Is It Too Soon For Planned Occupy Oakland General Strike?

on Thursday, Oct. 27th

An important constituency may not turn out in force for the general strike called by Occupy Oakland on November 2: members of the association that represents all registered nurses in California.

The California Nurses Association (CNA) spokesperson Liz Jacobs said it’s impossible for nurses to join the Occupy Oakland strike because of the CNA’s own recent unrelated work stoppage. “We just had a strike against Sutter Health Care. We have to follow laws, and give a ten-day notice. Our membership would have to vote on something like that,” she said.

However, Jacobs said that the nurses support Occupy Oakland protests.  “We work at the bedside every day, we see the human effects of what the economy is doing to us… People are putting off getting care until their condition is really advanced and often in a crisis… Younger people are coming in with heart attacks due to stress, and children are coming in with acute asthma emergencies because they haven’t been taking their medication,” said Jacobs.

This past spring, CNA launched a campaign called Main Street Contract for the American People, which called for a tax on all financial transactions made on Wall Street. “The Occupy movement has just recently embraced this Robin Hood tax… Protests need to coalesce around a solution, and this financial transaction tax is gaining momentum,” said Jacobs.

Occupy Oakland gathered last night at a General Assembly meeting in front of Frank Ogawa Plaza, which was recently cleared of tents by police. The group decided in a vote of 1484 to 46, to call for a general strike on November 2, 2011.

The announcement on Occupy Oakland’s site reads, “We propose a city wide general strike and we propose we invite all students to walk out of school. Instead of workers going to work and students going to school, the people will converge on downtown Oakland to shut down the city. All banks and corporations should close down for the day or we will march on them.”

Jevon Cochran, 21, a protester who has been at Occupy Oakland since the first day, said although he supports the idea of the strike, he doesn’t know if the timing is right. “It’s too early to strike because I don’t think we can do it in a week, but I support the peoples’ enthusiasm,” he said. Cochran is a student at UC Berkeley, and despite his doubts said he will come out for the strike after his class that day.

Ordinarily, Cochran said, he would skip class and come out to protest, but on November 9 and 16, he is joining those students walking out in protest of UC tuition hikes. “These issues are connected, Wall Street is making a huge profit off of students,” said Cochran.

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