Dear fellow agitators, friends and everyone who’s interested.
Yeah, we’re still here, moving forward. Despite, and because of the Corona crisis. It’s highly relevant to our campaign in two ways:
Firstly, we too – as well as everyone else – must stay at home in a state of emergency caused by the pandemic. We do not want to risk spreading the virus. That hurts, because the Amazon Tower is supposed to come and will not only dominate the cityscape. It hurts especially because meetings, gatherings and actions made us as an initiative, motivated and strengthened – sometimes directly at the construction site, sometimes nearby, sometimes on the road. Last year we started with a rally on Warschauer Strasse, in the following months we performed at the Chaos Communication Congress, we made art actions, we informed friends and neighbours about our concerns at events, we met with the international network of Amazon workers from the warehouses, we participated in a pro-Kiez right to stay demo, and and and and…
On the streets and at events we made it clear: Amazon, a clock generator of digital capitalism, is not a good neighbour and one of the worst employers in history. We still had a lot planned for this year – but it seems we would have to be patient for the time being.
But one never does: Amazon and its boss Jeff Bezos. Because Amazon – and this is the second reason why we want to stand up to Amazon all the more – is doing everything it can to distinguish itself in the Corona crisis as indispensable and value-creating. The “everything store” wants to take advantage of the opportunity to establish itself as an alternative-free monopoly for any and all services – from marketplace to the largest computing power & cloud provider on the Internet.
\ He wants to get out of this time as a “system relevant factor” at the expense of his workers. Bezos’ company reveals again – and without any shame – which priorities are set: Sales, profit and expansion are at the top. Co-determination, dignity and health of the workers find, if at all, a place at the very bottom of the scale. As so often. Even in times of Corona.
This is hardly surprising, but it makes us angry again and again. Especially when the richest man in the world – because his fortune is growing at almost $USD 2,500 a second — collects money by crowdfunding to pay his employees in quarantine. No joke: Workers:fight against internal rights and trade union organization, risk the health of the workers, and then collect alms instead. You can’t make that up. With power and wealth comes arrogance!
But this does not remain unanswered: Strikes and actions under the slogan “Our health over your profits” are taking place in many Amazon camps, especially in the USA. The company is partially paralyzed. The workers enjoy our full solidarity and we hope that they will continue and draw attention to Amazon’s lousy practices.
There are many levels of criticism of the company’s practices. Sometimes as concrete as in the case of working conditions, sometimes as intangible as the (destructive) power of algorithms, and sometimes as unbelievable as the audacity of the means used to maximize profits. But one thing is certain: within 25 years Amazon has gone from being a bookseller to a social problem. A problem that seems to grow especially in times of crisis. To increase wages now, in this situation, is cynical and inappropriate – not only we say this, but employees all over the world.
As you can see, the fight against Amazon is still highly charged and topical, even when public life would otherwise come to a virtual standstill. That is why we want to continue, with the means at our disposal and which we will try out in the near future. We want to discuss with each other and with you publicly about different strategies, we want to continue to network with our many partners we have gained in the short time and we want to give a sign of life here and there in the analogous cityscape without being irresponsible towards the pandemic, of course. We want to exchange ideas with representatives of similar initiatives like ourselves, e.g. from New York and Seattle, and find out why we don’t consider Amazon to be a good neighbor; we want to give employees from many countries a digital platform to tell them right now what kind of employer they are dealing with, and so on.
So, stay tuned and keep your eyes and ears open. Because it goes on. Fight the Tower!