Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Occupy Oakland Regroups, Calling For a Strike

November 1, 2011

Occupy Oakland Regroups, Calling for a Strike

New York Times

OAKLAND, Calif. — A week after police in riot gear rousted and then tear-gassed Occupy Oakland protesters, supporters of the movement have rebuilt their encampment in front of City Hall and are calling for a general strike on Wednesday that will include an attempt to shut down the nation’s fifth-busiest shipping port.

“We call for a general strike around the country, and around the world, because we know that the wealth of the 1 percent is produced by the work of the 99 percent,” said Louise Michel, one of the protest organizers, at a news conference.

The plaza where the encampment is located is once again covered in brightly colored tents and tarps. Protesters estimate that several hundred people are sleeping at the camp nightly.

During the strike, protesters intend to march from downtown to the Port of Oakland and will try to close it down. Protesters also said they would picket banks, businesses, schools, libraries and any employer who tries to discipline striking workers.

Several major labor groups, including local units of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents port workers, have voiced support for the Occupy Oakland protests and the strike, though union officials have not authorized union members to strike.

While some small city businesses planned to close Wednesday, port officials said the docks would be open for business as usual. City offices will also remain open, though city administrators said city workers could request time off to participate in the strike.

In an effort to ease concerns over the possibility of renewed violence, the city issued a bulletin to business owners on Monday, reassuring them that police officers would be on hand should the strike turn dangerous. “We are not urging businesses to close on Wednesday,” the statement said. “Instead, we advise that you use common sense precautions and convey a sense of calm to your employees and customers.”

While police officials have drastically scaled back the number of officers at the Occupy Oakland camp since the violent clashes last week, police officials say all officers have been asked to report for work on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the union representing the city’s 645 police officers issued a statement saying that officers were confused by Mayor Jean Quan and the city administrators’ apparent support for the strike and the call for more police. “Is it the city’s intention to have city employees on both sides of a skirmish line?” the police union asked.

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