Friday, December 23, 2011

[olympiaworkers] Occupy Wall Streets Next Steps – Part 2 – How to Win a Fight with the 1%

Occupy supporters must re-orient their organizing from mass, symbolic
actions – such as "mic-checking politicians" and waving signs at CEO's -
to more targeted campaigns designed to win real, immediate gains for

Over the past month, Occupy Wall Street has chalked up a large number of
bold actions against both government and private authorities; it has led
an attempted general strike, raucous marches, occupations of banks and
abandoned buildings, disruptions of political speeches and press events,
and a massive West Coast shut down of major port terminals partly to aid
longshore workers in their fights against their employers.

The actions, moreover, have already achieved limited successes – besides
having created space for Americans to come together outside of the
established political system, they have rightly been credited with having
stopped fee increases amongst the largest banks in the country, as well as
having widely validated the American public's fury over increasing
inequality, generating massive media exposure. Largely, however, the only
real material victory of Occupy so far – its having stopped increased bank
fees – has been incidental, and was in no way a conscious objective of the
Occupy Movement.

Accordingly, the Occupy Movement remains increasingly susceptible to
losing its momentum if it does not achieve some tangible, substantive
gains for itself and for its communities. People, after all, don't just
want to vent forever – they want something done. We can be certain that if
people do not see real results from the Occupy Movement soon, they will
move on to something which seems to offer them more; and with our two
political parties gearing up for election season, we should take this
threat all the more seriously.

Concretely, what this is going to mean for Occupy supporters is to
re-orient their organizing from mass, symbolic actions – such as
"mic-checking politicians" and waving signs at CEO's - to more targeted
campaigns designed to win real, immediate gains for ourselves.

A look at Direct Action and the Seattle Solidarity Network:

A small group, comprised of only several hundred people, SeaSol is an
organization for local Occupy groups to look to for inspiration, because
of just how much it has achieved with such little resources, largely
because of its winning strategy.

Originally, a good part of this strategy was borrowed from organizations
such as the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and the Industrial Workers
of the World, who had launched Direct action campaigns similar to SeaSol's
present day actions.

The idea of confronting our problems ourselves, of course, actually
predates both SeaSol and its forerunners. It is based not only in the
anarchist tradition of self management, but critically on the idea that by
surrendering control over the outcome of your problems to someone else,
you've more than likely surrendered the outcome of your problem being
solved in your favor.

Thus, unions who have relied on the Democratic Party have lost the battle
over the Employee Free Choice Act, NAFTA, and even the right to basic
collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin; environmentalists have lost a
series of contests over offshore drilling and smog regulation; and citizen
volunteers for the Obama's 2008 campaign have lost battles for more
transparency in government, and an end to corporate influence over
legislators. The list could go on.

Despite the obvious setbacks of relying on political parties and
'specialists,' the reason organizations like the Democratic Party remain
so pervasive is because there is no obvious alternative for most people.
What alternatives there are in the United States are often disorganized,
directionless, and most importantly, they normally aren't relevant. They
simply don't achieve anything meaningful to our day-to-day lives.

SeaSol might be seen as a response, then, to both the dominance of
"professional" activist organizations which specialize in mediating
people's struggles, and to their ineffective counterparts who partake in
the sorts of symbolic, wishy-washy politics the grassroots left has become
synonymous with.

Practical Politics:

For social movements to not only sustain themselves, but also to grow, its
important for them to be relevant to other people's daily lives. They must
offer something that will, at least eventually, markedly improve their
quality of life.

The Seattle Solidarity Network has seen a good amount of growth in its
relatively short life span because it focusses on partial solutions to a
problem most people face: naked exploitation. Has your boss stolen your
wages? Is your landlord refusing to make needed repairs to your home? Have
you been discriminated against?

A brief visit to their website reveals that all of the fights SeaSol has
taken on – over stolen wages or deposits, for example – are rather small
conflicts. SeaSol's record of fighting for small gains such as these is an
important distinction between itself and other grassroots organizations on
the left.

SeaSol recognizes that to effectively address a problem, you must have the
resources and capacity to hurt your target more than it will cost them to
give into your demand. For a group comprising only several hundred people
– even for a group a hundred times this size – a fight to "end corporate
influence on government" would be absurd. A fight to force a landlord to
fix a mold problem, however, is probably much more manageable.

SeaSol shows this relationship – between the amount of leverage we have,
and the amount it would cost a target to give in to our demands – in its
"winnability graph."

Say, for example, you and your comrades in Occupy Wall Street wanted to
force a national bank to pay back all of the taxpayer money which was used
to bail it out when the recession hit. How hard a demand would this be for
the bank to give in to?

Well, that's billions upon billions of dollars that the bank would have to
pay back. That's a pretty big demand. So how badly would you need to hurt
the bank in order to make it easier for them to pay back that money than
not to give in to your demand? Theoretically, you would have to launch a
series of actions across the country which threatened to cost them
billions and billions of dollars.

Even with the size of the occupy protests as they are – that's probably
not something we should consider a "winnable" demand.

But what if instead of using our time at Occupy to make unwinnable
demands, we focussed on winning a series of smaller fights? What if
instead of trying to get the banks to pay back all the money they had
taken from taxpayers, we tried to stop foreclosures in our cities, home by
home? With the level of participation in the Occupy movement, demands such
as this might be much more workable – and consequently, build a larger and
better organized movement, which down the line, can demand larger and
larger concessions.

How to win a fight with the 1% – Putting the hurt on:

So, you've decided on a righteous demand that people will find compelling
and just – a demand you feel confident you and other occupiers in your
city can win. How do you go about fighting for it?

Make it clear what the demand is:

Throughout a fight, it is important that the target know exactly what they
are expected to do, or what demand they are expected to meet. SeaSol,
therefore, begins all of its campaigns with what they call a "demand

First, they write a "demand letter" addressed to the boss or landlord they
have a grievance with. Then, along with as many folks as they can gather,
the tenant or worker leads the group into the office or home of the
target. For a wonderful example of this in action, here's a great video of
one of SeaSol's demand deliveries:

The point is both to make it very clear what we expect the boss or
landlord to do, and to show our collective strength – the implication is
that here is a group of people who are going to be on you, hard, until our
demand is met.


SeaSol normally approaches a fight with a few principles in mind.

First, they know that the name of the game here is pressure. Essentially,
how are we going to make life very, very hard for our target until they
give in?

There are, of course, a lot of ways one may hurt an individual or company.
You can disrupt their bottom line, and hurt them economically, with
pickets, boycotts, or blockades. You can target their social connections,
and embarrass them in front of neighbors, fellow church goers or business
partners with flyers, letters, protests, or sit ins. There are,
ultimately, a nearly infinite number of tactics you can use to put
pressure on a target – it just takes some creativity.

To fit these tactics together into a coherent campaign, SeaSol first asks
itself "will this tactic hurt us, and will it hurt our target?" While a
sit in or a brick through a window may hurt our target, they also have the
potential to get our members arrested – in which case, we would also be
hurt by the tactic. So while there are no hard and fast rules for planning
which tactics fit any given situation, the general rule of thumb is that
you normally want your tactics to be sustainable (meaning you could,
theoretically, continue them indefinitely), and you want them to hurt your
target more than they hurt you.


A SeaSol organizer put the concept of escalation this way: "it isn't the
memory of what we did to the boss yesterday that makes them want to give
in, but the fear of what we'll do to them tomorrow."

As a campaign progresses, you want to give the target the impression that
things are getting increasingly worse for them – that you are constantly
escalating your fight. This means that campaigns will generally begin with
tactics wich are less intense, and gradually become more confrontational,
both in terms of their militancy and frequency.

So while yesterday you may have simply been putting up flyers around their
business, tomorrow you may be picketing their shop or disrupting a fancy
dinner party.

Next Steps:

It cannot be emphasized enough that there is a real threat to the Occupy
Movement in the Democratic Party. This election season, as is custom, the
presidential campaign will dominate most news coverage – pushing the
publicity for Occupy off the front page. Obama's campaign will be drumming
up support, threatening the American public with the prospect of a
Republican administration if he should fail to win re-election.

Good organizers and participants in your local Occupy groups will leave
Occupy to organize for Obama and the Democrats. The only effective
countermeasure against this will be to draw in new layers of support from
people not yet involved – and in order to do that, you will need to start
taking on fights which help and empower regular folks.

And, of course, whatever the targets local Occupy groups plan to take on
next, it will be important to remember these few little tips: make sure
the fight is relevant, winnable, and hurts.

Related Link:

Thursday, December 15, 2011


For immediate release – December 15, 2011



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 (see
), 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.

[olympiaworkers] Occupy Olympia: A call for solidarity

Up to date info as of 12:45 P.M., Thursday, December 15th


At about 8:30 A.M, Thursday, December 15th, . the Washington State Police
and Department of Enterprise Services delivered a "Notice to Cease and
Desist Camping" effective 12:01 A.M., January 16th., midnight tonight. The
notice stated they will come in and seize all property at Occupy Olympia.
In addition, they will not allow any future camping equipment at Heritage
Park. They reduced what is going on to an encampment although it is much
more than that, a site of protest and resistance, a movement for economic
equality and more.

A rally is being planned for today, Thursday, December 15th, beginning at
10 P.M.. There will be music and workshops. We invite you!

People will be at Media Island, today, 816 Adams, today, making signs and
cooking food. Help if you can.

We are asking people to show solidarity and support for those who have
been staying at Occupy Olympia by coming to Heritage Park tonight and
staying for the night if you can. Bring signs.

We are asking for solidarity and resistance to be non-violent.

The police may come at midnight, tonight, as they have threatened, but it
is also possible they will wait until dawn, Friday before they make their
raid. Raids are likely to be ongoing.

Legal and medical support and medical supplies in case there is a police
raid are urgently needed,

There will be a rally and march, Friday, December 16th at 4 P.M.,
beginning at Heritage Park.

Join us, invite others!

We hope that you can show up to support Occupy Olympia. Occupy Olympia is
just beginning.

Housing is still a need for the homeless in case Occupy is shut down.

We also need places where people can store their tents.


UPDATE: Impending Eviction at Heritage Park

December 15, 2011, 12:06 PM
UPDATE: Notice to vacate was served to occupiers of Heritage Park this

The notice said all structures and tents needed to be out of the park by
midnight tonight.

December 14, 2011, 9:42 PM
Impending Eviction – Meeting at 8AM, First Christian Church

There are a few sources indicating that State officials will be arriving
at Heritage Park to deliver a 20 hour notice to vacate to those camping at
Heritage Park. That puts time of eviction at around 5am Friday morning.

A meeting at First Christian church has been called for 8am Thursday
morning to discuss the impending eviction.

Letter to Gregoire

Governor Gregoire et al,

The Occupy Movement manifested as a direct response to the social and
economic injustices caused by a corrupt and heartless financial system. As
you know, the political encampment at Heritage Park, built by Occupy
Olympia, has quickly become home to a large number of people whose basic
needs have, for too long, gone unmet. As Occupy Olympia organizers
realized the magnitude of these needs, our focus shifted from simply
describing these injustices to actively mitigating them. For two months,
in addition to our other political actions, Occupy Olympia has run an
all-inclusive, all-volunteer social services agency in the mud- offering
heath care, drug & alcohol counseling, conflict mediation, food, shelter,
and weather-appropriate clothing to those in need. Our outrage against
bank bailouts, corporate personhood, government corruption, and unequal
distribution of wealth manifested itself not as violence or aggression,
but as 24/7 shifts in the wind and rain, working tirelessly with and for
the victims of corporate governmental policy. With the support of the
greater Olympia community, our success has been overwhelming and the
conversation has reached a fever pitch.

Repeated attempts to dismiss the political encampment at Heritage Park as
a "homeless camp" have failed; make no mistake, the encampment is a
political action. While people's basic needs go unmet, they cannot engage
in dialogue about social and economic justice. What we see emerging at
Heritage Park is a new wave of social and political activists– people who
care for each other and their community as it grows. Occupy Olympia didn't
create homelessness, or drug addiction, or poverty, or illness. We have
simply exposed these social problems by drawing them out and laying them
on the doorstep of our Capitol. As our elected officials and state
employees, yours is the burden of responsibility, while ours is a labor of

Winter is here, and we are faced with a dilemma: wintering in tents
between two large bodies of water in the middle of a wind corridor does
not sound pleasant, and while many of us have houses to which we can
retreat if conditions become unbearable, some of us do not. There are at
least 1,000 homeless people in Thurston County, and close to 100 living in
Heritage Park. We know that you want us to leave, but it's not that
simple. Some of the most dedicated among us call Occupy Olympia at
Heritage Park their home. In addition to having our physical needs met,
many of us have found within this community a place to build
relationships, escape from long-term drug addictions, and reclaim some of
the inherent human dignity that the system had stolen from us. It would be
unconscionable and unwise for you to use the threat of violence to evict
us, as is happening in so many other places; Occupy Olympia denounces
violence and expects that the Washington State Patrol will hold true to
their recent promise of meeting non-violent protest without violence. We
can only hope that the Olympia Police department will follow this noble

It is imperative that this blossoming community have a place to grow
roots, free from harassment, and that it have access to the training and
support necessary to creating a safe and sustainable self-governing
community. Occupy Olympia, in partnership with many local organizations,
is endeavoring to facilitate a situation in which the community
established at Heritage Park can be preserved indefinitely. We expect the
State of Washington to fulfill its responsibility to its citizens, by:

- working with the City of Olympia to provide an empty building for this
bourgeoning houseless community to spend the winter;
-bringing social service employees to this space to educate residents
about available resources;
-facilitating first aid, drug counseling, and conflict resolution
trainings for residents;
-refusing to support any budget cuts which further marginalize this
community; and
-creating new legislation which addresses, on a statewide level, the
issues outlined above

The location of this new space should be neither hidden nor distant; this
community will need quick access to main bus lines, grocery stores, and
free health clinics. This community will be recognized not as a fringe
minority, but as a group whose welfare is central to and indicative of the
health of our State as a whole.

In the spirit of the season, Occupy Olympia is giving the State of
Washington the opportunity to set a righteous and powerful example for the
rest of the nation by addressing the most basic needs of its people. Do
not let us down.

Occupy Olympia

Occupy Olympia Receives Human Rights Award

Monday December 19th there will be a reception honoring Occupy Olympia as
the receiver of the 2011 Human Rights Award by the Thurston County
Diversity Council. Occupy Olympia is receiving this award for unique

This reception is scheduled to occur in Building One, Room 152 of the
Thurston County Courthouse, 2000 Lakeridge DR SW. 6:30pm

[olympiaworkers] Occupy Takes Over the Ports: A Report from Oakland

Dec. 14, 2011 The Progressive

by Josh Healey

In all my years of marches and demonstrations, I had never been on a
picket line at 3a.m. Yet here I was on this oh-so-early Tuesday morning,
out on a quiet street on Oakland's waterfront alongside hundreds of my
fellow Occupy activists. All of us were cold, tired -- and cheering louder
than ever. Why the noise? We had just received word that the port
authority had cancelled yet another work shift, and the docks would be
closed till morning.

"We did it!" a young woman behind me shouted.

And indeed we had -- not just here in the Bay Area, but up and down the
west coast, the Occupy movement claimed victory in undoubtedly its boldest
action so far.

From San Diego, CA to Anchorage, AK and over a dozen cities in between,
the Occupy movement staged a coordinated day of action on Monday, December
12 aimed at disrupting the coast's various ports, dubbed by activists
"Wall Street on the Waterfront. Occupy Oakland had already shut down the
Port of Oakland once as part of its general strike of 40,000 people on
November 2, and put out the call to action for this protest to our sister
Occupy cities. We had done it before locally, but this time, with the
national focus and possibility for heightened repression, the stakes were
even higher.

Occupy activists framed the port shutdown as a solidarity action in
support of two labor struggles along the coast. We highlighted the
International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union (ILWU) dockworkers in
Longview, WA, whose union members have been attacked both physically and
politically by the international grain corporation EGA. Monday's action
also stood in solidarity with independent truck-drivers at the Port of Los
Angeles, who are paid bare-bone wages and denied the right to unionize.
One of the main port terminals, SSA, is owned in large part by Goldman
Sachs, the Wall Street financial giant that symbolizes the worst of
corporate greed and corruption. Targeting the international commercial
supply chain, and supporting the port workers in their ongoing campaigns
for justice, was a direct, one-day strike to the economic power of the 1%.

For the Occupy movement itself, however, this was our opportunity to
retake the initiative and claim new ground in an increasingly hostile
atmosphere of repression. After the aggressive police evictions of most
Occupy encampments around the country last month, many wondered if and how
the movement would continue without its signature bases. The West Coast
Port Shutdown, alongside the national "Occupy our Homes" direct actions
against foreclosures the week before, show that if anything, the movement,
still only three months old, is moving in a more radical, more coordinated

I spent the day on the streets of Oakland, participating in the largest,
and surprisingly perhaps least confrontational, action across the country
that day. I arrived to Oscar Grant/Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of City Hall
at 12p.m. on Monday, where a small crowd was gathered. By that time,
Occupy Oakland had already shut down the morning shift at the port, with
hundreds of activists blocking port entrances starting at 6 a.m. After
several hours at the plaza of music and occasional speeches, things picked
up at 3 p.m. with a larger crowd of over 1,000 people taking part in a
rally that featured veteran activist Angela Davis, hip-hop group Zion I,
and, receiving the biggest applause of all, Scott Olson, the Iraq war
veteran who became a movement hero after he was critically injured by
police in an October demonstration.

The Occupy movement is not about standing around listening to speeches,
though, and crowd members soon made it clear they were ready to march.
Along the now-familiar march route from city hall to the port, and even at
the port gates, the Oakland Police Department was almost nowhere to be
seen. Maybe they did not want to be seen shooting tear gas on peaceful
protesters again, or maybe there were too many of us to be able to do so,
but one thing is for sure: they were not missed by the marchers.

By 5p.m. when we reached the dock terminal, the crowd had swelled to over
3,000 people. Soon after our arrival, Boots Riley, the rapper/activist of
leftist hip-hop group The Coup and one of the lead organizers for the day,
made a welcome announcement: the dockworkers had been sent home again! We
had successfully shut down another shift, this time before we even set up
our picket line. A roar went up in the crowd, and the festive atmosphere
continued with music and dancing alongside - and sometimes on top of - the
empty big-rig trucks lining the road.

Word started coming in about the other Occupy actions around the country.
We heard that activists in Portland and Longview, WA had successfully
forced the closure of their ports, while other cities' actions were unable
to shut them down but still made a powerful presence. We also learned that
police had cracked down on activists in Seattle, San Diego, and out in
Houston, which was one of several non-Pacific cities to hold solidarity
actions the same day. According to the original Occupy Oakland resolution
calling for the port shutdown, we had decided that if there were any
police crackdowns, we would continue the blockade to the following day. At
the makeshift General Assembly that took place at the port at 7p.m., a
speaker asked the thousands of people in the audience, "Will we keep our
word?" The rousing cheer from the crowd was all the answer anyone needed.

A small group of activists stayed to hold down the entrance until the next
shift at 3a.m. Along with most the crowd, I left in search of rest and
food. Most people called it a night, but I came back at the agreed-upon
meeting time of 12:30am to rejoin the ranks. The group that had stayed was
still there blocking one entrance, and reportedly numbered between 150-200
people. I do not know the exact number because I did not see that group
all night. Instead, with our newly assembled group of roughly 100
returning protesters, we went to another port entrance, this one near Jack
London Square, where we had received word that the dockworkers would be
arriving later. Communication between the two groups continued for the
next several hours, along with several rank-and-file dockworkers
themselves who provided the most crucial information.

We picketed the entrance for two hours, mostly uneventfully, letting the
occasional car out (but never in) and trying to stay warm. At 2:30a.m.,
dockworkers started showing up in their cars, and several truckers pulled
up in their big-rigs. Small teams of Occupy activists went to go talk to
each person in their vehicles, hoping to win their support despite the
fact that many of them were losing money by not being able to work. The
dockworkers, part of the militant ILWU Local 10 with its own history of
shutting down the port, were almost universally supportive, if annoyed
about being up before the sun for no reason. The truckers, who are
independent contractors who do not have nearly the same amount of job
security or monetary benefits, alternated between confusion, sympathy, and
frustration. They were willing to listen, even happier to talk, and most
importantly, seemed willing to wait until 3a.m. to see what would happen.

As the scheduled shift time got closer, the picketers livened up with more
energy, especially after a much-celebrated coffee delivery. At 3:15am, all
the dockworkers drove off, and we received word that the port had sent
them home. A cheer went up along the line, but we decided to stay a while
longer just to make sure they would not call the workers back. Finally, at
3:30am, we called it a victory and called it a night. The dockworkers were
gone, and the few truckers left were allowed through to drop off their
containers -- but without anyone there to unload them.

We had stood our ground, and despite threats and intimidation by the port,
the corporate media, politicians, and even some union leaders, we had
successfully shut down the Port of Oakland for over 24 hours. This was not
some small demonstration at the local bank branch -- the Occupy action
directly hit the bottom line of major multi-national corporations. Isaac
Kos-Read, director of external affairs for the Port of Oakland, said that
"for the day, it was a loss of $4 million to $8 million, easily."

Beyond the economic impact, the West Coast Port Shutdown pushed the limits
of what is possible within the movement. In other countries, general
strikes and economic blockades are common protest tactics -- here in the
U.S., we had not seen them since the labor battles of the 1930s. But now
in just the last two months, the Occupy movement has done both, and
strategies that seemed impossible just yesterday are now on the table for
legitimate discussion.

At the same time, the action showed the continuing need for Occupy
activists to build coalitions beyond our ranks. While the November 2
general strike had the support of the ILWU leadership and most local
unions, this action did not. This had as much to do about legal
obligations and internal union conflicts between the leadership and the
rank-and-file. Still, Occupy is at its best when it makes strong
connections with progressive unions and community organizations. These are
the groups who have fought for affordable housing, immigrant rights,
racial justice, and other community concerns for years. Many of them are
already part of the Occupy movement, but this alliance-building takes
time. We need leaders and members from these various groups to continue
doing the hard work to bring people together. The 1% would love nothing
more than to play divide and conquer. It is on us to make sure our unity
is stronger than their attacks.

So now what? What's next for the Occupy movement, here in Oakland and
around the country? There are as many ideas as there are activists, but I
would offer this proposal: while we continue to escalate our tactics
towards the 1%, our focus should be on deepening our relationship with the
99% we say we speak for. This means connecting with local issues,
occupying foreclosed homes and shuttered schools, going door-to-door in as
many neighborhoods and languages as possible. In other words: organizing.
Let us use the winter as our chance to recruit our neighbors, coworkers,
and relatives. Then we might be able to really build a strong, sustainable
movement in every corner of our crazy, beautiful United States.

But hey, that's just my opinion. Tonight I am going to the General
Assembly of Occupy Oakland to hear everyone else's, and to celebrate our
victory down at the ports. After that, who knows, I might even get a good
night's sleep.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

[olympiaworkers] Port truck drivers thank ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protesters

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, December 12, 2011

A group of port truck drivers thanked the "99 Percenters" on Monday for
bringing attention to their profession, which they claim is rife with
labor abuses.

"Occupy" protesters disrupted traffic at ports along the U.S. west coast
on Monday, as a small number were arrested for seeking to shut down the
major trade cargo hub, officials said.

The port truck drivers, who were affiliated with the Coalition for Clean &
Safe Ports, stopped short of supporting the effort to shut down the ports.
But they were "humbled and overwhelmed" by the attention the action
brought. "Normally we are invisible," they said.

The biggest action was in Oakland, California where the anti-Wall Street
demonstrators closed the major U.S. port for 24 hours last month, as
protests were called from southern California up to Alaska.

Hundreds of demonstrators marched on the port early in the day, at one
point preventing trucks from entering or leaving a couple of gates. And
some 150 of 200 longshoremen were sent home to due to companies shutting
docks due to safety concerns, said the International Longshore and
Warehouse Union.

But port authorities said operations continued despite some disruption and

"The companies we work for call us independent contractors, as if we were
our own bosses, but they boss us around," the truck drivers said. "We
receive Third World wages and drive sweatshops on wheels. We cannot
negotiate our rates."

"Why are companies like SSA Marine, the Seattle-based global terminal
operator that runs one of the West Coast's major trucking carriers,
Shippers' Transport Express, doing this?" they continued. "Why would
mega-rich Maersk, a huge Danish shipping and trucking conglomerate that
wants to drill for more oil with Exxon Mobil in the Gulf Coast conduct
business this way too?"

"To cheat on taxes, drive down business costs, and deny us the right to
belong to a union, that's why."

Despite the hardships, they did not want to quit their jobs. The drivers
would rather stick together and transform the industry from within by
organizing themselves.

"Nowadays greedy corporations are treated as 'people' while the
politicians they bankroll cast union members who try to improve their
workplaces as 'thugs,'" they said.

"But we believe in the power and potential behind a truly united 99%. We
admire the strength and perseverance of the longshoremen. We are fighting
like mad to overcome our exploitation, so please, stick by us long after
December 12."

In Long Beach, south of Los Angeles, two people were arrested after
protesters marched on the port terminal of SSA Marine, a company 51
percent owned by Goldman Sachs, a key target of the Occupy Wall Street

But by early afternoon the Port of Long Beach said there had been "minimal
impact to port operations" during the rain-soaked demonstration by several
hundred protesters at one of the world's largest shipping ports.

"Most freeways, bridges and port access routes remained open, and all
shipping terminals were operational during the protest," a port statement

Further north in Portland, Oregon, where protesters also began
demonstrations before dawn, two people were arrested for possession of
weapons, and the port was partially closed down, according to local media.

In Seattle, Washington state, demonstrators planned rallies later in the
day, according to organizers. There were no immediate reports of protest
actions in Anchorage, Alaska.

In Oakland, across the Bay from San Francisco, more protesters were
expected later in the day, organizers said.

Authorities in the northern California city wrote an open letter to
protesters urging them not to shut down a port which handles some $39
billion in imports and exports per year.

"The port is connected to over 73,000 jobs in the region and more than
800,000 across the country. These are not just numbers. These are good
jobs held by real working people and working families," it said.

The loosely organized, left-leaning Occupy Wall Street protesters insist
they are exercising their freedom of speech in the run-up to November 2012
national elections.

Protest camps sprung up in recent months across the United States from New
York to Los Angeles, though many have been closed down by officials
wielding varying degrees of force.

With reporting by Eric W. Dolan

[olympiaworkers] Protesters halt operations at some western ports

OAKLAND, California (AP) — More than 1,000 Occupy Wall Street protesters
blocked cargo trucks at busy West Coast ports, forcing some shipping
terminals in Oakland, California, Portland, Oregon, and Washington state
to halt operations.

While Monday's protests attracted far fewer people than the 10,000 who
turned out Nov. 2 to shut down Oakland's port, organizers declared victory
and promised more demonstrations to come.

"The truckers are still here, but there's nobody here to unload their
stuff," protest organizer Boots Riley said. "We shut down the Port of
Oakland for the daytime shift and we're coming back in the evening.
Mission accomplished."

Organizers hoped the "Shutdown Wall Street on the Waterfront" protests
would cut into the profits of the corporations that run the docks and send
a message that their Occupy movement isn't finished.

The closures' economic impact, however, wasn't immediately clear.

The longshoremen's union did not officially support the protests, but its
membership cited a provision in its contract that allowed workers to ask
to stay off the job if they felt the conditions were unsafe.

Some went home with several hours' pay, while others left with nothing.

Oakland Longshoreman DeAndre Whitten was OK with it. "I hope they keep it
up," said Whitten, who lost about $500. "I have no problem with it. But my
wife wasn't happy about it."

Others, such as the truck drivers who had to wait in long lines as
protesters blocked gates, were angry, saying the demonstrators were
harming the very people they were trying to help.

"This is joke. What are they protesting?" said Christian Vega, who sat in
his truck carrying a load of recycled paper. He said the delay was costing
him $600. "It only hurts me and the other drivers.

"We have jobs and families to support and feed," he said. "Most of them

From Long Beach, California, to as far away as Anchorage, Alaska, and
Vancouver, British Columbia, protesters beat drums and carried signs as
they marched outside port gates.

Rain dampened some protests. Several hundred showed up at the Port of Long
Beach and left after several hours.

The movement, which sprang up this autumn in New York against what it sees
as corporate greed and economic inequality, is focusing on the ports as
the "economic engines for the elite." It comes weeks after police raids
cleared out most of their tent camps.

The port protests are a "response to show them that it's going to hurt
their pocketbooks if they attack us brutally like that," Riley said.

Protesters are most upset by two West Coast companies: port operator SSA
Marine and grain exporter EGT. Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs
Group Inc. owns a major stake in SSA Marine and has been a frequent target
of protesters.

They say they are standing up for workers against the port companies,
which have had high-profile clashes with union workers lately.
Longshoremen in Longview, for example, have had a longstanding dispute
with EGT, which employs workers from a different union to staff its
terminal. The longshoremen's union says the jobs rightfully belong to

"Disrupting port activities makes it harder for U.S. manufacturing, the
farm community and countless others to sell to customers and contribute to
our nation's economic recovery," EGT chief executive Larry Clarke said.

While the demonstrations were largely peaceful and isolated to a few gates
at each port, local officials in the longshoremen's union and port
officials or shipping companies determined that the conditions were unsafe
for workers.

In Oakland, several hundred people picketed before dawn and blocked some
trucks from going through at least two entrances.

A long line of big rigs sat outside one of the entrances, unable to drive
into the port. Police in riot gear stood by as protesters marched in an
oval and carried signs.

Shipping companies and the union agreed to send home about 150 of the 200
morning shift workers. Protesters cheered when they learned about the
partial shutdown and then dispersed.

Scott Olsen, the Marine Corps veteran who was struck in the head during a
clash between police and Occupy Oakland protests in October, led nearly
1,000 people marching back to the Port of Oakland on Monday evening.

A spokesman for the longshoremen's union said shippers at the port would
typically request 100 to 200 workers for the overnight shift but weren't
asking for any Monday due to the ongoing protests. Port spokeswoman
Marilyn Sandifur said the move would bring nighttime operations to a
virtual halt.

In Seattle, police used "flash-bang" percussion grenades to disperse
protesters who blocked an entrance to a Port of Seattle facility Monday

In Portland, a couple hundred protesters blocked semitrailers from making
deliveries at two major terminals.

Security concerns were raised when police found two people in camouflage
clothing with a gun, sword and walkie-talkies who said they were doing

Sunday, December 11, 2011

[olympiaworkers] West Coast Port Shutdown Monday December 12

Greetings and Solidarity from Occupy Oakland!

We present this call to you because we believe it is time the occupation
movement begins to work together to carry through coordinated, pinpointed
actions. We want to disrupt the profits of the 1% and show solidarity with
those in the 99% who are under direct attack by corporate tyranny.

Occupations throughout the US have been evicted through nationally
coordinated police raids. It is time for us to respond with our own
coordinated actions. Our aim is to shutdown the West Coast ports:

On December 12, the occupy movements in different cities will stage
mass mobilizations to march on the ports, create community pickets,
and effectively shutdown the hubs of commerce, in the same fashion
that Occupy Oakland shut down the Port of Oakland on November 2nd, the
day of our general strike. The Oakland Port Shutdown was a historic
and effective action, and the memory of that night on the port lives
in the hearts of people across Oakland and around the country.

The message to you from Occupy Oakland in the face of police raids and
continued disruptions of workers lives by the 1% is the following: The
Occupy movement will strike back and rise again! We will blockade all
of the West Coast Ports on December 12th in solidarity with
longshoremen, port workers and truckers in their struggle against the
1%! Together we are unstoppable! Strike while the iron is hot!

The following is the call for a coordinated West Coast Port Blockade to be
carried out by the Occupy movement. It is this call which we wish for
other Occupies to endorse and carry out. West Coast Occupations will have
full political and material support for each other in whatever ways are
necessary before, during, and after the port blockades. This call was
passed unanimously at our Occupy Oakland General Assembly on Friday,
December 18th.

Proposal for a Coordinated West Coast Port Blockade Passed Unanimously at
the Occupy Oakland General Assembly 11/18/2012:

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 organize a mass mobilization to
shut down its local port. Our eyes are on the continued union-busting and
attacks on organized 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 favor 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 honoring pickets or supporting our port actions, additional
solidarity actions should be prepared.

In the event of police repression of any of the mobilizations,
shutdown actions may be extended to multiple days.

We ask that you bring our proposal to your next General Assembly, as it is
urgent that each Occupy begins to organize and mobilize for this major
offensive ASAP. Please let us know if you have questions or need help.
Most importantly, please copy us on your support resolutions passed at
your GA's.
In Solidarity and Struggle,
Occupy Oakland

-In Oakland: the West Coast Port Shutdown Coordinating Committee will meet
on General Assembly days at 5pm before the GA to organize the local
shutdown, and to network with other occupations.

Friday, December 02, 2011

[olympiaworkers] The Atlanta Solidarity Network Continues Winning Streak Dec 1 2011

ASOL keeps up it's perfect record with another victory!

A few weeks ago, ASOL received a phone call from "N." - a part-time
employee of Key Lime Pie Hair Salon. She expressed, over the voicemail,
that she had heard of ASOL from a friend and really needed support:

DJ, the owner of Key Lime Pie (as well as Belly General Store, if you
remember from an earlier fight we had) owed her about $250; the remainder
of her last paycheck.

N. had been employed by DJ at Key Lime Pie for about a month doing odd
tasks like sweeping and rearranging display items. She was asked by the
owner to work there and that she would be paid $7.00/hr (less then minimum
wage) because it was an easy job. Having no other option at the time, N.
accepted the job and worked dutifully at it for several weeks.

After about a week-and-a-half, N. also began working at a nearby CVS for a
few hours a week - they were paying her much better and were flexible with
her schedule, allowing her to work only when she wasn't busy working at
the salon.

Shortly after this, DJ began complaining to N. that she thought N. was
"picking CVS over Key Lime Pie" and that "hurt her feelings." Predictably,
N. relieved herself of the burdensome employment at the hair salon to work
a more sustainable, fulfilling, and economical job at CVS. Unfortunately,
Key Lime Pie would continue to be a problem for N.

Despite several calls to the owner, the manager, the head of payroll, and
after visiting the store in-person several times, N. was not paid her
final paycheck for many weeks after her employment ended at Key Lime Pie.
In desperate need of funds, she called us.

A few of us met with N. the next day at a local coffee shop and discussed
a strategy with her and she came prepared with a demand-letter! Urgent to
act immediately, and willing to lead her own campaign (a necessary
prerequisite for our involvement) - we decided we would roll up on DJ
later that week, on November 2nd.

About 25 of us gathered at the corner of St. Charles and North Highland to
review the issue and go through the plan one more time. We then began our
march, excited and unified, into Key Lime Pie. The response couldn't have
been much better.

As soon as we walked in, the front-end clerk - recognizing us from a
previous fight, where we targeted the hair-salon for it's tertiary
involvement in another instance of exploitation - insisted that we needed
to leave and called the police! Rather than scare us off, this emboldened
us. N. demanded to speak to the owner all the while and a few ASOLers
spoke to a woman in line next to us about why exactly we were doing this.

After several minutes, N. realized the futility of continuing to talk to
the front-end clerk, a sympathizer of the boss, and decided we should take
this into our own hands; we began marching out of the product area, into
the actual salon area where the patrons received hair cuts. Finding the
owner here, N. demanded to speak to her immediately while other ASOLers
shouted over the payroll manager that "the next time you think about
getting your haircut here, remember that the owner doesn't pay the
hairdressers: tip really well!"

Reading the demand-letter, the owner began to crumble. Frantically, she
handed N. a paycheck. Opening it, N. realized that the check was still
$200 short and she let the owner know that we would be back at the end of
the week for the rest.

That, however, was not necessary.

Although we did come up with an exciting plan of action, the boss wired
$250 to N.'s account early in the morning!

Remembering the force we were able to put on her last time, it seems that
DJ is starting to get the picture: workers won't put up with mistreatment

The Atlanta Solidarity Network

Thursday, December 01, 2011

[olympiaworkers] Britain's unions say two million joined strike

AFP – Nov. 30, 2011

British unions say up to two million public sector workers joined a strike
Wednesday over government plans to weaken their pension rights as part of
its austerity programme.

The action shut thousands of schools, paralysed local authorities and left
hospitals to operate on minimum staffing, in what unions called the
biggest walkout in decades.

But the government contested the unions' participation figures and Prime
Minister David Cameron dismissed the day's action as a "damp squib".

London Metropolitan Police said the city's ambulance service had been
forced to ask them for help responding to emergency calls across the
capital due to a staffing shortage.

However, fears of long delays at London's Heathrow airport, one of the
world's busiest air passenger hubs, failed to materialise as most
immigration officials turned up for work.

Ferry ports and cross-Channel rail services linking Britain to continental
Europe also operated largely as normal.

Thousands of workers marched through central London and Manchester,
northwest England, during the 24-hour strike. Birmingham, Britain's second
city, in central England, hosted another major union rally.

London police confirmed they had made 75 arrests for a variety of offences
committed during the capital's demonstration.

The strike was the biggest test so far of Prime Minister David Cameron's
Conservative-Liberal Democrat government.

It was their plan to make public sector workers pay more into their
pensions and work longer that sparked the unions' fury.

Under the government's proposals, which form part of its efforts to slash
the budget deficit, public sector workers would have to work until they
are 66 and increase the amount they pay into their pensions.

But staff also face a lower pension payout based on their average salary
as opposed to the final salary schemes to which they are currently tied.

Britain's newspapers were generally critical of the walkout.

The centre-right Daily Telegraph called for a change in the law "to
prevent a repeat of yesterday's indefensible public sector strike".

The popular Daily Mail accused headteachers of abandoning schools and
causing "chaos and misery for millions of families."

Even the more sympathetic Independent bemoaned the strikers' "bad timing"
but stressed they were within their rights to walk out.

Unions reacted angrily Tuesday when finance minister George Osborne
announced a new two-year, one-percent cap on public sector pay rises and
plans to cut an extra 300,000 public sector jobs.

He had just revealed a sharply reduced growth forecast for Britain.

But Cameron was scathing about the strike, telling parliament it had been
a "damp squib" and lambasting unions for calling the action while
negotiations talks pensions were continuing.

Reforms to public sector pensions were "absolutely essential", he insisted.

And he accused Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labour Party, of
being "irresponsible, left-wing and weak" for refusing to condemn the

Unison, which represents 1.3 million public sector workers, said two
million workers had taken part in the stoppages, and they claimed they
also had wider support.

But Britain's Cabinet Office challenged this.

"The figures we have show turnout was much lower than these claims and
significantly less than the unions predicted," it said in a statement.

Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), the
umbrella group for Britain's unions, said the government had put the
public sector "under attack" and the strike was fully justified.

"There comes a time when people really have to stand up and make a stand,"
he told ITV television.

Neil Clarke, a union organiser with Unite, another major public sector
union, said: "The average public sector pension comes in at £3,000
($4,650, 3,500 euros) a year. Could you live on £3,000 a year?"

BAA, the operator of Heathrow Airport, said queues at border control
points were "normal", despite earlier fears that there might be delays of
up to three hours.