Dr. Sharpie takes Possum back in time to 2011, to Oakland, California….
As usual, full script is below the fold.
Castor the Beaver: Going back in Sharpie’s time machine again?
Possum: Yeah, she promised to show me more protests from the past.
Castor: Just watch out your fur doesn’t get stuck on the duct tape.
Possum: Sharpie, can you show me a protest that’s not so far in the past?
Sharpie: In 2011, Occupy Oakland protesters set up tents in front of Oakland City Hall to protest against unfair conditions for 99 per cent of all Americans. The top one percent of Americans kept getting richer, while everyone else was losing money.
Possum: Did they sleep in those tents?
Sharpie: Yes. They set up a real community. They welcomed homeless people to join them. They started gardens, and they had a library where people could borrow books. People of all races and genders joined the movement.
Possum: Mm, it looks like kind of a nice place to live.
Sharpie: They ran everything by democratic process. On November 2, they organized a general strike in Oakland. They shut down the Port of Oakland to support the workers in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Those people weren’t getting paid enough. But the owners of big businesses kept get richer.
Possum: That’s not fair.
Sharpie: I know. Then on December 12, Occupy Oakland joined together with other protesters up and down the West Coast. They shut down the Port of Oakland again, demanding better pay for the people working there.
Possum: It seems like you shouldn’t have to protest to get paid enough.
Sharpie: A century ago, it was worse than that. Big businesses made people work 12 hours a day. Children had to work in factories. And there were no paid vacations. It was only by protesting that people got 8 hour days, paid vacations, and no child labor.
Possum: What happened to Occupy Oakland?
Sharpie: The city of Oakland got tired of them. So they sent in police to chase everyone away. They tore up the gardens and threw out the library books.
Possum: Are things getting better for working people now?
Sharpie: Unfortunately, no. During the pandemic, even though rich people are getting richer, they don’t want to pay fair wages to ordinary people.
Possum: So the protests didn’t work?
Sharpie: They helped. But you have to do more than protest. You have to organize.
Possum: I learned that protesters stopped child labor, and got people paid vacations.
Castor: Mm. That’s good. I like vacations.
Possum: I also learned that protesting isn’t enough. You have to organize.
Castor: Uh, oh. Dude, you hate organizing.
Possum: I’ll just have to learn, I guess. Sharpie’s going to show me one more protest next week.