Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Whole World Isn't Watching: Occupy Oakland Strike Draws About 1000

Lame. Very lame. All the hype and they can only get a thousand people? Of course by the end of the day they'll tell us it was a million.
Hundreds of workers and students have taken to the streets in Oakland today as part of a daylong general strike called by Occupy Oakland organizers to protest economic inequity and corporate greed.

The protest began at 9 a.m. when about 1,000 demonstrators blocked the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway just steps from Frank Ogawa Plaza before marching toward local banks. The crowd was peaceful and almost celebratory - a band was playing and walking with the group and a "flash mob" broke out in dance at one point - but traffic, including AC Transit buses, was being diverted from the area. The bus agency said many of its lines are being detoured.

By 11 a.m., marchers had reached Wells Fargo Bank at 12th Street and Broadway. The bank was closed, and no workers could be seen inside. Across the street, Comerica Bank locked its doors as protesters approached. Before the protest, police asked the banks to close their doors to everyone except customers and "facilitate customer access at secured doors."

Many downtown businesses, including national chains like Rite Aid and Foot Locker, closed for the day.

No uniformed police officers were visible at the march. But undercover officers have monitored previous Occupy Oakland protests.

By the afternoon, the protest is expected to move to the Port of Oakland, where marchers want to shut down the container terminal there. Port officials said about 12 percent of longshoremen did not report to work.
There's UStream video here. The "Death to Capitalism" sign I saw is a nice touch.


Dave Josephson said...

It's probably more than 1000 because according to Bay Area press there are large and small groups scattered around the city, each doing silly protests outside banks or the Oakland Unified School District offices. Pretty pathetic, however, since Oakland has a population of around 390,000, and the very liberal Bay Area has a population of over 7M.

Regarding the Oakland Port, it is running in a slowed-down mode anyway, because of fears of exploding compressors on refrigerated containers from Viet Nam.

fiatlux said...

One of the core groups pushing the strike is the teachers' union. A realtive is a contract worker (non union, paid for specific classroom work) for the district. Much of the day at her elementary school is filled with teachers complaining incessantly (they make about 3x what a contracted person does plus benefits that are gold plated.) About 20% of the teachers spend more time on union business than on classroom work.

Because the district is a certified disaster case, parents have been pulling their kids and families have been fleeing the district for years. This has caused number of students to plummet and funding to drop. Over the last two months, various public forums have been held to inform that closures are inevitable and listen before making the cuts.the closures were announced last week.

OWS dove tails nicely with the work already being done by the union - they have already had sick-outs and one day walk outs during the last couple years. Besides closures (meaning fewer dues payers), they are worried that they will have bigger classes (still it will be below 30 which good teachers handle in their sleep all over the world) and they won't have as many hours of lounge/prep time.

The union agenda is the Quan agenda - they could careless about the bums in the plaza which is deserted after 5 pm and easily avoided by anyone not needing 15 differnt marijuana dispensaries to choose from.

Katie Behrendt said...

Does this look like a small turnout to you?  It's just one segment of the march to the port, by no means the whole thing.  The whole world IS watching and you better get used to it.