Immaterial Labour Union

From P2P Foundation
Jump to navigation Jump to search

= "a decentralized labour union which occupies the space of the "social factory" (Facebook, Google, Twitter etc ..) the profit of a privileged few".



Rosie Gram:

"The Immaterial Labour Union is a decentralized labour union which occupies the space of the operaista "social factory": Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, etc, where we're being stripped off of our data for the profit of a privileged few. Labour feels different, but it is still labour and to think or act otherwise is to let capital win once more!

The choice to constitute a union when labour as we know it is changing in advanced capitalist societies is an ideological one: Against the tendency in the lowering power of the union, against the tendency in alienating the produsers from their statuses as workers, the union rises to create a blockade against extreme individualization.

We need you to join the organizing committee of the union! We need your ideas and suggestions to dynamize what aims to be the workshop of the Immaterial Labor Union. We envision it as a network of variable architecture which tactically meets to bring to life different, concrete components of the toolkit for the liberation of the multitude! How can we negotiate terms of service? How can we re-imagine collective bargaining within the social factory?

We need you to help us answer those questions! We need you to organize with us!"


"The Immaterial Labor Union was born out of a desire to escape from the atomization of the individual into the collective, to think about alternatives to the neoliberal grey area of the multitude and its permanent state of insulation, to negotiate terms of service and push for the protection of personal data on a transnational scope. Framed within the context of social media monopolies such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+, the Union aims, on a short-term basis, to reddress privacy abuses and unfair working conditions perpetrated through the processing of our online data, and on a long-term basis to conceive and shape alternative social networking solutions.

Data Rights

For the time being, the EU Data Protection Directive still doesn't accomodate for globalization phenomena and the advent of social networks; plans are being traced for the adoption, in 2015, and implementation, in 2017, of a General Data Protection Regulation. This Regulation is expected to bridge the Directive's gaps regarding the network society. In the meanwhile, it is important to trace the collective demands of the digital multitude in regards to control of personal data and negotiate the terms of the current information economy at work in popular social media websites. To give the example of Facebook, which is the most flagrant by the brazen arrogance of its terms of service, it is important to question to which degree do we really have a choice. While it is true that we only accept such outrageous conditions which deeply violate basic human rights if we choose to sign into Facebook, the only other option is opting-out the social loop of your friends and acquaintances. Such abusive demands only go mostly unchecked due to Facebook's monopoly status. You're commodified by default.

However, even when not on Facebook, information can still be gathered about you whenever a friend tags you in a photo, refers to you in a comment, etc.

The Union strives for user data control and transparency from a bottom-up perspective, where users push for data controllers to respect their rights by means of negotiation, rejecting the fake binary approach upholded by social media monopolies.

Data Labour

Increasingly, information is becoming the means of production of the digital age. The blurrying of lines between work and leisure time means the commodification of the latter, and the monetization of our relationships and online activities becomes the rule. The business model of large social media monopolies reduces us to a graph, easily mined, craftily designed. Their strategy makes clever use of the 'network effect' (where the number of users determines the value of a service) for marketing purposes, extracting profit from user activity. According to Maurizio Lazzarato, the production of subjects and social relations coincides, then, with economical power. Where the current mode of exploitation is now being labeled under the "social" tag, the user becomes further alienated from the perception of his/her condition as a worker.

Based on this assumptions, equating social media activity with labour and stating this correspondence clearly becomes key to framing the necessity of a Union which can effectively state its their demands in the context of digital economy.


I hope to gather a few interested people with whom I can then develop the toolkit for the liberation of the multitude. Capable of critically disrupting social networking paradigms, the exact components of such toolkit remain yet to be decided - ranging from cultural jamming strategies to software bundles with a guerrilla mindset, its goals are to empower the digital multitude by means of promoting actions and campaigns, not only translating traditional activist strategies (such as strikes, pickets and protests) to their digital correspondent but also exploring tactical new media methodologies for creative action." (

More Information

Subscribe to our mailing list @ and let us start collaborating!