OAKLAND, CA – The high point of Oakland’s General Strike, was when a huge semi-trailer emblazoned with the word “Teamsters” backed up into the plaza and began unloading a free barbecue lunch provided by the East Bay Labor Council.
I was at Occupy Oakland on Wednesday from just before noon till about 5:00 p.m. It was huge—filled Oscar Grant Plaza and spilled out to fill Broadway, extending for blocks in every direction.
Peaceful, festive, hopeful faces of every age, race, and background. Scents of incense, copal, sage, and ganja—very little of tobacco. Buddhist monks drummed with Native Americans in meditation for peace. A dozen sound systems on bicycles played for that many circles of Rasta and hip-hop.
Last Friday, when Michael Moore spoke to the assembled crowd, I had thought, “I would rather see one longshore worker here, than a hundred Michael Moore’s.”
At the General Strike Wednesday, there were many hundreds of union members from a dozen or more unions—teamsters, mechanics, electrical workers, public employee unions, and others alongside the SEIU, teachers, and nurses who have supported the Occupy movement since it’s beginning.
Teamsters were carrying posters saying, “Stop the War on Workers!”, and set up a sound system, and besides “Solidarity Forever” and “Which Side Are You On?”, they played things like “Times are a’Changing” and “Get up!, Stand up!”
I remembered how the unions had opposed the anti-war movement in the 1960s, and had supported Nixon. Labor has finally returned to the left. If, across the U.S., unions are supporting the Occupy / 99% movement, then not only is the Tea Party dead, but the Republicans will conclusively loose their majority in 2012.
Provocateurs and “Black Faction” vandals can’t bring it down now.