A Dear Carlos Montez Response RE: Dec. 12 boycott and march in LA not successful After two months of intense work, the Dec 12 Coalition members are presently taking a break. It was a wonderful and exiting campaign and we are already looking forward to the May 1st General Strike call that has been approved by the Occupy LA movement which we are part of. On that Monday Dec 12, a 99% women delegation, mostly undocumented and headed by Gloria Saucedo, Alicia Flores and myself began the day by being at the port at 5:00 AM and marching along with about 500 protesters to the entrance site of the pier that is owned or rented by Goldman Sachs. It was a young energized multicultural mix with lots of Latinos from all over. The port background made the 31/2 hour historical confrontation a spectacular site and the protest was also part of the West Coast Call to shut down all the ports in the pacific and deal a major blow to the billionaire corporations who control the commerce at the ports. It was an ambitious call and truly the Dec 12 C made the port shutdown a part of the whole campaign. Publicly it was a radical move on our part, a political risk if you will, but the media and the people loved it. It went hand in hand with the discourse attacking the 1%. The same thing was done with the Occupy LA propaganda in connecting the two actions. As far as we know so far, of the nine sea ports, only the Oakland and the Longview ports were completely closed, for at least one shift, and the Oakland protesters were scheduled to return to their port at 2 PM to close the second shift. Compared to the November 2nd mobilization when they had an estimated 50,000 people, this time around, Occupy Oakland had only a ported 1,500 protesters but they still shut it down. Why, the size of the port for one and the apparent fact that there is a lot more rank and file sympathy in that historical union town. The LA Ports are a huge and complex structure. My sense is that in addition to a majority support of the 17,000 Latino immigrant port drivers, we need at least 50,000 people to shut it all down, meaning to block the freeways, picketing all the entrances by the thousands, so that the ILWU could then declare the working zones unsafe and pull all their members out. Unfortunately here we did not have one single longshorem@n protesting with us, at least publicly, but we did have Teamster staffers, home care workers, teachers, students, left organizations, immigrant rights activists and more. In San Diego and several other sites the repression was heavy. In time we will know how many LA port drivers respected the call but I speculate there were hundreds or more. In Long Beach there was a number of arrests and light confrontations with the police. At one point the Highway Patrol moved several platoons to the second site where we really closed traffic both ways and they were pumped and gun ho with rifles and batons ready. However at the last moment, they were informed they were out of jurisdiction and they angrily pulled back, kicking the tires and fenders of their patrol cars. It was comical and of course we didn’t see you there nor on the night of the police raid at the Solidarity Park when the 300 were arrested. By the time we left Long Beach it was pouring and it never stopped raining. The storm did affect both actions but the media coverage was very favorable. Most of them that I saw began their reports on that note, “The storm did not stop the protesters….” I believe the media, especially Latino media understand and they build their stories around the positive. That’s what I clearly saw on the reports of the marches since Thanksgiving to Dec 10, 12, and the 15 and al the events organized by Occupy LA and the solidarity groups. It was the tenacity, hard work and sacrifice of the Occupy movement that changed the national public discourse placing the root of the socio-economic problems on the rich and the prevalent widespread social inequality. In this time of national presidential elections, the main objective for Dec 12 was to change the discourse from the particular immigration issues towards the grand prize of immigration reform and legalization and on that we clearly succeeded, in addition to linking immigration to the struggle of the 99%. Additionally the media and organizational strategies were excellent and like the march and boycott, they were conceived collectively. We did enter the media space with many events and the buzz word and hype became a reality in the Spanish language media. We also made countless connections to churches and organizations which will hopefully open their doors again to May 1st 2012. Where the strategy failed was in motivating and unifying the rest of the factions and leaders in our movement, but we did move them and, no coincidence, they had their own actions in and around the 12, including labor, CHIRLA, Full Rights, SCIC, etc. Approximately fifteen days prior to Dec 12 we knew the boycott was not picking up but we pressed and moved forward any way and La Serenata de Garibaldi did close. As I have said it many times, to effectively move the people in the numbers needed, in the hundreds of thousands and millions to wrest legalization from the state, there is no other formula but a united movement of the majority of the forces and leaders that the people can see and identify with their own eyes. It’s unfortunate but predictable that you seem to be gloating, even relishing over the fact that on a stormy day we did not have the numbers. However, I’ll leave you with some humor. Lately I have been approached by some people asking me “are you Carlos?” and I tell them “no I am not, but how can you mistake me for him, he has a bony chicken face.” ZAZ Around this time we should have the news of how successful the immigrant rights march was in Alabama, Best to you on your case, Javier Rodriguez Dec 17, 2012