California strike attempts on 4 March & subsequent struggles

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scottydont
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Apr 29 2010 23:17

cool. I'll look over the style guide...

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 29 2010 23:22

nice one - admins/mods can always do some subbing if necessary, it's better to have original news going up in an imperfect format than not go up at all.

i'v changed the thread title to be more open-ended.

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Steven.
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Apr 30 2010 08:48

yeah, cheers Scotty. You could drop Oliver a message because he has written up news articles on this as well.

scottydont
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Apr 30 2010 09:12

I will. I am quite curious about what is happening outside of the bay as well, so I have been meaning to drop him a note.
I think I will wait until tomorrow for a write up anyway because it looks like high school student walkouts will happen tomorrow in Oakland...

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Hieronymous
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Apr 30 2010 14:16

Just a quick update:

I hung out with some of the militant teachers after the strike rally at Oakland City Hall yesterday. Their reports said that the strike had been 91% effective.

Earlier yesterday, I visited Oakland High (pictured below, check out the cool tag that was spraypainted on the front of many schools) and only 3 scabs and 10 kids crossed the picket line. Many schools were 100% shut down. Even though it was a 1-day strike, the militancy level was high, including a couple incidents of police intervening to prevent anti-scab violence, and it was incredibly effective.

For several schools in heavily Latino East Oakland, there were be another walkout today to protest the racist anti-immigrant law just passed in Arizona, making it a 2-day strike in those areas.

With the Oscar Grant murder still on people's minds, as well as the effects of the economic crisis hitting Oakland particularly hard, people are well aware -- especially the youth -- of the attacks on the working class. Hopefully this simmering rebellion in Oakland will continue bursting to the surface. Since January 2009, there have been 2 riots and 2 mass student/worker strikes in Oakland alone, that together with agitation like building occupations and riots in nearby Berkeley, show that this area is like a powder keg waiting to blow. We can only hope...

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OliverTwister
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Oct 13 2010 03:26

My school was mentioned in documents recovered from the "Institute of Terrorism Research and Response".

Quote:
a lengthy and detailed account entitled "the Return of Campus Activism." Students everywhere are organising against increases in tuition, we are told. Protests like one at UC Davis, which included placards stating "Education only for the rich" are not "spontaneous," but rather are "part of an international Anarchist movement that has been coordinated through Internet postings." If "students are coordinating their activities," ITTR ominously concludes, "it behooves law enforcement personnel from both the campus environment and civil authorities...to start working on their coordinated responses."

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2010/10/20101012111034580809.html

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Hieronymous
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Oct 13 2010 06:43

Nah, the ITTR doesn't even need that. All they have to do it sit back and watch the fucking ISO run it into the ground -- as happened on October 7. To be fair, La Voz, Socialist Organizer and Speak Out played their counter-revolutionary roles as well. Since all the Trotskyite groups are in "base-building" mode (this is verbatim at least from La Voz) right now, they've been urging caution and are jockeying for recruits, while continually project the "big action" further and further into the indefinite future.

Fuck them!

This movement will only be relevant once it stridently rejects Bolshevikization into the dustbin of history and fights back from the bottom-up with the full solidarity of rank-and-file education and public sector workers.

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Juan Conatz
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Oct 13 2010 07:25
Hieronymous wrote:
La Voz

?

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Hieronymous
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Oct 13 2010 07:38
Dead End wrote:
Hieronymous wrote:
La Voz

?

La Voz de los Trabajadores (opportunist Brazil-based Trot group; http://lavozlit.com/)

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Juan Conatz
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Oct 13 2010 07:54

Thanks, never heard of them. They must only be on the West Coast.

Now maybe this is another thread, and I say this respectfully, because I both admire and watch closely the struggle over there....but what does it say about anarchist and left communist strategy and tactics that they are able to be outmaneuvered by seemingly minuscule groups with a largely discredited ideology?

What are the lessons learned? Because I see a lot of Trot boogeymen being created, but not a lot of self-reflection on why these things are happening.

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Schwarz
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Oct 13 2010 08:46
Hieronymous wrote:
Nah, the ITTR doesn't even need that. All they have to do it sit back and watch the fucking ISO run it into the ground -- as happened on October 7. To be fair, La Voz, Socialist Organizer and Speak Out played their counter-revolutionary roles as well. Since all the Trotskyite groups are in "base-building" mode (this is verbatim at least from La Voz) right now, they've been urging caution and are jockeying for recruits, while continually project the "big action" further and further into the indefinite future.

Fuck them!

This movement will only be relevant once it stridently rejects Bolshevikization into the dustbin of history and fights back from the bottom-up with the full solidarity of rank-and-file education and public sector workers.

Can you elaborate a bit more on what's been happening with the CA anti-austerity movement? How was Oct 7 over there - I haven't heard a peep about NYC's stage-managed 'actions' - and have any gains been made in forming connections to rank-and-file education and public sector workers? Also, how has this 'Bolshevization' proceeded?

I have to admit I haven't paid much attention. Still, I wonder if the momentum has been lost completely.

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Hieronymous
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Oct 13 2010 17:35
Dead End wrote:
Thanks, never heard of them. They must only be on the West Coast.

Yeah, La Voz has it's tentacles all over Central and South America (and has further reach in their links to their particular brand of 4th International sect globally), but not much in the U.S. They seem to have one of their Brazilian commissars semi-permanently stationed in the Bay Area to directly oversee their recruiting operation. They've also begun to recruit in Los Angeles and have already snared some of the lamest, but most vocal, student activists there.

Dead End wrote:
Now maybe this is another thread, and I say this respectfully, because I both admire and watch closely the struggle over there....but what does it say about anarchist and left communist strategy and tactics that they are able to be outmaneuvered by seemingly minuscule groups with a largely discredited ideology?

Yeah, it's just that. And a clear weakness of the anarchists, who approach student organizing the same way they approach Reclaim the Streets dance parties or Black Blocs within larger liberal/reformist demonstrations. Which comes down to more-radical-than-thou posturing and unthinkingly substituting tactics for strategy. I think Iain Boal of the Retort group, at the Anarchy Now Conference at UC Santa Cruz in 2005, put it best in describing contemporary Anarchism: "In theory it's anti-intellectualism; in practice it's activism."

I'd add that the anarchists involved in the education struggles, especially of the insurrectionist/occupationist variety, were completely ahistorical and theoretically backward -- basing their "communization" on the ideologies of Agamben and Theorie Communiste, through texts like The Coming Insurrection. The tactic is made the endpoint, without even envisioning the struggle going beyond the campus. I can't think of a more undialectical, limited ideology. Just try reading the impenetrable dogma in After the Fall.

It's as though the occupation tactic was never tried before. As though the Columbia University occupation in the spring of 1968 didn't quickly hit its limitations, leading to the disastrous Moses Hall occupation at UC Berkeley in the fall of 1968, pushing the most radical students to push the struggle further and to spread it beyond the campus.

The most radical, and most successful, student struggle in the in 1960s in the U.S. was the 5-month student strike at San Francisco State College (now University) that by the end completely shut down the whole campus, after having daily pitched battles with police as it began. And it won nearly all its demands and established the first ethnic studies departments at any university in the U.S.

Here's how they conceived it:

Quote:
“The nonsymbolic nature of the S.F. State strike was likewise reflected in the tactics, which carefully avoided the usual ritual seizure of buildings and planned confrontations with police. Instead of ‘living the revolution’ inside an occupied building for a brief apocalyptic period culminating in a Big Bust, and then attempting to prolong things by playing upon the shock of police occupation (which at many campuses, is becoming less and less of a shock), the TWLF [Third World Liberation Front] opted for a ‘protracted struggle,’ closing the campus and keeping it shut down not by simply impairing normal campus activity, but by making it totally impossible” (from Black Power & Student Rebellion: Conflict on the American Campus, in the chapter "The Struggle for San Francisco State," p. 296).

As for left communists involved in the movement, a similar criticism could be made. I think there were several successes on March 4th, well documented here on libcom. But the best elements are moving on and have been heavily involved in the movement around the Oscar Grant murder (killed in Oakland on New Year's Day 2009 by a BART transit cop), helping organize for a longshore workers demo in solidarity with the Oscar Grant movement in Oakland on October 23rd, which might possibly lead to a work-stoppage at the Port of Oakland, if not others on the West Coast.

Dead End wrote:
What are the lessons learned? Because I see a lot of Trot boogeymen being created, but not a lot of self-reflection on why these things are happening.

There have been several debates on threads here on libcom about Trot manipulations, including an open letter I posted after the ISO and their Trotskyite allies used behind-the-scenes parliamentary maneuvers at a statewide planning meeting in Los Angeles this past April. These Trot groups have the benefit of being more disciplined, having more cadre, and having access to greater resources than the anarchist/left communist factions. But this bogeyman of the sectarian left is no fantasy; it's always been an obstacle to more class-based organizing. The Trots played a near-identical role in the nationwide 1970 Student Strike. Here's Root & Branch's account: "No Class Today -- No Ruling Class Tomorrow"

.

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klas batalo
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Oct 15 2010 20:16

figured i'd share this:

http://anticapitalprojects.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/a-call-for-disassembly/

why i think this is important though i've only read the first few paragraphs. it seems this moves on from other tangents earlier elaborated by ia/ultralefties. basically like fuck assemblies because trots take em over and we haven't done enough to out organize them so let's do stuff outside of them so we can have political existence. now i am not sure if this is wise or not, but i do find it interesting.

and this is a critique of SO idk from when:
http://www.redanarchist.org/forum/index.php?topic=118.msg1939#msg1939

ps: i'd second that r&b pamphlet

pps: this is funny - http://socialistworker.org/2010/10/11/left-wing-web-site-hijacked

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Oct 18 2010 23:06
ACP wrote:
The problems with the GA are structural and ideological, and no change of facilitators will make this form work within the present political landscape. The GA is a failure because it assumes, from the start, principles of unity, majority rule and sovereign decision-making power that are incompatible with the university struggle as such. We do not need an assembly (usually composed of fewer than 50 people) to vote on what “all of us are doing” – we need a political form based upon collaboration and affiliation, whose basic communicational unit takes the form of “This is what we want to do. Will you help?” Those who worry that this will mean a fragmenting disunity should realize that there are different forms of acting-together; there is a spectrum of consensus and dissensus, and not all forms of unity must resemble liberal-democratic parliaments.

In any case, the unity of the GA is a false one: many, many people on campus do not identify with it except as a form of alienation, an external imposition. It is a protocol that assumes, in advance, what is and is not possible. It guarantees “plans” at the lowest common denominator, whose main function is not to be disagreeable — we must ask, is this a tenable platform for real struggle? Obviously not. We must overcome the hollowness of this small, anodyne plurality. Not by wandering away, atomized and dispirited, into the evening that had so recently promised so much — but by abolishing the General Assembly that stands in the way of that promise, of real struggle.

Typical ahistoricity resonating from the "occupationist" current. The failure of the recent GAs doesn't indicate the weakness of the concept behind the "GA" but rather the weakness behind the movement in general. A General Assembly is not a hard and fast organizing unit through which bourgeois electoralist parliamentarian forms rule, which is what the authors seem to be implying, but is rather a decision making body of a movement which is larger and beyond itself. Clearly these recent "General Assemblies" do not represent anything other than the vested interests, often Trot groups, which set them up but just because they call it a General Assembly doesn't make it so!

Historically, instances of General Assemblies for organizing and guiding a movement have proven quite effective at facilitating action while being able to shout down and prevent take over by opportunists. The anti-CPE struggle provides the most illuminating recent example. The ICC has written extensively about the success of General Assemblies in this movement.

Under the heading "The general assemblies are the heart of the movement," the ICC wrote:

Quote:
The profoundly proletarian character of the movement is also demonstrated in the forms of struggle adopted, notably the sovereign general assemblies which express a real life that has nothing to do with the caricatures of general assemblies so often called by the unions. There was clearly a great heterogeneity among the various universities at this level. Some assemblies were still very similar in many ways to union assemblies, while others were the living centre of an intense process of reflection, with a high degree of involvement and maturity on the part of the participants.

http://en.internationalism.org/ir/125_france_students

Of course, this doesn't represent much of what we've seen labeled as "General Assemblies" in the case of the California student movement. The condemnation of the sham of Trotskyist opportunism needs to be directed at rediscovering genuine proletarian forms of resistance, which does call for conscious coordinated resistance. Armed with the weapon of class experiences, this is possible but not if we tread down the path of historical myopia.

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Juan Conatz
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Oct 18 2010 22:04

I'm hearing the port of oakland is getting shutdown on october 23rd in solidarity with oscar grant and anti-police brutality day. anyone else hear this?

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Sheldon
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Oct 18 2010 23:05

Advance The Struggle wrote this statement in support of it:

http://advancethestruggle.wordpress.com/2010/09/26/start-building-for-1023-work-stoppage-against-police-brutality/

The comments are interesting.

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Hieronymous
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Oct 19 2010 00:55

Here's what Jack Heyman, himself a longshore worker, wrote about this Saturday's demo:

http://www.counterpunch.org/heyman10182010.html

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Oct 20 2010 05:31

The ILWU are contractually allowed one day of work stoppage per month in order to hold a "meeting". The shipping companies are notified ahead of time which day it will be and can plan around it.

Some of the comments on the ATS website make it sound like this is simply the monthly work stoppage. Is that the case?

Also, if you're just trying to hold a demo, Saturday might be a good day, but if you're trying to call for a broader movement of work stoppage, Saturday is hardly the most effective day.

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Oct 20 2010 15:08
OliverTwister wrote:
Also, if you're just trying to hold a demo, Saturday might be a good day, but if you're trying to call for a broader movement of work stoppage, Saturday is hardly the most effective day.

Ah, the foibles of a self-managed spectacle! Don't forget to smile for the cameras!

OliverTwister wrote:
The ILWU are contractually allowed one day of work stoppage per month in order to hold a "meeting". The shipping companies are notified ahead of time which day it will be and can plan around it.

Some of the comments on the ATS website make it sound like this is simply the monthly work stoppage. Is that the case?

Yes.

Here's a story from today's San Francisco Chronicle about it:

Quote:
Marilyn Sandifur, a Port of Oakland spokeswoman, said Tuesday that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents port workers, had requested and been given permission by the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents marine terminal operators, to move its monthly "stop-work" meeting from Thursday to Saturday.

"All parties have adjusted their schedules accordingly, so this change of date and time for the regular ILWU meeting should have no major impact on Port of Oakland cargo operations," Sandifur said.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/10/19/BAD01FV58U.DTL#ixzz12ubJAVld

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Oct 21 2010 07:52
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Translator’s note: Both the rhetoric and the organizing methods of the UPR students since April seem interesting provided the conversations, splits, and frustrations that have come up in California, NYC, etc. Many of their tools (assemblies, call for reforms, etc.) are tools that some people in the US would say are in direct contradiction with what radical ends are which is at the same time what the UPR students are doing on the ground: shutting down departments, opening space for free unmanaged expression, widening struggle. Does this mean that “liberal” forms of organizing actually can come out as radical gestures? Or is the UPR students’ form of organizing gonna be absorbed in the future as would be expected? Or is their context too different from the context in the US to answer such questions?

In any case, one point I’d like to make is that UPR students are not homogeneous in their stance, and there are many different approaches and stances, and I’d imagine, disagreements that have come up among their mostly successful occupations.

(Special thanks to Luis O. for the submission).

http://occupyca.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/upr-humanities-occupied/

thought this was interesting.

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Oct 23 2010 22:16

Just wondering what's up with the port workers thing today

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Hieronymous
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Oct 24 2010 07:19

I couldn't make it, but a comrade called me from the demo in downtown Oakland and said that as it began there were only about 300 people.This was probably because it was pouring rain.

Here's from the local TV news: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video?id=7742114

Any news from someone who went?

UPDATE: the same comrade called me back and confirmed that there were about 350 people at the demo.

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Juan Conatz
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Dec 1 2010 23:30

There's some stuff going on with the grad student union over there, with a rank-and-file campaign to vote 'no' on the proposed contract and the UAW bureaucrats trying to combat this campaign.

Here's a website of some of the folks tryin to get a no vote
http://ucgradstrike.wordpress.com/

And here's one started by UAW paid staff (?) in reaction to the no campaign
http://uawforsanity.wordpress.com/

I'm assuming there's posters here who know more, but I noticed this, so thought I'd bring it to attention

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Dec 2 2010 00:08

The current unofficial tallies seem to suggest that a "no" vote will occur. The campaign for this has taken different forms on different campuses, but there is statewide communication. I'll post more on this a little later.