Occupy Wall Street Shows No Signs of Losing Steam
According to The Washington Post on Monday, Occupy Wall Street protesters were successful in blocking business operations at shipping terminals in Oakland, California, Portland, Oregon and Longview, Washington.
The movement, which began in the Fall, focuses on fighting against what its protesters see as corporate greed and economic inequality. To them, the ports are symbols of “economic engines for the elite.”
The protests were aimed at two West Coast companies in particular, port operator SSA Marine and grain exporter EGT, with the goal of improving the rights of their workers.
As reported by Fox News, Todd Gitlin, a sociologist at Columbia University and an authority on social movements, believes the Occupy Wall Street movement will continue to expand and diversity. "I would assume that the action today is going to be representative of what's going to be happening from now on," Gitlin said. "There will be more of a tendency toward militant disruptive activity. There's going to be a number of coordinated actions and this is going to go on for months."
Unfortunately the West Coast protests did not remain peaceful. In Seattle, police used “flash-bang” percussion grenades to break-up demonstrators and made arrests. Police Detective Jeff Kappel said protesters hurled flares, bags of paint and debris at officers and police horses, injuring one officer. Two others were arrested in Oakland for ignoring orders to unblock a gate where trucks were entering the port, reported interim Police Chief Howard Jordan.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan is concerned about how the protesters will affect the people of the city this holiday season. “People have to think about the consequences,” she said. People have to think about who they are hurting. They are saying, ‘We want to get the attention of the ruling class.’ Well I think the ruling class is probably laughing, and people in this city will be crying this Christmas. It’s really got to stop,” as reported by Fox News.
While some longshoremen support the movement, many of the truck drivers who are were blocked from the docks said the demonstrators are harming those they are actually trying to help. Christian Vega, a driver carrying a load of recycled paper who experienced a delay due to the protest, according to the BBC, “This is a joke. What are they protesting? It only hurts me and the other drivers. We have jobs and families to support and feed. Most of them don't."
Although business resumed on Tuesday with the West Coast ports tallying losses, protesters declared victory with the intent of staging more demonstrations.