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Six UC campuses pass divestment resolutions!

Congratulations and thank you to the students of no less than six UC campuses that have now passed resolutions to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
UC Berkeley was the first to pass a resolution back in April 2010. Unfortunately it was immediately vetoed by the student president, and the senate was unable to overturn the veto because of Zionist pressure and intimidation. However, many other universities gained inspiration from Berkeley’s divestment attempt, and decided to follow suit.
UC Irvine was the first UC campus, in Nov 2012, to succeed. UC San Diego was second in March 2013. UC Berkeley finally passed their divestment resolution in April 2013, exactly three years after their legendary pioneering first attempt.
UC Riverside followed, in April 2014, and UC Santa Cruz in May 2014. Now UCLA has just passed its divestment resolution yesterday.
Well done to the magnificent students of these six UC campuses, who withstood intimidation from Zionist organizations, but stoically did not cave in. They have tremendous guts, all of them.
We look forward to the last three campuses following soon.

Tracking the Zim Shanghai

Tracking the Zim Shanghai

Sept 19th – 27th, 2014.

Jane Jewell

This is my own account of the days leading up to Saturday, September 27th, 2014, when activists at the port of Oakland pulled off one of the most successful and remarkable BDS actions against Apartheid Israel to date. As I was unable to attend the events on Saturday, the part I played was very small; just tracking the ship for the eight days it took coming up the coast from the Panama Canal to Oakland, and tweeting the information.
There are numerous excellent first hand accounts of the actual events at the dock, of which one is posted on this website.
Here is my story:
I started tracking the Israeli ship, the Zim Shanghai, on Friday, Sept 19th. It had just passed through the Panama Canal, and was making its way north west up the coast. I followed its progress past the Central American countries over the next couple of days, and then to Mexico. Even this early on, it seemed to be ahead of schedule. Still, there was Tropical Storm Polo to contend with later, so the captain was wise to get ahead while he could.
By Tuesday, however, the Zim Shanghai, still continuing up the coast, was still way ahead of schedule. At this rate, it would definitely arrive early, on Friday.
My sources, however, still confirmed that the ship intended to arrive in the early hours of Saturday morning.
I continued to track, and check everything.
The ship was going steadily at 16.8 knots. We all know that ships can go faster in open water than they can when approaching a port. However, why did it suddenly increase to 20.4 knots on Wednesday? There was no need, it was ahead of schedule. My imagination got creative. Had there been a sudden surge in tide? Did the captain suddenly decide to put his foot on the gas to beat the storm? Or was something else going on?
All through Wednesday and Thursday, the Zim Shanghai continued up the coast ahead of schedule.
Then late Thursday night, it happened.
One of our sources said that the Zim Shanghai would now be coming in to port at 8pm on Friday, not Sat 3.30am, and leaving at 6am Saturday morning. Protesters would arrive at the port just in time to see the ship sail away, fully unloaded. We would have been outwitted, our whole action ruined.
The Stop Zim Action Committee then made rapid plans to change the protest from Sat morning to Friday evening. The conference call went way into the wee hours. The Committee had wisely told potential demonstrators to always check social media before heading out to any protest, in case the time and date changed. This request to be flexible proved invaluable.

Plans were now in place to go to the port of Oakland to stop the ZIM Shanghai unloading on Friday afternoon. Announcements were made on social media, which of course our opposition could read as well. ‘Damn it!’ they no doubt thought; ‘they have spotted our trick of sneaking in early to catch them unawares’. Now there was no point in coming in on Friday, (and inconveniencing the pilots any more than they already had) so they changed their plans back to Saturday morning.
And so did the Stop Zim Action Committee. :-)
So the Zim Shanghai, having used up extra fuel to arrive early, now had to idle off the coast for several hours, just south of the SF Bay entrance, killing time (and wasting money) before going in to Oakland at 3am after all. Whether or not the shipping company had to pay the pilots twice, for the Friday 8pm shift as well as the Saturday morning one, having booked both times in rapid succession, I have no idea; but it would be interesting to know!
Full accounts of the two actions taken at the port of Oakland on Sat Sept 27th can be read elsewhere. However, they can be summarized as follows:
Both actions were totally successfully in preventing the Zim Shanghai from unloading any cargo whatsoever. The members of ILWU local ten refused to cross the picket line. Only one person agreed to work the Zim ship, on the morning shift. Not a single other person signed up to work.
The Zim Shanghai, still fully loaded, now had to go all the way back down the coast, (having just come up from there!) to unload at Los Angeles instead. This put them almost five days behind schedule. The ship was supposed to have left the San Francisco Bay on Saturday, Sept 27th, but didn’t go past the entrance again until Thursday afternoon. The expected day of arrival in Vostochnny was changed from Oct 10th to Oct 14th, inconveniencing the East Asian ports in Russia, China, and South Korea. The shipping company had to pay for the extra fuel to take the cargo all the way down to Los Angeles, having passed by there only a few days before. The cargo unloaded at Los Angeles would have to have been transported back up to Oakland by road, at great expense to Zim. Or maybe it was loaded onto another ship, to be brought back to Oakland. Either way, at considerable additional cost to Zim.
The incredible success at the Port of Oakland on Sept 27th, expelling the Zim Shanghai from the port after only two shifts, could never have been achieved without the admirable cooperation of the local longshore workers.
The Stop Zim Action Committee applauds and thanks the ILWU longshore workers of local 10 for their tremendous solidarity with the Palestinian people, in keeping with their noble traditions of standing against injustice, and supporting the oppressed people of this world.
Sending the workers hugs, love, and cookies.

 

Transport Workers Solidarity Committee’s Response to ILWU International’s Statements on ZIM Protests

Transport Workers Solidarity Committee’s Response to ILWU International’s Statements on ZIM Protests
Recent ILWU press releases and public statements are misleading and conflict with well-established ILWU policies and positions on Palestine and Israel. The editor of the ILWU newspaper, The Dispatcher, at the direction of the ILWU President, can not overturn those policies and positions without a vote by Convention delegates.
The Israeli Consulate’s statement that the ZIM Piraeus sailed from the port of Oakland on August 20 after completing cargo operations is untrue. But for the ILWU Communications Director, Craig Merrilees, to make that same statement, reaffirming the Zionist’s self-serving distortion places the ILWU on the side of those responsible for the recent slaughter of over 2,100 Palestinians, most of them innocent Gazan civilians. The false statement implies that the 5-days of picketing by thousands of protesters had no impact on cargo operations. The original call for a mass protest on August 16 and 17, mobilizing a few thousand was made by a coalition, Block the Boat, initiated by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center. However, subsequent picketing on August 18, 19 and 20 that stopped the ship’s cargo operations was done spontaneously by a smaller group of Bay Area activists, including the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee.
The truth is that after failing to get its cargo worked at the SSA terminal, ZIM Lines tried to fool protesters that the ship was sailing to Los Angeles, but longshoremen knew otherwise. The ship departed August 19 at 3pm, headed out the Golden Gate then abruptly reversed course at 5.30pm, made a Williamson turn and headed back to the Port of Oakland, this time to Berth 22. Ports America, the employer, tried to shift longshore workers from another ship to work the ZIM Piraeus but there already was a picket line at the terminal gate.  Some ILWU Local 10 members refused to work the ship. Those that reluctantly worked it, despite pressure from the employer and union officials, rebelled by slowing down cargo ops to a crawl. One crane operator boasted that barely 1% of containers was actually moved before the ZIM ship was forced to sail.

On September 27, another ZIM ship, the Shanghai, was picketed on the day and night shifts at SSA by 200 protesters mobilized by the Stop ZIM Action Committee and the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee. Three of the organizers were Local 10 retirees, veterans of ILWU’s 1984 anti-apartheid action in San Francisco.  Again, Merrilees put out untrue statements, claiming longshore workers were threatened by picketers and were standing by on safety. Actually, an appeal was made in the union hiring hall that morning asking longshoremen not to work the ZIM ship and informing them of a picket line. In a show of solidarity all longshoremen refused Zim jobs except for one. In the evening SSA agreed to remove police from the picketing area if the union would dispatch the jobs. With no police presence it was the picketers and longshore supporters vs ZIM and SSA. We won hands down!
On September 27, the ILWU International issued a press release falsely stating “ the leadership and membership of the ILWU have taken no position on the Israel/Gaza conflict.” The truth is that ILWU passed a Convention resolution in 1988 characterizing Israeli oppression of Palestinians as “state-sponsored terrorism”. ILWU’s 1991 resolution condemns Zionist “suppression of basic freedoms of speech and assembly” of Palestinians and calls for the “right of self-determination”.
Israel has blockaded the port of Gaza since 1967, stopping all ships and putting port workers and longshoremen out of work for nearly 50 years. In 2002, Local 10 officers signed a statement “For International Labor Solidarity to Stop Zionist Repression and Build a Just Peace” to protest the Zionist bombing of the headquarters of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions in the West Bank city of Nablus.
The Journal of Commerce (August 20), the maritime bosses’ newspaper, quoted Communications Director Merrilees: “ILWU members felt threatened by the large number of demonstrators” and made a similar statement regarding the September dock protest. But the truth is the threat to longshoremen comes from the police not protesters. As Local 10 president Melvin Mackay told the San Francisco Chronicle, longshoremen would not work the ship “under armed police escort—not with our experience with the police…”
In a 2003 court case against the Oakland Police Department for shooting so-called “non-lethal” weapons at longshore workers and anti-war protesters, ILWU attorney Rob Remar meticulously documented coordinated police violence against longshore workers since the 1934 Maritime Strike in which two strikers were killed by cops, provoking the San Francisco General Strike. Nowadays ILWU International officers try to deny our militant history and undermine any semblance of class struggle on the docks, especially in the midst of the current contract negotiations. With no contract in place longshoremen can take job actions during negotiations to bolster the union at the bargaining table but the “top down” bureaucracy has reigned in the ranks, preventing the union from flexing its muscle.
Nevertheless, Local 10 has tried to continue ILWU’s proud history of solidarity actions by introducing a resolution at the 2009 Convention “commending the South African dockworkers union for taking a strike action against an Israeli ship in Durban to protest the massacre of 1400 Palestinians by the Israeli army in Gaza”. A year after the Convention resolution passed unanimously, the Local 10 Executive Board voted to “call on the ILWU International officers to lend their voice in protest with other unions against this atrocity by issuing a policy statement in line with the ILWU’s past position on the question of Israeli repression of Palestinians and call for unions to protest by any action they choose to take.” That motion paved the way for Local 10 longshoremen in 2010 in collaboration with anti-Zionist demonstrators to conduct the first-ever job action by an American trade union protesting repressive Israeli government policies. Meanwhile, ILWU International officers have only reaffirmed Israel’s press statements and run a biased pro-Israel article in The Dispatcher (January 2007) by International Secretary-Treasurer Willie Adams with no mention of the plight of Palestinians. It’s time for ILWU International officers to get on board: Oppose apartheid in Israel just as we did in South Africa. The rank and file have shown the way.
(labor donated) October 8, 2014

 

Stop Zim Action Committee letter of thanks to ILWU Local 10 workers at Oakland port

Stop ZIM Action Committee
@StopZIMOak snurl.com/stopzims27

October 2, 2014
Brothers and Sisters of ILWU Local 10,

We, members and supporters of the Stop Zim Action Committee, want to express our gratitude to Local 10 members, who in the best tradition of the ILWU, upheld the principle of labor solidarity by honoring our picket line against the ZIM Shanghai on September 27.

We were protesting the Israeli government’s genocidal bombings of Palestinians in Gaza that killed over 2,100 people, mostly civilians, as we had informed Local 10 members by leafleting at the union hall. Thanks to your support, day and night, we were able to send a clear message to the Israeli government that when they slaughter innocent Palestinian people, their ships will be targeted by protest actions. This is consistent with ILWU Local 10’s position of defending the rights of Palestinians.

Three of the picketing protesters were Local 10 retirees who were organizers of ILWU’s historic 1984 anti-apartheid action in San Francisco. One of them announced to a rally at the picket at SSA’s Berth 57 that an announcement had been made at the dispatch hall requesting longshoremen not to take jobs on the ZIM ship. The rally broke into thunderous applause as it was reported that only one job was filled.

We know ILWU doesn’t have a longshore contract yet and actions like this can be taken by the union without legal retaliation from the employer. There could not have been a stronger showing of support than longshore workers refusing to take a dispatch to the ZIM ship. In return for your solidarity we offer to mobilize ourselves and others from the community to be on your picket line if successful contract negotiations are not achieved and ILWU goes on strike. We’ve got your back!

An Injury to One is an Injury to All!

Stop ZIM Action Committee

Picket the Zim Shanghai From September 27 at Port of Oakland!

End the Siege of Gaza!
Picket the Zim Shanghai Starting September 27 at the Port of Oakland!

Israel and Hamas agreed to a set of conditions for a ceasefire on August 26th, after Israel had killed more than 2,100 Palestinians in Gaza – mostly civilians, more than a quarter children – and destroyed much of Gaza’s infrastructure, housing, hospitals, schools and water supply.

Israel claims it does not “occupy” Gaza, yet it has complete control of Gaza’s land crossings, seacoast and air space. Israel severely restricts Palestinians’ movement and their access to food, medical supplies, and construction materials.

In 1984, protesting against South African Apartheid, the Bay Area longshore workers union, ILWU Local 10, went on strike for 11 days against the Nedlloyd Kimberley, a ship carrying South African cargo.

In 2010, responding to the deadly Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, Local 10 honored a picket of an Israeli-owned ZIM ship by 1,200 community and labor activists, refusing to unload the ship for 24 hours. In August 2014, Palestinian, community and labor activists, in an historic victory, blocked the Zim Piraeus for five days and forced it to leave the Bay with most of its cargo still on board.

We ask the ILWU to carry on its long historical tradition of opposing injustice and honoring community picket lines. Let’s keep the pressure on and continue this tradition of labor blockades against oppression.

Please come to a sustained community and labor activist picket beginning on September 27th to stop the Zim Shanghai from unloading or loading any cargo – from when it arrives in Oakland until it leaves. This will also send a message to stevedoring companies such as Stevedore Services of America (SSA) who are pushing for concessions right now against longshore workers who are working without a contract.

Picket Lines Mean Don’t Cross!
An Injury to One is an Injury to All!
Solidarity with the Palestinian people!

Stop ZIM Action Committee

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Text “Join” to 88202 for alerts on ship location and picket status
Twitter: @StopZIMOak
Webpage: snurl.com/stopzims27
A “sustained picket” means we will picket the Zim Shanghai from when it arrives until it leaves the Bay.

Morning assembly: 5am, West Oakland BART (starting September 27th)
Afternoon assembly: 4:30pm, West Oakland BART

Carpools will be available. The ship is expected at the SSA terminal in the Port.

Typically, each picket will last only a few hours until longshoremen decide not to cross the picket. It may last longer depending on the situation. Volunteers are need for all shifts, but especially morning shifts and the first day (morning of September 27th).

Please check your phone/Twitter/FB for updates on the ship location and picket status, particularly the day before. ZIM may delay the ship’s arrival to avoid picketers.