Josh Harkinson

Josh Harkinson

Reporter

Born in Texas and based in San Francisco, Josh covers tech, labor, drug policy, and the environment. PGP public key.

Get my RSS |

In the Bay Area, Anti-Google Protests Get Creepy

| Wed Jan. 22, 2014 7:38 PM EST
Google street view detail from the Counterforce flier. (Image cropped and house number redacted by Mother Jones.)

So, the Bay Area's tech backlash has come to this: At 7 a.m. yesterday, activists showed up on the doorstep of Google engineer Anthony Levandowski to protest, well, pretty much everything. They're holding the guy behind the self-driving car responsible for gentrification, destructive gold mining, Chinese sweatshops, government surveillance, and, more generally "the unspeakable horror" of helping "this disastrous economic system continue a bit longer."

A flyer distributed by the activists, who call themselves "The Counterforce," left little doubt that their fight is personal. "Preparing for this action, we watched Levandowski step out his front door," it reads. "He had Google Glasses over his eyes, carried his baby in his arm, and held a tablet with his free hand. As he descended the stairs with the baby, his eyes were on the tablet through the prism of his Google Glasses, not on the life against his chest. He appeared in this moment like the robot that he admits that he is."

Advertise on MotherJones.com

This Guy Died and Asked For His Blood to Be Splashed on a Nuclear Facility

| Thu Jan. 16, 2014 4:38 PM EST
In July 2012, an elderly nun breached the Y-12 facility carrying baby bottles filled with a comrade's blood.

Later this month, Megan Rice, an 83-year-old Catholic nun, could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison for breaking into Tennessee's Y-12 Nuclear Security Complex and splattering the walls of a weapons-grade uranium warehouse with human blood. That may sound pretty far out—the blood, but also the stiff potential sentence and the notion of an octogenarian breaching a high-level nuclear facility guarded by machine guns and tanks. In any case, the symbolic spilling of blood isn't all that unusual, especially for Rice's fellow Christian peace activists in the Plowshares Movement.

"The blood could be seen as a surrogate for the blood of Christ...and its pouring could be interpreted as a symbolic act of Christian purification."

"We use real human blood frequently in these kinds of actions," says Paul Magno, who spent nearly two years in federal prison in the mid-1980s for breaking into a Pershing missile factory in Orlando, Florida, where he spread blood on missile-launcher parts. "It means terror and bloodshed if these things are ever used, and even if they are not, because we are taking so much of humanity's future to just sustain an arsenal."

According to a paper by Barnard College religion professor Elizabeth Castelli, the first documented use of human blood in an anti-war protest was on October 27, 1967, when four men entered the Baltimore Customs House and poured a mix of their own blood and animal blood on Vietnam War draft files.

One of them, Tom Lewis, became a lifelong peace activist. He died in his sleep in 2008 and and was cremated, but not before his comrades extracted and froze some of his blood for use in one final action. In July 2012, it was thawed and placed into eight baby bottles, which Rice emptied onto the walls of the Y-12 uranium unit.

The radical Catholic priest Philip Berrigan, who also took part in the Baltimore draft protest, initially rejected the blood idea as too "bourgeois" and "tepid," according to his biographers. But he eventually came around, and began to elaborate a theological interpretation: "The blood could be seen as a surrogate for the blood of Christ, he envisioned, and its pouring could be interpreted as a symbolic act of Christian purification—a kind of echo of the sacrifice of the Mass."

Fri Nov. 7, 2014 5:12 PM EST
Wed Jan. 22, 2014 7:38 PM EST
Thu Oct. 3, 2013 11:30 AM EDT
Mon Aug. 19, 2013 11:47 AM EDT
Thu Jun. 27, 2013 5:00 AM EDT
Mon Jun. 10, 2013 2:45 PM EDT
Tue May. 21, 2013 8:56 AM EDT
Mon May. 20, 2013 10:38 AM EDT
Mon May. 6, 2013 5:00 AM EDT
Sat Apr. 20, 2013 5:00 AM EDT
Mon Apr. 8, 2013 4:00 AM EDT
Mon Mar. 4, 2013 9:56 AM EST
Fri Mar. 1, 2013 6:06 AM EST