Oakland: Occupy movement seeks links with the working class
We are publishing here the calls from the Occupy Oakland General Assembly for a general strike on 2 November. This is a significant development in the ‘Occupy’ movement in the US, which while generally critical of ‘capitalism’ has also been hampered by a very confused view of what capitalism is, and in particular about the only way to oppose it: through the class struggle. But this appeal, coming after a number of very bitter experiences of police repression, marks a real step forward in that it is a direct call to the local working class to support the movement through striking. The response to the call by the GA was very impressive, not so much in the number of work places shut down, which seems to have been uneven, but by the willingness of thousands of workers to join the demonstrations even if it was after work. The evening demo to the port was planned in order to allow those at work to participate and drew in several thousand people (some estimates put it as high as 20,000). Although the port had more or less remained open during the day, the demonstrators succeeded in persuading dockers and truckers to join them and the port was closed for the night. This is how the LA Times described events: "As thousands of protesters flowed toward the port, truckers struggled to drive out. Others, like Mann Singh, stuck around with smiles on their faces. The 42-year-old Pittsburg resident said he arrived at 4:30 p.m. with an empty truck, hoping to park it and go home, but as the demonstrators gathered, he said, ‘I stopped to support them’".
Whatever secondary criticisms we may make of the texts that follow, we can only support their overall spirit and approach:
We as fellow occupiers of Oscar Grant Plaza propose that on Wednesday November 2, 2011, we liberate Oakland and shut down the 1%.
We propose a city wide general strike and we propose we invite all students to walk out of school. Instead of workers going to work and students going to school, the people will converge on downtown Oakland to shut down the city.
All banks and corporations should close down for the day or we will march on them.
While we are calling for a general strike, we are also calling for much more. People who organize out of their neighborhoods, schools, community organizations, affinity groups, workplaces and families are encouraged to self organize in a way that allows them to participate in shutting down the city in whatever manner they are comfortable with and capable of.
The whole world is watching Oakland. Let’s show them what is possible.
The Strike Coordinating Council will begin meeting everyday at 5pm in Oscar Grant Plaza before the daily General Assembly at 7pm. All strike participants are invited. Stay tuned for much more information and see you next Wednesday.
2. How YOU can participate in the General Strike!
November 1, 2011
WAYS TO PARTICIPATE ON NOVEMBER 2 GENERAL STRIKE & DAY OF ACTION
called for by Occupy Oakland
Occupy Oakland is calling for no work and no school on November 2 as part of the general strike. We are asking that all workers go on strike, call in sick, take a vacation day or simply walk off the job with their co-workers. We are also asking that all students walk out of school and join workers and community members in downtown Oakland. All banks and large corporations must close down for the day or demonstrators will march on them.
The Occupy Oakland Strike Assembly has vowed to picket and or occupy any business or school which disciplines employees or students in any way for participating in the Nov 2 General Strike. Please email [email protected] if you are the subject of any disciplinary action.
Occupy Oakland recognizes that not all workers, students and community members will feel able to strike all day long on November 2, and we welcome any form of participation which they feel is appropriate. We urge them to join us before or after work or during their lunch hours.
Below are some action ideas for strike participants to consider:
Gather in Downtown Oakland to help Shut Down the City
Join the Mass Gatherings at 14th & Broadway 9:00am, 12:00pm, 5:00pm. Strike Rallies will be held at these times with political speakers as well as time for open mic so that everyone can make their voices heard. There will also be action announcements made from the stage on this intersection for those who are interested in participating in pickets and shut downs of banks and large corporations.
Lead a march from your neighborhood, workplace, school, community center, place of worship etc into downtown Oakland to join one of these three mass gatherings. Have fun and be loud along the way to let people know why you are marching downtown!
Form a mobile blockade or flying picket that can take over important intersections in downtown with street parties and other creative ways to make our voices heard and shut the city down.
There will be numerous pickets and actions at banks and corporations across downtown but we need more! Get a group of friends, family members, co-workers or fellow students together to form an affinity group and make your voice heard and your presence felt at any of these locations in downtown. Let the stage on 14th & Broadway know about your action so they can announce it to the crowd.
There are many other autonomous actions planned for the day that will be occurring throughout downtown. One of them is the anti-capitalist march at 2pm meeting at the intersection of Telegraph & Broadway and another is the Feminist & Queer bloc against capitalism that will meet at 4:30 at 14th & Broadway.
Join the marches from downtown to shut down the Port of Oakland. These marches will be leaving at 4pm and another will be leaving at 5pm for the 2 mile march out to the port to stand in solidarity with the longshore workers and shut down the evening shift of the port.
Join the 4pm Critical Mass ride from 14th & Broadway out to the Port to join the shut down
Best not to drive into downtown: It is likely that many streets will be blocked to traffic so please bike or take public transportation if possible. It will also be useful to have a bicycle to move between actions or to march to the port.
Take Action in Your Own Neighborhoods and Communities
Gather neighbors, co-workers, or fellow students together and organize group walks and small marches around the neighborhood to have fun, raise awareness and encourage others to join you in the streets! Bring noise makers, signs, banners and let your community know why you are participating in the strike.
Stop at banks, large businesses, chain stores, gas stations, corporate headquarters, large commercial media outlets, etc. to protest and picket
Gather in neighborhood centers and on the corners of main intersections to hold speak outs, BBQs and street parties – make your voice heard and raise awareness by reclaiming space where fellow community members can join you and talk about the issues that affect them most and how we can organize together to build a powerful movement
If you must shop, only spend money at locally owned stores and as much as possible purchase locally-produced goods
Nonprofit and Community Organizations
Use your personal and organizational social media accounts (websites, facebook, linked-in, electronic newsletters, etc) to support the actions and keep your constituencies updated about what is going on in the streets of Oakland.
In the event of police violence, use your organization to denounce police repression and call for the release of all arrested strikers.
Provide resources for your staff to participate: allow time away to participate in direct actions; encourage work on projects aligned with general strike and occupy goals, host sign and banner making parties!
Bring materials to make signs: Banner material. cardboard, poster paper, markers, paint, spray paint tape, dowels, etc
Bring food and water to share!
Bring noise makers, instruments, sound systems and other ways that we can transform downtown into a celebration of our collective power
Write this legal number down on your body in case of arrest: 415.285.1011 The number will be staffed all day long and will coordinate legal support for those arrested in the strike.
Remember these four common points that the General Strike Assembly has agreed upon:
Solidarity with the world-wide Occupy movement!
End police attacks on our communities!
Defend Oakland schools and libraries!
Against an economic system built on colonialism, inequality and corporate power that perpetuates all forms of oppression and the destruction of the environment!
A Few Chants For the Strike
“Strike, Occupy, Shut it Down! Oakland is the People’s Town”
“Every Hour, Every Day! The occupation is here to stay!”
“Occupy Everything! Liberate Oakland”
“Politicians & Bankers, Liars & Thieves, We’re taking it back! We’re not saying please!”
“No more cops, we don’t need ‘em! All we want is total freedom”
“Shut Down OPD! Not the Public Library!”
“Let’s Go Oakland! Let’s Go!” [clap] [clap]"
see also: Occupy Wall Street Protests: The capitalist system itself is the enemy http://en.internationalism.org/internationalismusa/201110/4549/occupy-wall-street-protests-capitalist-system-itself-enemy
Occupy London: the weight of illusions http://en.internationalism.org/worldrevolution/201111/4569/occupy-london-weight-illusions