March on Google canceled, but counter-protest still on

March on Google canceled, but counter-protest still on

The right-wing March on Google demonstrations, including one scheduled to take place Saturday at the search giant’s headquarters in Mountain View, have been postponed, according to the organizer’s website, www.marchongoogle.com.


Also cancelled is a Walk for Wishes event that Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area had previously planned for the Google site. Make-A-Wish raises money to fulfill the wishes of children ages 2½ to 18 years old who are battling life-threatening medical conditions.

Make-A-Wish had received a permit for its walk before March on Google announced through its website and social media there would be demonstrations in Mountain View and eight cities.

But Google told Make-A-Wish on Monday it was cancelling the walk in the wake of last weekend’s demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia by alt-right white racists and Nazi sympathizers, which resulted in a counter-protester getting killed and 20 people injured when a white nationalist drove his car into a crowd.


Jen Wilson, marketing director for Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area, said Wednesday that even after March on Google cancelled, her organization and Google “still don’t feel comfortable having an event.


“They don’t know what can happen. So, we messaged all our participants, sponsors and supporters and vendors, and told them we were cancelling,” Wilson said. “We plan to do an alternative event in the fall.”


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The March on Google was organized by Jack Posobiec, a right-wing agitator who seized on the controversy that erupted when Google fired James Damore, one of its engineers.


Damore had circulated a memo, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” which was published by https://motherboard.vice.com and among other things accused Google of discriminatory practices, including providing “Programs, mentoring, and classes only for people with a certain gender or race; A high priority queue and special treatment for ‘diversity’ candidates by decreasing the false negative rate.”


The memo also stated that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”

Among Damore’s suggestions was that Google should “Stop alienating conservatives,” because “conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness.”


Damore, who worked at Google more than three years, was fired because of the memo. He is now suing the tech giant.


Posobiec, who had previously organized small pro-right-wing demonstrations in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, said March on Google was to support Damore’s First Amendment rights of free speech. The March on Google website said the event was being cancelled because of “credible threats from known Alt Left terrorist groups.”


Meanwhile, Mountain View was the site of two peaceful rallies last Sunday generally directed against the planned March on Google and in support of the counter-protesters attacked in Charlottesville.


Mountain View Vice Mayor Lenny Siegel, a longtime political activist and executive director of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight, said one gathering happened in the morning at Civic Center Plaza and the other that evening at El Camino Real and Castro Street.


“The group began a several-block walk and converged on the Civic Center Plaza, where they sang together and individuals spoke about how they felt,” he said.


Mountain View City Councilman Lenny Siegel, photographed in his home in Mountain View, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2016. Siegel is the council's most vocal advocate for new housing, especially affordable housing. (Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group)Lenny Siegel. (Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group) 

When Donald Trump was elected president, Siegel said, he and his wife stocked up on candles. He brought a bunch in his backpack and handed them out at Sunday’s vigil.


“It’s so refreshing to see people who are not professional activists — which is what I am — people who are just there because they feel the urgency of the moment. They want to make America better,” he said.


“We’re lucky to live in a place where we have less reason to fear the kind of philosophical conflict we see elsewhere. We trust our police department, we don’t have the extremist groups ‘on many sides,’ as Trump would say.”


Two other events had been planned for this weekend to protest the March on Google event, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.


But organizers of the two events — the Mountain View Voice for Peace and Justice and Mountain View Tomorrow — decided to combine efforts into one event, now planned for 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Civic Center Plaza, 500 Castro St.


It will be an open mic event, “just to get people to talk about their concerns,” said Siegel, who helped form the Mountain View Voice for Peace and Justice in 1991.


The location was chosen to avoid confrontation with the March on Google people, Siegel said. “We wanted to express opposition to right-wing programs, opposition to Donald Trump, but discourage people from confronting small amounts of right-wingers.”


“There’s very little organized right-wing activity here,” he said.


Of the March on Google claim of threats from the left, Siegel said, “There are always threats that somebody will attack you. It’s possible. But I think it’s that they couldn’t get enough support. And nobody was trying to shout them down. Nobody in Mountain View tried to keep them from having their event.”


Siegel said he expects a crowd of maybe 500 people on Sunday.


If March on Google hadn’t cancelled, he said, he would have expected 2,000 people.


“There are a lot of people looking for places to register their dismay with Trump and the people around him,” Siegel said. “Even without the March on Google, we have plenty of reasons to come together to protest on Saturday. Trump is frightening, he is ignorant.”