Black Friday Walmart Protests Target 1600 Stores Join With Black Lives Matter Protesters
— North Shore AFL-CIO (@ClevelandAFLCIO) November 28, 2014
Today is one of America’s most cherished holidays – buy more things than you need day aka Black Friday. Given that Black Friday draws in large amounts of shoppers with promises of extraordinary deals Walmart workers and labor activists are once again using the opportunity to fight for better wages at Walmart. According to the site setup by OUR Walmart 1600 stores are being targeted for protests today. Protests have already been reported in DC, Chicago, and parts of California.
And now it looks like those protesting for fair wages at Walmart are being joined with those protesting against the killing of black men by police across the country aka the “Black Lives Matter” protests started in the aftermath of the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson, Missouri. The joining of social and economic justice protesters could prove to be an interesting development.
— Teamsters (@Teamsters) November 28, 2014
Racial divisions have traditionally been a problem for working class whites and people of color when it comes to finding class solidarity. As noted in the famous Bob Dylan song “Only a Pawn in Their Game” there have always been efforts by the rich and powerful to divide the working class using race as a wedge and trade unions, like all other American institutions and organizations, have been plagued by racist thinking in the past and been accused of discrimination and exclusion. But it is only in uniting with working people of color that working class whites can ever have enough power to fight for just wages and a fair economic deal in America.
If the Walmart protests serve as bridge for economic and social justice activists to unite in tangible and substantive ways it could be the beginning of something powerful that can move the needle not just on better wages at the country’s largest employer but on reforming our justice system and its practice of constantly allowing police to gun down minorities and face no recourse. Unite and win.