Peter Olney is Director of Organizing for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

The Hiring Hall and Home Defense: A Powerful Linkage

Inspired by the Occupy movement, over 100 people showed up yesterday outside the homes of two African American families in Bay View, one of the traditional black neighborhoods of San Francisco. A year ago, or even two months ago, this home defense, led by Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), would have scraped to enlist 1-20 people to be present. Now buoyed by the effervescence of the Occupy moment, unionists, community leaders and politicians all swarmed Quesada Avenue in San Francisco. A high point was when a jubilant and visibly moved black homeowner came out her door and called the assembled group her “angels of mercy”. Then the banners of Occupy San Francisco arrived, and cheers of “They got bailed out, we got thrown out!” rang through the streets as we marched to two of the fourteen houses on the same street being foreclosed.