
> ideas above his station. Aspirations alone don't butter any parsnips. Being
> an "independent contractor" or "self-employed" more often than not merely
> means a worker is self-exploited.
> All these instances of lack of class-consciousness are to be expected.
> After all, the day subjective class consciousness aligns with objective
> class reality will probably be the day that the final nail will be driven
> into the coffin of the ruling class.
> Bill Bartlett
> Bracknell Tas