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“The concept of the bike raid is simple,” writes Nexus Watts in an Occupy San Diego Riders mall raid event invite.

“First you pick a few targets, set a date, and make related signs, banners, and flyers. On the day of the raid everyone meets up and rides to the first location. On arrival we all dismount and demonstrate for 10 to 15 minutes. When the time is up everyone hops back on their bikes and heads to the next location. With the mall we will want to pick the main entrances of major stores as well as riding laps and chanting."

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“It was great,” says Watts of the Occupy San Diego Riders’ fourth raid, which took place this afternoon. “We rode around the city a bit, went to Mission Hills, down Bachman, went to Fashion Valley mall, hit the two main entrances there, rode to the Mission Valley mall and hit the main entrance there, then rode back up Texas.”

Watts says that five riders participated today, though the weekly Tuesday rides starting from the Civic Center at 8:30 p.m. usually draw 20 to 30 cyclists.

“Even with five people you make a huge impact,” says Watts. “It’s not about making people feel guilty. It’s just showing people that there are others out there taking hours out of their day to raise awareness about the amount of consumerism that goes on."

As such, the group engaged mall-goers with fliers and signs reading “buy local” and “people over profits.”

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“We got to show people that there are people all over the city doing Occupy,” says Watts. “That’s what the riders are all about: scouting, messaging, having signs all over the place. It’s not just at the Civic Center, it’s everywhere. And it’s so much fun.”

Earlier this month, the Riders took part in the West Coast port shutdown, a day of action that disrupted port activity in ten cities, from San Diego to Anchorage, Alaska.

The Riders, who Watts calls “the cavalry arm of the occupation,” relayed messages between two groups of protesters on Harbor Drive estimated to number from 150 to 200 people in total.

The port was blocked for about two hours and four protesters were arrested.

“Sorry for the inconvenience, but we’re trying to do something good here,” Watts says in response to criticism that the action costs port workers a day’s wage.

“It takes sacrifice, and the unions know well about sacrifice. In my experience, most port workers down there were in support. The majority were not angry. I can understand how people might be upset about missing a day of work, but there’s something much larger at stake. They aren’t the target. It just happens that every time you try to make a dent in the super wealthy, you have people suffer in the working class ahead of them.

“We don’t have Wall Street here, but we do have companies that are owned by Wall Street firms. The majority of the West Coast ports are owned by SSA Marine, and their largest shareholder is Goldman Sachs. EGT [Export Grain Terminal] Development is an international grain conglomerate that has been undermining unions' work on the West Coast, specifically the longshoremen who were being beaten and arrested on strike in Longview, Washington. That was kind of what sparked the whole idea of the port shutdown starting in Oakland. But it runs a lot deeper than that. These ports represent American jobs being outsourced. It represents, a lot of the time, slave labor overseas and destroying the environment.

“I think the point was definitely made. In San Diego we achieved some level of success. We shut the port down for two hours. And in the process, we learned a lot. Not only were there practical reasons for it, but the symbolism of the action in and of itself was almost more powerful than the practical side. It shows people in the country and around the world that there are people here that care enough to put their safety and time on the line to stand up against corruption. I think that’s something that’s entirely undervalued, especially in the mainstream media. A lot of likeminded people are marginalized by mainstream media. It makes Occupy seem unimportant, but in fact it’s the most important thing going on in this country right now.

“It goes back to sacrifice. It’s making a point. There’s so much wrong with what’s going on in our country and our world that we as Americans can take responsibility for. If we own that responsibility, we can make this world a better place. We have to stand up. Silence is consent.”

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Comments

Andy Boyd Dec. 24, 2011 @ 7:46 p.m.

Sarah Johnson @scribblessd from Twitter would like to say that these guys are dickheads.

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FatCatSegat Dec. 25, 2011 @ 1:16 p.m.

I lost a friend to this madness. Madness you say? Yes, MADNESS! I love this man dearly. Sure, He's got a rebellious streak in him that I always found somewhat endearing and somewhat self destructive. But he's a good man. He's also homeless due to a series of unfortunate occurences and decisions. He's held down a job, paid his child support etc. Yet the economy has kept him on the street. So when I reccomended that he switch "spots",( a homeless term for where they sleep) and go to Occupy, I never realised how poeple like him or worse, are being exploited by this movement. My friend has alot to offer this movement. An educated, articulate man is an asset anywhere, right? So in the beggining I was privy to a few things about this movement. The organisers are only there when there are cameras and at night to show support. (when its a slow news day and the cameras are about) And, if they are in the vicinity, that means that they're upstairs in the occupy offices that overlook the occupy plaza. I've heard them with their lofty goals, and general civil disobedience plans. Out of respect for my friend I cant divulge them but they are mostly like children in the schoolyard creating disruptions, attracting authorities, forcing said authorities to send resources to quell these assinine disturbances only to run away and start something someplace else. Of course the city has spent millions of dollars that could be spent elsewhere. They're babysitting you bunch of morons!

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nan shartel Dec. 25, 2011 @ 3:55 p.m.

altruistic is the best word to describe the ideas vented by the Occupy process....the "squeaky wheel getting the grease" idea may disturb some...but don't blame the Occupiers for police intervention for what is mostly a peaceful freedom of assembly and speech group

when ur in the breadlines, soup-lines and sleeping in the streets because ur jobs have been given to $1.00 an hour 7 year old's in China to make corporate America wealthier u'll change ur minds!!!

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BradleyFikes Dec. 26, 2011 @ 7:10 a.m.

nan said Occupy is "mostly a peaceful freedom of assembly and speech group."

Love that "mostly" for a movement whose signature tactic is lawbreaking.

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 26, 2011 @ 9:17 a.m.

Martin Luther King was also using "lawbreaking" tactics, non violent protest.

OWS and the tea party are two sides of the same coin, people who are sick and tired or capital cronyism and the the destruction of the middle class, of which 80% belong to......

I agree with Nan, the shipping of our middle class/tax base class/manufacturing basclass over seas to third world countries thay have none of the regulations of rules we have here has wiped out our country.

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nexus Dec. 27, 2011 @ 5:22 p.m.

I find it sad and telling that so many people in our society use logical means to justify the immoral behavior that we force upon one another. These same people also split hairs to find any fault with those that are speaking out against this wrong doing. Civil disobedience is a time honored means for oppressed people to air there grievances. The Boston tea party being one of the first in our country. There are many more examples that our nations history shows us of this kind of behavior. Occupy is no different and certainly not perfect, it is a cross section of our culture for both good and ill. I can assure you that the "organizers" are not up in some corner office over looking the plaza hatching schemes. Bottom line Big money influence in our government has gotten out of control, our country is becoming polarized by purposeful media disinformation, and our rights as citizens and workers are being steadily stripped from us. All the while the bankers, wall street speculators , mega corps, and there stooges in government are gaining more power and money. If you would like to stand in the background and harp on those that would try to make some positive change then you are a part of the problem. It must be realized that there are many different levels of commitment in this movement and the tempo changes by the hour. This is the perfect time to practice patience, inn acting the changes you can and being changed in the process.

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nexus Dec. 27, 2011 @ 5:28 p.m.

"If you love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animated contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands that feed you; may your chains set lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were ever our countrymen."

                                               Samuel Adams
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