“We will blockade all of the West Coast Ports on Dec. 12. Together we are unstoppable! Strike while the iron is hot!” it declared in a call to arms.
Trouble is, the folks they purport to be in solidarity with don’t seem hot on the idea to “effectively shutdown the hubs of commerce” at all.
“Any actions organized by outside groups, including the proposed Dec. 12 shutdown of various terminals on the West Coast, have not been vetted by our union’s democratically led process,” the International Longshore and Warehouse Union said. “Any decisions made by groups outside of the union’s democratic process do not hold water, regardless of the intent.”
The Occupy movements that make a fetish of applying direct democracy and near absolute consensus to its own decision making might want to take note of that.
Richard Mead, president of ILWU Local 10, which represents dockworkers at the Port of Oakland, said, “Our position is in the international’s press release. We’re not facilitating (Occupy Oakland’s strike call) in any way. We just want that clear.”
Jeff Smith, president of ILWU Local 8 in Portland, Ore., went further, telling the Portland Tribune his union won’t honor picket lines. “This is a third-party strike. We have to go to work,” he said.
Right, as do truck drivers and other members of the 99 percent employed in the myriad other occupations connected to port operations. Chief impact of the earlier Port of Oakland shutdown: “lost work hours, lost shifts and lost wages,” according to port commissioners in a full-page “Keep Our Port Open” ad that ran in Sunday’s newspapers.
Is the Occupy movement OK with that? Seems like it. “Occupies” from San Diego and Los Angeles to Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, have signed up “to join the economic blockade and disruption of the 1 percent,” according to a post on the “West Coast Port Blockade” website.
Non-coastal “Occupies” are also expressing solidarity. Occupy Denver, for example, “is calling for all land locked occupations to do the same with a coordinated shutdown of Walmart distribution centers throughout the United States on Dec. 12.” Where more members of the 99 percent work.