February 14, 2012
Occupy Wall Street and its hundreds of offshoots, cost the U.S. hundreds of millions of dollars in a few short months. Cleanup costs, police overtime, lost and disrupted production and countless smaller issues hit cash strapped communities at a time they could least afford it.
If, as some (including myself) predict, the movement expands and becomes better organized and more violent next Spring and Summer, the costs could become astronomical.
If you were an enemy of the U.S., a hostile power intent on bringing America to its knees, would you like to see this movement grow? Maybe even help it along a little? There is some evidence that one country has been doing just that.
That country is Cuba.
The O.W.S. movement got more than a little attention at a recent Cuban sponsored convention of communist led labor unions in Tijuana, Mexico.
The 8th U.S./Cuba/Mexico Latin American Labor Conference took place in Tijuana, Baja California, within sight of the U.S. border, December 2-4., 2011.
Speakers included several high ranking Cuban officials, including Heriberto González del Valle, a professor at the Lázaro Peña National School for Union Cadres in Havana, Dr. Raymundo Navarro Fernández, member of the Secretariat of the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba and Cuban Gilda Chacón, representing the formerly Soviet controlled international communist front World Federation of Trade Unions.
At the meeting, João Batista of the Central dos Trabalhadores e Trabalhadoras do Brasil stated that “that the Occupy movement has brilliantly shown the world that “U.S. imperialism” also affects the 99 percent at home.”
Certainly “Occupy” was on the conference agenda. Detroit activist and former conference organizer Cheryl LaBash, wrote in a November 5 article in Worker’s World, the publication of the militantly pro-Cuban Worker’s World Party:
Where is the electrifying Occupy Wall Street movement headed? From capitalist media pundits to the Occupy Wall Street encampments struggling to hold public space in countless cities and towns across the U.S., this question is bubbling underneath the daily actions and police repression.
An opportunity to discuss the experience of other such movements will take place just across the U.S. border from San Diego in Tijuana, Mexico, on Dec. 2 to 4 at the 8th U.S./Cuba/Mexico/Latin America Labor Conference.
It will follow a three-day Workers’ School with instructors from the Lázaro Peña Cadre School in Havana, Cuba.
The “National School for Trade Union Cadres Lazaro Pena” is affiliated with the Cuban Workers Trade Union Central and works with the Cuban office of the World Federation of Trade unions to “train” Caribbean and Latin American labor officials, from its base in Havana.
It is an organ of the ruling Communist Party of Cuba, charged with spreading Castroite doctrine throughout the region, by way of the labor movement.
A key US attendee at the Tijuana conference was Eric A. Gordon, an affiliate of both the Los Angeles Communist Party USA and its front organization, the Los Angeles Workers’ Center – which is headed by communist and Occupy Los Angeles leader Arturo Cambron.
Occupy “city liason” Mario Brito also has a long Communist Party record, as do several others in the organization.
Communist Party members have played leading roles in the “Occupy” movement well beyond Los Angeles.
On Tuesday, October 11, 2011, the Communist Party held a national teleconference to discuss the “Occupy Movement,” which by then had spread to 200 cities. Arturo Cambron, of the Communist Party and Occupy Los Angeles was the key speaker on the call:
Southern California Party leader Arturo Cambron will share how the CPUSA and Young Communist League (YCL) are working in “Occupy Los Angeles.”
This movement, also known as the “99% movement,” is being hailed across the country. Movements and organizations are reaching out in solidarity. The AFL-CIO is opening union halls and offering other material assistance. Ordinary people are donating food, money and materials.
A big challenge for the CPUSA and left, progressive movements is to link these demonstrations with the labor led all-people’s coalition and help deepen understanding that the path to progress must be through electoral and political action including defeating Republican Tea Party reaction in 2012.
We can also play a role in offering more advanced programmatic ideas like nationalizing the banks and socialism.To have a positive impact, the CPUSA and YCL must be a part of the “Occupy” movement, participating at every level and building greater local support for the actions among labor and progressive forces.
Connecticut activist Lisa Bergmann gave a report on behalf of the Young Communist League USA to a gathering of another international communist front, the World Federation of Democratic Youth, in Lisbon, Portugal, November 1-3. Bergmann praised the O.W.S. movement and explicitly linked it to the campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama.
My name is Lisa Bergmann from the Young Communist League USA. On behalf of our organization I would like to thank WFDY and the JCP for hosting this inspiring, well-organized event and for ensuring that the YCLUSA could be here with all of you today. The Young Communist League USA stands firmly, as it always has, united with all of you against U.S. imperialism, greed, and war…
Inspired by the “Arab Spring” and other youth movements in Europe and Latin America, the Occupy Wall Street Movement began in the heart of the U.S. capitalist system, and has now spread to more than 300 cities in the United States. ..
The labor movement in the U.S. has been one of the strongest allies to the Occupy movement. Other participants in the Occupy movement include peace activist groups, veterans, elected officials, immigrant rights groups, and of course the Communist Party and the Young Communist League! The Young Communist League, even though we are in a re-building phase, has participated in Occupy in every city where we exist, and has even initiated the Occupy chapters in some cities. Leaders of the Young Communist League and leaders of the Communist party have been arrested in Chicago on two separate occasions during police raids on the Occupy movement.
Finally, I will speak briefly about the 2012 elections in the U.S. The election of Obama in 2008 was a tremendous victory for the people of the United States and indeed for people all over the world. ..
That said, the fight for jobs and for real solutions MUST include re-electing Obama in 2012. It is the role of the YCL to emphasize this wherever we go, and to try to push youth in the Occupy movement and elsewhere who do not want to work with any politicians to understand that being absent from the political process is only allowing the ultra-right wing to build power… Angela Davis, when visiting Occupy Wall Street on October 31st, said that “It is up to US to build a movement. And it is up to Obama to respond to that movement. But he cannot do it on his own.
The Worker’s World Party also plays a big role in Occupy Los Angeles and other movements across the country from Michigan to New York. W.W.P. member Mike Martinez, also a participant in the Tijuana Conference, explained his party’s strong role in Occupy Los Angeles in a November 2 article for Worker’s World:
Early in the occupation, many participants opposed an “End Police Brutality Committee” proposed by some people of color because at that time, it was argued, “there has not been any police brutality at Occupy L.A.” At one point Mejicano activists who argued against the police being considered part of the 99 percent were booed by other, mostly white participants.
As the debate on police brutality grew, however, more and more of the occupiers began to reject the notion that police were friends of Occupy L.A., especially as Boston, Chicago and other city encampments suffered brutal police attacks. This opening cleared the way for the Oct. 12 Coalition Against Police Brutality to march from Occupy L.A. with a good number of supporters. A big program was held on the Pelican Bay Prison hunger strike.
Workers World Party activists participating in the events were able to call for a march in solidarity with the prisoners at the General Assembly, support for which passed by consensus just days before the striker’s demands were met and the strike called off. The WWP members also promoted a film about socialist Cuba, which was shown to all the occupation participants.
WWP members also helped organize another action at local bank offices.When they marched to Wells Fargo Bank just a few blocks away, security quickly scrambled to shut their doors and closed their lobby to the public with barricades. For the protesters, this amounted to a large victory, and they marched through L.A.’s financial district chanting, “Fight the banks, shut them down!” One marcher waved a large portrait of Lenin at the bankers. It was like waving a cross at a vampire. The next day there was also a Karl Marx portrait that read: “99%ers of the world unite!”
Ron Gochez, another Tijuana conference attendee, infamous in Los Angeles for his anti-police activism, created a stir at an occupy Los Angeles demonstration when he made the statement that “police are not part of the 99%.” His remarks were met with jeers from some of the crowd, who tried to shout him down. Later he said, “Although they (cops) might make the money of the 99%, they represent and defend the 1%.”
Martha Grevatt, a member of Detroit’s UAW Local 869 and a W.W.P. organizer, was also in Tijuana.
Grevatt says that considering the anemic job market, there is very little distinction between the labor and Occupy movements. She says autoworkers have responded accordingly. “I work on the auto shop floor, and working people really identify with the fact that people are standing up to the banks,” Grevatt said at a November 6 Detroit rally. “They’re standing up to the bosses, they’re saying no more cutbacks, no more givebacks. We demand jobs.”
Grevatt says union participation has graduated beyond pronouncements and vocal support. “It means everything that labor is involved. There are people who are union members and union leaders who have been camping out, who have been here every day.”
Perhaps the most influential and potentially destructive dangerous Tijuana conference attendee was Clarence Thomas, an ILWU Local 10 Executive Board member, an Oakland California identity and an affiliate of both the Communist Party and, more recently, the W.W.P.
Here is a video of Thomas addressing the Tijuana conference. Thomas invokes the memory of late Communist Party leader Harry Bridges and proudly lays out his plans for mass economic disruption to the assembled comrades.
(If you have trouble viewing video click HERE)
Clarence Thomas has played a key role in cementing ties between the ultra radical Occupy Oakland movement and the Bay Area’s very strong labor union community.
Thomas was also heavily active in encouraging the November 2 Occupy led shutdown of the Port of Oakland and the December 12, partially successful attempt to shut down every major port on the West Coast, from Alaska to Southern California.
Clarence Thomas wrote an article, which was published in the W.W.P’s Worker’s World, Nov. 16, 2011, entitled “Longshore workers applaud Occupy Oakland’s port shutdown.”
The eyes of the world were on the city of Oakland and the massive people’s march to the nation’s fifth-largest container port on Nov. 2 for the General Strike and Day of Mass Action called by Occupy Oakland. Not only has the Occupy movement gone global, Occupy Oakland has become the focal point of the movement.
In fact, on Oct. 28, Egyptian pro-democracy protesters marched from Tahrir Square to the U.S. Embassy in support of Occupy Oakland and against police brutality witnessed in Oakland on Oct. 25, and commonly experienced in Egypt.
The resolution by the Occupy Oakland Strike Assembly states on its website http://www.occupyoakland.org the reason for shutting down the Port of Oakland: “We are doing this in order to blockade the flow of capital on the day of the General Strike, as well as to show our commitment to solidarity with Longshore workers in their struggle against EGT in Longview, Wash. .. The driving force behind EGT is Bunge LTD, a leading agribusiness and food company which reported $2.4 billion in profit in 2010; this company has strong ties to Wall Street. This is but one example of Wall Street’s corporate attack on workers.
The Oakland General Strike will demonstrate the wide-reaching implications of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The entire world is fed up with the huge disparity of wealth caused by the present system. Now is the time that the people are doing something about it. The Oakland General Strike is a warning shot to the 1% — their wealth only exists because the 99% creates it for them.” The importance of the Port of Oakland shutdown was that it linked up labor, the community and Occupy Oakland in a strategic action at the point of production. Not only was the Port of Oakland shutdown impacting the movement of cargo in the Pacific Rim, it also disrupted rail schedules, trucking scheduling and “just in time delivery” services for companies such as Wal-Mart, on Nov. 2.
The labor movement must take a leading role in building a broad-based, working-class movement that challenges corporate rule and power by putting forward a people’s agenda The Nov. 2 General Strike and Day of Mass Action in Oakland was more than just a day of protest against corporate rule, power and police repression. It was a day of resistance interrupting the flow of commerce, and the closure of banks and the Port. It sets the example for other Occupy movements throughout the country to follow.
Clarence Thomas explained all this to a cheering and clapping communist labor gathering in Tijuana, where he addressed the closing plenary on December 4.
When alerting the assembled Cuban, American and Latin American comrades to the proposed West Coast shutdown on December 12, Thomas warned that results would be unpredictable because “these are revolutionary mobilizations…”
According to Worker’s World:
Today, Occupy activists from Vancouver, Canada, to San Diego, Calif., disrupted and shut down West Coast ports in solidarity with port workers. Specifically, they embraced the port truckers’ struggle for union recognition and efforts by the International Longshore Workers Union to fight union-busting in Longview, Wash.
They were also responding to federally coordinated attacks on the Occupy movement across the country. Once again, the largest protests were in Oakland, Calif. Despite continuous and well-publicized attempts by Oakland city officials and the Port of Oakland to discredit the port shutdown campaign, the all-day protest was massive. It started at 5 a.m. at the West Oakland Bay Area Rapid Transit station, in the shadow of the Port of Oakland.More than 2,500 Occupy activists, teachers, other union members, students and unemployed youth from all over northern California marched on the Port of Oakland to shut it down. The main two terminals scheduled for day-shift work were closed and the longshore workers sent home by 10:30 a.m.
The afternoon rally in Oakland featured fiery speeches directly targeting capitalism. Speakers pointed out how sexism, racism and anti-gay bigotry are all spawned by capitalist oppression and how it is the exploitation of labor that is the source of capitalist profits.
In Longview, Wash.,.., the port was shut down with the help of supporters from Portland and Seattle. Dan Coffman, president of ILWU Local 21 in Longview, thanked the Occupy rally by phone: “Without you this wouldn’t have been possible. You inspire us to keep on fighting. The ILWU is part of the 99 percent. You have the sleeping giant on [its] feet. … This is the rebirth of the labor movement.”
Some 1,000 demonstrators in Seattle marched from downtown to the port there and were able to completely shut down the night shift at two terminals. Occupy L.A. and Occupy supporters from the central coast of California successfully slowed operations at the Port of Long Beach and Port of Hueneme, respectively.Hundreds came — some media said 1,000 — to defend the right of truckers, mostly Latino/a drivers, to unionize, as well as in recognition of the ILWU in Longview, Wash., and the right of the Occupy Wall Street movement to continue without police repression and violence.
They came from Pasadena, Long Beach, Los Angeles and other areas with OWS activism — 55 from Riverside, Calif., alone — including Teamsters in their jackets and a hunger striker from San Diego in a wheelchair.Occupy4Jobs.org signs read: “Bust Goldman Sachs, not our unions.” The back-up of cars grew, waited and then turned around, but still no trucks.
Many police in a line pushed with batons against a wall of people determined to stop business as usual for capitalism for as long as they could on this day.
The Worker’s World Party and the Communist Party USA are both heavily involved in the Ooccupy Movement, all over the U.S.
Both are tied to Cuba and both organizations had representatives at the December 2011 Tijuana conference.
Cuban state employees were involved in training conference attendees, many of whom are active leaders of the Occupy Movement. Therefore there is a clear link between the communist Cuban regime and U.S. activists, clearly intent on causing mass economic disruption.
Should the FBI investigate what could well be a Cuban backed plan to disrupt the U.S. economy?