"… [W]e have this idea that a romantic relationship exists in a realm outside of transactions, and a sex work relationship exists in a realm of pure business. And of course it’s more complicated than that. The affection that I feel for some of my clients, that a lot of us feel for some of our clients, is real. And it can’t be purchased. Likewise, economic expectations creep into relationships that we build around affection. This worries sex workers who prefer their work relationships neat and tidy; the suspicion that we might all really be whores probably worries ‘straight’ folks even more."

SW6 at SEX WORKER PROBLEMS: What is the difference between an escort and a sugar baby? 

Re: Downtown Athens Walmart

I am conflicted about this issue! Although I did sign the petition against putting a Walmart in downtown Athens, I can’t deny that the presence of a Walmart does do some helping for some people sometimes. & not everyone “hates” Walmart.

I read an essay in a zine called MAKE (if I remember correctly) years ago, which really knocked me off my punk/privileged high horse. I did used to be the kind of smartass anti-capitalist who would agree with boycotting big box corporations as much as possible — JUST DON’T SHOP THERE, PEOPLE, DUH. But you wanna tell that to maybe the single mother of five who is actually able to feed and clothe her children on cheap Walmart products? I still often forget that as a punk/ex-punk/grownup-punk with radical ideals that I am living a type of poverty that is not the same as others’, and I’m living in a bubble where most people around me agree with my lofty ideals. I used to be able to avoid shopping at Walmart because I could dumpster-dive groceries, but this is still not a thing that many people are aware of or comfortable doing. So while we may see it as survival or just a fun scam for free shit, it’s still a privilege that we have the time to practice.

It’s also a privilege to even be able to support local businesses, at least in Athens. I would love it if I could get all my groceries locally from the Co-op and Farmers Market, get clothes from independent downtown boutiques or handmade/crafty fairs. But that shit is overpriced for me, and rightly so, because having worked for small businesses I know how much of a struggle it can be to stay afloat. I’m way below the poverty line, and I’m supporting another person as well. I can only afford the necessities at the cheapest possible price, which means groceries at Piggly-Wiggly and that rare “new” pair of jeans at the thriftstore.

A downtown Walmart, as “evil” as it may seem, is helpful to the working poor, especially those without cars. It may be overkill to have three Walmarts altogether, but when someone says, “there’s a Walmart 10 minutes away!” remember that this is car-speak timing. 10 minutes in a personal car does not equal walking time or public transit time. Additionally, Walmart does provide jobs to many individuals who wouldn’t otherwise be able to make an income easily (the elderly, the disabled, those with less-than-perfect employment histories etc.). While it could be sad to consider these folks having to be “relegated” to a crappy job at Walmart, for many people, A JOB IS A JOB. & it might be shitty and have discriminatory policies and poor working conditions but IT IS A JOB and many, many people don’t have the luxury of quitting a job because they “didn’t like it” or the boss was a jerk or the work wasn’t “fulfilling.” Many people will take whatever they can get if it means they can pay their rent and put food on the table.

This isn’t necessarily a pro-Walmart post, either. Like I said, I voted against it mainly because I think it would be ugly and unnecessary downtown, and I don’t want that beautiful old Jittery Joe’s building torn down. And I don’t want Walmart waste getting into the river nearby. And I’d rather see a decent grocery store downtown, if they’re going to put some big box in. And I’d rather see more funding going towards a better public transit system so that places outside the hip, downtown area are more accessible. And I’d rather see people (including myself) fighting this sort of thing in more concrete ways than signing a petition and feeling sad and angry and helpless.

This is meant as more of a privilege-check or at least recognition that protest can be a luxury activity, and having anti-capitalist or otherwise radical ideals can sometimes not really matter much at all if you don’t have a strong community that provides frequent, easily-accessible and affordable alternatives to having to financially support corporate America.

The real problem here isn’t whether or not to put a Walmart downtown, how good or bad that might be for the community overall. The problems lie deeper within this system which has conflated competitive wealth with virtue and hard poverty with vice; a system based in racism, ageism, and ableism; a system where most everyone feels like they are endlessly struggling one way or another and there’s no way out. I think it’s way more “revolutionary” for the community to provide for itself, especially utilizing alternatives to capital. We have to work with what we’re given to a certain extent — we have to respect that not everyone has access to the luxury of having a choice — but we can also work around it without having to be completely dependent on a toxic system. We can be the ones providing for ourselves in terms of organized carpools, bike shares, skill trades, free childcare, etc. And we do have things like Food Not Bombs and the Really Really Free Market, which are great, but we could make these things happen more often and more easily, too. There are so many ways we can help ourselves out as a community without having to wait around, pleading to politicians to direct this money to that thing instead of the other thing.

In any case, I’m getting sidetracked here. HELLO: I REALLY WANT TO BEGIN ORGANIZING A CHILDCARE COLLECTIVE. This seems huge and scary but totally important and necessary and I don’t know where to start. Please get in touch if you are interested?

Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices

Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices (entire documentary available on Google)

"While the film begins with footage of Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott praising the corporation at a large employee convention, the film spends a majority of its running time on personal interviews. A variety of criticisms of the corporation emerge from these interviews, demonstrating Wal-Mart’s anti-union practices, detrimental impacts on small businesses, insufficient environmental protection policies, and poor record on workers’ rights in the United States and internationally. The film ends with interviews of community leaders that have prevented Wal-Mart stores from being built in their communities and an exhortation for others to do the same." (synopsis via WikiPedia)

animalstalkinginallcaps:

CLAIRE, YOU SAID YOUR TWO CENTS. IT’S MY TURN.
YOU KNOW HOW WHEN YOU SAY, “CHINA IS COMMUNIST,” SOMEONE ALWAYS CORRECTS YOU AND SAYS “ACTUALLY, CHINA HAS INSTITUTED A LOT OF CAPITALIST POLICIES SINCE MAO’S DEATH AND THAT’S HOW THEY’VE SHOWN SUCH A FREAKISH INCREASE IN GDP, AND BLAH BLAH BLAH”? IT’S NOT LIKE THEY’RE WRONG. THAT’S QUITE TRUE. BUT CHINA’S STILL COMMUNIST, RIGHT? MY QUESTION IS, WHY CAN’T WE DO THE REVERSE? A CAPITALIST COUNTRY THAT ADOPTS CERTAIN LIMITED COMMUNIST POLICIES TO FIX VARIOUS PROBLEMS? OR SOMETHING ENTIRELY DIFFERENT? AMERICA IS A VERY YOUNG EXPERIMENT. WE’VE BEEN AROUND FOR WHAT? 250 YEARS, GIVE OR TAKE? CHINA IS LIKE, A FEW THOUSAND YEARS OLD. SO ARE A LOT OF OTHER COUNTRIES. THINGS CHANGE.
UNRESTRICTED FREE-MARKET CAPITALISM IS POINTLESS SINCE IT COMPLETELY IGNORES A WIDE RANGE OF SOCIAL NECESSITIES, AND YOU CAN’T RUN A COUNTRY BY IGNORING THE PEOPLE IN IT. WHY NOT TRY TO PIECEMEAL SOMETHING NEW FROM THE EXISTING STRUCTURES WE’VE ALREADY SEEN IN ACTION AND ADD THEM TO OUR OWN? REMOVE WHAT DOESN’T BENEFIT US. WHEN YOU START A SMALL BUSINESS, FOR INSTANCE, YOU LOOK AROUND AND SEE WHAT’S WORKING FOR YOUR COMPETITION AND WHAT ISN’T AND STRUCTURE YOUR BUSINESS ACCORDINGLY, YES? THAT’S ALL I’M SAYING. SOMETHING NEW. THE BEST OF WHAT’S OUT THERE. 
OBVIOUSLY WE NEED SOME ’SOCIALIST’ POLICIES TO ENSURE OUR CITIZENS DON’T DIE IN THE STREETS AND TO HELP HEAL THE ECONOMIC DIVIDE. BASIC INFRASTRUCTURE, EDUCATION AND HEALTHCARE ARE STANDARD IN 90% OF THE DEVELOPED WORLD. WHY NOT HERE? DON’T TELL ME IT’S SOME SORT OF DEFINITE BLACK AND WHITE ISSUE. WE’RE THE MOST ADVANCED COUNTRY ON EARTH AND WE’RE SACRIFICING DEMOCRACY AND DECENCY FOR SOME SORT OF “MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY” ECONOMIC TANTRUM WHEN WHAT WE’RE DOING IS OBVIOUSLY NOT WORKING. WE DON’T HAVE TO PULL A 180. WE JUST NEED TO STOP BEING STUPID AND FIGURE OUT WHAT WOULD DO THE MOST AMOUNT OF GOOD FOR THE LARGEST AMOUNT PEOPLE AND THEN MAKE IT WORK. 
THERE. NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. HOWEVER, IF YOU QUOTE SOME IDIOTIC UNFACT YOU HEARD ON FOX NEWS I WILL SHIT RIGHT ON YOUR FINGER. I’M NOT JOKING.

animalstalkinginallcaps:

CLAIRE, YOU SAID YOUR TWO CENTS. IT’S MY TURN.

YOU KNOW HOW WHEN YOU SAY, “CHINA IS COMMUNIST,” SOMEONE ALWAYS CORRECTS YOU AND SAYS “ACTUALLY, CHINA HAS INSTITUTED A LOT OF CAPITALIST POLICIES SINCE MAO’S DEATH AND THAT’S HOW THEY’VE SHOWN SUCH A FREAKISH INCREASE IN GDP, AND BLAH BLAH BLAH”? IT’S NOT LIKE THEY’RE WRONG. THAT’S QUITE TRUE. BUT CHINA’S STILL COMMUNIST, RIGHT? MY QUESTION IS, WHY CAN’T WE DO THE REVERSE? A CAPITALIST COUNTRY THAT ADOPTS CERTAIN LIMITED COMMUNIST POLICIES TO FIX VARIOUS PROBLEMS? OR SOMETHING ENTIRELY DIFFERENT? AMERICA IS A VERY YOUNG EXPERIMENT. WE’VE BEEN AROUND FOR WHAT? 250 YEARS, GIVE OR TAKE? CHINA IS LIKE, A FEW THOUSAND YEARS OLD. SO ARE A LOT OF OTHER COUNTRIES. THINGS CHANGE.

UNRESTRICTED FREE-MARKET CAPITALISM IS POINTLESS SINCE IT COMPLETELY IGNORES A WIDE RANGE OF SOCIAL NECESSITIES, AND YOU CAN’T RUN A COUNTRY BY IGNORING THE PEOPLE IN IT. WHY NOT TRY TO PIECEMEAL SOMETHING NEW FROM THE EXISTING STRUCTURES WE’VE ALREADY SEEN IN ACTION AND ADD THEM TO OUR OWN? REMOVE WHAT DOESN’T BENEFIT US. WHEN YOU START A SMALL BUSINESS, FOR INSTANCE, YOU LOOK AROUND AND SEE WHAT’S WORKING FOR YOUR COMPETITION AND WHAT ISN’T AND STRUCTURE YOUR BUSINESS ACCORDINGLY, YES? THAT’S ALL I’M SAYING. SOMETHING NEW. THE BEST OF WHAT’S OUT THERE. 

OBVIOUSLY WE NEED SOME ’SOCIALIST’ POLICIES TO ENSURE OUR CITIZENS DON’T DIE IN THE STREETS AND TO HELP HEAL THE ECONOMIC DIVIDE. BASIC INFRASTRUCTURE, EDUCATION AND HEALTHCARE ARE STANDARD IN 90% OF THE DEVELOPED WORLD. WHY NOT HERE? DON’T TELL ME IT’S SOME SORT OF DEFINITE BLACK AND WHITE ISSUE. WE’RE THE MOST ADVANCED COUNTRY ON EARTH AND WE’RE SACRIFICING DEMOCRACY AND DECENCY FOR SOME SORT OF “MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY” ECONOMIC TANTRUM WHEN WHAT WE’RE DOING IS OBVIOUSLY NOT WORKING. WE DON’T HAVE TO PULL A 180. WE JUST NEED TO STOP BEING STUPID AND FIGURE OUT WHAT WOULD DO THE MOST AMOUNT OF GOOD FOR THE LARGEST AMOUNT PEOPLE AND THEN MAKE IT WORK. 

THERE. NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. HOWEVER, IF YOU QUOTE SOME IDIOTIC UNFACT YOU HEARD ON FOX NEWS I WILL SHIT RIGHT ON YOUR FINGER. I’M NOT JOKING.