Why Occupy hopes to shut down West Coast ports

Organizers of the Occupy movement’s West Coast port shutdown, planned for Monday, Dec. 12, issued the following statement early this morning (to which I added links):

As of November 27, 2011, the Occupy movement in every major West Coast port city: Occupy LA, Occupy San Diego, Occupy Portland, Occupy Tacoma, Occupy Seattle have joined Occupy Oakland in calling for and organizing a coordinated West Coast Port Blockade and Shutdown on December 12, 2011. Other West Coast Occupies, including Occupy Anchorage and Vancouver, Canada are planning to join the economic blockade and disruption of the 1% on that date, according to organizers.

“We’re shutting down these ports because of the union busting and attacks on the working class by the 1%: the firing of Port truckers organizing at SSA terminals in LA; the attempt to rupture ILWU union jurisdiction in Longview, WA by EGT. EGT includes Bunge LTD, a company which reported 2.5 billion dollars in profit last year and has economically devasted poor people in Argentina and Brazil. SSA is responsible for inhumane working conditions and gross exploitation of port truckers and is owned by Goldman Sachs. EGT and Goldman Sachs is Wallstreet on the Waterfront,” stated Barucha Peller of the West Coast Port Blockade Assembly of Occupy Oakland.

“We are also striking back against the nationally’ coordinated attack on the Occupy movement. In response to the police violence and camp evictions against the Occupy movement- This is our coordinated response against the 1%. On December 12th we will show are collective power through pinpointed economic blockade of the 1%.”

Each Occupy is organizing plans for a mass mobilization and community pickets to shut down their local Port. The mobilization of over 60,000 people that shut down the Port of Oakland during the general strike on November 2, 2011 is the model for the West Coast efforts. Organizers state that a police attempt to disrupt the port blockade or police violence against any city participating will extend duration of the blockade on the entire coast.

“These Ports are public. People have a right to come to the Port and protest. The ILWU has historically honored picket lines at the Port.” stated Clarence Thomas, a member of ILWU Local 10.

ILWU longshore workers are involved as individuals in the planning of the Shutdown. “I am a longshoreman and I support the December 12th Blockade against EGT. EGT is a threat to the survival of the ILWU,” stated Anthony Leviege, a member of Local 10. Dan Coffman, the president of Local 21 in Longview, has publicly thanked the Occupy movement and Occupy Oakland for its actions on November 2nd.

Further interviews and details can be obtained through local Port Blockade committees and the Oakland West Coast Port Blockade Assembly.

UPDATE @ 8:11 P.M.: As one re-tweeter noted, and I agree: There’s no way 60,000 people attended the Nov. 2 general strike in Oakland – not even close.

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.

  • Celia

    http://www.ilwu.org/?p=3296 Please see the ILWU statement on the matter-Clarence Thomas is not speaking for ILWU.
    My understanding from reading this statement is the ILWU is not supporting this strike. I don’t expect this to be anything like Nov. 2nd.

  • BGR

    Readers should also be aware that some of the appointed directors and employees of Oakland Port (and others?) are acting in concert with OWS to promote these shut downs in violation of their fiduciary responsibility to the public. They should be removed from their positions and prosecuted. Check the reports about the first “closure” of Oakland Port band you will find active participation by union friendly support by those in charge. Thye did not have to close the Port…they wanted to.

  • Elwood



  • Elwood

    Let’s try this again:


  • Josh Richman

    Sorry, Elwood, this template doesn’t allow photos embedded in comments; best I could do was turn your text into a link to the image.

  • Elwood

    Good job, Josh!