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Weekend 'March on Google' canceled, organizer says

Firing of engineer spurred calls for right-wing rally at Google offices; local counter-protest will go on as planned

UPDATE:

The deadly clashes between alt-right demonstrators and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia have shaken the nation, spurring alarm and condemnation from political leaders across the spectrum. Mountain View leaders were concerned their city could be the setting for the next violent skirmish, but it looks like it won't be happening this weekend.

Conservative bloggers have apparently called off a mass rally this Saturday outside Google's North Bayshore headquarters to protest the company's recent termination of an engineer who penned a controversial memo.

Two local groups, MV Tomorrow and Mountain View Voice for Peace and Justice, announced a counter-protest planned for Saturday will go on, regardless.

The lightning rod for the protest, James Damore, circulated a memo that criticized Google's diversity efforts and claimed biological differences make women less suited to jobs in technical fields and leadership roles than men.

The memo generated a firestorm after it was circulated on social media earlier this month. Google executives, including CEO Sundar Pichai, swiftly denounced Damore's arguments. A couple of days later, Damore was fired for violating the tech giant's employee code of conduct.

Damore was quickly hailed as a free-speech hero by right-wing commentators and pundits. Jack Posobiec, a pro-Trump activist and influential blogger who promoted the fake "Pizzagate" conspiracy, last week called for protests against Damore's firing to be held on Aug. 19 outside Google's campuses across the nation.

On Wednesday, Posobiec posted an announcement that the event was being canceled, claiming threats from "alt-left terrorist groups."

Posobiec alleges that Google is a monopoly that is exploiting its power to silence dissent and subvert free speech, according to his post about the event.

In Mountain View, the "March on Google" had been scheduled from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19, at 1500 Charleston Road.

The group Mountain View Voices for Peace and Justice announced they would organize a counter-protest, "Stand Up for Diversity and Equality," to be held from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19. This rally will be held at a different location -- the city's downtown Civic Plaza, at 500 Castro St.

A second group, MV Tomorrow, planned a similar counter-protest for Sunday morning, but later announced it would merge their demonstration with the Saturday rally planned by Mountain View Peace and Justice.

Members of both groups said they had decided against calling for a counter-protest at the same time and location out of concern it could cause a confrontation that could trigger more violence.

Lenny Siegel, Mountain View's vice mayor, said Wednesday that the counter-protest will go on as scheduled, despite the "March on Google" being postponed.

"Perhaps there will be a smaller turnout, but I think it's important for us to continue to speak out collectively and organize on many fronts," he said in an email to Mountain View Voices for Peace and Justice. "Mountain View is a community that treasures diversity and struggles to promote equality. These human rights values are essential for our democracy, our culture and our economy. Along with our neighbors, we are driving the national economy. When we stand up, it provides a beacon of hope for the nation."

Mountain View police officials and political leaders said they were taking the "March on Google" seriously. The city put out two statements since Monday giving assurances that officials were working to ensure that any rallies remained civil and nonviolent.

"We are taking a close look at the event, especially in light of the attention it is receiving since the tragedy in Virginia last weekend," said police spokeswoman Katie Nelson in an email. "We will do everything we can to ensure that everyone not only is able to peaceably protest, but that everyone is also safe."

There had been no indication that violent groups plan to attend the protest, Nelson said.

On Wednesday, the police department confirmed that the march had been postponed, but said that officers would have a heightened presence both at Charleston Park and downtown, "out of an abundance of caution."

Comments

11 people like this
Posted by Bruce Karney
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 15, 2017 at 2:27 pm

I think it is a wise decision on the part of the two local groups to hold their events in either a different location or at a different time to avoid the kind of conflict that happened in Virginia. I hope that The Voice and other media will give equal attention to each of the three events.

I have no idea how Google's Security Staff will handle a crowd, but I know that they are very effective at keeping small groups of casual visitors from penetrating the perimeter of the Googleplex. I hope that the local robo-security company Knightscope will be sending some of their big security robots to the protest events. They can't arrest people, but they are pretty intimidating the first time you see one.


25 people like this
Posted by James Thurber
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 15, 2017 at 2:37 pm

You wanna hold a demonstration of any sort in Mountain View? Seriously.

I recommend you put one group of demonstrators on Treasure Island. Put the other on Alcatraz. They can holler at each other across the bay. Throw rocks. Do whatever they like. Just don't EVER let 'em occupy the same piece of land.

Remember that everybody has an opinion and just like noses . . . they all smell.


14 people like this
Posted by SouthbySouthWest
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 15, 2017 at 2:43 pm

Why are we still having rallies? The racist, lying, uncaring twit is already president! And rallying for a man who was fire because he has serious issues with women is just nonsense. Rallies only create violence. Seriously ridiculous.


10 people like this
Posted by MV Tomorrow
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2017 at 2:50 pm

Dear MV Voice Editor and fellow residents,
We moved the date to Saturday to merge efforts with the Mountain View Voices for Peace and Justice and other organizations who share the same goal to encourage both peace and protest. The event will be at the downtown Mountain View Civic Center Plaza Saturday (1-3pm).

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Mark Noack
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 15, 2017 at 2:52 pm

Mark Noack is a registered user.

@ MV Tomorrow

Thanks for letting us know. I'll update that.

-- Mark


56 people like this
Posted by Shame on Noack
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 15, 2017 at 3:05 pm

"Conservative bloggers are calling for a mass rally this Saturday outside Google's North Bayshore headquarters to protest the company's recent termination of an engineer who penned a controversial memo"

"Damore was quickly hailed as a free-speech hero by right-wing commentators and pundits"

I am SO disappointed in the Voice editor that he freely characterizes anyone who supports Damore's right to express his opinion as "conservative" bloggers or "right wing commentators". He doesn't know what political ideologies any of these people hold (and it might interest him to know that the poll showed that the majority of Googlers supported Damore's right to speak his opinion - I hardly see half of Googlers as "right wing commentators"). Free speech used to be a hallmark of liberals. Now only those with a certain set of opinions are allowed to speak freely. Free speech should transcend all political ideologies if America wants to remain free - this stranglehold on free thought is getting progressively more scary.

On another note I think it VERY wise that the opposing rallies are held on separate days. Had that been done Charlottesville all of the violence could have been avoided. While i don't in any way condone the politics of the KKK, neo-nazi's, etc, the anti-protestors were also there looking for a fight; many were armed and many were bussed in from other areas. So the violence was incited by both sides. It would have been far more prudent to ignore the White Nationalist rally rather than giving them tons of attention and to hold a protest rally at another time.


61 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 15, 2017 at 3:25 pm

Just to be clear - this march on Google is in support of sexism in the workplace. Every professional woman I know who has read the Damore manifesto considers it to be a personal attack on her right to make a living and they all plan to protest against these bigots in person. This man was creating a hostile working environment and Google would have been liable for keeping on their staff.


8 people like this
Posted by @MARK
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 15, 2017 at 4:18 pm

I hope you realize that you contradict yourself in this article by starting off saying MV tomorrow and MV Peace and Justice are running a counter protest, yet at the end of your article, the two groups called against running a counter protest.

Was it your intention to start your article off with such an impact? Trying to cause concern for MV residents? Thinking that maybe your article will be circulated more if there is a hint for possible upcoming violence? If so, SHAME ON YOU and you are now part of the Fake News Media.


43 people like this
Posted by Another resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 15, 2017 at 4:27 pm

Just to be even more clear - "resident" above is furthering the PC mischaracterization of Damore's internal memo, the subject of a recent post by Embarcadero Media's own blogger Doug Moran (whom no one would seriously label "conservative"): Web Link

Moran already dealt with another "identity-politics" polemic comment to his own post, similar in spirit to "resident's," above, and signed "Bro culture," visible via link I just gave.


Like this comment
Posted by Outraged
a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2017 at 4:30 pm

From Palo Alto. See this Facebook event for the latest counter-protest info:
Web Link

Current plan is to do it on Saturday from 1:00pm to 3:00pm at 500 at Mountain View Civic Center Plaza.


76 people like this
Posted by sanders
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 15, 2017 at 5:10 pm

sanders is a registered user.

@resident - Did you read Damore's memo or did you just read commentary on his memo? Because you've completely mischaracterized what he says. He does not promote sexism - he merely suggests that there are biological difference between men and women (I hope you'll agree that's a fact, there's plenty of science to support it) which CAN contribute to interest and abilities in different jobs which contribute to a natural disproportion in gender representation in some fields. He goes out of his way to state that he can't paint everybody with a broad brush. And that in fact by trying to get to a 50/50 balance of software engineers at Google that reverse discrimination may be employed and that you might have to lower the bar for some women to get to 50/50.

As a strong, professional woman (I guess I must be the first to disagree with you)I don't in any way feel his memo is an attack on my ability to make a living. I don't EVER want a bar to be lowered for me in the name of "gender equality". If I can't compete head to head with a man (which I am very willing to do) then I don't belong in that position.

So JUST TO BE VERY CLEAR- this protest is NOT about supporting sexism. It's about free speech - being able to speak your opinion without fear of retribution. This guy presented a cogent argument which people may or may not agree with but it was not offensively presented nor did it demean women in any way. I hope that most thinking women can accept the fact that as a demographic (not talking about individuals here so don't start screaming at me- I know it's not true for all women) women have different interests and behaviors than men, and these differences are reflected in gender balance in the tech fields.


48 people like this
Posted by sanders
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 15, 2017 at 5:13 pm

sanders is a registered user.

I also need to comment that the VOICE is a great example of what the rally is about. Right away they shut down comments without registering so they can make it more difficult to comment because they don't want to hear diverse opinions. This is a common occurence on this site and if they get too many comments that don't jive with their opinion they shut down the discussion altogether and delete the comments. Quash free speech seems to be their motto.


35 people like this
Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 15, 2017 at 5:23 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

@sanders. Agree 100%


41 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Aug 15, 2017 at 6:15 pm

Christopher Chiang is a registered user.

The Alt-Right March on Google is not about free speech.
No one in the government stopped or punished Damore from speaking. Damore was fired for openly undermining his private company's strategic initiatives.

Calling their protest a defense of speech is a thinly veiled attempt to cover their attempts to redefine discrimination, by sweeping aside the real challenges of gender discrimination in the Valley, and to replace it with a newly constructed belief that discrimination against conservative caucasian men is more pressing in America. This attempt to re-vision America is happening across many policy fronts.

I hope people come out to the counter-protest in the downtown Civic Plaza to peacefully speak up that America is better than all this non-sense happening in our politics.


47 people like this
Posted by sanders
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 15, 2017 at 6:27 pm

sanders is a registered user.

@Christopher Chang - your reference to "alt right" is completely baseless and designed to be inflammatory. Damore characterizes himself as a liberal and since when is free speech limited to government? Damore didn't undermine Google's initiatives - he questioned them and tried to open the topic up for discussion. Just because somebody doesn't agree with you doesn't make them wrong or bigoted. Hiring people on merit is hardly discrimination.

I agree that people should peacefully speak up that America is better than all this non-sense happening in our politics and show up to support Damore's right to free speech.


9 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Aug 15, 2017 at 7:05 pm

Juan is a registered user.

The hate group is actually holding their rally at Charleston Park (adjacent to several Google buildings). Fortunately the only people around there on a typical Saturday afternoon are a few joggers, tourists taking pictures of Google signs, and geese eating the grass. If they are lucky, a whole dozen people might hear their protest.


34 people like this
Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 15, 2017 at 9:35 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

@Juan, thank you for the heads up on the hate group rally, I will be sure to avoid them.

@sanders, thanks for the detailed, factual info on the protesters attending the free speech rally, certainly what I'll be looking for and hoping to support!


64 people like this
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 16, 2017 at 2:44 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

After reading many of the comments here, I am left with the impression that anyone who is not "politically correct" is automatically a member of the "alt-right" ( another made up term to scare and intimidate people).

I am very disappointed that diversity of opinion and thought appears to have no place in an area that prides itself on "tolerance".

I also found amusing the quote:

"Mountain View is a community that treasures diversity and struggles to promote equality. These human rights values are essential for our democracy, our culture and our economy. Along with our neighbors, we are driving the national economy. When we stand up, it provides a beacon of hope for the nation."

Really? Mountain View has NEVER had a Black person on City Council. Three of us have run and I was the first Black man to try it. The Council is predominantly White and has been for as long as I have been here. Where's the diversity? Did any White contenders step aside and say "There's not enough diversity on the council, so I'm giving up my seat or not running"? Of course not. Nor should they have. Diversity is about equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome! I could make some valid arguments that I did not have the same opportunity as the other candidates, but that still would not invalidate the results. Also, the fact that the city is building more and more office space and replacing some restaurants and housing with it, is driving out low income residents which live and work here; which in turn reduces the diversity of Mountain View.

According to the statistics ( Web Link ), only 18% of graduates with degrees in IT and engineering are women. Speaking ONLY from a statistical basis, it would be extremely difficult for women to become 50% of the workforce in those fields. If you don't get how that math works, talk to any college or high school math professor. The bottom line is that unless more women are encouraged and willing to pursue these degrees in much higher percentages, it will be very difficult to reduce the gap.

And if you think women are underrepresented in IT, try being Black! There were times when I thought I was the only Black man in California that worked in IT. There were times when I was not hired and told that I was unqualified, but I kept going until I found a company that DID want to hire me. It's always better to work where you're wanted, and if you knock on enough doors, eventually you find one. That doesn't mean that discrimination should be ignored, but I am saying that if you're seeing it everywhere you look, then maybe you should look in the mirror first.

Having said all this, I am sure that someone will now refer to what I have written as a "manifesto" and quote it out of context and ascribe all kinds of evil intent to it.

Also, while it is true that the free speech clause only applies to government, do we really want corporations dictating to the people what speech is and is not allowed? Should someone be fired if they don't agree with every single political position of his/her employer? What if someone was fired for declaring that they are pro-choice and criticizing their employer's pro-life stance? How well do you think that would go over?

@Chris - You drew some very strong conclusions and threw out some very inflammatory accusations. Did you talk with anyone in the group to get their side of the story? I grew up in a part of the country where there was a lot of racism and people weren't shy about telling you to your face what they thought. Here, many people seem to think that as long as you call someone a racist, sexist, homophobe, or can mischaracterize their statements; they automatically win the debate and don't have to deal with any facts.

Again I have to ask, where were these protests and where was all the outrage against what happened in San Jose, Berkeley, and even here in Mountain View? If you don't know what I'm referring to, that proves my point.



Jim Neal
Old Mountain View


4 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Aug 16, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Christopher Chiang is a registered user.

While not national news, but worthy of local attention, the Make a Wish Foundation had a family walk permitted the day of the March on Google at Charleston Park. The Make a Wish Foundation canceled their event out of fear for their safety, and won't be able to resume the walk no matter what the March on Google does.

Make A Wish News Release: Web Link
March on Google Lacks Permits: Web Link


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