Occupy Oakland held their biggest General Assembly yet with as many as ten thousand attending. The crowd, which had come out to help shutdown the Port of Oakland, stayed to decide whether to extend the West Coast port shutdown actions. In the call to action, the occupation had pledged to continue action if any police violence occurred. Reports from Houston, San Diego and Seattle indicated there had been a level of brutality at the ports in those cities. And so, Occupy Oakland approved extending the action into Tuesday, December 13, and at 3 am they were there to make sure the early morning shift was shut down.
Police brutality did occur. The Houston police charged their horses and used shields to disperse occupiers from Occupy Houston, Occupy Austin and other occupations that had come down to support the action. Twenty were arrested and six have been charged with felonies for having what police call “criminal instruments to block a public roadway.” But, that isn’t the most shocking aspect of what happened:
In the video above, about 2 minutes in, you can see Houston police and firefighters move in and place a tent over occupiers engaged in civil disobedience. They are about to be arrested but, instead of removing the protesters like all other police forces in the country have done, as Korgasm_ captured when streaming live from the scene, they place a red tent over occupiers obstructing the press and the public’s view of how they are handling those being arrested.
In San Diego, there were at least four arrests. Occupiers were tackled and tossed around enough to upset occupiers and push them to commit to taking more action today.
And, in Seattle, flash bang grenades were set off to disperse Occupy Seattle and all supporters participating in the action. Bicycles and pepper spray were used on those demonstrating. The scene became especially violent when occupiers barricaded themselves in and blocked the road (raw video of the action can be seen here).
The following is a pretty good local news report on the action, with video of police roughing up protesters with their bicycles:
So, today, the country can expect more activity at the ports. Occupy Oakland has already been at the ports at 3 am and they did successfully prevent workers from beginning their shift.
Firedoglake’s premier live blog continues now. Email any news tips, questions or updates to firstname.lastname@example.org. All times are EST. Here is a Twitter list to follow for the latest updates from occupations around the country and the world.
9:45 PM Proposal for re-occupation on December 17 passes through the Occupy Wall Street General Assembly. Details on the plan to launch another occupy encampment in New York on the third-month anniversary of OWS here.
9:20 PM An announcement: December 16 at 7 pm EST a 24 hour radio marathon called “Occuthon” will begin. Marking the third-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, the martahon will raise money for Occupy camps and charities. Radio host Nicole Sandler, Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars, Laffy and others will be on the marathon as special guests and each hour a new Occupy group will be featured. For more on this visit Occuthon.com
9:01 PM Yesterday, I reported that Justin Wedes and John Knefel were arrested for live streaming and tweeting. They are both still in jail. Knefel’s sister, Molly, was on “Countdown” with Keith Olbermann and I will post the clip here when it goes up on Current.
8:47 PM For those wondering where Occupy Boston has gone after being moved out of Dewey Square, tonight they held their GA meeting at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul.
8:18 PM More blowback from labor after the port shutdown actions, KQED looks at whether the occupiers really had rank-and-file union support.
8:15 PM Judge rules Occupy Fresno cannot hold around-the-clock vigil in Courthouse Park
8:12 PM Occupy is being hit with some blowback after yesterday’s port shutdown actions. The Guardian‘s Adam Gabbatt has a good article about this. This section is particularly significant:
Craig Merrilees, communications director at the ILWU, told the Guardian on Tuesday that in Oakland “three shifts of workers lost a day’s pay, and many other port workers were in that situation”.
“I’m sure the union president would want to emphasise that the cause of the 99% and the problem of corporate greed in America is a serious one, and efforts to address that are to be saluted and supported,” he said.
“But it shouldn’t happen at the expense of respecting the democratic structure and process of the ILWU and any other union.”
8:10 PM ICYMI: Chicago traders try to tap into the spirit of the Occupy movement — which, you know, hates everything Chicago traders stand for — and hold an “Occupy the Pits” meeting of “about 100 brokers and traders around the cavernous Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), birthplace of the modern futures markets.” Why do they “occupy”?
CME Group, already under fire from many traders for its delay in getting money returned to customers after the October bankruptcy of brokerage MF Global, said that next March or April it would begin incorporating deals from its electronic Globex trading platform into final prices.
6:41 PM As usual, another great piece from Laurie Penny (@PennyRed on Twitter) on Occupy Wall Street — She writes about what happened at the Brookfield Winter Garden yesterday and says it was the “first time I’ve truly witnessed young people being grabbed at random just for standing near a demonstration with a phone or camera.”
2:58 PM A pretty enjoyable post from author Curtis Roosevelt at Huffington Post. He responds to a column from EJ Dionne that I commented on days ago:
Dear Occupiers, movements like yours take time, guts, and endurance — and remember, as Mahatma Gandhi would remind you, non-violence is a very effective political path. But be prepared to suffer for it. There is a long road ahead. One thing you can count on: the more disruptive you are the more Americans will disapprove. Don’t watch the polls. Ignore them. You’re not running for political office. Your task is to arouse this country of ours, bring us to our senses, create a groundswell, the political pressure that demands from our president and the members we elected to Congress that they focus on the problems that are plaguing us, and then act on them.
2:45 PM Rooftop Films presents “Films for the Occupation”
2:20 PM An effort to co-opt Occupy? I don’t know of a General Assembly meeting approving any delegation to meet with the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC). The CPC seems hard at work with Van Jones to use the energy to promote the passage of legislation called the “Restore the American Dream for the 99% Act.” Meeting this group of “representatives” is part of advancing Jones’ weak agenda.
Plus, I don’t know if Occupy is about restoring any “American Dream.” Have you seen how many times this George Carlin video has been shared by people who consider themselves a part of the Occupy movement?
They are about a vision much different and possibly better than the “American Dream,” which is about being able to be rich like those at the top, too. They want to transform the economy so it is not primarily based on growth and competition. And, they want a society where there is equal justice under protection of the law and Wall Street criminals are investigated, prosecuted, put on trial and thrown in jail if and when they are found guilty. But, chances are none of that vision is in Van Jones’ “Let Me Take My Slogan & Mesh It With This Genuine Populist Movement’s Slogan And We’ll Maybe Get Some Jobs or Change Act.”
2:15 PM Occupy Seattle press release from those who were closely involved in organizing port shutdown action. They suggest they are part of a new phase of the “workers’ movement” in America.
2:10 PM Another video of NYPD arresting Occupy Wall Street demonstrators at World Financial Center
11:20 AM Molly Knefel on her brother being “busted for tweeting” at the Occupy flash mob action yesterday
11:13 AM Matt Taibbi would like Occupy Wall Street to let him know next time they plan to go “squidding” at Goldman Sachs. He would like to come along. Taibbi gives the occupiers kudos for their action yesterday.
11:08 AM More liberal elitism: A Harvard student (I think) who is pursuing his doctorate writes about returning from Africa. He says Occupy Harvard has taken the Harvard Yard hostage and haughtily suggests, as a member of the 99% (that gives him the authority to make criticisms, you know?), “OWS must work on how to build a better world, not just demand that others do it.” I have no problem with someone criticizing Occupy Wall Street. But, this is pretty condescending and I doubt OWS will consider it seriously. Plus, Glowacki is wrong. They are building a better world. Occupy Homes is a prime example, as they have been moving homeless families into vacant bank-owned properties that have been vacant for years and should not be left empty when there are so many homeless people in the country.
9:55 AM A member of the Birmingham city council is questioning whether Occupy Birmingham has the right to protest
9:40 AM A dozen arrested at Wal-Mart in Loveland, CO. A “heavy police presence” responded when Occupy Denver and others there in support setup a tent in an intersection.
9:34 AM A judge has denied Occupy OKC’s right to remain in the park they’ve been occupying
9:30 AM Occupy Baltimore was evicted early this morning. Dozens were cleared by police in riot gear but there were no arrests and homeless people were reportedly moved to shelters.
9:27 AM In effort to continue to spread some holiday cheer each day until Christmas, here is Harry Belafonte’s “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Belafonte is a legendary singer and a supporter of the Occupy movement. (He says the movement is Rosa Parks all over again.)