Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Unclear outcome of the Occupy West Coast Port Shutdown action

Although the protesters at the various Occupy West Coast Port Shutdown actions seemed to be at least moderately successful in terms of media attention, noise, and disruptions, I would said that the overall outcome is still a bit fuzzy.
In some cases (e.g., Oakland) they seemed to have a moderate turnout, but overall the turnout seemed a bit light to me, given the supposed maturity of the "movement." The police (and rain) seemed to frighten them away in Long Beach. At other ports there was either only a moderate, temporary shutdown or "picket" lines and other protest activities that were not at all what one would consider a hard-core, massive shutdown of the entire west coast.
It is still not clear how much, if any, of this action will continue in the coming days. There may be some lingering activity in Oakland, but there is little in the way of evidence that that "action" will continue, let alone grow in strength.
So far, I would grade them a "B" for the protest, a "C-" for the shutdown, and an "incomplete" for whether this "action" has any longer-term ramifications, other than an irreverent "Is that all you've got?" I'm sure they could have done better, but for whatever reasons they didn't.
The "solidarity action" here in New York City was basically a joke. They huffed and puffed and talked about "storming" Goldman Sachs, but only around 100 or so activists held a so-so rally in front of the new Goldman Sachs building across from the World Trade Center site (diagonally-opposite corner from Zuccotti Park) and then lamely attempted to stage an impromptu "dance party" in the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center where their boisterous behavior quickly drew the attention of security and the cops. I doubt that the operation of Goldman Sachs was disrupted in the slightest. The only people who might have been disrupted probably were a few tourists or tenants who expected to enjoy a few quiet moments in the palm-treed atrium, a privately-owned public space that nonetheless is subject to the rules and whim of the property owner and manager. The cops did roughly handle a New York Times photographer and a few of the activist "media", but overall it was simply little more than a scuffle.

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