Saturday, October 15, 2011

San Leandro rally supports Occupy Wall Street----attacks the banks

This is a very short clip of a rally in San Leandro, a small town, almost a suburb of Oakland CA.  It has somewhat of a past. The old black guys I used to work with called it Klan Leandro because, they told me, they were often harassed by the police on the way to our corporation yard where they worked or if they were seen driving in the city. If my memory serves me correctly it was on the TV news show 60 minutes in the 1950's as one of the most racist towns in the US.

It is very different now though, a much more diverse community.  This rally was organized by the group "Move On" which explains why most of the people there were older.  It was also very much an Obama crowd.  When I first arrived I could see that some of the folks had never taken action this way, or participated in political expression other than the voting booth.  I talked with one of them about how we occupied the Wells Fargo bank in Oakland and that the police, when you are a group of workers with children, generally warn you before arresting you, although this isn't always the case obviously.

The crowd was overwhelmingly supportive of the OWS movement and urged people to join it and support it which is a very positive thing.  Even more impressive was the support they got from people walking past and driving by; it was overwhelmoingly positive a people honked their horns.  School bus drivers, firefighters and others in work vehicles showed support. 

I got a very good response when I suggested to a couple of teachers that rather than rely on e mail communication we should have a leaflet for the next event and actually go out and hand it out at the high school as the parents pick up their kids and to the youth themselves.  We could have two different leaflets for each group. 

Anyway, this was a small but important example of the generalized mood in US society against the banks and the rich and the solidarity Americans of different backgrounds and views feel toward the OWS movement.  The OWS movement shows no signs of fading at this point.  I have noticed an increase in Union staffers at some of the events, young people that the Labor hierarchy sends in to these movements to temper them and hopefully direct the movement solely in to the electoral arena and support for the Democratic Party---they are actually on the clock.   The Union hierarchy has been shamefully successful with this strategy in the past like in the Direct Action Network that existed in the aftermath of the shutting down of the WTO in Seattle in 1999.  But there's no doubt that the OWS movement is determined and it is a national phenomenon and we will have to see where it leads; the authorities are a little cautious about wading in too hard as they don't want to embolden the movement and increase social unrest. These are interesting times.

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