To look at me you'd think I'd be far more likely to be called a capitalist pig, at least on the streets of Berkeley or Oakland, CA.
But this was neither the streets of Occupied Oakland nor the People's Republic of Berkeley. It was Pleasanton, CA, a town where the median house sells for more than $1,000,000. A town which has plenty of members who belong to the Castlewood Country Club, a playground for the one percent. A town where, this morning, over three hundred "socialist assholes" came to protest, rally and march.
Two years ago today, the member-owners of the Castlewood Country Club locked out sixty one of their workers belonging to UNITE HERE, over the cost of providing their families with affordable health care benefits. Speaking on behalf of the owners, club manager Jerry Olson told the workers
the Club is "philosophically opposed" to paying for family health benefits...Today, we told them we are "philosophically opposed" to their bullshit; that this is not going to end, and that the workers are not going to accede to their outrageous demands.
In fact the Occupy Oakland contingent seems to have, by dint of reputation alone, taken things a step further. Apparently we scared the shit out of them, and they shut down Castlewood themselves, keeping the one percent from their Saturday golf games (Can there be a better way to force a settlement?!?)
Cagle @susie_cWe don't know if the club was officially shuttered -- rumor had it that they had sent their workers home with pay -- but whether or not it was official, I can report with certainly that there wasn't a single person on the visible parts of their two golf courses during the time we visited them. And this on a perfect Saturday morning.
Pleasanton CM Matt Sullivan is also here. #Castlewood worker speaking abt how scared Castlewood is "bc they have #OO w them!"
Scott Johnson @OccupiedOakTrib
In related news, I am told that Castlewood shut down for the day. And we didn't even bring a single tent. #OO
But we did encounter a few one-percenters.
GOLF IS A HUMAN RIGHT!
SICK CHILD = COMMUNIST
SAVE THE 1%
CAN I PAY YOU TO HOLD THIS SIGN?
WHERE IS MY DRINK, GODDAMNIT?
they nearly won the wearied marchers over to their cause. The most eloquent of them, someone they refer to as "Leo", interrupted our end-rally to tell us his sad tale of growing up as a one-percenter and of his current alcohol deprevation, but a last minute rallying cry of
WE! ARE! THE 99%!
carried the day.
At that point the one percent scattered, fleeing back to their Rolls'; victory was proclaimed, at least for the day. Whether the rest of the members of the Castlewood elite get the message remains to be seen.
p.s. And the story of being called a "socialist asshole", you might ask? Not much to tell. As I was walking back alone to my car at the intersection of Bernal and Sunol across from the town square, some guy in an SUV (what else?) drives by and shouts
He must have had incredibly acute eyesight to discern the small "99%" and "Single Payer Now!" buttons on my jacket from that far away, or else he made a correct, if seemingly unsupportable conclusion from my appearance and attire, which tends far more towards "slob" than "
Kenyan socialist revolutionary asshole."
I took it as a compliment. After all, the world is full of SUV-driving assholes. Perhaps he thought I was unique. And besides, he could have run me over.
Background: End The Lockout
5:21 PM PT: Video from Castlewood protest back in June, 2011.
8:14 PM PT: Watch the 1% rally courtesy of OakFoSho livestream:
8:35 PM PT: Watch Leo get taken down by the 99% starting about 54:30 in the above video.
Video from KTVU: http://www.ktvu.com/