‘OCCUPY THE PORTS’ TARGETS SSA MARINE FOR MONDAY MORNING PROTESTBy Manny Diaz
SSA Marine, the gigantic international shipping-industry company that is majority-owned by investment and banking firm Goldman Sachs, will be the target of Dec. 12 protests by Occupy the Ports, according to Occupy Long Beach’s Facebook page and flyers being handed out near the downtown Long Beach courthouse.
The flyer cites a variety of reasons for focusing protests on SSA Marine. These include two specific claims—that the company the company failed to alert workers about potentially hazardous cargo in Oakland, and that it was fined for building an illegal road to a project in Washington. They also point to wider policies that protest organizers say have depressed wages and benefits for truck drivers and de-industrialized the United States so that incoming shipping containers at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles outnumber outgoing shipping containers 7-1.
Michael Novick, a retired schoolteacher who is part of the Occupy the Port movement, responded to a call from GreaterLongBeach.com and expanded on the implications of the imbalance of import-export traffic through the local ports.
“If there were as many containers going out as there are coming in there would be 10 times as many jobs,” said Novick, who said he expects Occupy the Ports to protest in front of SSA Marine this Monday from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.
But coordinating a protest at SSA Marine isn’t easy. The company is so big that it has five locations within the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles: Pacific Container Terminal, Terminal A, Terminal c60, and Pier F, Berth 206 in Long Beach, and Outer Harbor 54/55 in San Pedro.
To reduce confusion, the flyers direct protestors to gather at Harry Bridges Park, 1126 Queens Highway, at 5 a.m.
Monday’s protest is part of a larger movement that will culminate on May 1, 2012, when Occupy groups along the West Coast will protest at ports including Oakland, San Francisco, Portland, Long Beach and Vancouver.
“We want to draw attention to the greed that destroyed this country,” said Novick.