10 December 2011

West Coast Port Shutdown ~ Monday 12 December

On Monday the OWS folk aim to mount a massive protest at ports along the West Coast of the U.S. from San Diego to Vancouver (the latter obviously not the United States!). The leadership of relevant unions (especially the International Longshore Workers' Union [ILWU]) has come out against the action. Legally they must do so or else risk being held liable in court for any costs of the shutdown. That said, they have gone beyond issuing disclaimers. The OWS folks claim to be working with rank-and-file workers. But union leadership criticizes OWS for lack of consultation, for by-passing the internal decision-making processes of the unions (the ILWU being among the most progressive and democratic of American unions), and so forth. You can find reports on and assessments of the action here at The Guardian, here at Mother Jones, here at Counterpunch.

No one has asked my opinion, but I think the action is a good idea. I think of the Occupy movement as seeking to initiate a national conversation about fundamental aspects of our political economy. State and local officials across the country have relied on coercion in a coordinated campaign to squelch any dissent. So, it seems to me that OWS is right to seek new spaces to press its case. I hope the action comes off and is wildly successful.

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Blogger Stan B. said...

It's a bold move alright- I just hope it serves to somehow further incorporate labor, rather than antagonize it. There's a big risk of backfire here...

Personally, I wish Occupy would first have a concentrated go at taxing the 1%- something that could easily garner much broader and popular support if addressed clearly and succinctly. A popular victory there could really pave the way for further action.

Nevertheless, I hope 12/12 manages to transcend and is wildly successful...


10 December, 2011 14:56  

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