It’s hard to believe it’s been one year since the Gulf Port Action, when occupiers from around Texas came together to blockade the Port of Houston in solidarity with Occupy Oakland’s national call to action. A week after I returned from the Port, I wrote about it here on the blog:
I’d never been to the port before, and there was a palpable sense of almost Cyberpunk-level desolation. The air smelled as bad as you imagine it does in a William Gibson book. At first there were few of us, but more and more began to get dropped off in waves until we had a couple hundred protesters at the peak, finally outnumbering the police. We chanted and spoke with a few members of the mainstream media that had managed to get inside. Then, suddenly, everyone — police and occupiers alike — were running.
Without warning to the rest, a group of protesters was laying in the street, blocking traffic. Police barked orders, horses raced. Those with lockboxes quickly linked up and formed a second blockade behind the first.
This was no longer organized protest but chaos. Police on horses came at us hard; They stepped on us with their hooves; a mounted officer kicked one girl in the stomach with a steel-toed boot. I, who had pledged to my lovers that I would not get arrested, found myself during one moment holding arms in a line of human bodies, resisting the mounted police who seemed dangerously out of control. “Hold the line!” someone shouted.
Over on Firedoglake, I reflected on the anniversary in the first of two posts I’ll make on the topic this week. The national action was a nonviolent but direct attack on the heart of corrupt capitalism:
This violence was no coincidence; it was one of Occupy’s boldest moments on the national stage. Locally this was one of Occupy’s most intense direct (though nonviolent) attacks on the heart of crony capitalism itself, featuring more civil disobedience than most Occupy Houston actions — Houston’s mayor accused Occupy Austin of being ‘outside agitators.’ With unprecedented coordination through social media, this national action had to put images of peasants with pitchforks and torches in the minds of the one percent. The government tipped its hand that day when a Department of Homeland Security vehicle appeared at Tranquility Park that afternoon. Coordinated efforts to suppress the movement, already underway by December of 2011, only became more intense in succeeding months.
Later this week, I’ll be writing an update on the Gulf Port 7 case and collecting more recollections of the day.