Tomorrow the Occupy movement will perform its largest coordinated strike to date against the 1% – the West Coast Port Shutdown. Occupy movements all along the west coast of the U.S. will be shutting down their respective ports, Occupy movements in Texas will be collectively demonstrating at the Port of Houston, Occupy Denver will shut down a Wal-Mart distribution center, and Japanese rail workers will be protesting Itochu, a Japanese firm which is a partner with EGT, which has been in a longstanding dispute with the Longshoremen in Longview, WA. Negotiations between the Longshoremen and EGT broke down when EGT demanded that the Longshoremen work 12-hour shifts without overtime pay.
The Dec. 12th action is not simply an action in solidarity with the struggle for workers to negotiate for fair pay for a hard day’s work. It’s also a strike back at the attacks on Occupy and peaceful protesters around the country. It shows the 1% that the 99% are serious about social, economic, and political change. The 1% would prefer that this contest be decided purely at the ballot box, because there they have a distinct advantage. It has been shown that electoral contests are decided (with between 85-94% probability, depending on the office) by the candidate which raises the most money. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision opens the flood gates and allows money to dominate the political process. Instead of counting votes, it’s about about counting dollars. Direct actions like the Port Shutdown sidestep this issue and take the struggle to the streets, largely bypassing the advantages of concentrated wealth. The disruption of economic activity, of ‘business as usual’, reduces the profits of the 1%. At some level of profit loss, they will be forced to conclude that it is simply cheaper to pay their fair share of taxes.
See below and the West Coast Port Shutdown site for more details on the historic events of tomorrow. Hope to see you in the streets! (Spoiler: It’s going to be hella fun).
Our first Beer Committee meeting was a great success and a solid first step to creating a stronger Occupy Movement. There were eight of us who came together last Wednesday night to discuss the issues surrounding the movement that were on our minds. We talk on specific topics like the Occupy Berkeley camp and about more personal broad issues like why we support the movement. It was a fantastic conversation and we had several new and quite intriguing ideas come to light.
As we hoped, the first meeting brought together people with a variety of ideas and visions for the movement. We even had the pleasure of having a visitor from Great Britain share his thoughts for the organization. Some members were interested in instigating change on a local level and others were interested in national policy change. Some had specific skills they wanted to use to further the Occupy cause and others were more geared toward planning projects and actions. For example, one idea that was shared was that of using the Transition Town Movement as a model for Occupy to build off of. Another member would like to see the movement become more politically involved by communicating with local progressive leaders. We even had some progress on the notion of using the Grassroots House in Berkeley to assist us with office space if we grew to need it.
The meeting went for about two hours and was beautiful representation of the possibility of the Occupy movement. The discussion was cordial and had the potential to really incite social change through inspiration and vision planning. We hope that it grows in the coming weeks and we continue to give our community an outlet to discuss and act on the change that each of us want to see in our society.
List of visions and topics that were brought up at the meeting:
Engaging city officials about local change and the city’s relationship with Occupy
Creating a more grassroots and community level projects for a sustainable future
A push for creating a multi-party democratic system in the nation
Rethinking of capitalism as the foundation for our economic system
Moving the location of the camp to in front of old city hall
Desire to improve health food accessibility and acceptance in our culture
Solidifying the movement around getting money out of politics
Producing a video or television segment that will really help to market our vision for change.
Actively supporting the Occupy Berkeley camp and providing more services
Looking to the Transition Towns to get ideas for projects and organization ideas
Partnering with the Green Party to use their office in the Grassroots House
Supporting local and individual agriculture projects
Join us this weekend for Knit-In at the Sit-In #4! This week we’ll be sorting through all the donated items and prepare them to be shipped to the receiving Occupations!
Also, the World Harmony Chorus will be doing a free performance at the Berkeley Farmer’s Market (right next to the encampment) from 1-1:30 PM. Around 1:30 they will stroll over to the encampment and will sing We are the Many by Makana (see song here). They will then sing If you Knew (lyrics). Please come and sing along!
OB will be celebrating our 2 month anniversary on Thursday, December 8th with a day of credit card shredding, informational tabling, a march to the big banks on Shattuck, and a movie screening.
Have questions about Occupy? Join us for an informational tabling from 10 – 3 at our encampment (MLK and Allston) to talk politics, make pickets signs at and ask questions like: why occupy? (Lots of reasons!) Is this movement going anywhere? (Yes!) What’s happening with Occupy in other parts of the world? (So much!)
Sick of big banks and credit card companies making huge profits by preying on you and your broke loved ones? Come down with your business return envelopes (the ones they send you with the unsolicited applications). We’ll have plenty of messages that you can stuff back in there to let the banks and credit card companies know what you really think as well as big scissors and a shredder for the plastic (just don’t mix it up with your Clipper).
Want to show Berkeley what you think? Banks got bailed out, we got sold out! Join us at 3:00 for a march from the encampment up to Shattuck and Center Street. We’ll have signs, informational leaflets, and lots of chants ready.
Want to celebrate 2 months of Occupy Berkeley with a movie? We’ll be screening Just Do It, a film about direct action in the climate change activist movement at 6PM. Holler at us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to donate some popcorn!!
Last week’s Knit-In at the Sit-In #2 was such a success that we thought we’d do it again this weekend with Knit-In at the Sit-in #3! So gather up your knitting gear and a chair and come on out! This weekend the Knit-In will happen from 11 AM – 2 PM at the Occupy Berkeley camp. The General Assembly starts at 2 so please feel free to stick around and voice your ideas and concerns about Occupy Berkeley!
We would also like to thank those who weren’t able to make it to the Occupy Berkeley encampment last week for the Knit-In but sent in hats, neck cowls, and scarves for us to send to cold occupies throughout the country!
Good morning, movement! The fog has cleared and now we can see into the future! Some updates from Occupy Berkeley:
1. CAMP IS GROWING! We now stand 89 tents strong. Come out to MLK Park at Allston and MLK in Berkeley to join camp, to help out with chores, or to talk politics.
2. CAMPER NEEDS: the complete list is here, but some stand-out recent needs are cold-weather and rain gear, batteries of all sizes, and flashlights.
3. 2 MONTH ANNIVERSARY: Our 2 month anniversary is coming up on December 8th. Be on the lookout for an exciting day of events that will target the big banks that steal from us and credit card companies that try to swindle us. We’re also planning some street theater and more. Join us at 9AM on Friday at MLK and Allston for a planning meeting.
4. COUNSELING: We have some counselors who have donated their time to the Occupy Berkeley camp on Fridays at 3. If you have counseling or other relevant skills (medical, mediation, etc) you want to share with Occupy, please come down at that time.
5.DECEMBER 12 PORT SHUTDOWN: After a few nights of talk, Occupy Berkeley is proud to say we endorse the West Coast Port Shutdown. See you in the streets!
Cold inside your house? It’s colder outside! Please take part in Occupy Berkeley’s Knit-in at the Sit-in and help make warm items to help campers in even colder areas than Berkeley make it through the cold months!
This Saturday (Nov. 19th) Occupy Berkeley is proud to present its first concert event featuring world-renowned singer/songwriter David Rovics! The event will take place at 3 PM in Civic Center Park and will last until just after 6. Rovics will be followed with a song by one of Occupy Berkeley’s own campers – Maxina Ventura! We will then feature a great local hip hop group, New Hot Fire. It should be a great afternoon in the park! Please tell all your friends!
This post is to remind everyone of the outreach event and changes to the General Assemblies that will occur this weekend. First off, tomorrow (Nov. 12th) we will be doing educational outreach in front of Chase bank urging members of the community to divest from the big banks and join local credit unions. Please come out and participate! (Extra points for dressing up like a banker while you do it!).
Secondly, at the Nov. 7th General Assembly two important changes were made in regards to future Saturday and Sunday GAs. On Saturday the GA time has been moved to 2 PM at Civic Center Park. This is a change from 6 PM at Civic Center Park. So grab some lunch from the farmer’s market next door and join the discussion! On Sunday, we will be be doing our first run at a completely different type of GA. Instead of normal GA format, there will be an informal, open-forum discussion on whatever Occupy Berkeley members are interested in discussing. This will give us all an opportunity to get to know each other better, build a sense of community, and discuss whatever topics are of interest (whether that be the direction of the movement, general politics, heated debate over just how cute this video is, etc.). This is a great time for members of the community to come and see how they can get involved and to discuss concerns with the occupation as well. We really hope to see all supporters out there on Sunday night, especially those who we haven’t seen in awhile!
The Occupy Berkeley General Assembly endorses and supports the actions of Occupy Cal, a movement of UC students formed to raise awareness of the continual privatization of public education, in particular an 81% free hike that has been proposed by U.C. President Mark Yudof. Tomorrow, November 9th, Occupy Cal will conduct a day of action followed by an encampment on the Berkeley campus to protest these austerity cuts that students face in lieu of forcing the 1% to pay their fair share. Please consider coming out and making a show of solidarity with our Occupy Cal brothers and sisters!
11/10 Update: For those who have come here looking more information regarding Occupy Cal and the actions of 11/9 that have recently gathered media attention, their website is actually here. While a large number of Occupy Berkeley members participated in solidarity with yesterday’s actions, the actions took place in the name of the Occupy Cal General Assembly rather than that of Occupy Berkeley.