On November 2, 2011, Global Exchange stood in solidarity with the Occupy Oakland movement and the broader #OWS movement and participated in the General Strike/Day of Action.

We united with thousands to demand an end to corporate greed, bank bailouts, the gross income disparity destroying this planet and a shift to new alternatives for a peaceful and just society. We are the 99% who say enough is enough.

We spent a large portion of the day at Oscar Grant/Frank Ogawa Plaza, seeing friends, meeting new ones, listening to speakers from the stage, joining the various actions throughout the day and as the sun sank we marched with 5000 people to the Port of Oakland participated in the shut down of the nation’s fifth busiest port.

Who showed up? Check out the videos and photos  below to meet some of the people we met yesterday!

Marching in the street we asked young adults, parents, teachers and a Jewish Voice for Peace why they showed up.

Peace Activists!



People of faith!

Stop the pipeline!


GX members!

Mothers and toddlers!




The youth!

Being at the Oakland General Strike/Day of Action for most of the day, you would think that you would be completely exhausted, but surprisingly, when 4 o’ clock rolled around to begin the march to the Port of Oakland the energy was high.

A large group had just returned from the march on the banks where the crowd had shut down the Chase Bank, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America. Crowds of people had gathered in front of banks singing, dancing and forming chains to prevent people from coming in, thus successfully shutting down the banks for the day.

We had all returned to the corner of 14th and Broadway to cheers, chants, music and excitement as we embarked on the nearly 3 mile march to the Port of Oakland to shut it down.

We all looked around and saw the diversity of the crowd from students, babies in strollers, teachers, union members, and even an 88 year old man with a cane named EJ who had traveled from San Francisco to march in solidarity. Walking side by side with this whole group you started to feel really connected with the strangers around you who were there for a common cause — to show that people power is a strong force to make positive change.

As we kept marching, we turned a corner to cross the bridge toward the port and as we did, there was a collective gasp from everyone turning that corner as we saw the amount of people that were there. As we continued to walk up the slope of the bridge, we kept looking forward and looking back at the crowd that we were part of and it was breathtaking. Throngs and throngs of people kept streaming in with no end. It was hard to tell where it all began or ended. As we looked forward toward those famous Oakland cranes, the sun was setting and everyone was soaking in the feeling of the dawn of something new. There were embraces, smiles, excited chattering and chills running through peoples bodies as we really began to grasp the strength of our numbers.

“The change is finally here.” “We’ve made this happen.” “This is a beautiful thing, and I’m really happy to be sharing this with you.”

People were standing on top of rigs and scaffolding waving flags, cheering, singing and dancing. There were some truck drivers in their halted big rigs honking their horns in solidarity. There were drum circles, encouraging speeches being given and general joy throughout the crowd as the people shut down the Port of Oakland — the 5th largest port in the nation.

Darkness continued to set, and as 8PM approached, an announcement came through the crowd trying to mobilize more people to get to the end of the port to block the shift change. As the call came in, more people marched to the end of the port and successfully blocked the shift change and officially shut down the port that day. Success in mobilization.

As we returned to the Ogawa/Grant plaza, the energy was still high and people were reflecting on the events of the day. We all thought back on the crowds of people, the creativity of the movement and how well we all worked together to get our voices heard around the world in a peaceful manner.

Global Exchange had an amazing time connecting with our Oakland community and beyond to share in the common struggle for peace, social justice and economic equality. We are still trying to look through our loads of photos and videos and will be sharing them with you as we compile it all.

In the meantime, you can look back at all our blogs updates and read our twitter livestream as it happened.

Thank you #OccupyOakland and everyone who made this possible. A new beginning is near.

It’s a carnival with a purpose at Oscar Grant/Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland. The speeches from the stage are non stop. Voice after voice sharing messages of support from around the US, North America and the world, news of students, teachers and other workers deciding to walk out today and join the thousands. When there is a short break, there is music. There are so many people!

The Plaza itself is full of #occupy tents, there are info tents, tents for food, shelter and support. There is lots of singing and lots of beautiful art.

Folks from the Great Tortilla Conspiracy are screening amazing, celebratory prints and sharing with all.

Marches return to the main square and are greeted with roars, cheers and excitement. People come up to the stage and report back on where they went. Someone on the 1PM march on the banks reported that a living room was set up inside the downtown Oakland Chase branch to represent all those that have had their homes foreclosed. Bank of America was next – successfully closed down.

Poster by Great Tortilla Conspiracy

I just returned knowing that there is still a whole lot going on this afternoon. As I was handing out I AM 99% stickers, people talked about what a great day they were having and how important it was that everyone was together on the streets.

We’ll keep posting updates and photos, in the meantime, the Global Exchange twitter feed has been following everything happening.

We’ll be using our website, blog, twitter account and facebook as a hub of information and live updates, so check in throughout the day. The good folks at Movement Generation have a great list of events posted here.

On the way down from the Oscar Grant Plaza where several thousand strikers converged to block the corner of Broadway and 12th street, my colleague Tex remarked: “Isn’t it weird that we didn’t see a single cop during the whole march?” Not when a cab tried to breach the crowd blocking the intersection, not when we marched passed the City Hall and surged in front of the Wells Fargo and Chase banks, we never saw a single blue uniform and badge.

The crowd was full of labor folks: nurses, teachers, SEIU workers, carpenters and even iron workers representing their unions marching side by side with students, babies in strollers and retired folks who kept saying, “I never thought I’d see this day”. After the frightening night when the police attacked the Occupy Oakland encampment, with the severe injuries to an Iraq Vet Against the War, Scott —people were adamant that the streets belong to the people and that we will not let fear and intimidation diminish our hopes for a different kind of world.

As soon as Tex remarked that there was no police presence we saw a BART police officer and I went over and asked him how he thought it was going. “Oh, I’m not authorized to make a comment”, he said with a smile, “but we are here”.

In the sunny early part of the day there was a lot of optimism, as the chants and brass band belted out the rhythmic chants:

Rise Up
Shut it Down
Oakland is a People’s Town.

The system has got to die
Hella, hella occupy

We are the 99%
United in our dissent.

WATCH A video from the streets here.

We’ll be using our website, blog, twitter account and facebook as a hub of information and live updates, so check in throughout the day. The good folks at Movement Generation have a great list of events posted here.


Good morning Oakland! It’s a crisp and sunny day in the Bay Area. Reports from Oakland say that the intersection surrounding Oscar Grant/Frank H Ogawa Plaza is completely packed with 2000 people.

Angela Davis speaks to Oakland crowd

Angela Davis just spoke at the rally happening now – watch the livestream here. Her words open the day – she said that we DO NOT assent to economic exploitation, corporate inequality nor police violence. She then said we DO assent to community, education – free education, health care – free health care, housing, happiness, hope and future.

The Longshoremen have announced that they have shut down the Port of Oakland.

Flash mob just getting ready … Are you?

We’ll be using our website, blog, twitter account and facebook as a hub of information and live updates, so check in throughout the day. The good folks at Movement Generation have a great list of events posted here.