Nationalism does not serve the interests of workers

Dear Mr. Blank,

I am a supporter of WakeUpWalMart and appreciate the good, hard work you do. Wal-Mart’s irresponsible policies are bad for workers and families, both here in the United States and around the world. Your work holding Wal-Mart accountable is an exciting part of the movement to build a new kind of economy that values fairness, well-being, sustainability and democracy.

However, I was dismayed to see your new ad today. Of course, you are absolutely right that moving manufacturing jobs overseas is a cynical and destructive move. But it is essential we find ways to talk about these issues that do not pit the workers in different countries against one another. The trouble is not that Wal-Mart is somehow enriching Chinese workers at the expense of American workers. No, the trouble is that when corporations freely cross borders that workers cannot cross, they are able to drive down standards for all of us, in the U.S. and in China, and that hurts workers everywhere.

We should certainly support good union and middle-class jobs here in the U.S., and we should loudly criticize companies that move to wherever they can find lower standards. At the same time we need to build solidarity with workers around the globe and support their unions. Our opponent is not the people of China; it is the international capitalist class. Only when we can stand together and speak with a united international voice will we be strong enough to win a world economy that is truly good for working people.

Especially in the current political climate — as our leaders funnel working people’s money away from health care, education, jobs and public services into a catastrophic war, grounded in fear and lies, that further enriches the rich — it is disappointing to see WakeUpWalMart playing into that climate of nationalism and fear.

I will not be making a contribution to air this ad. I urge you to find more progressive ways to talk about international trade politics in the future. Thank you for the good work you do.

In solidarity,
Alexandra Bradbury
Portland, OR

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About Al Bradbury

Labor journalist by day, singer-songwriter by night, Odonian at all hours.

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