Prison Strike Solidarity in Oakland

Grabbing banners, flags, and signs, people took to the streets and marched through the downtown to several corporations that profit from prison labor.

[ Hundreds of demonstrators march through Downtown Oakland on September 10, 2016 in solidarity with the nationwide prison strike. The prisoner work stoppage was organized to begin on September 9, the 45th anniversary of the Attica Uprising. ]

Over 300 People Take the Streets to Target Corporations Profiting from Prison Slavery

Text from It’s Going Down*
Photos by Bradley Allen
* Written from the perspective of organizers and participants.

On September 10, 2016 in Oakland, CA, over 300 people took part in a march, rally, and demonstration in solidarity with the ongoing Prison Strike happening across US prisons, jails, and detention facilities. People gathered at 1 PM at Latham Square in Downtown Oakland and held banners, signs, and red and black flags. Several speakers addressed the crowd, the first, a formerly incarcerated member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), gave a speech discussing the cause of the strike, the need for class solidarity, and the revolutionary potential of these events moving beyond making just demands. From the speech:

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Thousands Unite and March in East Oakland to Reclaim King’s Legacy

The highly energetic march wound through the streets and neighborhoods of East Oakland and ended at the Coliseum City development site.

A weekend of direct actions, teach-ins, politically charged cultural events and marches throughout the Bay Area culminated with a Jobs and Economy March for the People on January 19. The event began with a multicultural rally outside the Fruitvale BART station — an infamous site of police terror where Oscar Grant III was murdered by BART police. The highly energetic march wound through the streets and neighborhoods of East Oakland, and ended at the Coliseum City development site with a rally and concert featuring Jennifer Johns and Kev Choice.

Since sunrise on Friday, Jan. 16, hundreds of people from more than two dozen groupings responded to the Anti Police-Terror Project’s call to come together for 96 hours of direct action over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, January 16 – 19, 2015. The Bay Area joined thousands across the country responding to a call from Ferguson Action to reclaim Dr. King’s legacy of militant direct action in opposition to economic violence as well as police violence and discrimination.

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Memorial March and Rally on the 3rd Anniversary of the Murder of Oscar Grant

Memorial march held in honor of Oscar Grant and other victims of police brutality and murder.

On January 1st, 2012, hundreds of people marched from Oscar Grant Plaza (a.k.a. Frank Ogawa Plaza) at 14th & Broadway in Oakland to the Fruitvale BART station for a rally to commemorate Oscar Grant and many more people killed by the police. Three years ago on January 1st, 2009, Oscar Grant, an unarmed black worker, was executed by Johannes Mehserle, a white BART police officer. In the wake of that killing, a major political movement was launched in Oakland and across the country.

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Port of Oakland Shut Down by Occupy Oakland

The demonstration was modeled on Occupy Oakland’s successful port shut down and general strike on November 2nd.

On December 12th, the Occupy movements in various cities, mostly along the west coast, staged mass mobilizations to march on ports, create community pickets, and effectively shutdown the hubs of commerce. The demonstrations were modeled on Occupy Oakland’s successful port shut down and general strike on November 2nd.

Occupy Oakland called for the December 12th West Coast Port Shutdown, “because we believe it is time the occupation movement begins to work together to carry through coordinated, pinpointed actions. We want to disrupt the profits of the 1% and show solidarity with those in the 99% who are under direct attack by corporate tyranny.” In particular, the demonstrations were in solidarity with longshoremen, port workers and truck drivers.

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Occupy Oakland Marches and Occupies Lot at 19th and Telegraph

On November 19th, Occupy Oakland held a rally and march which began at Oscar Grant Plaza (aka Frank Ogawa Plaza) located at 14th and Broadway in Oakland. Thousands of people wound their way through Oakland, including around Lake Merritt, before stopping to set up a new occupation in the park and empty lot on 19th and Telegraph in the Uptown neighborhood and entertainment district. As of 11:30pm, the camp was intact and there were no reports of clashes between police and demonstrators.

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ILWU Rally and Shut Down All Bay Area Ports Demanding “Justice for Oscar Grant! Jail Killer Cops!”

On October 23, 2010, the ILWU Local 10 longshore workers closed all bay area ports (Richmond, Benicia, Redwood City, Oakland and San Francisco) and rallied in Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza to protest the murder of Oscar Grant with the demand “Justice for Oscar Grant! Jail Killer Cops!” ILWU union port workers joined the rally which brought together many organizations, including labor unions, high school and college students, the faith-based community and the general public in a call for justice.

The rally was initiated by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 after Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson of the Oscar Grant Family spoke to union members about the similarity between the murder of his nephew and a mural on the union hall depicting the 1934 West Coast waterfront strike. On “Bloody Thursday,” July 5th, 1934, a striking seaman and a strike sympathizer, Nicolas Bordoise and Howard Sperry, were killed by a police officer who fired a shotgun into a crowd.

Johanes Mehserle, the ex-BART cop who shot Oscar Grant in the back on January 1, 2009 while Grant was being held face down by multiple officers, faces sentencing in Los Angeles on November 5th.

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Money for Schools, Not Wars! Protest at the Oakland Docks

On April 7th, 2007, an antiwar rally was held at the Oakland docks to mark the fourth anniversary of the Oakland police attack on protesters, longshoremen and journalists.

Organizers of the event outlined the following key points:

* Stop war shipments.
* Port money for schools & social services.
* Bring the troops home now and give them the healthcare they need.
* Express solidarity with Tacoma protestors who are trying to stop war shipments.

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