Seattle Free Riders Union Pamphlet

Note: The Seattle Free Riders Union is independent of Black Orchid Collective.  Several of us are members of the SFR.

Thanks to fellow members in SFR (Seattle Free Riders) who designed this pamphlet! It gives important basic information about the SFR and how we operate. Please distribute to your friends and get in touch if you want to join!

Some of us will be flyering the pamphlet today (Friday) downtown at 4pm.

There is also a rally organized by people from Save Our Metro on Aug 15th (Monday) at 1pm on 3rd ave and Jefferson. That’s when the King County Council is voting on the car tabs. We have different demands from the people involved in Save Our Metro campaign, but we hope to rally together in united front against the proposed cuts.

*The tri-fold pamphlet is designed to have 2 sides. Fold it into thirds when you print it out!

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6 Responses to Seattle Free Riders Union Pamphlet

  1. Lake Desire says:

    How do your demands differ from Save Our Metro? Are BOC’s demands the same as Seattle Freerider’s demands?

  2. jomo206 says:

    Hey Lake Desire,
    We disagree w the Save the Metro people demand that we pay the extra $20 car tab fee, which for Seattle residents would mean $80-$100 fees. In light of the wage cuts, unemployment etc, this is not “just” $20 we can pay. It all adds up.

    We are working on a piece that lays out an argument for why whatever taxes, or regressive taxes they make the working/poor in King County pay, will not alleviate the crisis we are currently facing. The Feds and the state are cutting even more from the transportation budget. Does this mean we tax more, and more, and more from the working class? The impending loopholes that we face cannot be solved by self-imposing austerity measures. Metro announced the service cuts barely a few weeks before the Council was supposed to vote, and organized only 2-3 public sessions (which were more like confessionals than real debate sessions). It’s the Shock Doctrine that the ruling class always plays: freak the people out, make them think if they dont concede their world is going to crumble and get them to agree to wage cuts, austerity etc etc. We need to stop being defensive and constantly give in, in, in, till we give our lives away.

    We are members of the Seattle Free Riders Union but we dont speak for the organization. The SFR literature we put out on this blog, which you can find also on the SFR website, are the extent of the public demands of the group – we want to build a union of people who can’t afford the bus fare hikes, that does mutual aid with one another. What we are doing in BOC is to call also for free transportation, in addition to the “We won’t pay” campaign. It may seem counter intuitive that we are calling for free transpo at a time when there are impending service cuts and fee hikes. But where we come from, is that we recognize that the labor we put in everyday as workers, in addition to the technological advancements we have around us, already produce sufficient value necessary for services such as free transportation. The main reason why this isnt so, is because the value of our labor is going toward the profits of the ruling class. Demanding free transportation now is the most practical response to the economic crisis.

  3. kozemchuk says:

    i am curious to see how this plays out with the logistics of the seattle transportation system. that is, it seems that in other places with similar unions, it is far easier to get away with skipping fare. i.e. they don’t have a bottleneck that everyone passes though, as we do here, especially with “pay as you enter.” it seems that not a lot of drivers let you get away without paying, at least with the city buses.

    • mamos206 says:

      It’s easier to dodge when you get on inside the downtown Seattle Ride Free Area then “pay as you leave” when you get off. Most drivers don’t want to hold up the entire bus to force people to pay if they don’t have the fare when they’re getting off.

      This is exactly why the city is considering getting rid of the ride free area soon. Part of this struggle should be to preserve the ride free area, which is also key for folks getting to social service appointments in downtown agencies. Without the ride free area busses would run really late because it takes a while to collect fare at crowded downtown stops and it would take even longer if they try to crack down on fare evasion and start holding up busses to call the cops. Part of the Freeriders Union’s program should be to advocate on busses for fellow passengers who are getting threatened with calling the cops, to say “please keep the bus moving, we gotta get to work on time.” We’ve spoken with drivers who are sympathetic to this. A lot of them want to preserve, or expand the ride free area.

  4. Lake Desire says:

    Jomo, why would someone need to pay $80-100 in Seattle for the car tab unless they had 4-5 cars? If someone has that many vehicles, let them subsidize the bus. I know a flat tax is regressive and not ideal, but at least rich people have more than one car. The rest of us certainly subsidize all the infrastructure that goes into driving. Or do you mean on top of what other taxes drivers have to pay?

    I know some poor people drive, especially in rural King County where there is little-to-no bus service, but in the city of Seattle where parking is expensive and we actually have buses, more affluent people tend to have cars. If I’m wrong, I’d love to see some statistics about income and access to cars. So, while this tax may be regressive and was instituted undemocratically and an example of the shock doctrine, I’m not convinced it is a poor tax. I support free public transportation and making the rich *and* drivers pay. If you want to link the demand for free public transportation to broader issues, car culture is much to blame for environmental destruction AND the U$A’s theft of oil from the middle east.

  5. mamos206 says:

    I think Jomo was referring to this, not to folks with multiple cars:

    The city of Seattle is also imposing an 80 dollar car tab tax, so the total would be a $100 increase. This is unaffordable for many working class drivers. It is regressive because it takes the same amount out from someone who is driving a Mercedes as it does from someone who is driving a beat up 1995 bucket. I’d be fine taxing luxury car owners, or multiple car owners per vehicle, but I’m not okay with taxing folks who can barely afford a car in the first place.

    At a deeper level though, car tab taxes might not be financially sustainable. If the economy gets worse (which is highly likely), folks could stop driving as much, especially if gas prices go up. Then, exactly at the point where more folks will be trying to take public transit, the transit system will once again go into budget crisis and then they’ll try to cut routes and raise fares again, exactly at the point when we’ll be less able then ever to pay. This could happen really any time. So even though they passed the 20 dollar car tab tax on Fri, the struggle is far from over.

    I agree we need to phase out cars asap if we want to avert environmental catastrophe. That’s exactly why we are demanding free transit, which will increase ridership drastically, which would likely decrease car ownership. As part of that we’d have to expand transit services so more folks could ride, so the busses don’t get too crowded. We should also be investing in bike-friendly urban planning. But this move has be to made democratically, from below. As you said, it can’t be imposed through the shock doctrine. Reliable, inexpensive public transit needs to be in place if we want to encourage people to give up their cars, if not, folks won’t be able to get around.

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