Sarah Warden

Sarah Warden
Location
Albany, New York, USA
Birthday
July 19
Bio
Author of the novel Three Fifths of Love available as an ebook on amazon. Freelance writer...Contact me at wardensarah@gmail.com

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DECEMBER 13, 2011 12:47PM

Occupy Oakland And Labor Are On the Same Side

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oakland port
 
 

The American Spring took a huge step forward yesterday. In California, demonstrators successfully shut down the Port of Oakland in the morning and, by the evening, the companies that operate out of the port were calling the 7pm shift, and telling them not to come in. Some have suggested that the Occupy movement is doing itself a disservice with this action, and would say that a movement built around economic inequality cost a number of workers (fellow members of the 99%) their wages, by shutting down the port. The truth is, that if just one guy hoping to deliver to the port, had hopped in his one truck and challenged the picket line, the line could’ve been broken. Truth is sometimes found in what does not happen. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) members are forbidden from striking, except in very limited circumstances. If the ILWU had formally endorsed Occupy Oakland’s shut down of the port, they could face jail time. Nothing was stopping them from getting in their trucks and going to work, except their own interests; by inaction, they sided with Occupy Oakland. In the end, the only vehicle to challenge the picket line at the port was a BMW.  

 

In other news, Occupy Baltimore had its tents taken down yesterday, and the police are clearly going to move in anywhere that an encampment is set up. In a takeover of public property, the police have all the power, and they will treat the demonstrators like unruly children who’ve threatened to run away, and instead set up camp in their own backyard. The cops, like some parents, will tolerate the tent for a while, but the situation can’t go on forever, and both sides know it. By shutting down the Port of Oakland for the second time, the Occupy movement is showing the country that this is not child’s play; that the American Spring is not something to be written off as the work of drum circles, anarchists, and bored college students. They are reminding all of us that the words of Patrick Henry were not “give me liberty, but don’t let me lose a days wages”. The cranes that hovered empty and still over the Port of Oakland yesterday, paint a picture of the power and the solidarity of the 99%. The fifth largest port in the country, which brings in over 27 billion dollars a year, was shut down because CEO’s, who once earned roughly 30 times more than their employees, are now earning 110 times more. The Port of Oakland was shut down because the average income of the top 1% has gone up by more than 250%, while the incomes of Americans have gone down by at least six percent…for those Americans lucky enough to have a job.

 

No one is buying the old line that if we get out of the way of the “job creators” and let them make money, hand over fist, some of that cash will eventually trickle down to the rest of us. The banks received a 7 trillion dollar bailout and made a 13 billion dollar profit off of the money the taxpayers loaned them in 2008, but that money has failed, quite spectacularly, the trickle-down test; the only thing that trickled down were foreclosures, not new loans. The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy have been extended year after year, and the Republicans running for President are practically tripping over themselves trying to offer more tax breaks for corporations, but cozying up to the so-called job creators hasn’t led to job creation in the past, it’s only led to larger deficits, and more out-sourcing of jobs. The corporations take the money from these tax cuts, and buy a machine that does the work of 3 people, or build a new factory in a part of the world where labor is cheap; what they don’t do, is create jobs here.

 

I’m quite sure that the snarking at Occupy Oakland in the media will continue, and I’m also certain that some worker, somewhere, will be dredged up and thrown forward, like Joe the Plumber 2.0, as the voice of the little guy just trying to do a days work, who was inconvenienced by the Occupy movement. But the voice of Occupy Oakland spoke yesterday with the sound of idling trucks…trucks that didn’t cross the picket line…and showed just how big the little guys can actually be when they stand together.

 

Sarah Warden is the author of the novel Three Fifths of Love available as an ebook from amazon http://www.amazon.com/Three-Fifths-Love-Marriage-ebook/dp/B005EZ3QU2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1318174116&sr=8-1

 

Image by Ingrid Taylar (Flickr: Port of Oakland) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

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@baltimore aureole The documentation is in the post...if the longshore workers had wanted to cross the picket line, they could have. That is not a theory. Interviews of individual workers have been cherry picked and presented as speaking for the union. To me, the only way to be "fair and balanced":-p is to look at the actions taken. To not cross a picket line is to honor a picket line, all the Joe the Plumber 2.0's notwithstanding.
Am glad you can point this out....because it was not long ago..that whatever the wealthy said was gospel. Even Donald D' Chump felt he held sway over the middle and working class Americans...But those days are fast slipping away.....With OCCUPY and President Obama.....to lead this fight to make America prosperous again......Your comments are instructive......"No one is buying the old line that if we get out of the way of the “job creators” and let them make money, hand over fist, some of that cash will eventually trickle down to the rest of us.
Right, they are helping by hurting the little people. It's not just the longshoremen who didn't work. What about all the people who were waiting on those trucks to arrive? No truck, no work for them either.

Sarah, why don't you go down to the port and find one of those truck drivers who wanted to work and break out your check book and write him a check to cover his losses?

My guess is you won't. You are just going to take the liberal whining line and you won't put your money where your mouth is. BTW, it costs me $300 per day to park mine in my driveway much less drive it someplace. I'm sure you are just going to continue to tow the line even when your own article shows that is what you are doing.

You say the longshoremen could have crossed the line if they wanted to, then you go on to say they were called and told to not come to work. Which is it, wouldn't cross or had no work?
“The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy have been extended year after year”

Shouldn’t they be called the "Obama tax cuts" seeing that he is the most recent president to extend them?
I taught Economics at a community college in Hawaii for a couple of years, and used Hawaiian labor history as a supplement to the course. I was surprised to learn that Hawaii is the most unionized state in the country, and that it was the longshoremen who made it that way. When sugar cane and pineapple workers got fed up with the way they were treated it was the longshoremen who organized them.

Throughout American labor history it has been the longshoremen who have stood up time and again, setting the example for others. It has been the West Coast longshoremen (and Hawaiian) who have been the staunchest supporters of workers' rights, and for other struggles as well. I hope I'm not being sexist. They might be called longshorepersons by now.
@Amlicar Cabral: Thank you:-) And Donald D'Chump is a great name for him!
@Catnlion: "Which is it, wouldn't cross or had no work?" As the post makes clear, the morning shift chose not to cross the line, and the evening shift was called and told to stay home. I am not trying to make light of the amount of money this cost hard working men and women, what I am trying to do is point out that the cause is the same and the enemy is the same, despite all the press coverage to the contrary. The Occupy movement was first criticized for having no clear demands, and now they're being criticized for having the wrong demands...funny, isn't it? With all the anger brewing in this country revolving around economic inequality, I find it inspiring and uplifting for the Occupy movement to flex the muscle of the 99% and show who is making the wealth in this country, and who winds up with it. Hardworking men, like you, have done the work that let the 1% see their wealth climb by 250%...and yet your income has fallen. Even if you disagree with Occupy Oakland, they are fighting for you.
@ Johnny Fever: Obama has extended the Bush tax cuts in order to stop the Republicans in Congress from blocking all recovery measures for our economy. The Republicans are blaming him for an economy they wrecked, and have stood with their arms crossed, refusing to do one single solitary thing to help over the past three years. I call them the Bush tax cuts, because they are. This is the Bush recession, because it is. Wow, amnesia gives such a cloudy view, doesn't it?
@John Hamilton: Nice historical context sir! I didn't know that about Hawaii, thank you:-) And I too struggled with longshore man vs longshoreperson...hmmm, maybe longshore'ers? ;-)
Catnlion:
Shhhhh. The liberals still think the public supports the Occupy Movement. The more trouble the occupiers cause and the more money they cost tax payers, only serves to hurt the cause of liberals.

Josh Hamilton:
9/10/2011 - According to police reports, some 500 west coast longshoremen broke in to the Port at Longview about 4:30 a.m. and held six security guards hostage for two hours while the protesters rampaged through the facility. They cut brake lines on railroad cars and spilled grain from boxcars. In addition to breaking the law in order to forcibly have their demands met, we can also thank unions for sending millions of middle class jobs outside this country.

Sarah Warden:
One would think that in light of the 2008-2010 Democratic filibuster-proof majorities the blame Bush (and the Republicans) strategy would fall on deaf ears. I mean, even if it were true that Republicans are only interested in blocking, the Democrats had the ability to act without their approval. Look, I don’t blame you for continuing the blame Bush mantra, the economy stinks and the deficit continues to grow, what else do you have?
Johnny Fever:

I agree with you as you illustrate your points well.

... hate to be around in 100 years -- what a mess..
Sarah,

One of the biggest problems that I have is that you, that's the collective you not the personal you, have decided that because I only made it to here in my life and somebody else made to way over there in their life I'm being screwed. Well I'm not and their life, and the choices they made to get over there, have nothing to do with me. Yes, Bill Gates makes more money than I do, but I'll bet so do you. Should I come and disrupt your home because you make more than I do?

And who appointed you so solved what you think is my problem? Then to solve the problem you think I have you are going to create another one that isn't a days pay, it takes me sometime to make up for that "days pay" you are sorry I lost. Have you heard the saying don't do me any favors?

I create value with my life. I'm at an ADM plant in WA state taking food to GA. Thanks to ADM, Exxon, the ships at the ports, all the other people you think are doing everyone wrong, and my one employee people in GA will have something to eat next week.

As some of my other value, I took a grandmother who was making $250 a week and gave her a $700 a week pay raise. Last week was a not so great week. I was shut down for a day last week. It wasn't at the ports but it was still down. Now today is payday. Somebody isn't getting paid. Is it me or grandma? Don't ask my wife, who isn't getting money today, if she thinks about shutting down for a day is no big deal or if she knows you feel her pain.

Again the biggest problem that I see is that you, again the collective you, have decided that you are going to fix a problem that you think is a problem, if I don't who cares, and you are going to do it your way damn the consequent. What you want is more important that what I need. The other problem is you think the ends justify the means. That has be around for hundreds of years and it has been used by some of the greatest villains of all time.

So the next time a few hundred what to disrupt the lives of the estimated 70,000 people who make their living to feed and house their families maybe you should think again.
Have you always been an idiot, or is this new?
People occupy because they are too stupid and lazy to do anything else..
You have taken spreading propganda to a level I doubt you are even capable of understanding.
You realize ( though it is obvious that you don't) that the moment real livelihoods are threatened or even impacted, you will lose the support of workers, right?"
The only reason there was any impact at all was because of the threat of violence posed the the protestors.
You are too much an idiot to realize what an idiot you are.
Allen,

While I think Sarah is way past wrong you comment is way over the top. You can disagree around here without the personal attacks like you just did.
Nothing was stopping them from getting in their trucks and going to work, except their own interests; by inaction, they sided with Occupy Oakland.EXGF
The banks received a 7 trillion dollar bailout and made a 13 billion dollar profit off of the money the taxpayers loaned them in 2008, but that money has failed, quite spectacularly, the trickle-down test; the only thing that trickled down were foreclosures, not new loans.VincentFredrick.com