Sunday, 11 December 2011

#Occupy's West Coast Port Blockade And National Actions Set For Tomorrow



I mentioned that #OccupySLC will be participating in a day of protest and solidarity with #OccupyOakland tomorrow, 12/12/11 (meet at Gallivan Plaza at 8 AM MST, citizens!).

I realized shortly afterwards that I had neglected to mention what Salt Lake City is acting in solidarity with. To rectify that mistake: Oakland's Occupy movement, which has been one of the hardest hit and most brutalized by police, plans to respond via a general strike / port blockade. #OccupySLC will be responding with protests of Walmart (more information on that  here  and  here  ).

This has led to an interesting dispute between #Occupy and Big Labor, in this case represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). Salon has a decent write-up of the dispute's outlines:

On Dec. 12, general assemblies (the decentralized governing bodies of [Occupy Wall Street]) in Los Angeles, Oakland, Calif., Tacoma, Wash., Santa Barbara, Calif., Portland, Ore., Seattle, Longview, Wash., San Diego, Anchorage, California's Port Hueneme region, and dozens of smaller camps plan to blockade ports and halt commerce for a day. There is a combined Dallas-Houston effort to demonstrate at the port in Houston. Japanese rail workers, who are sympathetic to longshoremen who work a partner company of Bunge - the company Occupy is protesting - will be demonstrating in Japan... 
The demonstration is in solidarity with Longview longshoreman, who say their jurisdiction is being threatened by multinational grain exporter EGT, as well as port truckers who have been prevented from unionizing in Los Angeles. (Their little-known plight was exposed by Salon in October). 
The campaign to shut down what some call "the Wall Street of the Waterfront" is consistent with the general Occupy Wall Street message on the distribution of power and wealth. Yet the effort faces opposition from the union bureaucracy's upper echelons, precisely because of the conflict with EGT...paradoxically, where labor conflict is starkest, the union leaders reject outside support, and when Occupy Oakland acts to support the union's members, the union itself resists.

I will have coverage of tomorrow's festivities here in Salt Lake City.

As it is Proud News of the Mountain West, I will attempt to collect and collate reports and updates regarding Denver's attempt to shut down a Walmart distribution center. Like Brother Eye and the noble O.M.A.C., I will also keep a watchful eye on the West Coat Port Blockade and the showdown between #Occupy and the ILWU. Stay tuned!

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