Houston Another highlight of our Year End / Year Begin meeting was bringing together some of the top organizers dealing with Wal-Mart to look at the results of the work and the plans for 2006. Paul Blank, the director of WakeUpWalmart.com, Amy Tevares, Field Director of WalMartWatch, and our own Rick Smith of WARN and Helene O’Brien, ACORN’s Field Director were on a great panel that prompted scores of questions from the organizers in the crowd.
Amy detailed the results of Wal-Mart Week and the role the Robert Greenwald film along with lots of grassroots activism had inspired communities around the country to take another look at Wal-Mart. Paul with statistic after statistic argued the case that no matter what the company asserted, the numbers of site fights were increasing, the impact on the company was significant, and the campaigns were getting traction. Helene and Rick detailed the work in the field both in Florida where WARN and the Wal-Mart Workers Association have debuted to great impact, as well as in markets around the country where ACORN has been involved in the campaign.
The questions from the organizers were interesting because it indicated the depth of work that needs to be done to bridge the campaign to others. Some wanted to boycott the company. Others wanted to see if Wal-Mart would open in underserved areas. Some wanted to use the WARN predictive mapping software to deepen the fight. Others wanted to make sure that people elsewhere knew about the extent of Wal-Mart’s expansion plans in their areas.
We showed the Luisa Dantas clip with her footage and film by Dine’ Butler of putting together the campaign in India to stop the amendment of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from allowing Wal-Mart and its buddies from swamping the market.
There’s a lot of excitement. We could hear it from the panel and in the audience. We just need to figure out how to pull all of this together.
December 19, 2005