SF Bay Area Indymedia indymedia
About Contact Subscribe Calendar Publish Print Donate

Palestine | San Francisco

History Made in Oakland Port
by Bill Hackwell ( hckwll [at] yahoo.com )
Sunday Jun 20th, 2010 9:10 PM
Two consecutive picket lines today prevented the unloading of Israeli goods in the Oakland Port. Sustained and powerful protest stopped buisness as usual in a strong display of solidarity with the people of Palestine.

In a historic action and unprecedented action today, over 800 labor and community activists blocked the gates of the Oakland docks in the early morning hours, prompting longshore workers to refuse to cross the picketlines where they were scheduled to unload an Israeli ship.

From 5:30 am to 9:30 am, a militant and spirited protest was held in front of four gates of the Stevedore Services of America, with people chanting non-stop, “Free, Free Palestine, Don’t Cross the Picket Line,” and “An injury to one is an injury to all, bring down the apartheid wall.”
Citing the health and safety provisions of their contract, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union workers refused to cross the picketline to report for duty.

Between 8:30 and 9:00 am, an emergency arbitration was conducted at the Maersk parking lot nearby, with an “instant” arbitrator called to the site to rule on whether the workers could refuse to cross the picketline without disciplinary measure.

At 9:15 a.m, after again reviewing the protests of hundreds at each gate, the arbitrator ruled in favor of the union that it was indeed unsafe for the workers to enter the docks.

To loud cheers of “Long Live Palestine!” Jess Ghannam of Free Palestine Alliance and Richard Becker of the ANSWER Coalition announced the victory. Ghannam said, “This is truly historic, never before has an Israeli ship been blocked in the United States!”

The news that a container ship from the Zim Israeli shipping line was scheduled to arrive in the Bay Area today has sparked a tremendous outpouring of solidarity for Palestine, especially in the aftermath of the Israeli massacre of volunteers bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza on May 31.

With 10 days advance notice of the ship’s arrival, the emergency “Labor/Community Committee in Solidarity with the Palestinian People” was set up. On Wednesday, some 110 people from unions and community came to help organize logistics, outreach and community support. Initiating organizations included the Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition, the ANSWER Coalition, the Bay Area Labor Chapter of USLAW and the Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice.

This week the San Francisco Labor Council and Alameda Labor Council passed resounding resolutions denouncing Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Both councils sent out public notices of the dock action.

The ILWU has a proud history of extending its solidarity to struggling peoples the world over. In 1984, as the Black masses of South Africa were engaged in an intense struggle against South African apartheid, the ILWU refused for a record-setting 10 days to unload cargo from the South African “Ned Lloyd” ship. Despite million-dollar fines imposed on the union, the longshore workers held strong, providing a tremendous boost to the anti-apartheid movement.

Today’s Oakland action, in the sixth largest port in the United States, is the first of several protests and work stoppages planned around the world, including Norway, Sweden and South Africa. It is sure to inspire others to do the same.

At 4pm hundreds of supporters of Palestine once again began forming again in front of the entrances of the port to insure that the Zim ship that had arrived would not be unloaded. Today's victory sends a tremendous message to the rest of the world to stand up together against US - Israeli agression.
§Picket Lines Were in Place by 5am
by Bill Hackwell Sunday Jun 20th, 2010 9:10 PM

§Close the Port
by Bill Hackwell Sunday Jun 20th, 2010 9:10 PM

§Boycott Israeli Goods
by Bill Hackwell Sunday Jun 20th, 2010 9:10 PM

§Prayer Beads
by Bill Hackwell Sunday Jun 20th, 2010 9:10 PM

§Palestinian Flags in the Port of Oakland
by Bill Hackwell Sunday Jun 20th, 2010 9:10 PM

§Long Live Palestine
by Bill Hackwell Sunday Jun 20th, 2010 9:10 PM

§Stop Israeli Massacres
by Bill Hackwell Sunday Jun 20th, 2010 9:10 PM

§Leila
by Bill Hackwell Sunday Jun 20th, 2010 9:10 PM

§4 Entrances Were Blocked
by Bill Hackwell Sunday Jun 20th, 2010 9:10 PM

§Let Gaza Live
by Bill Hackwell Sunday Jun 20th, 2010 9:10 PM

§Youth Leading Chants
by Bill Hackwell Sunday Jun 20th, 2010 9:10 PM

§News That the Port Had Been Closed
by Bill Hackwell Sunday Jun 20th, 2010 9:10 PM

§Afternoon Picket Line
by Bill Hackwell Sunday Jun 20th, 2010 9:10 PM

§Families Joining the Picket Line
by Bill Hackwell Sunday Jun 20th, 2010 9:10 PM

§Dormant Crane
by Bill Hackwell Sunday Jun 20th, 2010 9:10 PM

§Long Live Palestine
by Bill Hackwell Sunday Jun 20th, 2010 9:10 PM


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Maria
Sunday Jun 20th, 2010 10:50 PM
Numerous organizations deserve props for today's victory . But probably the most credit should be given to the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee .
It's a rank and file group of members of ILWU #34 , 10, and 6. They include Railroad workers, Airline Mechanics , and Inboatmens Union , Ferry and Tug sailors affilated to the ILWU and the West Coast merchant seamen union .
While not officially representing their unions i have been told that they launched this effort as they previously successfully lobbied for the Antiwar coast shutdown in 2008 .
So while praising ANSWER and allied groups let''s give all the credit that's due to whom it's due .
once labor is involved we stop walking in circles for nothing! thanks to all the comrades. Boycott divest and sanction.