Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011-12-15 "Occupy Movement claims success with the 'Wall Street on the Waterfront'; Port shutdowns are a response to Oakland City Counci's Emergency Resolution calling for greater repression" from "West Coast Coordinated Port Shutdown Assembly of Occupy Oakland"
On Monday, December 12, in response to  police attacks on Occupy camps across the nation, the Occupy Movement effectively shut down sea ports up and down the West Coast, including in Oakland, Portland, Seattle, and Longview, with partial shutdowns or support actions at Long Beach, San Diego, Hueneme (Ventura County), and Vancouver, B.C.
The “Wall Street on the Waterfront” campaign targeted  the ports as sites of the corporate and financial power of the 1%, and were particularly directed at the investment banking giant Goldman  Sachs and grain exporter EGT, which has been in conflict with the  ILWU/Longshore workers for refusing to hire union dockworker. The search from profits of these and other multinational corporations  affect people's daily lives around the world, from determining the  global flows of commodities and capital, to expropriating agricultural  lands from indigenous peoples.  
The coordinated shutdown, with support  by Longshore workers, Teamsters, and independent truckers, demonstrates  the continuing vitality and widespread appeal of the Occupy Movement. Support actions were held in numerous other cities.
In Bellingham, WA  protesters locked themselves to rail lines carrying Goldman Sachs goods.
In Denver, CO, Salt Lake City, UT, and Albuquerque, NM, demonstrators blockaded Walmart distribution centers to protest its low wages and lack of adequate health care for workers.
In New York, Occupy Wall Street protesters stormed financial institutions.
Other support actions occurred in Houston, Tacoma, Coos Bay, Anchorage, Hawaii, Canada, Japan and elsewhere.
Despite concerted efforts to thwart the Oakland Port blockade by Mayor Jean Quan, the ILWU International leadership (which mounted an international media campaign) and the Port itself, which spent tens of thousands of dollars taking out full page newspaper ads, the Oakland Port blockade was a success. Teamsters did not go to work, and with few exceptions, Longshore workers and  independent truckers did not cross the picket lines. A group of truck  drivers parked their trucks and helped block a gate. In dramatic  contrast with the ILWU International leadership, rank and file workers  have expressed extensive solidarity and support. For example, ILWU  Local 21 President Dan Coffman told a crowd of 10,000 in Longview, WA:  “On behalf of Local 21, we want to thank the occupy movement for shedding light on the practices of the EGT and for the inspiration of  our members."
In an “Open Letter from America's Truck Drivers on Occupy the Ports” (, port drivers wrote: “We are inspired that a  non-violent democratic movement that insists on basic economic fairness  is capturing the hearts and minds of so many working people. ...  Poverty and pollution are like a plague at the ports. ... Just like  Wall Street doesn’t have to abide by rules, our industry isn’t bound to  regulation. ...We receive Third World wages and drive sweatshops on  wheels. ... We have never recovered from losing our basic rights as  employees in America.”

Port Of Oakland Was Shut Down For 24 Hours -
After the arbitrator sent workers home, ending the morning shift, 5-10,000  protesters re-assembled in the afternoon and marched from two  locations to the Port to picket the evening shift. Marine veteran Scott  Olsen, recovering after Oakland Police shot him in the head with a tear gas canister during an Occupy protest in October, led the march, joined by members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Teamsters, the Feminist  Block, and the Tactical Action Committee, among others. In response, Port workers cancelled the evening shift, and rescheduled it for 3:00  am.
As pledged in the event of police repression at any of the port  actions (, several hundred protesters continued to  picket at the Port gates until workers canceled the substitute shift  and departed around 3:45 am. The Port protests were peaceful, even as police in various cities rioted, caused injuries, and made arrests.
For example, Seattle police used teargas.
Houston police, hiding their  names and badge numbers with tape, snatched protesters whom the fire  department concealed under a giant inflatable tent while the police made arrests. Houston Police on horseback later re-attacked the crowd. 
In San Diego, police broke the picket line and violently arrested  protestors.
Proposed Resolution by Oakland City Council On December 15, Oakland City Council members De La Fuente & Schaaf introduced an emergency resolution calling on Mayor Quan and the City Administrator  to “use whatever lawful tools we have, including enforcement of all  state laws and local municipal code regulations and requirements, to  prevent future shut downs or disruptions of any port operations.”
“Threats of even greater repression by Oakland officials  illustrates that they are more concerned with protecting business as  usual for the one percent than addressing the concerns of the rest of  us” said organizer Barucha Peller.
The divisive and repressive tactics  of elected officials, global corporations  and police goons will only  strengthen our resolve to fight back with direct action, because we  know that another world is possible.

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