MEDIA ROOTS — On Saturday, November 19, 2011, Occupy Oakland (OO) held another mass day of action after the nationwide crackdowns against the Occupy Movement days before. In response to the coordinated Federalised repression, the OO General Assembly voted unanimously for a coordinated West Coast Port Shutdown, for which ILWU leaders have announced support, even urging a simultaneous East Coast port shutdown. This would be the first nationwide port shutdown in U.S. history.
Thousands vigorously took to the streets and jubilantly marched through
downtown Oakland and around Lake Merritt before tearing down a fence around an
empty lot at 19th & Telegraph to establish another OO encampment. The
uptown location draws attention to the ongoing gentrification in Oakland, as
public schools are being closed whilst charter schools are opening.
The demonstrators held a huge dance party in the streets despite the pouring rain, as over thirty tents were set up by occupiers. Although not enough people held the space overnight to prevent a third raid by Oakland PD the next morning, 11/20, the Occupy Movement continues undeterred. Even as the long-standing OO encampment a few blocks away at Snow Park was forced out by police, 11/21, OO persisted with at least eight more tents sprouting later that evening “in a West Oakland lot at 18th and Linden streets.”
Abby Martin of Media Roots covers Occupy Oakland’s Day of Action Saturday, November 19, 2011.
On Friday, November 18, 2011, Jack Hayman, of ILWU Local 10, spoke with Steve Zeltzer of Work Week Radio on Pacifica Radio’s “The Morning Mix with Project Censored.” They discussed the burgeoning solidarity between labour, particularly ILWU, and the Occupy Movement in the wake of the historic Occupy Oakland General Strike earlier this month, the new call for a West Coast shut down of ports, as well as urging East and Gulf Coast ports to also shut down next month. -Messina
Dr. Peter Phillips (27:56): “The Occupy Movement certainly is a nuisance to the 1% and increasingly more so, as they worry and coordinate nationally the repression of that. And we’re just coming back stronger.”
Steve Zeltzer: “That’s right. That is a fear that they have. The other thing is this week the President of ILWU Local 21, Dan Coffman, was here in San Francisco and he spoke last night to ILWU Local 10. They are under attack by the same repressive forces in Longview, Washington where they brought in, union people are scabbing on their jobs, IUOE 701 [International Union of Operating Engineers Local 701]. But there was a meeting last night. Jack Hayman is a retired Member of ILWU Local 10 and he’s joining us this morning to talk about the meeting [with] Dan Coffman and a formation of a new committee, the Committee to Defend ILWU. Welcome, Jack, to the show.”
Jack Hayman: “Hello.”
Steve Zeltzer: “I wanted to ask you about a report about what’s happening, of the visit of Dan Coffman. What’s going on with this Committee to Defend the ILWU.”
Jack Hayman (29:03): “Well, Dan spoke at the Longshore Clerks Hall first, Local 34, to their union meeting. And then he came over to address the Local 10 Membership. And it was quite an event because we’ve all been waiting with bated breath to get a report on what’s happening up in Longview. And he gave a tremendous talk to our Membership. We hadn’t quite heard a report like this in a while. It was very inspiring. And the key point was that this multinational bank consortium, EGT, that they’re fighting up there is gonna be bringing in a big ship within the next month, he said. And a call is going to go out to all ports on the West Coast to shut down because what this is about is about union-busting. And they’re taking on probably the most militant union in the country. It’s not just a small local up in Longview of 200 people. It’s a challenge to all of the ILWU. And, in fact, what Dan said, a call will also go out to the East Coast and Gulf Coast ports to ask longshoremen there to shut down as well. So, if this happens, it’ll be the first ever nationwide strike of all the ports. And he got a tremendous standing ovation for that. The Members were really, really inspired, fired up.”
Steve Zeltzer: “The ILWU has supported the [Occupy] Movement and maybe you can talk about the march that’s gonna happen this coming Saturday [11/19/11], tomorrow at 2pm. And Dan will probably be speaking at that march.”
Jack Hayman: “That’s right. Dan spoke about the march tomorrow. But he first mentioned the November 2nd Port Shutdown here in Oakland that was led by Occupy Oakland. And he said they watched it on television. And it sent thrills down the spines of their membership. There was a collective shot in the arm for the entire Membership up there to see thousands of people pouring into the Port of Oakland in solidarity with the Longview longshore workers and shutting the Port down. I mean, he’s never seen anything like that, he said. And you could see it in his face, his expression. So, yeah, they have their union banner, he and Byron Jacobs, the Secretary Treasurer of Local 21 in Longview, will be marching. The Occupy Oakland march begins at 2pm, 14th & Broadway. They’ll be up front on the demonstration march. But he’s also gonna be speaking tonight, if the listeners out there are interested. There’s an Occupy Oakland General Assembly at 6pm and then we’ll be addressing that Assembly. So, I’d encourage listeners to come out to both of those, the General Assembly tonight at 6pm at Oscar Grant Plaza, formerly Frank Ogawa Plaza, and tomorrow, Saturday, at 2pm, 14th & Broadway.”
Steve Zeltzer: “Now, also there’s a committee that was recently formed at your union hall, Local 10. It’s gonna be meeting this coming Tuesday at 7 o’clock, the Committee to Defend the ILWU. You can reach it at [email protected]. What exactly is this committee?”
Jack Hayman (32:39): “It’s a committee to build rank and file support within the longshore unions and the labour movement in general. One of the activities it will be involved in is organising a caravan from the [S.F.] Bay Area up to Longview [in Washington state]. And that will be led by the ILWU Members. We’ll have motorcycles and cars and buses. And when we get the call from Longview, we’ll be heading up there in a caravan. And we just kind of bounced it around a little bit in a discussion last night with Dan and he seems to think that’s a great idea. Maybe they’ll have a caravan coming in from Portland and Seattle. And the idea is that if we can show that kind of support when this ship comes in, there’s a good possibility that Occupy Portland and Occupy Seattle will do the exact same thing that we did down here on November 2nd and shut the ports down.”
Steve Zeltzer (33:46): “Well, that sounds like a powerful response to the attack on your Members in Longview, Washington and also the attack on all workers. I was gonna discuss on the other segment there are many workers who don’t have a contract, Oakland Education Association, United Airline Mechanics, American Airlines. The Railroad Workers are working without a contract nationally. They wanna impose a contract. All these workers have the power. They’re not even without a contract. But it would mean fighting and breaking the law, though, to actually go out in some of these cases.”
Jack Hayman (34:17): “Well, yeah, what we’re looking at here is a first ever shutdown of all the ports in this country. And that’s gonna have an inspiring effect on other unions and people that are not unionised. That’s exactly what happened in the ‘30s when with these convulsive militant strikes by workers occupying plants, mass-picketing. And that’s what made the Labour Movement grow. People saw they could challenge the power of capital. And they organised millions and millions into the trade union movement.”
Steve Zeltzer (34:59): “I wanna thank you, Jack for joining us. We have to go on, but hopefully people can, if they are interested, come to the rally tonight and tomorrow at 2pm. And also on Tuesday night at 7 o’clock, they’ll be a meeting of the Committee [to Defend ILWU] at 400 North Point, ILWU. So, thanks for joining us this morning.”
Jack Hayman (35:18): “Alright, thank you, Steve. And thank you to everybody out there.”
Transcript by Felipe Messina