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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Santas Storm Downtown and Invade Macy's with Wheelbarrow of Coal for CEOs

Posted by on Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 4:14 PM

This morning, the labor-funded progressive advocacy group Working Washington announced a Yuletide stunt in the name of shaming a few corporate giants seeking tax breaks. So at noon they targeted the CEOs of Macy's, Chase, and Bank of America—corporations that are asking Congress to lower tax rates on the wealthy and major corporations at the expense of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security—by dressing up in Santa hats and delivering coal.

Sage Wilson from working Washington sent us these photos of the scene. First, here's a wheelbarrow of coal, which Wilson describes as "surprisingly heavy":

  • Via Sage Wilson

"We got inside Macy's and spent a good 15 minutes singing to customers about how their CEO is pushing for tax cuts for the rich," says Wilson. And here they are:

  • Via Sage Wilson

Say what you will about labor-funded activism—which I fully support—but all that aside, stunts like this make activism accessible. It's funny, it's pointed, and it's critical without being dour. We need more of it. And this shows how Occupy's weird rejection of labor was a total mistake. Occupy went down the tubes with strident arrogance. You can read more about Working Washington's naughty list here.


Comments (25) RSS

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Will in Seattle 25
@16 you need to get pro-steam high speed broadband.

Which you only get in Seattle if you live near a ST LINK station, in SLU, or near where UW properties are.
Posted by Will in Seattle on December 13, 2012 at 11:50 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 24
@19, that was my thought. I work in an office downtown and heard about this protest and the people in my office thought it was somewhere between pathetic and pointless.

We need to push the envelop on these demonstrations to make them "in your face", organized and effective. Putting on what amounts to performance theater is just
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on December 13, 2012 at 5:41 AM · Report this
With lack of cohesion and organization, Occupy was fertile soil for pernicious entryism. The number of Occupiers embracing Ron Paul was unnerving. Oh well, at least it wasn't LaRouche.
Posted by K on December 13, 2012 at 1:25 AM · Report this
Former Lurker 22
@3 LOL!
Posted by Former Lurker on December 12, 2012 at 11:09 PM · Report this
wilbur@work 21
by "labor", do you mean people working actual jobs, or just people speaking for other people, perhaps against their will? On a related note, nobody worth a shit gives a shit what occupy thinks, thought, or did.
Posted by wilbur@work on December 12, 2012 at 10:38 PM · Report this

As I'm sure you understand, in the pure form* of General Assembly, it only takes one person to obstruct cooperation with Organized Labor.

If the decision-making structure that occupiers have agreed to abide by does not in some way overcome that one person's opposition, then it is perfectly correct to say that opposition to Organized Labor is occupy's** position, though of course it may not be the position of many (or even most) occupiers***.


* the impure form (supermajority rule rather than unanimous consensus) needed**** 10-20% of participants to prevent collaboration with Organized Labor.

** and if this is true for one small-o, local occupy, then it follows that it must also be true for big-O, global Occupy, since the local GA is the largest unit of organizational structure.

*** this state of affairs is hardly unique to occupy, of course; it is possible in many different organizational structures to arrive at group policies that reflect the opinion of only a minority of the participants.

**** and had, easily
Posted by robotslave on December 12, 2012 at 10:12 PM · Report this
The past few decades have not exactly shown that these tactics produce much in terms of results. We've perfected the production of props and puppets but not exactly made many actual political gains and in fact seem to have lost a fair bit of ground.
Posted by giffy on December 12, 2012 at 9:50 PM · Report this
Good idea. They also could have wheeled some coal to the corporations who are supporting coal-exports out of the state of Washington ports; to Puget Sound Energy, which is providing customers here with coal burning electricity from Montana; and up to Canada to Trans-Alta, which owns the largest CO2 emitter in Washington State, the coal fired units at Centralia, which the Governor generously allowed to run until 2025.
Posted by Perspiring minds want to know on December 12, 2012 at 9:46 PM · Report this
@15, unfortunately it's all too common. It's even more common when there are shrinking resources. Picture a large tank of fish, all surging to the top when some hand drops some crumbs on the water. The less crumbs, the more the fish bump against each other. Humans can talk and write so their bumping includes harsh words.
Posted by sarah70 on December 12, 2012 at 9:26 PM · Report this
How come I can't watch all my television channels with steaming like I'm doing with the 121212 concert right now?
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on December 12, 2012 at 8:54 PM · Report this
I'm not involved with Occupy and I'm sadly no longer part of a union, but isn't it self-defeating for groups advocating for improved rights and conditions for the less powerful to bicker amongst themselves?
Posted by floater on December 12, 2012 at 7:12 PM · Report this
Occupy Seattle suffered from having all the passion of young college students but was unfortunately led by the B grade pastry chef majors of a middling community college.
Posted by Stupid White Male on December 12, 2012 at 6:58 PM · Report this
"@7: And I guess that one person was the spokesperson for all of Occupy?"

Isn't Ian Finklegerbiling the only one left in occupy Seattle? Pretty much a one man army at this point which is handy I imagine when it comes to all night camping with only once bucket to shit in.
Posted by Jennifer Fox's Fetus on December 12, 2012 at 6:49 PM · Report this
Seems like only yesterday Holden was calling Oocupy a 'revolution'. My, how time flies when you need to runaway from your own stupidity.

Ian Fingerupmybutt isn't an idiot. He just looks like one with that pink gerbil he pulled from his ass and glued to his head.
Posted by Jennifer Fox's Fetus on December 12, 2012 at 6:41 PM · Report this
Ian is an idiot. Occupy wanted to unilaterally dictate to labor what was good for them. Some of labor told them to fuck off. Occupy rejected labor by never listening to their concerns about how Occupy was handling shit. Did I mention that Ian is an idiot?
Posted by hmmmmm on December 12, 2012 at 6:04 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 10
I also completely agree with @8.
Posted by Ipso Facto on December 12, 2012 at 5:56 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 9
@7: And I guess that one person was the spokesperson for all of Occupy?

Ian is completely correct.
Posted by Ipso Facto on December 12, 2012 at 5:52 PM · Report this
@7 I think the issue was many in Occupy, including myself, didn't want to end up like the Tea Party - essentially an astroturf campaign to push the will of powerful actors within the Democratic Party. I'd say that was a pretty understandable concern, especially because groups like MoveOn did attempt to do just that.

Why is this important? Because issues like a lack of democratic control over government and wealth inequality really aren't being addressed by said powerful actors. There's a creepy kind of elitism within parts of the Democratic Party, which also spills over into The Stranger. It's anathema to what Occupy was trying to do.
Posted by Tent_Liberation_Army on December 12, 2012 at 5:49 PM · Report this
Dominic Holden 7
@1) Occupy did collaborate with labor at times, but there was a visceral sentiment against many union leaders. Oftentimes, Occupy activists in forums and general assemblies warned that labor unions were trying to co-opt them. They routinely insisted that labor needed to be kept at bay.

As I reported last year about a forum at Town Hall:

JM Wong from Occupy Seattle declared that she wanted “no leadership from the Democratic Party or union bureaucrats. Nonprofits are trying to co-opt us."

She said that while sitting next to Washington State Labor Council secretary-treasurer Lynne Dodson, who had to push back: "I like to consider myself a union activist, not a union bureaucrat. This is labor’s fight, this is our fight."
Posted by Dominic Holden on December 12, 2012 at 5:24 PM · Report this
@4, executives at those companies - and at Boeing, among others - are part of a bullshit astroturf outfit called "Fix the Debt", trying to frighten policymakers into austerity measures that will benefit their companies and their tax brackets. Fucking stupid. Here's Krugman on their assholery:…
Posted by gloomy gus on December 12, 2012 at 5:19 PM · Report this
Washington Libs immediately conducted a study on the "Coal Barrow" and suggested it pay user fees to help ameliorate its impact on children's lungs...or at least to pay their overtime until February.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on December 12, 2012 at 5:06 PM · Report this
"So at noon they targeted the CEOs of Macy's, Chase, and Bank of America—corporations that are asking Congress to lower tax rates on the wealthy and major corporations.."

Wait - the corporations themselves (Macy's, etc) are lobbying Congress for tax cuts for the wealthy? Or the CEO's of these corporations? Or both? Your sentance is unclear. You say the CEOs were targeted, but the corporations are lobbying. Are the CEO's lobbying as themselves, or on behalf of their corporations?
Posted by TJ on December 12, 2012 at 5:05 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 3
Hey, it's not like coal dust kills babies.


Posted by Will in Seattle on December 12, 2012 at 4:51 PM · Report this
Ian finklewanker, where's Jennifer Fox's long awaited fetus? Oh that's right, you're full of shit. And shutting down the port for a few hours, once? Well fuck me, we bow to your victory.

Anyhoo, nothing better than ruining a day out with the family Christmas shopping to get people on your side. Keep up the work.
Posted by Sugartit on December 12, 2012 at 4:43 PM · Report this
Ian Awesome 1
Dominic, it seems like every time you mention "Occupy" after, say, November of last year a mischaracterization is about to come out of your mouth. Labor wasn't rejected by Occupy. In fact, strangely enough, today is the one-year anniversary of the Port Shutdown which occurred in support of the ILWU. We also demonstrated in solidarity with teacher's unions and Working Washington.

While the they were only too happy to give us props after a new EGT contract (which was actually kind of shitty) ILWU has routinely and consistently shit on Occupy. It's not Occupy that rejected labor, it's Labor that rejected Occupy.

Seriously. Ask some people fucking questions before you spout nonsense, Christ.
Posted by Ian Awesome on December 12, 2012 at 4:34 PM · Report this

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