WHAT are you thinking?

Categories: Open Mic

“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.



3 Responses to “WHAT are you thinking?”

  1. SF Wine Gal

    I am a small startup based in San Francisco. I import wine through the port of Oakland from small, artisanal producers located in South America, and distribute these wines to small, local restaurants in Oakland and San Francisco. I am at a loss as to why you are deciding to protest the port. Your actions will detrimentally impact my small business (which I am still struggling to get off the ground), my local customers, and my family owned/operated suppliers. The goods that move through that port aren’t exclusive to large, Corporate America… there’s a ton of little guys involved, too. We’re just like you, and you’re really hurting us. Please… I respect your rights and your freedoms – all I ask is that you consider the rest of us, the ones like you, when you consider such an crippling shutdown.

  2. ryans

    You quote union presidents and not a single rank and file worker. Sorry for the mess, we’re trying to fix the world.

  3. Maxine Holz

    May I recommend posting this not only in the Open Mic but also in Discussions and Reflections as well? Your arguments are sound and you present them well. You are not alone in your opinion or your position.