Balaji Srinivasan Wants To Do To San Francisco What Musk Did To Twitter

While Donald Trump plots to be a dictator on Day One, Balaji Srinivasan and his wealthy tech bros are plotting a different version of authoritarianism and ethnic cleansing, one that does not require a presidential campaign.

Gil Duran wrote about this oligarch for The New Republic:

To fully grasp the current situation in San Francisco, where venture capitalists are trying to take control of City Hall, you must listen to Balaji Srinivasan. Before you do, steel yourself for what’s to come: A normal person could easily mistake his rambling train wrecks of thought for a crackpot’s ravings, but influential Silicon Valley billionaires regard him as a genius.

“Balaji has the highest rate of output per minute of good new ideas of anybody I’ve ever met,” wrote Marc Andreessen, co-founder of the V.C. firm Andreessen-Horowitz, in a blurb for Balaji’s 2022 book, The Network State: How to Start a New Country. The book outlines a plan for tech plutocrats to exit democracy and establish new sovereign territories. I mentioned Balaji’s ideas in two previous stories about Network State–related efforts in California—a proposed tech colony called California Forever and the tech-funded campaign to capture San Francisco’s government.

Balaji, a 43-year-old Long Island native who goes by his first name, has a solid Valley pedigree: He earned multiple degrees from Stanford University, founded multiple startups, became a partner at Andreessen-Horowitz and then served as chief technology officer at Coinbase. He is also the leader of a cultish and increasingly strident neo-reactionary tech political movement that sees American democracy as an enemy. In 2013, a New York Times story headlined “Silicon Valley Roused by Secession Call” described a speech in which he “told a group of young entrepreneurs that the United States had become ‘the Microsoft of nations’: outdated and obsolescent.”

I suggest you read the full article for details of Srinivasan’s plans to “ethnically cleanse” San Francisco of “Blues.” But the big picture can be summed up by this sentence: “The idea, [Srinivasan] said, is to do to San Francisco what Musk did to Twitter.”

Not surprisingly, Srinivasan has one million followers on Xitter and is “regularly boosted” by Elon Musk, according to Duran.

What is most appalling about this creep is not his horrible ideas, as awful as they are, but how much power these tech oligarchs wield and how they consider themselves modern day Masters of the Universe.

More from Duran and TNR:

[H]is appetite for autocracy is bottomless. Last October, Balaji hosted the first-ever Network State Conference. Garry Tan—the current Y Combinator CEO who’s attempting to spearhead a political takeover of San Francisco—participated in an interview with Balaji and cast the effort as part of the Network State movement. Tan, who made headlines in January after tweeting “die slow motherfuckers” at local progressive politicians, frames his campaign as an experiment in “moderate” politics. But in a podcast interview one month before the conference, Balaji laid out a more disturbing and extreme vision.

“What I’m really calling for is something like tech Zionism,” he said, after comparing his movement to those started by the biblical Abraham, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith (founder of Mormonism), Theodor Herzl (“spiritual father” of the state of Israel), and Lee Kuan Yew (former authoritarian ruler of Singapore). Balaji then revealed his shocking ideas for a tech-governed city where citizens loyal to tech companies would form a new political tribe clad in gray t-shirts. “And if you see another Gray on the street … you do the nod,” he said, during a four-hour talk on the Moment of Zen podcast. “You’re a fellow Gray.”

As far as I’m concerned, Srinivasan and his bros are walking advertisements for much higher taxes on the ultrawealthy.

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