Uber is already battling the Seattle City Council over laws and regulations allowing the operation of its business. Now, though, it looks like the transportation company has a new opponent in the Emerald City.
A group called The Counterforce, which has protested against tech companies in the past, spent Saturday evening “chasing down Uber cabs and detaining them amidst traffic.” That’s according to the inaugural post written by a Counterforce member on a new blog called “Destroy Uber: A clearing house for the destruction of Uber.”
“Hundreds of people witnessed this act of defiance against one of the most disgusting tech companies in existence,” Counterforce wrote of Saturday’s protest.
In a blog post titled, “Uber’s Door is Always Open,” Uber Seattle GM Brooke Steger confirmed that one of the company’s drivers was “temporarily interrupted from providing service,” on Saturday.
“While Uber supports community action and political movements that work towards a common goal, there is no place for violence or scare tactics used against hard working Seattlites in modern discourse,” she wrote. “Tens of thousands of residents in Seattle have voiced their support for the ridesharing economy and thousands more are benefiting, both as riders and drivers, from transportation competition and choice.”
The Seattle Police Department told GeekWire that there were no 911 calls relating to Saturday’s protest.
In its post, Counterforce — which is the same group that blocked Microsoft Connector shuttles in February for 45 minutes in a protest against gentrification — detailed its disdain for Uber. The group is mainly concerned with how Uber treats its drivers, the company’s marketing tactics and the controversial death of Sofia Liu, a 6-year-old who was killed by an Uber driver this past December.
“We are anarchists, not socialists,” Counterforce wrote. “We want the abolition of the economy, the destruction of capitalism, and the immediate communization of all shareable resources.”
Counterforce also does not particularly like Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, whom the group calls a “sociopath from the superficial landscape of Los Angeles.”
“With the click of a button, Kalanick will completely destabilize and undermine African immigrant communities in Seattle,” Counterforce wrote. “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.”
The Seattle City Council voted in March to legalize companies like UberX and Lyft with a regulation that capped the number of active vehicles per company to 150 — a rule that UberX and Lyft weren’t happy with.
In response, a coalition group that received more than $400,000 in donations from UberX and Lyft submitted enough signatures to suspend the ordinance regulating the transportation companies, which utilize smartphone apps and everyday drivers to shuttle people around town.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is now trying to broker a new agreement between these companies, taxi drivers and city leaders. Murray told us earlier this month that he’ll issue a ceast-and-desist letter to UberX, Lyft and Sidecar if an agreement cannot be made by the end of May.
Murray did share concern about the livelihood of those in Seattle’s African immigrant community, many of whom drive taxis. But he is also opposed to placing a cap on UberX and Lyft.
“We need strong insurance requirements, a level of deregulation for the taxi industry that would make them more competitive, and caps that would be acceptable to all parties,” Murray told GeekWire.
In the meantime, Counterforce implored readers to “come together to build a new world while rebelling against the obvious and blatant exploitation around us.”
“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,” Counterforce writes. “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,” the blog post concludes. “Stay tuned.”