Friday, August 1, 2014

Disruption of human-rights gathering at Port of Oakland

Transnational security agencies: Israel [link]
Also see: "Facebook selectively censors a Peace & Justice event in Oakland, CA, posted at a Facebook page, bans a human-rights organizer for a day" (2014-08-18) [link]
The following message, produced in its entirety, shows how a gathering against war and for human rights is disrupted by rumor mongering and by "disaffected" participants. Notice how the disruption could also be used to disrupt an upcoming labor union campaign...

"NOT CANCELLED: Saturday 5am Picket of Israeli Ships at Port of Oakland STILL MOVING FORWARD!"
2014-08-01 from an organizer:
There's a lot of confusion about Saturday's picket of two Israeli ships at the Port of Oakland. The action has NOT been cancelled! Many of us still plan to meet at the West Oakland BART station at 5am, to go to the port and blockade the gates to Berth 57.
Some people decided to pull out of the action and declared it 'cancelled', based on a whole lot of misinformation, including that the ILWU (the longshore union), and the local Arab communities had not been contacted, neither of which is true.
Many of us feel it is irresponsible to cancel an action after thousands of flyers have been distributed, and alerts have been blasted by email and social media, and extensive efforts and resources have already gone into mobilizing for it. The situation that prompted the call for this action has not changed: Gaza remains under attack by the Israeli government, and Israeli ships are expected in the Port of Oakland on Saturday.
The people who have pulled out of the action say they plan to do this action on August 16 instead, after more 'outreach', even though we have recently seen some of the largest protests in solidarity with the people of Gaza most of us have ever seen, and the momentum for this action had been building massively and organically over just a few short days.
By August 16 many more people will have died, and what will be left of Gaza? The time to act is NOW!
And by August 16 the ILWU contract negotiations may also have escalated into their own battle, in which case it would be the worst possible time for the community to put up a picket line for Gaza. Right now longshore workers are working without a contract, potentially giving individual workers more autonomy to decide whether they will honor a community picket line. We still need to mobilize a large crowd in case they do defer to an arbitrator to rule whether our picket line invokes the health and safety clause in their expired contract (as they did in L.A. during the truckers strike recently).
While the concern from those who have declared the action 'cancelled' and 'postponed' is said to be about the Arab and longshore communities, the actual current realities of either community don't seem to be fully considered - or perhaps understood, and the political turf war of some local groups demanding they be in charge is taking selfish precedent.
There also appears to be some confusion about the expected role of the union in this action, and people are conflating the 1984 boycott of South African cargo - an action by longshore workers themselves (see, with the 2010 blockade of an Israeli ship - an action by the community, requesting that longshore workers honor our picket line (see While it would certainly be ideal for the ILWU to refuse to handle Israeli ships, it is not a realistic expectation under the current circumstances. It is up to us to stop these ships ourselves!
Please do not let the 'decisions' of a few who deem themselves 'leaders' derail this important event! Join us on Saturday morning in taking direct action against Israel's murderous assault on the people of Gaza!
Saturday, August 2, 2014
5AM - Gather at West Oakland BART
March and/or carpool to the port at 5:10AM
(BART will not be running yet - please offer rides if you're able - there is parking at BART, but not at the port)
Blockade Berth 57 at the Port of Oakland
(map of the port:

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