• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • 'Occupy' Protesters Shut Down West Coast Ports as Violence Looms

    Occupy protesters across the West Coast began blocking major ports on Monday in protest of “exploitation by capitalism,” as one protestor put it. Beginning at about 8 a.m. Eastern time, the protests are attempts to shut down ports in numerous cities from Anchorage to San Diego.

    The specter of violence appeared within an hour of the beginning of the demonstrations. Police in Portland, Ore., confiscated weapons, including a firearm with extra ammunition magazines, from two men who claimed to be headed to the protests, as the Associated Press reports:

    Officers making a traffic stop found the gun with extra ammunition clips and the sword plus walkie-talkies in a car with two men who said they were an advance team for the demonstration, Lt. Robert King said. A 26-year-old man was driving with a suspended license and the 27-year-old passenger was wanted for a parole violation, King said.

    As this post was published, police in numerous cities – including Oakland, Portland, and Los Angeles – were on-scene attempting to disperse or contain the protests. Scribe will have updates for our readers as the protests progress.

    Small businessmen and other observers fumed at the impending action, noting it would be a destructive economic force at a time when they can least afford it (emphasis added).

    “It’s going to have a snowball negative effect. I depend on the port to feed my family. Why should I have to be put in a predicament because these people lack the skills to get a job?” said Vladimir Torres, an independent trucker who is based out of Long Beach, CA, and comes to the port of Oakland on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Torres is an owner-operator who said he would be dually affected because he works at two West Coast ports.

    Josh Thomas, a spokesman for the Port of Portland, told the Columbian that 88% of the exporters who call the port home are small and medium-size businesses. “We see this as hurting working people,” Thomas said of the Occupy movement’s port initiative.

    Even Occupy sympathizers spoke out against the day of anti-capitalism demonstrations, noting that the actions could exacerbate existing employment problems at some of the ports:

    The Alameda County Building and Construction Trades Council’s secretary-treasurer, Andreas Cluver, said many of his union’s workers were recently hired at port building projects after long stretches on unemployment. Given that, a port shutdown aimed at punishing the 1 percent “makes no sense,” he said.

    He said no union at the port supports the shutdown.

    “We’re extremely supportive of the message of Occupy Oakland, and we did come out to support the Nov. 2 general strike, but we’re not behind this one,” Cluver said. “When working people aren’t involved in the decision on whether to shut down their jobs at the port, that’s problematic. And we weren’t consulted. Losing a day of wages is hard.”

    He added: “The port is a public entity. It’s really not the 1 percent. Go shut down a country club – that’s the 1 percent.”

    The president of the International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union accused the protesters of “attempting to co-opt our struggle in order to advance a broader agenda” in a message to union members last week.

    That agenda has been documented here at Scribe, where we have noted the extensive backgrounds of some of the protests’ organizers in professional agitation and protest politics. The port demonstrations fit perfectly with that M.O.

    Posted in Featured, Ongoing Priorities, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to 'Occupy' Protesters Shut Down West Coast Ports as Violence Looms

    1. Nora Hurley says:

      One protester at Oakland was interviewd by our local news station about the fact that last time around many drivers and longshoremen lost a day's pay because of the Occupy Oakland protest at the port, and she said that "some of us have to sacrifice paychecks for the cause". Um, sacrifice is voluntary. Interfering with another's ability to do his job by obstructing roadways and preventing his vehicle to get through is a criminal act on the occupiers' part, not a voluntary sacrifice on the worker's part. What a pack of stupid, selfish, self-entitled brats. There is no difference between those overgrown ne'er-do-wells and Alec Baldwin, IMO. This is just another temper tantrum thrown by people who have no consideration for anyone but their spoiled selves.

    2. John Stebner says:

      Oh, so NOW the Heritage Foundation is sympathetic to the struggles of Labor? Such obvious ultra-right spin is not really the work of a "journalist" is it? Mr. Bluey, are you a journalist?

      • Bobbie says:

        ignorance is usually by someone new or ignorant.

      • Mike, Wichita Falls says:

        Illegal protesting makes strange bedfellows.

      • Steve says:

        Nobody is being simpathetic to "Labor", which is really a whole different bunch of spoiled self-centered egotists who claim to represent their rank and file members. But the article clearly states that BUSINESSES (who are the employers of those that actually do the work) are the ones that are being hurt by these protests, so everyone who actually earns a paycheck is the loser in this game. Pay a bit more attention to what you read before you spout off your inane comments. Get a clue

      • Alcabbie says:

        Don't be dense! The article highlights the irony!

    3. Bobbie says:

      sad thing is these are the types supported by the president and all his men just to fool the little people occupying and anyone else into thinking they and the government that is paid to serve and protect them are the victim! if only their minds could widen their narrow thinking…

    4. R F Roth says:

      Those truck drivers union or non union should stop roll down their window and tell the "protesters" this truck is coming through and idf you don't move I will mot stop for you choice is move or become road damaged!

    5. Bill Boyd says:

      Sorry, "John" but not all who work at a port or depend on what the port in-and exports are members of a union.

      Many in this OWS momement are self-centered, support too many "casuses," and many have little or nothing to do with the working people of this country.

    6. Actually, Mr. S., conservatives have always been sympathetic to the struggles of working men and women, as opposed to those of Labor (with the big L).

    7. Fred G says:

      These people are doing more harm to the 99% that they claim to represent than any job-creating, so-called 1%er…I wish they'd educate themselves and then go out and get the tools to better themselves and help America rather than hurt her.. TERRORISM (noun) – the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes. The ows crowds threats to shut down Americas ports (using violence if necessary) and to escalate if police try to stop them is TERRORISM! Al Quaeda must be proud..

    8. Stirling says:

      So, ok Occupy movement, whats the end goal here? Is it to shut down all businesses, whereby throwing the current world back a generation or two. So much for the "Progress," which is more like "Regression" to the stone age. This would also mean that most of you would have to get JOBS, since the rest of us would NOT be able to pay for your freebies anymore… Ah yes the movement that is esentially causing themselves to have to work (which they are against)… Very Ironic if you ask me… 8-)

    9. Jimmie Towle says:

      Yes, there are some 1%ers, like many on Wall Street or in big banks, who are ripping off the public with exorbant fees in order to line their own pockets. These people need regulation. But the majority of 1%ers don't fit that mold, and in fact are the ones responsible for creating most of the jobs the 99%ers should or do have. Everyone can't be a "Rocket Scientist" or millionaire, some only have the ability to do the manual labor tasks – and these are important in there own way and the workers should be compensated fairly. In a Democracy certain skills and hard work pay off – for some with more skills the compensation is more, as it should be.

    10. Allen Williams says:

      How often do you read and keep up with the Heritage Foundation. John Stebner ? The Heritage Foundation is for conservative Americans but for all Americans to read. How can you feel in this economic time it's fine for protestors to cause hard working Americans to lose wages with no vote of their own ? Did you ever consider that this movement is failing by it's own accord ?
      If you feel it's hurting Wall Street you're sadly mistaken. It's hurting the working man and small businesses. Did you re-emburse the small businesses that were damaged or destroyed by the protestors or do you feel that was for the good of the movement ?

    11. kent says:

      Dear Andreas. Not all country club members are 1 per cent. Some of us are real tax paying people. Cheers.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.