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Another Word on Amazon

SEATTLE, WA – JUNE 18: Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos presents the company’s first smartphone, the Fire Phone, on June 18, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. The much-anticipated device is available for pre-order today and is available exclusively with AT&T service. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Allow me to build upon Scott’s post below to think briefly about what Amazon pulling out of New York means for modern progressive politics. To say the least, the obsequiousness of city officials around the nation is courting Amazon made a lot of people sick. I understand the desperation to bring jobs into cities, but given that Amazon wants to be treated like royalty and they are going to make the most conventional possible decisions, not building where they could actually revive an economy (Detroit, Newark) but rather where they can just glom on to already elite areas, the entire process was a grotesque prostituting of urban areas to Jeff Bezos.

Now, I don’t doubt that if Amazon chooses to open another HQ in some other city that a similar process will take place. I’m sure that Denver or Austin or Nashville will give up the kitchen sink to pull yet more high-end jobs into their too expensive and overwhelmed urban infrastructures. But I do think this marks a watershed in how liberals respond to this. At times on LGM and in other parts of the liberal internet world, “Brooklyn leftists” serve as a bit of a punching bag, sometimes deservedly given the endless bad takes from Jacobin and the coke-snorting bros of Chapo embarrassing themselves to the delight of all those who see the Democratic Party as the greatest evil in human history. But these same types of leftists, although largely not these very individuals, are also in no small part responsible for driving support in the Amazon campaign there. I think the same type of organizing that is leading to people such as Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Pressley, and Omar as a new type of member of Congress is also feeding into movements such as this. In short, we as citizens have a right to fight for our cities to develop in a sustainable way and in the New Gilded Age, there is no reason to engage in huge corporate giveaways to the already extremely wealthy. I hope people in other cities learn from this New York movement and fight against the selling of our cities to the uber-wealthy.

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