While calls for truckers to strike in response to high fuel prices are more common than many Americans may realize, a group of truckers is reportedly planning a three-day protest to shut down the U.S., specifically Washington, D.C., by halting the transportation of goods across the country.
Other than saying they are protesting “corruption against the Constitution,” those involved in organizing the strike have been somewhat vague in what their goals are, but have said they want Congress to listen to “We the People.”
Supporters have also began to publicize a sister event for the protest called the “Ride for the Constitution,” which encourages truckers to gather in Washington, D.C. during the strike to restore the Constitution, defund Obamacare and lower fuel prices.
Though the strike is supported by some truckers, the upcoming three-day protest is not supported by the American Trucking Associations, which is the largest trade organization for truckers.
Sean McNally is a spokesman for the ATA. He said, “We’re not a sponsor or supporter, and we certainly don’t condone it.” McNally added that the movement’s organizers appear to be using information from a 2006 ATA report, which described how “commercial truck traffic is vital to our nation’s economic prosperity and plays a significant role in mitigating adverse economic effects during a national or regional emergency.”
“Our economy depends on trucks to deliver ten billion tons of virtually every commodity consumed — or nearly 70 percent of all freight transported annually in the U.S.,” the report continues. “The unimpeded flow of trucks is critical to the safety and well-being of all Americans.”
Based on that information, while a three-day strike could prove troublesome for the U.S., McNally says he doubts that enough truckers will join the movement, since “there hasn’t been a nationwide [trucker] strike of any kind for many years.”
Though there was a trucker strike in 2008 against the high price of diesel fuel, participation was scattered across the nation, and as a result the strike didn’t receive much attention. However, in 1973 and 1974, fueled by the OPEC oil embargo, long-haul truckers “protested skyrocketing fuel costs, blockaded highways and gas stations, and engaged in sporadic violence against drivers who did not respect the boycott,” according to the quarterly progressive journal Democracy.
The truckers wanted the federal government to intervene and put a price cap on diesel fuel, launch an investigation into profit gouging by oil companies and lift the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit. In response, President Richard Nixon declined to negotiate with the truckers, saying that he wasn’t going to bargain with “a handful of desperadoes.”
In 1979, the Iranian Revolution “worsened the energy crisis” to a point where 75,000 truckers agreed to go on strike. They said they wanted the federal government to freeze the price of diesel fuels and provide subsidies for independent owner-operators. One of the organizers of the strike, the Independent Truckers Association, which was a new organization at the time, also demanded for the complete deregulation of the industry. In response to this strike, Congress deregulated freight trucking.
If the October 2013 strike does go on as planned, the ATA report says the halt in trucking goods across the nation could lead to “significant shortages” everywhere, especially for perishable items. Since the effect a trucker strike could have on the U.S. not only has the potential to be inconvenient for the daily lives of Americans, it also has the potential to wreak havoc on the U.S. economy.
In the report, the ATA reported that there are seven key consumer industries that are largely dependent on truckers hauling goods: the food industry, health care, transportation, waste removal, retail, manufacturing, and banking and finance.
In a situation where all commercial trucks stopped running, in the first 24 hours alone, the ATA said delivery of medical supplies to affected areas would cease, causing hospitals to run out of supplies such as syringes and catheters. Radiopharmaceuticals would also deteriorate and become unusable. Gas stations would run out of fuel, manufacturers would likely develop component shortages and U.S. mail and other package delivery services would cease.
While it’s not known yet how many truckers would actually participate in the protest, the organizers said, “It does not matter if a million or 50 roll through D.C. in this effort.” Consumers will likely have to wait until October 11 to see how large of an impact this strike will have on the U.S.
If the strike is as large as organizers hope, Congress and President Obama will have no choice but to listen to the protesters, since the American people would likely be protesting themselves after they would be directly impacted by a lack of goods.
Organized on social media sites, various news organizations reported that the “Truckers To Shut Down America” Facebook page was created on Sept. 15 and has more than 53,000 likes.
However, when Mint Press News tried to access the page on Sept. 23, 2013, it appeared to no longer exist. In a Facebook search for the group, Mint Press News found a similar page that appeared to be created on Sept. 20. This group had 42 members and had a goal of obtaining 10,000 likes.
In support of the strike, Kevin Allan posted a YouTube video, saying that it’s time to stand up to “D.C. bullshit.” He said truckers were organizing to shut down Washington, D.C. for about one and a half months, saying, “D.C. brace up cause [sic] we’re coming,” and added that “we told you we were coming and so you should have expected us.”
Though the organizers have been slightly vague in their reasoning for the strike — other than that they are trying to call out unnamed abuses against the Constitution — recent news reports said the organizers added some of their goals to the Facebook page in order to explain the motives behind the action.
Included in their “list of demands” is to remove President Obama from office “for crimes of treason and misdemeanors,” for Congress to hold a Congressional hearing on the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, as well as the SEAL Team 6 incident in August 2011, which saw a Chinook helicopter shot down by Taliban forces in Afghanistan.
Other issues the group wants to have the government address include putting former director of the IRS exempt organizations division Lois Lerner in jail, removing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder from office for “crimes against the people and the Constitution,” removing all Muslims from government positions if they are found to not uphold the Constitution and high fuel prices.
When it comes to the group’s targeting of Muslims, the organizers have allegedly taken up an issue with what they say is President Obama’s attempts to spread Islam in the U.S. In actuality, Obama is a Christian.
Still, the group has justified the strike by saying, “The American people are sick and tired of the corruption that is destroying America! We therefore declare a GENERAL STRIKE on the weekend of October 11-13, 2013! Truck drivers will not haul freight! American can strike in solidarity with truck drivers!”
According to news reports, the “Truckers To Shutdown America” Facebook page said that when the strike takes place, “Obamacare will be in effect and most people will be ready to take action. No commerce on those days stock up on items that you will need. No banking no shopping no money transactions.”
Whether or not the strike will occur or be successful remains to be seen.
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