Press Release: Occupy Oakland Joins with Workers and Community Members to Call for a November 2nd General Strike and Mass Day of Action
Oakland, CA—On Monday October 31st, at 4:00 p.m., the Occupy Oakland Strike Assembly held a press conference regarding the General Strike and Mass Day of Action planned for November 2nd. Members of the Occupation as well as community, school, and labor representatives spoke in regard to the motivations and wide-reaching potential of the strike. The press conference was held at the intersection of Broadway and Telegraph, the epicenter of the 1946 Oakland General strike, the last general strike in the continental United States.
Occupy Oakland is calling for work stoppage, school walkouts and for banks and corporations to close for the day of the General Strike. Since it is recognized that not all workers will be able to strike in their workplaces on November 2nd, Occupy Oakland welcomes any form of participation which workers deem appropriate. Workers are encouraged to join the mass day of actions before or after work, or during lunch hours. Further in support of workers and students, the Occupy Oakland Strike Assembly has unanimously agreed to picket and/or occupy any business or school, which disciplines employees or students in any way for participating in the November 2nd strike and day of action.
Demonstrations for the General Strike will converge at three different times; 9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. at the intersection of 14th and Broadway.
At 5 p.m. groups will converge at 14th and Broadway and march to the Port of Oakland to shut it down before the 7 p.m. night shift. "This is being done in order to blockade the flow of capital on the day of the General Strike, as well as to show solidarity with the Longshore workers in their struggle against EGT in Longview, Washington," said Oakland hip-hop artist and community organizer Boots Riley.
EGT, an international grain exporter, is attempting to rupture Longshore jurisdiction. "The driving force behind EGT is Bunge LTD, a leading agribusiness and food company that has strong ties to Wall Street. This is but one example of Wall Street’s corporate attack on workers," stated Riley.
Clarence Thomas, the national co-chair of Million Worker March Movement and a third generation Longshore worker, re-iterated the now famous message of the Occupy movement: "I stand in solidarity with the Occupy Oakland movement in its call for general strikes in the U.S. and around the world," he stated. "It is the workers who create value and wealth which the 1 percent hoards for themselves to the detriment of the 99 percent."
Other speakers discussed the origins, the priorities, and the potential of the General Strike.
The urgent move to call for a General Strike emerged as a response to the raiding of the camp and the police repression following the raids. Speaker Cat Brooks from the Onyx organizing committee stated: "The actions of the Oakland police department on Tuesday during the raid of the encampment and the way they dealt with peaceful protesters is typical of the brutality and force that the police execute daily in low income communities of color across the state and throughout the nation. It is because of the need for continued resistance to police repression that the Onyx organizing committee will join the general strike on Wednesday."
The Occupy movement has been working to bring light to Oaklands' legacy of police brutality and the General Strike will highlight the continued resistance to police repression. At the same time as finances are directed towards police activity, schools, and libraries face the consequences of austerity measures. The day following the raid on the encampment, it was announced that 5 schools would be closing this year. In addition, currently 14 out of 18 libraries and 2 additional schools are being threatened with closure. Occupy Oakland stands in defense of schools and libraries and calls for a national response to reclaim public services and spaces.
Speaker Loise Michel, who has been involved in the occupation since day one stated: "since the occupy movement began in mid September, people all over the nation, frustrated with the current economic system have shown their capabilities to reclaim space and self organize. Now the time has come for our resistance to expand out of the plazas and parks and into the streets, workplaces, and schools." Furthermore Michel stated, "We call on our comrades in the global occupation movement to join us in organizing general strikes and reclaim what is ours."
The Occupy movement has now become a global struggle; following the General Strike and Mass day of Action, the movement will continue to fight a system built on inequality and corporate power through occupations, mass mobilizations, and other acts of resistance.