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The Decline and Fall of San Francisco

November 10, 2014

by MIKE MILLER : counterpunch – excerpt

Time for Direct Action Against Billionaire CEO’s Who Have Displaced the Bay Area’s Poor?

The recent story, (“Dropbox, Airbnb, and the Fight Over San Francisco’s Public Spaces,” by Julia Carrie Wong in The New Yorker, 10/23/14), captures the continuing struggle between the city’s lower-income, mostly minority, especially Latino and Black, elderly Irish- and Italian-American, and struggling artists, writers and other more marginally employed, on the one side, and the new, young, mostly “Anglo” and Asian techies, who, like an occupying army, are swarming into the city to take advantage of good-paying jobs in the booming tech economy.  I use the metaphor of an occupying army with hesitation because these invaders are often friendly and, for the most part, intend no harm. It is the consequence of their presence, not what they do, that manifests the problem… (more)

Post-election postscript: big money was able to defeat even Proposition G, the relatively modest reform measure that placed a tax on speculative transfers of property. David Chiu’s slim Assembly victory over David Campos (two Democrats duked it out as a result of our primary election rules) is another illustration. The details aren’t widely known outside the city, but ask activists who live here and they’ll tell you: the people’s side didn’t do well in this election.

Mike Miller is executive director of the ORGANIZE Training Center (OTC),, author of A Community Organizer’s Tale:  People and Power in San Francisco, and co-editor of the forthcoming People Power:  The Community Organizing Tradition of Saul Alinsky (Vanderbilt University Press).

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