Occupy Vancouver Joins the Call
On Monday Dec. 12th, 2011 we’re asking community organizations, rank-and-file union members, residents and journalists to join Occupy Vancouver at Callister park at noon for a 12-hour West Coast Coordinated Port Shutdown. Our fellow Occupiers in San Diego, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, Tacoma, and Seattle have asked us to stand in solidarity with them and Occupy Vancouver has responded with a resounding YES! We hope that you will join us in this action and invite your sisters, brothers, neighbours and co-workers to successfully block the Port of Vancouver. Bring your signs, chants, passion, instruments, bikes, and revolutionary spirit!
Canada’s top 61 richest billionaires have a combined wealth of $162 billion and represent 0.0002% of the national population. These 61 individuals own twice as much wealth as the bottom 17 million Canadians. BC has the highest child poverty rate in Canada for eight years running and 12% of British Columbians – more than half a million people – live below the poverty line. Real incomes in Canada since 1973 have increased only by $1,500 dollars, while the cost of living, education and home ownership have increased exponentially. Workers today toil longer hours, retire later and spend many more years and money on their education than previous decades. In the 1950s, the average family income based on one pay check could finance home ownership, put kids through university and save for retirement; today two people have to work sometimes multiple jobs to pay the rent, pay off student loans and perhaps one day make room for a child. To finance home ownership and people’s consumption habits, Canadians have gone into serious household debt. The illusion of wealth is maintained on borrowed money for the average Canadian.
The 1% declared war on the 99% a long time ago
The disparity between the rich and poor is growing at an exponential rate. The working class has historically struggled, fought and died for the gains that are currently being systematically stripped away, often by force. The call for a port shutdown is a solidarity action – a call to stand in solidarity with the longshoremen of Longview, WA who are courageously fighting union-busting activities by the grain company EGT. The collective bargaining rights of the working class has been dramatically eroded. From the Canada Postal workers being legislated back to work to flight attendants not striking for fear of being declared an “essential service” the state crack down on union power and theft of collective bargaining chips that ensure a living wage, fair working conditions and benefits, has increased under the pressures of an unstable global capitalist economy. It’s time to stand up and unite as union workers, non-unionized workers, and surplus labour and FIGHT BACK. We can’t wait for management to do this; it is up to us to determine our destiny and struggle for the society we want.
Our Strategy/ Dispelling Fears and Myths
The ports are public. They belong to everyone, including us. If Canada is a democracy and a free country then we have every right to go to the Port and protest. Every right to assert our economic power. The 99% make the economy run and we can make the economy halt. The 1% are parasites that simply move capital – which belongs to EVERYONE – from one region to the next. It’s time to reassert our collective power and show that despite differences we can come together as a united front and halt port activities for 12-hrs. The ILWU, the longshoremen union that stretches across the West Coast, has a history of honouring “community pickets.” If we can get enough bodies to block the New Brighton Port entrance in Vancouver, arbitrators will be forced to get involved and declare working conditions unsafe, allowing the longshoremen to go home with a full day’s pay! We assert our collective bargaining power AND shut down the port!
Call for Support
From our community to yours, we need you. From Vancouver to Los Angeles, we’re behind you. From one human being to another, we can do this. If the state can orchestrate a coordinated-crackdown of Occupy movements, why shouldn’t we strike back and coordinate an action to assert our collective power? United we are more powerful than any individual action.
Mark your calendars: Dec. 12th @ noon @ Callister park, Renfrew & Hastings, East Van.