If you thought the District 8 Supervisor candidate pool was already a mixed bag, you haven't met Keith Beneath.
Beneath is a local performance artist, musician, activist, and "venture socialist" who is "running" for District 8 Supervisor along with an already lively pool of candidates. Billing himself "The Class War Candidate," Beneath's platform is to provide universal healthcare, set aside more public space for citizens, and "save San Francisco by nuking Silicon Valley," according to the campaign press release on his elaborate campaign campaign website.
We can recover our humanity by making them notice us. They evicted us; why not evict them? New “innovations” in drone technology and targeted demolitions can allow us to take out our oppressors. Planned detonations in Silicon Valley—in Atherton, Woodside, Cupertino, Mountain View, Wall Street and Palo Alto—will stave off the capitalist cancer.
While Beneath has some pretty extreme statements on his website, let us remind you he is a performance artist and his campaign for Supervisor is just that, a performance. Beneath is not a candidate officially registered with the San Francisco Department of Elections, but he is a San Franciscan that wants to challenge the status quo, and that might be enough for some folks to write in his name on their ballot on November 4th.
For example, if you're not a fan of Scott Weiner, Beneath says that the incumbent is a "hippie-bully [...] anti-nudist and political tool of the tech infection" and "a foot-soldier of the bourgeoisie, standing ready and erect to defend the rich gentrifiers." Pun intended.
Beneath has put together a campaign video addressing hot-button issues that have been at the forefront of San Francisco's local campaigns. In the video, he says if he is elected supervisor he will "raise the minimum wage to $20 dollars an hour, guaranteeing the right to a job, and executing the rich overlords who destroyed this city."
At the end of his video, Beneath asks San Franciscans to support his campaign and to help him fight for more public art, for the conversion of startup offices into community housing, and for "the public execution of Mark Zuckerberg at the plaza at 24th and Mission."
We asked Beneath if he was serious about his threat to execute Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. "If I were to be elected, he told us, "I would do what my constituents asked."
"I don't know if it's really all that outlandish—our elected officials authorize the killing of many people every day, although most of them are nameless folks in the Middle East, not nearly as rich nor famous nor demented as Mark." As far as access to thermonuclear devices, Beneath said, "I don't personally have access to any weaponry. I don't even own a gun. I have a bow someone gave to me when I was 17, but I don't have any arrows and they're certainly not fissionable."
If he does not win the coveted District 8 seat, Beneath said he will take to another tech darling, Kickstarter, to raise the money necessary to "nuke Silicon Valley." "I think that they can be acquired for a hundred million dollars or so, so a 60-day Kickstarter campaign should do the trick," said Beneath.
Beneath has set up a very elaborate social media presence on many of the very networks he has targeted. He invites people to connect with him "and the NSA" on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and has even taken to OkCupid to get the word out about his campaign. His OkCupid dating profile details that Beneath enjoys "long walks on publicly owned beaches, staffed by unionized lifeguards, non-GMO flowers, and piña coladas from fair-trade pineapples harvested by worker-owned outfits." A veritable dreamboat for other single San Francisco radicals.
Beneath officially launched his "campaign" back in August, mostly to help get the word out about himself as an artist and an activist and to get eyeballs on his music videos, but also to make a statement about San Francisco's (if not the nation's) current political climate. Beneath told us that he "liked this idea of 'misusing' the political process, incorporating democracy as art, and playing with people's ideas of what democracy is."
The housing crises in particular has affected Beneath on a personal level. "I had so much anger at seeing the city change over the years, and seeing my family pushed out of the Bay Area. My grandfather lived here 90 years, and he's had to move away—at 91—because he never bought property. His rents went up over the years, and eventually he was blown away. He's suicidal now. Imagine having to pack up your entire life, leave your routines, your friends, and go to the Central Valley at 91."
"Which is really what this project is all about—understanding the larger system. I didn't call out the worker drone techies—I know they hate being called techies—but rather the big fish, Zuckerberg and Sergey Brin and (my favorite) venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who actually said he didn't think democracy and freedom are compatible ... I wanted to talk about that. I wanted to talk about the overall system, the people who actually have power. They're the ones we should go after. Which is exactly what I do, and what we all should be doing."
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