On Wednesday, November 16th Walmart announced it will open six stores in the nation's capital. I can't believe it. Here in the nation's capital, our elected leaders and community groups have decided to give the green light and allow the world's most predatory corporation against labor to do business.
Walmart is anti-union and employs and elaborate scheme to keep mostly part-time workers on its payroll in order to avoid investing in full time employment of workers by way of providing adequate health, retirement, and other livable wage benefits. Walmart says that the six stores it plans to establish in D.C. will create 600 construction jobs and 1,800 retail jobs. Well, according to research and data offered in the critically acclaimed documentary Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price, for every job Walmart "creates," about a job and a half is lost. So, on a total 2,400 jobs supposedly created by allowing Walmart to operate in DC, there will be 3600 jobs loss. I am sorry but I do not understand how this is considered to be good a good deal for DC, especially to local businesses. And the 600 construction jobs are temporary -- once the construction is complete, that 600 gets stacked back on to the job loss total, raising it to 4200 jobs lost. Y'all check my math on that, though.
Walmart has the distinction of being the focus of the largest class action lawsuit ever filed with 1.6 million (that's MILLION) women leveling charges of gender discrimination. Though the Supreme Court declared that the claims of discrimination and sexual abuse could not proceed with class action certification, lawsuits are still pending. The sheer number of women claiming Walmart has a systemic policy and attitude of treating them differently is staggering. In an April 1, 2011 USA Today article by Joan Biskupic, she writes:
Lead attorneys for the women -- Brad Seligman of the Impact Fund and Joseph Sellers, a longtime civil rights lawyer who will argue before the justices -- highlight on the first page of their brief that Wal-Mart executives referred to women as "Janie Qs" and approved of holding business meetings at Hooters restaurants, where the waitresses wear tight, skimpy clothing.
I guess it's a good time to purchase Hooters stock, and/or open a few more in D.C.
For me though, a native Washingtonian and descendant of enslaved Africans brought to the Americas to build the wealth of the 1 percent, the most compelling reason to deny Walmart access to the economic playing field and potential revenue it stands to gain from D.C. citizens and local consumers is the way it has worked against our political aspirations via the D.C. Voting Rights Act. The Walton family's political contributions over the years overwhelmingly favor Republican candidates who have voted against D.C. being a full voting member of the House of Representatives. I'd like to point out that Washington, D.C. votes 95% Democrat -- making it a staunchly Democrat town, and potential state. DC. is Democrat for a reason; with its majority Black population traditionally inclined to vote the political party credited with supporting the civil rights movement. Perhaps the most notable recipient of Walmart's political benevolence has been former Mississippi Senator Trent Lott, who in 2002 while speaking at the 100th birthday party for now-deceased former South Carolina Senator and Dixiecrat presidential candidate Strom Thurmond, openly expressed his sentiments that our country would be in a better place under the leadership of a known segregationist and Black civil rights opponent.
The way race plays out in the nation's capital is a national atrocity. The abandonment of continuing the legacy of self-determination for Black Americans, in a city with an overwhelmingly large Black and Brown population, under the watch and care of Black leaders, is embarrassing. Money has compromised their pride and responsibility to champion the collective needs of a people suffering from the historical legacy of disenfranchisement. The challenges we face to recover from the social, political, and economic damage wrought through hundreds of years of vilification, forced labor, and sabotage are never addressed, nor solutions offered, in proper context. Black and Brown leaders in D.C. have accepted and promoted the white-washing of history and its psychological/social impact in favor of accepting easy money from wolves in sheep's clothing. In the case of Walmart coming to D.C., and in the opinions of everyone concerned with how their presence will impact the social justice movement here, we are being Trojan horsed.
It is amazing to me that, with all this very public knowledge begging for serious questioning of the integrity and policies of Walmart, that D.C. elected officials and community leaders are all accepting the company's propaganda campaigns. I guess it's easy to do when, as duly elected representative of the people, your staff is working for Walmart as in the case of Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander, as reported by the Washington Times. Has anyone ever heard of the term "conflict of interest?"
In the Occupy movements across the country, representatives of the 99 percent have brought to the major headlines that it is the 1 percent holders of our country's wealth and resources who are responsible for the continuing economic and social demise of the United States. As it's being legislated to play out, Walmart IS the 1%. We already have enough of them here in town to deal with, and we definitely don't need one of their top dogs to come join them.
"Keep D.C. Walmart-Free!"