Work and exploitation in the virtual economy

A brief history of my work as an online contractor and the exploitation inherent within the industry.

After reading Wotsits experiences of the Jobcentre, it got me thinking about my own time there too. But I don't really have much to add, in fact mine would be rather tame since I left the Job Centre before they brought most of that stuff in.

PCS hangs militant rep out to dry in HP dispute

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka

The Public and Commercial Services Union has in the past year worked to sabotage a dispute between its members at Hewlett Packard and their employer. This has culminated in the betrayal of one of their own reps, John Pearson, after he was unjustly sacked by the company.

PCS is best known as the civil servants’ union, however it has members in various areas of the private sector due to privatisation and outsourcing. This includes workers for Hewlett Packard who before 1995, with several contract transfers in between, were civil servants in the Department for Social Security’s (now the DWP) IT Services Agency.


Hacking the Apple collective

A short account of working at Apple by a hacker employed there. Originally published in 2600 - The Hacker Quarterly

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Big Bird for lighting a fire under me so I would express my views on the current Apple environment. I've had a lot to say and it's about damn time I said it. He wrote a great article in 29:3 about his experience with the "Genius" bar. As great as the article was, I felt like it was missing something: an inside perspective.

Halo 4 contractor calls for unionisation of the games industry

Put work on standby until games industry staff get better treatment

A former Quality Assurance tester at Certain Affinity studios, is calling upon games industry staff to be aware of the negative aspect of contractor work and need to organise for better conditions, pay and respect.

Kotaku, a prominent gaming news hub, is promoting a guest editorial by a freelancer whose resume has included working for a firm contracted to test the mutiplayer component of Halo 4, a multi-million selling blockbuster for Microsoft's Xbox 360 games console.

Winning together - collective identity and workplace action

A member of the Solidarity Federation Tech & Digital workers network recounts the building of a collective identity in their workplace, pushing a collective grievance and building on workplace victories.

I was sat at home during the christmas holidays when I recieved an email from my line manager from work. The email said that me and all of the my fellow workers in the department were to get a significant payrise, backdated to November. 'Congratulations!' said the email.

Why Valve? - Yanis Varoufakis


Or, what do we need corporations for and how does Valve’s management structure fit into today’s corporate world? Yanis Varoufakis discusses the horizontal management structure at Valve, and how this relates to possible post-capitalist forms of activity.

Valve’s survival manual for new employees. You have read Michael Abrash’s wonderful account of working at Valve.

Rip-roaring markets and massive inequality - an interview with Paul Mason

Newsnight's engaged economics editor and author of Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere, talks to Mute's Peter Carty about global revolution, Chinese female biker gangs and ghosts

Paul Mason is an unusual BBC journalist. He has an intellectual approach to his work which goes far beyond soundbites and rehashes from other mainstream media outlets. While he doesn’t identify himself with any particular political line, his professional interest in the current crisis of capitalism extends to a variety of theoretical perspectives from the left.

Goatse as industrial sabotage

DSG's piece on how obscene internet references are used by some workers as sabotage or resistance.

This short article is not for the faint of heart. It’s not for internet dabblers, or the recently-fed. Or maybe it is- maybe this article will give some insight into the world of the digital natives. It aims to shed light on an internet phenomenon, in turn giving the shadow, depth and form of class-struggle to what might, on first appearances, seem like a decidedly two-dimensional case study.

Fetishism of digital commodities and hidden exploitation: the cases of Amazon and Apple

An essay written by the Wu Ming Foundation around the time of Steve Jobs' death which lays out the facade of the corporate 'miracle' and argues against net-fetishism.

[The original version of this essay was published on Giap on 26 September 2011, several days before Steve Jobs died. The French version was published on Article XI on the eve of Jobs' death.

The global chain gang

Shane Mason, a games industry worker and SolFed member, writes about the horrific working conditions of those at the other end of his industry's supply chain; workers in the infamous factories of Foxconn. He argues that despite being halfway around the world, we're not so different after all...

Last month I wrote an article about crunch time in the games industry; the large amounts of unpaid overtime that have become a common feature of the game development cycle. However, us tech workers in the west are simply the thin end of the wedge.