Organized labor’s early flirtation with Occupy Wall Street is starting to get serious.
Union leaders, who were initially cautious in embracing the Occupy movement, have in recent weeks showered the protesters with help — tents, air mattresses, propane heaters and tons of food. The protesters, for their part, have joined in union marches and picket lines across the nation. About 100 protesters from Occupy Wall Street are expected to join a Teamsters picket line at the Sotheby’s auction house in Manhattan on Wednesday night to back the union in a bitter contract fight.
Labor unions, marveling at how the protesters have fired up the public on traditional labor issues like income inequality, are also starting to embrace some of the bold tactics and social media skills of the Occupy movement.
Last Wednesday, a union transit worker and a retired Teamster were arrested for civil disobedience inside Sotheby’s after sneaking through the entrance to harangue those attending an auction — echoing the lunchtime ruckus that Occupy Wall Street protesters caused weeks earlier at two well-known Manhattan restaurants owned by Danny Meyer, a Sotheby’s board member.
Organized labor’s public relations staff is also using Twitter, Tumblr and other social media much more aggressively after seeing how the Occupy protesters have used those services to mobilize support by immediately transmitting photos and videos of marches, tear-gassing and arrests. The Teamsters, for example, have beefed up their daily blog and posted many more photos of their battles with BMW, US Foods and Sotheby’s on Facebook and Twitter.
“The Occupy movement has changed unions,” said Stuart Appelbaum, the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. “You’re seeing a lot more unions wanting to be aggressive in their messaging and their activity. You’ll see more unions on the street, wanting to tap into the energy of Occupy Wall Street.”
Well no wonder the right hates Occupy.
NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg on Occupy Wallstreet
He was speaking Republican, let me translate this for people who don’t speak that strange language….
“Destroy jobs”- Try to create a level playing field so 1% doesn’t control the majority of the country’s wealth.
“Not productive”- It’s scary how many people are showing up, we must label them as slackers to discredit their cause.
“Assist companies”- Keep quiet while they reap in more wealth by standing with their foot on the neck of the working class.
“Give them confidence”- Give them more corporate tax cuts now or else.
“Hire people”- Layoff Americans and outsource the jobs to other countries because those people will work for peanuts and they don’t have silly laws against things like child labor sweatshops.
I figured I should write down what happened today, before I forget or before too many stories get muddled together.
My friend, my partner, and I arrived at Zucotti Park around 3 for the march, which began quickly, after everyone shared various rules. (No violence, write the phone number for legal council on yr arm, etc, etc)
We marched through lower Manhattan, and no route was specified, but we were told to not pass the head of the crowd, which was carrying a banner. Cops stood by and kept us on the sidewalk.
Then I noticed we were approaching the Brooklyn Bridge.
Cops were ushering people onto the bridge, but as I noticed we were walking into the roadway, I started to get scared. We climbed over the fence onto the pedestrian bridge. The first half of the crowd continued on the road, while the second half continued on the pedestrian bridge. Cops were flanking both sides of the entrance to the bridge and there was no way to turn back. As we walked up the elevated pedestrian bridge, we heard cops call for backup and they drove 2 police vans backwards up the bridge to where the protesters were. They stopped traffic and then brought vans in from the other side as well and trapped the protesters.
We watched from above as people began climbing the cords and metal of the bridge to escape the cops. People on the pedestrian bridge were trying to pull people up out of the roadway.
We continued forward into Brooklyn as the cops brought a net onto the bridge from the Manhattan side.
By the time we gathered into the park in Brooklyn, only a few hundred of us were left.
Cops began surrounding the park, and we all disbanded.
One of my friends was in the area where cops had people corralled. According to her Facebook updates and tweets, and other updates from trapped protesters, a child was arrested, and busses were brought in to arrest every single person. All of the men were taken first, and then all of the women.
They were told they were being arrested for disorderly conduct.
The police led them there and trapped them.
Please reblog this. People need to know what happened, and cops need to be held accountable for their actions.
You cannot fight police brutality with idle passive-aggression when the state supports violence against the citizens it swore to protect.
You cannot fight class oppression with the non-compliance of a minority when the majority conform, consent and comply to the capitalist Ponzi scheme.
Do not conform. Do not consent. Do not comply. Fight back.
Somehow I don’t think encouraging violence while calling out brutality is an entirely rational thing to do.
No, Occupy Wall Street should never turn violent. That defeats the whole purpose.