December 2, 2011
Communist Van Jones is calling on occupiers around the country to converge on major sea ports on December 12 in an effort to disrupt commerce. Jones sent out a message on Twitter linking to a story about the planned blockade.
Occupy movements plan to shut down major ports along the U.S. West Coast and Canada’s Pacific seaboard in a day of action next month, they said Wednesday.
In an announcement hours after a two-month-old anti-Wall Street protest camp was evicted in Los Angeles, they said they plan to strike back against the “nationally co-ordinated attack on the Occupy movement.”
Local Occupy movements in San Diego, L.A., Oakland – where protests shut down the port for 24 hours last month – Portland, Taco-ma and Seattle will support the Dec. 12 day of action, they said.
Farther north, protesters in the Canadian port city of Vancouver and in Anchorage, Alaska, will also “join the economic blockade and disruption of the one per cent,” they said, referring to the wealth-owning elite targeted by the “99 per cent” protesters.
“We’re shutting down these ports because of the union busting and attacks on the working class by the one per cent,” said Barucha Peller of the West Coast Port Blockade Assembly, of Occupy Oakland, in a statement.
“We are also striking back against the nationally co-ordinated attack on the Occupy movement. In response to the police violence and camp evictions against the Occupy movement, this is our co-ordinated response against the one per cent.
“On Dec. 12th we will show are collective power through pinpointed economic blockade of the one per cent,” she added.
My question is: When did communism become tolerated in America? And when did treason become a regular unpunished offense?
Update: Occupy Leader Says Union ‘Opposition’ to Planned 12/12 West Coast Port Shutdown Is ‘Just A Game’
In another sign of the #Occupy movement flying off the tracks of relevancy, the movement’s next major campaign – a planned shutdown of shipping ports on the entire west coast – is explicitly opposed by International Longshoreman’s Union, the union that the shutdown is purporting to support. However, statements from an Occupy leader indicate that the Union may be bluffing in order to avoid further legal trouble in an ongoing dispute they have with a Portland grain export facility…
Occupy Ports is JUST A GAME?
From Big Government:
But apparently the anarchy loving Occupy movement didn’t clear all of this with the heads of the unions theey are supposed to be in solidarity with. A Portland Trubune article headlined Unions: We don’t support Occupy port shutdown and subtitled Longshoremen say they will not participate in planned Dec. 12 West Coast protest appears to lay out a case for conflict between Occupy and the ILWU.
“We support the goals of the Occupy protesters but we are not supportive or participating in the shutdown of the West Coast ports,” says Jeff Smith, president of the International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union Local 8. The union represents workers who load and unload ships at the port, and also move freight in and out of it.
And the same article later quotes ILWU Local 8 president Smith saying succinctly…
“This is a third-party strike. We have to go to work,” says Smith.
It seems that the #Occupy movement forgot that the Union likes doing things the way it likes doing things. The Tribune article quotes a statement from ILWU President Robert McEllarth saying…
“Only ILWU members or their elected representatives can authorize job actions on behalf of the union, and any decisions made by groups outside of the union’s democratic process do not hold water, regardless of the intent.”
That all seems pretty definitive; two unions officials stating clearly and on the record that the Union will not be taking part in the 12/12 direct action. However, into the fray jumps Occupy Oakland’s Boots Riley, who says in the comments section of the Portland Tribune article…
There is a rift between some of the leadership and the rank-and-file. National leadership is trying to avoid a lawsuit. That is all. The rank-and-file support this, and in fact, the Longview actions by rank-and-file are not supported by the national leadership.
Dan Coffman of Local 21 says to Occupy Oakland: “You can’t believe what you people have done for my people” ILWU had to come out with the same official line for the November 2nd Oakland Port Shutdown. It’s just a game. The Longshoremen are down with this.
To fully understand what Boots is talking about, you need a little background about the labor dispute between the ILWU and a company called EGT in Longview, Oregon – you’ll note a reference to ‘the Longview actions by rank-and-file’ in his comment. This dispute is central to the 12/12 protest and is mentioned on the WestCoastPortShutdown.org website where they say, “We will blockade all the ports on the West Coast in solidarity with the Longshoremen in Longview in their struggle against EGT.”
So, what’s been going on in Longview? Well, enough violent and aggressive acts – including hostage taking – that the National Labor Relations board was forced to step in. The following is from an article back in September — before the #Occupy movement started — from The Wall Street Journal.
According to police reports, some 500 longshoreman broke in at about 4:30 a.m. Thursday morning and held six security guards hostage for two hours while the protesters rampaged through the facility. They cut brake lines on railroad cars and spilled grain from boxcars.
The grain terminal under attack is owned by EGT, LLC, which is a joint venture of U.S., Japanese and South Korean companies. The consortium built the facility for $200 million and announced it would employ non-union longshoreman to save $1 million a year in operating costs. Contract negotiations between EGT and the union broke down earlier this year. The facility has been under physical assault since July.
On August 31, the NLRB issued a complaint accusing the union of taking “violent and aggressive” actions, destroying EGT’s property and harassing its employees. In response to an NLRB request, federal Judge Ronald B. Leighton issued a temporary restraining order, which the union has ignored. It would have been impossible for the NLRB not to have issued a complaint when a union is publicly trashing people and property.
Subsequently, the NLRB got an injunction against the ILWU…
Judge Ronald B. Leighton of the Western District of Washington issued the Preliminary Injunction against both ILWU Locals late Thursday, responding to a request filed by Richard L. Ahearn, Regional Director of Region 19 in Seattle. Judge Leighton had issued a Temporary Restraining Order the previous week, and has scheduled a contempt hearing for Sept. 15.
The judge eventually fined the ILUW $250,000 for violating the restraining order.
So, the Occupy movement and Boots Riley have inserted themselves into an ongoing struggle that has delivered the ILWU a number of losses in the courts and through the NLRB. Occupy protests have turned violent any number of times and if such violence occurred during the 12/12 protest, it would likely come back on the ILWU and it would be the unions, not Occupy or Boot Riley, who would face legal action or hefty fines.
Now, go back and look at what Boots Riley in the public comments section of the Portland Tribune.
ILWU had to come out with the same official line for the November 2nd Oakland Port Shutdown. It’s just a game.
And Boots can’t keep quiet on Twitter, either, where he states…
And Boots crows about his play to create a ‘safety issue’ forcing workers to be sent home with pay.
These are all statements that could come up in court if the ILWU tries to later claim that they had nothing to do with the 12/12 protests. As Boots says, “It’s just a game.”