There have been a number of protests in late 2013 and early 2014 in San Francisco & Oakland against Google busses. The busses are a symbolic target because they are emblemetic of a number of issues associated with gentrification, the influx of tech workers, and the shortage of affordable housing.
When there's a Google Bus protest, you can follow on twitter by following the hashtag #googlebus.
Dates of Google bus protests and relevant events:
On Dec. 20th, 2013 some flyers were handed out outside a Google bus in West Oakland. Full text of the flyer:
In case you’re wondering why this happened, we’ll be extremely clear. The people outside your Google bus serve you coffee, watch your kids, have sex with you for money, make you food, and are being driven out of their neighborhoods. While you guys live fat as hogs with your free 24/7 buffets, everyone else is scraping the bottom of their wallets, barely existing in this expensive world that you and your chums have helped create. You are not innocent victims. Without you, the housing prices would not be rising and we would not be facing eviction and foreclosure. You, your employers, and the housing speculators are to blame for this new crisis, so much more awful than the last one. You live your comfortable lives surrounded by poverty, homelessness, and death, seemingly oblivious to everything around you, lost in the big bucks and success. But look around, see the violence and degradation out there? This is the world that you have created, and you are clearly on the wrong side. Predictably, you might even believe that the technologies you create serve the betterment of all humans. But in reality, the benefactors of technological development are advertisers, the wealthy, the powerful, and the NSA analysts running dragnet surveillance over email, phone calls, and social media. If you want a Bay Area where the ultra-rich are pitted against hundreds of thousands of poor people, keep doing what you’re doing. You’ll have a nice revolution outside your door. But if you want out then you should quit your jobs, cash out, and go live a life that doesn’t completely fuck up someone else’s. GET THE FUCK OUT OF OAKLAND!
On Dec. 9th, 2013, there was a fake/staged Google bus protest:
"On Monday, organizers staged a protest at a Google bus stop in San Francisco with signs that read "Warning: Two-Tier System" and "Public $$$$, Private Gains." A video taken at the scene showed a confrontation between what seemed to be a protester and a Google employee who yelled, "Why don't you go to a city that can afford it? This is a city for the right people who can afford it."
Only, in a very San Francisco twist, the Google employee was a fake, played by union organizer and sometime Occupy protester Max Alper, who described the stunt later as "political theater to demonstrate what is happening to the city."" [source]
Dec. 20th, 2013: Google and Apple shuttles were blocked in SF & Oakland [source]
Jan 16, 2014: Google apparently has security guards watching the bus stops. [source]
Jan 21, 2014: Google bus protest ahead of the SFMTA Board meeting. [source].
According to the website IndyBay, a protest also occurred in Berkeley outside the home of a Google developer, however no independent confirmation of this event has occurred yet. The Berkeley Police Department says they received no calls regarding this. Protestors supposedly notified him of the protest, and then held out a banner and began circulating fliers to his neighbors. The fliers detailed some of his work history at Google as well as his plans to develop condos in Downtown Berkeley. The Ashby BART google shuttle was also tempoarily blocked as part of this action. [source]
April 1, 2014: Protesters in costume blocked a Google Bus at 24th St. and Valencia. Here's a story about it with lots of pictures.
April 11, 2014: "The demonstration began at the corner of 18th and Dolores streets with the now-familiar San Francisco tableau of a blocked Google bus. Within minutes, police cleared the street and the protesters assembled outside a home on Guerrero Street between 20th and Liberty streets, where they allege a “Google lawyer” is attempting to evict tenants." [source] There are many pictures of the protest here.
July 24, 2014: One-woman protest of an Ebay bus. She stood in the road, blocked the bus from moving, and was yelling at the driver. [source]
News & External Links
- 2013-12-29: "Bay Area protests of tech-worker buses highlights pay, rent inequities" San Jose Mercury News
- 2013-12-09: "Protesters block Google bus in S.F. Mission" San Francisco Chronicle
- 2013-12-21: "#Googlebus protest– What does it say about Oakland’s future?" Oakland Local
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThkrBQIuETw - the Google Bus song