Rebecca Solnit · In the Shadow of Silicon Valley: Losing San Francisc

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I used to be proud of being from the San Francisco Bay Area. I thought of this place in terms of liberation and protection; we were where the environmental movement was born; we were the land of experimental poetry and anti-war marches, of Harvey Milk and gay rights, of the occupation of Alcatraz Island that galvanised a nationwide Indigenous rights movement as well as Cesar Chavez’s farmworkers’ movement in San Jose and the Black Panthers in Oakland. We were the left edge of America, a refuge from some of its brutalities and conformities, a sanctuary for dissidents and misfits and a laboratory for new ideas. We’re still that lab, but we’re no longer an edge; we’re a global power centre, and what issues from here – including a new super-elite – shapes the world in increasingly disturbing ways.