General Strike Shuts Port of Oakland and Downtown Banks

Categories: Front Page, General Strike - 11/2/11, News

Port shut down by strikersHuge, enthusiastic, crowds swarmed through downtown Oakland with half a dozen major marches on banks and corporations that shut down Wells Fargo, Chase, Citibank, Bank of America and many others.  Police stayed clear of the strikers who ranged freely, from Broadway to Grand Avenue and around the Lake.  By late afternoon the crowds had swelled to over 10,000.  Waves of feeder marches continued to pour into the Oscar Grant Plaza, including 800 children, parents, and teachers  who had gathered at the Oakland Main Library.

The evening march to the Port stretched from downtown to the freeway overcrossing in West Oakland and thousands more protestors kept arriving as the third convergence of the day reached its peak.  Over 20,000 people joined the march which made its way to the main entrance of the port and shut it down completely.  Port officials confirmed that the workforce was sent home.

Back at Oscar Grant Plaza a festive atmosphere continued as  the Alameda Labor Council and dozens of representatives from a cross-section of unions served barbecue to thousands.  Day of the dead altars, a 99% story telling tent, string sculptures, and hundreds of posters surrounded the encampment of the occupiers.  Speeches, impromptu music jam sessions, and rock and roll echoed off the office towers as Oaklanders and Bay Area workers celebrated a hard won victory of the 99%.

As of 8 pm the police remained hidden out of sight.
Seize the Time!
Late into the night the police returned in force, reportedly to deal with the building occupation at the former homeless service center on 16th street which was closed and vacant. The interim Police Chief claimed at a press conference the next day that he feared the building would be set on fire. On this flimsy pretext the police cleared the building. the Interim Police Chief also acknowledged having called on other police departments from around the region to come to Oakland much earlier in the day, but provided no explanation as to why.

After the raid on the occupied building, some demonstrators set fires to trashcans and built barricades in the streets. Others attempted to extinguish the flames. Unknown persons broke several local shop windows and spray painted slogans on numerous buildings. Police used tear gas and batons, injuring a number of protestors seriously including one who went without medical attention for 18 hours before finally being transferred to Highland Hospital with a broken spleen. About 80 people were reportedly arrested.


Top Right: Port Shut Down

Left: Wells Fargo Shut Down

Right: Angela Davis Addresses the General Strike Rally


13 Responses to “General Strike Shuts Port of Oakland and Downtown Banks”

  1. Raceyjones

    Agreed, please read my post below. I wrote it before the moderator posted the replys.

  2. Raceyjones

    Please understand. The vandals who did this do not care about the Occupy Movement. They are just looking to make trouble. They find it fun. The huge majority of Occupy Oakland protesters condemn violence and the destruction of property. Power To The Peaceful.

  3. oldpompous

    A few words for those who threw rocks through the windows of businesses:

    Do you really think that scares the big banks? They love that shit. It marginalizes the movement and turns the rest of the 99% that we need to actually force change against us. Fixing up a few windows is small change for the banks. What really costs them is stuff like Bank Transfer Day and yes, the General Strike.

    Occupy Oakland’s General Strike was a howling success and then a few idiotic punks had to go spoil it with their childish, counter productive antics.

    I’ll repeat what others have said because you can’t repeat it often enough. Occupy Oakland needs to issue a proclamation reiterating their commitment to non-violent civil disobedience and condemning the actions of the punks who threw rocks through windows on the evening after the strike. And then post it prominently on your site.

    If you’d like some ideas of how such a proclamation might read, how about this:

    Proclamation Against Violent Strategies For Social Change

    “We, the people of Occupy Oakland, wish to state that we do not condone, much less support, violent strategies for social change.

    We specifically condemn the violent actions of those who threw rocks through the windows of businesses in areas close to Oscar Grant Plaza after the successful non-violent General Strike in Oakland on November 2, 2011.

    We take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to non-violent civil disobedience as a mechanism for social change.”

    Feel free to use what you want, change what you want, whatever. But you guys need to distance yourselves from these jokers.

  4. moey

    indeed. furthermore, while i can get behind the idea of reclaiming space, doing so at the end of what had been a glorious day of peaceful and positive protest makes very little sense to me. can we please try to be a bit more strategic in our actions? the general strike brought out numbers in the thousands and successfully shut down one of the country’s busiest ports – by all measurements this should have been an indisputable victory for the movement. it should have also been undeniable proof that we can conduct ourselves with integrity even in the absence of official law enforcement. the mayor and the cops gave us a pass on november 2nd and in the late hours we decided to piss all over it. i for one am disappointed. a little more attention to timing would have gone a long way.

  5. marco01

    No mention of the violence and vandalism? Is this the white-washed version? For most news outlets, this was a major part of the story. Ignoring it will not make it go away, the OWS movement must address this problem or the movement is done.

  6. Raceyjones

    Occupy Oakland MUST endorse non-violence. These f*cking violent punks are going to hijack the whole movement. If they want to do their thing, they should do it on their own but they can’t because there is not enough of them. Don’t let them ride on the on trail of all the peaceful people and bring this beautiful movement down. Power to the PEACEFUL!

  7. spiny norman

    You need to get tactics to sort out your problems with the black bloc. How about this that I read somewhere. Three man teams called crash-tackle squads. The aim – crash tackle a blac bloccer and fish out his/her ID. Put it into google see who we get. In the absence of an ID take a photo. Catch and release, done.

    And all with fair warning sure enough. A notice is sent to all the main sites saying, ‘Given that the secret police are slated to be here and yet no one has caught sight of anyone resembling them apart from you; given that they’ve been caught red-handed doing precisely what you’ve been doing; given that you seem to pull your shit utterly unmolested every fucking time all the while providing an excuse for cops to crack the heads of peaceful protesters: the following actions will be implemented. (cue description of crash tackle squads) No bleating, you have been warned.

    Maybe you can think of something better but you need to be aware of the black bloc hi-jacking peaceful protests to turn them into violent situations and to give the media their violent images for the news. Notice how the black bloc never organize their own separate actions but only ever turn up to disrupt peaceful demonstrations. This happens the world over.

  8. participativa

    In Spain, the media has only shown images of riots in Oakland, however, the 15M Movement is well aware of your courageous and non-violent struggle. Before each Assembly I give them updates of your activities. You have our full support.

  9. ertdfg

    Men’s warehouse shuts down for your strike, to show support; and you break their windows and vandalize their store. Did nobody tell you? When working an intimidation and extortion racket; you DON’T ATTACK the people who cave in and pay up… Attacking the people paying you protection money you’ve extorted from them is going to make it harder for you to get others to believe that caving to your demands, threats, an harassment will cause the intimidation to end.

    If you’re going to bust up stores regardless of what they do, why would anyone bother to cave in to your demands? Seriously, if you’re not any better at running a protection/extortion racket than this you’re going to have a lot of trouble. Get some mobsters or mafia people to show you how it’s done, you’re just embarrassing yourselves out here.. I mean you’re screwing up some of the simplest criminal activities there are…

    If you’re going to destroy my property regardless what I do, I might as well oppose you and call the police. What, it can’t be worse thatn what you’d do if I supported you entirely as Men’s Warehouse did… so screw off.

  10. Eric

    Can we get some politician recall campaigns going. Like our two US Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both belong to the 1% and have transferred more wealth from the 99% to their 1% friends then any other politician I know of. We need to put the attention on the politicians and the people who voted for them. We can’t blame all the issues on the business executives when the politicians are just as responsible for this transfer of wealth. Look at Solyndra deal, they give out bonuses to executive before the company files bankruptcy. Also recalls and voting are something that every part of the 99% can participate in. You need to extend this campaign beyond the .1% and get everyone involved.

  11. honey-coop

    I just want to say that I am generally impressed by the amount of people who turned out for the Strike, but I am also a little concerned about the innocent who were effected by it.
    By shutting down branches of banks or other offices, did anyone think about the employees of those branches who are struggling to make their goals? Now they are down an entire day of numbers because of the Strike that is intended to be against the “greedy 1%”. The people effected who were forced to leave work are the “99%”.
    Shutting down a branch of a large corporation is not going to impact the CEO.
    Many invloved will ready this and come up with some “For the GReater Good” comment. THat’s fine. But I hope at least someone takes it to heart and thinks about the people who are just trying to keep their jobs through these hard times.
    Congrats on the turnout, though.