Amazon strike, 15-16 July

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R Totale's picture
R Totale
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Jul 14 2019 13:39
Amazon strike, 15-16 July

This seems to have drawn a reasonable bit of attention, but I've not seen that much discussion of it from syndicalist/libcom/whatever types yet: https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/14/20692187/amazon-strike-protest-worker... Anyone got any hot takes to share?

zugzwang
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Jul 14 2019 16:14

Yeah I think Amazon has got more attention from leftists recently since the john oliver episode. I don't really understand how boycotting would help to make this strike more effective. I've come across images with 53 companies (including sites like Twitch and Audible) we should ""avoid" to show solidarity, and also claims that not boycotting makes you a "scab", which is obviously not what a scab is. The act of boycotting in general, over working conditions or whatever, reflects very poorly imo on leftists' understanding of capitalism and where most of the stuff they use come from.

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LeninistGirl
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Jul 14 2019 19:23

I think it is just the digital version of not crossing the picket-line to use whatever service the besieged firm supplies. Boycotts along strikes is not something new in general, it was used during the 1905 revolution in Russia for example.

zugzwang
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Jul 14 2019 20:22

To my understanding scab refers specifically to people who break strikes by working strikers' jobs. Picking "Prime Day", where Amazon will likely have more business than usual, as the day to boycott, to not buy stuff, doesn't make much sense to me if the goal is to hurt their profits, though it makes perfect sense from a striking perspective.

R Totale's picture
R Totale
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Jul 14 2019 21:12

Yeah, I don't know if "scabbing" is the language I use myself but I think that in general most of us would avoid going into a shop with a picket line outside, crossing a picket line to attend a class taught by someone scabbing on a teacher's strike and so on, and "blacking" goods certainly has a long history. I was more wondering if anyone knows much about the situation in the site that's striking, what the relationship of worker self-organization to unionisation and so on is, if there's much of a link between this one warehouse and other Amazon workplaces and so on.

fingers malone's picture
fingers malone
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Jul 14 2019 21:36

Yeah I wouldn't personally call it scabbing, but boycotts during strikes are one kind of boycott that I do take seriously.
I don't know answers to any of the questions but I know there was a strike on Prime Day last year, in Spain I think.

zugzwang
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Jul 15 2019 02:33

What gets me is that most of the people calling for a boycott will scold you for having bought something off Amazon (even not during a strike), but will themselves buy, say, a cell phone assembled possibly in a Foxconn factory, or clothing produced in a sweatshop, where in both cases workers face even less pleasant conditions, and not see the hypocrisy in that (if you look on twitter threads discussing the boycott e.g. you'll see this is the type of thinking that predominates). There's no way around supporting "evil businesses" when you must sell your ability to work to purchase the stuff you need and thus reproduce and perpetuate the same rotten system.

fingers malone's picture
fingers malone
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Jul 14 2019 23:49

No, sure, that's silly, calling a boycott for two strike days is different from that though.

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Lucky Black Cat
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Jul 18 2019 01:14

Yeah, there's an important distinction between boycotting a company for sweatshop labor and boycotting a company to support a strike. In the latter case, you're giving a boost to the workers' power and effectiveness, while in the first case you're trying to substitute for that power.

Edit: Sorry I've got no hot takes for you, R. Totale!

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Lucky Black Cat
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Jul 18 2019 01:15

Oh, but here's a cold and obvious take: Jeff Bezos is a dick and actually looks like a dick!

zugzwang
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Jul 18 2019 05:27
Quote:
But in this case the workers are on strike, so isn't it a form of scabbing to shop there while the strike is ongoing? That's how I see it but maybe I'm missing something.

Scabs are people who break strikes by working strikers' jobs

Quote:
Yeah, there's an important distinction between boycotting a company for sweatshop labor and boycotting a company to support a strike. In the latter case, you're giving a boost to the workers' power and effectiveness, while in the first case you're trying to substitute for that power.

Not crossing the picket line outside a restaurant where workers are on strike (assuming they'd even be staffed with scabs) to enjoy a meal and boycotting 53 companies because of their connection to Amazon is not exactly the same thing imo. Anyway I don't see how purchasing from Amazon while warehouse workers are on strike would have any effect on the strike's outcome. I'm pretty sure most of the people who boycotted Amazon this week will be doing the same next week, not realizing there is no way around supporting "evil businesses" when you live under capitalism.

fingers malone's picture
fingers malone
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Jul 18 2019 13:41

Any update on how many warehouses were on strike, and how successful it was?
In the States companies are allowed to hire agency staff to cover strikes aren't they, does anyone know if they did that?

zugzwang
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Jul 18 2019 21:35

there's this

http://rankandfile.ca/prime-days-for-amazon-protests/

James Elsworth
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Jul 26 2019 06:55

Don't know what is going on