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Are Silicon Valley Workers Abandoning Libertarianism For Socialism?

Salon writes that Silicon Valley tech workers are “defying their overlords,” arguing that recent unionization attempts by Kickstarter employees may be only the beginning:

The workers’ Kickstarter campaign is not the first attempt, though, or even the first time rumblings of unionization, have circulated among programmers. In 2018, software engineers at the startup Lanetix announced their intent to unionize — and were promptly fired by management (It is illegal to fire employees for trying to unionize). The National Labor Relations Board intervened, and ultimately forced Lanetix to pay the 15 fired engineers a total of $775,000. The show of worker power at Lanetix may have paved the way for Kickstarter’s workers. Similarly, workers across the video game industry — generally among the most overworked, underpaid workers within the tech industry — have been making steps towards unionization. Game Workers Unite, profiled by Salon last year, is building a grassroots movement to organize the ranks of video game makers.

Together, this suggests that a small but visible movement for white-collar software engineers unionizing has been gaining steam in the Valley over the past few years — suggesting that the people who make up the tech industry, once a bastion of libertarianism, are starting to understand the often subtle ways that their employers exploit them… For decades, libertarianism was part and parcel to the tech industry. Despite a grueling work culture and a high-profile collusion scandal among major tech corporations to suppress software engineers’ wages, tech workers were more likely to see themselves as future founders than an exploited underclass — a point of view encouraged by employers through high wages and generous, often absurd office perks. Recent developments suggest such endearing tactics are no longer working.

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