Response to Racist Graffiti At SCCC

submitted via email:

SCCC

This picture was taken at midnight the evening of May 1st, 2014 on the windows of the SCCC student activity center. SCCC has a large Asian student body.

 

This despicable graffiti presents us with an opportunity to explain to everyone that actual anarchists believe in the universal equality of every person on the planet. There are no inferior races and every division based upon ethnicity is false. We fight for the universal liberation of all people from the ruling class of capitalists and the tyranny of wage slavery. Anyone who does not believe these basic truths is certainly not an anarchist.

 

The FBI, local law enforcement, or other hostile parties could have placed this graffiti in order to demonize the anarchist movement. But it is just as likely that a young white person from suburban King County stupidly equated anarchism with their own racism, bigotry, and intolerance. It is unlikely that we will ever know the truth.

 

Racial divisions have always been fostered and exacerbated by the ruling class in order to keep the poor and working classes fighting amongst themselves. We will not tolerate any racism, and if actual anarchists had observed the person responsible for this graffiti then a conflict would have surely erupted. We would prefer not to have any conflicts amongst the poor and working classes, but we will stop any racist tendencies that emerge in this capitalist prison.

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Counterforce: “The Strong Are Only Strong Because We Live on Our Knees”

reposted from Destroy Uber:

On Saturday night, a mob of people ran through the streets of Seattle, chasing down Uber cabs and detaining them amidst traffic.  Ten cars were detained and fliers were distributed to the drivers and passengers.  Hundreds of people witnessed this act of defiance against one of the most disgusting tech companies in existence.  To learn more about our motivations, read below the pictures

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Stop The Uber Man

The leader of Uber is a man named Travis Kalanick, a 37-year-old sociopath from the superficial landscape of Los Angeles. He went to UCLA and joined the Theta Xi fraternity. A few years before he entered the university, Theta Xi drew widespread scorn when its internal fraternity songbooks were leaked, revealing the scope of the brotherhood’s racism and hatred of women. These drunken monsters would routinely sing lines like “maggots crawl out of her decomposed womb” and “the dirty fags who contracted AIDS and died.”

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From this pool of misogynists, rapists, and business contacts, Kalanick launched himself into the dot-com boom of the late 1990′s. His first venture was a knock-off Napster, designed to divert money from the music industry and into his own pockets. At an early age, Kalanick became convinced that competition was the only force that could motivate him to do anything, so he set his aim at the music industry and was quickly knocked out by them. But to this foolish young capitalist, his defeat was only fuel to his blossoming free-market ideology.

In no time at all, this eager beaver had started another company. Red Swoosh started in 2001 and provided Kalanick with the affirmation he needed to continue believing in himself. Unsurprisingly, his new company was simply another Napster rip-off, but this time he succeeded in making it work. In his twisted imagination, he ascribed this success solely to himself and his ability to compete, ignoring the fact that he was harvesting the natural urge of people to share with each other and converting that human desire into revenue. For six years he extracted capital from all the people trusting enough to use his services.  “In a lot of ways, it’s not the money that allows you to do new things,” he told Wired. “It’s the growth and the ability to find things that people want and to use your creativity to target those.”  He seems to believe that his inner capitalist strength is the prime generator of all his wealth, and in this regard he is no different than any of the other Uber Men of the tech world.

 

This Is More Serious Than You Think

Nietzsche once wrote about the Uber Man, the perfectly evolved being that would leave humanity behind and fulfil the destiny of all of who came before. This Uber Man trampled on gods, morals, everything that kept him from becoming what he was: a dancing star, born of chaos. Just before he wrote about the Uber Man, all of the women in Nietzsche’s life had left him. In his despair, he withdrew into isolation and exalted himself on paper. Unfortunately for all of us, the idea of the Uber Man lingers on and as it turns out, the City Council of Seattle is quite enamoured by him. But we’ll get to that later.

Travis Kalanick cashed out when Red Swoosh was acquired for 15 million. With his share of the money, Kalanick went on to start Uber, the mobile app that connected passengers with a fleet of private taxi contractors. As Kalanick put it, “We just wanted to push a button and get a ride. And we wanted to get a classy ride. We wanted to be baller in San Francisco. That’s all it was about.” From these humble beginnings, Uber metastasised across the world after securing millions from angel investors and venture capitalists in 2011. In the three short years since then, Uber has made significant headway towards creating more and more service jobs catering to the ruling classes. Not only can people become drivers, they can now be bike messengers or even pilot helicopters for the super rich.

Kalnick views the contractors who generate his sacred capital as expendable pawns. If a driver suddenly drops from a 4.8 driving score to a 4.7, they are terminated without any explanation. In this competitive atmosphere, drivers are constantly fiddling with their smart phones and stressing about their next fare. During one such moment, a money-obsessed driver ploughed into a mother and her children on the streets of San Francisco. A six year old girl named Sofia Liu died because this driver cared more about maintaining his score and cramming in a few more fares than he did about paying attention to what—or who—was in the road in front of him. After her death, Uber did not assume liability and refused to compensate either the family or assume legal responsibility for their driver. According to Uber, because there were no passengers in the car, the man was not an Uber employee at the time. He was just a man in his car.

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(Sofia Liu, RIP)

Can You Really Afford That Shit?

Since then, Uber has assumed liability for its drivers at all times, but we want to assure Kalanick that the ghost of Sofia will never leave him. Kalanick doesn’t seem to notice her, however. Time recently judged him to be one of the 100 most influential people and the magazine writer had these words to say about him: “Simply put, Uber is rad. Its co-founder, Travis Kalanick, is super rad. He’s savvy and driven. I can’t wait to see what he’ll conjure up next, as I’m sure it’ll be something I’ve never known that I’ve always needed but truly can’t live without.”

In Seattle, the acolytes of the local Uber PR team are constantly Tweeting about any and everything related to the company. When it was announced that Kalanick won the prestigious honour of being featured in another Time Magazine list, a woman named Jen Joyce told the Twitter following “our very own [Travis Kalanick] has been named one of Times most influential people.” Jen is the Seattle Community Manager for Uber and seems to be very dedicated to the CEO and the company. For the past two months, she has helped organize the Uber campaign to overturn a cap on the number of cars the company can put on Seattle streets. She and the Seattle team went to bar after bar and convinced drunken strangers to sign a petition supporting Uber freedom.

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(View of Downtown Seattle from local Uber HQ in Smith Tower)

Over 36,000 people in Seattle signed their names on pieces of paper provided by Jen and her minions. 630,000 people live in the city, and only a minority of them use Uber. Getting a short ride from Capitol Hill to South Seattle costs around 30 dollars. Most of the people who work service jobs in order to pay rent and feed their children cannot afford to regularly use Uber as many techies and professionals do. As luck would have it, Uber figured a way around that.

By marketing itself as way to get shitfaced drunk and then get home safely, Uber is hoping to clean the pockets of everyone who wants to feel free on a night like this one. Most people want to feel free, especially when they are not, and alcohol is a good way to pretend. On top of the forty dollars they might spend on booze and food, the average Saturday night drunk can now spend another thirty on an Uber cab. Uber Seattle is always offering discounts for people who go to bars, who love happy hour, who like to get wasted, who dig getting totally fucked up, and who also like to drink. Without the desire to escape produced by this sick capitalist society, Uber would be lacking in drunks to ferry home every night. But of course none of the success of Uber has anything to do with the passengers, or with their misery, or with Jen’s fierce and terrifying identification with her CEO. No, the success of Uber has only one source, and you already know who we’re talking about.

And Now Here Comes The Politicians

We are anarchists, not socialists. We want the abolition of the economy, the destruction of capitalism, and the immediate communization of all shareable resources. But clearly we are nowhere near this state of affairs, just as the socialists are nowhere near their own conception of socialism. But like Robert De Niro says, “We’re all in it together, kid.”

Our friendly socialist Kshama Sawant in the City Hall tried to push for a cap on the number of Uber cars on the road and spoke publicly about Goldman Sachs (along with Google and Jeff Bezos) being a major investor in Uber. Burgess, Bagshaw, and Rasmussen were the only council members to oppose the cap. Nevertheless, despite their allegiances and power plays, it was the capitalists that decided the matter for the City of Seattle, not the other way around.

Sometimes the capitalists try to sound like anarchists. Travis Kalanick wants to undermine every City Hall he encounters and render its laws meaningless. But in the end, he wants the laws to favor him and him alone. He is the Uber Man after all, and if the state wants to keep him down, then he should be free to hijack the state and make it serve his ends. Like the besieged capitalists in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, people like Travis Kalanick will compete with everyone on their way to the top, trampling on their workers and ignoring ghosts like Sofia.

With the click of a button, Kalanick will completely destabilize and undermine African immigrant communities in Seattle. Just as once he disrupted the music and taxi industries, now he can disrupt the lives of individual families. Dozens of cab owners are currently threatened by the unrestrained expansion of Uber, and if the company is allowed to discard any regulation, multiple families will lose a significant portion of their monthly incomes when Uber overtakes the smaller taxi services. In the cannibalistic utopia of the free market capitalists, this is the normal way of things. In their world, everyone must live on their knees so that the Uber Men may be great.

Happy May Day, Champ!

We find this disgusting, and hopefully after reading this, you do as well. As anarchists, we want to encourage people to come together to build a new world while rebelling against the obvious and blatant exploitation around us. Act now, act relentlessly, and do not hesitate. Please act now, as quickly as possible, and do anything you think will make a difference. Don’t go through the normal channels, don’t rely on the government. Do it yourself. Talk to your neighbours, get on the same page, and regain the dignity you probably didn’t realize you had lost.

Anarchism is a practice and a philosophy, as broad as it is diverse, so don’t come looking to join the party. If you hate arbitrary authority, if you know how to share, and if you want the people around you to be safe, you’re probably an anarchist.

We don’t have any fucking money, that’s for sure, and we hope everyone reading this knows that everyone else is also broke as hell. There are more of us than there are CEO’s, though, so don’t forget that. They have a lot of money and the state at their disposal, but if enough of us figure our predicament out, we could knock them all on their asses on a single day. Hopefully we get there. Keep up the good fight whoever you people are.

We haven’t even started messing with Uber. Stay tuned.

Remember Sofia

Death To Capitalism

Long Live Anarchy

-The Counterforce

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Counterforce Blocks Microsoft Shuttle in Central District (Seattle)

reposted from PSA:

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This morning around 8AM, near the intersection of Madison and 23rd Ave, a small
Counterforce assembled to block another Microsoft shuttle bus in another heavily
gentrified Seattle neighborhood. For roughly 30 minutes, people holding banners
reading “GENTRIFICATION STOPS HERE” blocked the front and back ends of the bus.
Others attempted to distribute flyers to the Microsoft employees boarding the bus,
but they were grumpy and only two took them. During the delay in what is probably a boring and uneventful commute every other day, they sat in quiet misery, playing with their smart phones, not even really talking to each other.
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Act One

 

The gentrification of Seattle is an oft forgotten tale, buried underneath glossy advertisements for new houses and below the foundations of sleek apartment buildings. While the first dot-com boom of the late nineties was bringing gentrification to different Seattle neighborhoods, something evil was unfolding in the streets of the Central District, one of the historically black neighborhoods of the city. While multiple Microsoft employees colonized the neighborhood, a federal program called Weed and Seed forcefully removed entire multi-generational black families from their homes.

 

Weed and Seed was a program sponsored by the Department of Justice and implemented by the FBI, the ATF, the DEA, the Seattle Police Department, Seattle Parks Department, Seattle Housing Authority, land speculators, neighborhood groups, and individual gentrifiers. The federal government initially allocated 1.1 millions dollars for the Seattle program in 1991. Two thirds of this money was dedicated to law enforcement, the remaining third was used for social services.

 

While federal and local law enforcement began targeting young black men, locking them up and destroying their families in the Weed aspect of this operation, the Seed aspect began grooming neighborhood groups to internalize the hierarchy being imposed upon them. These groups were encouraged to snitch on their neighbors for every reason from trash in the yard to suspected drug deals. In this way, law enforcement outsourced its intelligence gathering to these neighborhood groups. In exchange for helping to lock up and evict their neighbors, these groups were awarded access to city resources, development projects, the passage of ordinances, bus routes, and grants.

 

Act Two

 

In 1996, Washington Governor Gary Locke arrived at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Madison Valley. A young black student from the neighborhood followed him around as his escort. The two of them walked down the hallways together, touring the building. At this elementary school, the young black student had been trained by Microsoft employees in the use of JavaScript on a computer running the Windows 95 operating system. In 1996, this elementary school was one of the best in the city in terms of discipline and achievement. While this school provided its abundant resources to the majority black student population, Microsoft employees and other gentrifiers began moving into Madison Valley so their own children could attend.

 

The young black student was raised a block away from the elementary school. He knew of a plum tree up the hill from his house and would quench his thirst with plum juices in the summer, a time when these plums were the most refreshing. One day in 1997, he arrived at the location of the plum tree to find a stump, hidden behind a new fence. A young white student lived in this house with his parents. The young black student captained the elementary school chess club in which this young white student played. Both of his parents were members of the local neighborhood groups. The father of this household worked for Microsoft.

 

This family was part of a broad movement of gentrifiers, ranging from gay couples to aspiring parents, all belonging to the same socio-economic class and perpetuating the same prefab aesthetic. From 1995 to 1997, the percentage of households in the Central District without children increased from 57% to 73%. Buried within this piece of data is the story of all the multi-generational black families that were incarcerated, evicted, ripped apart, and weeded out so that these new residents could begin seeding the area. In the same time period, the black population of the Central District decreased from more than half to less than one third, while the white population increased from 13% to 43%

 

In 1997, the young black student’s best friend had an uncle with a drug habit. His uncle did not live in the family house but used it as a mailing address for social services. It was a stable space where he knew his family could always receive the mail he needed. When the authorities arrested him for his habit, the City of Seattle used the mailing address as grounds to begin evicting the family using the variety of legal mechanisms provided by the Weed and Seed program. After the family was evicted and the house was seized, the young black student only saw his best friend once in the next fifteen years. His friend’s family moved south to Kent and disappeared from Central District life. This family was one of the many weeds removed by the federal gentrification program.

 

Act Three

 

Starting in 1997, the housing prices in Seattle began to sharply increase month by month. The first tech bubble and the national housing bubble arrived simultaneously in Seattle. Thanks to Microsoft, Amazon, and the startups, more and more tech employees began invading the Central District. At the crescendo of the first tech bubble in 1999, Seattle property values had jumped over 18% since 1997. When the bubble burst in 2000, these housing prices continued to rise, in part because of the stability of Microsoft and the local housing market.

 

The young black student noticed that Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School had begun to decline. Due in part to the new childless professionals moving into the area, enrollment began to drop at the school. Funding was consistently cut to the school and by 2003 the idea of closing it was first proposed. In the Central District, the grandparents of children born in the 1980’s began to pass away, leaving the family houses to their children. An average single family house in the Central District was worth $190,000 in 2001. By 2003, that home would be worth $262,000.

 

Suddenly these children were being offered a quarter of a million dollars for the family house, a sum of money few had ever conceptualized or encountered. The incentive for these black families to leave their neighborhoods only increased, especially as the Weed and Seed continued to lock up young black men and women. By 2005, the average single family home was worth $355,000 and the black population continued to decline in the Central District.

 

In 2006, the doors of Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary were closed, just as the Weed and Seed program released its final report. A woman named Betsy Harris, co-chair of the Weed and Seed Steering Committee, summed up the program as follows: “It’s the big picture, and as overwhelming as it seemed at first, we have all worked hard and our community is being revitalized, one block at a time!” By the time she said this, many gentrifiers had been living in the neighborhood for a decade.

 

Final Act

 

At the end of 2007, the national housing bubble burst, sending Seattle housing prices down for the first time since the beginning of the boom in 1997. But by this point, most of the original black residents had been weeded out of the Central District. In 2009, the traditionally black T.T. Minor school closed its doors after suffering the same fate as Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary. Microsoft went mostly unaffected by the recession, so much so that it began running the Connector Shuttle into all of the neighborhoods its employees had gentrified.

 

Microsoft employees continued to move into the Central District throughout the deepening recession, exacerbating the problem that had led to the closure of the elementary schools. While these schools were boarded up, Bill Gates continued to push his ideology of charter schools and standardized testing. It is difficult to see these two processes as separate. On the one hand, the majority of the Central District black population had been removed and deprived of its traditional schools. At the same time, the proliferation standardized testing allowed for schools to be deprived of their funding if they did not perform according to a rigid criteria. This allowed people like Bill Gates to point at the boarded-up schools and low test scores as objective proof that his ideology of charter schools was superior to public education.

 

Beyond this, the high capitalists of Seattle like Bill Gates, Bill Gates, Sr., Jeff Bezos, and Paul Allen, diverted some of their money into an organization that reflected their capitalist ethics: Rainier Scholars. This philanthropic organization selected poor elementary students of color and enabled them to become good capitalists. The very white and very protestant work ethic was spread like a religion amongst these young students of color. Rainier Scholars tracked and monitored specific students throughout their academic careers and encouraged them to enroll in private schools at the first opportunity.

 

By the time these students reached college age, Rainier Scholars helped place these students in the same white hierarchy that had destroyed their neighborhoods and limited their opportunities. This pipeline to higher education, facilitated by the closure of neighborhood schools, insulated these select students from their own communities and culture and championed the dominant culture of corporate loyalty, self-denial, and consumerism. If they worked hard enough, these students might one day work for Microsoft and be able to take the Connector Shuttle with the other gentrifiers.

 

The gentrification of the Central District is all but complete. The white population is now over 60%, the highest it has ever been. The young black student mentioned in this text is now a service worker, still living in Madison Valley at his family home. The young white student whose family cut down the plum tree is now employed by one the tech giants in Silicon Valley. Today there are gentrifiers in the Central District who can claim to have been in the neighborhood for almost twenty years. These people can reassure other gentrifiers that it is okay to move into the Central District. They say we are all uprooted anyway and that community can be whatever you want to be. But the community of gentrifiers that exists today in the Central District has almost no conception of the brutality that allowed them to move into houses that once belonged to multi-generational black families.

 

We tell this story as a warning. The techniques of gentrification practiced in Seattle over the past twenty years are now being exported south. Our comrades in San Francisco and Oakland should know that if they do not fight with all of their hearts, what happened in the Central District can happen again in another neighborhood. We wish everyone luck in their struggles against gentrification.

 

For the love of the Central District

For the end of Microsoft

For the end of gentrification

 

-The Counterforce

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On the Seattle Metropolitan Project and its Consequences

Yesterday, I spent 20 minutes watching a crew tear down a brick wall, and I thought of the workers, long since dead, who first built that wall. As much as I love the new, I remain haunted by the old. Just like you. Just like this neighborhood.

 -Sherman Alexie, South Lake Union, 2012

 Energy

This story starts, simply enough, with some power lines.  Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has begun advertising its new plan: Energize Eastside.  They propose to build 18 miles of additional electrical transmission lines between Renton and Redmond.  The new lines will be able to handle 230 kilovolts as opposed to the current 115 kilovolt lines.  In the process of building this new infrastructure, PSE will seize land from private owners, tear down more trees, and in certain cases bulldoze entire houses.

PSE is promoting Energize Eastside as a necessary expansion that will decrease the chance of blackouts during future storms.  However, it is no secret that the Microsoft campus is in Redmond where the proposed power lines begin and that a Boeing factory is in Renton where the proposed power lines end.  Scattered around these new lines are the Costco headquarters in Issaquah, T-Mobile US headquarters in Bellevue, and Google’s expanding Kirkland campus.  Energize Eastside is built for these companies and the project reflects their needs.

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For example, Microsoft has a nearly secret data center in Tukwila that barely shows up in any search algorithm.  Located at 3333 S. 120th Place, just down the hill from the Seattle Department of Homeland Security headquarters, the T5 data center houses an unknown amount of Microsoft servers.  This data center uses a massive amount of electricity and represents only a fraction of Microsoft’s local energy needs.

On March 19th, PSE will host their first neighborhood meetings on the proposed route of the Energize Eastside power lines.  Redmond, Bellevue, and Renton will each host several of these meetings until May.  It will most prudent to attend these events and make them difficult for the architects of this new corporate project. Continue reading

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Cause or Effect?

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March 10, 2014 · 4:08 pm

The Hood Ain’t The Same

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A Short Film on Capitol Hill

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