We’ve been checking the news a lot, and we learned that a new phenomenon has emerged thanks to ride-sharing companies like Uber. Drunken bar crawlers are now entering random people’s cars, believing them to be their Uber pick-up. Several of our friends began to see this phenomenon in the nightlife hot spots of central Seattle, mainly Capitol Hill and Belltown. Delirious bar patrons in groups of four would crowd around a car stopped at the curb and begin yanking on its door handles. In some cases, single individuals would engage in arguments with their alleged drivers, unable to comprehend their realities. Without the button on their smartphone screen, these poor souls would do what others like them have always done: pass out on the sidewalk, stagger home, or maybe learn a lesson and stop putting themselves in such awful positions.
Given that this was the case, we thought it wise to hand out 20,000 passes for free Uber rides on a warm Friday night in Capitol Hill and Belltown. Earlier in the afternoon, around 30 Uber drivers picketed outside the front doors of the Smith Tower, the location of Uber Seattle while another thirty circled the area in their cars. The sound they created was relentless and lasted for hours. 100 drivers recently quit Uber, leaving 900 on the road this Friday night.
From 11 PM to 3 PM, several groups of people handed out these free passes to bar patrons, explaining that they merely needed to show them to an Uber driver. Thousands of these were pocketed, surely to be either used or read. The full text of the backside of the free pass is included below, and will explain either to the passengers or the driver that a struggle to organize is happening among Uber drivers, pitting a group of immigrant fathers and their families against a conniving, multi-billion dollar company and its demented CEO.
(Protest outside Smith Tower, Uber Seattle HQ, 8/29/14)
Some of our friends know Uber drivers, and none of them were aware of the strike action today outside Uber Seattle HQ. The remaining 900 drivers of Uber do not know how to communicate with each other. In order to help spread word of the strike, we blocked dozens of Uber cabs for a few minutes, giving the driver a flier and telling him he should join “the union.” We did not specify which one, but any of those drivers who go searching will inevitably find each other. As it turned out, none of them had heard of the strike and all of them wanted to join “the union.”
The flier also explained the very clear ties between Uber and Google. The love affair between Sergei Brin and Travis Kalanik is a well kept secret, but that does not concern us very much. What concerns us are the clear intentions for Uber to become the network through which the Google Self-Driving Car will be introduced to the hoards of drunken consumers. Back in May, Google Maps integrated the Uber smartphone network, allowing a user to hail a ride directly from its website. A few weeks after that, CEO Travis Kalanik referred to Uber drivers as some “other dude” who does not need to be there, easily replaceable by a computer. The next day an Uber representative assured their drivers that self-driving cars are decades away in the future. And then a few days after that, Google released a disgustingly chipper video of their new design for the self-driving car.
We have no connection with any union, but we hope all 900 unaffiliated Uber drivers get organized, however they chose to. We hope that this simple outreach tactic is utilized again, just as we hope that our actions have made an impact tonight. All of our hearts are with the drivers, for as we said on our free ticket, this is a techno-class war, and we are on the side of the humans. Every Uber driver we talked to said he wanted to join “the union,” and this is an objective fact. Our anarchism is a world where all are free, and until that is so, none of us are free. We wish the drivers the best of luck, just as we wish the worst for Uber and their backers. If we all unite, we can take down capitalism tonight. With all of the tools at our disposal, we could create a world where the banks, the corporations, and the government are cut out of our lives, a world where our lives are in our own hands. We must imagine this world together.
Death to Capitalism
Long Live Anarchy
Link to Flier: UBER
A video of our action will be released shortly.