3203 – New Speaker Mike Johnson’s Extremism; Uber’s Urban Capture w/ Alex Sammon, Katie J. Wells

It’s another EmMajority Report Thursday! She speaks with Katie J. Wells, postdoctoral fellow at Georgetown University, to discuss her recent book Disrupting D.C.: The Rise of Uber and the Fall of the City. Then, she speaks with Alex Sammon, politics writer at Slate, about the new speakership of Rep. Mike Johnson and his recent piece in Harper’s entitled “Forbidden Fruit: The anti-avocado militias of Michoacán.” First, Emma runs through updates on yesterday’s mass shooting in Maine, the ongoing hunt for the shooter, Israel’s sneak preview of the mass cleansing of Gaza, the IDF’s bombing of journalists’ families, Mike Johnson’s speakership, UAW labor success, Trump’s legal woes, North Carolina’s gerrymander, and Hurricane Otis wreaking havoc on Acapulco, before watching Newt Gingrich step forward to bravely spin yesterday’s mass shooting for the GOP. Then Katie J. Wells joins, first stepping back to contextualize the Uber boom in 2011 within the recovery from the great recession and a massive influx in money to Silicon Valley, and the lingering impact of mass urban disinvestment and decay of the 1980s. Next, Wells looks to this moment as the apex of the rise of technological solutionism, parsing through the story of D.C. Taxicab Commission Chairman Ron Linton’s attempted sting on Uber’s illegal operation, and the following pivot by the city to begin a push against regulation as a public good, embracing Big Tech’s fig leaf for cheaper labor practices. After walking through the incredible political battle that Uber and Big Tech waged to push the gig economy past local economies, Katie and Emma wrap up with an acknowledgment of the important role Uber has played for workers in the gig economy, and the need for greater economic reform so Uber is no longer a viable solution. Alex Sammon then walks through his assessment of the nascent Speakership of Mike Johnson, a nondescript right-wing bigot, first clarifying what distinction the GOP moderates were able to manufacture between him and other extremist candidates, before tackling his generically bigoted, theocratic, and fascistic agenda. Wrapping up, Sammon tackles Johnson’s role in representing the GOP’s extreme evangelical base, what that means for the future of queer people, and how the right-wing media is somehow spinning the election of the mastermind behind Trump’s coup as a success for moderate republicanism.

And in the Fun Half: Emma is joined by Brandon Sutton and Matt Binder as they watch the continuing dehumanization of Palestinians in mainstream news, Colin from Missouri explores getting involved in activism, and Mary from Maine on the horrors of her states’ gun laws. They also watch Owen Schroyer’s final plea as InfoWars abandons him ahead of his Insurrection jailing, Justin from Bremerton tackles some arguments for gun reform, Jeff from Minneapolis discusses the comparison between occupation in Palestine and Ireland in the 1900s, and the MR Crew watches Celtic fans in Glasgow show stunning solidarity with Palestine and Gaza. Shawn Fain announces major victories in the UAW strike, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Katie’s book here: https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691249759/disrupting-dc

Check out Alex’s work at Slate here: https://slate.com/author/alexander-sammon

Check out Alex’s Harper’s piece here: https://harpers.org/archive/2023/11/forbidden-fruit-avocado-militias-michoacan-mexico/

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