General Strike Called by Oakland, California Occupiers for November 2nd

General Strike Called by Oakland, California Occupiers for November 2nd

Oakland : CA : USA | Nov 01, 2011 at 6:59 PM PDT
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Oakland 1946

6:10pm. It is estimated that 8-10 thousand people participated today in the General Strike, and it is considered a success by the organizers. Following by live streaming and twitter made covering this event possible as it was not covered live by any main stream media, except for abc news helicopter.

5:45PM--Reports that the Bay Bridge has been occupied were not true. Marchers were on the overpass leading to the port.

5:30PM: Occupy San Francisco has blockaded one of the gates. It's official from the port authority, the port has been shut down. Reports state that if demonstrators cross over the gates, it's a federal offense and they will be arrested.

5:20PM--Unconfirmed report that the Port of Oakland Director has stated the port is effectively closed, so please allow workers to go home.

The message the demonstrators want to convey is the port cannot operate without the 99%.

5:00PM--Twitter reports thousands are on the way marching and Occupy San Francisco is also joining.

4:32PM--First loads of buses have arrived at the port. Discussions about blocking trucks. Trucks with cargo they will attempt to block, but trucks without cargo can pass through picket line. Critical Mass cyclists have also arrived. Those in buses are awaiting the arrival of marchers. Confrontations are taking place.


23.07 GMT: Young men with handmade 'stop police brutality' shields instructed to lead march to port

22.56 GMT: Crowd of at least 5,000 Occupy Oakland protesters preparing to march to Port of Oakland

UPDATE: 11-2-11 4:00PM Charter buses have arrived to transport demonstrators to the Port of Oakland. Some reports state the buses were donated. There will be marchers in addition to those being transported by bus.

UPDATE: 11-2-11 3:45PM. (PST) The march to the Port of Oakland takes place at 4:00PM where demonstrators want to shut the port down completely. It is already functioning at half level in support of the General Strike. Organizers will be picketing the entrance with the idea that workers in shift change might not cross the picket line. Port of Oakland is the main point of entry for Chinese imports.

Examples of some banners today:

"Make this movement too big to fail."

"Citibank increased profits by 75%, but only pay their tellers $12.50/hour."

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, there will be peace."

A large statue of Gandhi with "peace" written on a placard rolled through the crowd.

UPDATE: 11-2-11 3:15PM. Pacific Coast Bank which is a local bank was left alone as have been all small businesses. Only large corporate banks were confronted. Whole Foods is considered by organizers to be corporate with inflated prices.

UPDATE: 11-2-11 2:45PM.

21.42 GMT: Port of Oakland running at half capacity in solidarity with Occupy Oakland General Strike

Whole Foods Store had windows spray painted, one window broken, and tables and chairs in front of building tossed into the street. Organizers attempt to self police any violent actions by stepping in to stop people who get out of control. Unconfirmed report that one window was broken at a bank building downtown but which bank is unknown. Video report of windows broken at U.S. Bank by individuals wearing black covers on their heads. Some question about who these people might be if not part of the Occupy Oakland General Strike.

UPDATE: 11-2-11 2:30PM For the most part main stream media is not reporting this event, reported by live streaming Occupy Oakland General Strike. abc news has had a helicopter in the air and might be reporting. Demonstrators continue to march to banks in Oakland chanting "Banks got bailed out--we got sold out." A small skirmish close to Grand and Webster, but organizers stepped in to control a few people out of control. No police intervention was needed, but they have had helicopters in the air.

UPDATE: 11-2-11 1:15PM

Organizers are calling on all supporters to withdraw their money out of banks on November 5th.

Chase, Citibank and Bank of America have been shut down.

UPDATE: 11-2-11 12:45PM

Crowds are growing with estimates in thousands. Demonstrators marching to Chase and B of A Banks with the intention of shutting them down by blocking the entrances.

UPDATE: 11-2-11 12 noon

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich scheduled to speak to the crowd at noon.


18.46 GMT: "Anti-Capitalism" march planned at 2pm. Here's a photo of the banner

18.46 GMT: 18% of Oakland teachers called in sick today, instead of usual 1%. That's about 360 teachers joining the protest.

18.33 GMT: Huge banner at 14th and Broadway reads "Long live the Oakland Commune"

Live streaming:

Food will be served later today

Alameda Labor Council will be sponsoring a cook-out for the entire Occupy Oakland community in Frank Ogawa Plaza from 4:30-8pm. Additionally, some local unions in the Bay Area will also be holding actions at their worksites to demonstrate their support for the Occupy movement.

M Wollen reports Refueling @ Peet's [Coffee]. Security guy not letting in people wearing protest T-shirts #occupyoakland

Port of Oakland spokesmen Robert Bernardo says all 7 marine terminals are operating. Demonstrators announce to gathering crowd” shut it down for sure”, according to M Wollen on Twitter.

People are gathering for noon rallies at Well Fargo Bank branches. Signs say “Give Us Back our Money.”

Media reports say marchers are peaceful and so far no confrontations with police.

UPDATE: 11-2-11 10:25AM PST. Port was not shut down. New York Times reported Malin Wollen spoke with union representative and 40 of 325 workers did not come to work, and the port is still operating.

Twitter post by NattuhRose

Photo: They get rich. We get foreclosed. They get a bailout. We get mad!: hvelarde posted a photo: #occupySF #ows

Protesters preparing milk of magnesia eye rinse "just in case" police use tear gas today #occupyoakland

UPDATE: 11-2-11 10AM PST

Twitter post at occupyoakland reports wildcat longshoreman strike activity during the early shift has closed the port of Oakland. This is an unconfirmed report.

Noon march on banks at 14th and Broadway. The streets are closed to traffic.

Early this morning, a dozen progressives led by Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin set off down San Pablo Avenue for Oakland about 8:30 a.m., carrying anti-rich placards and a long banner that read "Occupy Oakland."

"We are marching in solidarity with the Occupy Oakland movement. We stand for the 99 percent that the system is failing," McLaughlin said, according to the San Jose Mercury.

UPDATE: 11-2-11 8:50AM PST

ABC news reports there will be three rallies today with the last one beginning at 5PM -- they will march to the Port of Oakland, where they will attempt to stop work by the 7PM shift. The organizers say the purpose is to emphasize that the flow of Chinese imports enters through this port. The demonstrators hope the unionized longshoreman will refuse to cross the picket line.

UPDATE: 11-2-11--8:20AM PST

Hundreds of teachers have been given persmission to participate in the General Strike.

Oakland Unified School District spokesman Troy Flint said teachers are being allowed to join the general strike as long as they provide prior notice to their supervisors so that proper supervision can be arranged for students.

“We support many of the ideals contained in the Occupy Oakland movement,” Flint said. “We believe public education and other social services are underfunded. It’s impacting kids and families in a negative way," he told KCBS TV news this morning.

Some small businesses have complained they could lose business today, but the Oakland Occupiers said small business owners are part of the 99 percent, and the strike is for their benefit as well.

Updates to follow today, including the proposed shutting down of the Port of Oakland, which the Occupiers have said is one of their goals.

"Will BART be closed? Will the buses be running? Will the streets be blocked off? That's what we don't know," said Dianne Klein, a spokeswoman for the University of California, which employs about 1,300 in downtown Oakland, as reported in the San Jose Mercury.

The University of California will allow office employees in Oakland to make individual decisions.

Some businesses in downtown Oakland are closing, and some have already experienced a decline since the strike announcement came last Friday, the same day Michael Moore came to speak in support of the Oakland Occupiers.

After the police crackdown and injury of Scott Olson, Oakland Occupy has been joined by allies in favor of tomorrow’s strike, according to Red, Green & Blue.

Protesters hope to shut down the Port of Oakland, which is the fifth busiest shipping port in the U.S.. Organizers say they will be marching outside banks, corporations, foreclosed homes, schools, libraries in a broad based call to action.

General Strike in Oakland in 1946

Oakland was the site of America’s last great general strike. Over the course of two days in December 1946, 130,000 workers in Oakland refused to work out of solidarity with a strike by 400 mostly female retail clerks in which police were intervening. Union officials called the massive strike a “worker’s holiday.” All stores but pharmacies and food markets were shut down. After two days, the general strike ended when the city government pledged police neutrality in future strikes. The retail strike continued for another five months before being resolved.

If a general strike is effective in largely shutting down the economic activity in a city, it means that hundreds, if not thousands, of workers won't be able to work even if they don't want to participate in the strike. This might be because transportation is shut down or the businesses they work for are unable to operate normally. Loss of a day's pay would likely result.

General Strikes in the Past

General Strikes before 1919

The idea of a "general strike" is a "strike of a majority of the workers in the more important industries of any one locality or region," originated and was developed in Europe. The essential premise behind a general strike is that labor can bend employers to its will if instead of stopping production in a single industry, it shuts down work in an entire city or region, according to

This concept has its beginnings in the second decade of the 19th century in England and first appeared in that country in 1842. This first strike began with a strike by coal miners against a reduction in wages but developed, through the efforts of labor leaders, into a mass protest by workers in many industries and across several English counties.

Eight decades later and an ocean away in Boston, the strike of 1919 already shared certain crucial elements with future general strikes: a grievance in one industry spreading to others, the political nature of a general strike, the refusal of the most powerful national labor organizations to provide support, the military response by the government and the ultimate failure of the strike.

Throughout the 19th century, Europeans associated advocacy of a general strike with radical, revolutionary ideology. From 1864, Marxist First International was formed and first supported the general strike. The most enthusiastic proponents of a general strike were French revolutionary socialists, but their endless debates did not result in a single major general strike in the 19th century. The most successful mass strikes were the revolutionary strikes in Russia in 1905 and March 1917, the latter of which was instrumental in the overthrow of tsarism.

In North America, as in Europe, support of the general strike was mostly limited to radicals, such as the Industrial Workers of the World. "From its inception at the first convention in 1905, the Industrial Workers of the World had carried as one of its major aims the 'Social General Strike' as the final solution of the class struggle." I.W.W. leader William Haywood in 1911 declared that "If I didn't think that the general strike was leading on to the great revolution which will emancipate the working class, I wouldn't be here."

The first American general strike, the St. Louis strike of 1877, was organized by the Workingmen's Party, a Marxist organization. This small faction transformed, through speeches and organization, a strike among railroad workers into a strike by thousands of workers in several industries for the eight-hour day and a ban on child labor. This strike collapsed after four days due to disorganization on the part of its leaders, lack of food for the strikers and the arrest of those leaders by police and militiamen. The strike did not accomplish its main goals, though it may have achieved incremental gains for labor.

The Occupy Oakland General Strike could be a harbinger of the future for the “Occupy Movement” surging across the United States and abroad. The November 2nd General Strike could be the largest demonstration since the events against the Viet Nam War.

Occupy together is a website listing all the cities in the U.S. and countries abroad joining the Occupy Movement. You can be part of the General Strike by not using public transportation, not conducting business of any kind and staying home from work or school. You can participate with the 99 percent.

Proposal in the Daily Californian: Wear a green arm band to work or to school to show solidarity with Oakland Occupiers.

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November 2nd Occupy Oakland demonstrators. Picture: Reuters
Dava Castillo is based in Clearlake, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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