Wed, 11 Nov 2020, 19:00
Resisting Amazon, Part 1 - U.S. Communities Confront Amazon from Coast to Coast
Join Pluto Press, the Wildcat book series and a host of activists and authors from across the world for How We Organize! Radical lessons from workers’ struggles around the world, a series of webinars discussing the innovative new tactics, strategies, and objectives of worker organizing and independent unions today.
Amazon is the most powerful corporation on the planet and its CEO, Jeff Bezos, has become the richest person in history, and one of the few people to profit from the global COVID-19 pandemic. In The Cost of Free Shipping :Amazon in the Global Economy (published by Pluto Press), the editors Jake Alimahomed-Wilson and Ellen Reese state that its dominance has reshaped the global economy itself: we live in the age of ‘Amazon Capitalism’.
‘One-click’ instant consumerism and its immense variety of products has made Amazon a worldwide household name, with over 60% of US households subscribing to Amazon Prime. In turn, these subscribers are surveilled by the corporation. The company has also become the largest provider of cloud-computing services and home surveillance systems, not to mention the ubiquitous Alexa. Amazon is also one of the world’s largest logistics companies, resulting in weakened unions and lowered labor standards.
The first of this two-part webinar series interrogating Amazon’s business practices will discuss how their promotion of surveillance technology, free shipping and home delivery, tax evasion practices, and its political agenda are creating new threats to communities of color, local democracy, and the environment. It will provide case studies, from the perspective of scholars and activists, of how social justice and environmental activists in Southern California, Long Island, and Seattle are fighting back to protect the environment, their communities, and local politics from corporate influence and information on how to join this growing resistance movement.
Steve Lang is Professor of Sociology at LaGuardia Community College at the City of New York where he teaches courses in urban and environmental sociology. His research and writing focus on urban waterfront redevelopment and public space issues, as well as the politics of urban sustainability and resiliency.
Dania Rajendra directs the coalition Athena, dedicated to delivering democracy by removing Amazon as an impediment to a democracy that finally represents us all and an economy that benefits everyone.
Filip Stabrowski is Associate Professor of Anthropology at LaGuardia Community College at the City University of New York. He has written about immigration, housing, and gentrification in New York City. His work has appeared in Antipode, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy, and Society, and the American Journal of Economics and Sociology, among other publications.
Dana M. Williams is an Associate Professor of Sociology at California State University, Chico, with interests in social movements, social inequalities (i.e., class, gender, and race), public sociology, and socio-political trust. Scholarship has appeared in Contemporary Justice Review, Critical Sociology, Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society, Social Science Journal, Race, Ethnicity, & Education, Teaching Sociology, and many others. Williams is the author of Black Flags and Social Movements: A Sociological Analysis of Movement Anarchism (Manchester University Press, 2017) and co-author of Anarchy & Society: Reflections on Anarchist Sociology (Brill, 2013).
Katie Wilson is a co-founder and the General Secretary of the Transit Riders Union (TRU) in Seattle. TRU is a democratic organization of working and poor people building power to fight for public transit, affordable housing, progressive taxation, and other quality of life issues in the Emerald City. TRU coordinated the Housing for All Coalition, which championed a big business tax that was passed and then swiftly repealed under pressure from Amazon in 2018. Katie was also a member of the Progressive Revenue Task Force on Housing and Homelessness convened by the Seattle City Council to make recommendations for the tax measure.
Daisy Lopez and Andrea Vidaurre are organizers with the Warehouse Worker Resource Center, a non-profit workers’ center for warehouse workers in Southern California, and the San Bernardino Airport Communities, a coalition of labor and community activists that are demanding that Amazon does more to help protect clean air and create good jobs for local residents.
Jake Alimahomed-Wilson is Professor of Sociology at California State University, Long Beach. He is the co-editor (with Immanuel Ness) of Choke Points: Logistics Workers Disrupting the Global Supply Chain (Pluto Press, 2018) and author of Solidarity Forever? Race, Gender, and Unionism in the Ports of Southern California (Lexington Books, 2016) and co-author (with Edna Bonacich) of Getting the Goods: Ports, Labor, and the Logistics Revolution (Cornell University Press, 2008).
Ellen Reese is Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Labor Studies program at UC Riverside. She is author of They Say Cutback; We Say Fightback! Welfare Activism in an Era of Retrenchment (American Sociological Association’s Rose Series, 2011), co-editor of The Wages of Empire: Neoliberal Policies, Repression, and Women’s Poverty (Paradigm Publishers, 2007), and co-author of The World Social Forums and the Challenges of Global Democracy, 2nd Edition (Paradigm Publishers, 2014).
The Cost of Free Shipping is part of Wildcat, a book series published by Pluto Press that uncovers the radical militancy which characterises international workers struggles, both contemporary and historical. Looking at diverse topics including proletarianisation and class formation, mass production, gender, affective and reproductive labour, syndicalism and independent unions, and labour and Leftist social and political movements, it is the most comprehensive exploration into workers’ organisation being developed today.
To get 20% off The Cost of Free Shipping and all other books in the Wildcat series, please visit the Pluto Press website, add the book(s) to the cart and use the discount code ORGANIZE20 at the checkout.
The webinar series is kindly sponsored by Railroad Workers United.
This seminar is kindly co-sponsored by:
Warehouse Worker Resource Center
Transit Riders Union
California Faculty Association, Long Beach (CFA)
LA County Federation of Labor
Inland Empire Labor Council
Department of Sociology, California State University, Long Beach
Department of Sociology, Institute for Research on World Systems, Labor Studies,
Global Studies, Program of Global Studies at University of California, Riverside
Urban Studies Program at LaGuardia Community College