Amazon Prime Day Strike


#1

hiya folks. quick reminder that Amazon warehouse workers are going on strike throughout tomorrow (amazon prime day) and are asking for as many people as possible to boycott for at least the day, if not the week:

particularly relevant to this forum, since Twitch is part of the Amazon network and should also be avoided. also on the list:

  • Whole Foods
  • any Fire gadgets
  • Alexa
  • Audible
  • ComiXology
  • Zappos
  • Goodreads
  • IMDB

so much stuff is hosted on the amazon web servers that it’s not practical to aim for a full boycott there, but if you find a way to do it then please share.

here’s a good article containing some of the (many) reasons to avoid amazon anyway, if you can.

solidarity forever


#2

Thank you for the (important) reminder!


#3

It’s a shame that more groups with a large platform didn’t avoid using Amazon services for the entire strike (10th-16th). Imagine if every company that normally streams (to hundreds or more people) on Twitch had been streaming on YouTube or another streaming competitor this last week? (It wouldn’t even need to really impact their audience.) Major websites, similar to previous gone ‘offline’ messages in support of boycotts before when it came to public policy, could have threatened to turn off their Amazon cloud servers for a week or even a day or redirect them to a page about the strikes.

Once again, we see everything through the lens of capitalist individualism and making economic choices to effect change (individuals are told to avoid shopping). “If we only use capitalism better then we can solve the problems created by capitalism”. Workers strike and their individual voices join to make the difference, corporations will choose to take action (one at a time). We must all support them via spending patterns… rather than via direct political action or demanding legal changes to prevent labour exploitation for any workers working for any of the companies (this can generate monopolies as a rolling list of boycotts and “upcoming good companies” who turn out to be exactly like the company they replaced, with no systemic changes that prevent the ability to exploit workers and so break the cycle).

And then next sale (Black Friday or whatever it is) we’ll see the same thing emerge again. Tying these boycotts to sales events seems to have a rather unfortunate effect of tying the demand for individual action to the time when other exploited workers who are barely treading water have previously been able to access discounts required to fully utilise what limited spending money is available. There’s a bit too much (unintended) overlap with “how dare these people be able to buy flat TVs - shame on you for wanting things which are associated with luxury”.

Yes, sales are meant to drive up total revenue; they’re a busy period. Sometimes they’re not even very good sales (or so restricted in quantity as to be useless for realistically getting access to deals on something you need). But also I can’t break the link with saving for months knowing that at some point that sale will come along and something we’d never have been able to afford normally would drop into the point where it’d finally be just about attainable. Something that felt quite different to scanning the discount aisle and near-expiry food to keep our regular expenses down. Yes, psychological tricks and the evils of capitalism, but also that Christmas gift (purchased months in advance) that would otherwise have been impossible to buy.

Boycott if you can, and each individual can make that judgement for themselves. Then keep writing to your elected officials about improving labour laws for all workers. Join your local party and put forward motions to shape policy. Start working on a guillotine? The future will not be built on nudging consumer trends. It’s not about you not taking a plastic straw, it’s about fining the 100 biggest polluters and prosecuting their executives (and seizing their billions to actually help people and reverse the damage they’re causing). Bezos will never use that $150bn to help the world (even if we tweak our spending patterns), we need to simply take it.


#4

agreed, but also worth noting that this is an international strike & boycott, so it’s a little more than the call for compassionate consumption you normally get around events like this


#5

though it might not do much financial damage i think any opportunity to highlight shitty business practices underpinning a lot of goods and services taken for granted, and build solidarity between workers is extremely valuable


#6

They are workers asking for solidarity in strike action to get, amongst other things, the right to take toilet breaks. Without people acting in concert with them Amazon will fire them and think nothing of it.

This isn’t ‘capitalist individualism’ this is solidarity 101 and of all places I thought the waypoint forums would get that


#7

But it is though? Like, this is 100% relying on the “power of the market” to show that Amazon has done a bad thing, not collectively working towards making working conditions actually impossible. Amazon is not going to go out of business because a person didn’t buy for one day.


#8

Yes, people need to act to ensure that pan-European laws make it illegal to fire striking workers and that is completely independent of a few percentage difference in sales vs expectations this week which is the boycott part of the thing (the value of which will be to reduce the backlog of work after the strike - clearly a good aim but also one that should be shouldered by those with the economic options to take it). I literally ended by saying the boycott should be taken up (but my concern is that chastising people about it has undesirable consequences and a focus on those with less economic flexibility rather than those who have the most).

As I mentioned in my open, the application of pressure could easily be applied from far more directions (like those who used Amazon services during this strike week but still have taken today to pat themselves on the back for being totally behind strikers and remind everyone that the real important part is not buying things).

Edit: What if we boycott all the companies who didn’t boycott Amazon in this strike week (rather than focus on individuals who live their lives constrained by capitalism)? Surely this is an extremely powerful act of solidarity. Well no one using AWS/CouldFront etc has stopped this week so goodbye to Sony, Square, Ubisoft… Netflix, Slack, Spotify, Unilever, McDonalds… VICE… (the list almost never ends). If we are to say purchasing decisions are an important weapon then we should deploy it against corporations who didn’t join us… right? (rather than focus on individuals)


#9

the former doesn’t preclude the latter. possible to walk and chew gum at the same time wrt personal acts of solidarity and larger-scale actions against the capitalist state.

sincerely worry that the decision to discuss the limits of personal acts of solidarity in the context of a call for them really only serves to undermine both, tho.


#10

I am definitely in support of labor efforts but it gets so complicated with completely avoiding all things that a large corporation has put their fingers into like Twitch, which is owned by Amazon but also it’s own company that a lot of people depend on for their income. My streaming pal and I streamed this morning after a long conversation about whether we should or not (predicated by Waypoint choosing not to stream in solidarity), but ended up doing so because we spent the first part talking about the boycott, the protests, and why it was important. And then playing a game that’s openly critical of corporations.


#11

i recognise and respect this struggle but also: it is very easy to think of reasons to cross a picket line, much harder (and usually with greater personal consequence) to respect it

i’ve bought from boycotted companies before, it happens, but by making excuses to do it you’re really only doing the corporation’s work for them. better to say “sometimes i do not live my best life” and move on than navel-gaze about it.


#12

@trustworthymartin I am going to be extremely polite here but I really do not appreciate being spoken to as if I have zero experience with tough choices in labor organization or efforts and that posting in your thread is amounting to navel gazing when I felt my post was to indicate my thought process that might be useful for others.


#13

Like, sorry, but that’s a pretty bullshit stance. I don’t get the opinion of feeling bad about buying from a boycotted company. If there’s something I need, and it’s cheapest somewhere, I kind of need to buy it there and not somewhere I know has good labour relations. I work retail, I literally sell products that only exist through incredibly harmful and exploitative labour. There’s literally no part of my life right now where I get to “live my best life”.


#14

There is something particularly difficulty about boycotting a company that really only provides “services” and “platforms”. The company has even argued in court that the company does not have to follow rules that apply to storefronts because Amazon is not a “store”, it’s merely a “platform” for independent third-party sellers.

I think we do need to recognize that certain aspects of a corporation (or any other power structure) are easier to focus on, and directly act against. Focusing your efforts is not hypocrisy. “Whataboutism” is not a meaningful criticism of targeted acts of protest.

Also, I don’t think that it’s worthwhile to argue about whether or not someone is personally able to participate in acts of protest on a pseudonymous online forum. I think there are important conversations to have about the strike, and it would be a shame if this topic had to be locked because the discussions got too personal.


#15

But it’s not directing your efforts at Amazon to use them plenty just via intermediaries. There is no “whataboutery” in talking about the scope of Amazon and what genuinely avoiding them for a week-long strike would actually look like and how we would expect that solidarity to apply via the various corporations who may talk and promote such activity but not to the point of actually doing so themselves.

There is nothing personal about talking about the economic constraints most keenly felt by those who are also often most closely tied to discounting, sales and the like. That’s an important conversation as we continue to see boycotts organised around sales events and will continue to.

That someone immediately jumped to consumer spending patterns as a primary defence against corporations firing strikers rather than labour laws is part of the bigger picture of how far down the capitalism hole we are sucked into that my original post wishes to discuss.


#16

My bad. My comment about personal conversations was not targeted at you, but rather some other posts in this thread. I agree that talking about economic constraints is a worthy topic. I just don’t think that it is necessary to defend/call-out people personally for their limitations in this thread.

I think spending patterns is the first line of defense because it is a effective tool that is readily available to many people. It’s not a perfect tool, it’s not a tool available to everyone, it’s not a tool that will solve all problems alone. No tool of resistance is that effective or universal.

We shouldn’t rely only on the tools of capitalism and markets. But neither should we ignore those tools when we can use them to push, to create openings, to change minds.


#17

im sorry, but i have to respectfully challenge this: your post, and your follow up, are both (rather weak!) excuses to cross an active picket line.

this is not some capital crime for which i’m suggesting high punishment - i am also more than aware of the issues with ‘ethical consumption’ and how it is often bourgeois / not available to working class folks - but outside of a few specific situations (live in a food desert, reliant on it for income, etc) i think public justifications for strike breaking need to be challenged.

people on the fence will be reading this thread and looking for an excuse to not hold the line. i do not think your post was helpful in that regard.


#18

if the waypoint crew stopped using Twitch entirely i’d watch their stuff wherever else they chose to put it.


#19

I’m not sure why you’re being condescending here. Saying to someone “I must respectfully say that your arguments are rather weak” gets us nowhere. It’s not how you build solidarity and it’s not a useful conversation.

As someone who participated in this strike, I’d much rather have people be aware of Amazon’s disgusting labor practices – which is, arguably, the whole point of this strike – and get people to feel conflicted about using their services than to spend hours of my free time shaming other people for doing so.

We can agree to disagree on this, and that’s fine. But boy, I’m real tired of watching left leaning people condescend to folks who would otherwise be on their side, and I felt like I had to put that out there.


#20

i think i’ve been nothing but polite here when faced with a thread full of people justifying the crossing of an active picket line. if you feel challenged by that, perhaps examine that discomfort.

this isn’t Which Final Fantasy Is Best, this is basic worker solidarity.