Port Protest 2007
----Saturday, April 7th--An antiwar rally marked the fourth anniversary of the Oakland police attack on protesters and longshoremen at the docks. The second part of this event will be at the Port on May 19th, Armed Forces Dayby Daniel Borgström
Some 200 people attended the April 7 rally at the Port-of-Oakland Headquarters. It was a smaller turnout than we would have liked, but considering that it was Easter weekend I guess it's as much as we could've hoped for. During the week before the rally, I took an informal poll and found that a lot of people whom I had expected to see at the rally were instead going to be out of town. Practically everyone, it seemed. And, to make matters worse, the weather reports were forecasting rain.
So on the morning of the event I woke up in a pretty pessimistic frame of mind, seriously wondering if we'd have as many as 50 people. Believe me, I was really, really glad to see 200.
As for the predicted rain, it drizzled at the very beginning of the event, then let up. One thing we've noticed here in the Bay Area is that antiwar demonstrations rarely get rained on--despite whatever the weatherman may predict.
The rally commemorated the 4th anniversary of the police attack in which 59 protesters and longshoremen were injured. Other themes and issues were: Stop war shipments. Port money for schools & social services. Bring the troops home now, and give them the healthcare they need. Express solidarity with Tacoma protestors trying to stop war shipments.
We had good speakers in a good program. It was emceed by Laura Wells & Larry Shoup; speakers included ILWU's Jack Heyman, OEA's Bob Mandel (teacher's union), Bay Area Vets for Peace member Ron Dickinson, and also Wes Hamilton of the Olympia, Washington chapter of Vets for Peace. He came to speak for the people who've been blocking military shipments out of Olympia and Tacoma ports. There was a speaker from Rep. Barbara Lee’s staff, Saundra Andrews. Other speakers were Michael Eisenscher of U.S. Labor Against the War, Margaret Gordon of West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, and Ixquel Sarin with the Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition.
I felt it came off well, though I could be a bit biased in my evaluation since I helped organize the event. One person told me that, although the speakers were interesting, there were too many of them, and they spoke for too long. Maybe so. On the other hand, the number of speakers attests to the significance of the cause.
The rally was well covered by the media, including the Tribune & Chronicle, several TV channels and radio stations, as well as a photographer for Indybay.
A dozen people worked on organizing this event: capable people with whom I am greatly impressed. And now we need to get ready for Armed Forces Day, May 19th, at the Port.
CONTACT Port Action portaction[at]riseup.net
ENDORSEMENTS (Bay Area)
Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice
Ella Baker Center
Idriss Stelley Foundation
Lake Merritt Neighbors Organizing for Peace (LMNOP)
Northern California Committees of Correspondence for Democracy & Socialism.
Oakland Education Association (OEA)
Oakland Green Party
United for Peace & Justice (UFPJ)--Bay Area
Veterans for Peace, Chapter 69 - (Bay Area)
ENDORSEMENTS & SOLIDARITY from around the country
Vietnam Veterans Against the War, National
Veterans For Peace, National
Veterans for Peace, Chapter 88, Vermont
C-3 of New Orleans.
The Bienville Hose Center For Peace and Justice, Baton Rouge,
Coalition Against War & Injustice, Baton Rouge,
Below are links to stories from 2003 and 2004
The Attack and the Response--a detailed account of events from April 7th to May 12th 2003
The Spymaster's Tale
United Nations report on the police attack at Oakland Port
Back at the docks in April 7, 2004
The unexpected ending of the case against the Oakland 25
For 8 days in May, Truckers closed the Port of Oakland