Anarchists staged a protest outside the San Francisco house of Digg founder and Google Ventures partner Kevin Rose today. Google Ventures is the venture capital arm of Google that has invested millions in dozens of tech startups in the Bay Area.
The protesters demanded that Google solve the housing crisis in San Francisco by giving an anarchist group $US3 billion to create a Utopian community:
…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.
They posted this flyer in Rose’s neighbourhood:
The background to the protest is that there has been a rising tide of anger in San Francisco at the influx of well-paid tech workers who have driven up rents and property prices in the area, forcing non-tech workers into more marginal neighborhoods.
Rose took the demo on his chin, and said on Twitter he agreed with some of their statements:
The protesters’ statement of purpose was long and somewhat meandering. It said the protest was …
Recognising that Kevin Rose is not just another techie arsehole, but rather a meta-leech funding and profiting off the gentrification of San Francisco, we chose to bring the class war to his doorstep on our own terms. Rather than be subservient and do his bidding in exchange for the currency we need to commute home and back, we are here today in uncompromising solidarity with every person forced out of the city by the insane hyper-gentrification created through the tireless efforts of people like Kevin Rose.
The demonstrators picked Rose as a target in part because of some sexist comments he had made in 2008 on a Diggnation podcast:
For example, in 2008, Kevin and his cohost began sermonizing on when it would be appropriate for a man to hit a woman. It was determined that if a woman kicked a man in the balls, it was ok to punch her “tit.” Kevin took it all a step further when he connected the expression tit-for-tat to their discussion and then announced, while making a cutting motion, “it hurts them, it does too – or take a scissors to the tit.”
Rose apologized for that at the time, and today said he knew those remarks would eventually come back to haunt him:
One final irony: The protesters admitted in their public statement that their action could not have been publicized without the tools of the companies they’re protesting. They said: “The following devices and programs were used in this action: Microsoft Word (for Mac) MacBook Samsung Nexus (powered by Google) Gmail Youtube Electrical Socket.”
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