Tag: Oakland

Closing the Ports?

I was a little baffled yesterday when I heard that the Occupy movement was moving to close down ports. How is the 99% helped by preventing blue collar dock workers from doing their jobs? And how is their cause advanced by pissing off their most logical allies.

Occupy Oakland’s plan to shut down the city’s bustling port on Monday for the second time in as many months is facing a complicating wrinkle nowhere in sight last time – opposition from several unions and some within the Occupy movement itself.

The attempted shutdown will be part of a coordinated blockade of 11 West Coast ports from San Diego to Anchorage, Alaska, an effort conceived by Occupy Oakland to build on the success of the Nov. 2 general strike it led that closed the city’s port for more than six hours.

But unlike last time, when the area’s major unions gave tacit or outright approval, many of them see Monday’s action as disruptive and unnecessary.

Read the whole thing. It’s like the unions have suddenly realized the economic disruption doesn’t help them either. And with the unions opposed, Occupy has basically no one on their side. They have been reduced to what I feared they would become: a group of agitators protesting for the sake of protest.

Lock And Load

If nothing else in the last few weeks, the Bay Area has been a study in contrasts. Although Oakland’s business communities suffered vandalism and a loss of revenue, the movement, facilitated by the mayor channeling her inner Neville Chamberlain, was largely a bust. Very few city workers heeded the call and remained at work, some dopey teachers joined in, but the percentages that sided with the unwashed was minimal.

Some business owners tried to placate the crowd, show sympathy and solidarity for the movement, and try to persuade them that they too were part of the 99%, how did that work out for them?

Mens Wearhouse had a choice to stand with the market that made them a success and with their fellow businessmen in the community. They chose to stand on the side of the mobs. I won’t stand in one of their stores again. I guarantee it.

The customer is always right, so not only will they have less customers (actions have consequences) but they have several windows to repair.

Other business owners sized up the crowd pretty well, and decided that ,“This Shall not Stand!!!”.

“We had people who were attempted to break into our building,” the landmark Rotunda Building on Frank Ogawa Plaza outside City Hall, Tagami said today. He grabbed a shotgun that he usually keeps at home, went down to the ground floor and “discouraged them,” he said.

No police were in sight, he said.

“Basically, people were pushing to get through the door,” he said. “I was standing there and they saw me there, and I lifted it – I didn’t point it – I just held it in my hands. And I just racked it, and they ran.”

Of course they ran, you don’t think bravery is a pre condition for wanting the rich to share their stuff, do you?

Although this story had a happy ending, lawlessness stared down at the end of a gun, fortunately, it ended there. Even if his life was in danger and he needed to protect himself, methinks that Mayor of theirs would try to make an example of him.

This morning in my local paper was an article describing the different approaches used by the 3 primary cities in the Bay Area, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose. Each had OWS groups to contend with and each used a different approach with completely different outcomes. Oakland’s approach was all over the map, with the local police not given any guidance, then given conflicting guidance, changing positions almost hourly. San Francisco was a bit more consistent, allowing the protestors a liberal interpretation of city ordinances, and not enforcing those ordinances until things got out of hand. Contrast these to San Jose, who from the very beginning adopted a zero tolerance approach to Unlawful protesting, e.g. no blocking the streets and no over night camping out on city property. I know what you are thinking, it could not be that easy or that predictable, yet the outcomes speak for itself.

We don’t have the extreme weather here like the East Coast, so those so inclined can drag this out as long as they want. I very rarely go in to Oakland, but now for sure will avoid it like the plague. For those disenfranchised with “the system”, they need to get a clue on where that system emanates.