2011 Oakland general strike

2011 Oakland general strike
2011 Oakland general strike
The front of a marching crowd carrying a large banner. The banner reads "General Strike!"
Participants Occupy Oakland
Location Oakland, California, United States.
Date November 2, 2011 (2011-11-02)
  • Shut down of Port of Oakland evening shift.
  • Evening confrontation with police results in multiple arrests and allegations of police misconduct.
  • Widespread media reports of violence are condemned by Oakland mayor Jean Quan and City Council members.

The Oakland General Strike of 2011 was a strike held in Oakland, California on November 2, 2011 as part of the larger Occupy Oakland movement.


General Strike

Thousands of protesters gathered at Frank Ogawa Plaza to participate in rallies, marches, and teach-ins designed to empower citizens and to draw attention to economic inequity and corporate greed. [1][2] The last general strike in the United States was in Oakland in 1946. Local unions expressed solidarity for the strike including Oakland's largest union, Service Employees International Union Local 1021, Oakland Education Association, International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10, and United Brotherhood of Carpenters. While none of the unions were officially on strike, many urged their members to take a personal day, vacation day or to participate after work. [3]

Speakers on the flatbed truck stage

A flatbed truck with a sound system was parked in the middle of the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway and used as a make-shift stage. The morning's rally began at 9 a.m. and a range of people addressed the audience including the scholar/activist Angela Davis and musician Boots Riley.[4] Live musical performances occurred simultaneously in the plaza amphitheater including local hip hop group BRWN BFLO.[5]

A banner hung in downtown Oakland during a bank march

While most of the day-time activities were peaceful, Oakland Police chief Howard Jordan reported that a small group of "anarchists" vandalized a Whole Foods storefront, and broke windows and ATMs of Bank of America and Wells Fargo banks in the afternoon. [6] [7] Many buildings were vandalized, including some businesses that displayed signs of support for the General Strike. After the incidents of vandalism, members of Occupy Oakland organized to guard local businesses, board up broken windows, and clean graffiti caused by the black bloc vandals. Oakland mayor Jean Quan described the vandals as "a small and isolated group" that "shouldn't mar the overall impact of the demonstration and the fact that people in the 99 percent movement demonstrated peacefully and, for the most part, were productive and very peaceful."[8]

One of the marches to the Port of Oakland on Nov. 2, 2011

Thousands of protesters marched from Frank Ogawa Plaza to the Port of Oakland, the fifth busiest port in the United States, in two separate groups leaving the plaza at 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm. The number of protesters marching to the port has not been confirmed. While police estimate 7,000 people marched, local organizers [9] and participants [10] put the number somewhere between 20,000 and 100,000. As protesters completely filled Middle Harbor Road, the main road leading to the port, all truck traffic entering or exiting the port was halted. Port operations were "effectively shut down" a couple hours later. [11] During the march a frustrated driver of a Mercedes struck two pedestrians who were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The driver was questioned by BART police and released. [12]

Night of Nov 2: Plaza Arrests

Later in the evening, a group of protesters took over a vacant building that once served as the headquarters of the Traveler's Aid Society, a non-profit organization that provided services to the local homeless population. Police soon arrived to break up the protesters gathered outside of the building. Some protesters fled while others set a barricade on fire. [13] Police used teargas and flash bangs to try to clear protesters. At least one man was carried away injured after protesters said he was shot in the leg by a rubber bullet. [14] Clashes continued past midnight. 103 people were arrested.

Shooting of Scott Campbell

External videos
"CA Violence: RT footage from 'occupied' Oakland" Compilation of events as Oakland police begin using tear gas to disperse crowds, while protesters retreat from the police line, treat those effected by gas, break windows at nearby businesses, or provide film interviews.
"More RT footage: Riot cops tear gas Occupy Oakland strike" Further compilation of events.
"Shot by police with rubber bullet at Occupy Oakland" Filmed by Oakland resident Scott Campbell, moments before being shot by an Oakland Police officer.

Shortly before 1am, Oakland resident Scott Campbell was shot by police using a less-lethal round while he was filming a stationary line of police in riot gear. The apparently-unprovoked shooting was documented by the resulting point-of-view video from Campbell's own camera.[15] Geoffrey Alpert, a criminal justice professor from the University of South Carolina said watching a video of the incident left him "astonished, amazed and embarrassed" and that "unless there's something we don't know, that's one of the most outrageous uses of a firearm that I've ever seen."[16]

Arrest of Kayvan Sabeghi

Kayvan Sabeghi, a former U.S. Army Ranger who served in the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan, was seriously injured while being arrested by police that evening. He was walking away from the late evening protest when he was stopped by police. [17] The organization Iraq Veterans Against the War issued a statement saying that "police struck Sabeghi with nightsticks on his hands, shoulders, ribs and back, and that in addition to a lacerated spleen he suffered from internal bleeding." After 18 hours of being denied medical treatment while in police custody he was transferred to Highland Hospital and put into the intensive care unit. [18] [19]

Cagle arrest and allegations

Journalist Susie Cagle was arrested in the early hours of November 3, jailed, and ultimately charged with a misdemeanor. Cagle subsequently reported having observed mistreatment of protestors during their imprisonment.[20]


  1. ^ "California protesters shut down Oakland port". BBC News. November 2, 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15568057. Retrieved November 2, 2011. 
  2. ^ "California protesters shut down Oakland port". The Guardian News Blog. November 2, 2011. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/02/occuply-oakland-general-strike-live. Retrieved November 3, 2011. 
  3. ^ Gee, Robyn (November 2, 2011). "Teachers, Service Workers Support Oakland's Strike Without Striking". Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/turnstyle/teachers-service-workers_b_1071604.html. Retrieved November 6, 2011. 
  4. ^ Hamilton, John (November 3, 2011). "Video Report from Streets of Oakland: First General Strike in City Since 1946 Shuts Down Major Port". Democracy Now!. http://www.democracynow.org/2011/11/3/video_report_from_streets_of_oakland. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  5. ^ Arnold, Eric (November 3, 2011). "Occupy Oakland: “We shut down the port!” demonstrators say (Ongoing analysis)". Oakland Local. http://oaklandlocal.com/article/occupy-oakland-%E2%80%9Cwe-shut-down-port%E2%80%9D-demonstrators-say-ongoing-analysis. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Occupy Oakland General Strike Shuts Down Port; Anarchists ‘Bent On Creating Problems’". CBS San Francisco. 2 November 2011. http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2011/11/02/general-strike-protesters-shut-down-port-of-oakland/. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  7. ^ At least 4,000 are at the gates to the Port of Oakland
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "Video Report from Streets of Oakland: First General Strike in City Since 1946 Shuts Down Major Port". Democracy Now. November 3, 2011. http://www.democracynow.org/seo/2011/11/3/video_report_from_streets_of_oakland. Retrieved November 6, 2011. 
  10. ^ Abraham, Zennie. "Occupy Oakland Strike Draws 100,000; Violence Caused By 100". San Francisco Chronicle - Blog. http://blog.sfgate.com/abraham/2011/11/03/occupy-oakland-strike-draws-100000-violence-caused-by-100/. Retrieved November 6, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Occupy Oakland throng closes down port". The San Francisco Chronicle. November 2, 2011. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/03/MN8Q1LPI1J.DTL. Retrieved November 3, 2011. 
  12. ^ Kuruvila, Matthai (November 3, 2011). "Mercedes hits 2 Occupy Oakland protesters". San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/03/BA5G1LQ06S.DTL. Retrieved November 6, 2011. 
  13. ^ Loftis, Emily (November 3, 2011). "Occupy Oakland shuts down port". Salon. http://www.salon.com/2011/11/03/occupy_oakland_shuts_down_port/. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Occupy Oakland general strike – Thursday 3 November". The Guardian. November 2, 2011. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2011/nov/03/occupy-oakland-general-strike-live#block-13. Retrieved November 3, 2011. 
  15. ^ Experts: "Occupy" video shows excessive force
  16. ^ . http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stories/ci_19284774. Retrieved Nov 7, 2011. 
  17. ^ Gabbatt, Adam (November 4, 2011). "Occupy Oakland: second Iraq war veteran injured after police clashes". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/04/occupy-oakland-second-veteran-injured. Retrieved November 6, 2011. 
  18. ^ Randewich, Noel (4 November 2011). "Army veteran injured in Oakland clashes with police". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/05/us-protests-oakland-veteran-idUSTRE7A37A820111105. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  19. ^ "Kayvan Sabeghi Injured: Second Iraq war vet hurt during Oakland clash with police". Huffington Post. 5 November 2011. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/05/kayvan-sabeghi-injured_n_1077806.html. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  20. ^ [2]

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