This May Day, the longshore workers (ILWU Local 10) voted to shut down the Port of Oakland to protest the police crime wave that is sweeping the country. This was a positive step as labor has been largely missing in action from the movement that has developed since the police murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson last August. In fact, one member of the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) in Ferguson reported at that time that his union leaders had told him that “this is not our battle.”
A coalition formed to organize a protest and march based on this shut down of the port. A small rally was held at the port, then a march through West Oakland and then the main rally at Oscar Grant Plaza in downtown Oakland. Speaker after speaker praised the ILWU for their support of this movement. And speaker after speaker denounced the violence and racism of the police. However, what none of the speakers at the main rally did was to put forward a perspective, including explaining why labor had been missing in action up until now and what was necessary for the labor movement.
That was left up to two speakers at the pre-event rally. Here is a video that summarizes May Day in Oakland.