Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Could this Friday be A Perfect Storm of Social Protest?

There already is a call among the movement demanding justice for Michael Brown for a boycott of Black Friday.

There already is a mobilization of retail working people and the $15 minimum wage movement for protests outside the retail box stores, particularly Walmart.

While these issues are not exactly the same, the retail workers are not calling for the boycott and the justice demand is not particularly aligned with the pro-worker movement . . . there is too much in common and too much momentum not to at least consider the potential of turning the call for boycott of Black Friday possibly into a PHYSICAL BOYCOTT at targeted large box stores.
Black Friday is a sacred day to capitalism which is motivating so much of the oppression and repression that is leading to mass incarceration and wanton police violence.

The stores that intend to profit this Friday do so through massive exploitation of working people.  There refusal to pay decent wages and afford decent conditions like full time, full benefits is what makes it impossible to survive off the employment they offer.
One of the pillars of this economic system is impunity for police – it is of utmost importance because the system depends upon a policing force that is willing to brutalize and if need be kill – with impunity – on an as needed basis should there be any sort of effective movement that challenges the power relationship between the owners of the Walmarts and Targets (and prison industry) and those that are oppressed and exploited by them.

The connections are there . . . the two movements are in motion at this time of year and are very much overlapping.  The Walmart work force for example has a significant Black component, youth component and is likely largely sympathetic to the demand for justice.  Those demanding justice – among them are many that are working in Walmart type arrangements or unemployed.  The overlapping of concern and constituency invites the question – WHY NOT COMBINE FORCES FOR FRIDAY?

What if as the justice protests continue to mobilize – consider amassing, not at police stations but at the parking lot entrances of the big boxes or where these stores have sidewalk entrances – at those entrances with the call to boycott.  The economic muscle that could be flexed is immense.

I am not saying that is what should DEFINITELY be done – it is not really my place to say by any means.  I am just throwing the idea out there for consideration because the idea begs to be considered.  I am not sure it could work but believe it can not hurt to think about it and talk about it . . .

WHAT IF . . . .

1 comment:

  1. There is an intersection-Michael Brown was a poor black youth. Many Wal-Mart employees are minorities (African-American, Latinos, young people or other non-English speakers). These people are particularly vulnerable to police violence because they are different (or low-income) or are unaware of their rights.

    I do not know how effective a boycott will be. There has to be a mass swell of support at Wal-Marts for shoppers to turn away at stores for Black Friday. People can boycott and tell others if they are able. Something like a strike will shut down the stores for a few hours and propel patrons to join the store associates’ demands for fair wages and better hours.

    While people are not going to the store they can choose to purchase gifts/items online-which implicates a whole new host of workers into the Black Friday spree. This includes but is not limited to, UPS/Fed-Ex shipping, warehouse workers, employees of banks, etc. A complete boycott is ideal-but can it be carried out effectively? If so it could damage the domestic and international economy-not just the retail sector. At best, a successful boycott calls attention to the plight of workers around the world.