By Emily Badger, February 12, 2014
Tech firms in Silicon Valley spawned commuter shuttles, which then spawned commuter shuttle protesters, who have now spawned commuter shuttle protest copycats... in Seattle.
Earlier this week, a pair of masked agitators (who apparently came armed with a photographer) tried to block several Microsoft-bound "connector" buses in the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood with a sign declaring that "gentrification stops here."
The Capitol Hill Seattle Blog helpfully points toward a local anarchist publication called Tides of Flame, which owns up on its blog to the exploit in a 1,200-word manifesto. "We have been inspired by actions against Google in the Bay Area," the blog explains, although the Seattle version of the Google bus protest has a bit of twist, focusing on the "Dark Lords of Microsoft" instead.
The complaints are familiar: Tech giants have driven up rents and driven demand for new development around town that displaces existing residents. But the language is, well, a little sharper. From the flyer distributed at the site of the protest:
It's time to ask ourselves if this sterile future is the one we want to inhabit. It's time to finally stop this insane orgy of technology, development, and greed. Digital technology has separated us, disposessed us of our agency, and left us alienated from our own neighborhoods. In real life, gather your friends together, block a bus, delay construction, and do whatever is necessary to make a clear and definitive stand against the ravages of capitalism.