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Nov 4, 23

Palestinian Solidarity Activists Call for Continued Port Blockades in Tacoma To Stop Weapons Shipments

Palestinians solidarity activists are calling for continued blockades of ports to stop the shipment of weapons. Read about a recent protest in Oakland, California here.

Early in the morning on November 3rd, a determined group of activists walked into the port of Oakland and proceeded to prevent a military cargo ship from departing for 9 hours – well into the afternoon. The military vessel in question, the MV Cape Orlando, has laid dormant in the port for about five years. Its sudden activation was marked on maritime industry and open-source platforms. Noticing this, and making some natural assumptions about the mission and final destination, organizers sprang into action.

It didn’t take a lot to conclude what the ship’s intended mission is: to take military supplies, almost certainly including heavy armaments, to the forces occupying Palestine. Even if this assumption turns out to be wrong, the other regimes the US provides arms to are not exactly a friendly bunch. Let’s examine just a few:

Even if folks were wrong about the destination, most wouldn’t be too broken up about stopping an arms shipment to any of these other colonial monstrosities.

But let’s be candid: it only makes sense that occupied Palestine is the destination. It’s the most recent and notable conflict, and heavy armaments are being used up at a rapid clip to blow up places like apartment buildings, houses, hospitals, schools, and bakeries. As this article is being typed, the death toll in Gaza has passed 9,000.

We also know something else: the ship is headed to the Port of Tacoma next to load up its lethal cargo.

If you want to take direct action to help strike the most tangible, material blow yet against this genocide that we’ve all been witnessing, here’s what you need to know.

You can track the ship here.

It is scheduled to arrive this Sunday, the 5th, but could face further delays that might push its arrival to Monday or Tuesday. Use the tracker. Not even 1,000 standard street demonstrations would prevent this ship from fulfilling its mission. Israel isn’t shit without US backing, and US backing is what’s going onboard this ship, unless people stop it. If folks can pull this off, this action will be one for the history books.

And —here’s the thing—this has been done before. The ILWU, the dockworkers union here on the Left Coast, can refuse to load a ship if the situation at the docks are ‘unsafe.’ The ILWU has an established history of not crossing union or community picket lines, including in solidarity with Palestine. They are one of the most movement-aligned unions in the country, having also struck in solidarity with the George Floyd rebellion in 2020.

The Palestine Solidarity organization Samidoun Seattle has already issued the official call to action. It reads, “URGENT UPDATE: We have recieved information that the boat in Oakland is currently on its way to Tacoma.  We are going to show up and block the boat!  Where: 1123 Port of Tacoma Rd. Tacoma, WA 98421  When: Sunday, 11/5, 2:30pm  Parking is extremely limited near the area, please plan to arrive on time, carpool as much as possible and prepare for the possibility of having to walk some distance.”

In 2014, pro-Palestinian activists, socialists, trade-unionists, anarchists, and community members across the bay area shut down the the unloading of Israeli goods in the face of continued Israeli aggression, making history. ILWU port workers respected the picket and refused to cross the line.

Will history be made again?


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