'Occupy Oakland' plans general strike

Occupy Oakland plans general strike
November 1, 2011 12:08:43 AM PDT
The "Occupy Oakland" demonstrators are planning a strike on Wednesday, Nov. 2 in Oakland. A lot of them spent Monday passing out fliers. The message for the upcoming strike is: no work, no school, and no shopping.

Meantime, the camp itself is as big or bigger than it was before last week's raid and this time it appears the city is committed to working with the demonstrators.

Those manning the Occupy Oakland first aid tent spent the morning unpacking medical supplies returned to them by the city of Oakland, supplies that were seized and bagged after last Tuesday's massive police raid.

"They returned a lot of the bandaging stuff and some of the herbal medicines that people had, we're going through it because we have an inventory list," said Michael Terry from Occupy Oakland.

Earlier, Oakland fire inspectors took their daily walkthrough, trying to make sure the new encampment abides by the fire safety restrictions imposed by the city. At the same time, city workers were washing down the hardscape and the amphitheatre around the campers.

Unlike the last camp, the new food service area does not include any open flame. Food is being cooked off-site and then being brought to the plaza for distribution. Still, the campers are clearly not abiding by all the rules laid down last week by Mayor Jean Quan, like the ban on overnight camping.

"The people here don't want to be camped out forever. They want to see change, don't just want a place to stay," said James Nakahara, a demonstrator.

Meantime, the demonstrators are gearing up for Wednesday's general strike, an event endorsed by the Oakland Education Association.

"I think we're going to shut down the port, for one thing. But maybe we'll shut down some of the banks too. The main thing is for the workers to show their combined strength, not only by not working, but also by not consuming," said Phil Horne, a demonstrator.

The Oakland Unified School District expects a large number of teachers to participate.

"So those teachers who do process leave and arrange for a substitute on Wednesday by the close of today, Oct. 31, they will be allowed to participate," said Troy Flint, a spokesperson for the Oakland Unified School District.

The teachers are being told to take a personal day, which is a paid day off, much like a vacation day. Quan has told city workers who want to participate in Wednesday's strike to use a sick or vacation day.

Occupy Oakland organizers are holding a press conference Monday evening to discuss exactly what they hope to do on Wednesday.

If the strike goes off as planned, it wouldn't be Oakland's first general strike. There was one that took place in 1946. That is when 130,000 workers organized and went on strike for two days in support of some retail clerks, about 400 women, who at that time were trying to organize their jobs at two local department stores.

What set off the strike was when police started to escort the supply trucks to the department stores. The strike essentially shut down the city for the two days the workers went on strike.

AC Transit is telling passengers to check schedules on Wednesday for possible detours and delays.


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