A major victory was achieved today for the ‘Occupy’ movement, when Occupy Oakland successfully shut down the heart of the city, many of its schools, the major banks and the port. The Oakland General Strike had been called to protest police brutality, after the police fractured Scott Olsen’s skull last week, and to make Capital pay for its crimes by hitting it economically.
At 9am, three thousand protestors assembled to listen to speeches by Angela Davis, trades unionists and others, and to hear the many messages of solidarity. We then set off on a series of marches round central Oakland during the morning and afternoon to ensure that all the major banks were shut down, to protest corporations which have close links with the Department of Defense or are particularly pernicious and to ensure that the business district as a whole remained shut down.
The demonstrators included teachers, individual Longshore workers (dockers), domestic workers, unemployed construction workers, parents and their children, seniors, students and other young people. Members of Occupy San Jose and Occupy San Francisco also took part. There was a high proportion of people of colour, mainly Asian and Hispanic, as well as immigrants organizations.
At 6pm, our numbers doubled to around six thousand, we set off for the Port of Oakland, waving banners and chanting anti-capitalist slogans, to shut down the port. Since all eight entrances can only be reached by one road, the sheer mass of people completely overwhelmed all attempts to enter or leave the port and brought all maritime operations to a standstill. This brought loud applause and cheers and dancing in the streets.
This victory will give greater encouragement to the ‘Occupy’ movement and make the capitalists think twice before they send their goons in again to attack demonstrators. It also shows that the way forward for the ‘Occupy’ movement is to forge strong links with the working class and its organizations and to take a more aggressively anti-capitalist line in its struggle.