Reuters reports that Occupy protesters are planning to shut down ports in the west in an effort to focus attention on economic inequality. I wonder if anyone bothered to ask them how this stunt will help the 99%. Not that these rotten commies care.
Anti-Wall Street protesters, hoping to briefly cripple a key supply chain of American commerce and re-energize their movement, plan to attempt to block major West Coast ports on Monday.
By marching on U.S. ports from California to Alaska, organizers look to call attention to economic inequalities in the country and a financial system they complain is unfairly tilted toward the wealthy.
The planned action comes after the Occupy movement that began in New York in September has seen its tent camps in most big West Coast cities dismantled in police raids, leaving the movement looking for new avenues to voice its discontent.
But a plan to shutter multiple ports simultaneously could prove difficult because some of the facilities are in massive complexes with multiple entrances that would be tough to fully block, even if large numbers of demonstrators turn out.
Activists aligned with the Occupy Wall Street movement did briefly succeed in shuttering Oakland’s port, the fifth busiest in the nation, for hours on November 2 after police kept their distance.
Oakland, long an Occupy hot spot, may again be center stage on Monday in a day of protest seen as a test of the movement’s momentum, along with the combined ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Organizers are also targeting Portland, Anchorage, Seattle, Tacoma and Houston.
“The objective of the day is to shut down the port through mass action,” said Mike King, a graduate student who acts as a media liaison for Occupy Oakland. “The Occupy movement is attacking the 1 percent at their point of profit.” (Read More)
To the one percent this will be a petty annoyance. To the people whose livelihoods depend on their paychecks, this will mean a day of lost wages right before Christmas. Oh, and let’s not forget the taxpayers who will foot the bill for this rotten little escapade.
Update: Not all of the unions are on board with putting their workers out of work.
But unlike last time, when the area’s major unions gave tacit or outright approval, many of them see Monday’s action as disruptive and unnecessary.
And some occupation activists are labeling it as too confrontational, with the protest’s potential for violence detracting from Occupy’s stated intention of narrowing the chasm between rich and poor.
“Support is one thing,” Robert McEllrath, president of the International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union, wrote to his members last week. “Outside groups attempting to co-opt our struggle in order to advance a broader agenda is quite another and one that is destructive to our democratic process.”
Not the 1 percent
The Alameda County Building and Construction Trades Council’s secretary-treasurer, Andreas Cluver, said many of his union’s workers were recently hired at port building projects after long stretches on unemployment. Given that, a port shutdown aimed at punishing the 1 percent “makes no sense,” he said.
He said no union at the port supports the shutdown.
“We’re extremely supportive of the message of Occupy Oakland, and we did come out to support the Nov. 2 general strike, but we’re not behind this one,” Cluver said. “When working people aren’t involved in the decision on whether to shut down their jobs at the port, that’s problematic. And we weren’t consulted. Losing a day of wages is hard.”
He added: “The port is a public entity. It’s really not the 1 percent. Go shut down a country club – that’s the 1 percent.”
Together, the unions represent more than 1,400 workers at the port. Other unions that have refused to endorse the shutdown, including the California Nurses Association, declined to comment – all apparently not wanting to antagonize protest organizers. (Read More)
Update: Scared Monkeys linked – thanks!