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Ear to the Ground

Protesters Set Their Sights on Wal-Mart

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Posted on Oct 26, 2011
Eurofruit (CC-BY)

A member of Occupy Seattle is coordinating a statewide protest against Wal-Mart slated for Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year.

Wal-Mart’s sins are many, says organizer Neal Bernstein, who is recovering from a case of the flu he developed while demonstrating at Seattle’s Westlake Center and City Hall over the last few weeks. The company, which has more than 2 million employees and counts profits in the double-digit billions year after year, is notorious for paying low wages, skimping on benefits, demanding long shifts and forcing local stores out of business.

A 2004 report found that Wal-Mart sucks $1.5 billion from American taxpayers’ pockets annually to cover the cost of its workers’ needs for health care, food stamps and housing. Earlier this year, it escaped a class-action lawsuit raised by 1.5 million of its female workers who alleged they were the victims of sexual discrimination.

“I think they’re a really good example of everything that’s wrong with corporate America,” Bernstein told me over the telephone.

Bernstein plans to spend the next month as a liaison between female, minority, student and worker advocacy groups and willing protesters, and wants to see the Black Friday demonstrations formed and led by people from within affected communities. His approach to protest organization mirrors that found everywhere in the occupy movement: non-centralized, grass-roots and community based.

See the Facebook page for Bernstein’s event here and check out a critical feature-length documentary called “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price,” below. —Alexander Reed Kelly

 

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By madmilker, November 23, 2011 at 11:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The nice people of China are staying away because Wal*Mart puts less than 5% foreign in all the stores in China….

depriving all those nice people from purchasing foreign made items….

http://www.wal-martchina.com/english/walmart/index.htm

Where would the 20 million unemployed Americans be today if Wal*Mart had less than 5% foreign in their stores in the United States of America….

Where?

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By lisa, October 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

somebody said that one must take into account the fact that many people have no alternative to wallyworld and would thus tend toward alienation in response to the occupy-tactic. this kind of control, a systemic limit of options has a name: atropos. of course wally might be on the “list”, if there was a list…

it may be worth noting that the 1% are also subject to atropos, even more so than poor people. it is atropos when they resort to violence through their servile slaves - cops and military - it’s always violence because that’s the only tool they have. accordingly everybody knows what the rich will do. in strategy it’s important that the opponent not know what you will do. we know. that makes us stronger than them…so long as we stay calm, be brave, and wait for the signs…

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By lisa, October 28, 2011 at 8:50 am Link to this comment
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the whole point of non-violence is to elicit a morally bankrupt response by power. often that response is so vile and vivid that the powerful lose power every time they use it, thus demonstrating to the whole world the fundamental weakness that their lordships single strategy creates. while wallyworld is vile, it’s also probably an unsuitable target. a “flash-0-mob general strike” would work better, at least according to theory. this is a new tactic - suddenly a crowd convenes and stops normal activity just long enough to get a response started, then spontaneously the crowd disperses - simple - but there are many of these at the same time. one would expect their lordships to jam or interrupt the radio-linked communications - cell phones etc - as soon as they can, so hand-held cheap walkie-talkies might be a good gadget to have…

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By gerard, October 27, 2011 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

If and when Walmart gets occupied, a lot of answers to important questions will come to the surface, particularly questions involving the conflicted loyalties of the American lower and middle classes who both support and don’t support Walmart’s tactics—and don’t really understand why.

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