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Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS
) activists in the San Francisco Bay Area came together again on September 27 and 28 to picket and blockade an Israeli Zim Line ship at the Port of Oakland. Organized by the Stop Zim Action Committee this time, Palestine solidarity activists dispersed across five entrances at the SSA terminal over multiple shifts, preventing longshore workers from unloading cargo for two days until the ship left port.
ILWU Local 10 longshore workers refused to work the Israeli Zim ship Shanghai during the picket. The ILWU Local 10 has been out of contract since July, which means workers will not get paid if they do not work a shift, regardless whether there is a picket line or a health and safety concern. But it also means union members do not have to defer to the port authority to determine whether or not they do cross a picket line. The ILWU has a long history of lending its union power in solidarity to outside causes.
Zim Integrated Shipping Services is Israel’s largest cargo shipping company and has become an increasingly popular target for BDS activists. In August, a Zim Line ship was effectively blocked in Oakland for four days, the longest blockade of its kind to date, kicking off similar actions up and down the West Coast. Oakland's Block the Boat coalition has called for yet another picket at the port on October 25
Bay Area activists again prevent unloading of Israeli ship |
Israeli Zim Shanghai At Standstill In Oakland By ILWU Action & Picket Line |
Liverpool Dockers Solidarity with ILWU Local 10 and Oakland Community Picket of ZIM Ships |
Stop ZIM Action Committee Thanks Supporters of Zim Shanghai Pickets and ILWU Local 10 |
Sustained Picket of Zim Ship in Oakland - End the Siege of Gaza:
Zim Blockade Continues - All Out to the Picket Line! |
Anti-Apartheid Group Announces Campaign to Block Zim Ships to Oakland
Previous Related Indybay Feature:
Historic Victory Against Israeli Apartheid at the Port of Oakland
Israel's Ministry of Justice has filed an indictment against a border policeman for assaulting and injuring 15-year-old Tarek Abu Khdeir, cousin to Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was burned to death by Israeli settlers, in July. According to reports, the officer, whose name remains under gag order, was indicted at the Jerusalem magistrate court on September 10, for using "excessive force" that could not be justified.
On September 8, 2014, Bay Area chapters of Code Pink and World Can’t Wait participated in a worldwide reading of texts by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: “With this worldwide reading, we call on the United States Government to recognize that Edward Snowden's revelations are of essential importance for the safeguarding of democracy in the digital age.... Washington should therefore immediately lift all legal charges and complaints against Snowden, so that he can return home safely as a free man.”
Rallies and marches in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, Mo. were held across the world following the events of August 9 when Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in broad daylight in front of numerous witnesses. Michael was reportedly unarmed and holding his hands up while attempting to surrender when he was gunned down. Protests in the Bay Area were held in San Francisco, San Jose, and Santa Cruz.
Environmental groups filed a legal petition on August 26 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection for monarch butterflies, which have declined by more than 90 percent in under 20 years. During the same period it is estimated that these once-common iconic orange and black butterflies may have lost more than 165 million acres of habitat — an area about the size of Texas — including nearly a third of their summer breeding grounds.
In a major victory against the Israeli Zim Lines shipping company, their ship the Piraeus was forced to leave the Port of Oakland after a mass march, four days of picketing, and the refusal of ILWU Local 10 and ILWU Local 34 to work the ship despite attempts by the Oakland police department and Alameda County deputies to break up the ongoing pickets. A similar action was held in 2010 at the port
, but Zim was known to have unload all of their cargo eventually. This time, many believe the Zim ship unloaded only a portion of cargo before giving up and heading back out to sea. Oakland's "Block the Boat" victory represents a historic first for the worldwide Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS
The action was originally scheduled to target Zim Lines on August 2, during the height of Israel's recent devastating attacks on the people of Gaza, but was rescheduled for August 16. A massive march was planned for 5am from West Oakland BART to the port to block, but Zim delayed their ship's arrival to attempt to disrupt the "Block the Boat" action. Organizers from the Arab Resource & Organizing Committee (AROC
) and other anti-apartheid organizations put out last-minute word that the ship was delayed and those intending to blockade the boat were not deterred. At 3pm, two thousand or more people turned out for the march to the port. ILWU Locals refused to cross the massive picket and the ship did not dock, so no cargo was unloaded the first day.
The following day, August 17, AROC and other coalition organizations put out a call for further blockades of gates at the port. Turnout was smaller, but the contingent was strong enough that four gates were picketed while the Piraeus was moored at the port. Again, no cargo was unloaded when the ILWU refused to cross the lines. From there, autonomous activists kept up the pressure at the gates for another two days. Zim lines attempted to get tricky by leaving the port and heading out into the San Francisco Bay and past the Golden Gate bridge, to lull activists into prematurely believing their victory had been won, only to return to a different berth at the port to re-attempt to unload cargo. Activists were not dissuaded and continued to picket further shifts of dockworkers in order to prevent unloading of the Piraeus. On the evening of August 19, Stevedoring Services of America (SSA) moved workers who were already inside of gates working another ship to unload the Piraeus, and some cargo was unloaded for a few hours. Activists persevered, and maintained pickets past midnight to prevent port workers from returning from their lunch break to unload further cargo. Police and sheriff's deputies attempted to push and shove activists aside at several points, but were unsuccessful overall. Some have said all cargo with Oakland as its destination was unloaded overnight while others believe only perishables were unloaded. In the early morning hours of August 20, Zim Lines finally caved and the Piraeus left the port.
Inspired by the victory in Oakland, further "Block the Boat" actions are planned for the ports of Tacoma, Seattle and Long Beach. Tacoma's "Block the Boat" is set for this Friday, August 22.
Read More with Photos:
ILWU Rank and File Back Picket Of Zim ship Piraeus At Port Of Oakland
United States Port Actions End Business as Usual For Israel
EASTWEST #3: An Anarchist Newspaper
Israeli Ship Blocked in Oakland
Longest Blockade of Israeli Ship in History - ZIM ship turned away from SSA in Oakland!
Major Victory Against Israel Apartheid Regime-Zim Lines Ship Piraeus Forced To Leave Port
Tokyo Japan Solidarity Action With Gaza-Protest At Zim Tokyo Offices
Israeli Ship Continues to be Successfully Blocked at the Port of Oakland
Keep The Israeli Zim Ship Stranded-Zim Ship Stuck In Port Of Oakand
Block The Boat - Join the Historic Blockade of the Israeli Apartheid Boat Day 4
Zim Ship Stranded In Oakland! The Labor Community Picket Against Zim Ship In The Port
Mass March & Picket At Oakland Port To Stop Israel's Zim Line Ship Piraeus To Protest Crimes In Gaza
KPFA: Protest Against Zim Line Ship In The Port Of Oakland
Block The Boat for Gaza at the Port of Oakland
Zim Ship Arrival Delayed: NOT 5am But 3pm
KPFA Pacifica to Cover Labor Community Picket At Port Of Oakland Against Zim Line
Stop The Israeli Massacre In Gaza-Full Support For Labor Community Mass Picket At Zim Line
CANCELLED: Block the Boat for Gaza! Shut Down the Israeli company ZIM Shipping @ the Port of Oakland
The Oakland Palestine Solidarity Mural Unveiled on 26th Street
Oakland Palestine Solidarity Mural Unveiling
Related Indybay Features:
The World Responds to Israel's Atrocities in Gaza: Hundreds of Palestinians, Including Whole Families, Have Been Killed in Gaza Since July 8
Labor and Community Picket Israeli Zim Line Ship: Anti-Apartheid Picket at Oakland Docks Stops Unloading of Israeli Zim Line Ship
San Francisco youth are holding a fast for 5 days to call our attention to the crisis of the children trapped at the U.S. Mexico border. Youth from ages 16 to 20 held a press conference at City Hall on August 12 and announced their plan to set up a tent across from City Hall Tuesday and Wednesday for donations. They will then return to ICE headquarters Friday at noon to end their five-day fast. Youth are taking this action to get the word out about the inhumane treatment of children languishing at the border. They asked us, “Put yourself in the kids shoes; they are just children!” One youth spoke of being inspired after learning that Cesar Chavez often fasted for causes for the farm workers. Another youth’s inspiration came from students in LA holding similar actions.
Rallies have been held around the world in opposition to Israel's recent air strikes on Gaza and the collective punishment carried out against the Palestinian people living there and in the West Bank. In Northern California, demonstrations have been held in Fresno, Oakland, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Salinas, and Santa Cruz. According to the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), as of August 17, approximately 1939 Palestinians, including whole families, have been killed since July 8. A total of 9886 Palestinians, including 2878 children, 1854 women, and 374 elderly, have been injured. 47 Israeli soldiers, most of whom were invading Gaza at the time of their death, have been killed by Palestinian resistance, and two Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinian shells.
In response to pressure from conservation groups, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced an area closure for the swordfish drift gillnet fishery in the Pacific Ocean off California from July 25 through August 31 to prevent entanglements and drownings of endangered loggerhead sea turtles. This year’s El Niño conditions, warmer than normal waters, attract the endangered loggerhead sea turtles to the nutrient-rich waters where the deadly fishery operates.
In solidarity with Brazilians protesting the FIFA Would Cup, on June 29 a group of 12 queer radicals blockaded the Google FIFA Float at the San Francisco Pride Parade. "We couldn't pass up the opportunity to connect issues of gentrification and evictions in the Bay Area with the violent displacement of Brazilians who live in the Favelas. The Google/FIFA float was a perfect target for direct action to raise awareness about these issues!"
The World Cup has evicted over 150,000 working class and poor people from their communities, with some being killed in the process. El Sindicato dos Metroviários de São Paulo (or Subway Workers Union of Sao Paulo) was violently attacked by police when they went on strike against the World Cup and for better wages and benefits.
A solidarity demonstration is planned for the Subway Workers on Thursday, July 3
at 4pm at the Brazilian Counsulate in San Francisco.
Protest At San Francisco Brazilian Consulate: Stop Repression And Union Busting
In response to the recent threat of U.S. military attacks in Iraq, community members in Santa Cruz held a vigil for the Iraqi people on June 23 at the Town Clock. Those who participated in the vigil are calling for nonviolent diplomacy, reparation and repairs, no military intervention in Iraq, and an end to weapons sales in the Middle East. "We are sick and tired of violence being thought of as a way to prevent violence," Marjorie Langdon said at the vigil.
On June 10, activists rallied in front of Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San José to protest the unjust prosecution of 66-year-old Palestinian-American activist Rasmea Odeh. Last October, Homeland Security agents arrested Odeh after the Department of Justice charged her with “unlawful procurement of naturalization.” The Obama administration’s filing of these charges could result in her being stripped of her U.S. citizenship and deported.
On Saturday, May 24, people all around the world united, including in Santa Cruz, California, to March Against Monsanto, calling for the permanent boycott of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and other harmful agro-chemicals. Marches occurred on six continents, in 52 countries, with events in over 400 cities. In the USA, demonstrations were held in 47 states.
Jonathan Nack reports from Havana:
Hundreds of thousands of Cubans demonstrated unmistakeable enthusiasm while marching in the Cuban capitol on May Day – International Workers Day. Marchers chanted, danced, sang songs, and blew horns throughout the festive march. It was a clear statement of support for the Cuban government. CBS News reported an estimated 600,000 participated. Trade unionists, community groups, members of cooperatives, and even unions of small businesses demonstrated their support for the Cuban Revolution.
The main slogan for this year's May Day mobilization was, “the unity of the workers is the guarantee of the revolution.” Another prominent slogan urged the building of a more efficient and prosperous socialism. The march was organized by the government, but had a largely informal character. Most of the signs, banners, and numerous giant puppets appeared to be homemade. The march began in the early morning, no doubt to avoid the midday heat. It was basically completed by noon. Cuban President Raul Castro presided over the event, waiving to the marchers from the reviewing stand.
International supporters of the revolution who came from many countries were quite visible. Latin American international contingents were the most prominent, particularly from Colombia, Venezuela and Honduras. Images of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and, of course, that of Ché Guevara, were emblazoned on the t-shirts of many of the marchers.
On April 17, International Day of Peasant Resistance, and to mark the 30th anniversary of the Movimento Sem Terra (or Landless Workers Movement) in Brazil, Bay Area delegates from the 6th MST Congress presented a thorough report on what they had experienced and learned during their trip. The presentation at La Peña in Berkeley took an honest look at many aspects of the MST and the difficult and sometimes deadly struggle for poverty reduction and agrarian reform in Brazil.
In February, thousands of Brazilians and approximately 200 members of the international community attended the 6th Movimento Sem Terra Congress. Delegates from the San Francisco Bay Area were in attendance. While the primary events were held at a large stadium in Brasília, actions during the Congress included an enormous march, a student occupation of the Ministry of Education building, and tear gas attacks by greatly outnumbered police at the Ministry of Justice.
Speakers at the Bay Area delegates presentation noted that it was the MST that inspired the local food sovereignty activists of Occupy the Farm
to reclaim at least a portion of the Albany Gill Tract for farming on Earth Day 2012. After over a decade of struggle by a number of different groups fighting for community involvement with the land, the Gill Tract Farm Coalition celebrated the first Community Farm Day
with a spring planting on April 26.
Full Coverage of Report Back with Audio, PDF, and Photos |
Landless Workers Movement: Video from the 6th MST Congress in Brazil, February 2014