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Lyft surges to the top 10 on App Store following the “DeleteUber” campaign (techcrunch.com)
675 points by sethbannon on Jan 31, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 530 comments



Dan Primack summarised this well; Uber failed on messaging:

"Uber has done a lot of questionable things over the years, but its actions this past weekend vis-a-vis Trump's immigration ban weren't among them. An actual timeline from Saturday, which may differ from what you saw on social media:

• 4:20pm ET: CEO Travis Kalanick sent email to employees. It stopped short of explicitly opposing the ban, but did say: (1) The company would identify and compensate affected drivers. (2) Kalanick will raise the issue of how the "ban will impact many innocent people" this Friday during the first meeting of Trump's so-called CEO Council. This email was posted a short time later to Kalanick's public Facebook page.

• 4:55pm ET: NY Taxi Workers union called for a work stoppage at JFK airport from 6pm-7pm. Uber does not suspend its own service, but also does not send out any promotions.

• 7:36pm ET: Uber NYC sends out a tweet, saying that surge pricing to and from JFK has been turned off.

The claim that Uber was trying to 'break the strike' by sending out its surge pricing tweet is belied by the timing (i.e., sent after the strike was set to end). And while it is true that Kalanick has agreed to be on Trump's CEO council, it's also true that execs from both Uber and Lyft have agreed to sit on a new automation council set up by Trump's Department of Transportation. Either a pox on both their houses, or a pox on none.”


Uber broke the strike by breaking the strike. This absurd focus on whether surge pricing was a multiplier or disincentive is a complete distraction.

The taxi drivers reached out and asked Uber for solidarity. They dispatched drivers to break the strike. They made their bed in the court of public opinion, now they can lie in it.


Uber is a company, it is not organized in a union. I would never expect them to participate in a strike and effectively order their drivers to stop working. Just like a taxicab company doesn't participate in the strike, but the drivers do.

This is like if Coca Cola workers went on strike, and problem blamed Pespi Co of breaking strike by not sending their workers home??


This wasn't a strike, it was a political protest.

By not participating, Uber naturally made enemies among a group of people with a tendency to boycott everyone they disagree with.

(I'm not taking sides here, just pointing out that this was a predictable outcome.)


> This wasn't a strike, it was a political protest.

The taxis started a strike action (in support of the protest, but a strike nonetheless).

> By not participating

strike-breaking.

> I'm not taking sides here

Of course you are.


A competing service that continues BAU without participating has the result of undermining the aim of the strike - to disrupt services.

The term 'strike-break' is usually used when that service has some obligation or agreement to participate in the first place. In this case, the strike was ineffective because there was enough competition/redundancy to cope with the withdrawn services.


I thought the union (not the individual taxis) called for the work stoppage.

Perhaps we can call it both a strike and a political protest.

There doesn't seem to have been any way for Uber to avoid (being perceived as) taking sides, but how am I taking sides?


If the taxis are doing a strike, you can speak of strike breaking only for taxis not participating in it. Uber are not taxis per se, so there is no way they can break a strike they aren't doing in the first place.

Also there seems to be a confusion made on strike and strike consequences or demonstration. Being on strike only means stop working, not directly blocking access or service (although it is often done in conjunction). So again Uber providing service for people not serviced by taxis can not be labeled of strike breaking: Uber didn't prevent any taxis to be on strike if they want to do it.

Aside my opinion on the matter as a French who suffered more than one time from strikes is that Uber did a good job by allowing people to live their lives normally. Not being able to move, send a mail, study, lend a book, ... is really frustrating.


That seems like an absurd splitting of hairs. Under that logic the concept of a strike breaker couldn't exist. "It was coal workers who were striking, but the replacements are not coal workers per se they were non-participating laborers who happen to perform the same function"


If my mom arrives at the airport and needs a ride, am I supposed to refuse because of the strike? Will the union let me vote on the strike on that basis?


> If my mom arrives at the airport and needs a ride, am I supposed to refuse because of the strike?

Do you intend on charging your mother for the ride she needs? If your answer is "of course not," you aren't providing the same function as a taxi.


> Uber are not taxis per se

Of course Uber (and Lyft) are taxis. It's a service that you call to have a guy in a car come pick you up and take you directly to your destination. It's a different kind of taxi, certainly, but it's still a taxi.

It's very fashionable right now for startups to pretend that they're really a completely different industry than the one they're trying to disrupt, to distance themselves from the stodgy image, but marketing rhetoric doesn't make it so.


> to distance themselves from the stodgy image

or, ya'know, regulatory laws.


That, too.


That's exactly what happened. Uber wasn't under any obligation to do a time- or money-wasting exercise started by third parties that didn't give a damn about them. It's not even likely to change what's going on given that starts in Washington with support of powerful people and the man's voters. So, no reason to take part in it for achieving a political goal.

Now, on business side, image management is so important it's a huge industry. Many businesses have gone under or lost substantial money when their brands were tarnished by what potential buyers thought of them. Looks like they made another bad move on this front. Most Fortune 500 companies would at least pretend to care more than Uber does. Also in a way highly visible to customers.


Things like this reply on having the power to cause disruption by withdrawing service. In this case, there are a number of downsides:

- It also shows people/companies what a liability free drivers / unions are. Especially were there is a limit of available taxis (taxi badge).

- Individual taxis are being disrupted and facing competition from Lyft/Uber at the moment.

- the country is divided over support of Trump. Strikers may not be able to reply on a majority for support due to the political nature of the strike.


>This wasn't a strike, it was a political protest.

What's the difference??


I think we could all agree by calling it a work-stoppage. To me they're basically all the same but a strike is generally a work stoppage intended to force management to in some way improve the employment environment whereas a political protest can and usually is directed outwards and occurs for any number of reasons.


> a strike is generally a work stoppage intended to force management to in some way

This is also a political protest. Just because it's not against the U.S. government doesn't make it less so.


There's nothing political about a contractual dispute between two private parties.


Yes, there is.


> This is like if Coca Cola workers went on strike, and problem blamed Pespi Co of breaking strike by not sending their workers home??

Well, yes, that's how a general strike works. You expect every worker in the field to follow. This is not a strike to get better conditions within one company, this is a strike toward a governmental action.


>Well, yes, that's how a general strike works.

You mean how it doesn't work. Cartels eventually fall apart when there's no way of enforcing the rules (no way to force someone to strike) because the incentives to cheat (drive during strike) are high.


Well, at least in the U.S., general strikes worked great and were so effective for labor that they were banned by law, and remain illegal today.


I suppose someone could've DDOSd Uber's API to force their hand instead of relying on Travis' navigation of the political waters and moral fortitude (hah!).


Successful general strikes (a longer list than many people believe: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_strike#Notable_general...) usually enforce it somehow. Possibly through illegal means.


You expect workers to follow, not their companies to order them!


People appear to expect companies to take stances and play politics. It's an important observation and should be exploited for business leveraging. This is how namecheap gained market traction - they took heavy handed anti-godaddy stances during the SOPA debate and it worked hugely in their favor.

The other observation is that if your market position has a lot to do with inertia and habit - as in, if many people are using you mostly because they used you the last time, your position is tenuous.

And lastly, this may be a good example of aggregate forms of capital cost. The idea is that every exchange involves not only financial capital (money) but social and spiritual (what one thinks of themselves) capital. Your competitors can increase this aggregate cost and you can modify it without consciously being aware.


> I would never expect them to participate in a strike and effectively order their drivers to stop working.

Doubly so since half of their business model's premise is that Uber drivers are not employees, independent contractors who bring their own equipment, set their own hours, and pick up the fares that they feel like. They officially only boss the drivers around once they've picked up the fare.


Oh no, Uber is a "ride-sharing platform", so it doesn't have any "drivers", only "partners". If these "partners", being the perfectly free agents that they are, wish to participate in any form of action, they can do so on their own.


No company can be expected to behave morally? Is that what you are arguing?


Is it immoral not to participate in a strike organized by people you have no connection to, who work for different people, and who never consulted me?

If I was going to work and some strangers told me not to because they were on strike, I'd tell them to get lost.


Broadly speaking, I hate the tendency to conflate "we expect you to hold this view" with "we expect you to take this action". There are some views that I think it's genuinely reasonable to expect of people, but claiming that those views create a right to redirect people's time and money to your tactics is a way higher bar to clear.

Uber took steps to help their affected drivers, and stated intent to raise the issue at meetings with Trump. They decided not to engage in the strike along with the taxi drivers. Somehow, what looks to me like a tactical disagreement got recast as proof that Uber doesn't care about immigrants.


Actually, no they cannot. It has been proven time and time again that most companies will behave only in ways that benefit its stakeholders. Sometimes, that happens to align with public or moral good. However, our only expectation should be that companies make decisions and take actions within the parameters prescribed by regulators. Anything they do beyond that is either a violation, and should be punished, or a secondary, unexpected benefit.


>>Actually, no they cannot. It has been proven time and time again that most companies will behave only in ways that benefit its stakeholders.

I don't think anyone can reasonably argue that the current situation is benefiting Uber's shareholders.

The point being that by breaking the strike, Uber made a terrible business decision. They massively underestimated the backlash they would get. Now they have a (yet another) PR nightmare in their hands.


That's fair, and I certainly wasn't trying to analyze the business implications of Uber's maneuvering, simply that any decision made is 'usually' motivated by how it benefits a company's stakeholders.


I would agree that this seems to be the case almost always, but should it have to be that way?

Why can't public interest be aligned with the profit motive more often?

To some extent this is already the case, you don't see Dow Chemical grinding up children and selling them as couch stuffing, although sometimes they're not very far from that mark.


Right, I mean that's a separate debate, one that requires a lot of introspection re: capitalism, etc. I'm just answering your previous question; that no, we can't expect them to behave morally. However, to continue with your second comment, we're getting closer to the cause of the symptom.

I saw a headline on HN that said "why always outlasts how" and I believe this to be intrinsic. If we should encourage companies to behave in ways more closely aligned with the public interest, fine. Now, how do we do that? So far, it has been done through varying degrees of regulation and the court of public opinion, but those often fail.

To answer your question - "Why can't public interest be aligned with the profit motive more often?" - because we lack a better how for the time being.


They are a company, sure. But the citizens vote with their wallets, and are clearly making a choice for the type of company they prefer. Maybe that means most people in New York prefer a company which cooperates with their local unions.


Did Lyft cooperate with their local unions?


Here is the letter they wrote for their blog:

>We created Lyft to be a model for the type of community we want our world to be: diverse, inclusive, and safe.

>This weekend, Trump closed the country's borders to refugees, immigrants, and even documented residents from around the world based on their country of origin. Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft's and our nation's core values. We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.

>We know this directly impacts many of our community members, their families, and friends. We stand with you, and are donating $1,000,000 over the next four years to the ACLU to defend our constitution. We ask that you continue to be there for each other - and together, continue proving the power of community.

I notice that it diplomatically does not answer your question, only that it will donate for the cause. So I guess it depends on what you mean by "cooperate." They certainly didn't order their workers to strike (which would be dumb of them anyway.)


No they scabbed as well, but we're just better with PR. We've been so inculcated with Neoliberalism that switching to a more successfully deceptive brand is now seen as protest.


OK, they are a company. And a company has no right to customers. Sorry, that's business, that's capitalism, that's the market.


> This is like if Coca Cola workers went on strike, and problem blamed Pespi Co of breaking strike by not sending their workers home??

Consumers could still vote with their dollars, as they should. If you think Uber did nothing wrong then feel free to continue using them.


The sole point I'll argue in this thread is "so did Lyft". If you're boycotting all ridesharing apps in favour of licensed taxis, that's one thing. But deleting Uber and installing Lyft is misguided.


"I'm #deletingUber to show how anti-Trump I am!"

uses Peter Thiel backed Lyft instead

funny thing is, Trump supporters are now deleting Lyft in favor of uber.

nobody does an ounce of research anymore.


>nobody does an ounce of research anymore

This is true of the vast majority of activists in any political cause. Most join as social signaling to their community that they are "one of them". Case in point, almost nobody interviewed for occupy Wallstreet could even agree on what the goal of the group was.

Particularly in this case, showing support is literally as simple as installing an app that does almost the exact same thing as another app. "sure, I'll do that and post to Facebook about it to show how forward thinking I am"


> almost nobody interviewed for occupy Wallstreet could even agree on what the goal of the group was.

Protests are rarely about setting policy. They're about voicing their disagreement. Even if people at Occupy Wallstreet (and many other protests) can't agree on the solution, they do tend to agree on the problem.


That may or may not be the case now, but it certainly isn't true historically. There's a reason why "What do we want? Something! When do we want it? Now!" is a protest cliche.

Grassroots activism used to be better organised. Trade unions and other working-class organisations provided structure and institutional expertise. Discontent could be directed as part of a broader strategic campaign. The atomization of society has diminished the influence of these organisations. Most activism today is disorganised and strategically inept, simply because the instigators are inexperienced and lack the support of a wider network.


It seems our means of communication have grown beyond our ability to organize through those means. This seems to be a trend with the Internet in general where arguments like gamer gate etc. are fractured into two sides, but even on each side you won't find a coherent set of ideals that unifies.

I believe cases like these are just spotlights on how different we as humans tend to think while assuming those grouped around us tend to be more similar than in actuality.


Well that and the systematic destruction of unions in the US that started in earnest under Reagan.


Organizations tend to be organized and have specific goals. But mass protests rarely come from a single organization. They come from an angry populace.


We seem to have largely moved passed the concept of nuance, knee jerk reactions and virtual signalling in place of reasoned responses.

Its dangerous when all sides don't consider the others viewpoints at all.


It's lonely to consider the other side these days. Dare to consider Trump's side? You're a fascist. Dare to consider the progressive side? You're a communist. It's no wonder nobody does it anymore.


You think that's lonely? Try not choosing a side. I'm both a fascist and a dirty commie because I choose focusing on actions, policies, and outcomes over labels and ideologies. And you can't even talk about actions, policies, or outcomes, because if you get it 'wrong' (regardless of whether you're actually wrong) out come the labels and closed go the ears.

Both sides are so busy trying to force their ideologies on all Americans through a tyranny of the majority that they are simply incapable of reason.


I got into a discussion on Reddit the other day on the topic of gun control and mentioned that I'm a gun owner who is in favor of some restrictions (like assault weapons bans). The responses were:

"how can you exercise this right if you support its infringement?"

"you should just give up your guns"

"don't expect anyone to stick up for you"

"you're a hypocrite who thinks 'screw everyone else because I already got mine.'"

That's a microcosm of what discourse is like if you have a moderate opinion these days. There is no middle ground.


Indeed, also considering someones viewpoint doesn't mean you have to agree with it.

Its quite reasonable to find it abhorrent, just don't take it as abhorrent because other people to you that it is.

I like statistics and politics, I dig into the numbers and the actual reports behind news stories and the agendas are so obvious, I get the reasons why, in the UK newspapers are sold on outrage and worldview confirmation first and second and facts about sixth.

I don't believe there was ever a golden age of media but I do think they had more integrity in the past.


A bit off topic, but I honestly think Retro Report (sponsored by NYT) is wonderful in that it highlights how often the media misses the mark. Especially in the age of the 24 hour news cycle. Sure, they'll issue retractions and such, but the damage to someone is usually done. Richard Jewell is a case in point.

Anyway, it is indeed disheartening that if we consider some other viewpoint or perhaps even sympathise with it how easy it is to be branded an enemy to the other. It's a 'you're with us or against us' mentality that is becoming more and more ingrained.


>I don't believe there was ever a golden age of media but I do think they had more integrity in the past.

I disagree. The bullshit was just harder to discover in the past - without internet and 10,000 independent sources stating contrary to whatever the media was trying to peddle.

Media's job isn't to educate people. It's to educate people to see things "their" way which is where media bias, however major or slight, comes into play.


"I disagree. The bullshit was just harder to discover in the past - without internet and 10,000 independent sources stating contrary to whatever the media was trying to peddle."

I think it's the opposite. The headlines, style, and bias made the bullshit more obvious in the past. Now, there can be 10,000 "independent" sources peddling the same person's bullshit. Media consolidation means many of the news sources all come from the same few dozen companies that consistently bullshit. False information also travels fast in waves across social media but debunks don't per Facebook. There are also firms specializing in doing this with propaganda teams.

It's golden age of media disinformation. Also, with so many sources of low integrity, it's harder than ever for the average person to figure out what's true. Smart people can pull it off for many things but it's a lot of work. More work than many will spend vs turning to favorite channel, station, or friend feed.


>it's harder than ever for the average person to figure out what's true.

It's so much easier to find truth backed arguments with the internet, the average person can easily check sources. People are just mostly lazy and willing to let their biases inform what they will accept as true.


"People are just mostly lazy and willing to let their biases inform what they will accept as true."

Exactly. Combined with easier spread of misinformation, it makes things worse than it was before where easily-misinformed population in voting or demand side has massive influence on our lives.


I'm curious how far we can go in terms of inducing economic anxiety. Are the people willing to go for a general strike?

How about a Hartal? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hartal


When so many horrible things are happening, it's difficult for thoughtful people to agree on exactly which one is the most important.


> what the goal of the group was

That implies there was a group, in a formal sense, at all.



Do you have something substantive to add besides posting the Wikipedia link? One could uncharitably interpret your comment as virtue signaling in and of itself.


I found it useful, I forgot what the term was and wanted to look it up.


Meta-virtue signalling: signalling that you are smarter and better informed by everyone else by dismissing anything anybody else does, however well intentioned, as mere virtue signalling.


dismissing anything anybody else does, however well intentioned, as mere virtue signalling

Indeed. I think you've underscored exactly why calling out virtue signaling is so unhelpful for productive discourse.


If anything, I think people assign too much weight to "sending a message" or "taking a stance." Thiel backed both Trump and Lyft! Down with Lyft! Uber wouldn't go along with some strike! Disavow! YC works with a Trump supporter! Fire him!

Apparently the latest outrage on Twitter is over Elon Musk's condemnation of Trump's order not being tough enough. They're mad at him for trying to convince Trump to modify his proposal, because "making compromises with the opponent validates them," and he's being "morally cowardly." Well, ok. But at this point the order is (unless the ACLU wins) a reality, and the pragmatic thing to do is to work within the bounds of reality to make things better. Would these people rather he not do that, just to show that he's "standing with them"?

I have an increasing suspicion that the word "solidarity" is becoming a word the means less and less. As far as I can tell, when applied to public figures, it mostly means sending the message that you care. I wish we'd care less about messaging, and more about what works.


There is real risk when business mingle with politics. Both Musk and Uber should consider this before working with Trump. Thiel will be forever marked as Trump supporter and he saw it coming.

As for your suggestion to work with bounds of reality it should apply to Trump. If he want to change immigration policy he can work with Congress to pass laws and regulations. His flashy actions are just for his silly supporters and not for the benefit of US.

Trump plan is to govern through the crisis. He will make flashy stupid actions to get everyone attention while Republicans and Lobbyist disassemble what has been achieved in last 8 years.


Business is politics. Lobbying is rampant and everywhere. When you set wages or try to destroy organized labor that's political. Everything you do when you exercise the power you have as a businessman is a political action.


"As for your suggestion to work with bounds of reality it should apply to Trump."

That makes no sense. Our existing structure we're working in will let him do about whatever he wants with his voters supporting him. If you want to change that, try to get some amendments to the Constitution through that will. If you're not changing it, then he'll do whatever he wants. Then, anyone trying to change that has to work within the constraints. His if appealing to Executive Branch. Giving him something better for you that also appears to accomplish his goals is one way to do it.

I'm not pushing any specific ideas on that. I'm just saying that it's ridiculous act with assumption the villains shouldn't be villains or some other utopia should happen. Instead, gotta work with what we have.


I'm experiencing dissonance. Business and politics are both social actions, but are some of us starting to conceive business as a space beyond social responsibility?


How does XKCD put it?

> Fuck. That. Shit.

https://xkcd.com/137/

What, you think it was only true when it was applied to people you like?


I would agree with XKCD in this case, being honest is liberating. I am just observer and I have strong opinions.

I like my wife, child and few friends. I do not care about Musk, Jobs, Jesus or any other created by PR icon that people put faith in.


It's true, Founders Fund backed Lyft in Series B (lead, 15M), C (60M) and D (250M). They also have Geoff Lewis on board.

https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/lyft/investors


You can tell the difference between this and actually really caring, because the latter actually costs the person something. Using Lyft instead of Uber? Walking out at Google knowing full well it won't affect their job security at all (if not improve it by brown nosing)? Or what about a lawyer who is on her way out anyway, deciding to burn that bridge, knowing she'll have a cushioned landing (again, maybe even improving her career).

This is ridiculous bullshit doing nothing.

Thousands of people doing something that would risk their job, or land them in jail (and I'm not talking about a couple of out-of-work stragglers while the rest high tail it home when the police come out) might change something.

But this? Just a big circle jerk which if Trump has a brain in his head, will just ignore.


> funny thing is, Trump supporters are now deleting Lyft in favor of uber.

Then it would appear there are far fewer Trump supporters than people who oppose Trump.


What matters is who lives in what swing state counties now. That's basically what the US voting system has been designed to measure.

Quite surprising when you start to do the math.


What matters is TURNOUT. Always has.

Trump received almost the exact same number of popular votes as Romney in '12, and McCain in '08. The difference is that 10 million Obama voters stayed home for Hillary:

http://i.imgur.com/AT0kqVz.jpg

Whether due to disappointment that Bernie Sanders wasn't nominated, or belief that voting wasn't important since Trump wasn't projected to win, or "OMG Russian hacker!!" conspiracy theories, etc. The bottom line is that Democratic turnout has dropped 15% over the past couple of cycles.

Like the shore in low tide, "swing" locations shift and move out when this happens. I hear advice that future nominees should just ignore blue states and focus entirely on swing locations. That's exactly what the Clinton campaign did! It's a recipe for failure in the modern day. Because once again, turnout is what matters. The rising tide pushed back the "swing" coastline.

This new era of U.S. politics scares me... because I've grown accustomed to Democrats having the luxury of sounding reasonable and centrist, while the Republicans have been forced to pander to extremists in their base. But I think the old conventional wisdom of "run to the edge in the primaries and then pivot back to the center for the general" is breaking down.

In the new rules, candidates have to LIVE out on the edge in order to keep their bases energized and draw turnout. I think we're going to see extreme left candidates facing extreme right candidates (or whatever Trump is), with a goal of get-out-the-vote operations rather than winning over swing moderates. As a swing moderate myself, this sounds disastrous no matter who wins.


>Trump received almost the exact same number of popular votes as Romney in '12, and McCain in '08. The difference is that 10 million Obama voters stayed home for Hillary: http://i.imgur.com/AT0kqVz.jpg Your data is from very soon after the election. Once all the votes were counted, Clinton had the same vote total as Obama '12 [1]. Perhaps an argument can be made that due to population growth she'd need 1% more (or some number) to truly match Obama '12.

That said, I agree with your general message about turnout.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_ele...


> What matters is TURNOUT. Always has.

That is important, but it's turnout in states that have swing counties. Turnout in California is less important.

> Whether due to disappointment that Bernie Sanders wasn't nominated, or belief that voting wasn't important since Trump wasn't projected to win, or "OMG Russian hacker!!" conspiracy theories, etc. The bottom line is that Democratic turnout has dropped 15% over the past couple of cycles.

Your explanation is curiously devoid of what I see many people here omit: the repeal of the VRA. We saw changes to requirements and last minute eligability changes in many states that would have been illegal and challengable under the VRA.

While I certainly think there is a contingent of "bernie or bust" people, the turnout in blue states was NOT substantially depressed and HRC didn't lose votes. The vote totals were similar to their 2012 counterparts (in some cases higher) in blue states with absentee/mail voting making a huge appearance. If the BoB people were a significant factor for the blue vote we would ahve seen it reflected.

It's a weird myth that blue turnout was down in blue states. When I look at the vote counts post January, I just don't see it.

What we do see is a conspicuous and large gap of blue votes in red states, and when you overlay that with voter law changes enabled by the VRA the correspondence is quite high.

It's really tempting to lean on the "well they just didn't vote" argument, because it's very pat and not contentious. We should be suspicious of that though.


You left out "targeted voter suppression" in your list of reasons democrats didn't turn out. With North Carolina being a particularly egregious and well documented example. >“Before enacting that law, the legislature requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices,” Motz wrote. “Upon receipt of the race data, the General Assembly enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five different ways, all of which disproportionately affected African Americans.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-c...


Campaign finance reform, gerrymandering reform, compulsory voting...these are all good things to have in a democratic republic, but they're difficult to sex up for mass appeal.

Instead we get stuck in the mud with tangible topics that affect regular lives like universal health care and free public higher education. Good things, sure, but not the solution to our deeper problems.


Yea. Whoever runs for the dem nomination and wants to beat trump or pence (if he gets impeached) shouldn't even bother visiting blue states. Spend the entire campaign talking to voters in the rust belt.


To be fair, many Trump supporters are in areas where ride sharing services aren't nearly as popular as the generally left-leaning cities.


Or they can afford private drivers


If you're rich, you probably benefited from free trade and mass immigration. Trump's base are the people who suffered the most from these trends.


Or that Uber had more to lose, and Lyft more to gain.


Or there are fewer Trump supporters in the urban areas where ridesharing apps tend to operate.


that makes The divided states of America (D.S.A.)


Its true, in many of the points for which Uber is criticized (including this), Lyft is no better. One might even go as far as to say something along the lines of "there is no ethical consumption under capitailism."

But the point of a boycott isn't to purify one's own ethics, but to get the producer of the boycotted product to change their behavior. To this end it is more productive to focus on the market leader, or the most egregious offender, or some other 'tall poppy' of impropriety, than to try to boycott all actors you believe are unethical.


Lyft donated 1M to the ACLU. That's pretty different about taking action.


And Uber is spending $3 million on legal services for their drivers.


I don't want to take sides, but how is spending $3 million to compensate their own drivers vs. $1 million going to the ACLU which benefits people other than Lyft's "employees" in any way equal?


Isn't what Uber has done better? At least for Uber drivers. They're standing by the people they're benefiting from, instead of an undirected donation.

An analogy: a company has an oil spill, so they donate to Greenpeace.


It's clearly not undirected -- it's explicitly to fight in court the executive order as unconstitutional, which then applies to the entire US and not just their own tiny ecosystem.

Further, 3mil to their own drivers (which I haven't heard about but whatever) doesn't change US law -- so if their driver is booted out of the country, a few thousand dollars ain't much if you're thrown into a civil war or worse.


>"there is no ethical consumption under capitailism."

Imagine there was a competitor to Uber and Lyft that was owned by the drivers themselves in the form of a cooperative, so that any new drivers would have equal say in the direction the service took. Would that not be more ethical than Uber and Lyft?


But that wouldn't be organized as a capitalist company then.


Who cares? John Lewis is a partnership of all 90,000 employees and they are probably the most successful supermarket and department store chain in Britain. They dominate high end food and homeware sales.

http://www.johnlewis.com/customer-services/information-about...


...sure it would? Cooperatives of various sorts are a time-tested method of corporate organization, and plenty of them exist as corporations and make money in capitalist systems.


How do you know it's more ethical before knowing the actual decisions made?


Depends on your definition of ethics, but it's very likely to be more democratically run and have smaller wage inequality.


> "so did Lyft"

"Lyft had continued to operate as well but did not turn off its surge pricing, a company spokeswoman said;"[0] - Exactly, but they managed to stay under the radar as they had less market share. Also both CEOs are on President Trump’s economic advisory group, so what's the reason to boycott Uber?

[0] - https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2017/01/2...


I agree and already had commented so prior to my post on this thread.


The taxi drivers' strike was in poor taste anyway. "Ok, so people are going to have trouble with airport transportation because of this immigration ban, so let's make it even harder by taking away from transportation options." They not only could have made it harder for those who did eventually manage to clear CBP to get home, but they also made it harder for protesters to get to and from the airport. If I were in charge of Uber's or Lyft's ability to shut down their service for the airport, I certainly wouldn't do that.

This is a fine example of a union strike harming people.

Regarding surge, it's "damned if you do, damned if you don't": when they leave surge pricing up in these situations, they're blasted for profiteering, and now when they disable it, they're blasted for... what, exactly? Providing less of an incentive for drivers to go there?


Well that's one way of looking at it. People apparently still could ride Uber and Lyft so they werent really impeding anyones travels to and from the airport.

Another is that NY Taxi which employs many 1st and 2nd generation immigrants were granted one hour of their time to stand up in solidarity for those immigrants being detained without risking their jobs. It's not a case of "union strike" since it's unrelated to labour it's simply a political action. You might not like it but calling their protest "poor taste" is just demeaning.


Well, you can't have it both ways. Either:

a) You expect Uber/Lyft to take part in your strike, in which case you are impeding travel, or

b) You don't expect Uber/Lyft to take part, in which case no one should be coming down so hard on them for "breaking the strike".

I think it's great that NY Taxi gave their immigrant employees time to participate in the protests, but, they could have... y'know... just done that. Not called for a strike. I'm not sure where you're hearing that it wasn't a strike, though: seems like everyone here is convinced it was an actual labor action, as does the original article. Not saying that's the final word on the matter, but it's pretty confusing what went on, and it seems a bit crazy to call for this strike or non-strike or whatever it was, and then get pissed at Uber/Lyft for not participating.

I don't agree with you that my words are "demeaning". People's actions have consequences. If protesters had extra trouble getting to/from the airport due to the strike, then I consider that a bad consequence of the strike. If there was even the possibility that someone detained by the CBP could have been released during the strike and had trouble getting home because of the strike, then I think "poor taste" is a generous description of events.


I never claimed to hold either of those positions. Personally I think it's great that the taxi drivers of NY could display solidarity in this issue with the detained immigrants and their contempt for this clusterfuck of an Excecute Order. But I will not engage you in trying to collapse this argument into a squabble over trivial details. To echo another reply:

You don't understand protest.

The words in MLKs "Letter from a Birmingham jail" could hardly be more suitable to your chain of reasoning.

"I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the ____ great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: 'I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action'; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the ____ to wait for a'"more convenient season.' Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will."[0]

sources: [0] https://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham....


> This is a fine example of a union strike harming people.

IMHO every strike is about "harming people". That's the point. When the bus drivers in my city strike, they do it to cause mass inconvenience to get people to notice and get a message across.


In this case, my stance is they're harming the people they're intending to support/help.


I'm sort of baffled by your reasoning. You believe that they are "harming" the people by protesting with them?

I mean honestly, you think that one hour (not several hours as you posted) of protesting to show solidarity with the people being detained. One hour of looking the people you are trying to help in the eye and saying "We're with you! You are not alone." is somehow "harming" the people they're trying to help?

Maybe you feel that you can save the world behind a keyboard but most of us would, I think, disagree. You have to show support with actions, not just words.


I think the choice of actions matters too. If people aren't going to think seriously about the consequences of their actions instead of just going along for fear of being branded strikebreakers, I'd rather they limited themselves to words. At least that way they won't cause that much damage.

No opinion on the specific case, I just find your proposal overbroad.


> The taxi drivers' strike was in poor taste anyway.

Most taxi drivers are immigrants and many are refugees, whose families are directly affected by this ban; I'm sure your own personal notion of good taste was far from their minds.


Source on "Most taxi drivers are immigrants and many are refugees, whose families are directly affected by this ban"?


uh, going outside? I thought that was a 'sky is blue' level of common knowledge.


It's nice when company owners support labor solidarity, but I think it's silly to say that uber scabbed or broke the strike. Uber is a multi hundred billion dollar capitalist entity, with a stated goal of automating away all of the drivers. Uber drivers broke the strike. Lyft drivers also broke the strike.

It's one thing to expect labor solidarity from workers, but I don't see how it's rational to expect labor solidarity from a massive store of private wealth.

What uber did was make it less profitable for uber drivers to scab, which is moderately pro strike if anything. Lyft fares undoubtedly went up in that time, but Lyft doesn't profit as much from surge pricing, rather their model allowed scabbing drivers to keep those extra wages.


Scabbing is breaking the strike. Uber dispatched drivers to break the strike. I'll say it again, it's not complicated.

Scabs have historically operated under the cover of a private entity. This was the express function of the Pinkertons, for example. You can't rewrite the history of American labor and what its accomplished with neoliberal circumlocutions. Just because corporations became clever enough to describe scabs as "independent contractors" operating under "complex algorithms" and "surge pricing," doesn't mean we have to believe them.


Uber dispatched nobody. The drivers dispatched themselves. You're saying it was Uber's responsibility to side with the strikers (who are their competition) against the wishes of their own drivers? Seriously?

If Uber had forced a strike on its drivers (without a vote no less) people would have been pissed that they were left stranded.

If enough Uber drivers wanted to strike, they would have. They didn't. Maybe they are a different demograph with different concerns. Who knows.

You know the last time Uber had surge pricing during a huge surge in demand in Australia they got a lot of shit. They said they wouldn't do it again. They kept their word.

And why must Uber be on the side of the strikers or face punishment? What about all the people hailing cabs, Ubers, or Lyfts? They are exempt from morality? Lyft picked up people too. The fact that Uber chose not to price gouge is not a support of the ban.


No, they're not exempt, and I already said as much before in other comments on this post.

Saying the didn't dispatch drivers is just another cavillous circumlocution. They created, maintain, and profit from the platform through which the scabs were sent to break a strike. People see through these kind of dodges, although they could do a better job of seeing through Lyft's PR.


Let's compare two quotes from you:

"They dispatched drivers to break the strike."

"They created, maintain, and profit from the platform through which the scabs were sent to break a strike."

These are two very different shades of meaning. The first is active, the second is passive. So Uber passively broke the strike, but not actively. I think the difference is appreciable.


To be clear, Uber did not break the strike. Uber drivers, who apparently did not feel compelled to take part in the strike, broke it. Strikes are not composed of companies, they are composed of workers. Would you expect Uber to have refused to let its drivers operate (against their will) during the taxi strike? That's absurd on its face.


Most importantly, AFAIK it wasnt even the taxi companies that called the strike, but the taxi unions.


I would expect Uber to ensure drivers are organized and informed about strikes and empowered to join them, if they were truly a neutral ride-sharing platform.

Really, they're just a business that employs people whom they don't want to classify as employees, and would sooner drown their riders in a lake than see them organize.


> I would expect Uber to ensure drivers are organized and informed about strikes

That seems absurd. Uber is not a union. There is a dangerous conflict of incentive in relying on the people harmed by a strike to be organizing them.


Yes. That's because Uber ISN'T a neutral platform for ride sharing, it's a taxi service with employees.


But you don't break the strike by removing surge pricing and increasing everyone's pick-up time, you break it by keeping surge pricing, so that the drivers chasing the surge swarm the location in order to boost their earnings.


Breaking the strike was picking up someone at JFK during the strike. Uber and Lyft both picked up riders during the strike. It's not complicated.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2017/01/2...


Workers choosing not to work is a strike. Infrastructure owners choosing not to let workers work is something else.


Since Uber actively works against their drivers' collective organization and intentionally atomizes their labor force, a coordinated action for all drivers is only feasible in the context of Uber suspending service. If individual drivers chose not to service JFK, that was their decision and we can respect them for it. There were, however, Uber drivers breaking the strike and that reflects on Uber accordingly.


Can't modern drivers organize with a Facebook group or something? Or do Uber hire corporate spies to collect names and ban everyone?



So just black out the area for drivers and passengers?

Unless this is a coordinated effort, drivers and passengers will just go down the list to see if Lyft/Gett/Wingz/you-name-it is working.


Right. And then a driver from one of those services breaks the strike and the parent company they contract for gets hammered in the court of public opinion for breaking the strike.


The strike was widely publicized and the protest visible. Everyone involved was allowed to act as they saw fit and we can think what we want of those decisions as well.


However the typical activist doesn't get this level of nuance. They apparently employ the reasoning of a 6 year old: case in point (as mentioned earlier,) Lyft was partially funded by Peter Thiel.


How does it feel, knowing people with the mentality of 6 year olds are doing more to affect change than you are?


Drivers on Uber are contractors. Isn't it each driver's choice to decide if they want to strike or not?


It absolutely is. This doesn't make scabbing any less vile, however. All it has guaranteed in this instance is that a bunch of hapless Uber drivers are going to be feeling the backlash. Friends don't let friends scab.


> This doesn't make scabbing any less vile, however... Friends don't let friends scab.

"If you don't actively participate in my exact form of political activism, you're a bad person!"

This is the kind of rhetoric that pushed a ton of people on the fence towards Trump. For some reason, it's a common leftist tactic right now to insist that if you aren't actively engaged in whatever form of extremism the speaker is advocating, you are evil and (propping up the man | part of the patriarchy | oppressing <group> | a literal nazi | etc.). Entirely predictably, this is likely to alienate anyone even slightly to the right of the speaker and push them further right.

Maybe most Uber drivers don't really want to protest in this way. Maybe they agree with Trump. (Probably not, given that it's Manhattan, but who knows.) Maybe they feel like they don't have all the facts and don't want to make a stand based on an incomplete understanding. Either way, attacking them for it is counterproductive for you.


> This is the kind of rhetoric that pushed a ton of people on the fence towards Trump.

I hate to pick on this quote (I appreciate and suggest people read the rest of your post) but I don't agree with this. A common rightist tactic is to suggest either 1) I was okay with X policy when Obama did something so I have no moral authority to judge it now, or 2) I'm just a liberal whiner, too young, or too weak to appreciate that someone else is in charge so my beliefs are invalid. I am pushed to the left by conservative intolerance just as much as the reverse is true.

Both sides have extremes. I think it balances out. You are following your own proclivities of reasoning, fixating on which messaging you're most enticed by or most repulsed by.


> Both sides have extremes. I think it balances out.

You seem to be saying not "that kind of leftish rhetoric didn't push people towards Trump", but "there's also rightish rhetoric which pushed people away from Trump".

Which seems true to me, and totally worth bringing up. But the bit you quoted also seems true to me, and your post doesn't parse as disagreement with it.


A common rightist tactic was also to claim that that the president of the United States was an ineligible non-Christian non-citizen, despite all evidence to the contrary. This was done by elected leaders and representatives of a major political party, not just random people on Twitter. That kind of callous disregard for fact removes the possibility of civil debate and drives people away in a similar fashion as screaming "Hitler" constantly.


Calling out people for staying silent under Obama is not a tactic. It's just a way to highlight a person's motivation.


It's an intellectually honest way to point out inconsistency. The hypocrisy is asymmetric from my pov. I know people who were horrified Obama got elected and some indulged in variations of the 'he's Hitler' BS, but the current reaction by the extreme neo-left is a magnitude of order worse. There's plenty (a majority I bet) of Dems that are not making that mistake, but the echo chamber prevents them from speaking unless they are willing to piss off their peers.


Like the echo chambers that were (and still are being) ruthlessly exploited by Bannon-backed Cambridge Analytica and Macedonian-registered ad-laden fake news sites?

There is an intense echo chamber on the far right that you've failed to mention, with similar barriers to entry. They've gone as far as to create a walled-off invite-only social network called gab.ai. They brigade similarly on Twitter, and aggressively block opinions that do not align with theirs. They peddle information that cannot possibly be true, and resort to personal attacks when facts are pointed out to them. I had someone tell me that 50 million people died from heroin overdoses under Obama. That is absurd – it's a full sixth of the US population. But they insisted. "Do your own research" comes hard and fast when contrary evidence is presented.

These views are mindlessly repeated and reshared by the thousands. Anything that signals group membership is adored regardless of evidence to the contrary; anything that conflicts with the group opinion is rejected outright. I've watched these people change the definition of per-capita to fit their narrative, then insist it's always meant that. There is no shortage of echo chamber problems on the right. Look at Breitbart News.

There is a bipartisan communication problem in America. Algorithmic newsfeeds have fractured the audience into distinct groups that no longer communicate with one another. Americans seem unable or unwilling to perform basic searches to fact-check news sources. Pinning it on a political party or subset of the political spectrum IMO reflects a fundamentally incomplete view of the problem.


I didn't imply echo chambers were limited to my description of the "alt-left".

"These views" Can you list another? I started that list with the calling the opponent Hitler example.

I would appreciate a cite on "change the definition of per-capita", not because I don't think some "expert" made that assertion... it looks very similar to the similarly meaningless def of "unemployed" some use.

Couldn't agree more with your last paragraph.


It's definitely not experts making these claims, and that's part of the problem. These are just masses of mindless reshares of unsourced "facts" from strangers. But people bite. People appear to comment by the hundreds indicating belief in them. Check out "Donald Trump American President" administered by "Jimmy Johnson" on Facebook if you really want to see the garbage first hand.

The echo chamber comments were prompted by the statement that "the neo-left is an [order of magnitude] worse". There is, in fact, staggering depravity on the right if you look in the right (cough) places.


Yes. I've seen recent allegations that this weekend's airport protests are "terror-tied", which is obviously false and politically-motivated on its face. There was a neverending sea of false anti-Obama material throughout the election, asserting everything from "he's a secret Muslim" to "he wants all Americans under Sharia Law", to even older widely-discredited "birther" claims. These allegations IIRC mostly originated from Breitbart News, a site still under the control of Steven Bannon (who now has the IMO dangerous conflict of sitting on the National Security Committee while running a supposed news organization). They were widely shared in multiple closed groups on Facebook with memberships in the 20-50k range.

But further than that: I've seen persistent allegations and slurs against the Jewish faith (many in pre-prepared image form), advocation of literal genocide, celebration of alleged bills that would make it legal for people to use motor vehicles to strike and kill protestors, and calls for those protesting legally and peacefully to literally be rounded up and imprisoned by police because a small group of unrelated individuals committed acts of vandalism or violence. The excuse? "If they're not stopping them, they're supporting them". These were not isolated incidents. I personally witnessed hundreds of voices repeating the latter talking point on a single local news station's Facebook page, in a single night.

The current US National Security advisor Michael Flynn allegedly accidentally retweeted one of these. According to news reports, it read "Not anymore, Jews".

Further down the abyss, speaking more to rhetorical depravity: I've watched pro-Trump posters in private Facebook groups post pictures of themselves pointing firearms at the camera in response to disagreements over fact. There was also a disturbing pattern of posters sifting through the public profiles of others for pictures – essentially peoples' family photos – altering them to appear pornographic or otherwise offensive, and then reposting them in public. One even literally offered to sell a stranger's child in to slavery, on their personal Facebook page, using a picture of them, "because that's what the Muslims would do". I saw attempts to get people fired from their job due to a Facebook political disagreement.

I really believe that there are intrinsic issues with social media that are feeding this crisis: a demand for instantaneous engagement often at the expense of even a few minutes of thought, a "real names" policy on Facebook that sabotages efforts to deflect/prohibit personal attacks in discussion groups, a comically understaffed/underresourced reporting system that I've seen people on all sides try to weaponize against those that disagree with them, algorithmic news feeds that people have voluntarily handed over their information-seeking ability to, and notifications that allow asynchronous debate to escalate into what people perceive as intrusive interruptions. Many unfortunately don't know how to turn these off, and react in anger.

It's no way to communicate and no way to live.


I read both of your replies as admitting you form your opinions by attributing the actions of the minority extremes that I am arguing are deliberately promoted. Worse, you seem to realize it. I appreciate the tip on that URL, but I didn't save it fast enough and I don's see it now in your comment. I track similar sounding things and would like to dig into it.

On the flip, shouldn't we all be willing to accept that some of the things we think can't be true are true? History has all kinds of examples.

Arguing that's it's other people who are really making this mistake makes no sense because you made the arg.

Still looking for the cite on "the definition of per-capita".


That's a misread then. I'm reporting what I witnessed being deliberately promoted by a group of people that self-identified as "conservative" and/or "alt-right". Simply put, and with no other judgement – I've seen no credible evidence that the extreme left is an "order of magnitude worse" than its counterpart on the right.


Here's a great example of depravity from the right, found in two minutes on Twitter with a search for "MAGA".

This is using images of a senator's children and proposing a hypothetical rape of them in service of a political goal, which is so blindingly reprehensible that it's hard to even type out: https://twitter.com/ChristiChat/status/826182267978407936.


I'm not disputing you formed your opinions based on "witnessed being deliberately promoted by a group of people that self-identified as 'conservative' and/or 'alt-right'". Rather I am trying to make the point that if that's your standard, then your opinion is trivially hackable by anyone with the resources to create that perception (please, what's that url you mentioned??). Comments by others is a pointless way of forming opinions of the people you think you disagree with. Why not judge those people by their individual actions instead of by the words of anon posts from some domain you won't even link to?


I have not linked to a domain in that post. Ask PG to pull the edit history if you want; I don't know where you're getting your impression from.

Everything you said is also true of Hitler comparisons – anyone with the resources to make that allegation can make them. The only argument I've made is that valid counterexamples exist to your claim that the left is an "order of magnitude worse". Asserting this is not judging individuals by their actions. This is demonizing a large group that you have defined, based upon on equally-hackable individual actions you have observed.

There is no credible evidence of your assertion that the left is somehow rhetorically worse. That's the only claim I'm making: that the hypocrisy is not provably asymmetric. I have not outlined a personal standard of evidence.


Exactly the reason I don't have a more accepting attitude when it comes to left wing positions I might actually agree with. My political disagreements are what they are but the idea of providing any validation to what amounts to Bolshevik-style tactics keeps me on the sidelines.

As an example: I am a free market libertarian who agrees with marriage equality, but the means by which 'activists' attempt to engage issues turns me off. For example, harassing Mike Pence at his house -- I found that tactic childish and off-putting and immature (and divisive) as well as ineffective. Those tactics don't create positive change, they promote Balkanization of people who might otherwise be convinced to agree with a reasonable position.

France's violent anti-Uber protests -- regardless of issue, I'm less likely to listen to potentially reasonable positions when they are presented in violent or disruptive ways. In fact, those sort of things make me less likely to consider their views.

When a child screams for chocolate -- that's less compelling than if they ask in a reasoned, mature way, presenting facts and arguments rather than throwing things and parading around the house in perpetual outrage.


You're penalizing an abstract political opinion based upon the actions of individuals that bear no special ambassadorship or ownership of that view. This is a step down the road to collective punishment. One could easily use this logic to invalidate opinions from the right – because a group sympathetic to those views invaded a federal wildlife refuge with firearms, or because a group sympathetic to the views protested a funeral.

There will always be children in the world. Get an invite to gab.ai if you want to see the giant cache of them on the right, literally advocating violence and genocide outright. Unreasonableness is not the partisan issue you make it out to be.


Yes. He made an example of the same extreme (non-representative but loud) faction you are are. We could talk about why they are funded and promoted on both sides.


Pretty sure we're in violent agreement here. The claim I took issue with was that the left is somehow an order of magnitude worse. I think it's a shared problem.


> harassing Mike Pence at his house

By "activists" "harassing" Mike Pence do you mean when three neighbors put up rainbow flags in front of their own houses? [1]

You are fine with allowing trivial unrelated actions influence your fundamental beliefs of right and wrong?

1. http://supremepatriot.com/2016/12/29/vp-mike-pence-harassed-...


You know, you can participate in these protests and help steer their direction. It's not like planning committees get together and grep HN comments; you gotta show up.

If you're "turned off" by how activism is going, Free Market Libertarian, you should put your money where your mouth is and present a more workable alternative.


A narrow point: Trump is not Obama. It is possible that the differing reactions to their policies, administrations, and signalling are based in the actual differences between their policies, admininistrations, and signalling, not just from differences in the amount of hypocrisy their opponents engage in.


As narrow as it gets. Like saying coins have two sides.


> Obama got elected and some indulged in variations of the 'he's Hitler' BS

Being called Hitler by "some" after simply being elected, unrelated to any action is definitely useless "Hitler BS".

> but the current reaction by the extreme neo-left is a magnitude of order worse

Drawing parallels to current actions might be hyperbolic or extreme or unfair, but not as dumb - definitely not orders of magnitude.


"by 'some' after simply being elected"

Maybe I should have inserted more qualifiers, but I deliberately didn't say that. The friends I refer to didn't make the "he's Hitler" arg at or before election time. They lost, they knew it, and they thought about why they lost instead of doubling down on the mistake of picking the Obama global government equivalent on the right. Later on some made those implications by inflating relatively minor actions that fit a pattern they were looking for. I was happy he beat Obomney. Better to let the pendulum swing.


If they're individuals and you've done the research to support your claim of their individual non-criticism? Sure. If you're seeking to demonize a large group based upon the behavior of individuals with no material connection to others in the group you're criticizing – then it's not at all.


Or they're following a newsfeed algorithm that's determining their information-seeking proclivities for them. I honestly find that much more subtly disturbing and manipulatable than willful ignorance – people have ceded control over their information seeking behavior entirely.


"Maybe they agree with Trump"

Maybe living in NYC is very expensive, they are poor, and they need money.


It's a common tactic on the right too. It's a common tactic on social media, period. If you haven't observed similar behavior from the self-described right, get an account on gab.ai or join a few pro-Trump groups on Facebook like "Donald Trump American President". The problem is not unique to those on the left. Search for "MAGA" on Twitter if you want to dive in to the neverending shitshow head-first.


>This doesn't make scabbing any less vile

This is a political opinion, and the context definitely matters. This wasn't a strike for higher wages, this was a strike to back a political stance.

How would you feel if the cabbies went on strike because we allow Muslims to vote? Would you so vehemently blast people that want transportation to continue functioning in the interim in that case as well?


Moreover, because this strike was inherently political, should taxi drivers who actually support the immigration EO (or at least don't feel compelled to protest) be forced to partake in the strike? That sounds like an utterly indefensible position to me.


Hoffa is directly collaborating with Trump. You can see for yourself how the left is reacting to union organizers pulling for right-wingers.

(In this case, they dislike Hoffa's collaboration, but nobody started calling for the dissolution of unions.)


It wasn't a strike for higher wages, it was a strike to stop being banned from the country.

Strikes are always political. The point of a strike is to say "you need us" and a HUGE proportion of taxi drivers are Muslim. Their family, friends, the people who keep their family and friends safe risking their lives helping the US military in their home countries were all screwed by this.

They wanted to strike to say 'if you ban Muslims, it doesn't JUST mean the US is now run by weak cowards. It means you won't be able to find a taxi because we won't help you. You need us'. The goal was that plenty of Trump supporters missed their flights because of it and had to think about it -- the services they rely on are run by the people they are attacking. Not sure it happened, but at least they tried.


Well then the price of Taxi rides will increase and people will stop working at McDonalds and drive taxis. That's how the world works.

And the "Trump supporters missed flights", yeah so did people who were flying home to see loved ones, didn't support Trump, or didn't care.


The only way Uber could have participated in the strike would have been by paying its drivers for the time they didn't work if they decided not to. Uber, as a taxi drivers employer, cannot just decide on its own that its workers are striking and won't get paid.


You can always disable the service. Then you will get angry drivers that cannot earn money because of a choice you made, but you can participate to the strike.


That would have meant forcing other people (their drivers) to strike, and share the economic loss for it as well. Not very fair, don't you think? Being on strike with other people's money?


Yup, that's the short-term drawback. You correctly identified it. Now, contrast it with the long-term drawbacks of not organizing at all.


Uber could have participated by changing the surge pricing to 20X, 100X or some similarly high number. That's not to say that they should have.

A lot of the anger at Uber is also due to their CEO being an economic advisor to Trump.

Meanwhile, Lyft played this perfectly. Stayed out of the fray and then donated $1MM to the ACLU.


If Uber increased surge pricing they would be accused of trying to make more money off of the protest. It would probably be a worse PR disaster than removing surge pricing


I don't understand why Uber shouldn't have broken the strike. Their competitors decided to shoot themselves in the foot thinking it will help the refugees, and Uber swept in and took advantage (arguably). Coupled with the fact that it uses Saudi money to subsidize American drivers, who surely include refugees among them, I don't see why everyone has a grudge against Uber.


Uber was never a part of the strike to begin with! How can they break something they were never a part of, after it even existed?


I honestly don't care about taxi drivers and reject the idea that they hold some moral ground. I'm glad they're all going out of business. And if they decide to hold a strike, there's zero reason for Uber or Lyft to want to be beholden to them.


I think I'm with you on this--I don't care especially about the taxi-driving profession as it once was, especially the dinosaur unionized kind. (IMO, In less than 10 years it will probably be a nearly extinct profession.) However I think we can all agree that we can still care about taxi drivers themselves, as people.


> Uber broke the strike by breaking the strike.

Okay? So neither Uber nor Lyft wanted to inconvenience thousands of their customers. That's why I use them over taxis in the first place!


Uber drivers broke the strike as well as Lyft drivers. 'Scabs' refers to people, not competitors to the parent company of the striking union members.


"Uber broke the strike by breaking the strike"

I'm pretty sure that's not true.

If the Airport 'hired taxis' - and then hired 'other taxis' to do some work, then it might be true.

But the Airport doesn't hire them, and also Uber is not technically a taxi ...

So I think it's within the law.

As far as 'court of public opinion' - that's another matter.

I'd be interested to see what people actually think outside of our culture.


Does Uber have the capability on their platform to disable the service in a specified region (JFK)?


Good for Uber. During this strike innocent people get inconvenienced and for what? Who were the taxis striking against? Trump? How is that strike going to solve anything?


Both Thiel and Icahn are investors in Lyft, who are even closer to Trump. How does it feel directly support Thiel and Icahn?


I don't support Lyft and my first comment on this post was critical of them and the riders who switched to them out of a false solidarity. Perhaps read other comments on this thread before making assumptions.


This isn't about "messaging" or "optics".

Kalanick is playing a double game, collaborating with the Trump administration on the one hand, while simultaneously trying to be seen as moral.

This is too transparent and Kalanick got caught trying to play both sides.

If he believes the Muslim ban and other policies of hate are immoral, he should loudly and publicly resign his position on the president's economic advisory group.

But if Kalanick continues to collaborate, then we know where he stands and we're free to delete Uber and use Lyft instead.


If he disagrees with the President, why should he (and why should anyone want him to) stop speaking into the President's ear?


All Travis has gotta do is just, uhhh, disrupt all of that, uhhh -- disruption going on? The stuff with the judiciary branch, and whatnot.

To be clear, I don't mean to be incredibly condescending, but: Do you actually think the POTUS or someone like Steve Bannon actually gives a shit what a nerd who owns an app actually thinks, in light of everything happening right now?

I'm being serious. Fundamentally, "nerd who owns app" is all someone like Travis Kalanick is, in this situation. He is not some magical negotiator or politician because he accepted a position with the administration on the Policy Forum. I don't know why to expect him to be anything more than just a soundboard/printed name. Why would I? Because he and Trump are business men?

And if he IS anything more than "nerd who owns app" -- why would he want to be associated with what appears to be a completely unhinged administration? People do not look at someone like Condoleezza Rice and think "I bet she tried real hard, talkin 'em down. Good show."

This idea "good ol' Travis or Elon" can just talk him down off the wire seems to be nothing but a dream, rooted in some fantasy, as far as I can tell. Maybe all the shit going down is bad for them. But if it isn't - why would they stop it?


Why would Trump listen to what Kalanick has to say about a policy order that is notionally an urgent response to national security threats from Iranian/Syrian/etc. travelers?

With Steve Bannon speaking into the other ear? Bear in mind his strategist is (apparently) deferred to over even Homeland Security officials and DOD commanders when it comes to these matters.

The fact is Kalanick is not going to influence Trump on this issue, but by remaining on the advisory team he might secure a sweet (life saving) deal for Uber down the road. The cost? Trump gets to use him as token for proof of legitimacy/economic acumen/America First/etc.


Collaborating with the administration legitimizes and normalizes their policies of hate.

This does far more damage than any marginal benefit from "speaking into the president's ear".

I'm sure it's good for Uber to be on Trump's team, but don't pretend you're "standing up for what's right".


This sort of thinking is so tragically misguided. If the only sane people who might potentially have Trump's ear turn away from this role, then the only people advising Trump are the extremely dangerous group he currently has! This is the far bigger danger then appearing to "legitimize" him (as if someone who was elected president needs any more legitimacy). The good he could do as an adviser is orders of magnitude greater than what he could do by turning down the role in fear of adding legitimacy.


It seems highly unlikely to me that Kalanick has any ability to influence Trump/Bannon's policy in this area. But I'd like to address to aside you made about "legitimacy".

GP talked about legitimizing policies. That is quite different than questioning the legitimacy of the electoral vote.

Trump signed an order that was illegal, apparently, to lawyers and laymen alike, because it authorized revoking legal permanent residents of their right to entry into the US without due process. Federal judges have ruled this to be the case, and yet for unknown reasons certain Border Patrol/Homeland departments are defying that order (which is not in keeping with their legitimate authority).

It's substantially likely to be illegal even without that exclusion because it includes discrimination based on the Christian faith of residency applicants.

The Constitution is the source of the legitimacy of presidential orders, and this policy is in multiple ways incompatible with that.


I understand your reasoning, and in the case of a fiscally conservative moderate (republican) that's not bought by corporate interest I would fully agree with that sentiment.

But for sake of argument, let's Godwin this:

I don't want an 80% Hitler because someone good is working with him, tilting him 20% towards the better. The only solution is opposition, and that's hard. He needs to be gone.


Normally I would agree, because that's true in most cases.

But we're past that here. The Germans went with it, and I'm sure some thought at the start that going along would let them do some good. Look how that turned out.

No, it's not okay to just do business as usual here and try to nudge things a bit with policy suggestions. It's time for much more active responses.


Ah, Godwin's Law. I hope when you reflect back on these times in a year or so you realize how childish it was to compare stopping some Muslims from some unstable countries (not even the big Muslim countries) with literally exterminating Jewish people and blaming them for all of the country's problems.


If you did pay attention at school then you'd know that extermination was final step of pretty long process of de-humanizing Jewish people.

Its not like they put them into prison camps overnight. First they couldn't attend university, then they couldn't own a shop later they couldn't get a passport. Propaganda people had much work to do to allow it happen.

We do not know if it is first step of many but direction is clear.


But who is 'they' in this analogy? The immigrants on hold aren't even from the biggest Muslim countries.

Temporary immigration restrictions on 6 countries is hardly the same thing as du-humanizing Muslims.

>We do not know if it is first step of many but direction is clear.

No it's not. Many other countries have very strict immigration controls dependent on the migrant's origin country and they aren't exactly stuffing people into ovens.


A very big stretch. Restricting immigration from a narrowly defined list of unstable countries (a list that was created by Obama with regards to the visa-waiver program) is very different than imposing restrictions on Muslims. Muslims from every other country aren't affected and Muslim citizens in the US are also not affected.

This isn't a Muslim ban. This is a 90 day ban on people from specific countries with the goal of improving the vetting process. It's neither permanent or specific to Muslims. Obama did a 180 day ban on Iraqis for the exact same reasons.

The effectiveness of this policy can be debated, but comparing this to Hitler -- that's just nonsense.


What 'Godwin' himself had to say: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/12/14/...

  First, let me get this Donald Trump issue out of the way: If you’re thoughtful about it and show some real awareness of history, go ahead and refer to Hitler or Nazis when you talk about Trump. Or any other politician.
The Holocaust wasn't a sudden event. It was preceded by a steady breakdown of protections and social norms -- see Night and Fog laws, Kristallnacht, etc. There's a lot of history before it came down to concentration camps, and it started with things like attacking the press and clamping down on visas.


Yeah, thus far he's only blamed them (and Mexicans) for all of the country's problems. Totally different.


> from some unstable countries

Like Mo Farrah, an olympic gold medal winning athlete and British citizen?


Maybe that's true, but not being on an economic advisory board isn't the kind of "active response" you're talking about.


Ahh yes, the advisory board with other fringe right-wingers such as Elon Musk, Satya Nadella, Larry Page, Eric Schmidt, Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, and Sheryl Sandberg. How could he possibly be so two-faced as to throw his hat in with these marginal characters?


You're misinformed.

Nobody from Microsoft, Google, Apple or Facebook are in this group.

https://greatagain.gov/president-elect-trump-announces-addit...


So you think by agreeing to be on Trump's advisory board, Uber agrees with the immigration ban? I guess GM, Tesla, Disney, etc are probably pretending to "stand up for what's right" too , right?


We know exactly one thing: Uber (and none of the companies you list) disagree with the ban enough to threaten to drop out of the advisory board.


I guess there's two ways you can look at it if you're given the chance to advise a President you disagree with:

- Disagree out of principle. Someone else will step up to fill your stop.

- Agree and provide your POV of policy. A 'worse person' won't replace you (immediately).


I agree that he shouldn't be criticized for staying on, but only if he publicly voices his disagreement in unambiguous terms. If Trump only wants boot lickers, he can fire Kalanick like he did the acting attorney general.

Of course, it doesn't look like that is the case. By all appearances Kalanick is mincing words as he tries to balance the affections of the administration and angry users. My guess is that he is just another spineless think-for-himselfer.


That is how a child would behave. You can't quit and ignore the person in charge.

When have you ever heard the advice, "you get what you want by refusing to engage the only people who can do something about it?"


Or it's a child in charge, and it's time the parents assert control.


The person in charge is only in charge because we agree to it. Not agreeing -- and refusing to give them your influence -- is the only way bad leaders are ever removed.


That's preposterous, he's in charge for the next 4 years and nothing (even impeachment) will change that, since he'll just get replaced and his agenda continued. This "legitimacy" and "normalization" talk is just as post-factual as anything Trump ever said.

Is Bernie a fascist for saying he would work with the Trump admin on the good parts of his agenda?


If Trump were replaced by Pence, I think there would be a noticeable difference. The agenda, though perhaps similar, wouldn't be identical, and their personas are significantly different.

Just as an exercise, if Pence were president and Trump were VP, do you think we would be hearing as little from Trump as we're currently from Pence? And before you say, well, Pence is the VP, you're right, but I can't imagine Trump taking second seat to anybody, while Pence has.


No, if he gets replaced, Trump's agenda won't continue. It'll be Mike Pence's agenda that will replace his.


you're going to use Lyft, when it's a direct investment of both Peter Thiel and Carl Icahn? Both very, very close associates of Trump and actually helped him win the White House?


It's a real double plus good game he's playing at then, since Uber broke the strike and Kalanick is directly aiding Trump. I guess we're lucky that Uber is so consistently shitty that people saw through them, unlike what happened with Lyft.


What about the million dollar donation to the ACLU Lyft made? Does that count for anything?


Sure, but would have been more meaningful if they weren't also breaking the strike and painting Uber as the sole villain.


What about the three million dollar donation Uber made? Does that count for anything?


They didn't. It's a $3M "defense fund", however that is managed. It was also afterwards to save face.


I think the hullabaloo around this immigration matter is reasonable. However, it would have been really great if the left had used the same amount of enthusiasm and vigour to protest the killing of innocent muslims civilians[1] by the united states, but i guess it's alright if their party approved of it.

[1]https://www.democracynow.org/2014/2/21/turning_a_wedding_int...


"collaborating with the Trump administration on the one hand, while simultaneously trying to be seen as moral."

So is Musk, and many others.

Cook was just at dinner with Ivana a few days ago.


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Except they left out the countries with the most known terrorist activities in the us, that happened to be countries with major trump investments, that would be Saudia Arabia and Egypt.


US has military bases in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, so that might have happened for strategic (for the US, not for Trump) reasons.


They have quite a few bases in Iraq, too. But no trump holdings.


He excluded the countries that were already excluded under Obama's executive orders on immigration. This isn't new foreign policy, just a strengthened one.


> that happened to be countries with major trump investments

And that (on a diplomatic level at least) also happen to be major US allies in the region.


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I prefer no nuking of anyone or anything. Move off saudi oil. We've been doing it for years, actually. The latest way to get away is electric cars.


Everything is about optics. What world do you think you live in?

EDIT: I don't know what to tell ya, but downvoting doesn't make it less true.


Right, and on Sunday he followed up by unambiguously calling the ban "wrong and unjust".[1] Which was also a fumble because it sounded like a reaction to the blowback.

Also interesting: Uber pledged $3M to help drivers right now. Lyft pledged just $250K/year.. to the ACLU (annual budget: $133M). But Uber lost that one too. People want war with Trump, not diplomacy.

As for turning off surge pricing, clearly it was after the strike and meant to reduce customer complaints about surge pricing after exceptional events. But it also means they were "effectively undercutting taxi drivers as they returned to work after protesting."[2] Another "Doh!" moment for Uber.

[1] https://newsroom.uber.com/standing-up-for-the-driver-communi...

[2] https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/01/lyft-an...


> People want war with Trump, not diplomacy.

The man just unilaterally stranded thousands of permanent residents outside of the country - and the departments enforcing this are disobeying legal court orders to halt the ban.

This is a fundamental attack on the rule of law. How exactly do you negotiate with that? "Please, sir, could you stop destroying lives?"

Do you think that he is too stupid to understand the consequences of his actions?


I'm not endorsing the tactic of joining Trump's advisory board. IMHO people who speak truth to power are talking to the wrong people. I'm just observing why people are responding better to Lyft's messaging than Uber despite Lyft also operating during and after the strike.

I will however point out that if you're boycotting Uber over joining the advisory board then you should do the same for all the others, including Elon Musk's companies. Maybe you should even boycott Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and all the others that took a meeting with him, since they are also taking a diplomatic route.

Oh, and this is fun: Trump advisors Peter Thiel and Carl Icahn are part-owners of Lyft.


Can this app store download bump be judged independently of the fact that Lyft just expanded to a bunch of cities[1]? Lyft being available in all these cities would obviously give it a large bump.

Not sure why techcrunch doesn't mention that this may have NOTHING to do with the #deleteuber campaign.

[1] https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/25/lyft-expands-to-40-new-u-s...


How dare you making appstore downloads anything other than an anti-Trump statement! /s


They should have mentioned it, but the graph of ranking over time seems to support a bump over the weekend more than a bump from the middle of the week.


All true, but Kalanick has built and traded on a reputation as a 'baller ' (his words, not mine) with a combative attitude, so he has himself to blame for people jumping to conclusions.


Uber used to be spot on with their messaging, at least at in New York City. I wonder if this would have happened had David Plouffe's not left [1].

[1] https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/10/yes-z-can/


OT: Someone I know this past year called themselves a (former) "baller". They used to be a big time partier and drug user -- a (mostly, distortedly) functioning addict. A lot of coke, among other things.

I initially thought of "eight ball", which does feature in one of their more dramatic stories. But apparently the term has other or mixed provenance. And things like the urban dictionary provide multiple definitions.

Just what is a "baller?" From origins perhaps in basketball to urban street culture to drug culture... to modern day "hard ass", type A or whatever? Just what do people mean when they call themselves or someone else a "baller"?


I was thinking of the more general sense of being showing off your wealth and connections to gain social status. I don't have strong opinions about his person, I just think his public persona has been a liability this time because it led people to assume the worst.



Yes, thanks. :-) But I recall at the time looking at multiple definitions in Urban Dictionary, and definitions elsewhere, and they varied significantly.

It seems to be one of those terms that depends significantly on the specific context within / to which it is applied. Yet people will just say "baller" -- like my acquaintance -- and leave you to fill in the background. In other words, you have to be in the know, to know what they are really saying.

Which, IIRC, per some of the definitions I encountered, is actually part of its definition. :-/


A baller is someone who spends a lot of money, lives lavishly, etc.

An eight ball is 3.5 grams of coke, AKA an 1/8 of an ounce.


Are you sure eight ball is related? OED thinks "baller" comes from the wealth of sports figures: http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/06/ballin-for-real/


I didn't mean to imply that. They're not related.


It sure ain't poor people like me snorting coke off a hooker's butt.


Another possible factor:

If Uber had 'picket-lined' a location (like JFK) against all pick-ups for a time period, that level of driver control could work against the preferred independent-contractor characterization of their driver-relationships. Whether the employer dictates the exact places, times, and manner of service is a part of that evaluation.

It also seems odd to have an employer dictate to its contractors (or even wage employees) to participate in a labor action, or political protest.

Shouldn't that be the workers' decision? Uber didn't force anyone to either do, or not do, JFK pickups.


The strike was nonsense anyway. Why were drivers striking -- punishing the innocent residents and visitors (and protestors/allies!) of New York (a sanctuary city!), in an attempt to punish Donald Trump?


You don't understand protest.

Sure, one thing you can do is disrupt the specific people doing something bad. But that's pretty rare. As MLK explains, the point is to create a more general disruption so that everyone has to take notice of an issue they might otherwise ignore:

"Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored."

From his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail": https://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham....

The whole thing is worth reading. In particular, this bit always wakes me up: "I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: 'I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action'; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a'"more convenient season.' Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will."


The injustice is the negative peace we have been living in. At some point the Executive sins of the Bush/DNC dynasties has to be rolled back. I mean, it's not like he invaded a country and got people killed. It's fantastic that Trump's small steps have lit a fire, albeit misdirected. Maybe it's just a side effect of the massive unemployment married with the social phenomena.


Trump did actually already invade a country and get people killed, so you'll have to stop using that tired rhetorical trope: http://nymag.com/thecut/2017/01/an-8-year-old-girl-died-in-t...

But racial injustice isn't just a side effect. It is quite often the point. If you read Loewen's Sundown Towns, you can see that quite often white people just don't like to see black people doing well, especially doing better than themselves. You can see the same thing echoed in Hochschild's "Strangers in Their Own Lands", although people have mainly learned not to say it out loud.


> Trump did actually already invade a country

You're playing with words to fit a narrative, which doesn't match reality. At the same time, the Trump tropes are not about invasion of another country, so now you're being disingenuous just to argue. Good luck with that.

I'll continue to assert most of the outrage is misdirected.


> As MLK explains, the point is to create a more general disruption so that everyone has to take notice of an issue they might otherwise ignore

The problem with this approach is that unless you do it in a way that's relevant to the original issue, you're just dragging innocent people into your fight and victimizing them. Depending on how much of an asshat you are to them (like, say, stranding them for several hours at an airport when they've just got off a flight), there's a good chance you'll push them to be less sympathetic to your cause.


To the extent that that's true, I'm not sure what the standard for "relevant to the original issue" should be. Taxi drivers are disproportionally Muslim and Sikh and disproportionally immigrants. (noted here: http://democracynow.org/stories/17050 ) Does that count as relevant enough? If not, what would? If so, what else would?

I think that protestors should be careful about their tactics, but I don't think they should have to invent ways to tie a protest's theme to its objective. We protest when our moral values are offended, and that's enough of a reason.


I felt the London Tube strikes went this way. The arguments put forward for each strike never seemed convincing enough to be causing everyone so much inconvenience.


The media coverage plays a good part in this. At least here in Brazil it's very common for them to evade the motivation of the protesters 'bigly' and put a big focus on how it's disturbing others and etc... The result is predicable.


Innocent people are already being harmed. Here, refugees and Muslims. The protest is to call attention to that harm.

But let's run with your notion. Suppose there is somebody who says: "I guess I didn't know about the civil rights violations and the deaths that this policy will result in. And I guess it's terrible that these refugees have been waiting years in limbo trying to rebuild their lives. But what's really important is that I expected to be home on time for dinner, so now I won't help them."

I don't think a person like that was every going to be sympathetic to the cause. They weren't going to do anything. They were going to ignore it.

And that's exactly the point of MLK's style of protest. It is to make a problem for some into a problem for all. It is to make it impossible for comfortable people to keep ignoring the problem.


> Innocent people are already being harmed.

So the solution is to harm more? That's not a peaceful protest, that's terrorism.

Raise awareness. Be loud. Be visible. But if you base your protest around screwing up someone else's day the response you get will more likely be "hey maybe you deserved it" than "wow we should help these people."


Ok. If you really can't tell the difference between "hour late for dinner" and terrorism, then either you're trolling or you're beyond hope.

If you think you know a better way to lead protests, by all means show us how. But I have no time for armchair experts whose only contribution is "u r doin it rong bcuz I dont lik it".

The people who would say, "maybe those refugees deserved it" because something was mildly inconvenient for them were never, ever going to stir themselves to do the compassionate thing. Ditto the people who value a sliver of comfort over helping legal residents arbitrarily ejected from their homes.

Your claims here are those of the white moderates that MLK called the greatest stumbling block to black freedom. Apparently you haven't yet bothered to read his "Letter From A Birmingham Jail". But I'm done trying to spoon-feed it to you, so if you'd like to pursue this further, take it up with him.


You sir have a lot of patience. I read the "arguments" as "the children don't want to be bothered". That thing about order x justice sums it up. They don't give a shit.


Thanks. I have some compassion, because none of us really wants to be bothered. I too would like to stay in my comfortable bubble. But sometimes people wake up.


It was only 1 hour. Doesn't anyone ever protest in America? It feels like this concept is so new to you.

Yes - some people might be less sympathetic, those are not the people the protest set out to influence. It's the people who haven't made up their minds yet, the people who think that "This will all blow over soon" and want to get on with their lives in their bubble. They NEED to be inconvenienced to react, to make up their mind that this is something they can't ignore. Only then when you engage the apathetic can the protest grow, and protests must grow otherwise most of them fizzle.


It seems it's pure misdirection at this point. I also notice that people sort of become "trained"(unconsciously) to be incredibly sensible to anything that may deligitimize any sort of critical action or against the status-quo in general but then using a whole different weight for other stuff(maybe because they're "normal"). Results seems to be: demobilization, immobilization.


It's not only to influence the people directly affected, it's also to generate news coverage which will get the greater population talking about the cause of the protest. Which is what is currently happening obviously.


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Stop distracting. Blacks don't kill other blacks for being black -- but KKK did and hate groups do. MLK's quote about protest was relevant not for race reasons, but to illustrate that the insistence of order and the vehement resentment of unrest is not a passive stance, but a conscious ideological, statist one.


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Please stop using Hacker News primarily for ideological warfare. That's not what this site is for and we ban accounts that abuse it in this way.


They did not say that blacks don't kill blacks, just that the reason for those killings is not the victim's skin color.


Do the dead concern themselves with such niceties? Perhaps they do.


Please don't take already difficult political topics further off into even more flammable weeds.


I think you ignored his point or misunderstood. The majority of NYC already is on their side.

It would be like MLK advocating for equal rights protests in a majority-black church.


Neither.

NYC residents being hazily "on their side" in a broad political struggle is distinct from actively doing something to oppose the EO. Again, read the Letter.

And no, it wouldn't. Although that is something that he did quite a bit of, given that he got his start as a Baptist preacher, so I'm not sure your analogy works.


He didn't intentionally disrupt people already supporting him. As in, he didn't block a group of people trying to get to a church that was about to preach about black rights.


Actually, MLK has much to say about "inconvenient" protests. https://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2014/12/31/mlk-on...

He disagrees with the white moderate proclaiming "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action." You are committing that error.


>You are committing that error.

No I am not. I am fine with disruptive protests, but they should be disrupting the people who need their minds changed. What is so difficult to understand about the fact that we are talking about protesting in the wrong place entirely?

The analogy is MLK protesting in an all-black church to prevent the constituents from hearing a sermon from a civil rights activist.

This has nothing to do with "inconvenient" protests so much as idiotic protests disrupting the very choir to which they are preaching.


> they should be disrupting the people who need their minds changed

No. You continue to fail to understand MLK's theory of protest. If you have read his Letter From a Birmingham Jail, you give no sign of it.

If the people being disrupted are already active in a movement to change things, they will not mind the protest. But if they are merely people who say "I agree with you in the goal you seek" without active support, then they are the very moderates that MLK was addressing here: "I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate [...]".


To make a statement and show solidarity. If you live and work in NYC it's very difficult to protest in a place that is not New York.


Virtue signalling


All of the people involved in the protests from top to bottom are just virtue signaling. The CIA went into Syria in 2006 and started funding and training opposition forces leading to the current civil war. The Obama administration is responsible for a quarter million deaths in Syria alone. And that doesn't include the use of cluster bombs, an act considered a war crime in most of the civilized world, on several of the countries listed in this "ban." And yet now that a relative hand full of people can't travel here... that's the real monstrous act. Don't get me wrong, I think the "ban" is pants on head stupid, but the people protesting don't give two shits about Syrians or the citizens of any of the other 6 countries we're bombing.


Many of those protesting are objecting to green card holders being blocked entry into the country they are permanent residents of.

People will always protest against things that are more immediately visible to them than things they read about in infrequent news articles. That's just human nature.


No, people protest against things that the media manipulates them into protesting for. The inflammatory language has been scandalous at best. The media didn't encourage people to protest when Obama and Clinton proudly funded a wall between the US and Mexico in 2006. But now we've had "No Wall" protests in quite a few places and traditional leftists making right-wing supply side economics arguments against renegotiating NAFTA... yet another thing both Clinton and Obama campaigned for in 2008. Make no mistake, this is the butt-hurt media's doing.


I'm glad something is finally happening over there. After watching the second Iraq war happen with the media doing pretty much nothing, I can tell you that I could not agree more with what you said. But it will blow over and then it will be back to business as usual.


Me too. What's happened over the last year (more really, starting with the RP revolution) should be viewed as evidence that it's really not business as usual.


This makes sense, they can see their friends or friends of friends not being able to travel freely as they can.


Some of them, sure. Maybe even most, though I don't think so; all of the people I know who are involved in this stuff are very well aware of Obama's militarism. But all of them? That's just lazy. And wrong.

You don't have to protest every cause to protest any cause. You can even protest things that, taken together, demonstrate you hold ideologically inconsistent views, if you want. That's on you.


>all of the people I know who are involved in this stuff are very well aware of Obama's militarism.

That doesn't help your argument. They were aware Obama killed a quarter of a million people and did nothing. Meanwhile Trump inconveniences some travelers and somehow he's the monster worth protesting. Get real.


You have no idea what my friends may or may not have protested, or otherwise done, in the past.

I'll thank you to reconsider your projections of people you've never met.


>Don't get me wrong, I think the "ban" is pants on head stupid, but the people protesting don't give two shits about Syrians or the citizens of any of the other 6 countries we're bombing.

This in a nutshell is why things will get worse stateside. There will be those who write off the circumstances behind where we find ourselves today as human nature (an absolution of sorts, a moral line item to be paid when the circumstances are brought to their attention, not too dissimilar from the likes of HSBC et al when they pay penance in the form of monetary notes for aiding and abetting criminals as defined by a given state) and join the protest, and there will be those who apply the tools refined during war agaisnt their "own" at such protests.

Either way, only those who come out ahead outside of any virtue signaling will probably be the suppliers of such tools.


What a lazy criticism. What form of public protest is not virtue signalling by this standard?

The drivers sacrificed their income to make a public statement.


If we stop thinking of it as deleting Uber and start thinking of it as install lyft, I think it makes more sense.

Lyft took a very public opposition stance and committed to give 1 000 000$ to support an advocacy group.

And this isn't necessarily a stance against Trump, but just this particular executive order.


That still doesn't justify it though. Uber also took a public opposition stance against Trump [1][2]. Having a seat at the table doesn't mean they agree with Trump on EVERYTHING. It just means a chance to voice their opinions.

[1] http://venturebeat.com/2017/01/29/uber-creating-3-million-fu... [2] Travis's facebook post


I wouldn't care about Lyft or any other company that only posted a message of support. If you don't put your money where your mouth is, I don't care what you say, but Lyft did, 1000000$ of it. That's the key differentiator. If Uber starts to walk the walk and not just talk the talk, I'll reinstall it.

Edit: Eh =D, I replied before reading your link. Looks like I can reinstall Uber, good cause I like having the options. I still hope that companies realize my above point going forward.


Peter Thiel is a direct investor in Lyft. And Thiel donated $1M to Trump and was part of his transition party.


People keep saying that and it's just not a good point. I'm sure there's a lot of Republicans involved with every company. Peter Thiel is just yet another one of them. I wouldn't let him investing in Lyft turn you away- everyone including him is learning that Trump is bad for business.

If you go off 1 guy's name to avoid a company rather than their actual business practices, no partisan from either side could buy anything.

I'm a registered independent whose compass is science rather than ideology, (at least since the Bush Jr era, prior to which I was a registered Republican)- and I'm still deleting Uber and will use Lyft instead.


If the argument is delete Uber because the CEO supports Trump because he's a part of Trump's advisory board, then it is a good point. Thiel directly helped Trump win and was a part of the transition board.

If you just want to delete Uber not because of Trump, then it's not a big deal then.


I don't really care who supports whom. If you vote Trump and use your company resources to feed the orphans then I'm going to patronize you anyway. Results, not intentions.


Assuming that you already know that Lyft also "broke the strike" in exactly the same way as Uber, Uber is paying for the earnings of Uber drivers trapped out of the US by the ban, and also set up a $3M legal fund to directly help any drivers that have troubles. How does that stack up vs the $250k/yr for 4 years that Lyft donated to ACLU?


You're right about that[0] but I'm holding Uber to the fire nonetheless to send a message. It's a positive one. The same link also has plenty of reasoning why Lyft > Uber. This will be a big lesson for everyone, Peter Thiel notwithstanding. Trump is bad for business and now Uber is going to take the hit.

[0]https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2017/01/2...


...and Lyft have taken $1m of his money and donated it to the ACLU. The situation is confusing to say the least.


For clarity, it helps to realize that all parties involved are business entities which do whatever it takes to maximize profit. That is the main theme. There is no philosophical or moral consistency to be found. Don't look for something (is x or y pro or anti-z) which isn't there. Uber and Lyft are both for-profit enterprises answerable to pushy shareholders. They both have their hands dirty with Trump. They both keep their hands dirty while trying to appease their liberal customers. Everything else is implementation details.


I think that's a little reductive.

Everything you say is true, but those "implementation details" aren't just implementation details. You say that like the actual implementation of a thing is immaterial. That's the meat of the thing; that's its substance. The stuff you're enumerating is more structural.


How substantive is it, in the grand scheme of things, whether Uber lifts its surge pricing at 7pm or 4pm or 1pm or never. That truly is an implementation detail. I am not hand waving or being reductive -- do you really think that that anything Lyft does to show its solidarity with immigrants holds any weight with Thiel being where he is?

There is no meat to the bandstanding outrage at Uber. It's all posturing. Boycott Uber for breaking the strike (sic) and also boycott Lyft for its Trump ties.

That's hard though, let's just boycott the black Uber brand. The pink moustache is kinda cool.


I think the issue people have isn't the surge pricing so much as the fact that Uber didn't participate in the strike, and thus profited from it.


So? I have a hard time understanding why a multinational company needs to participate so deeply in the politics and labor strikes of a single city.

New York is big, but I'd imagine the CEO had a focus that included LA, Chicago, London, etc. and that would take away from coordinating with any taxi-strikers in NYC.

Addendum: Did the taxi union contact Uber before the strike to coordinate this action?

I mean it's a 1 hour strike. Is there any real meaning to this? The trains have stopped working for far longer than that.


Worth noting that 3 collective entities "broke" the strike.

1) Uber drivers by responding to pickups.

2) Uber customers by requesting those pickups.

3) Uber the company by facilitating those pickups.

I am not sure we can claim high moral ground and label (3) immoral while staying oblivious to (1) and (2).


Failing to boycott is not the same thing as breaking a strike. If this whole incident has revealed one thing, it's the extent to which the labor movement has lost cultural and moral mindshare. Forty years ago, everyone knew what scabbing was, what it wasn't, and had social/political/moral ideas about it.

Now that the labor occupies a much less central place in our society, these common norms and knowledge have been lost. I happen to be appalled by this because of my own political views, but good or bad it's certainly a sign of the times.


But the people claiming Uber was stabbing don't even understand it. Scabbing is something done by individuals, in this case the Uber drivers.

>these common norms

Common to union supporters.

Also, abusing a unions' power to make a political statement rather than fight for the workers' rights is only weakening the union further. It's now less of a self defense mechanism and more of a mafia-esque bullying mechanism.


Don't you have to agree to a strike (or agree to be part of an organization that strikes) to be considered to be "breaking the strike"? Wasn't it taxi unions or collectives that decided to strike? Aren't Uber drivers (and Uber the corporation) not beholden in any way to the organizations which chose to strike? When the writer's guild decided to strike in 2007, that only applied to members of the WGA, not everyone who happened to do any work in that industry or a similar industry. Were bus drivers "breaking the strike"? How about pilots? Train engineers? Surely the fact that taxi organizations decided to strike doesn't mean that anyone involved in human transportation at the time was "breaking the strike."


Well, six entities: the three you mention plus each one with s/Uber/Lyft/, since Lyft was also picking up people from the airport during that time.

Your point still stands, of course. (Though I choose to avoid taking the moral high ground not by condemning all of those entities, but by refusing to condemn any of them, since I don't see any fault here.)


They don't have to but their customers are similarly free to opt to not use Uber and, even, to call for other customers to do the same.


Because we all live in one society?


Clearly we don't, at least for values of society that include this strike?


Lyft didn't participate either. Switching to them because of this strike is irrational.


It's not irrational. It might be unfair, but it sends the intended message.

If businesses associate pro-trump practices with a loss of revenue, this protest has been effective.


So Uber's choices are (a) Do nothing and be accused of profiteering from the strike, (b) Forgo profit and be accused of breaking the strike, or (c) Recognize that they're in a hostage situation and be forced into joining the strike.

I'm no Uber fan but those are pretty lousy choices to force on anyone.


But Uber drivers in New York were free to strike if they wanted, no? Did uber threaten to fire anyone who didn't drive during the strike?


That's not how Uber or Lyft works. Drivers drive whenever they feel like it.


Isn't it the same for taxi drivers? Couldn't any NYC taxi driver break the strike just as easily as an Uber driver? Or do they have to deposit their cars in some common depot? /activate the taximeter?


To me its clear its about the surge pricing. Because it means they weren't neutral, they picked their side against the taxi-drivers solidarity when they opted to undercut the strike by making a promotion for the passengers. How is this hard to understand? Lyft may have not joined they strike and nobody expects a business to not behave like a business(in the sense: make some press release stating a position or something but operate normally or just don't get involved or do it indirectly like Lyft did of making a donation etc) but they did remained neutral instead of going the disgusting-profitteer-pig-Ill-try-to-win-some-regardless-of-anything way of uber. It's so damn simple.


Do we know there was an attempt to collaborate with Uber on the strike?


So far we have no evidence that Uber attempted to take part in the strike but we do have evidence that Uber knew about the strike (temporary cessation of surge pricing) and didn't take part in it.


The end of the surge pricing wasn't until after the strike.


the timeline provided does not confirm this tho


lol it completely confirms it. The strike ended at 7pm, surge was lowered at 7:36pm.


Definitely a pox on both their houses. Doesn't help Lyft that Peter Thiel is an investor.


i don't like this 'democracy by silencing those you disagree with' attitude.


So when was surge pricing actually shut off? Also I was more pissed about Uber's shit PR stunt that day than what happened at JFK.

Uber has pulled out of many cities rather than comply with their regulations(which cabs already had to follow) and left tens of thousands of drivers without jobs, sometimes overnight. The notion that they care about anyone stuck overseas is a joke.

Messaging indeed... Uber has sent a message that they give no fucks about their drivers a long time ago. This isn't the first or even the hundredth time Uber has done something terrible.

Let the tide of public opinion sink this shitty soulless company before were stuck with another Comcast for 20 years


well if they failed on messaging I think it's because

1. they've done a lot of questionable things over the years so when they did something that looks a little off on something that a lot of people are upset about then all those things they did in the past came back to haunt them.

2. if the message is we consider this a bad policy and we don't support it, they mumbled that message low enough that people might have thought they were saying something else.


Wow, people who engage in hashtag activism don't pay attention to facts? Stop the presses!


The current political climate is such that there is so much blind anger on the liberal side about Trump that there is little room for nuance. Everything is either fighting for justice or is a tool of the Trump hate machine.


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