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John Batchelor


Socialist Alternative Seattle hilariously, stupidly endorses Amazon

(File, AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The Socialist Alternative group suddenly endorses capitalism — and — and I don’t think they realize what they’re doing.

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It turns out that Socialist Alternative Seattle uses the evil, greedy capitalist pigs over at Amazon just like the rest of us. The anti-capitalist group created an Amazon Wish List that supporters can use to purchase items they’ll use to set up their “new party center” in Seattle. Their Wish List includes a number of items, from a pricey EARISE M60 Audio PA System Portable Bluetooth Rolling Speaker to a more affordable Active HDMI to VGA Adapter or AT-A-GLANCE Monthly Desk Pad Calendar.

The weirdest item on their Wish List? Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray, which you spray in a toilet bowl prior to using it. Kudos to them for being good, considerate stewards of our public toilets.

There’s nothing wrong with creating a Wish List and it’s certainly Socialist-friendly to ask people to pool together resources to purchase items that can be used to further a cause, but the venue is rather problematic from their perspective. Socialist Alternative Seattle and City Councilmember Kshama Sawant frequently rail against Amazon.

In an earlier post, Socialist Alternative Seattle addressed the irony of using Amazon, but see if you can spot what’s missing here:

For those of you who might be thinking “doesn’t Amazon viciously exploit their workers? How can SA support this business?” We agree Jeff Bezos shouldn’t become the richest man in the world off of the exploitation of his workers–we should fight to nationalize Amazon, which is a convenient and efficient supply network that busy working class people depend on! This network could be run democratically by the workers: the billions that go into Bezos’ pocket used to provide wages and benefits for the working people who make this distribution network run.

Fair enough but, as you can tell, they don’t explain why, then, they’re using Amazon here. Socialist Alternative Seattle says Amazon exploits workers, explains how it can be used to treat them fairly, but then goes on to exploit the workers by using the company and helping make them more profitable.

Using Amazon in this way sure seems like an endorsement of what they have to offer. I can appreciate the passion SA members have, even if I personally disagree with their positions. But this is just a bad look and it makes them seem like giant hypocrites who care more about a good deal on office furniture than the lives of the workers they erroneously claim are victims of corporate America.

It turns out that Amazon’s brand of capitalism, providing easy access to low-cost items you can’t find in traditional brick-and-mortar stores that pay employees $15 an hour, even benefits the groups that want to destroy them.

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