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.

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