Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Oakland Teachers Participate in General Strike

As of this morning, 268 teachers had called in for subs at Oakland Unified School District, according to Katy Murphy, of the Contra Costa Times? Last Wednesday, only 24 called in for subs. While this is nothing close to what is needed for a successful General Strike, it is a significant increase in absenteeism that is no doubt due to teachers’ participation in the strike.

In related news, thousands have participated in today’s day of actions, marching on banks, as well as the Port of Oakland. Students have skipped class to join the protests. Unions have provided food. Because so few long shore workers actually showed up for work today, the port was effectively shut down. And, as of 4 pm, the police have been relatively quiet, despite the fact that some protestors smashed bank windows.

It has been speculated that the police are engaging in their own strike against Mayor Jean Quan, who called on police to violently suppress Occupy Oakland last week, and then placed all the blame on the police. However, it would be a mistake to assume that they will continue to stay quiet, especially if the protests persist or escalate in intensity.

As protestors head to the Port of Oakland to shut it down this evening, there is still plenty of opportunity for violent police repression, like in 2003, when they attacked protestors at the port by firing wooden dowels and bean bag bullets at them.

While it could be argued that today’s Day of Action was a success, as thousands participated and effectively slowed business at many banks and businesses, it should be emphasized that it was no General Strike. Capitalism and profit-making were not significantly halted. A relatively small percentage of workers actually refused to labor today. Most of the mainstream unions did everything in their power to ensure that their members showed up for work and upheld their compact with the bosses.

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