On Tuesday, I went to the common security club event that was the subject of the last post. There were many ideas proposed for how individuals and communities can get by during hard times. The speaker, Chuck Collins from the Institute for Policy Studies, pointed out that our economy is designed to funnel money upward toward the wealthy. Those on the right believe that wealth trickles down. Why we believe money conforms to the laws of physics–funneling upwards like a cow caught in a twister or trickling down like soap suds caught in the drain–eludes me.
I’m not a physicist nor am I an economist. I don’t know how money reacts in a physical universe except to say that it does leave my wallet just about as fast as I can put it in there. My sense is, when I go to Walmart (I’ve only ever been once. I bought a sweater.) the money I give them is mostly funneling up. Sure, some small portion of it goes to pay the cashier, the sales associates, stock clerks, etc. A significantly smaller portion (an infinitesimal portion) makes its way back to the factory worker in Indonesia who put together my $12 sweater, but I think the vast majority of my money found its way into the wallets of the Walton Family.
Sure they’ll take my money and yours and build more stores and employ more cashiers, stock clerks, sales associates and managers, but no one is getting rich working for Walmart. Evidence suggests that most Walmart employees are just barely making ends meet. The Walton family on the other hand, well they’ll just keep doing better and better. It’s not their job to make sure their employees get rich. So far as they see it, it’s the responsibility of their employees to see that the Waltons remain rich and become even richer. Do they feel any responsibility to their employees or their suppliers? Or is it in the interest of the Walton’s that their employees be given just enough to get by and no more? After all, if they did make a good living, well … all manner of things might happen to upset that strong current upward.
What does any of this mean to someone who doesn’t have a job? In the current economy, I’m not blaming anybody for working for Walmart or for shopping there. I do believe that if we are ever to get out of this bind of waiting for money to trickle down so we can send it back up through the funnel, we need alternatives and we need to fight for them.
With that in mind, I’m posting here coverage by Luke Kuhn from the fight to keep DC Walmart Free–Dozens Protest Walmart Outside of Developer’s House posted on DC’s Independent Media Center and his video Walmart’s DC Developer Gets 2nd Protest at his House as posted on LiveLeak.com.
Also, an interview of Empower DC’s Oscar Madsen which aired on WPFW’s Latino Media Collective. To hear Oscar’s interview, you’ll need to scroll down the page and click on the “play” icon next to Latino Media Collective 2011-01-19 Comp.
Soon Walmart will intensify a media campaign that insists that those who oppose Walmart would turn down new jobs, stop people from paying lower prices and hinder Walmart’s noble efforts to feed poor folk healthy food. (Oh Michelle, what are you doing?) To get the other side of the story, check out walmartwatch.org and walmartsubsidywatch.org.
If you’re none too fond of sitting in front of a computer screen to get your information and would prefer to be among people, go to the free community film screening ofWalmart: The High Cost of Low Prices Wednesday, January 26, 2011 6:30-8:30 PM Emory Recreation Center 5701 Georgia Avenue NW
To get specifics about the campaign in DC and join the fight go to walmartfreedc.org.
Finally, for all of us out here who want to put food on the table and buy clothes for our kids that we can afford without shopping at Walmart or Target consider forming or joining a common security club. You’ll get all the information you need and more at the Common Security Club Workshop sponsored by the Institute for Policy Studies:Saturday, January 29, 2011
10:00 am to 4:00 pm Festival Center 1640 Columbia Road NW