In 2003, Rachel Corrie from Olympia, WA was killed while sitting in front of a Palestinian home as an Israeli bulldozer crushed her. She had become a kind of martyr for the Olympia community, and her death became a media spectacle in the US. But soon her tactics were being used against the US military in Olympia as they shipped military equipment to the Middle East.
People from the city sat in front of trucks, blocked gates, and tried to convince port authorities not to ship the equipment. This tactic was soon dubbed Port Militarization Resistance. By 2007 the military said using the Port of Olympia was too costly, and they began using other ports such as my own city’s port in Tacoma, WA. But for 12 days of protest, using the Port of Tacoma cost the military $.5 million for security and tear gas, so they moved elsewhere. Since then other cities began using similar tactics. Oakland, California, for example.
There is a Port Militarization Resistance action in Manhattan and Staten Island today. This is important news for us on the West Coast because it means that those at “the center of civilization” (i.e. New York City) are taking a stand against imperialism by using some of the same tactics as we have used in the Northwest, by targeting the shipment of military equipment and drawing attention to the militarization of their communities. The largest part of their protest has taken place one block West of Times Square, near the beating heart of American media, which is also where the loading docks are.