Oakland General Strike/Day of Action: Who Showed Up?
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!
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.
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.
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: