"West Coast Ports Are the New Target for Occupy Wall Street," by Alpha Unit

On Monday, December 12, Occupy Wall Street protests will center around a West Coast Port Blockade, in which protesters plan to “shut down Wall Street on the Waterfront.”
According to the organization’s website:

The goal is to disrupt commerce to make the 1 percent, who own the shipping, business, and goods going through the ports, pay for their global austerity attack on working people.

Occupy Oakland is seeking a repeat of the “general strike” it achieved back on November 2. On Monday, Occupy Oakland seeks to create a greater “port blockade” with more than a dozen occupations all along the West Coast.
As Gavin Aronsen explains:

Occupy Oakland’s renewed call to shut down “Wall Street on the Waterfront” was sparked in large part by the October firing of 26 port truckers in Los Angeles and Long Beach who wore Teamster T-shirts to work in defiance of their anti-union employer, the Australia-based Toll Group.
Monday’s protests are also being billed as a protest against port terminals run by the Goldman Sachs-owned Stevedoring Services of America (SSA) and a show of solidarity with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s rank-and-file – particularly in Longview, Washington, where the union is engaged in a contract fight with Export Grain Terminal, a subsidiary of the agribusiness giant Bunge.

Union leaders sent this statement to all of its locals and affiliates:

While there can be no doubt that the ILWU shares the Occupy movement’s concerns about the future of the middle class and corporate abuses, we must be clear that our struggle against EGT is our struggle…Support is one thing, organization from outside groups attempting to co-opt our struggle is quite another and one that is destructive to our democratic process and jeopardizes our own two-year struggle in Longview.

The Port of Oakland is definitely opposed to any shutdown, stating that it would only hurt average citizens by diverting cargo, tax revenue, and jobs to other communities.
The Occupy movement’s response?

The ports are an issue for all working class people, not just the tiny percentage of unionized workers, or even the smaller group of port and longshore workers. Alliances can be formed between all these groups of workers.

The fact is, though, that this call for a port shutdown is being met with opposition from some union members and even by some within the Occupy movement. Some union members say that shutting down the ports to punish the 1% makes no sense and will cause hardship to workers who would lose a day’s wages as a result.
Some Occupy protesters also disagree with any kind of confrontation with port unions and feel that port shutdowns, confrontations with police, and encampments have outlived their usefulness.
On the other hand, there are guys like Joe Yovanny, who told the San Francisco Chronicle:

I’ll be losing about $700 for the day, and I have to use that to pay for my fuel and truck and all my expenses, but I’m glad they’re going to shut the port down. They need to make a statement. We truckers need better treatment.

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14 thoughts on “"West Coast Ports Are the New Target for Occupy Wall Street," by Alpha Unit”

  1. In my mind this just goes further to suggest that the US occupy movement, like it’ UK offshoot, is not comprised of normal working people, but instead the ‘perennial’ types, if you know what I mean.
    Same old faces.

    1. I agree with you Harry, having lived in the northern SF Bay area for 10 yrs you see the same ‘perennial types’ at these ‘movements’. the University of California crowd will be there, Greenpeace ‘warriors’, the few remaining living members of the Morningstar commune, etc.
      Why is no one protesting that BP has been awarded the right to drill even deeper in the Gulf of Mexico before it has even paid all of its trivial fines for their previous fiasco in the Gulf?

      1. Interestingly enough Bibi, I live in Britain, yet somehow I managed to guess that…
        I had a wander round the ‘Occupy London Stock Exchange’ camp a few weeks ago when I was in town, and it was much as I had expected. that said, I was very impressed by how they managed to organise the place, although I only saw it as an outsider.

    1. I can sympathise with their views, but I think I’d be pretty pissed off if I had to lose a days pay because of their antics.
      They don’t consider how working people will be affected by their actions, and they’re going to lose public support as a result of it.
      As Tulio said, Republicans will use this. They will say that Occupy is just a bunch of work-shy hippies. I’m starting to think that might be the case.

      1. The majority of the workers that will get hurt by this are non-union and independent contract. I.E truckers who don’t get paid if their cargo arrives late. Working class folks.
        They also f@cked-up traffic on the 710 this morning.
        They are going about this all wrong.

  2. I don’t think this is going in the right direction. They are going to do nothing but sour public opinion. The Republicans will use that sentiment to their political advantage.

  3. The only way this could work is if the workers themselves had a general strike of some sort, and that’s just not going to happen.

  4. I think that a lot of Americans have lost sight of the fact of what they HAVE rather than what they percieve not to have in this country….Several of my co workers are from other countries (the Philippines and several African countries) and they all think this is incredibly stupid, after hearing what living and working conditions are in their countries i agree.
    Americans have become Fat Dumb and Lazy.

  5. They made a splash by protesting in NYC and other areas but now I think OWS needs to protest where the rich folks live… Atherton and Woodside California (Where Larry Ellison, Charles Schwab, and the late Steve Jobs have homes…) and Greenwich Connecticut… (Home to many hedge fund managers…) and also Washington DC to get congress to change trade policies that benefit factory owners who move shop overseas. Basically blocking a few ports for a few days has little effect on the upper echelon and likely will produce little lasting change.

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