‘The Wrong Amazon is Burning’

Guest Post By Timothy T. Gilmer

I first saw this slogan being used by environmentalists. A reference to the Brazilian government, under the leadership of the terminally constipated Jair Bolsonaro, encouraging ranchers and loggers to burn the rainforest, as well as the e-commerce, cloud computing giant-headed up by the world’s second-richest man Jeff Bezos.

The cause of the ill will that many have towards Amazon and its founder Bezos run the gamut. From the environmentalists who take issue with the waste that’s being produced by the company and the billionaires’ dream of space travel and escaping the mess he’s creating for the rest of us, to privacy advocates worried about the dystopian surveillance state that he’s creating in partnership with local police departments in the United States with Ring doorbells (all stored on the cloud built by Amazon Web Services at the behest of the CIA).

This is not to take anything away from their alleged mistreatment of workers. Amazon is currently being sued by the family of Larry Virden. Virden was a father of four, who was one of six Amazon employees killed when a warehouse collapsed during the storms back in December. Before he died he sent his girlfriend a text saying he wasn’t allowed to leave. During the same storms, an unidentified delivery driver was threatened with termination by her supervisor if she didn’t keep making deliveries during an active tornado warning.

Photo of Extinction Rebellion Protests

I could go on, but you probably get the idea. On a brighter note, there are some signs of resistance. Last week Chicago Amazon workers staged the first multi-warehouse walkout. On Black Friday last year, Extinction Rebellion blockaded Amazon distribution centers across the UK to protest both the treatment of workers and destructive business practices. In Italy, they are being fined $1.3 billion for abuse of supply chain monopoly. And although the causes are unknown, another reason to be optimistic is that Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been plagued by outages in recent months.

I think Amazon is something that people of different political persuasions should be able to find common ground on. I implore readers to get involved doing whatever they can. Whether that’s getting involved with environmentalist groups and workers strikes or simply encouraging family and friends to boycott the company. Every little bit helps. For readers in places where Amazon’s pervasiveness has not yet been witnessed, please don’t allow Amazon to do in your country what they have in the United States.

Like the smoldering ashes of the rainforest, I believe the future of the United States and the corporations that act as an arm of it, may be rather bleak. But if the people stop working against each other and do their part I believe that a brighter future may be on the horizon.

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