Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Occupy Oakland! General Strike!!

* 10 participants of Occupy Richmond, some whose ages were past 50, walked 10 miles to the Oakland General Strike. 

2011-11-03 "Occupy Oakland Strike Draws 100,000; Violence Caused By 100" by Zennie Abraham
Zennie Abraham is Executive Producer & Host of "The Blog Report With Zennie62"
Oakland’s Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan (a capable and politically smart leader in a tough position) got the Occupy Oakland General Strike crowd count massively wrong: it’s not 7,000, but 100,000.
This blogger has been in Oakland since 1974. The largest crowd at Frank Ogama Plaza was for a speech by then-Senator, now President Barack Obama in 2007, and for which was estimated at 18,000. Barack filled the space with people.
The Occupy Oakland General Strike had that many people in the plaza for most of the day, while two huge crowds were outside of it: one marching down Broadway, the other a set of people walking around various parts of downtown Oakland with protest signs.
You can’t take a snapshot of an event like this, because of its time length; you have to think of it as a dynamic. In amy population there are births, deaths, in-migration, and out-migration. For the Occupy Oakland General Strike, there were no births, thankfully no deaths, but a lot of in-migration and out-migration.
What was so amazing about the size of the crowd both inside the plaza and just outside of it, then marching to the Port of Oakland, was that it did not decrease in size; it increased. And that was with some people leaving it, and others coming in from BART and from around Oakland via foot or other parts of the Bay by car.
For that to happen all day long and considering the capacity of the plaza and the crowds outside of it points to 100,000 people. I’ve never seen anything like that in the entire history of this city.
And that is why it must be said that much of the media should be drawn and quartered for the most irresponsible coverage I’ve ever seen. Many outlets just waited for something bad to happen, or looked for it. But there were so many people more having a great time, that whatever happened was far away from downtown Oakland.
The Whole Foods Oakland Facility is on 27th and Harrison and outside of downtown Oakland, and a good mile away from City Hall Plaza. But to the media eye, the vandalism that happened there made headlines. Let’s just get this out of the way: it should not have happened, but that’s no excuse to get the whole story wrong.
The happy time lasted for much of the evening, but as the people either went to the Port (I did not go over there) or went home, a crowd of 100,000 shrank, like The Hulk turning back into Bruce Banner, to about a few 100 at best.
Here’s where the media – except the SF Appeal – really screwed up.
The violence happened because of a rather dumb attempt by some with Occupy Oakland to take over an abandoned building in downtown Oakland. Why this idea was allowed to pass the General Assembly I do not know, but Oakland’s Occupy movement is not known for thinking things through all the time. It’s too prone to make moves that are outside of the rules of the Occupy movement – moves that at times cause violence.
(And on that note, business people should be involved in the Occupy Movement, too. It’s something that can be impacted by the voice and involvement of business people. That’s why I think Oakland Chamber of Commerce head Joe Haraburda’s just plain out to lunch on this whole issue. He paints Occupy Oakland in “us versus them” terms, which just shows how much he doesn’t get the whole deal and how it can actually be FORMED to help Oakland business. More on this today, but it must be said there’s a case to be made for the need to be compensated for work. Business people can make that case in solidarity with the movement. Hey, there are Occupy Oakland t-shirts for sale – think about it.)
And that’s not to let Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and the police off the hook here. The main problem is there militaristic approach has only served to make sure that more and more of these skirmishes take place. Downtown Oakland businesses are suffering in the process. Quan has done NOTHING to convince Occupy Oakland to work to help businesses by patronizing them.
The punishment for both Quan and Police Chief Jordan should be to force both of them and their staffs to eat lunch and dinner at Flora, Max’s, Luka’s to start, then go bar hopping in the Uptown.
And I’ll join them.
But I digress.
The bottom line is all of this Occupy Oakland General Strike business has been misreported. The count is 100,000, not 7,000. And the night of activities should not be seen as marring a successful day of parties and festivities.
Stay tuned.


2011-11-01 "SEIU 1021 Joins the November 2nd General Strike" by Steven Argue from "Liberation News"
 Representing 50,000 workers, Oakland Local 1021 of the SEIU issued a statement saying the "SEIU 1021 Executive Board calls on all members of SEIU 1021 to join a day-long “Peaceful Day of Action” in support of Occupy Oakland and against the banking industry and last week’s police brutality against the Occupy Oakland encampment."
 With this statement the SEIU joins Carpenters Local 713 and leading local members of the ILWU and IBU in backing the vote of the Occupy Oakland General Assembly for a general strike and mass demonstrations on November 2nd. (For more on the support of those unions read “Scott Olsen Cannot Talk, General Strike Nov. 2nd!” linked after this article)
 Speaking of the repression carried out by the City government that sparked the strike Local 1021 pointed out, "Last Monday and Tuesday, Oakland made headlines when 30 police departments were brought in to break up the protest. Several SEIU 1021 members and their family members were injured or arrested for peacefully exercising their 1st Amendment rights. This is not right. We need to stand up for Oakland!"
 During those attacks, Scott Olsen, a 24 year-old Iraq War veteran and member of Iraq War Veterans Against the War, was shot in the head by the police with a projectile at short range. Scott was knocked out in critical condition with swelling on his brain. He has sustained an injury to the speech center of his brain and cannot talk.
 The city government, facing mass outrage over their vicious attacks on protesters, has, according to the SEIU statement, “agreed that workers may use a day of comp time, vacation time, a floating holiday or leave without pay in order to participate".
 The SEIU Executive Board does make the legal disclaimer that they are not calling on the membership to strike because that would be a violation of their contract. Such no strike provisions have hogtied the political strength of the American labor movement for decades. Generally, collectively walking off the job would be a much more effective procedure than filing grievances. Likewise, general strikes win political demands in countries like France much faster than the American union movement’s decades-old strategy of funding politicians that forget about workers the day after they’re elected.
 Despite union support for the Democrats it is currently the Democrats in power in Sacramento and cities throughout the state and country who are directly carrying out austerity against members of the SEIU. These cuts to government jobs are also hurting needed social services. Likewise, it was Democrat Mayor Jean Quan who attacked the Oakland Occupy protesters with her police last week.
 Yet, despite not calling it a strike, this call by the SEIU leadership will strengthen the powerful participation of organized labor in the Weds, November 2nd general strike and mass protests.
 Expressing agreement with the Occupy movement Dwight McElroy, president of the SEIU 1021 Oakland chapter, declared, “We are also part of the 99 percent. Our jobs have been cut, our people unemployed, and our community has lost needed services in these hard times.”
 Call to Action of the Occupy Oakland:
* Shut Down the 1%!
* General Strike & Mass Day of Action called for by Occupy Oakland!
* Everyone to the Streets!
* No Work! No School!
 Mass gatherings at 14th & Broadway:  9:00am • 12 noon • 5:00pm
 5:00pm start at 14th and Broadway and march to the port to shut it down before the 7pm night shift
 All banks and corporations must close down for the day or we will march on them!
 Liberation News joins the Oakland Occupy General Assembly in Demanding:
 • Solidarity with the worldwide Occupy Movement
 • End Police Attacks on Our Communities
 • Defend Oakland Schools & Libraries
 • Against an economic system built on inequality & corporate power that perpetuates racism, sexism & the destruction of the environment
 And Liberation News adds the additional demand: Drop The Charges Against All Occupy Protesters!
 For more on what led up to the strike call and the participation of other unions read: "Scott Olsen Cannot Talk, General Strike Nov. 2nd!" []
 This is an article of Liberation News, Subscribe Free: []

The following is provided to show folks how much the mainstream media simply lies to condition the people in the USA  to perceive what's happening with the peaceful 2011-11-02 Oakland General Strike as a narrative of chaos at the mercy of "anarchists"....
All attention was focused mainly of the tactical action afterwards. Such a spirited display of constructive anger creates all the propaganda necessary to carry through a campaign of villainy by the mainstream media to embolden the domestic fascist movement.
The article even contains the erroneous miscount of "3,000" who participated in the peaceful General Strike [it was roughly 100,000], and provides militant conservatives [those Glenn Beck listeners] with ammunition for their fire against regular people of the USA.

2011-11-03 "Riot Gear and Bonfires: Occupy Oakland Degenerates Into ‘Chaos’ Overnight" by Jonathon M. Seidl
Associated Press writers Garance Burke and Marcus Wohlsen in San Francisco, Beth Duff-Brown in San Francisco, Mark Pratt in Boston, JoAnn Loviglio in Philadelphia, Jon Fahey and Verena Dobnik in New York and Christina Hoag in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Occupy Oakland protester Mike Clift runs from teargas on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011, in Oakland, Calif. (Photo: AP)

OAKLAND, Calif. (The Blaze/AP) — A day of demonstrations in Oakland that began as a significant step toward expanding the political and economic influence of the Occupy Wall Street movement, ended with police in riot gear arresting dozens of protesters who had marched through downtown to break into a vacant building, shattering windows [], spraying graffiti and setting fires along the way.
“We go from having a peaceful movement to now just chaos,” said protester Monique Agnew, 40.

KTVU-TV has more []:
[begin excerpt]
The confrontation began after protesters started a large bonfire in the middle of a downtown street. Dozens of police in riot gear moved in on hundreds of protesters as the flames leapt more than 15 feet in the air from several large metal and plastic trash bins that had been pushed together.
Police warned protesters to clear out before firing several rounds of tear gas and “flash bang” grenades to clear the area.
In the aftermath of the police actions, protesters with cloth wrapped around their faces to protect them from the stench of the gas marched through the area chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets.”
Some marchers wore gas masks.
Glass covered streets and sidewalks from windows of area businesses that were shattered.
Graffiti on the wall next to one of the damaged shops read, “This act of vandalism was not authorized by the general assembly. Peaceful protest.”
[end excerpt]
Occupy Oakland protesters pass a burning garbage heap during a confrontation with police on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011, in Oakland, Calif. (Photo: AP)

The far-flung movement of protesters challenging the world’s economic systems and distribution of wealth has gained momentum in recent weeks, capturing the world‘s attention by shutting down one of the nation’s busiest shipping ports toward the end of a daylong “general strike” that prompted solidarity rallies across the U.S.
About 3,000 people converged on the Port of Oakland, the nation’s fifth-busiest harbor, in a nearly five-hour protest Wednesday, swarming the area and blocking exits and streets with illegally parked vehicles and hastily-erected, chain-link fences.
Port officials said they were forced to cease maritime operations, citing concerns for workers’ safety. They said in a statement they hope to resume operations Thursday “and that Port workers will be allowed to get to their jobs without incident. Continued missed shifts represent economic hardship for maritime workers, truckers, and their families, as well as lost jobs and lost tax revenue for our region.”
Supporters in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and elsewhere staged smaller-scale demonstrations; each group saying its protest was a show of support for the Oakland movement, which became a rallying point when an Iraq War veteran was seriously injured in a clash with police last week.
The larger Occupy movement has yet to coalesce into an organized association and until the port shut down had largely been limited scattershot marches, rallies and tent encampments since it began in September.
Organizers in Oakland had viewed the day as a significant victory. Police said that about 7,000 people participated in demonstrations throughout the day that were peaceful except for a few incidents of vandalism. In fact, the city’s mayor called it a “good day” for the protesters and the “99 percent movement:”

One of the protest leaders, Boots Riley, touted the day as a success, saying “we put together an ideological principle that the mainstream media wouldn’t talk about two months ago.”
His comments came before a group of demonstrators moved to break into the Travelers Aid building in order to, as some shouting protesters put it, “reclaim the building for the people.”

Riley, whose anti-capitalist views are well-documented, considered the port shut down particularly significant for organizers who targeted it in an effort to stop the “flow of capital.” The port sends goods primarily to Asia, including wine as well as rice, fruits and nuts, and handles imported electronics, apparel and manufacturing equipment, mostly from Asia, as well as cars and parts from Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai. An accounting of the financial toll from the shutdown was not immediately available.
The potential for the chaos that ultimately erupted was not something Riley wanted to even consider.
“If they do that after all this …” He paused, then added, “They’re smarter than that.”
But the peace that abided throughout the day, did not last into the night.
Occupy protesters voicing anger over a budget trim that forced the closure of a homeless aid program converged on the empty building where it had been housed. They blocked off city streets with Dumpsters and other large trash bins, starting bonfires that leapt 15-feet in the air.
City officials released a statement describing the spasm of unrest.
“Oakland Police responded to a late night call that protesters had broken into and occupied a downtown building and set several simultaneous fires,” the statement read. “The protesters began hurling rocks, explosives, bottles, and flaming objects at responding officers. Several private and municipal buildings sustained heavy vandalism. Dozens of protesters wielding shields were surrounded and arrested.”
Protesters reported running from several rounds of tear gas and bright flashes and deafening pops that some thought were caused by “flash bang” grenades. Fire crews arrived and suppressed the flames.
Meanwhile, protesters and police faced off for the rest of the night in an uneasy standoff.
Protesters "Occupy" an Oakland building after breaking in, Nov. 3, 2011. (Photo: AP)

In Philadelphia, protesters were arrested earlier Wednesday as they held a sit-in at the headquarters of cable giant Comcast
In New York, about 100 military veterans marched in uniform and stopped in front of the New York Stock Exchange, standing in loose formation as police officers on scooters separated them from the entrance. On the other side was a lineup of NYPD horses carrying officers with nightsticks.
“We are marching to express support for our brother, (Iraq war veteran) Scott Olsen, who was injured in Oakland,” said Jerry Bordeleau, a former Army specialist who served in Iraq through 2009.
The veterans were also angry that returned from war to find few job prospects.
“Wall Street corporations have played a big role in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Bordeleau, now a college student. He said private contractors have reaped big profits in those countries.
In Boston, college students and union workers marched on Bank of America offices, the Harvard Club and the Statehouse to protest the nation’s burgeoning student debt crisis.
They say total outstanding student loans exceed credit card debt, increase by $1 million every six minutes and will reach $1 trillion this year, potentially undermining the economy.
“There are so many students that are trying to get jobs and go on with their lives,” said Sarvenaz Asasy of Boston, who joined the march after recently graduating with a master’s degree and $60,000 in loan debt. “They‘ve educated themselves and there are no jobs and we’re paying tons of student loans. For what?”
And among the other protests in Oakland, parents and their kids, some in strollers, joined in by forming a “children’s brigade.”
“There’s absolutely something wrong with the system,” said Jessica Medina, a single mother who attends school part time and works at an Oakland cafe. “We need to change that.”

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