A proposal for a coordinated West Coast port shutdown was passed with unanimous consensus by vote of the Occupy Oakland General Assembly last Friday.
The proposal stated: ‘In response to coordinated attacks on the occupations and attacks on workers across the nation: ‘Occupy Oakland calls for the blockade and disruption of the economic apparatus of the 1% with a coordinated shutdown of ports on the entire West Coast on December 12th.
‘The 1% has disrupted the lives of longshoremen and port truckers and the workers who create their wealth, just as coordinated nationwide police attacks have turned our cities into battlegrounds in an effort to disrupt our Occupy movement.
‘We call on each West Coast occupation to organise a mass mobilisation to shut down its local port.
‘Our eyes are on the continued union-busting and attacks on organised labor, in particular the rupture of Longshoremen jurisdiction in Longview Washington by the EGT.
‘Already, Occupy Los Angeles has passed a resolution to carry out a port action on the Port Of Los Angeles on December 12th, to shut down SSA terminals, which are owned by Goldman Sachs.
‘Occupy Oakland expands this call to the entire West Coast, and calls for continuing solidarity with the Longshoremen in Longview Washington in their ongoing struggle against the EGT.
‘The EGT is an international grain exporter led by Bunge LTD, a company constituted of 1% bankers whose practices have ruined the lives of the working class all over the world, from Argentina to the West Coast of the US.
‘During the November 2nd General Strike, tens of thousands shutdown the Port Of Oakland as a warning shot to EGT to stop its attacks on Longview.
‘Since the EGT has disregarded this message, and continues to attack the Longshoremen at Longview, we will now shut down ports along the entire West Coast.
‘Participating occupations are asked to ensure that during the port shutdowns the local arbitrator rules in favour of longshoremen not crossing community picket lines in order to avoid recriminations against them.
‘Should there be any retaliation against any workers as a result of their honouring pickets or supporting our port actions, additional solidarity actions should be prepared.
‘In the event of police repression of any of the mobilisations, shutdown actions may be extended to multiple days.
‘In Solidarity and Struggle,
In Oakland: the West Coast Port Shutdown Coordinating Committee will meet on General Assembly days at 5pm before the GA to organise the local shutdown, and to network with other occupations.
Meanwhile, Occupy Wall Street said after last Thursday’s events: ‘Today, November 17th, over 30,000 New Yorkers took to the streets to resist austerity, rebuild our economy, and reclaim our democracy.
‘It was our largest action to date.
‘Our will was only emboldened by Mayor Bloomberg’s heavy-handed attempt to eradicate Occupy Wall Street; our brutal eviction from our homes at Liberty Square has strengthened both our resolve and our legitimacy.
‘Together, we raised our voices to declare: “No to evictions! No to the 1% that profits from our collective impoverishment.”
‘We showed the world we are not a fringe group of naive idealists – we are truly a people’s uprising embodying the revolutionary spirit of economic justice, mutual aid, and participatory, consensus-based democracy.
‘We are the 99%.
‘And the world responded.
‘Protestors across the United States occupied our most tangible symbols of oligarchic neglect: bridges—essential public infrastructure the 1% has blithely let decay:
• Los Angeles, CA: protestors peacefully shut down a bridge into the financial district. 16 were arrested
• Portland, OR: the Steel Bridge was occupied
• Detroit, MI: in one of the cities hardest hit by foreclosures and evictions, 1,000s marched across the 2nd Ave Bridge
• Washington, DC: protestors demonstrated in support of increased infrastructure projects on the Key Bridge
• Philadelphia, PA: 1500 people marched on the Market St Bridge where at least 25 people were arrested during a nonviolent sit-in
• Miami, FL: over 2,000 people gathered under the overpass at Jose Marti Park
• Chicago, IL: LaSalle Street Bridge was shut down and 46 protesters were arrested during a sit-in before flooding intersections and streets around the Federal Reserve Bank and the Chicago Board of Trade
• Hartford, CT: 200 people blocked the entrance ramp to 1-84, with 10 arrests
• Houston, TX: 500 protesters blocked the Travis Street Bridge with at least 12 arrests
• Pittsburgh, PA: Protestors blocked Greenfield Bridge
• Baltimore, MD: Howard Street Bridge was occupied
• More bridges were blocked in: St. Louis, Milwaukee, Great Falls, Minneapolis, Kalamazoo, Augusta, Saginaw, Cleveland, Richmond, Iowa City, and countless cities across the country!
‘And across the world, the people of Canada, Japan, the UK, Spain, Germany, Greece, and elsewhere organized unprecedented solidarity actions, proving beyond doubt that Occupy Wall Street is, and is increasingly becoming, a truly global revolution.
‘To echo one protest sign: “The World Is Not The Same Anymore.”
‘Bloomberg and his NYPD may have taken Liberty Square for now, just as the banks have taken the homes and livelihoods of thousands across the world.
‘But today, we proved that the spirit of Occupy Wall Street and the will of the 99% is stronger than ever.
‘They, the 1%, cannot evict an idea whose time has come!
‘Yes, the whole world is watching. But more importantly: the whole world is waking.’
• On Saturday Occupy Wall Street announced that protesters in Washington DC and other cities had ‘liberated unoccupied buildings for the 99 per cent.’
Its statement said: ‘Today, Occupy K St./DC liberated the empty, city-owned Franklin School.
‘The school was closed several years ago and initially reopened as a homeless shelter.
‘Despite widespread public opposition, the city government later closed the shelter.
‘Next – in blatant disregard of social safety net programs that are necessary for the very survival of the people who are most directly impacted by economic injustice – announced plans to turn the building either into luxury condos or a hotel for the 1% lobbyists on K St.
‘In a move similar to other recent building occupations in Oakland, Chapel Hill, New York, and London, dozens of occupiers entered the building with sleeping bags and food and declared their intent to stay indefinitely.
‘Occupy DC announced plans for an open forum to be held at a church next Monday to discuss uses of the building with the public.
‘Inside, they began cleaning the building to make it usable for the community.
‘From the roof, occupiers chanted “We are the 99%!” as others dropped a banner reading “Public Property under Community Control” over the school.
‘Meanwhile, hundreds rallied in support outside.
‘Police, including the Metropolitan Police and federal Protective Services, responded with full force.
‘A massive police presence blocked all of 13th St and declared the area a “crime scene.”
‘Police then moved into the building and arrested all inside, carrying out people cuffed at the arms and legs.
‘Some protesters banged on the police vans from inside and outside, while others tried to block the vehicles altogether.
‘Police declared they would charge all those inside with unlawful entry, and threatened others with felony charges if they interfered.
‘In New York, students occupied New School buildings and dropped leaflets and banners from inside.
‘Occupations across the world have recently adopted the tactic of taking over unoccupied buildings.
‘In North Carolina and Oakland, protesters occupied vacant downtown buildings.
‘As described by Occupy Chapel Hill: In the midst of the first general strike to hit the US since 1946, a group of comrades occupied a vacant building in downtown Oakland, CA. Before being brutally evicted and attacked by cops, they taped up in the window a large banner declaring, “Occupy Everything”
‘On Nov. 12 at about 8pm, a group of about 50 – 75 people occupied the 10,000 square foot Chrysler Building on the main street of downtown Chapel Hill.
‘Notorious for having an owner who hates the city and has bad relations with the City Council, the giant building has sat empty for ten years. It is empty no longer.
‘In all four cities, building occupations were met with brutal police action. However, in the UK, members of Occupy London have occupied a vacant office building owned by a subsidiary of the Swiss Bank, UBS. The protesters have announced their intention to stay in the building under British squatter’s rights laws.’