Proposal for Funds
From: Occupy Oakland
On September 17, tents sprang up here in Zucotti Park, blocks from Wall Street, to
protest a destructive economic and political system. What began with a few tents has
since ignited into a worldwide movement that has left the 1% shaking.
Since October 10, when an encampment began in Frank Ogawa Plaza – now Oscar
Grant Plaza – Oakland has been at the forefront of the Occupy movement. When tear
gas and flash grenades were sent into crowds of peaceful Oakland protesters on October
25, nearly killing Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen, Occupy Oakland acted swiftly and
powerfully. Within a week, a massive General Strike was organized that culminated
in 30,000 people marching on the Port of Oakland and shutting it down. This action
was also in support of Longview Longshoremen in their ongoing struggle against EGT,
a grain shipping company owned by Bunge Ltd, a global corporation with massive
control of grain production and distribution worldwide, and with a long track record of
perpetrating economic and social injustice.
During the month of November, brutality escalated and Occupy camps around the
country were forcefully evicted – including the one here at Liberty Plaza and the
one in Oscar Grant Plaza. Occupy Oakland once again responded to the coordinated
repression of the 1% by calling for a coordinated response in the form of a West Coast
Port Shutdown on December 12. This massive day of action was coordinated with
Occupy assemblies up and down the west coast and across the country. In addition to
supporting the Longview against EGT, the action also called attention to the exploitation
of independent truckers on the ports.
The call to action on December 12 was an inspiration around the country and the day
was highly successful. Oakland, Portland, Seattle, and Longview ports were shut down,
along with partial shutdowns or support actions at Long Beach, San Diego, Hueneme
(Ventura County), Vancouver, Houston, Tacoma, Coos Bay, Anchorage, Hawaii, and
Japan. In Bellingham, WA protesters locked themselves to rail lines carrying Goldman
Sachs goods. In Denver, CO, Salt Lake City, UT, and Albuquerque, NM, demonstrators
blockaded Walmart distribution centers to protest its low wages and lack of adequate
health care for workers. Here in New York, Occupy Wall Street protesters stormed
financial institutions. When police brutality was carried out against protesters in certain
cities, Occupy Oakland kept its pledge to extend the port blockade, and hundreds stayed
into the night to shut down the port for a third time in 24 hours.
December 12 proved to the world that the Occupy movement was alive and kicking,
despite the camp evictions.
On December 21st, Occupy Oakland General Assembly took the next step. By a 98%
consensus vote, the GA voted to support the “EGT Grain Shipment Action,” a massive
picket of the Longview EGT shipping terminal. EGT, a subsidiary of Bunge, Ltd, a
multinational grain exporter, has been in conflict with the members of Local 21 of the
ILWU/Longshore workers for refusing to hire union dockworkers. Local 21’s contract
with the Port has not been honored, and EGT/Bunge, Ltd has done everything in its
power to break the longshoremen’s union – including bringing in scab labor from out
of state. The fate of this grain shipment, and whether it is allowed to be unloaded, could
decide the fate of the ILWU and the labor movement in the U.S.
Aside from union busting and highly exploitative labor practices, Bunge has used its
power in the grain trade to commit major abuses worldwide, colluding to set global grain
prices to enhance its profits, major tax evasion in Argentina, deforestation in the Amazon
forest, forcing Brazilian workers to work in near slave conditions, multiple violations of
the Clean Air Act, and much more.
This battle against EGT/Bunge is one of the most significant battles of our time, a classic
case of the 99% against the 1%.
To make this action a success, to ensure that the grain shipment is blocked, as well as to
reimburse costs incurred by Occupy Oakland to carry out the West Coast Port Shutdown,
Occupy Oakland requests $20,000 from Occupy Wall Street. $8,000 will go towards
reimbursing costs to Occupy Oakland for the Port Shutdown, for which there is a budget
breakdown and the necessary receipts. $4000 will reimburse Oakland for the costs of its
own shutdown, and the other $4000 will reimburse Oakland for $1000 it gave to each of
four cities on the west coast (Portland, Seattle, San Diego, and Los Angeles) to ensure the
success of their shutdowns.
$12,000 will be spent on the Longview action, specifically, providing lodging and
transportation for Occupy members around the country to go to Longview, and creating
flyers and publicity for the action. Much of the funding will be shared with Occupy
Portland and Occupy Longview, who are major coordinating partners for the action due
to their proximity to Longview.
This action is a continuation of the successful actions up and down the West Coast on
December 12, and directly in line with the principles of the Occupy movement.
If we are to continue to move forward as a movement – nationally and globally – then
we must continue the types of direct actions that Occupy Oakland has been pioneering.
These actions hit the 1% where it hurts most – in their pockets – and gain international
attention for the movement, helping to build the movement begun here in Liberty
Plaza. We hope that you will vote to act in solidarity with Occupy Oakland and Occupy
assemblies up and down the west coast by allotting funds from Occupy Wall Street –
much of which has come from donations meant to sustain the movement as a whole – so
that Occupy Oakland can continue to plan and carry out successful actions.
Thank you for the work you continue to do here in New York, and we hope that you pass
this proposal tonight so that we on the West Coast can continue to work for all of us – the
99% everywhere – to bring the 1% to its knees.
An additional $5000 will be given to Occupy Oakland for a bail fund, bringing the total
in funding (reimbursements, Longview action, and bail fund) to $25,000.
The money will be transferred to Occupy Oakland as soon as OWS Finance/Accounting
Committee receives receipts from the December 12 action.
The December 12 action receipts will also be posted online.