#BlackLivesMatter activists and allies have shut down freeways and BART here in Oakland and around the country, speaking out, marching and protesting. They’ve made it clear that enough is far too much. That something needs to be done yesterday.
Instead, all of us have watched, every day, as more black lives become #hashtags. A policeman calmly pulls out his weapon and shoots a black man running away from him in the back multiple times, killing him. Then nonchalantly tries to plant a weapon near the body. All on video.
Another black man is pursued without reasonable suspicion, arrested, dragged into a van and a half hour later shows up at a hospital with his spine severed, ultimately dying.
Every few days another officer is acquitted, or charges are dismissed, or charges are never even brought.
And very few in the wider world, to put it bluntly, have given a FF.
In has stepped the ILWU. For a day, they will shut down the flow of commerce in Oakland, clogging up the arteries of the one percent. A symbol that this is not an issue that will wither, but which is growing.
ILWU Local 10 fought apartheid with actions at the Port of Oakland. Apartheid in South Africa is no more. They shut down the Port for a day after the murder of Oscar Grant. Johannes Meserle was indicted and convicted, if not of murder, then something – a one in a thousand event. The union did not go in to work during the Occupy shutdowns of November 2nd, 2011 and December 12, 2011. History is still to judge the ultimate effects of Occupy’s message, but there is no doubt it was heard around the world. Most recently, in August of last year, ILWU workers refused to cross community pickets to unload Israeli-owned Zim ships, protesting the oppression of Palestine. Zim ships no longer dock at the Port of Oakland.
With this latest action, ILWU Local 10 is sending their message to the powers that be that the murders of Tamil Rice, Eric Garner, and the hundreds of others since Michael Brown will not longer be tolerated without consequence. As the call to action says:
ILWU, Local 10 is leading a Day of Action on May 1st, 2015 to call national attention in order to STOP POLICE TERROR. There will be no longshoremen working on that day in the Port of Oakland. The port will be SHUT DOWN. Disrupting commerce in this country is one means to find viable solutions to STOP POLICE TERROR. Please join us in this action and stand up against police terror.
Cat Brooks, #BlackLivesMatter organizer, recently wrote:
Rallies, marches and protests are important but they are ONLY important if they are utilized as organizing tools that mobilize the masses so that when it comes time to dismantle this beast, we have the bodies, minds and spirit to do so. Judging from the silence in Amerikkka’s streets – I guess we are not there yet.
You are invited to be part of the there – to help drown out the silence.