Thursday, May 16, 2013

Walmart


I am getting married on July 7. I am making my dress out of organic silk and bamboo. I bought the fabric before Rana Plaza fell. I have decided to use it even though I am not 100% sure that it was made ethically. I know, I know. When you do something like burn all your clothing for a cause you are supposed to follow ALL the rules. I hear that, believe me. Last weekend I cleaned out my sewing room in preparation for designing my dress but as I stared at the beautiful fabric, creamy white and perfectly ripe.


I decided to make this instead:



6 members of the Walton family appear on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans. 
No. 6: Christy Walton, $25.7 billion
No. 9: Jim Walton, $23.7 billion
No. 10: Alice Walton, $23.3 billion
No. 11: S. Robson Walton, oldest son of Sam Walton, $23.1 billion
No. 103: Ann Walton Kroenke, $3.9 billion
No. 139: Nancy Walton Laurie, $3.4 billion
That is a grand total of $103.1 billion for the whole family.

Walmart clothing was found amongst the decaying bodies and debris at Rana Plaza. In my mind, with all the billions they have, they could easily write a check and take care of every single surviving victim as well as all the families of the dead and not even feel it. 

We did the math.  If each of the Walmart heirs gave up 1/4 of their wealth, they could give 9 million dollars to every single person or family from Rana Plaza and still be worth a combined 67 BILLION dollars.

This sort of detached wealth does not compute in my head. I do not understand why people like the Walton family do not seem to have any compassion for the destruction they caused in Bangladesh as well as the countless small businesses and precious untouched land they have destroyed. There is so much I could write here about their disgusting business practices but it would take me all day and I have an appointment with a street sign later today to try to inform my fellow citizens about their impending invasion of Tigard Oregon, a few miles from my home. Yea, the BIG BAD is coming to town and there seems to be no hope in stopping them. Not only are they building in close proximity to a Costco, WinCo and Fred Meyer, but they chose a property that neighbors some wetlands where there are hundreds of living creatures who will be destroyed when they start polluting the area with their construction and traffic. Many small businesses will also be pushed out of business. There have been a few attempts to stop them with no success. I joined the fight last weekend.

There are only about 6 of us attempting one last time to stop them and we are having trouble getting more numbers to support us. I was at a store close to the future Walmart site the other day and mentioned to the employees that they their business might suffer when the Walmart goes in and most of them just looked at me with a vacant stare. One of them even said, "So?". I was taken aback. I guess I thought that everyone had seen this movie when it came out a few years ago:


video


If you haven't seen it yet, I suggest you do. It is important to understand the enemy, and make no mistake, they ARE your enemy. They want to sell you cheaply made blood clothing at the cost of human lives. They want you to believe they are good for America and that they are "job creators", but really they don't even pay their employees a living wage. Many of their employees can't survive without food stamps.  And unions? Don't even whisper the word if you work for them or you will be fired faster then you can say the word "organize". 

As of this date the following companies have agreed to sign a legally binding contract called the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement, which commits them to investing in basic safety measures like fire escapes and safe electrical wiring:

H&M
United Colors of Benetton
Joe Fresh
Loblas
Tommy Hilfiger
Calvin Klein
Izod
C&A
Tchibo
ElCorte Ingles'
Tesco
Marks & Spencer
Primmark

One notable exception is The Gap who refuse to sign anything legally binding. There is now a massive campaign to pressure The Gap into signing. You can take action here:



Also not on this list and not surprising in the least is, you guessed it, Walmart. 



This is the the future home of Walmart, Tigard Oregon.



There has been evidence that beavers might habitat in this area along with geese, ducks and many other beautiful creatures who call this place home. Keep in mind, only a few blocks away there already stands a Costco. But Walmart doesn't care about these creatures any more than they care about the 1100 dead Bangladeshi garment workers who died making their crap. We are at the last possible moment to prevent this from happening right now. We are trying everything we can think of to get people to care enough to try to stop it. After making the banner I pulled out all the stops and made this:


I stood on the busiest traffic street near the Walmart site and danced my ass off dressed like a sexy beaver. I swear this is not usually how I roll. Sure I am a bit theatric and have been known to dance at marches but this? I think this whole thing has made me snap. I just don't care at all what anyone thinks of me anymore. I could not care less about what image this might portray of me. I was called a "Crazy Bitch" and a "Dirty Hippie" as I tap danced around and it literally made my heart sing with pleasure to feel what should have been a sting but instead was bliss. I AM a crazy bitch and I am pissed off that we are so turned around that we allow this to happen again and again and again. Walmart moves in, small businesses fail, environment is paved over, workers go on food stamps and the people say "amen". 

I am not confident that we will prevail in Tigard. It is real long shot at this point. There are also 2 more Walmarts being built only 8 miles away in Sheerwood and 12 miles away in Oregon City. Both are facing local opposition but it's not looking good. The fact is nobody cares. Nobody wants to be accountable if it means they have to pay a little more or make due with less. Don't be fooled, this agreement in Bangladesh is a very good start but there is still so far to go. Even in countries where they have labor protections and slightly better working conditions they are still living with unacceptable standards. Until we stop treating the rest of the world as our personal slave pool there will always be another Rana Plaza. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all your research. And thanks for taking on an inspiring challenge.

    Would love for you to post a list of apparel companies that meet your criteria as you develop the list. Not everyone will do the research you are doing, but some will use the knowledge you have gained if you pass it on to them.
    I know I will. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete