Skip to comments.Occupy Ports: West Coast occupiers unite (Will try to shut down numerous W. Coast ports)
Posted on 12/09/2011 10:47:18 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
OAKLAND As anti-Wall Street protesters attempt to regroup and settle in for winter after a series of police raids that stripped much of the movement of its signature camps, protesters on the West Coast are staging a comeback.
On Dec. 12, Occupy movements from Seattle to San Diego say they will shut down their local ports, temporarily stopping the flow of capital on the West Coast. Organizers say they aim to disrupt the business of the 1 percent in this case, the corporations that own shipping terminals and do business at the ports.
If successful, shutting down the West Coast port system would be a massive show of power for a movement that in some cities seems to have lost some of its momentum along with the camps. It would also mark the first time the loosely organized and very decentralized Occupy movements have coordinated in a major way.
The action comes at a pivotal moment for the two-month-old movement, with protesters facing down a chill both from dropping temperatures and authorities who are increasingly losing patience with tents outside City Hall.
In recent weeks, police have cleared large encampments in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia and elsewhere. In Boston, protesters were ordered Thursday to clear out by midnight, although the deadline passed and police did not evict them.
Its a really incredible opportunity to build infrastructure for communication between the different movements, said Jed Johnson, a 26-year-old baker and barista who attended a recent port-shutdown planning meeting in Oakland.
Theres a little bit of a lull right now, he added. Stuff like this is important to keep people out here.
The move has also galvanized Occupy movements in other cities. Texas occupiers have called for protesters to gather in Houston and march on that city's port. Even landlocked Denver is trying to get in on the action, with plans to protest at a local Wal-Mart distribution center.
In Oakland, protesters like Johnson are hoping for a repeat of Nov. 2, when tens of thousands converged en masse on the Port of Oakland, successfully stopping the flow of goods overnight.
It could be more complicated this time. The powerful International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents most of the port workers whom protesters say they are supporting, has publicly rejected the blockade effort.
It appears here that outside groups intent on driving their own agendas outside of the ILWU and the Coast Longshore Division are attempting to co-opt the Union, ILWU leaders wrote in a Nov. 21 memo to union locals.
Some protesters say they believe the rank-and-file port workers are with them and that union leaders are simply being careful to avoid legal problems that could arise if it appeared they were endorsing the shutdown.
Others are taking pains to avoid potential conflicts they worry could strain the warm relationship Occupy has shared with labor groups so far.
In Vancouver, Canada, Occupy member Mya Mayhem said protesters are still talking with local ILWU members and havent decided whether their demonstration that day will include attempting to halt port business.
It is definitely our plan to send as much of a message as we can to union busters and environmental polluters but (we) are striving to maintain a good working relationship with our unions at the same time, Mayhem wrote in an email.
As soon as we find out what method will best represent the 99 percent we will go ahead, Mayhem added.
In Oakland, officials are taking the threat of a second shutdown seriously. Port commissioners recently took out a full-page ad in local papers, reading in part:
Shutting down the Port of Oakland is a bad idea. Another shutdown will only make things worse diverting cargo, tax revenue, and jobs to other communities. It will hurt working people and harm our community.
To bring port traffic to a standstill, protesters need to have enough people blocking terminal entrances so that a local arbitrator declares the situation a health and safety hazard, which will effectively stop port activity until the crowds dissipate or are cleared away.
In Oakland, it remains unclear whether protesters can mobilize those numbers the way they did on Nov. 2, when massive crowds streamed into the port and easily shut it down.
Unlike on Nov. 2, these days there is no camp outside City Hall. A small number of protesters including at least one "tree-sitter" perched in a Sycamore have been maintaining a vigil at the quiet plaza. But the space no longer provides the sense of community and visible reminder of the movements existence it did when there were 180 tents in it.
Numbers have been dwindling at general assemblies, the meetings where protesters discuss and vote on proposals. At several recent general assemblies, protesters have struggled to keep at least 100 the number required to bring proposals to a vote in the outdoor amphitheater that at one point swelled with crowds of more than 1,000.
There is a sense of loss, said Lucas, a member of Occupy Oaklands finance committee who, like many protesters, gave only his first name. What the camp did was provide a sense of place.
But Lucas said he has faith that protesters will carry on without their tents. The fact that the camp is not here does not change that we are living in a time of the most radical increase in inequality in history, he said.
In economically hard-hit California, the movement does appear to have traction with the public. A recent Field Poll of 1,000 Californians found that 58 percent agree with the underlying reasons for the protest. A little less than half 46 percent said they personally identify with the movement.
For now, the toughest challenge may be simply building enough momentum to get through the winter, when protest activities especially those by campus groups are generally expected to quiet down.
And for those holdout cities still maintaining camps, the dropping temperatures pose a major obstacle.
Reached by phone earlier this week, Occupy Denver member Jeannie Hartley said she had more immediate concerns than her groups involvement in the port shutdown day mainly the roughly 50-75 people, a mix of homeless and activists, she said, who remain outside in record-cold temperatures.
Its going to be minus-6 degrees tonight, Hartley said, and weve got people camping.
Check out GlobalPost's full coverage on Occupy Wall Street here.
I'd pay real money to see some of our Seattle longshoremen take a few of these hippies out.
“said Jed Johnson, a 26-year-old baker and barista”
Read as “Coffee bitch”....
Yet another Brilliant mind.
Committing violence against worker’s wages
A reasonable country would regard this as an act of treason, and respond accordingly.
Enjoy hypothermia, oh and make sure when not to do ANYTHING when your fingers and toes turn black, that is like, totally like normal for like hipsters like you who work at like Starbucks! When your like fingers like turn like black, well, that just means that you are sticking it to the 1%!!!
/SIGH, can't wait to see the babies demand free medical care when frostbite ensues...
2ndDiv. You got it right.
Just guessing 2nd Marine Div? I was in there in 1964, 10th Artillery Regiment, 105 Howitzers.
A real CIC would call out the military and lock them up as National Security Threats. These ports aren't just used to import crap from China. I'm sure there are many vital shipments such as medical supplies which are vital to the country.
These hippies need to be rubber hosed.
Don’t tell me, tell him...
Shhh - the word treason is politically incorrect. Jane Fonda will tell you so.
Nahhh. -6°? Water cannon...
Great idea! That is sure to win lots of support from the folks here in Hawaii. Especially in about a week when there is no more food in the grocery stores.
Nope, 2nd United States Infantry Division, although my late father was a Marine in WWII, Korea and early Vietnam. BTW, the 2nd was commanded by several Marines during WWI and had a Marine brigade, the only Army division with that distinction. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2nd_Infantry_Division_(United_States)
ZOMG LOL!!! That hurt my stomach from laughing too hard!!!
Excellent! When I read "barista" I had a similar thought, but my language was much cruder than yours.
By the way such ridicule works on these occupiers. I try to attack the local occupy group (Occupy Harrisburg) in the comments section of the local paper's website. I found out that one occupier, who used his full name on the website, temporarily left Occupy Harrisburg because he was receiving so much heat from other people. (He just happened to invite Bill Ayers to speak to Occupy Harrisburg.)
We should steal a page from Alinsky ... Identify, isolate, freeze and escalate. It is like fighting fire with fire. There is zero need to provide logical arguments. They are too brainwashed to think. So bar bitches, smelly hippie freaks, crapping in the streets really hits home. At the same time it discourages others from joining their movement.
Mine too! (well actually Late WWII, Vietnam)...
Something tells me these guys don’t realize the size of the ports in question.
Although, perhaps a bit more alliterative?