Occupy Oakland General Strike – Hundreds have gathered for a mostly peaceful rally this morning in downtown Oakland to launch the general strike called by the Occupy movement.
Several businesses, including the Men’s Wearhouse and the Grand Lake Theater closed their doors Wednesday in support of today’s planned movement as thousands of people are expected to join in an effort to protest the inequality of wealth and power. The UC office of the President is also closed today over concerns that BART might be shut down at some point and more than 1,000 people who work in the building wouldn’t be able to get to or from work.
Contrary to rumors, the Port of Oakland is not shut down, said ILWU spokesman Craig Merrilees. About 40 longshore workers out of about 325 expected on the morning shift didn’t show up, however trucks are going through the gates and cranes are moving cargo on and off the ships.The Occupy Oakland camp got the rally going before 8:30 a.m., putting together signs and pumping music from speakers outfitted to a truck that will serve as a rolling platform. The first scheduled mass-gathering takes place at Frank Ogawa Plaza at 9 a.m. followed by a march on financial institutions.
Carey Dall, 35, a dockworker with the ILWU, was among the first to arrive at Frank Ogawa Plaza, which the Occupy camp has renamed Oscar Grant Plaza. He was standing next to a pile of about 100 signs “Stand with the 99 percent” ready to be distributed. The general strike is an important symbolic gesture, he said.
“Economic impact is how you make change,” Dall said. “It’s going to take sustained activity like this if we are going to see changes in this country.”
The Men’s Wearhouse in the Rotunda Building posted a sign in the window saying “We stand with the 99%. Closed Wednesday, Nov. 2.” The venerable Grand Lake Theater, never one to shy away from political cause, also shut down today, with its marquee saying “We proudly support the Occupy Wall Street movement, closed Wednesday in support of the strike.”