Swedish dockworkers follow Oakland’s BDS lead

Following the amazing lead given by citizen activists and dockworkers/longshoremen in Oakland, California at 5 a.m. on Sunday, today dockworkers in Sweden announced they will try to institute a week-long ban on loading or unloading Israeli ships and cargoes coming to or from Israel. (HT: Ray J.)
The statement from the head of the Swedish port workers union linked to above, said (in Google translation):

    The Swedish port workers’ position is not an isolated incident. We are acting in parallel with the dockers unions in South Africa and Norway, in a first international action for two obvious requirements against the State of Israel: 1. Raise the blockade of Gaza. 2. [The establishment of] an independent international inquiry into the violent and the boarding of Freedom [Flotilla].

It is true that the Oakland stoppage lasted only 24 hours, and this one is planned to last only seven days. So these actions will not bring Israel’s international trade (which is distorted heavily toward the export of military goods) grinding to a halt. But the symbolism itself is immensely important. It shows that the BDS call has moved significantly beyond the few college campuses where it started, and into much broader reaches of western society.
It also shows that the strong support Israel nearly always enjoyed among the left and labor movements in the west has eroded a lot.

3 thoughts on “Swedish dockworkers follow Oakland’s BDS lead”

  1. Clarification: As a matter of fact. The swedish dockworkers made their decision shortly after the attack on the Flotilla, and announced their intention thereafter. It is a decision supported by all branches and will no doubt be questioned in court, but it was not taken after the 24 hour blockade in California.

  2. Norwegian dockworkers did the same, except they gave the so-called ‘easing’ of the blockade the benefit of the doubt, and chose to postpone the blockade while they see how the easing actually works. Needless to say, the chance that the blockade of Israeli ships will come into action in Norway is relatively large. Nobody here believe that the anounced easing will show any improvement on the ground.
    But this is not all. Labour unions all over Scnadinavia, and they are quite powerful, have been wokring in favour for divestement and boycott for years. They have chosen cautious strategies so far, but with the dockworkers blockade, that is about to change.

  3. The decision of Swedish longshoremen not to unload the Israeli ships was indeed made long before the action in Oakland. But the success of stopping the offloading for 24 hours in Oakland must have been encouraging to the Swedes. This next action will aim at a week’s stoppage.
    BDS is clearly the way to stop apartheid in Israel/Palestine! It’s nonviolent, and it’s effective! Long live Palestine, and long live human rights for all!

Comments are closed.