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Wal-Mart movie two thumbs up!

I just watched a review of the Wal-Mart movie by Ebert & Roeper...
What a surprise! (Ok, I was watching corp news for a second) Anyway, The Wal-Mart movie came along and both Ebert and Roeper gave it a thumbs up. "Who cares!" you might say. Well, in giving the review, both men discussed ways in which Wal-Mart screws the rest of us. Ebert said that he knows that people shop there because goods are "cheaper" but he will not go there because he does not want cheaper prices at the cost of better working conditions for the employees. Of course, the movie itself discusses the way Wal-Mart drives the small businesses out of town. I was just glad to see these topics come up on the corp media. Maybe folks who have not thought about these issues will begin to question the sprall mart operation.
my $1.98 14.Nov.2005 09:36

xyzzy

$1.98 because it's too long to be $.02...

i saw it last night.

the most telling segment for me was the one about the small town in missouri that gave wal-mart a subsidy to decimate their downtown, because if they hadn't, wal-mart would have just built outside the city limits and downtown would have been decimated anyhow (and at least if they built in town the town would still get the sales tax revenue). more than anything that showed the fundamental incompatibility between corporate capitalism and free society.

what struck me about it was its general (and almost complete) lack of class consciousness. it was a very middle america movie whose interviewees kept reciting the bourgeois platitudes they had been indoctrinated into from childhood, followed by "but wal-mart has just gone too far..."

maybe, in a sense, that's what's needed. certainly a buzzword-compliant anarcho-rant against the machine would simply cause most of middle america to stop listening after the first clause of the first sentence. and if there's any hope of change, we need to appeal to middle america and get them on our side.

it would have been nice, however, if they could have shown some folks (no buzzwords needed) who were going a little further in their thoughts (and maybe even attempting to take actions like forming new co-ops and collectives). after all, it's hardly a foreign notion; co-ops have a long history in rural america.

they also definitely played the "crime! disorder! be afraid!" card you see so often on the evening news with their parking-lot crime segment.

anti wal-mart activism is in general a curious thing. at it's heart it rejects a fundamental construct of capitalism (don't question or interfere with wealth accumulation), yet many folks who otherwise wouldn't be caught dead openly rejecting such things take part in it. they may be at a loss to come up with a coherent theory of why they are doing what they do, but at the same time they know it's right and do it anyway. it shows the indoctrination of the system can fail. which is an encouraging message.

portland

Wal-Mart is History 15.Nov.2005 21:58

billyray

I saw the CD "W-M, the high cost of low prices" too and while I don't like their labor practices and general bulling, I ask: Where those little old mom and pop stores that are so dear to our hearts fair with their employees, paid high wages? provided health care? I also ask how different is a Mall from a W-M? It also really griped me to see that "not in my nice neighborhood" lady in Arizona sitting in her McMansion (nice vaulted ceilings, whats in the curio case?)proudly doing her part to oppose W-M. Where does she think her maid buys shoes? Nordstroms? Subsidies to W-M are like the corp. welfare to Exxon-Mobil -someone votes them in and we should vote those "someones" out.

good points billyray 18.Nov.2005 11:10

nemo

Greg Palast has a great little riff in his Best Democracy Money Can Buy about how the idea of the nobility of small business is largely myth. He goes off at great length about the petty viciousness of the good burghers who run most small businesses. I think the thing that really upsets people about Walmart is precisely that they combine all the petty viciousness of small businesses (Sam Walton's enduring legacy) with all the political muscle and arrogance of big business, and without any of the leavening "noblesse oblige" of most big businesses. (More recently, they have felt obliged to burnish their terrible public image with the obligatory -- and heavily advertised -- charitable endeavors. But they remain one of the most notoriously stingy and vindictive of major corporations.)