Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Occupy Oakland Prepares for General Strike as War Veterans Organize Day of Action at Occupy Camps

Democracy Now

Protesters in Oakland, California, are launching a citywide general strike today that will include an attempt to shut down the nation’s fifth-busiest shipping port. The strike is expected to draw thousands of people to downtown Oakland, many responding to police attacks last week on nonviolent protesters with Occupy Oakland, including two-time Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen. During the strike, protesters intend to picket banks, businesses, schools, libraries, and any employers who try to reprimand striking workers. "What this general strike is all about is this: this is a call to working people, not only throughout the United States, but throughout the world, to retract their labor. The only time that working people can gain the attention of the bosses or the ruling class is when we withhold our labor," says Clarence Thomas of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10. "This is a fight-back moment."

We also speak with Boots Riley of the hip-hop group The Coup. "This general strike puts some teeth to the slogan that 'We are the 99 percent.' It’s not only that we are the 99 percent and that they are the one percent; it’s that the one percent gets all of their wealth by exploiting the 99 percent," Boots Riley says. "And we want to show people that they can take it back if they want to." Meanwhile, in New York City, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War are planning to march in their military fatigues from Vietnam Veterans Plaza to Zuccotti Park, the heart of the Occupy Wall Street movement. "It’s clear that veterans are part of the 99 percent. Veterans, when they leave the military, are much more likely to face unemployment and homelessness," says Jose Vasquez of Iraq Veterans Against the War. "Many people are forced to reenlist because they’re facing a tough economic situation." Vasquez says they are encouraging veterans across the country to join their local Occupy protests.

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