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.

uberprotest1
Counterforce supporters stand in front of an Uber vehicle in Seattle on Saturday. Photo via Counterforce.

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.

uberxIn 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.”

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.

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.” 

Comments

  • Daniel Boone

    So great that we have the 2nd amendment. You want my stuff, MF’ers? Come and get it…

    • Idontthinkso

      Herp derp derp.

  • MichaelTompson

    Ride-sharing is FRAUD. Don’t be fooled. This is not about “deregulation” or “creating competition”. It’s about all that CASH that your local municipality was taking IN from issuance / transfer of transportation business permits and their subsequent regulation. They want that. They could care less about anything else. City revenue LOST is literally ride-sharing law-breakers PROFIT. How, you ask? Simple, ride-sharing private corporations aggressively refuse regulation and refuse paying for business permits claiming a “new” business model (well, because “GPS”). Where city made MILLIONS – city will now get PENNIES. There is nothing else but a THEFT from municipal coffers. Ride-sharing private corporations will flood local markets – and minimum wage drivers will wait for hours for 1 single smartphone dispatch. Who benefits from all this madness? Ride-sharing California-based oligarchy. That’s who.
    If THEY truly wanted a FAIR competition – they would follow SAME STANDARDS and would agree to pay for SAME EXACT expenses that all our local transportation small businesses are paying daily. That would be FAIR….
    But that would mean a FAIR competition. And ride-sharing private corporations would lose that in A DAY – so they perpetuate a MYTH of them being special and different…. “well, because GPS”. Ride-sharing is a FRAUD on a mass-scale. Shame to all local politicians who sell out their local economies and their local businesses for the sake of 2-3 California ride-sharing oligarchies.

    • TireSome

      Ride sharing is awesome. Your arguments are foolish.

      • MichaelTompson

        The
        whole ride-sharing business model is a power grab played out in slow
        motion on local government authority and local government revenue. Note
        that there are (still) no smartphone-hail / e-hail / ride-sharing
        permits and law-breaking ride-sharers conveniently abuse this regulatory
        loophole to the fullest. When confronted, these violators deny being in
        a taxi business yet “forget” the fact that when founded, many even
        named their companies to include words like “taxi” or “cab”. For
        example, Uber’s original name is “Uber Cab”. Ride-sharing companies are
        absolutely in a taxi business, and denying it is laughable. This status
        quo cannot continue. It lasted far too long. The golden days of Wild
        West regulatory abuse may soon be over for ride-sharing law-breakers.
        Regulators all over the world are beginning to grasp that this flawed
        business model exists only the expense of reduced local revenues to our
        cities and our local businesses. Some US cities have outlawed
        ride-sharing companies completely (for non-compliance, bad business
        ethics, and etc.) or are in the process of outlawing them. On
        international stage, China has outlawed Uber recently in a few major
        cities. Berlin followed suit just a few days ago. Others are beginning
        to sell smartphone-hail permits to put some regulatory cap over
        ride-sharer’s aggressive uncontrolled and frequently manipulative
        tactics. The fact that we are comparing legitimate small businesses
        owned by local taxi drivers and local fleets, to few oligarchic
        multi-billion dollar companies that act as a ride-sharing cartel and
        that operate all over the world and use technology as an excuse to break
        laws and regulations is utterly unfair (to say the least).

        • Guest

          I agree, the status quo cannot continue. The existing taxi paradigms are out of date, not consumer friendly, and are now being disrupted. Banning them just because they’re different serves no purpose. Have you ever wondered why the current laws exist? Who do they benefit? How would you change them as a consumer and as a constituent of your own government?

          • MichaelTompson

            How about ride-sharing private for-profit multi-billion California corporations first comply with the law?
            How about complying with COURT orders which these corporations ignore equally well??
            You want a constructive discussion? No problem. Follow law. Law can’t be made selective. Then let’s
            have a constructive discussion on this ride-sharing
            fraudulent business model.And furthermore. You want to have FAIR competition? How about this – like all small transportation businesses – pay for your business permits, pay for full commercial liability insurance (and that 1MM thing that judge had to

            subpoena to see still has gaps in it), pay for inspections, pay local business quarterly and yearly

            taxes (ran as a business, not part time gig), pay any

            municipal and regulatory fees and the list
            goes on and on.

            Pay like all other small transportation companies and

            then we can have a constructive discussion and a

            FAIR competition.
            In its present form heavily sugar-coated and intentionally-obfuscated ride-sharing model is nothing more than THEFT and FRAUD.

          • Guest

            Michael, TNCs follow the law. There is neither theft nor fraud nor court orders. You’re free to hate Californians and the wealthy — they have built the hardware and software you’re using to tilt at windmills — but we will have better transportation.

            In fact, I heard recently that the men of Seattle’s county voted to reduce their mass transit. The private sector will help fix that too.

          • MichaelTompson

            TNC is an artificial concept that is disconnected from reality.
            E-hail is a hail. There is no difference between the two. Hail is a hail.
            Having a very loose set of standards, rules, and expense just because “GPS” is fraudulent.
            You want FAIR competition? How about this – like all
            small transportation businesses – pay for your
            business permits, pay for full commercial liability
            insurance (and that 1MM thing that judge had to
            subpoena to see still has gaps in it), pay for
            monthly inspections, pay local business quarterly and yearly taxes (ran as a business, not part time gig), pay any municipal and regulatory fees, pay for new vehicle
            every 3 years, pay for a proper training, and the list goes on and on.
            Pay like all other small transportation companies and then we can have a constructive discussion and a FAIR competition.
            As of now the artificial concept of TNC that a few irresponsible California legislators managed to sneak in, and behind which the ride-sharing cartel is
            hiding, is totally disconnected from reality.
            Ride-sharing is a TAXI operation.
            Technology is not an excuse to breaking laws and regulations. Law must be equal for all – Cali ride-sharing taxicabs and small local taxicabs
            WITHOUT any preferential treatments based on
            “because GPS”.

          • ClaimsAdjuster

            It is not even debatable that what Lyft, UberX and Sidecar are doing is illegal:

            RCW 46.72.010

            “(1) The term “for hire vehicle” includes all vehicles used for the transportation of passengers for compensation,”

            RCW 46.72.020

            “No for hire operator shall cause operation of a for hire vehicle upon any highway of this state without first obtaining a permit from the director of licensing”

        • Guest

          The city of Seattle didn’t add a SINGLE CAB IN 23 YEARS. It is hard to comprehend the irresponsibility. Needless to say they left the door open to competition and their solutions are great. I don’t have to shout at a dispatcher and attempt to explain where I am and then guess as to when and if the cab will even show up.

          It is too bad the cab drivers are caught in the middle but that’s life, it happens, and ultimately they have no one to blame but the imbeciles on the city Counsil.

          • MichaelTompson

            WHY ARE YOU THEN ALLOWED TO OPERATE?
            If cabs are limited in number – and no new cabs could be issued because cab owners are following law and
            not breaking it – why are you then – the multi-
            billion dollar ride-sharing cartel – is allowed to operate
            WITHOUT ANY LIMITS ??
            Not only that. WHY ARE YOU PAYING NO EVEN A THIRD of what small local transportation businesses are paying daily?
            You want FAIR competition? How about this – like all
            small transportation businesses – pay for your
            business permits, pay for full commercial liability
            insurance (and that 1MM thing that judge had to
            subpoena to see still has gaps in it), pay for
            monthly inspections, pay local business quarterly and
            yearly taxes (ran as a business, not part time gig), pay
            any municipal and regulatory fees, pay for new vehicle
            every 3 years, pay for a proper training, and the list
            goes on and on.
            Pay like all other small transportation companies and
            then we can have a constructive discussion and a FAIR competition.
            In its present form r”ide-sharing” (even the term is
            fraudulent because it was hijacked from legitimate
            ride-sharing companies that were operating
            LEGALLY) is nothing more than FRAUD and THEFT.

          • STUF

            Please, please, STFU! You must be a PRO government jerk and a communist because you HATE capitalist enterprise. Good for the person/persons that invented a successful business! Governments waste money. I hope the government loses all the money you claim they lost. ha ha ha.

    • jerry

      This won’t matter once Uber and Lyft become decentralized autonomous corporations, with no managers/shareholders or website to take down. It’s coming.

    • Joe

      Yeah just like the “value” the government “adds” to my cell phone bill, by cable bill, and everything else they tax the crap out of. So I take a regulated cab and it’s driven by some foreigner,…..wow it really makes me feel safer.

  • Rob Green

    This city gets more and more embarrassing by the day.

  • Mike

    Pathetic and sad. Counterforce’s claims are laughable.

  • Guest

    The Counterforce is a small, vocal group of anti-capitalist anarchists. If you ignore them, they’ll go away.

    • balls187

      That’s no fun.

      Hitting them while they’re on their bicycles pretending to adhere to the rules of the road is WAY more fun!

  • Salty_Swede

    Ahh, such tolerance…. and way to play the race card!

  • sol

    ok anarchism and communism is on the table. We the taxi drivers of this planet didn’t know that, if I may take the liberty of speaking for others too. I don’t think any fellow cabby will give me their dishwasher even for borrowing. And a lot of small business people believe in healthy capitalism. We want the govt to retain its power to regulate businesses in the interest of society. What small businesses dread is big corporations acting playing government.
    Back to fake ride sharing uber. They don’t represent any progress. They are just advantage taking shady businesses greedy for the dollar. Yes they will claim to represent this or that beneficial outlook for society, but they are just there for quick profit. If anyone follows their operation, its not difficult to see what they are about.

    Their damage for taxi businesses and society in general is real though. They will put taxis out of business, make city residents suffer with their pricing schemes, and control city officials to spur them in every whichever way they wish. That’s if the world gives them control. We as a society have a choice at the present. That is coming, you have been advised.

    • Nonlaz

      What a joke – Put taxis out of business? As if they do not have pricing schemes themselves? NO ONE likes the lack of customer service with Taxi’s only their convenience. Uber, Lyft, Sidecar provide both customer service and convenience. No one is forcing them out of business, they will simply die if they do not adapt.

      • sol

        taxis don’t have pricing schemes. They work on city fixed fares which haven’t been changed for many years now. There has been no change to taxi driver earning even when gas and other things price keeps climbing.

        you say ” …they will simply die if they do not adapt…” but they haven’t died for the past century, what will kill them now? fake “ridef sharing” scheme run by shady predatory corporates and part -time foolish drivers? thats possible, and thats why all members of society should try to stop it.

        uber is not your friend.

  • ClaimsAdjuster

    So will the illegal Uber business call the police to protect them against the anarchist protestors? Who will the cops arrest?

    • pitbullstew

      exactly, uber and lyft operate outside the law, ignore cease and desist orders, pay no taxes and refuse to #playbytherules and then demand equal protection under the law from disruptive malcontents that uber and lyft themselves created?

      pricless state of affairs….

    • Guest

      Probably the protestors. After all, Uber and Lyft drivers haven’t been arrested or fined despite your repeated 911 calls. (“Someone is picking up a passenger for hire in direct violation of RCW 438.49§4b! Stop them!!”)

      • ClaimsAdjuster

        Sorry, a-hole, a failure on the part of licensing and police to enforce the for-hire laws up to this point does not confer legality upon UberX. Even Uber’s local GM, Brooke Steger, does not make that claim. She simply refers to the city’s policy as “non-enforcement”.

        This past non-enforcement also does not stop the city or state from issuing tickets to UberX or Lyft drivers either now or in the future. The mayor has promised a Cease & Desist order against UberX, Lyft and Sidecar on June 1st if negotiations between the legals and illegals fail to produce an agreement. Since there won’t be an agreement, Mayor Murray has put himself on the spot. So he will have to follow through.

        • Guest

          Although I have demonstrated considerable power over you, I am not a police officer. If you want TNC drivers to be arrested, you will need to call the police and ask them to make arrests. Do you need the police phone number?

          • ClaimsAdjuster

            Sorry, uber troll, it is not even debatable that what Lyft, UberX and Sidecar are doing is illegal:

            RCW 46.72.010

            “(1) The term “for hire vehicle” includes all vehicles used for the transportation of passengers for compensation,”

            RCW 46.72.020

            “No for hire operator shall cause operation of a for hire vehicle upon any highway of this state without first obtaining a permit from the director of licensing”

            You have no actual refutation of the plain language of the law – a statute that has been on the books for decades.Your objections are nothing other than preposterous assertion. You have no back up.

          • Guest

            Have you informed the police about these allegations? Although I appreciate you informing an adult when you see a man allegedly violating the law, I think you’re old enough to call the police in this circumstance.

            Please call (206) 625-5011 to report alleged violations of RCW 46.72.010 and RCW 46.72.020. A police officer will give you a case number.

          • ClaimsAdjuster

            @uber-troll, the license inspectors are sharpening their knives for June 1st when they will start hunting UberX and Lyft drivers. When the Seattle Mayor issues the Cease and Desist order, the smirk will come off your face.

            In Arizona, the Governor just vetoed Uber’s attempt to get consumer insurance policyholders to pay for their accidents.

            The Department of Weights and Measures and the police are issuing tickets but they also intend to go after the companies.

            From the Arizona Capitol Times:

            “Without the law, rideshare companies are operating in Arizona illegally, according to the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures, which regulates taxi companies in the state. That’s because though their drivers provide transportation-for-hire services, the companies don’t carry the same mandatory insurance as taxis are required to carry, and the drivers do not have commercial drivers’ licenses.

            Providing transportation services for hire without those qualifications can lead to civil penalties of between $200 and $500 for each violation, according to Shawn Marquez, director of compliance programs for the Department of Weights and Measures.

            “They’re transporting people, [but] they don’t have commercial insurance, they don’t have commercial plates. At this point, they’re not legal. They are considered right now just pirate [taxis],” Marquez said.

            Marquez said the Department of Weights and Measures alone has issued between 20 and 50 tickets to rideshare drivers,”

          • Guest

            If you want someone to be arrested, you’ll have to call the cops. I am not a policeman; I cannot execute the laws of Seattle or of Arizona.

          • ClaimsAdjuster

            @uber-troll, are you just posting just to say something, no matter how vacuous? Twit.

      • ClaimsAdjuster

        @a-hole, how many anarchists have been arrested or fined blocking UberX cars? None. According to your logic, this shows that what they are doing is legal.

  • LB

    Bottom line, Uber is better than Yellow Cab. Why aren’t these anarchists sticking up for Uber drivers? I’ve spoken to several Uber drivers that previously worked for other cab companies; they get paid better, they can set their own hours, and it’s safer, for them, and for their customers. I can’t help but wonder if Counterforce is comprised of jaded Millennials that can’t find work?

    • ClaimsAdjuster

      Bottom line, Uber is a predatory hedge fund/ VC backed company that is offering a cheap ride based on cutting corners on insurance and licensing.

  • balls187

    > 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

    l2code bro.

  • Nonlaz

    Fuck you. Get a job. The real problem is corporations and corrupt federal government, not Startups attempting to make a change. Give your heads a shake.

    • ClaimsAdjuster

      Who do you think is backing Uber and Lyft? Goldman-Sachs, Jeff Bezos, Horowitz-Andreesen hedge fund, Google ventures. Can’t get more corporate than that.

  • hayduke1

    I wonder how many black people asked them to engage in this protest, much less supported it. I’m guessing none. Idiots like these give lefties a bad name. How about, intead of interfering with a driver just trying to earn a few bucks, you go blockade the developers and their handmaidens on the city council instead.

  • Mike

    As much as I don’t agree with Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, etc. bypassing laws as they do, acts like this need to stop. This is not a protest, it’s obstructing traffic to cause havoc by wannabe anarchists. Pathetic.

  • Myles H

    Uber and Lyft are here to stay. I think they’ve done great things for an industry that has been slacking for a while now. I’m glad that they are finally starting to improve their insurance policies.

    I prefer Lyft and if you haven’t tried it yet, download the app and enter promo code “FREE20″ for $25 credit.

  • Guy
  • panacheart

    So now we’re all anarchists. The anarchists are anarchists. Uber operates outside the law which makes them lawless. The police are so lawless that the Federal government has had to step in and reign them in, and the NSA is illegally watching us. If we’re arrested we can be thrown in secret illegal CIA prisons.

    Is anybody except the middle class operating within the law?

  • perlhaqr

    “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.”

    Shut up, you fucking morons.

    -An anarchist

  • Da Gelakeiwicz

    “All you have to do is download the app… put in your credit card…” forget about the part on the app that says you have to waive liablilty – fairly important point I’d think.

    I’m starting two new apps.

    One is for an escort service. I won’t really be a PIMP, just a technology company matching demand with illegal service providers.

    The other is for restaurant delivery. The food will be really cheap and the restaurants won’t be subject to silly govt regulations or health inspections because…
    wait for it…
    you’ll be ordering through your app and the rules will not apply.

    Who cares is someone gets sick or diseased, I won’t have any liability because you waived it when you signed up.

    It all makes sense – if you order through an app – no laws need be followed.

    • brandon

      Ridiculous post, but thanks for the comic relief.

  • Keith Smith

    “Technology and progress are bad! Let’s create a website, post a blog and use social media to get the word out.” These folks should be thankful that the 1st Amendment didn’t come with a requirement to be logical.

    • ClaimsAdjuster

      Uber does not represent “progress”. Furthermore the anarchists didn’t say “technology and progress are bad!”

  • Idontthinkso

    These people are just as dumb as Uber supporters. Nobody’s “disrupting” anything if we’re still building our transportation needs around the automobile.

  • ClaimsAdjuster

    Because blocking UberX cars is an an innovative and disruptive tactic, the anarchists have a right to protest in this manner.

  • ClaimsAdjuster

    Uber is still dumping uninsured vehicles on the street and refusing to pay for accidents caused by their drivers.

    A recent NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit broadcast a report that shows Uber’s policies can leave drivers and passengers in the lurch if there are accidents. And despite administering background checks, Uber still employs drivers with criminal records that include burglary, domestic assault and drug trafficking.

    http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/Is-Uber-Keeping-Riders-Safe-256438921.html

    Uber’s reaction to the lawsuit filed by Jason Herrera, an UberX passenger injured in the accident mentioned in the report is that Uber is a tech company that is not responsible for its cars or drivers. “…Uber warrants that it is a technology company and denies that it is a transportation company or common carrier” states the company’s response to Jason A Herrera v Uber Technologies.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/209100904/Uber-Herrera-Response

  • H1N1

    We are waiting to see what the DC Mayor does.

  • Jeremy

    Anarchists rush in to defend a government created monopoly and work to prevent voluntary exchanges between two consenting parties? I don’t think they know what “anarchy” means.

  • ClaimsAdjuster

    Relevance?

  • ClaimsAdjuster

    The law makes it legal or illegal. Enforcement is another matter.

  • communists4freedom-lol

    Actually, they are left-leaning anarchists who oppose government but want some central authority to “communize” private property.

    How they do not see the irony is beyond me

  • ClaimsAdjuster

    They feel safer? When they were driving a cab they were protected by industrial insurance for on the job injuries. With UberX they have nothing.

  • vinny

    Taxi ride. $20.00. Lyft or uber ride $16.00. The expression on the face of the uber /lyft driver when ge sees his rear window smashed. PRICELESS

  • vinny

    I think I will buy a bus and make my stops at the busiest bus route in the city. I will make my stops at the busiest bus route in the city. I will make my stops 2 to3 minutes before the city bus arrives. I will charge people 25¢ less than the city bus. Would the city welcome the competition or throw me in jail right away? Oh well, there goes progress.

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