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While You Were Enjoying the Weather Yesterday, Another Protest Happened
Scott Lucas | Photo: Courtesy Counterforce/Indybay | April 7, 2014
This time, venture capitalist Kevin Rose was the target.
I was busy all weekend surfing at Ocean Beach. Was there another tech protest that I missed?
Afraid so: a group of anti-tech protestors showed up in front of the house of a prominent venture capitalist, Kevin Rose, to protest what they say his industry is doing to the city.
Wait, Kevin Roose? The Young Money guy?
No, no, no. Kevin Rose is a VC who works for Google Ventures. Back in 2004, he helped found Digg. He's also invested in Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, andSquare. So, you know, he's doing okay. Kevin Roose is a writer for New York magazine (and us sometimes!).
Well, what were the protestors concerned about?
Pretty much what you would have guessed—tech money. According to a flyer that they passed out, "Kevin Rose is a parasite."
Whoa, that's pretty rough.
It went on to say "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 swarms of young entrepreneurs that have ravaged the landscapes of San Francisco and Oakland."
How did Rose react?
You can see him talk about the protests on Youtube here. He said, "I understand their frustrations, but not in this way. You don't throw up on people's buses. There's a conversation to be had here, but it's not by throwing rocks through windows." He also wrote on twitter that he agreed with the protestors "that we need to solve rising rents, keep the SF culture, and crack down on landlords booting folks out."
Who are these protestors, and why are they ruining Kevin Rose's sunny weekend?
The group calls itself the Counterforce, which is a reference to Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. We wouldn't be shocked if they have a few English degrees among them.
What do they want?
Money. They want Google to give $3 billion dollars to "an anarchist organization of our choosing," they wrote on indybay.org. "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."
That's, um, quite a large demand.
Yeah, there's a little Dr. Evil in it. They also say that, "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."
I don't know. It seems counterproductive to be making impossible demands or puking on shuttles.
Yeah. They are getting a lot of press, though. If you're a political theory nerd, there's actually a fascinating debate within leftist and anarchist political thought over whether or not groups are justified in using tactics like these, or if such tactics and organizational structures should directly correspond to the end results that are being aimed for. Either way, puking on buses and picketing people's houses probably doesn't seem to help your cause.
What happens next?
Beats us. More protests, probably.