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Port Protest City Hall Rally
by via list
Monday Mar 6th, 2006 9:11 PM
When: 4 p.m., Tuesday, March 7.

Where: Oakland City Hall, Frank H. Ogawa Plaza.
* Port Protest City Hall Rally
* Remembering Rachel Corrie Thursday, March 16th 7:00pm

jackheyman [at]
transportsolidarity [at]

There will be a protest rally at Oakland City Hall on Tuesday March 7th at
4PM. The rally, initiated by the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee and
endorsed by ILWU Local 10, the longshore union, will take place while the
City Council is meeting to take a final vote on the settlements in the case
of the bloody police attack on April 7, 2003 against anti-war demonstrators
and longshore workers at terminal gates in the port. This planned police
deployment shortly after the start of the war in Iraq used so-called
"non-lethal" weapons to stop peaceful anti-war demonstrators from
protesting, war profiteers, the maritime companies, American President
Lines and Stevedore Services of America. The attack was condemned by the UN
Human Rights Commission as one of the most violent acts of government
repression. Mayor Jerry Brown and City Council President Ignacio de la
Fuente, who have backed the police attack, received protest messages from
the late Ossie Davis, Alice Walker, and trade union organizations
representing millions of workers around the world.

It's necessary for all organizations that are concerned about civil
liberties, civil rights, trade union rights, police brutality to mobilize
your members to protest this police attack and the government cover-up.
Speakers at the rally will include some of the victims of the police attack
and messages of solidarity. Paying financial settlements to victims of
police brutality does not solve the problem of the continuous violation of
our democratic rights. Only by mobilizing in masses of working people can
we defend those rights for all.

When 'port security' targets workers

- Jack Heyman
Sunday, March 5, 2006

At the start of the war in Iraq three years ago, several hundred
demonstrators protested at the Port of Oakland. Oakland police officers
opened fire on the protesters and longshoremen going to work with
so-called "less-than-lethal" weapons, injuring dozens and arresting 25.
Then-Police Chief Richard Word said the riot-gear clad police force was
deployed at the behest of the maritime companies. The California
Anti-Terrorism Information Center had warned police that "terrorists"
could be in the demonstration.

A port safety and security plan for the San Francisco Bay, crafted
primarily by the U.S. Coast Guard, didn't distinguish between
terrorists, workers or anti-war protesters. The ACLU, the National
Lawyers' Guild and even the U.N. Human Rights Commission condemned the
action directed at people peacefully exercising their First Amendment
rights. Now the Oakland City Council, without acknowledging any
wrongdoing, is reaching out-of-court settlements with the longshore
union and the 59 injured plaintiffs who sued. The settlements in the
case, known as ILWU Local 10 vs. City of Oakland, have already reached
nearly $2 million. The Oakland Police Department is revising its
crowd-control policies, but few believe that will change anything.

Today, "port security" is on the lips of every politician in the rush to
bolster the war on terrorism. Both Democratic and Republican parties
voted for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both voted for the "national
security" measures, such as the Patriot Act, which President Bush deems
necessary to carry out the wars abroad and at home. For dock workers,
"port security" means intrusive background checks and cameras in rest
areas. Will the next step be to ban port strikes, protests and public
access to port parks?

Dock workers, who labor in one of the most dangerous industries, are
angered when government officials target them as if they were
terrorists. In 2002, then-Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge threatened
to mobilize troops against longshore workers if there were a strike.
Yet, when maritime employers shut down all U.S. West Coast ports by
locking out longshoremen, no action was taken against the companies. The
police shooting of longshore workers demonstrating against the war in
the Port of Oakland only reinforced the dock workers' anger at being
targeted as terrorists.

Despite all of the rhetoric, "port security" remains a pork-barrel
issue, and not at all focused on the working people whose lives and
livelihood are grounded in and around the ports. Ninety-five percent of
the containers unloaded by dockworkers are not checked for hazardous
contents, although the technology exists to scan for toxic, radioactive
or explosive cargos.

The recent furor over the Dubai-government-owned DP World taking over
management of six American ports offers a glimpse of a sideshow.
President Bush, whose friends and family have been ensconced in Middle
East oil deals, asserts that opposition to the sale will create
anti-U.S. views. Yet it is Bush's foreign policy and the war in Iraq
that have enflamed the Arab world. The ruling monarchy in Dubai has been
so loyal to the United States that it offers its port as a military
support base in the U.S. war against Iraq, but anti-Arab sentiment
stirred up by the ports debate has questioned its reliability in running
American terminals.

Today, most marine terminals in the United States are owned by foreign
companies, while ownership and security of the ports in which they
operate remains in government hands. The maritime trade has been
international since before Columbus accidentally landed in America while
seeking a shorter navigational route to the Spice Islands. Hundreds of
thousands of jobs are based on global trade.

U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., in seeking to exploit Bush's
political bungling of the terminal operations sale and to look "strong"
on port security, is proposing legislation that would require terminal
operators to be American-owned. A retaliatory trade war launched by
other countries could threaten many trade-based jobs and turn back the
clock on world trade.

Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, too, who is running for state attorney
general on his new "tough on crime" image, has echoed the call for "port

Yet, as mayor, his version of "port security" was supporting the police
in shooting wooden dowels at longshoremen and anti-war protesters at the
terminal gates as the war began.

Real port security means inspecting all containers offloaded and ending
imperialist wars abroad that spawn terrorists, not stifling the
free-speech rights of those who work in the ports.

Oakland Rally

To remember and protest police suppression of an anti-war demonstration
in the Port of Oakland at the start of the war in Iraq in 2003.

When: 4 p.m., Tuesday, March 7.

Where: Oakland City Hall, Frank H. Ogawa Plaza.

Who: Transport Workers Solidarity Committee, ILWU Local 10.

Jack Heyman is a longshoreman who lives and works in Oakland.
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Dockworkers?n5667Wednesday Mar 8th, 2006 12:18 AM