Monday, June 25, 2012
Why Walmart Sucks
In 1999 the folks living in Eureka said they did not want a Walmart. Low, low prices were not worth the damage that irresponsible outside corporations bring to the community. They had seen what the corporate timber companies had done with their wanton disregard for our environment local economy and wanted no part of it.
Fast forward to 2012 after the local politicians conspired with Walmart to overturn the will of the people. In secret negotiations, facilitated by the staff of the city and county, that politicians are still covering up a Walmart was brought to town. When politicians fail us it is the responsibility of the community as a whole to step up and fix it.
The purpose of the initiative is to counter the war on working class people. Big box retailers move into the community and use cheap products manufactured with slave labor in places like China and Vietnam and the Us to undercut local stores. These local merchants driven out of business by Walmart lay off their employees. Jobs that Walmart replaces them with are lower paying driving people deeper into poverty forcing them to shop at the low price stores in a corporate self- feeding cycle that destroys the local community while destroying the planet.
Another insidious plan connected to Walmart and widely opposed by the local community comes from the Military Industrial Complex and imperialist government forces. The expansion of highway 101 through Richardson Grove State Park would increase access for larger trucks, (i.e. Walmart) and military vehicles up the coast. The desire to exert control and wring every penny of profit from the, “enterprise” of exploiting land and community would wipe out some of the few remaining old growth redwood trees on earth.
We have been unable to find out what the quid pro quo for the politicians as Public Records request regarding Walmart in Eureka has been ignored. A request made last year turned up one email from June 2011 that stated staff from the city had been working for 6 months on bringing Walmart here but no other documents. For anyone believing that a bureaucracy can work on anything for 6 months and not generate a paper trail I have some ocean view property in Colorado for you.
We say that we live behind the Redwood Curtain far away from the power centers of the state Our economy was already in free fall before the corporations crashed the economy in 2008 and we have been completely left out of any recovery. Our area is closing schools, laying off Nurses, 67 recently at the local hospital, and closing governmental offices in the afternoons to save money. This new wave of low wage jobs will simply put more stress on our local safety net as Walmart employees must still seek food stamps and housing assistance. With no benefits Walmart employees still get their health care at the expense of taxpayers in local emergency rooms. The $8.33 an hour wage the average Walmart associate earns won’t allow them to own homes or to save for their children's educations.
This is not how we strengthen our community. Shipping dollars to Arkansas will not help Eureka. This will leave us in the end with two big employers, big box retail and the prison industrial complex. The Fair Wage Initiative will shift some things around in favor of working class people. It is one part of the struggle for community and individual dignity, for the survival of the earth, and against corporate domination. Support the Eureka Fair Wage Initiative.