SHOW DOWN AT THE PORT OF OAKLAND

Last night for the first time, since my friend who has worked on the port for at least 25 years, the company(s) cut ALL night time shifts from the schedule…indefinitely! This is truly unprecedented, and it’s adding to growing chaos and everyone’s nervousness. Up and down the coast, workers have been increasing in slowing down the unloading of cargo. This has recently transpired in companies cutting shifts as a form of punishment, and now there are even talks of Federal intervention. Several articles and opeds in the SF Chron and other publications, have come out over the past several days talking about all of this.

All the while the ships at sea are backing up, waiting to be unloaded. Meanwhile the situation of workers slowing down in protest, has caused companies to retaliate by cutting hours, thus further delaying the unloading of cargo, cutting even more into their profits- ultimately punishing themselves! Of those most adversely impacted are the truckers who have had double and triple delay times, which were already intolerable to begin with.

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The main issue seems to be that there is still no contract, and there is no end in sight as to if or when their will be any progress made. Making matters worse is that workers have absolutely no idea or details whatsoever, about anything such as what the issues are or what is being negotiated, creating growing distrust of management.

This complicated show down is causing tension, uncertainty and anxiety for all involved. Of course everyone’s concerns are for different reasons, depending on their interests. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems no one is in charge and that this chaos is due to no clear strategy by union management, employers or government officials to come up with real and lasting solutions.

As community activists, we should consider reaching out to workers and support the rank and files efforts to slow down and take a stand; as it seems possible the time is coming for a legendary ILWU fightback.
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End of an era, and some reflections on the road to tahrir…

After about about 14 years of working full time as an activist and nonprofit worker. . . the time has come, to make profit! I just passed my insurance exam and beginning Monday, will begin working for the Office Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) selling life and health insurance to union reps.This is an end of an era for me that began soon after 9/11. Before that I was doing basic sales and marketing jobs that were rather unfulfilling but were fun and paid well, and I was able to have all the ‘things’ I thought I needed and save money. But when the Israeli government used the cover of 911 to, start massacring Palestinians en mass, bulldozing old people and children in their homes, while the international community of ‘leaders’ looked on, I realized then than I must drop everything and do all that was in my power to make it stop. That led me to join the International solidarity movement and use my body and my privilege to challenge the occupation, in a very direct way.

I no longer stand in front of occupation bulldozers or inhale tear gas for sport, but as I began to learn about all the injustices happening in the world and the deep level of systemic corruption and complicity esp here in the US-and how it’s all connected–it feels like being on the front line in a much different way.

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This has been a most incredible journey with countless ups and downs, which has ultimately brought me up close and personal with some of the horrors that are going on in the world. What I have learned is that Palestine is a microcosm that and what those who do not accept poverty, oppression and imprisonment by the powers that seek to oppress, as we can see so clearly with the ratcheting up of the police state / state surveillance here.

Though it has been a rocky road with many twists and turns, what has been most profound and made it all worthwhile -is getting to know some of the people from all over the world, that also care deeply and are committed to spending their lives working for justice. Ultimately, I believe we the people of the world have far more in common than our so called leaders…and that if anything is going to change, we must all do everything in our power to make it so, and it is in all of our interest to work together. Also that it is the people in all of these places that are most directly impacted by these policies whether they are poor, people of color and working that must lead these struggles but for who it is so extremely difficult to fight the good fight, and so busy fighting for our survival. My biggest fear is that I will be all consumed with work, and not have time to balance with activism, and self care.

May 2015 be the time we all begin to fight not only for our survival, but to live…unafraid, and willing to stand up for what we believe. May we follow our hearts instead of the dollar, but still make enough to care for ourselves and families…while we support and struggle for justice. Here is my former blog and some observations, on my road to tahrir or liberation, and this journey we call life:  http://palestinehumanrights.blogspot.com/2006/06/caged-in-locked-out.html

To life, love and revolution yall ❤