Police Arrest Black Friday Protesters On Behalf Of Walmart

On Black Friday, peaceful protest is a jailable offense, while violent mobs are acceptable so long as they are spending money. Rania Khalek writes:

The treatment of peaceful protesters compared to the unruly and sometimes violent crowds of stampeding Black Friday shoppers couldn’t be more different. While the former is ostracized and forcibly removed by police, the latter is encouraged to come out for a competitive brawl over marked off goods. Nowhere is this contrast more clearly defined than in the police treatment of Walmart protesters over the last 24 hours.

On Friday, at least 1,000 Walmart employees throughout the country walked off the job to protest Walmart’s poor labor practices. Local police departments have been happy to disperse and even arrest strikers and their supporters on behalf of the world’s largest retailer.

At a Walmart store in Paramount, just outside of Los Angeles, some 1,500 people rallied against Walmart. Josh Eidelson, live-blogging about the Walmart strikes at The Nation, reports that “Nine people have been arrested for sitting in the street on Lakewood Boulevard, including three striking Walmart retail workers from area stores.

“About 200 protesters were forced from the Walmart property at 83rd and Stewart, after additional Chicago police officers were called and arrived on scene,” reports Fox Chicago.

Iowa City Police dispersed a crowd of 15 protesters who stood at the entrance of an Iowa City Walmart Parking lot for about an hour handing out literature about Walmart’s horrible working conditions to shoppers.

In Danbury Connecticut, local police were already at the Walmart store prior to the arrival of 50 protesters who couldn’t even finish reading a statement aloud inside the store before the police forced them to leave.

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  • Jin The Ninja

    capitalism at ‘work.’ welcome to dystopia.

  • Rotwang

    Nothing new here…in the old days, they would have busted heads. The cops have always been muscle for corporate America.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    Ok, I know this is supposed to be horrible and everything, but how dumb is protesting? What is it supposed to solve? Especially now that things have gotten more “police statey” to coin a phrase?
    Seems like a dumb thing to do. Like doing something to feel like you are doing something, while actually accomplishing nothing. I’m not saying strikes are dumb because that has a more clear goal of forming a union.

    • Kevin Leonard

      So… “Sit down, shut up, deal with it?”

      • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

        No. wave your arms and yell. Then you will know you have become the change you want to see in the world.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

          Maybe one day all of you will learn that it’s only self-sacrifice–and
          absolutely nothing else–that changes the world. Cuz, in the end, you’ll
          realize that the only thing that changes in the world is yourself.

          • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

            Creating alternatives rather than spending time tilting towards multi-national windmills is what I think Ted is getting at here. Also why work for a company you are protesting? The idea that there aren’t alternatives feeds into their power. Just quit and go elsewhere, refuse to give the beast your consent in any form, I think this would be a more effective form of protest than presuming that the master is going to honor the slave just because he walked off the job on the biggest shopping day of the year.

          • Kevin Leonard

            While I agree that protesting Walmart is likely to accomplish very little, it is entirely possible that those protesters could have been happy if they made one person stop and think and realize that the lines and fighting and time spent in consumer hell wasn’t really worth the few extra dollars saved. Sensible activists must realize that raising a small amount of awareness is the best they can hope for. If their forum for trying to accomplish that is standing in front of The Beast waving powerless banners, so be it. It creates about as much change as voting for a third party candidate or staying home on election day, something many people do with fervent gusto.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            I think its about grabbing the attention someone who might actually do something. So basically its not that empowering of an activity. Its just puts it off to somebody else to actually do something.

          • Kevin Leonard

            Having done it twice, myself, I can tell you that walking out of a job when you feel workers’ rights and dignity have been violated is actually very empowering. I can imagine having just done that, standing in front of the corporate megapower blowing off steam is more empowering than sitting at home watching their sales advertisements on tv. It probably feels empowering to have others join you. Less empowering is going to jail while having your first amendment rights violated.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            Yeah, basically. Maybe even start an alternative department store.

        • Kevin Leonard

          Dude. These were non-violent protesters. And you are going dismiss them by quoting Ghandi?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

      That’s a novel point of view, Ted. I guess niggers should sit on the back of the bus, too, eh?

      • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

        Those are your unfortunate words not mine.

    • sombre_reptiles

      I don’t agree with the idea that protesting is dumb, but you do raise a valid point. Protests are at best symbolic while strikes are more effective because of workers can stop capitalist production. But workers on a picket are more likely to keep the strike going and therefore win concessions if they ‘feel’ supported by other protesters. Solidarity and all that.

      • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

        I hate Walmart. I don’t shop there. If I really wanted to support the workers wouldn’t I have to shop there? I mean if no one shopped there, that wouldn’t help the workers would it? I do my part to support locally owned businesses and food co-ops. Maybe the workers should do their part by quitting.
        I know that’s not really the Marxist point of view but alas I am a libertarian.

    • Haystack

      I’m inclined to agree. Sign-waving seems pretty outmoded to me, and rarely seems to achieve any results. In theory it’s suppose to generate attention from the news media, and thereby discussion, but in reality the public has zero interest in another story about a group of protesters being dispersed by police.

      I would expect that modern social movements would be more creative at finding ways to get their narratives inserted into the media.

  • Anarchy Pony

    Pigs protecting property and big money? I am shocked, Shocked!

  • InfvoCuernos

    I read this and threw up a little in my mouth. How much more blatantly foul can the police get? They should start stitching corporate sponsor patches onto their uniforms.

    • Anarchy Pony

      At least the national guard or Pinkertons weren’t out there killing them. Small consolation.

      • InfvoCuernos

        There’s always next year!

  • BuzzCoastin

    protesting is a complete waste of time
    but a boycott of Walmart would work wonders
    will the sheeple boycott Walmart?
    not very likely
    case closed