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Ed Driscoll

The Rise of the Anti-Tech California Left

April 8th, 2014 - 3:37 pm

When I moved out to Silicon Valley from New Jersey in 1997, Internet fever was just about to peak (literally so, in the form of the bursting tech bubble that decimated the NASDAQ three years later). Silicon Valley was seen as the next big thing, ushering America into the wonders of the 21st century — and possibly saving the increasing bloated state government of California in the process. Wired magazine, based in San Francisco, was still owned by founder Louis Rossetto, and maintained its quirky but libertarian vibe, before Rosetto sold the magazine to the mammoth reactionary left Conde Nast publishing empire four year later. For those of us who had started computing on Altair 8800s and TRS-80s twenty years earlier, the mid-to-late 1990s was quite a ride.

It was fun while it lasted.

In his latest USA Today column, Glenn Reynolds writes that these days, “Silicon Valley Scares Americans:”

Silicon Valley has a trust problem, and it’s growing. Some of this is the result of National Security Agency spying — and the tech community’s cooperation with same — and some of it is based on other things tech leaders are doing. But the worst of it is based on who our tech overlords have become.

The NSA spying has already done harm enough. As Glenn Derene warned in Popular Mechanics when the story first broke, fear of NSA spying is giving a boost to offshore competitors, as companies and users seek hardware and software without back doors and compromised security standards. Some foreign customers feel betrayed by Google, Facebook, and other tech giants.

But even at home, the tech community is hurting. According to a study by Harris Interactive last week, people are actually reducing their Internet usage because of the Edward Snowden revelations and general fears about privacy. The study found that 47% say they have changed their behavior online, and 26% say they’re doing less online shopping. Among younger users, aged 18 to 34, the online shopping number was 33%. The Wall Street Journal quotes Stephen Cobb of information security company ESET: “In the technology industry, companies are finding that the sales cycle is getting longer, as customers ask questions such as whether an Internet router is NSA proof. ‘People are asking questions they didn’t ask before. To be in this place now, given the history of this industry, is just amazing. There is a level of suspicion and confusion we haven’t had before.’”

The California far left has always been confused — but their suspicion regarding their fellow high-tech mavens in Northern California is reaching new and paranoid heights, which Richard Fernandez explores in his latest Belmont Club post here at PJ Media, titled “Vanishing Point:”

There was an interesting postscript to the Eich saga in the bizarre protest held against Internet entreprenuer Kevin Rose.  The San Francisco Chronicle reports that protesters stood with signs and flyers outside of the Google Ventures partner and entrepreneur’s home in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood Sunday, calling him a ‘parasite’ and a ‘leech.’  Techcrunch has a copy of the flyer:

‘As a partner venture capitalist at Google Ventures, Kevin directs the flow of capital from Google into the tech startup bubble that is destroying San Francisco. The start-ups that he funds bring the swarms of young entrepreneurs that have ravaged the landscapes of San Francisco and Oakland.’

The flyer claims to speak for the service workers who “serve them coffee, deliver them food, suck their c***s [?], watch their kids, and mop their floors” and goes on to complain that most techies are “just like Kevin Rose,” though again, it’s short on specific criticisms, aside from pointing out that techies make a lot of money.

A supposed manifesto from an organization called “The Counterforce” makes demands believed to be related to the protest.

To this end, we now make our first clear demand of Google. We demand that Google give three billion dollars to an anarchist organization of our choosing. This money will then be used to create autonomous, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist communities throughout the Bay Area and Northern California. In these communities, whether in San Francisco or in the woods, no one will ever have to pay rent and housing will be free. With this three billion from Google, we will solve the housing crisis in the Bay Area and prove to the world that an anarchist world is not only possible but in fact irrepressible. If given the chance, most humans will pursue a course towards increased freedom and greater liberty. As it stands, only people like Kevin Rose are given the opportunity to reshape their world, and look at what they do with those opportunities.

There is no direct relationship between the Eich and Rose incidents, besides the sheer outré character of the events, but one can’t help get the feeling that they emanate from the same strange universe, whatever universe that might be.  But it’s all shadows with nothing besides fantastic flashbacks of “Scorpio” from Dirty Harry and the People’s Temple crowds bellowing for an airlift to Russia to lend it shape.

Business Insider suggests the protests were something more prosaic. It’s social unrest. It’s poor people fighting for their share of the hipster pie outraged at the high rents in the Bay Area and the outrageous pricing of goodies beyond their reach. It’s the rebellion of “social equals” who find they are financial inferiors. It’s the outcry of people who thought they were part of a great movement who discover they are, after all, only menials. That makes it all the more pathetic.

Transportation seems to be a curious obsession with the anti-tech California left. For several months, they’ve been fixated upon the so-called “Google Busses,” corporate busses which transport Google and Yahoo employees around the Bay Area. It’s an interesting equation — mass transit, which the left once viewed as an unalloyed good, versus a comfortable vehicle (well, relatively comfortable: at 6’2″ and all legs, I have to scrunch to fit into most bus or coach airline seats) used solely by corporate employees.

Which the San Francisco left view as bad. Very Bad. So Incredibly, Stupendously, Intolerably Bad, it can make you throw up:

A protester so aghast with Silicon Valley’s impact on the Bay Area has gone as far as to vomit on a Yahoo shuttle bus.

The mystery demonstrator was among a group of protesters picketing the buses that ferry employees of the big tech corporations to work, deeming them indicative of everything wrong with the hyper-gentrified Silicon Valley.

On Tuesday, the group blocked an intersection in San Francisco’s Mission area, and protestors consisted of dancers in clown suit onesies.

But Valleywag.com reported that in Oakland, almost 50 ‘rebels’ blocked a pick up zone for tech buses and one apparently vomited on the windshield of a Yahoo bus from its roof.

I guess there weren’t any police cars around to poop on.

As we’ll explore after the page break, the Google Bus’s polar opposite vehicle, the tiny Weeble-sized Smart Car, is also under attack in San Francisco.

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Top Rated Comments   
You're mean!

When people get their power from complaining, the last thing they want is a solution.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
You don't have to look very far to figure out what "strange universe" is in play when you hear "anti-capitalist... anti-racist." It's our old new friend intersectional feminism, which has become the go-to ideology of the Left.

"Intersectional" refers to oppression that comes at you in waves, e.g., race, class, gender. bell hooks and Melissa Harris-Perry are busy beavers spreading the perfect melting pot ideology. Intersectional feminism is all over the place if you're paying attention. Even people who have not a clue as to what it is are on board, like when the then president of the SFWA wrote about "white privilege."

Comments like "authors of color, featuring POC heroes/heroines, disabled characters, trans characters, non-Western settings" inevitably followed by "something other than the straight white wealthy cis able-bodied mold" are so common they have a parrot-like mantra feeling to them devoid of actual thought.

These are the people who recently chased off a UK TV comedian in less than 8 hours and got his wife to turn off her Twitter feed. These are the people who snatched an abortion poster off a wall in Calif. These are the people who double posted why they hate white belly dancers. These are the people angry about white people in "Noah" and the upcoming "Gods of Egypt" film. These are the people who got ESPN to genuflect over their transgender golf/suicide story.

These are people who reject American history in it's entirety. Everything from "white settler feminism" and mid-century comic books are expressions of the "supremacist patriarchy." Read the Twitter feeds of Lauren Chief Elk and Mikki Kendall and follow that community out to its edges to learn how radical, gay, and non-white women are feeding what is now the de facto orthodoxy of the Dem Party and why it is crazier than ever.

The voice listened to the most and with the most credibility on the Left today is non-white, gay, and female, as they are seen as the ones in the trenches, the ones most hurt by America and therefore the ones who have the best view when it comes to speaking "truth to power."

Of course they are whiny, insane failures putting the spin on how in fact they are neither whiny, insane, or failures. Nevertheless, it's like a virus when it comes to its real intersection, which is blame, complaint, and self-pity. When even white feminism is seen as an enemy, you know it's radical.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
This really is a companion piece to the current battle on the other coast between Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio, and also harkens back to the anarchist protests in Seattle during the G-8 summit 15 years ago.

The San Francisco tech protestors and the new mayor of New York both represent the "Take No Prisoners" left, who actually are more pure about their motives -- they hate capitalism, they hate companies that are successful and the people who make them successful, and if they had their way, the companies would become property of the State, if not shut down completely. And to this group, it really doesn't matter if the CEO or the people working for it are the crunchiest Granola liberals on the block, which is why back in '99, the anarchists took particular delight in trashing the Starbucks stores in the company's home town.

The conventional left prefers a corporate 'pay-for-play' strategy -- Pony up the cash for Democratic candidates and liberal causes and openly follow the lead in what they tell you to do, and you're given a Get Out of Class Warfare Free card. Cuomo in New York has been successful so far in steering de Blasio towards crazy uncle status among other Democrats in the city -- in large part because they grasp that demonizing Wall Street and running Fortune 500 companies out of town might not be the best strategy to maintain the city's 20-year revival. But in San Francisco, with weaker obvious ties between the city's success and the general success of the local business world, the restraint isn't in place, so the far left gets away with more from other area residents with six-figure salaries and homes valued in seven figures, but who still don't mind seeing some class envy attacks when they're not pointed in their direction.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
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She has been out of work for months but last month her paycheck was $13920 just working on the computer for a few hours. Go Here >>>>>>
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20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
my roomate's step-mother makes $73 every hour on the internet . She has been unemployed for 9 months but last month her check was $18557 just working on the internet for a few hours. try this==========>>> http://www.works12.com
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
"A protester so aghast with Silicon Valley’s impact on the Bay Area has gone as far as to vomit on a Yahoo shuttle bus..." I'm not surprised. Democrats and liberals alike tend to revel in excrement and body fluids. I've posted here before and elsewhere, that as a former reporter, I've actually interviewed Democrats who eagerly save their feces, urine and soggy tampons in margarine tubs and Mason jars just before a Bay Area protest so they will have something to throw at cops and white people trying to get to work in San Francisco and Oakland. I clearly recall the group of Democrats who took syrup of ipecac during the March 2003 anti-war protests, so that they could projectile vomit on the steps of the Pacific Stock Exchange in San Francisco. Democrats are seemingly only able to express themselves in the most infantile of ways.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Is this happening any place else, or is it just San Francisco being San FRancisco? During the Occupy summer there were outdoor campers all over the county and I"m positively certain that those people haven't found jobs or places to live yet. If we start to see baby cars being tipped over elsewhere, then we have us a real live protest movement. Otherwise, it's just the latest version of Kesey's Merry Pranksters.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
the mysterious Zombie adds:

I feel that there is a Great Convergence between three leftist worldviews happening:

1. Luddism/anti-technology/back-to-nature.

2. “Social Justice”/income inequality/communism.

3. Slacker/pothead/trustafarian goof-off-ism. Each three is distinct in its origins, but somehow they have combined forces to create the great Anti Google Backlash.


#1 is what will happen if Obama makes the cost of electricity "skyrocket". If #2 comes about, we'll get some of #3 as in the Communist workers' unofficial motto: "We pretend to work, they pretend to pay us."
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
@Combat Missionary: Mr. Solzhenitsyn writes that the same thing was said about Stalin by those dying in the Gulags. My favorite Lenin quote. "An oppressed class which did not aspire to possess arms and learn how to handle them would deserve only to be treated as slaves"
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think it fits with my belief that the today's left/progressive democrats are a "crazy quilt" patchwork of different ideologues that are only allied because of a common "enemy".
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Anti-google San Franciscans are all for gentrification... to their level, and then IT SHOULD STOP!
You know, kind of like Spike Lee screaming about all the hipsters moving into his neighborhood. GENTRIFY TO MY LEVEL, BUT NO MORE!
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly. It is selfishness personified. They simply want what THEY want and nothing else. If someone else has a problem with it or gets what they want instead ... well, too d*** bad. A tantrum will be thrown.

Welcome to the world of the permanent infant.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
As I noted on another blog, I have little sympathy for techies who vote for the very people who send mobs to their homes.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ed, San Francisco has a unique inherent land supply and demand problem independent of "tech". There simply isn't much land available to build housing. Government compounds the problem with land use regulation, but people without a high income face an undesirable tradeoff between insanely expensive housing in the city or a really time consuming commute. I would imagine that some San Francisco residents find private buses transporting higher income residents in from suburban employers to "their" city especially grating. However, if the industry was finance or movie production in San Jose, the protesters would still be against it because well paid "outsiders" are pushing them off "their" peninsula.

Contrast San Francisco with the housing market here in the Dallas area. The demand for luxury apartments in the currently hot Uptown area is met by tearing down structures and replacing them with bigger ones. People are definitely displaced, but there are many other affordable housing options with commute times well under half an hour. The much larger supply of Dallas-area land within commuting distance combined with more flexible land use regulation allows the housing market to operate at much lower prices than those in San Francisco.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Um, yeahbut these are people who work in SV and then *move* to SF to live, they are the problem.

That was a big new residential development that burned down the other day, tough luck about that for someone.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Ed, San Francisco has a unique inherent land supply and demand problem independent of 'tech'. There simply isn't much land available to build housing."--George B

False. There are plenty of opportunities to expand San Francisco's housing supply if only the free market were not forbidden to operate by the City of San Francisco. Two words: Rent Control.

Rent control is the biggest restraint on San Francisco's housing supply but there are others. By the way, when the Presidio base was turned over to San Francisco as part of the post-Cold War base closures the local powers that be (including Pelosi) were firm about keeping it as golf courses and open space. No new housing, the poor can sleep under bridges!
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
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