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Lawmakers support Occupy Oakland’s strike

Local lawmakers support the general strike that Occupy Oakland protesters have called for tomorrow.

“Occupy Oakland’s November 2nd day of action is aimed at bringing attention to the great inequalities that exist in the United States. I join in solidarity with Occupy Oakland to confront the greed of Wall Street and the major banks and demand that the 1 percent pay their fair share,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland. “As the movement grows, we are likely to see more actions aimed at underscoring the inequalities faced by the 99 percent and we should support actions with these aims in mind. I continue to stand with the peaceful protesters in this struggle for economic justice and equality.”

“The decision to call for a general strike was made by the Occupy Oakland protesters,” said a spokeswoman for Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez. “It appears that it was made to amplify the main reason why they and others in cities across America began protesting in the first place, which is to further call attention to the unfairness of the American economy and the difficulties that the middle class faces every day. We will see how the residents and workers of Oakland respond to the call. More than anything, though, we hope that the day remains peaceful.”

Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda, said he supports tomorrow’s demonstrators “100 percent.”

“This is a campaign to save the middle class, and it’s long overdue. I’m encouraging everyone to demonstrate in a nonviolent way,” Swanson said, adding he’s a longtime supporter of civil disobedience tactics. “I think this is about changing the economics of our nation and increasing opportunity for people all over. … This is an opportunity to have a demonstration that will speak well of the way we feel about each other in this country.”

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, said, “I stand in full support of the peaceful protestors of Occupy Oakland and the Day of Action to achieve economic justice and jobs for the 99%.”

And, from state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley:

“As a part of the 99%, I support the Occupy Oakland movement and the Occupy Movements across the country. And this week, I will be adding my voice in support of the General Strike that has been called in Oakland.

“The Occupy Movement is a national outcry against the strangling influence of money and corporate influence on our economy, our political system, and on our national soul and reputation. I am grateful to them for rallying Americans from all walks of life to speak up and speak out against the forces that show them such disrespect. I am grateful that they are demanding a return to the American Dream of a strong and stable middle class.

“Every day my office intervenes to help people who are losing their homes and their jobs, or struggling to pay for their children’s education. I hear from frustrated and angry Americans worried about their retirement savings because of Wall Street greed and mismanagement.

“Unfortunately, I also see many of the biggest and most profitable corporations demanding more concessions from government — more tax breaks, giveaways, and special treatment, no matter what the cost is to our society. Every bill I have introduced in the Senate to make our tax system more equitable or take money out of politics has faced their powerful opposition.

“Peaceful civil disobedience is a basic human right and has been used ethically and successfully throughout the world. The violent response to peaceful disobedience last week could have been avoided and should be condemned. Oakland is a dynamic place where diversity is usually encouraged. It is tragic that Oakland is now known as the first and only Occupied City where violence has erupted.

“I urge the City leadership to work with the Occupy Movement – and the Occupy Movement to work with the City – to ensure that effective and peaceful protest can continue. As a person who has lived most of my adult life in the East Bay, raised my family here, and as a State Senator fighting for quality education, a healthy environment and economic equity for all Californians, I am ready to help in any way I can.”

UPDATE @ 2:05 P.M.: “We now live in an America in which income disparity is winnowing away the middle class,” said Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont. “Workers are angry as they struggle to find jobs while the richest among us gain ever more wealth. We have a long history of civic engagement and protest movements in our country. I understand the frustration of the Occupy movement. I hope their peaceful activism will bring about change.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.