As part of Occupy Wall Street’s call for a nationwide “general strike” May 1, elements within the group are looking to shut down bridges and tunnels in both New York and San Francisco.
Occupy Oakland, the most radical of all the local Occupy groups, passed a resolution April 15 that vows to shut down all travel from Marin to San Francisco.
“If any of the unions on the Golden Gate bridge declare a strike or shutdown action on May Day, we will act in solidarity with these striking workers and the international call for a general strike on May Day, by blockading the flow of capital to the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District. This will be accomplished by a collaboration of pickets and direct action which will shut down all modes of transportation from Marin to San Francisco,” went the statement on the website Occupythebridge.com.
The May Day Flier from the Golden Gate Labor Coalition calls for a protest next to the bridge that insists the Bridge District also: “don’t reduce vested retiree benefits,” “don’t reduce current employees’ benefits” and “don’t reward non-union employees with raises while breaking promises to union workers.”
The East Coast response to this shutdown call comes from the website Strikeisaverb.net and claims: “autonomous direct action groups within Occupy Wall Street, as a part of the global mobilizations for general strike and economic non-compliance, will block one or more Manhattan-bound bridge or tunnel to protest the shameful opulence of the 1%.”
The announcement went on to cite how Occupy Wall Street had shut the Brooklyn Bridge and another closure of that bridge, as well as the Holland Tunnel. The release claimed: “But this May 1, we will create the biggest shut down the city of New York has ever seen.” “We are announcing these blockades now as a fair warning to the rest of the working people of New York and New Jersey who are considering joining the strikes and mobilizations of the day: the city will be shut down, so enjoy the day without the 99%!” warned the site.
Occupy Wall Street has been a global anti-capitalism protest that, according to OccupyArrests, has resulted in 6,877 arrests so far. While the movement went largely dormant over the winter, it has vowed to come strong in the spring.
That comeback is supposed to be May 1, when the group has promised: “Millions of people throughout the world — workers, students, immigrants, professionals, houseworkers — employed and unemployed alike — will take to the streets to unite in a General Strike against a system that does not work for us.”
The May 1 rally is being organized by a coalition of Occupy Wall Street, Alliance for Labor Rights, Immigrant Rights, Jobs for All, May 1st Coalition for Immigrant & Worker Rights and “Immigrant & Community Organizations.”
At least 83 groups are listed as endorsing the general strike, many of them unions. Those include several locals from the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, Service Employees International and International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America.
Several radical groups are part of the coalition, including: the Freedom Socialist Party, the anti-Israel group Labor for Palestine, and the NYS District Communist Party USA.
At least two journalist unions are part of the protest. Those include:
- The Writers Guild of America, East, “a labor union of thousands of professionals who are the primary creators of what is seen or heard on television and film in the U.S., as well as the writers of a growing portion of original digital media content.
- CWA Local 31003 The New York Newspaper Guild, as well as two other Communications Workers of America locals.
UPDATE: The San Jose Mercury News has reported that Occupiers won’t be trying to shut the Golden Gate Bridge on May 1. “Some Occupy members likely will travel by bus early Tuesday to support the picket lines but not to shut down the bridge, Occupy member Jaime Omar Yassin said,” reported the paper. This has not changed radical plans in New York to block bridges or tunnels during protests there.
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