Port Authority: Occupy OC reports for duty in Long Beach

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Occupy OC at Long Beach port protest

Occupy OC protesters (to left of man in red poncho) travel of Long Beach for Port Closure Day.  Police threaten them with … dog bites?

I’ve known that today, Dec. 12, was supposed to be the day that Occupy protesters across the Pacific Coast (and apparently the Gulf Coast as well) would be shutting down ports, the better to impose a hiccup in the country’s supply chain from overseas.  (New York is also involved, because it seems like New York is always involved.)  I have had other fish to fry in recent days, though, so I haven’t paid much attention to the details.  Today, I learned that Occupy OC protesters had headed to the Port of Long Beach to take part in the confrontation that has been avoided in Irvine.  It seems like it was quite a scene.

It has also been instructional in showing how the … the — sorry, I’m just used to calling it the “Establishment,” a word I think we still need — has learned to react to the threat of confrontation with Occupy protesters.  (Clever little buggers.)  If you want to get a sense of how things played out nationally regarding Long Beach and other ports, here’s the best recounting of events that I’ve found.

The most disturbing things you’ll find there are these:

(1) They are targeting “informal” media, i.e. “livestreamers”

For example, see these updates from the above story, reporting from NYC:

7:52 AM PT: They have arrested THREE cameramen already!

Lorenzo, GlobalRev Livestreamer

Jeff Smith, @dontbeaputz, OWS Press Team

One independent journalist whose name we don’t know. Pictures incoming.

7:59 AM PT: Here’s the third cameraman in NYC being arrested. His twitter handle is #Johnknefel

8:05 AM PT: Tweeted by the OWS Media team:

@OWS_Live #OccupyWallStreet Police took livestreaming equipment. We are asking for it back on livestream and being refused. (livestream.com/owsnyc) #OWS #Dec12 #D12

(2) They are threatening people in Long Beach with police dogs

8:27 AM PT: UPDATE: LONG BEACH

Police HAVE ANNOUNCED that they will disperse crowd by force. I’m hearing that they have dogs. I cannot confirm.

8:30 AM PT: POLICE ARE ANNOUNCING THAT THEY WILL USE DOGS ON THE PROTESTERS IN LONG BEACH.

They specifically warned that they may be bitten by a police dog. WATCH TIM POOLS STREAM.

What we can see there, for those who cannot watch the video, is a sea of riot police in black, many of them holding day glo orange shotguns. They’re making an order to disperse, announcing that this is an unlawful assembly.

The people who do not disperse “may be subject” to “chemical agents, impact weapons, or bites from a police dog.”

That’s a direct quote from the Long Beach Police.

8:36 AM PT: Tim Pool (an Occupy protester and livestreamer) flashed his press pass, and was told by the police that since he was not “verified press” if he did not leave, he would be arrested.

“Verified press!”  Nicely done, comrade!

(3) At least some port closures have occurred

10:15 AM PT: We’re getting a report that longshoremen have been sent home for the day. Waiting for official verification.

10:16 AM PTLocal media is confirming: Longshoremen have been sent home. The port of Oakland is shut down.

(4) “The Establishment” is making impressive use of disinformation

The talking points were out early in the morning: “Schism between Occupy and Labor!  Labor opposes Port closure!”

Well, maybe it’s not quite that simple:

We got bombed with a stack of stories from the corporate media in the early morning with one message “Unions oppose this action.” That information is wrong.

At the time of writing, I am getting conflicting reports. Some say that the Unions DO support this shut down, or at least factions within them.

LABOUR GROUPS WITHIN THE PORTS SUPPORT THE SHUTDOWN

A collective organization formed by truckdrivers has OFFICIALLY STATED that they support the port shutdown, and claim that the teamsters “have our back.” This organization is a proto-union, as it is currently illegal for them to form a union.

All day, truckers have been honking their support for the protesters.

10:36 AM PTTruck Drivers From the Ports have officially THANKED the protesters for shutting down the ports.

10:36 AM PT: Link: http://cleanandsafeports.org/…

11:04 AM PT: I have a story up on those drivers:

http://www.dailykos.com/…

What the Hayek is going on here?  Two commenters explain:

We are hearing from ILWU rank and file that they have recieved a text message from the President of ILWU Local 10, telling them not to cross the picket line on Monday.

This indicates that the ILWU international leadership’s strategy of trying to divide workers from occupy and discredit the shut down is FAILING.  Prominent members of the ILWU have already stated that the rank and file will not be crossing the picket line or crossing with police protection.

Not crossing community picket lines has been standard practice since 1937 when longshoremen refused to load iron ore onto ships headed for Japan.

This is not a rumor, this is fact, confirmed by ILWU members at the Occupy Oakland shutdown meeting last evening.

To which another commenter says:

As a union steward, I suggest that the ILWU is telling their people to NOT cross picket lines because they have a legal basis to refuse to cross a picket line, but are not legally allowed to take part in a strike that is not related to workplace grievances brought by the Union itself.

In other words, if they want to support the strike, legally the only action they can take to support the shutdown is to tell members “DON’T CROSS THE PICKET LINE” and say it loud enough and often enough that the strikers get the hint to [do so]

SET UP PICKET LINES so We Union People don’t get fired for being part of a wildcat strike. HINT HINT WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE

I would bet that most if not all of we Union people are thrilled that this is going on, and looking for an opportunity to help.

SPECIAL BONUS:

Some people grouse: what does any of this have to do with Wall Street?

Well, first of all, the relation of cheap imported goods to the entire situation should be kinda obvious.  One commenter notes:

Big Business owns the merchandise that runs through these ports. They won’t be making as much money today, and since money is the only thing in the world they care about, Occupy exercises the power to stop them from making it. This World wide movement demonstrates that with enough people, we can shut down the 1%.

Goldman Sachs owns the company that is crapping on the taxpaying truck drivers that bailed them out. Koch products almost certainly go through these ports. But not today. Even if the products of the particular people who hurt us are not stopped, those whose money is being lost will certainly bring it to the attention of their Wall Street cronies the next time they play golf.

As for OccupyWallmart I think it is already being done, if not, it will be. Until the workers there make a decent wage, no one should buy their toxic crap.

Wait, what was that about Goldman Sachs?  Turns out they are deep into ownership of the ports — and labor suppression.  This is from Occupy Oakland, which apparently has been doing some homework:

SUPPORT GROWS FOR OCCUPY MOVEMENT’S COORDINATED WEST COAST SHUT DOWN ON DECEMBER 12TH

As of November 27, 2011, the Occupy movement in every major West Coast port city: Occupy LA, Occupy San Diego, Occupy Portland, Occupy Tacoma, Occupy Seattle have joined Occupy Oakland in calling for and organizing a coordinated West Coast Port Blockade and Shutdown on December 12, 2011.   Other West Coast Occupies, including Occupy Anchorage and Vancouver, Canada are planning to join the economic blockade and disruption of the 1% on that date, according to organizers.

We’re shutting down these ports because of the union busting and attacks on the working class by the 1%: the firing of Port truckers organizing at SSA terminals in LA; the attempt to rupture ILWU union jurisdiction in Longview, WA by EGT.  EGT includes Bunge LTD, a company which reported 2.5 billion dollars in profit last year and has economically devastated poor people in Argentina and Brazil. SSA is responsible for inhumane working conditions and gross exploitation of port truckers and is owned by Goldman Sachs. EGT and Goldman Sachs is Wallstreet on the Waterfront” stated Barucha Peller of the West Coast Port Blockade Assembly of Occupy Oakland.

“We are also striking back against the nationally’ coordinated attack on the Occupy movement. In response to the police violence and camp evictions against the Occupy movement- This is our coordinated response against the 1%. On December 12th we will show are collective power through pinpointed economic blockade of the 1%.”

Each Occupy is organizing plans for a mass mobilization and community pickets to shut down their local Port.   The mobilization of over 60,000 people that shut down the Port of Oakland during the general strike on November 2, 2011 is the model for the West Coast efforts.  Organizers state that a police attempt to disrupt the port blockade or police violence against any city participating will extend duration of the blockade on the entire coast.

“These Ports are public. People have a right to come to the Port and protest.  The ILWU has historically honored picket lines at the Port.” stated Clarence Thomas, a member of ILWU Local 10.

ILWU longshore workers are involved as individuals in the planning of the Shutdown.  “I am a longshoreman and I support the December 12th Blockade against EGT.  EGT is a threat to the survival of the ILWU,” stated Anthony Leviege, a member of Local 10.  Dan Coffman, the president of Local 21 in Longview, has publicly thanked the Occupy movement and Occupy Oakland for its actions on November 2nd.

I don’t know what your favorite news source is covering today, but if it ain’t covering this enough so that you can understand it, what it’s doing ain’t actual journalism.  Remember the old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times?”  Well, like it or not, we do.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)