Wednesday, December 7, 2011

West Coast Port Shutdown, part 1

Over the past several days, the Occupy and related movements have ramped up their attacks on the 1%. Occupiers from across this land converged on DC "to confront legislators," occupied foreclosed properties to protest banks getting bailed out while the people get sold out, and held "largely symbolic" votes to end "corporate personhood." After getting squeezed from city parks, these unsinkable Occupiers keep popping up.

In what promises to be the  political equivalent of spallation, the Occupy Movement threatens to shut down West Coast ports on December 12, 2011. This planned action builds on momentum from the Oakland General Strike, which closed the Port of Oakland on November, 2, 2011. This bold move marks a more militant and politically potent phase for the Occupy Movement.

Reactions of West Coast mayors should reveal their allegiance to the 1%. Take as a bellwether Portland's Mayor Sam Adams. Throughout the conflict between Occupy Portland and the city, Mayor Adams positioned himself as a spokesperson for the real political goals of Occupy Portland while simultaneously moving to shut down its public expression.

Mayor Adams demonstrated these acrobatics in a December 2nd statement regarding re-occupying Portland:
As someone who empathizes with the founding frustrations of the Occupy movement—economic inequity, our high unemployment rate, the influence of corporations and money in politics—I believe that the encampments have become a distraction from addressing these national issues.

Thus while publicly supporting Occupy's goals, Mayor Adams has used police force to prevent Occupy's message from taking grip. All the while, he blamed the movement's supposedly counterproductive methods for his harsh and asymmetrical crackdown. If we take Mayor Adams at his word, then he should support clear-cut political action even as he laments the "drug overdoses," "crime," and "health and sanitation issues" that justified his police offensive against the Occupation of Lownsdale and Chapman Squares. Will his actions belie his words?

Now that Occupy strikes at the 1% in the only way that counts—in their pocketbooks—it will be telling to see if Mayor Adams yet again "speaks" for the "real" movement by condemning the "actual" movement. Stay tuned for reporting from the West Coast Port Blockade, as well as commentary on Mayor Adams' reactions.

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