Workers Comp Zone


Between the BART stop and Oakland’s Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board now lies Occupy Oakland.

On one of the Bay Area’s beautiful balmy Fall days, one could look at the colorful tent encampment and think it was a REI convention or a Boy Scout jamboree.

Passing by the encampment on the way to the WCAB, one sees broadcast trucks, lines of porta-potties, and lots of handmade signs.

It’s quickly apparent that the Occupy Oakland encampment has a broad agenda. Workers’ comp wasn’t on the list.

A block away, outside the Oakland WCAB sat a handful of disgruntled injured workers, displaying large hand-lettered signs detailing their grievances. They seemed to have little interest in merging with the Occupy Oakland crowd down the street.

Among the more interesting slogans on Occupy Oakland signs observed in a quick walk around the perimeter:
-“Back to the Feudal System?”
-“Robin Hood Was No Lobbyist: Direct Action Gets The Goods”
-“If They Can Bail Out the Bankers, They Can Bail Out Us. No Foreclosures”
-“I Demand Safety For Everybody”
-“Fight The Power! Take It All Back”
-“No More Federal Reserve Bank”
-“Audit the Fed! It’s No More Federal Than Federal Express”
-“Liberate Ourselves”
-“First Amendment Guarantees The Right To Peaceful Assembly”
-“Keep Poison Out of Food”
-“One With Everything”
-“Impotent Workers and Jobless”

Is the Occupy Movement the beginning of a new era of worker activism against economic injustice? Or is the energy too diffuse, the message too unclear, and the group too populated by fringe wing nuts?

Julius Young

Category: Political developments