imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Tell the NSA: StopWatching.US

Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network: www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles
link:

F29 Walmart Warehouse Shutdown: Victory at Dawn

by Rockero Saturday, Mar. 03, 2012 at 5:03 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

Wednesday, February 29, 2011
EASTVALE, California - Nearly 300 people arrived at six in the morning in this desolate inland city with the intent to shut down the world's largest distribution center for Walmart goods. Activists from Occupy Riverside, Occupy LA, other Southern California occupys, community activists, and student groups arrived at the Schneider warehouse only to find that the management had closed the facility of its own accord. Having tasted victory at dawn, the group soon set its sights much higher.

Ever since Occupy Los Angeles called for a general strike on May 1 to counteract the repression of the occupy movement, stand for principles of democracy and liberty, and inspire the working class to recognize its own power, Occupy Riverside has been organizing to make the day, now just two months off, a success.

The buildup strategy unfolds in many ways, but one important part of it is to have large actions every month. January saw the large mobilization in defense of public education at UC Riverside, and the plan to target the Inland Empire's sprawling logistics industry was hatched well before then after occupy activists decided to do something about the labor and human rights abuses rampant in the warehouses in our area.

Many Occupy Riverside activists have worked in the warehouses themselves and know firsthand the plight of the workers, who are processed by temporary agencies like products through a mill. Those who have not been there themselves have family members who work there. And even those of us whose connection to the industry is not as direct must still suffer the impacts of depressed prevailing wages, weak labor protections, and the environmental racism of contamination from the trucks and trains that deliver merchandise from the ports to our warehouses before they are shipped to the rest of the country--mostly by "independent contractor" (that is, non-union) truckers.

After shutting down the ports on December 12, it natural for us to want to do something here, at the next leg of the supply chain. We made contact with labor advocates struggling to organize the warehouse workers and learned that the most egregious abuses were occurring at facilities moving goods for the corporation that is the bane of justice-lovers worldwide: Walmart. After exploring with them how to best keep the workers safe, we proceeded to coordinate with comrades from Occupy LA and elsewhere, who endorsed the action and pledged to participate.

At an early OLA general strike committee meeting, we heard of Occupy Portland's call to shut down the corporations on February 29. "Leap into action" was the tagline for the national day of nonviolent direct action, which focused on the corporations comprising ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.

(ALEC is a consortium of corporations and state legislators that drafts and passes pro-corporate, anti-worker legislation and subsequently "exchanges" it by passing the same or similar laws in other states. The anti-union law signed by Governor Walker of Wisconsin, which prompted the pre-Occupy occupation of the capitol in Madison, was an ALEC brainchild, as was the racist Arizona law SB 1070, which was dreamed up by corporations operating private prisons and detention facilities. Walmart, as the most anti-union force in the world, is a major player in ALEC.)

Workers at the Schneider warehouse were scheduled for dismissal on February 24 for simply speaking up and demanding their rights. The timing and climate was perfect, and the call to action was made.

A court later enjoined Schneider from firing the workers, but that order did nothing to change the desperate conditions of the workers or correct the undemocratic practices of Walmart and ALEC.

So after a rough night of intensive know-your-rights and non-violence training, followed by a campout (complete with camp fire) in the backyard of an Occupy Riverside comrade, the swarm of resilient occupiers arrived. We marched down Hamner, taking the street from the get-go. Our goal was to shut down the warehouse during peak trucking hours, from six until noon. The empty parking lot was a dead giveaway that the warehouse had closed for the day, but we set up a picket line regardless. Not only was there no resistance from the company, but there was none from the police, either. There was not a uniformed officer in sight.

Number of warehouses shut down: 1

Soon, however, we grew impatient. Our researchers had identified another Schneider warehouse just around the corner from the primary target, as well as another nearby Walmart distribution center. As we made moves to create a presence at these secondary targets, our scouts informed us that they were also abandoned, also shut down for the day.

Number of warehouses shut down: 3

We had enough people to secure the non-operation of the first Schneider warehouse, so another group set out southward on Hamner Avenue to blockade the entrance to an Ingraham-Micro warehouse, which moves goods for IBM, Apple, and other high-tech companies who also happen to be ALEC members, where observers spotted trucks entering and exiting and they decided to blockade the entrance there.

Number of warehouses shut down: 4

Soon after the Micro warehouse shutdown, police seemed to be responding by blocking off traffic at a great distance away--as far north as Riverside Drive, and as far South as Cantú-Galleano Road. It was difficult to tell because they were so far away. Regardless, truck traffic was no longer entering the road, effectively shutting down operations at six more warehouses.

Number of warehouses shut down: 10

It was at the Micro entrance that a small conflict arose about what to do about a trucker who wished to exit the grounds. Many people blocked his exit. He explained to them that his container was empty, that he wasn't hauling for Walmart, and that he was an independent contractor who, unlike the unionized UPS truck stuck inside, was not being paid. This persuaded several people who argued that in addition, the action was to prevent the warehouses from profiting from the exploitation of its forklift drivers and order-pullers by preventing the delivery of merchandise, not to prevent the truckers from profiting.

Those in favor of maintaining the blockade argued that the objective was to shut down commerce entirely, not just the warehouses, and that if we let one person go through, where would we draw the line? It took a while, but eventually those in favor of letting him go won out.

By then it had become clear that police were amassing at the ends of road and lining up. But they were still a ways off, so to pass the time, a local alternative rock band came out and played a set.

Before they finished, a police line approached the intersection where people were blocking the entrance to the Micro building and asked them to leave. The people held the street and held their ground. After what seemed like an eternity of facing from opposite sides of the intersection, the cops started moving forward. Slowly, maintaining its line, the crowd backed up. The sheriff's deputies barked at us to get back, and futilely ordered us walk up the sidewalk back to the protest.

It took them quite a while to push us down the long and wide street. But by about 11:30, we were already within a hundred yards of the main group at the Schneider and in danger of being surrounded at close quarters. It was then that many people began to enter the grounds of a natural foods company across the street. Earlier, medics had secured permission to use the grounds if anyone needed to be evacuated for medical purposes. But the presence of people on either side of the open gate prevented police from advancing because to do so would have left them exposed on one side.

Eventually the owners herded the occupiers out politely but the move had bought us some time. We were then pushed back to the street of our original picket line and ordered onto it so we could "continue our peaceful protest." When we refused to do so, we were ordered to disperse and began exiting up the sidewalk, which police lined on one side to keep us off the street.

But they did not line the whole street, so after the police line ended, we retook the street. This time the police used a different tactic. We continued to retreat peacefully from their line, moving slowly to ensure everyone's safety. But they became aggressive and hostile. On one side of the line, near the bushes lining the Schneider warehouse parking lot, an officer charged the man in front of him with his truncheon. The deputies on either side of the aggressor likewise rushed out just behind him, in a sort of "V" formation. Some people were thrown into the bushes and likely sustained injury, and some individuals appeared to have been a bit trampled in the melee as well. Two of them were arrested.

Two other charges were made after the same fashion: one towards the middle of the line, and another just afterward, from the side. Officers targetted individuals to jab with their batons, to strike at in the legs, and to grab by the head. At least one pig fell while running and knocked his face shield off.

These rushes caused panic and extremely unsafe conditions but protesters remained as calm as possible and regroup. They condemned the police violence and vowed to return.

As with any action, there are lessons to be learned, but for the most part, the activists expressed satisfaction with the day. Surpassing by tenfold the goal of shutting down the warehouse, successfully remaining nonviolent and working together, holding ground, and never once asking for permission to do any of it from anyone.
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments



Freenet/Sone comments box:

This is a comment system called babcom, which is a decentralized, anonymous, encrypted, troll-resistant, comment system that runs atop Freenet. These comments are not stored on this IMC server - they exist in the Freenet cloud, and you must be running Freenet and Sone to see the comments. Install Freenet and try it out.

Use Node:

⚙ Babcom is trying to load the comments ⚙

This textbox will disappear when the comments have been loaded.

If the box below shows an error-page, you need to install Freenet with the Sone-Plugin or set the node-path to your freenet node and click the Reload Comments button (or return).

If you see something like Invalid key: java.net.MalformedURLException: There is no @ in that URI! (Sone/search.html), you need to setup Sone and the Web of Trust

If you had Javascript enabled, you would see comments for this page instead of the Sone page of the sites author.

Note: To make a comment which isn’t a reply visible to others here, include the red link below somewhere in the comment text.

Add this link to the comment:

Local News

TV LEGEND BOB BARKER FUNDS ‘LION’S SHARE’ OF SUCCESSFUL MISSION TO SAVE CIRCUS ANIMALS IN N13 11:30AM

“Protest blackface”: Vegan protest turns racist as white vegans pose as “people of color” N11 3:59PM

Veterans Against Foreclosures Marches in San Fernando Veterans Day Parade N11 2:46PM

Disappeared Documentary in L.A N11 2:23PM

Los Angeles Questions Oversized LAPD Response to Million Mask March N07 1:57AM

Ghosts of Wall Street Occupy Hollywood Blvd Halloween Night N06 12:48PM

The "Cleaning Up" of Venice N02 5:16PM

Activists Hold Prayer Vigil for Lexi Dillon and Jonah Rief in Orange County O31 2:32PM

New ID Verification Feature on this Site O21 1:06AM

Sierra Club endorses activists for Water Board O20 2:02PM

INDY has been hijacked or sold? to commentators ? O17 9:58AM

Columbus Day Protest, Downtown L.A. O14 4:44PM

Demonstration in Los Angeles: In Solidarity with Kobani O11 12:23PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Obama's Sham Immigration Reform N21 12:22PM

fbi/cjis continue to cause killings, shootings N21 8:55AM

MH17 Coverup N21 1:51AM

Winter 2014 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! N20 11:12PM

NUCLEAR SHUTDOWN NEWS NOVEMBER 2014 N20 9:48PM

The Shortwave Report 11/21/14 Listen Globally! N20 4:30PM

America: The Real Evil Empire N20 2:43PM

Israel: Human Rights Abuser Writ Large N20 1:06PM

The USA is under the control of evil men N20 11:43AM

Time For Amtrak To Allow Pets And Carry More Vegan Options N20 9:45AM

Kiev Plans Full-Scale War N20 7:05AM

Le théorème de Bakounine, Coeurderoy, Hofmann N20 2:05AM

Keystone XL Pipeline: Down but not Out N19 1:55PM

African Mayors Call for Debt Cancellation for Ebola-Stricken West Africa N19 10:44AM

Ignored Root Cause of Occupied Palestine Violence N19 8:01AM

The Rent Control Quandary N19 7:14AM

US-Led NATO Risks Global War N19 3:01AM

#UCLADivest N19 1:46AM

Republicans not waiting for Supreme Court N18 2:37PM

Phénoménologe de phénoménologie N18 8:23AM

Open Letter on TTIP and Financial Regulations N18 6:37AM

Republicans win 52% majority. N17 4:13PM

Stop Circus Animal Suffering – Protestors Urge Audiences to Shun the Wild Animal Circus N17 12:28PM

George Harrison, Steve Jobs, And Paramahansa Yogananda N17 9:52AM

Canadian Billionaires: Keep Your Filthy Oil Ask Congress To Vote Against Pipeline Mpv 19 N17 8:34AM

Piketty's Big Data N17 4:44AM

Ferguson verdict Monday? N16 1:42PM

Israeli Settlements Prevent Peace N16 12:46PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy