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actions & protests | labor wto hong kong

Brief Report, Photos from Today's March

Just a quick report, hopefully more stories and photos will be posted soon!
Ramon Ramirez and the Congressional Report Card
Ramon Ramirez and the Congressional Report Card
Stewart Acuff addresses the crowd
Stewart Acuff addresses the crowd
On Broadway...
On Broadway...
Inside the Benson Tower sales office
Inside the Benson Tower sales office
In what may have been the largest labor or global justice protests in Portland in decades, nearly 3,000 people took to the streets today to say No to the WTO and YES to the right to organize!

The day started with a brief rally denouncing the WTO and the corporate trade agenda at Gordon Smith's office, with speeches from PCUN's Ramon Ramirez and others. Despite the cold weather, thousands of people gathered for the rally, then the large crowd took to the streets. The march stopped outside the National Labor Relations Board office, where Stewart Acuff, organizing director of the national AFL-CIO, gave a rowsing speech, urging the crowd to support the right to organize unions.

The march passed by the Forest Service building, then headed up to Broadway, filling up all three lanes of traffic, and stretching back at least a block and a half.

At one point, a a small group broke away from the main march to take over the lobby of the Benson Condominium Tower sales office. They have been using non-union labor to build the Benson Tower, and several people have been fired for union organizing. Apparently, one person was arrested at this time.

The march went by several other sites of struggle, then ended at the Federal Building, where several workers, including an immigrant day laborer, spoke out about the needs for workers' rights.

More stories and photos will be up shortly at the Jobs with Justice website: www.jwjpdx.org

homepage: homepage: http://www.jwjpdx.org

Trade Unionists hit the streets 10.Dec.2005 18:51

CWA Local 7901 member

It was great to see thousands of trade unionists take to the streets. Looks like the union movement in Oregon is growing stronger. Props to the organizers.

3000? 10.Dec.2005 19:11

barzabuggle

Come on the march was 2 blocks long at its height, in my experience that's usually about 500-700 people. I remember that the 2002 May Day was widely determined to be 3000 and that was about ten blocks long. Also I believe there was an anti FTAA march in 2001 that had about 1000-1500 participants, so I'd disagree about it being "the largest in decades". That being said this was the best march in Portland in a long time. I think I even caught a wiff of that old "Seattle spirit" that there was from 11-30-99 to 9-11-01. Unionists, environmentalists, and radicals showing true solidarity, hell yeah! As well as a well chosen targeted action meant to send a real message. A refreshing departure from the aimless tedium the anti-war "movement" has fallen into. And most important it was fun and people were actually into it, chanting, dancing and singing instead of dead silence punctuated by the occasional timid "peace now" chant. Maybe there's hope for us yet.

Numbers... 10.Dec.2005 19:29

one (of many) organizers

Just from the pictures you can tell it's way more than 500-700 people. Even the corporate media said it was over 1000. I helped organize all of the early May Day marches, and the FTAA march, and I think today's was much bigger than those. If May Day 2002 (which one was that? the one where we went to Taco Bell?) really was over 3000 than that might have been bigger, but I think even the biggest May Day march was less than 2000.

J20 10.Dec.2005 19:41

bEn

J20 had 4,500 people. I'm not saying this to discourage you, you did an EXCELLENT job. I organized a protest and it is incredibly hard work. You all should be extremely proud of yourself. The police presence was low until the Schumacher fur thing that I heard about. I encourage you all, as much as I hate too, talk to KOIN 6 about the police brutality. When I talked to them they were very sympathetic, and this response is not acceptable. That is KOIN 6 NOT KATU! DON'T CONTACT KATU WHATEVER YOU DO! Heres the number, I really really REALLY encourage all of you that were at Schumachers to call them. I mean in this instance, how the hell can the police defend themselves. There was no reason. So the number is 503 464 0614. I know that the corporate media will disort it, but honestly what could they possibly do to defend these actions? If you all call in they will have to do a story about it.

Whatever the numbers, it was great... 10.Dec.2005 20:24

an organizer

Wow, who knew the numbers would be so controversial here. bEn--J20 was not a labor march. It was a George Bush march, and he's the best organizer of all. Some of the big anti-war marches were 30 or 40,000, I think. No one is claiming it was the biggest march ever, just one of the biggest labor marches in a long time.

But I'm still surprised that Indymedia posters would claim numbers smaller than those claimed by KOIN. Maybe some of the people who did some counting can jump in here and explain how they came up with their numbers. Or maybe we should stop debating it, and try to organize more cool shit!

Cant we all just get along? 10.Dec.2005 20:44

Phil

We all agree it was great. We filled 1.5 blocks standing shoulder to shoulder. Spread out we covered a much greater distance. I arrived early and only about 200 people were milling about; I was disapointed. However, by the time we go underway, our numbers had grown incredibly. I would personally put the numbers anywhere from 800 (extremely conservative) to 3000 (at the very very most). It really does not matter about the numbers, what matters is that people flooded the streets to speak their minds, and that, my friends, is what its all about.

more about numbers 10.Dec.2005 22:46

video guy

Well, numbers are important as a way to see if we're getting stronger or not. Besides the size of the crowd the number of unions and union members is an indication that just maybe the the most powerful human force, the working class, is beginning to move. And this march had lots of unions and union members, that's for sure. I heard an estimate of 2700 people that was done by a person who has counted a lot of marches who counted a 100 person section of the march as we were moving up Broadway. They then estimated how many sections of similar density there were in the whole march to come up with the total. Does this make any sense at all?????

numbers don't matter, but.... 11.Dec.2005 01:48

barzabuggle

I think it's clear from my post that numers don't matter, in fact the lamest march I've ever been in had 400,000 participants. But there is no way at the end of the day that I could honestly say to myself that there were over 900 (tops) in that march. Numbers aren't a political statement, they're a physical fact. BTW I also helped organize a march in March of 2003 against the war that had (honest estimation: 200-300 participants).