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Social climber
Dec 8, 2011 - 02:51pm PT
Anonymous is a group of hackers just a few of successors to WikiLeaks. They don’t need no–stinking masks.

They are concentrating on the enemy [the state] and exposing their vulnerabilities.

Social climber
Dec 8, 2011 - 03:08pm PT
December 08, 2011 Dailybreeze

Anonymous takes credit for LAPD info leak

Members of the group say they posted officers' home addresses and names of their children.

Personal Info on LAPD Command Staff Leaked

A member of a hacking group affiliated with international hacking group Anonymous told a radio station today that the group was responsible for posting the personal information of more than two dozen members of the Los Angeles Police Department's command staff.

The hacker group @CabinCr3w sent out a Twitter message Monday that provided information on officers' backgrounds, including home addresses, campaign contributions, property records, and in some cases names of their children.

A member of the group wrote to KPCC-FM (89.3) in an online chatroom that the group posted the information because of the LAPD raid on the Occupy LA encampment and the treatment of protesters.

"It all comes from those (LAPD) actions and how the protesters are now being treated like criminals for practicing a fundamental right," a member of the group wrote.

The member of @CabinCr3w wrote that the local group is associated with the Anonymous group that shut down four Bay Area Rapid Transit stations in San Francisco after BART police shut off cellphone service to prevent a planned protest about the shooting death of Charles Hill, a homeless man killed by BART police in July.

BART officials said they tried to prevent the protests because it would lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions.

Police are investigating the publication of personal information about more than two dozen LAPD captains and some command staff.

The website published anonymously obtained officers' property records, campaign contributions, biographical information and some names of family members, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The department is conducting a risk analysis that will determine whether police or their families need extra security, LAPD Lt. Andrew Neiman told City News Service.

Neiman said he had not seen the website, but said it was a concern "any time someone involved in law enforcement has personal information accessible to the public, which has a criminal element as well, and subjects them and their family to additional threats."

Most of the information published on the site was publicly available, and the department's secure severs do not appear to have been hacked, the Times reported.

The LAPD publishes detailed biographical information about some of its command staff and captains on its website, www.lapdonline.org/lapd--command-- staff. The information includes details about commanders' and captains' careers, and in some cases, their hobbies, marital status and the number of children they have.

LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said publishing such legal information is legal, but it is a safety concern for officers and their families."It's a creepy thing to do, but it's not against the law to cull something from a website," Smith said.

"We deal with a lot of bad people in this department ... and bad people sometimes hold a grudge," Smith said. "Why would somebody put that together? I can think of no good reason to want to do that, but I can think of a lot of bad reasons...Anybody can reach anyone in our department by phone, email or by sending a letter."

So who needs to be ready Fattie, might want get a new PC [do not add a printer] rather than being on the street beating theses guys up.

"I could be sworn in at any time, I'm ready to do some tooling."


Gym climber
Dec 8, 2011 - 05:19pm PT
I see you side-stepped my question.

Yeah, it's a tough one, I admit.

Somewhere out there
Dec 8, 2011 - 05:45pm PT


This Changes Everything: How the 99% Woke Up
Monday, 05 December 2011 17:35 Sarah van Gelder

“We fail to understand why we should have to pay the costs of the crisis, while its instigators continue to post record profits. We’re sick and tired of one injustice after another. We want human dignity back again.

This isn’t the kind of world we want to live in, and it’s we who have to decide what world we do want. We know we can change it, and we’re having a great time going about it.”

—From #HowToCamp by the Spanish indignados, whose occupations in cities throughout Spain helped inspire Occupy Wall Street


Something happened in September 2011 so unexpected that no politician or pundit saw it coming.

Inspired by the Arab Spring and uprisings in Europe, sparked by a challenge from Adbusters magazine to show up at Wall Street on September 17 and “bring a tent,” and encouraged by veteran New York activists, a few thousand people gathered in the financial district of New York City. At the end of the day, some of them set up camp in Zuccotti Park and started what became a national—and now international—movement.

The Occupy movement, as it has come to be called, named the source of the crises of our time: Wall Street banks, big corporations, and others among the 1% are claiming the world’s wealth for themselves at the expense of the 99% and having their way with our governments. This is a truth that political insiders and the media had avoided, even while the assets of the top 1% reached levels not seen since the 1920s. But now that this genie is out of the bottle, it can’t easily be put back in.

Without offices, paid staff, or a bank account, Occupy Wall Street quickly spread beyond New York. People gathered in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, Atlanta, San Diego, and hundreds of other cities around the United States and claimed the right of we the people to create a world that works for the 99%. In a matter of weeks, the occupations and protests had spread worldwide, to over 1,500 cities, from Madrid to Cape Town and from Buenos Aires to Hong Kong, involving hundreds of thousands of people.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is not just demanding change. It is also transforming how we, the 99%, see ourselves. The shame many of us felt when we couldn’t find a job, pay down our debts, or keep our home is being replaced by a political awakening. Millions now recognize that we are not to blame for a weak economy, for a subprime mortgage meltdown, or for a tax system that favors the wealthy but bankrupts the government. The 99% are coming to see that we are collateral damage in an all-out effort by the super-rich to get even richer.

Now that we see the issue clearly—and now that we see how many others are in the same boat—we can envision a new role for ourselves. We will no longer be isolated and powerless. We can hold vigils all night when necessary and nonviolently face down police. We are the vast majority of the population and, once we get active, we cannot be ignored. Our leaders will not fix things for us; we’ll have to do that ourselves. We’ll have to make the decisions, too. And we’ll have to take care of one another—provide the food, shelter, protection, and support needed to make it through long occupations, bad weather, and the hard work of finding consensus when we disagree.

By naming the issue, the movement has changed the political discourse. No longer can the interests of the 99% be ignored. The movement has unleashed the political power of millions and issued an open invitation to everyone to be part of creating a new world.

Historians may look back at September 2011 as the time when the 99% awoke, named our crisis, and faced the reality that none of our leaders are going to solve it. This is the moment when we realized we would have to act for ourselves.

The Truth is Out: The System is Rigged in Favor of the Wealthy

One of the signs at the Occupy Seattle protest reads: “Dear 1%. We were asleep. Now we’ve woken up. Signed, the 99%.”

This sign captures the feeling of many in the Occupy movement. We are seeing our ways of life, our aspirations, and our security slip away—not because we have been lazy or undisciplined, or lacked intelligence and motivation, but because the wealthiest among us have rigged the system to enhance their own power and wealth at the expense of everyone else.

Critics of the movement say they oppose the redistribution of wealth on principle. But redistribution is exactly what has been happening for decades. Today’s economy redistributes wealth from the poor and middle class to those at the top. The income of the top 1% grew 275 percent between 1979 and 2007, according to the Congressional Budget Office. For those in the bottom 20 percent, income grew just 18 percent during those twenty-eight years.

The government actively facilitates this concentration of wealth through tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, and bailouts for giant banks and corporations. These entities also benefit from mining rights, logging rights, airwave rights, and countless other licenses to use common assets for private profit. Corporations shift the costs of environmental damage to the public and pocket the profits. Taxpayers bear the risk of global financial speculation while the payoffs go to those most effective at gaming the system. Instead of investing profits to provide jobs and produce needed goods and services, the 1% put their wealth into mergers, acquisitions, and more speculation.

The list of government interventions on behalf of the 1% goes on and on: Tax breaks favor the wealthy, global trade agreements encourage offshoring jobs, agricultural subsidies favor agribusiness over family farms, corporate media get sanctioned monopolies while independent media gets squeezed.

The people who go to work producing things we need—the middle class and working poor—pay the price for all this. Speculative profits act as a drain on the economy—like a hidden tax. This hidden tax is one of the many reasons the middle-class standard of living has been slipping.

This lopsided division of wealth corrupts government. Few among the 99% now believe government works for their benefit—and for good reason. With the 1% commanding an army of lobbyists and doling out money from multimillion-dollar campaign war chests, government has become a source of protection and subsidies for Wall Street. No wonder there isn’t enough money left over for education, repairing roads and bridges, taking care of veterans and retirees, much less for the critical transition we need to make to a clean energy future.

The system is broken in so many ways that it’s dizzying to try to name them all. This is part of the reason why the Occupy movement hasn’t created a list of demands. The problem is everywhere and looks different from every point of view. The one thing the protesters all seem to agree on is that the middle-class way of life is moving out of reach. Talk to people at any of the Occupy sites and you’ll hear stories of people who play by the rules, work long hours, study hard, and then find only low-wage jobs, often without health care coverage or prospects for a secure future.

And many can find no job at all. In the United States, twenty-five million people are unemployed, underemployed or have given up looking for work. Forty-five percent of those without jobs have been unemployed for more than twenty-seven weeks. Some employers won’t hire anyone who is currently unemployed. Meanwhile, the cost of health care, education, rent, food, and energy continues to rise; the only thing that’s falling is the value of homes and retirement funds.

Behind these statistics are real people. Since the Occupy movement began, some who identify themselves as part of the 99% have been posting their stories at wearethe99percent.tumblr.com. Here’s one: “I am a lucky one. I have enough money to eat three of four weeks of the month. I have been paying student loans for fifteen years and still no dent. My husband lost his job...Last year I took a 10 percent pay cut to ‘do my share’ and keep layoffs at bay. I lost my house. I went bankrupt. I still am paying over one thousand dollars in student loans for myself and my husband and that is just interest. We will not have children. How could we when we can’t even feed ourselves? I am the 99%.”

Another personal story, by a sixty-year-old, reads, “Got laid off. Moved two thousand miles for new job. Pays 40 percent less than old job. Sold home at a loss. Filed Chapter Eleven. Owe IRS fifty thousand dollars. Fifteen thousand dollar per year debt for son’s tuition at state university. Seventy-five percent of retirement funds shifted to the 1%! I am the 99%!”

The website contains thousands of stories like these.

Now that we know we are not alone, we are less likely to blame ourselves when things are hard. And now that we are seeing the ways the system is rigged against us, we can join with others to demand changes that will allow everyone to thrive.

We the People Now Know That We Have the Right, and the Power

The power of the Occupy Wall Street movement is rippling out far beyond the people camped at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, and even beyond the occupation sites springing up in cities around the world. This movement is reaching people who are carrying a protest sign for the first time, including some conservatives, along with union members who have been fighting a losing battle to maintain their standard of living.

Hundreds of thousands have participated in the protests and occupations, millions support the occupations, and tens of millions more support their key issues. Polls show that jobs continues to be the issue that most concerns us, yet the national dialogue has been dominated by obsession with debt. While just 27 percent of Americans responding to an October 2011 Time Magazine poll held a favorable view of the Tea Party, for example, 54 percent held a favorable view of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Of those familiar with the protests, large majorities share their concerns: 86 percent agreed that Wall Street and lobbyists have too much power in Washington, DC, 68 percent thought the rich should pay more taxes, and 79 percent believe the gap between rich and poor has grown too large.

The movement has been criticized for its diversity of people and grievances, but in that diversity lies its strength. Among the 99% are recent graduates and veterans who can’t find work, elderly who fear losing their pensions, the long-term unemployed, the homeless, peace activists, people with a day job in a corporate office who show up after work, members of the military, and off-duty police. Those involved cannot be pigeonholed. They are as diverse as the people of this country and this world.

The movement has also been criticized for its failure to issue a list of demands. In fact, it is easy to see what the movement is demanding: quite simply, a world that works for the 99%. The hand-lettered protest signs show the range of concerns: excessive student debt; banks that took taxpayer bailouts, then refused to help homeowners stay in their homes; cuts in government funding for essential services; Federal Reserve policies; the lack of jobs.

A list of specific demands would make it easier to manage, criticize, co-opt, and divide the movement. Instead, Occupy Wall Street is setting its own agenda on its own terms and developing consensus statements at its own pace. It’s doing this in spaces that it controls—some in parks and other public spaces, others in union halls, libraries, churches, and community centers. On the Internet, the movement issues statements and calls to action through Twitter, Facebook, and its own Web sites. From the start it was clear that the movement would not rely on a mainstream media corrupted by corporate interests.

The Occupy Wall Street movement does not treat power as something to request—something that others can either grant or withhold. We the people are the sovereigns under the Constitution. The Occupy Wall Street movement has become a space where a multitude of leaders are learning to work together, think independently, and define the world we want to live in.

Those leaders will be stirring things up for years to come.

This Is What Horizontal Power Looks Like

When political parties talk about building a base, they usually mean developing foot soldiers who will help candidates win election and then go home to let the elected officials make the decisions. The Occupy Wall Street movement turns that idea on its head. The ordinary people who have chosen to be part of this movement are the ones who debate the issues, determine strategies, and lead the work.

Working groups take care of practical matters like food, sanitation, media, meeting facilitation, and receiving packages from supporters. Other groups discuss the issues, create arts and culture, debate tactics, and consider whether to issue demands. In Zuccotti Park, the Consciousness Working Group set up a permanent sacred space for prayer and meditation; spiritual leaders from various faiths show up to lead observances.

The early weeks of the occupation coincided with Yom Kippur, and a thousand Jewish activists participated in services across from Zuccotti Park. They erected in the park a sukkah, a temporary hut built to represent the impromptu housing Israelites used in the desert when escaping Egypt. Because the building of structures at Zuccotti Park is forbidden, this was an act of civil disobedience.

At the center of this movement are general assemblies, where decisions are made by consensus. Facilitators are charged with managing the process so that all have a chance to be heard and everyone has a chance to express approval, disapproval, or to block consensus by means of hand signals.

The use of the people’s microphone is a central feature of the general assemblies. To use the people’s mic, a person first grabs the attention of the crowd by shouting, “Mic check!” Then, he or she begins to speak, saying a few words at a time, so that others can shout the words on to those behind them in the crowd.

Originally developed as a way to circumvent bans on amplification at many occupation sites, the people’s mic has developed into much more than that. It encourages deeper listening because audience members must actively repeat the language of the speaker. It encourages consensus because hearing oneself repeat a point of view one doesn’t agree with has a way of opening one’s mind. And it provides a great example of how community organizing works best when it’s people-powered and resilient. This technique allows crowds of thousands to communicate, and also allows groups involved in direct street action to make democratic decisions on the fly.

The occupation zones are not just places to talk about a new society. They are becoming twenty-four-hour-a-day experiments in egalitarian living. Without paid staff or hierarchies, everyone gets fed, laundry gets done by the truckload, disagreements get facilitated, and those arrested are greeted by crowds of cheering supporters when they get out of jail.

Cynics might question the importance of this deepening sense of community. But people who have lived in a competitive, isolating world are tasting a way of life built on support and inclusion, in some cases for the first time. They are sharing the risk of police beatings, arrests, and pepper spray, and the hardship of sleepless nights in a rainy or snowy park. The resulting bonds create strength, solidarity, and resolve. Visitors report being surprised to see smiles instead of anger. This is a movement where you often hear the words, “I love you.”

That experience of community is not easily forgotten, and it deepens the yearning for a new culture; one that is radically inclusive, respectful, supportive, and horizontal.

What Next?

The organizers of the September 17 occupation say they weren’t planning for an occupation that would go on week after week. It just hadn’t occurred to them. And no one can say where things will go from here. Harsh weather could drive people away. Other hazards could undercut the movement. Police violence could frighten away would-be protesters, or it could galvanize the movement, as did the pepper spraying of unarmed women in Manhattan and police violence against occupiers in Oakland.

Another threat to the movement is violence on the part of the occupiers themselves, which would be used to justify police action and likely turn press coverage against the occupations. With increasing tensions and exhausted protesters, the nonviolent discipline of this movement will be severely tested.

Violence could also come from provocateurs seeking to discredit the Occupy movement. Within a month of the movement’s launch there was a case of an admitted provocateur, an assistant editor at the right-wing magazine American Spectator, who tried, without success, to get Occupy and anti-war protesters to join him in pushing past security guards at the Smithsonian Museum of Air and Space in Washington, DC. Fortunately, the crowd refused to follow. Security guards responded by pepper spraying protesters, and the museum was closed for some hours. Most news reports attributed the scuffle to Occupy Wall Street protesters.

But the movement has important strengths that add to its resilience. It is radically decentralized, so a disaster at any one occupation will not bring down the others; in fact, the others can take action in support. There is no single leader who could be co-opted or assassinated. Instead, leadership is broadly shared, and leadership skills are being taught and learned constantly.

What’s more, the autonomous groups within the movement that plan and carry out direct actions of all sorts are extremely difficult to contain. By choosing the targets of their actions wisely, they can further draw attention to institutions whose behavior calls into question their right to exist. When the legitimacy of large institutions crumbles, it is often just a matter of time before the support of government, stockholders, customers, and employees goes away, too. There is no institution that is “too big to fail.” This is one way that nonviolent revolution happens.

New support is flowing in, some from unexpected sources. A group of Marine veterans has formed OccupyMARINES, which will work to recruit police and members of other branches of the military to support the occupations, and to nonviolently protect protesters from police assaults. The Marines also plan to help the occupations sustain themselves through cold weather. The group was inspired by a viral video showing Marine Sergeant Shamar Thomas dressing down the police for brutalizing protesters. “There is no honor in this,” he shouted at the police. The wounding of Marine veteran Scott Olsen, who at twenty-four years old had already served two tours in Iraq, has further fired up fellow Marines. Olsen was critically injured by a police-fired projectile in an Oakland police action against occupiers.

Police, though often shown cracking down on occupations, have also expressed sympathy with the movement. In Albany, New York, state and city police declined to follow orders from the mayor to arrest and remove peaceful protesters. “We don’t have those resources, and these people were not causing trouble,” an official with the state patrol told the Times Union newspaper.

Will there come a time when there is no one willing to enforce orders to evict members of the 99% from occupation encampments—or from their homes, for that matter? And if popular support grows, will elected officials look to ally themselves with the movement, rather than suppress it? The fact that these are even questions shows how radically things have changed since a few hundred people occupied Zuccotti Park on September 17, 2011.

Whatever happens next, Occupy Wall Street has already accomplished something that changes everything. It has fundamentally altered the national conversation.

“A group of people started camping out in Zuccotti Park, and all of a sudden the conversation started being about the right things,” says The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. “It’s kind of a miracle.”

Now that millions recognize the injustice resulting from the power of Wall Street and giant corporations, that issue will not go away. The central question now is this: Will we build a society to benefit everyone? Or just the 1%?

The world becomes a very different place when members of the 99% stand up. The revolts in Egypt, elsewhere in the Middle East, and in Europe belie the story that popular uprisings are futile. The people occupying Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan and in cities across the country have showed that Americans, too, can take a stand.

People who’ve experienced the power of having a voice will not easily go back to silence. People who’ve found self-respect will work hard to avoid a return to isolation and powerlessness; the Occupy Wall Street movement gives us reason to believe that we the people can take charge of our destinies. The 99% are no longer sitting on the sidelines of history—we are making history.

For more http://www.yesmagazine.org/products/this-changes-everything/this-changes-everything
corniss chopper

breaking the speed of gravity
Dec 8, 2011 - 06:04pm PT
jingy -No one is concerned with the Occu-pies anymore.

First we ignored them
then we laughed at them
and when we started to smell them
we evicted them
and cleaned up the mess.

Somewhere out there
Dec 8, 2011 - 06:09pm PT
^^^^^^ Yet a f*#k-hole will continue to post to an Occupy Wall Street Thread Reposted thread? ^^^^^^

What do you think keeps the Chinese-style human rights violations from happening here in the U.S.?

 K.... what makes you think they are not already happening here in the US?

I agree. If left to their own devices... the republicon party will indeed make the US into the worst of all parts of China.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 8, 2011 - 06:56pm PT
Telling that there is the defense appropriations bill going through congress now that allow indefinite detention of US Citizens without due process or trial just on suspicion of terrorism in any form or support of terrorism in any form.

I have little doubt that Law enforcement and certain politicians could place this label on OWS or even Tea Party protesters. We gotta contact our congress and Obama to fight this. I did



Social climber
Dec 8, 2011 - 07:27pm PT
Yes! Isn’t it great “Revenge”: Israel making sure to kill 10 of their enemy for one of theirs. Double for LAPD? LASD.

Everything will be photographed making it easy for the Chinese to say “See, you do it as well so why are complaining of human rights abuse with our country?’

Bet you do not know what “coke shells” are, if you do I would say you were actually informed about something. You should know since your ties with the Mossad.

Hey! Don’t get me wrong I like Israel but the moderates and left, plus when you get something manufactured there and delivered it comes in a plain paper bag, actually box, with “Delicate Instruments Handle with Great Care”

Somewhere out there
Dec 9, 2011 - 09:45pm PT
[Click to View YouTube Video]

Novel idea... I say we try it!!!!

How about the right wing tells me how much worse the humans of the US would be if this amendment went through?
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 11, 2011 - 03:40pm PT
The money establishment conditions the people to respect authority, money and power. Then the Real Estate gal and the guy at the bank say you can buy a home and, no problem, sell it after some time for an almost guaranteed profit.

Of course you do it. They are professionals right!? What do you know?

Later they blame you while foreclosing on your home and while the economy crashes, saying you should have known better than to believe them.

so, pissed off, you join OWS and protest in the streets. The same establishment then tells you to quit questioning authority



Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Dec 11, 2011 - 04:14pm PT
It's tough to muster any sympathy for someone who buys a house in '99 for $215,000, then refinances it every year since until they finally owe $664,000, which they cannot afford the payments on.


"It's not FAIR. I owe more than it's WORTH"

Occupy San Francisco has her back, however. She's their new mascott.
corniss chopper

breaking the speed of gravity
Dec 12, 2011 - 02:47pm PT
So now that OWS has been redefined as domestic terrorists by Homeland
seems we'll see more clubbing and pepper spraying of these anarchists
on the 6 o'clock news.

Just because arabs go off on a dime does not mean civilized people will do the same and that the socialist masters behind OWS thought we would is a bit insulting.

Check out this global terrorism event/warning map.
Just another day of corralling the crazy people.


Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Dec 12, 2011 - 02:53pm PT
^^^ ^^^

corniss chopper

breaking the speed of gravity
Dec 12, 2011 - 03:24pm PT
philo - your selective amnesia is flaring up again?

OWS supporters forgeting their terrorist roots due to medical reasons?

OWS Terrorists Now Call for Firebombings: “We’re Going to Burn New York
City to the Ground”

OWS grows more violent...threatens young children

Police include Occupy movement on ‘terror’ list

Lone wolf terror threat growing (and will probably be an OWS type)


Dec 12, 2011 - 04:17pm PT
An Open Letter from America’s Port Truck Drivers on Occupy the Ports

December 12, 2011


We are the front-line workers who haul container rigs full of imported and exported goods to and from the docks and warehouses every day.

We have been elected by committees of our co-workers at the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma, New York and New Jersey to tell our collective story. We have accepted the honor to speak up for our brothers and sisters about our working conditions despite the risk of retaliation we face. One of us is a mother, the rest of us fathers. Between the five of us we have 11children and one more baby on the way. We have a combined 46 years of experience driving cargo from our shores for America’s stores.

We are inspired that a non-violent democratic movement that insists on basic economic fairness is capturing the hearts and minds of so many working people. Thank you “99 Percenters” for hearing our call for justice. We are humbled and overwhelmed by recent attention. Normally we are invisible.

Today’s demonstrations will impact us. While we cannot officially speak for every worker who shares our occupation, we can use this opportunity to reveal what it’s like to walk a day in our shoes for the 110,000 of us in America whose job it is to be a port truck driver. It may be tempting for media to ask questions about whether we support a shutdown, but there are no easy answers. Instead, we ask you, are you willing to listen and learn why a one-word response is impossible?

We love being behind the wheel. We are proud of the work we do to keep America’s economy moving. But we feel humiliated when we receive paychecks that suggest we work part time at a fast-food counter. Especially when we work an average of 60 or more hours a week, away from our families.

There is so much at stake in our industry. It is one of the nation’s most dangerous occupations. We don’t think truck driving should be a dead-end road in America. It should be a good job with a middle-class paycheck like it used to be decades ago.

We desperately want to drive clean and safe vehicles. Rigs that do not fill our lungs with deadly toxins, or dirty the air in the communities we haul in.

Poverty and pollution are like a plague at the ports. Our economic conditions are what led to the environmental crisis.

You, the public, have paid a severe price along with us.

Why? Just like Wall Street doesn’t have to abide by rules, our industry isn’t bound to regulation. So the market is run by con artists. The companies we work for call us independent contractors, as if we were our own bosses, but they boss us around. We receive Third World wages and drive sweatshops on wheels. We cannot negotiate our rates. (Usually we are not allowed to even see them.) We are paid by the load, not by the hour. So when we sit in those long lines at the terminals, or if we are stuck in traffic, we become volunteers who basically donate our time to the trucking and shipping companies. That’s the nice way to put it. We have all heard the words “modern-day slaves” at the lunch stops.

There are no restrooms for drivers. We keep empty bottles in our cabs. Plastic bags too. We feel like dogs. An Oakland driver was recently banned from the terminal because he was spied relieving himself behind a container. Neither the port, nor the terminal operators or anyone in the industry thinks it is their responsibility to provide humane and hygienic facilities for us. It is absolutely horrible for drivers who are women, who risk infection when they try to hold it until they can find a place to go.

The companies demand we cut corners to compete. It makes our roads less safe. When we try to blow the whistle about skipped inspections, faulty equipment, or falsified logs, then we are “starved out.” That means we are either fired outright, or more likely, we never get dispatched to haul a load again.

It may be difficult to comprehend the complex issues and nature of our employment. For us too. When businesses disguise workers like us as contractors, the Department of Labor calls it misclassification. We call it illegal. Those who profit from global trade and goods movement are getting away with it because everyone is doing it. One journalist took the time to talk to us this week and she explains it very well to outsiders. We hope you will read the enclosed article “How Goldman Sachs and Other Companies Exploit Port Truck Drivers.”

But the short answer to the question: Why are companies like SSA Marine, the Seattle-based global terminal operator that runs one of the West Coast’s major trucking carriers, Shippers’ Transport Express, doing this? Why would mega-rich Maersk, a huge Danish shipping and trucking conglomerate that wants to drill for more oil with Exxon Mobil in the Gulf Coast conduct business this way too?

To cheat on taxes, drive down business costs, and deny us the right to belong to a union, that’s why.

The typical arrangement works like this: Everything comes out of our pockets or is deducted from our paychecks. The truck or lease, fuel, insurance, registration, you name it. Our employers do not have to pay the costs of meeting emissions-compliant regulations; that is our financial burden to bear. Clean trucks cost about four to five times more than what we take home in a year. A few of us haul our company’s trucks for a tiny fraction of what the shippers pay per load instead of an hourly wage. They still call us independent owner-operators and give us a 1099 rather than a W-2.

We have never recovered from losing our basic rights as employees in America. Every year it literally goes from bad to worse to the unimaginable. We were ground zero for the government’s first major experiment into letting big business call the shots. Since it worked so well for the CEOs in transportation, why not the mortgage and banking industry too?

Even the few of us who are hired as legitimate employees are routinely denied our legal rights under this system. Just ask our co-workers who haul clothing brands like Guess?, Under Armour, and Ralph Lauren’s Polo. The carrier they work for in Los Angeles is called Toll Group and is headquartered in Australia. At the busiest time of the holiday shopping season, 26 drivers were axed after wearing Teamster T-shirts to work. They were protesting the lack of access to clean, indoor restrooms with running water. The company hired an anti-union consultant to intimidate the drivers. Down Under, the same company bargains with 12,000 of our counterparts in good faith.

Despite our great hardships, many of us cannot — or refuse to, as some of the most well-intentioned suggest — “just quit.” First, we want to work and do not have a safety net. Many of us are tied to one-sided leases. But more importantly, why should we have to leave? Truck driving is what we do, and we do it well.

We are the skilled, specially-licensed professionals who guarantee that Target, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart are all stocked with just-in-time delivery for consumers. Take a look at all the stuff in your house. The things you see advertised on TV. Chances are a port truck driver brought that special holiday gift to the store you bought it.

We would rather stick together and transform our industry from within. We deserve to be fairly rewarded and valued. That is why we have united to stage convoys, park our trucks, marched on the boss, and even shut down these ports.

It’s like our hero Dutch Prior, a Shipper’s/SSA Marine driver, told CBS Early Morning this month: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

The more underwater we are, the more our restlessness grows. We are being thoughtful about how best to organize ourselves and do what is needed to win dignity, respect, and justice.

Nowadays greedy corporations are treated as “people” while the politicians they bankroll cast union members who try to improve their workplaces as “thugs.”

But we believe in the power and potential behind a truly united 99%. We admire the strength and perseverance of the longshoremen. We are fighting like mad to overcome our exploitation, so please, stick by us long after December 12. Our friends in the Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports created a pledge you can sign to support us here.

We drivers have a saying, “We may not have a union yet, but no one can stop us from acting like one.”

The brothers and sisters of the Teamsters have our backs. They help us make our voices heard. But we need your help too so we can achieve the day where we raise our fists and together declare: “No one could stop us from forming a union.”

Thank you.

In solidarity,

Leonardo Mejia
SSA Marine/Shippers Transport Express
Port of Long Beach
10-year driver

Yemane Berhane
Ports of Seattle & Tacoma
6-year port driver

Xiomara Perez
Toll Group
Port of Los Angeles
8-year driver

Abdul Khan
Port of Oakland
7-year port driver

Ramiro Gotay
Ports of New York & New Jersey
15-year port driver


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Dec 13, 2011 - 11:40am PT
That is a good letter. Hard to argue with a lot of it. I have a friend who
owns a small independent trucking company so I hear both sides of the story.
He certainly feels for his drivers as he was one once. He is squeezed by the
same forces. If he were to unionize or pay his drivers by the hour he would
be out of work in a heartbeat too. To hear him talk it is the mega-trucking
companies who are in cahoots with the Port of LA to force the clean diesels
upon everyone on a schedule only they can afford in an attempt to force out
the small independents.

As for the poor working conditions at the ports it seems to me that most of
the ports are government run so their targets should be those entities. You
know the longshoremen have nice sanitary restrooms, why can't they share?

On that subject I question the Occupiers' priorities. The notoriously corrupt
longshoremen have for years thwarted most attempts at port modernization and
efficiency which would certainly benefit the truckers. The whole port of
Hamburg is run by about 20 people and moves more volume than the Port of LA.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Dec 13, 2011 - 12:01pm PT

That was an excellent reply. I've done quite a bit of econometric work related to shipping and virtually every independent or small-firm trucker I interviewed (and I've interviewed hundreds) says exactly what your friend said about the proposed regulations for LA-Long Beach.

I also find it interesting that the official Longshoremen's position regarding Occupy's actions yesterday is, essentially, "Let us take care of our own issues. Don't interfere." While I could draw many conclusions from that, I personally think that confirms, to me, that Occupy and ILWU leadership remain independent of each other. That, at least, seems like a plus for the Occupiers, given the history of ILWU corruption.


Social climber
somewhere that doesnt have anything over 90'
Dec 15, 2011 - 06:09pm PT
[Click to View YouTube Video]

Social climber
Dec 15, 2011 - 10:00pm PT
Yea didn't you also say buy stocks. Good place to invest.

Social climber
So Cal
Dec 16, 2011 - 10:23pm PT
For the fleabagers about

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