‘Defend Occupy Oakland with the Muscle of Organized Labor!’Posted: October 31, 2011
The occupation movement is a beautiful and important development in struggle. People are in the streets feeling their power as they fight back against a system that exploits and oppresses; that privileges money and banks over people, animals, the earth, life! Many of us know that and have dedicated our lives to spreading those politics, and building revolutionary struggle. But it is the act of struggle that shapes people’s consciousness and makes them into revolutionaries; it is the experience of being beaten by the police, who are supposedly there to serve and protect, that makes them understand the contradictions of a system that is supposedly based on freedom and democracy. It is the actions of our oppressors and our response to it that makes people into revolutionaries and what makes revolutions. In Mass Strike Rosa Luxemburg speaks to the importance of struggle for shaping peoples consciousness. She claims the quickest and best way to transform people into revolutionaries is through participation in class struggles. I see this happening in Oakland and all around the world. This is why the occupation movement has been so inspiring. What will make it revolutionary is when workers become involved; and not only occupy their workplaces, but take them over for the people. We do not need bosses they need us. Once labor becomes involved in this movement and begins to shut down this whole capitalist system of production then we weaken them and become closer to having a revolution and truly freeing ourselves. An inspiring General Assembly at Occupy Oakland this week resulted in a proposal being passed for a General Strike on November 2nd, this coming wednesday. Organized labor has started to get involved and support, such a proposal. ILWU Local 10, who continues to be militant leaders within organized labor, issued this statement in support of the strike below. The port workers of ILWU continue to model to the rest of labor the power workers have to not only strike and struggle for themselves, but also for a different world; a better world. Please read the statement below and share it with your co-workers; pass it out to other unions. We must take the history that labor has already made and spread to other workers so that they are inspired and begin to see themselves not only as workers at a particular workplace, but as a fighting class against the entire patriarchal capitalist system.
ILWU is under attack from PMA employers, not just here in the port of Oakland but especially in Longview, Washington. Our jobs and the survival of the ILWU as a fighting union are at stake. We heard the report of our Longview Local 21 brothers at our union meeting last week and we pledged our solidarity, just as we did for other unions under attack, whether in Charleston, South Carolina or Madison, Wisconsin.
At the same time there is an outrage at the bankers and the capitalist crisis which has caused massive hardship on the working class. Occupy Oakland protesters have called for a General Strike on November 2. Whether this actually means real strike action by workers depends in large part on union participation. Local 10 has always been in the lead in the labor movement and all eyes are on us. As a first step, in defending our union and others against economic and political repression, we need to mobilize our members to participate in the rally and occupation November 2 in Oscar Grant Plaza. Shut it down!