OAKLAND -- Business as usual seemed to resume at the Port of Oakland on Tuesday morning after Occupy protesters managed to block terminals for nearly 24 hours.
Trucks once again lumbered through two APL terminal entrances that had been blocked by crowds numbering in the thousands from late Monday until 4 a.m. Tuesday -- when they dispersed, allowing the nation's fifth-largest port to reopen.
The shutdown that targeted ports along the West Coast marked the first time that Occupy supporters came together to carry out a coordinated action since the movement began in New York in September. The coordinated rallies added confidence that the movement would grow despite crackdowns.
Even as protesters disrupted operations at ports from Southern California to Anchorage, Alaska, and Vancouver, British Columbia, police in Seattle confronted demonstrators with "flash-bang" percussion grenades to disperse them.
Monday's shutdown, however, showed that positive social change is possible, said Mike King, who helped organize the blockade. Those kinds of efforts can attract people frustrated by the lack of action by leaders and politicians. "Yesterday was a great success in a line of successes," he said.
Monday's action in Oakland came six weeks after a Nov. 2 general strike launched by Occupy Oakland drew thousands of protesters and shut down the port overnight. Protesters' numbers on Monday were smaller than the November march, but still effective. Organizers wouldn't try to top the shutdown for the sake of scale, King said. The goal is to address inequality, not to stage a series of "bigger is better" protests, he added.
On Monday, thousands in Oakland and up and down the West Coast picketed gates, beat drums and carried signs such as "We are the port authority."
The number of Occupy camps, meanwhile, has dwindled,
The movement's physical occupation of public parks is probably over, said Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics and politics at Saint Mary's College. He is also author of "Prelude to Global Recession" and the upcoming book "Obama's Economy: Recovery for the Few."
"But the Occupy slogan leaves open all kinds of possible tactics," he added. "It's not going away."
Rasmus said he expects to see an increase in similar activity, especially in January, if the trigger cuts proposed in Gov. Jerry Brown's budget lead to more public sector layoffs. That could pull in more trade unions, helping the movement grow. "The conditions that created the movement aren't going away," Rasmus said. "The issues are driving this, and the issues are driving people together," he said. "Everyone feels they are in the 99 percent."
Occupy Oakland's next planned event is a Jan. 1 rally at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland followed by a march to the Fruitvale BART station to protest police brutality. Organizers chose the date and location to coincide with the three-year anniversary of the death of Oscar Grant III, who was shot and killed on the station platform by a BART police officer.
King said the Occupy movement would continue its actions against foreclosures and demonstrating against banks.
"There will be more action in January, both large-scale and broad-based," King said.