On December 20, emboldened by the success of anti-eviction protests against a "Google bus" in San Francisco's Mission District the week prior, residents and activists in the Bay Area organized simultaneous blockades of "tech buses" in the Mission and Oakland. In Oakland, Google buses were targeted, while residents of San Francisco prevented a bus bound for Apple's main campus from moving for over a half hour. Residents in the Bay Area continue to struggle against crippling evictions and displacement brought on, in large part, by the influx of well-to-do tech industry workers.
Residents are increasingly starting to view the tech buses as symbols
of gentrification and of their own seemingly inevitable displacement
from their homes. These buses, luxury double-deckers provided for free
to employees of companies like Google, Apple and Facebook, among others,
shuttle workers to places like Palo Alto and Cupertino. Police turn a
blind eye while tech buses pick up and drop off residents in San
Francisco and Oakland, illegally using public MUNI bus stops. If a
resident of the area were to even idle in one of these areas for a
moment, they could be fined $271, as many have been. Organizers of the
campaign insist that at this point, tech companies owe the city of San
Francisco over $1 billion in fines for this behavior.
But beyond the fines, or the blatant disregard for the law, the real
issues lie much deeper. In the eyes of longtime residents of classically
working-class neighborhoods like the Mission and West Oakland, these
buses reflect the class struggle going on in the Bay Area. Tech workers
are shuttled to their jobs in suburbs 40 miles away on special, luxury
buses. They often eat for free in gourmet cafeterias on the campuses of
their employers. Residents feel like the tech workers are moving into
their neighborhoods, not engaging with their culture or history or even
supporting local businesses and are rapidly pricing them out of their
Perhaps the most informative and startling symbolism invoked by the
group was an 8-foot-tall map, detailing evictions in San Francisco from
1997-2013 under the city's "Ellis Act." This act states that landlords
have the unconditional right to evict tenants, as long as the entire
building is evicted and the units not re-rented for 5 years. But if the
building is re-purposed, say to turn an apartment building into a condo
complex, a single family home, or even office space for the tech
industry, the landlords can raise the rent to whatever they choose.
Residents say the Ellis Act is in large part responsible for the
affordable housing and eviction crisis in the city. The act has been on
the books since 1985 and has, to date, withstood numerous legal and
When asked why the bus blockades are so important to the future of the
Bay Area, Elisa Gill from the East Bay Solidarity Network offered the
following insights: "Tech is the new ruling class in San Francisco. They
see themselves as progressive culture-makers, but they're the same as
the bankers and oil barons of days past - they profit off the backs of
the working class of San Francisco. We're blocking this bus because
we're not going to allow them to take over our city."
Taken from here
There are only two classes of individual: the vast majority who must work in order to live and the tiny minority who live off the the profits created by the rest of us. Pitting one section of workers against another, whatever the difference in their pay scale, is a win-win situation for the capitalist system. Socialism promotes workers consciously pulling together to defeat this system which keeps so many of us in chains.