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PORTSIDE  November 2011, Week 1

PORTSIDE November 2011, Week 1

Subject:

Occupy Oakland's 'General Strike' Shuts Down Port

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Fri, 4 Nov 2011 23:56:58 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (150 lines)

Occupy Oakland's 'General Strike' Shuts Down Port

By James E. Van 
October 4, 2011
Oakland, Ca.
Published by Portside

In one of the city's largest ever demonstrations,
massive crowds, estimated by some at 10,000 - 30,000,
convened on the Occupy Oakland (OO) encampment for an
all-day schedule of events, Wednesday, Nov 2, and
carried out a "successful" general strike throughout the
city.  Streets were taken over and traffic was
controlled by protestors; absolutely no police in view.
Perhaps the most exciting, energetic, satisfying,
successful experience the city has seen..

The "general strike" was decided Wednesday, October 26,
by 96% of the 2000 who turned out at the OO encampment
and general assembly the day following the discredited
police riot that seriously injured the still
hospitalized Iraq War vet Scott Olsen. Teachers,
students, nurses, many union locals, workers, disabled,
bicyclists, parents with children, residents, and
visitors of all constituencies and diversity, and from
many outside locales made up the assemblage of
occupyers.  Major downtown stores were closed, and all
main offices of national banks were marched on and were
also closed.

Despite the fact that the general strike had just one
week to come together, and though lacking acknowledged
'leadership,' the day's events -- with activities
focused for each constituency -- were remarkably varied,
well-planned and coordinated, and all came off without a
hitch.

*  Early morning feeder marches came from UC Berkeley (5
   miles); from Richmond (10 miles) led off by Green
   Party Mayor Gayle McLaughlin; and from Laney College,
   a teachers and students march, with intermittent stop
   at Oakland Schools Admin Building to protest pending
   school closures and teacher layoffs.  "We are the
   99%"

*  Kickoff Rally with Angela Davis, nationalist,
   teacher, feminist, prison reform advocate. "Banks got
   bailed out ... We got sold out !"

*  Parents Stroller Brigade to Oakland Main Library in
   solidarity rally with library staff and patrons
   against closures and hours and staff cutbacks. "Close
   banks, not libraries"

*  Wheelchair Brigade around the downtown.  "Who's
   streets ?  Our streets"

*  Massive Noon march to Lakeshore financial district
   closing Chase, Wells-Fargo, Citibank, BofA.
   "Foreclose banks, not houses"

*  Barbecue cooked and served by Teamsters Union &
   Central Labor Council in Ogawa City Hall Plaza [Oscar
   Grant Plaza].  Bottled water distributed.

*  Convergence Rally & preparation for mobilizations to
   shut down Port of Oakland.  "This is what democracy
   looks like"

*  "Critical Mass" Bicycle Rally of 100+ riders leave at
   3:50pm as first wave of occupyers to Port of Oakland.

*  Seven 50-passenger buses load and leave at 4pm,
   carrying seniors and non-walkers, as second wave of
   occupyers, also including 12-Passenger Disabled
   Shuttle, to Port of Oakland.

*  First main march of 8,000, together with marching
   bands, drummers, megaphones, banners stationed
   throughout, leave encampment on 2-mile march as third
   wave of occupyers to Port of Oakland.

*  Final march of 2-3000 leave encampment as fourth wave
   of occupyers to Port of Oakland.

*  At Port of Oakland, 1-2000 occupyers stationed at
   each of 8 gates along 2-mile stretch of Maritime Ave,
   effectively closing the Port to incoming staff and
   trucks for 7:00pm shift.  (By 9:00pm, Port Director
   orders Port closed due to "possible safety
   conditions," thereby assuring Port workers full
   salary for time lost.)

*  10:00pm - Midnight, Occupyers return from Port of
   Oakland and reconverge at Occupy Oakland encampment
   for music and partying, concluding a highly
   successful one-day "general strike."

*  At the next nightly general assembly, the topic of
   discussion will be "Move Your Money Day," scheduled
   this Saturday, when residents are encouraged to close
   accounts at major banks and transfer to credit unions
   and community banks.

Unfortunate Note:  Since initiation of Occupy Oakland,
an anarchist group of 50 -100 provocateurs (saboteurs?)
have attached themselves.  Although OO facilitators
consistently stress calm, nonviolent, peaceful protest
actions as OO objectives, this group with kerchiefs over
their faces, persist in breaking off and precipitating
graffiti markings, glass breakage, and destruction of
property. During Wednesday's actions at major banks, the
masked provocateurs smashed windows and painted graffiti
on bank walls and on a nearby upscale market.  The
destructive actions were somewhat limited by occupyers
who put themselves between the windows and the
anarchists, including some who stayed behind to clean
off graffiti.  Around Midnight, the anarchist group
broke into a vacant building about two blocks from the
OO encampment. In the first police action of the day,
riot squads converged on the building, used tear gas,
and arrested about 80 of the anarchists.  Thus bringing
the only sour note to what was otherwise a full day of
peaceful, nonviolent, and successful occupation.

___________

James E Vann, longtime Oakland political and community
activist; former Co-chair with Arthur Kinoy of National
Committee for Independent
Political Action.

___________________________________________

Portside aims to provide material of interest to people
on the left that will help them to interpret the world
and to change it.

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