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Eleanor J. Bader
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The Oakland Dock Protest
I was one of the hundreds of people who met Monday, April 7 at the Oakland Docks to peacefully picket in front of the APL shipping lines—which transports munitions that were used to kill men, women, and children in Iraq. Many Longshoremen watched and many showed support for what we were doing.
The police gave dispersal warnings to our picket of women and men, old and young, holding signs and chanting peaceful slogans. But then we heard huge blasts from guns and I saw some people fall. Many of us ran, some left the scene altogther. Some of us did not want to give up that quickly, feeling it was our democratic right to picket on Oakland property. We re- grouped and joined a smaller picket circle in front of another driveway at the docks.
Once again, we had little time to communicate about what we wanted to do. We joined the last remaining circle and then people started running as police on motorcycles charged the protestors, actually hitting one woman, leaving tire prints on her arm, leg, and back. The police fired on people at alarmingly close range. I saw many being carried away who were bloody and wearing stunned looks on their faces. These were young people, elderly men and women, people of many colors and economic backgrounds, teachers and union workers. The police were indiscriminate. They rounded up 31 of us and we were handcuffed and put into a bus. The guy next to me had gravel in the side of his face and his back was aching from the force of five police officers on top of him, one with a knee in his back.
We were arrested at around 8:30 AM and held in Santa Rita county jail until 4:00 AM the next day. We were separated by gender and shoved into small cells. There were 16 men in our cell. We were taunted by the guards. One of them shoved a picture of George Bush and a trapped-looking Saddam Hussein in my face and asked what I thought of it. I said, believe it or not, we are not in here in support of Saddam Hussein, but for the Iraqi people who are being slaughtered by our government. We were in there because we have the right to peacefully protest in our democratic nation. He snickered, “You people are so stupid.”
During our time in jail, we went around the room and told jokes, played theater games, and talked about everything from the overthrow of Chile’s President Allende in the 1970s to the tragedy in Iraq. One man had just returned from Palestine where he was working with the International Solidarity Movement. He recounted a recent horrific story when the Internationalists were walking peacefully with some Palestinians and they noticed an Israeli militant watching them from a tower through the scope of his rifle. Suddenly they heard a shot and a 14-year-old Palestian boy, who was walking with them, was suddenly dead from a gunshot wound in his head.
I remember reading about this in the paper. The man recounted his horror at witnessing this incident so closely, and also his sadness, as the story was presented in the media the next day as the boy throwing a molotav cocktail and the Israeli army reacting in self-defense. An outright lie, stripping this boy of the dignity of the truth of his life and death.
Similarly, I was distraught to see the media coverage of our protest for peace at the Oakland docks. The police claimed that their actions were justified because they were responding to our throwing of rocks and cement. No one in my jail cell witnessed any such violence on the part of the peace protesters. None of us participated in any aggressive actions.
We will not stop protesting. We will fight for the truth non-violently. If what happened at a protest in Oakland can’t be reported in the media, how can we know what happened to people in Iraq?
will never forget my fellow protesters from the Oakland dock picket.
These are the same people who must read these lies about our experience,
but know our fight is not in vain.
Paul Ginocchio is an activist living in California.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; firstname.lastname@example.org; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; email@example.com; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.