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Citywide ‘swarm’ ride planned to support port blockade

Posted by on December 8th, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Detail from “Bike to Blockade” poster

The ‘bike swarm’ is at it again. Organizers behind the growing movement to use masses of people on bicycles to support the Occupy Portland protests, are planning several “feeder” rides that will end at an action to shut down the Port of Portland.

The “Bike to Blockade” event is part of the local Shutdown the Port action, which is Portland’s involvement in a coordinated attempt to shut down trading ports along the entire west coast.

The goal of the shutdown is to support longshoremen and port workers “in their struggle against the 1%!” (according to the website).

“U.S. ports have thus become economic engines for the elite;” reads the organizer’s website, “the 1% these trade hubs serve are free to rip the shirts off the backs of the 99% who turn their profits.”

Swarm organizer Katherine Ball says riders will run “scout missions” between terminals and circle in front of the entrances. “We will be biking legally but we hope there will be enough of us that it will create a traffic jam of sorts — or at least a lot of confusion.”

“One of the main missions of a swarm for this action,” Ball adds, “is just to get people up there! I think what happens when we get there will be somewhat improved based on what is necessary.”

‘Bike to Blockade’ will support the event by leading feeder rides from all five quadrants of the city. The groups will meet up at Peninsula Park in North Portland, then ride together for a 4:00 pm rally at Kelley Point Park (which is smack dab in the middle of port terminals on the Columbia River).

Check the event flyer below or visit PDXBikeSwarm.com for more info.

(NOTE: The quotes from organizer Katherine Ball were added after this post was first published. – JM)

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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9watts
Guest
9watts

Nice work, bike swarm. Bikes are the means and the end!

Stretchy
Guest
Stretchy

Obviously only the rich use the bicycle components that are shipped into Portland through the port. Only the rich eat the food that is off-loaded at the port. Only the rich manufacture goods and grow agricultural products that are sold around the world by shipping them out of the port.

Thank you for looking out for my best interests by making it more difficult and expensive for me to buy the basic necessities of my daily life. Thank you for causing economic harm to the company that employs me. It just stands to reason that the worse my employer does, the better I do.

Frank
Guest
Frank

Uh… I hope the protesters are aware that the Longsoreman’s union is NOT in support of the protest. Just an FYI. “Support is one thing, organization from outside groups attempting to co-opt our struggle in order to advance a broader agenda is quite another,” (union President) Robert McEllrath wrote in a Dec. 6 letter to ILWU locals.

Zach
Guest
Zach

This kind undifferentiated anti-capitalist nonsense is so counter-productive. Capitalism is not going anywhere, and shouldn’t be going anywhere.

It’s disappointing that these passionate people, young and old, are wasting their energy on efforts that will enable the media to discount all liberal activism as the acts of a bunch of ignorant communist wanna-bes.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

you should also figure out what the Occupy movement is all about so you can understand this call to action…

Mike
Guest
Mike

http://www.longshoreshippingnews.com/2011/12/unions-say-no-to-occupy-portland%E2%80%99s-call-for-a-waterfront-strike/

“The goal of the shutdown is to support longshoremen and port workers “in their struggle against the 1%!”

Where is this stated on the PDXBikeSwarm.com site? I couldn’t find it.

It seems to me that this is “support” that is very much not wanted or needed. Isn’t pissing off labor unions kind of against the occupy movement?

It appears that the Union best being served by the swarms is the PPA http://www.ppavigil.org/ .

Sweet.

Ian Marshall
Guest
Ian Marshall

Jonathan,
I guess my first point would be that this post is 100% activism. A few including myself have criticized you for claiming to be an impartial journalist, and or an activist. It’s your site and obviously you will write what you want, but I feel like you should be one or the other.
Second to Spiffy and others who think this is a good idea. You can’t tell people to figure out what Occupy is about, just because you want them to think that it’s about what your beliefs are. To me this is a stupid idea. The general public will think this is stupid.

To me Occupy is about trying to change the way our financial system is rigged right now. It is about reinstating bank regulation like Glass Steagall, enforcing the Sherman Anti Trust act, getting rid of crazy tax loopholes that allow the biggest companies to not pay taxes, getting rid of NAFTA and raising our traffics and taxes on imported goods back to where they were 30 years ago. This list can go on and on.
But my point is that blocking the Port is dumb. It is kicking the giant in the toe, it doesn’t hurt them, and it makes the movement look silly.
In no way do I claim to have the answer, but the last time we went through this during the great depression, it was done by marching on the companies themselves and on the Politicians to make them write legislation.

9watts
Guest
9watts

More background here: http://westcoastportshutdown.org/
interview on the subject of ILWU and Occupy call for Dec 12 port shut down

Ian Marshall
Guest
Ian Marshall

Because this whole post is taken from the point of view of one group. You didn’t present a story, so it comes off that you support what they are doing. And I think it really does matter because if a news organization does a story that you think is anti bike, you and I will criticize them for not being journalists.

The goal of the shutdown is to support longshoremen and port workers “in their struggle against the 1%!”

“U.S. ports have thus become economic engines for the elite;” reads the organizer’s website, “the 1% these trade hubs serve are free to rip the shirts off the backs of the 99% who turn their profits.”

As we have seen in the comments above, the Longshoremen might not want the swarm.
Does the Union support the swarm? Does the union support Occupy? Are the ports really the engines of the elite? or are they the engine that drives our whole consume everything economy right now?

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Spiffy
you should also figure out what the Occupy movement is all about so you can understand this call to action…

You’ve stated this twice.

In what way is blocking ports of commerce any different than an economic embargo? Historically these have had the greatest effect on the poor.
See:
THE HUMAN RIGHTS IMPACT OF ECONOMIC SANCTIONS ON IRAQ
and
SANCTIONS ON SOUTH AFRICA: WHAT DID THEY DO?

Perhaps we should consider that the party most likely to be harmed by blocking ports is American workers. Globalization has helped to weaken the power of a single nation embargoing another as trade flows much easier now than in the past. See From Blunt Weapons to Smart Bombs: The Evolution of US Sanctions.

Commerce and profits flow through points of least resistance. A blockade will cause either acceptable economic losses to the 1% or cause them to reconsider the economic viability of the Pacific coast as a place to do business. Perhaps take their business somewhere else where the government is able to control their unruly citizens. It makes strategic economic sense not to put up with rabble rousing black mail tactics.

Doesn’t make it right but on this scale of protest there are no foreseeable positive outcomes other than on effect.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Just a note: I’ve just added updated the story with quotes from bike swarm participant/organizer Katherine Ball.

OnTheRoad
Guest
OnTheRoad

And let’s not forget about all those laudatory news stories about the Sprockettes. Where is the balance?

Frank
Guest
Frank

“We will be biking legally but we hope there will be enough of us that it will create a traffic jam of sorts — or at least a lot of confusion.”

Oh, it will cause a lot of confusion alright. How did a movement with such admirable goals lose its compass so quickly? Why do their actions poke working stiffs in the eye? As sympathy with the protesters begins to wane they need attention, so they are trying to piggyback on someone else’s protest… but the longshoremen are snubbing them. Now what should they do???? Ride about in circles… stopping blue collar workers from getting to their jobs. Confusing indeed.

Barney
Guest
Barney

This is a bad idea and will do harm to the interests of cyclists in the long run. Whatever bad things go down with the “occupiers” plans will also tarnish the image of cyclists. If it is only traffic congestion or worse yet, violence and mayhem, the image of cyclists will be in the news as part of it. Think about the lingering images from many of the “occupy” locations. What will be remembered? Many will remember the violence, the crime and the filth left behind by the occupiers more than the incohesive message. Perhaps the image will be worse if they were personally impacted by the movement because they couldn’t get to work or were a victim of a crime or violence.

Most people on this site want to be treated like any other road user while riding their bikes, they want to be considered “normal” by society. Well, creating a public nuisance or preventing others from getting to work and feeding their families will not win you much support among most people. The next time I have a bad encounter while riding on the road I will wonder if the driver wasn’t influenced by some event like this and now has a negative image of cyclists. Thanks in advance for all those who participate in the “bike swarm” for the harm you are likely to do!

stephanie
Guest
stephanie

also there will be swarms in the morning to block the AM shift starting at 8 am. i dont know about times and places for this, but i know they wanted to meet at kelly point park by 6 am and have a blockade forming by 7.

Jbpdx
Guest
Jbpdx

I’ve decided to join the bike swarm to the port. All these Republican authoritarian dopes’ misguided comments convinced me to get more involved in Occupy.

Lazlo
Guest
Lazlo

“One of the main missions of a swarm for this action,” Ball adds, “is just to get people up there! I think what happens when we get there will be somewhat improved (sic) based on what is necessary.”

So, essentially it’s a mob without a goal. Nice. Let’s create some confusion involving bikes and semis.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

So you’re saying shutdowns on a port have no bearing on delivery time that may have been promised, even if is two months out?

steve
Guest
steve

thanks for the story! i was just curious about the bike swarm. the port shutdown needs to happen at 6am, but the flyer only mentions the second (less important) meetup time. will there be a “bike bus” i can catch in the morning?

Lazy Spinner
Guest
Lazy Spinner

Just imagine the changes in our legislative bodies if the Occupy crowd actually registered to vote and then cast ballots! I see lots of enthusiatic young people at Occupy events but the under 30 crowd still can’t seem to get their act together at election time.

If youngsters really want to make change, then they need to get active with candidates of their own to move some of the grey haired corporate sponsored deadwood out of the way. Camping and bike swarms won’t do that.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

I’ll be there.
The more some folks nay-say and create reasons why you shouldn’t participate, the more I know that we need to get on with the changes. Attempted suppression by police or by propagandizing the public will only make things “worse” before they get better.

Of course, camping and bike swarms *are* making a difference, but those are just the beginning. That’s why so many in power are scared and going so quickly to violence to try to intimidate the spirit of change.

I’ll be there.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

I hope all the folks trying to demand BP be somehow 100% “objective” and non-partisan on any and all issues also apply that same lens to the OreGronian “news”paper and FOX “news”. Both laughable in terms of objectivity.

A dockworker
Guest
A dockworker

Somehow they dont get the whole “Port” part of Portland. You are just going to hurt a few transloaders, a ash loader, and a grain company. Which btw are brought in by barge, rail, and not many trucks at that time of night. Should this rubbish even be on a bike website?

Mike
Guest
Mike

So let me get this straight, you are going to support an organization that holds commerce for ransom so they can be overpaid. Check out how much they make and ask yourself if they need your help. THEY ARE OVERPAID!!!! If you support these thugs then for crying out loud, the next time there is a teachers strike get on you bikes and do your little swarm. I guess you are running out of things to do!!! Where else can an uneducated worker make 6 figures just because they have connections? P.S. They don’t give a rats arse about a bike swarm.

Hart Noecker
Guest

This is port shut down of the entire WEST COAST, and there will be similar events all over the WORLD. The critics of Occupy PDX seem to forget this a global social movement that is taking action. BIKE SWARM is a small but newsworrthy component, and I’d be sorely disappointed if something this important was ignored by Portland’s most read bike blog. Don’t like Bike Swarm?, they don’t participate. Don’t wanna read about Bike Swarm?, then click a link and enjoy the rest of the innernette.

Rick Hamell
Guest

Is Marine Drive still closed at Kelly Point park? When I was there a few weeks ago it was. If so, bikes are going to have to ride through a construction zone over the bridge that is being repaired.

Ralph Cabeza
Guest
Ralph Cabeza

The inability to look at the long term effect of short term activities is the achilles heel of this movement. Sure, showing support for the Longshoremen may be noble; but what about the effect on the other people down the line from them who just need the things that come through the port in order to do their jobs?

Dumb.

Otto
Guest
Otto

So it’s now about supporting longshoremen? Didn’t know employed – and mostly white – local longshoremen were in such dire straits. This is like privleged white Christian men saying that they’re underprivleged.

DK
Guest
DK

Shutting down the port of Portland seems a mis-guided step with no clear objective. What points are trying to be made by standing in the way of commerce and people out working to support their families?

The banks took bailout money and stopped lending and wall street is under-regulated…OK, I get that…but what did the longshoremen do? What did the truck drivers’ picking up/delivering to the port do? What did the sailors do?

Unprovoked protests with no clear public message will be short-lived. A point to consider if your movement has any real objectives or causes you’re trying to further.

dcufan
Guest
dcufan

This is a silly waste of time. These people need to realize that the rest of us will be working that day to make a living rather than complaining about how their needs aren’t being met and looking for handouts. The worst part is that they will just make it easier for people to cast cyclists as lazy hippies who don’t work and just fight the system any chance they get. I commute over 4k a year, but am constantly disappointed by the choices made by my fellow cyclists. Weather running red lights or just acting like jackasses. I vote democrat and support people who want to make change, but these type of events do more harm than good.

Frank
Guest
Frank

God I would love to operate a crane. Wanted to since I was five. Can any of you swarmers pick up a job application for me? Because as long ago as 2002, longshoremen made $100k on average, PLUS had a benefits package worth $42k on top of that. Please try not to clip their Hummers with your bikes!

I’d go myself but like most 99-ers I have a job to go to (but not a $100k jobby-job-job like that!). Say… why is this on a Monday anyway? Don’ the ports run 24/7?

Harvey
Guest
Harvey

“The pitifulest thing out is a mob; that’s what an army is – a mob; they don’t fight with courage that’s been born in them, but with courage that’s borrowed from their mass and their officers. But a mob without any man at the head of it, is beneath pitifulness.”
– Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn

And thus the occupy movement with die a slow death of 1000 cuts. Get a leader, get a message and do something. I’ll be your bolshevik if you be my Lenin!

Closing the port means children will miss their Christmas presents because they could not be delivered. Presents often include bikes, and sometimes trikes.

Christmas – 0 Bike Swarm – 1

Hart Noecker
Guest
Hart Noecker

Sure seems like a lot of anonymous first time posters have discovered bikeportland.org on this thread. I do wonder who linked to on Drudge Report.