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Grassroots alliance tackles Amazon

Athena, a new alliance of organisations based in the US, is campaigning against Amazon. The coalition brings together activists, advocates, policy experts and academics.

It also connects organisations representing workers, small business owners, people of colour, immigrants, and local people.

It states that it is “coming together to create an economy where everyone can thrive, defend our climate, safeguard our communities from surveillance, and expand our democracy.”

The coalition is demanding the right to:

  • Govern their own communities, by tackling Amazon’s sweetheart tax deals and draining of public resources.
  • Put their health before the bottom line by ending Amazon’s reliance on, and profit from, the oil and gas industries fuelling pollution and the climate crisis.
  • Shield their economies so they can thrive without Amazon’s control.
  • Protect people from Amazon’s dangerous surveillance that tracks and mines personal data for profit and fuels the harmful and discriminatory policing of immigrants and communities of colour.

Its formation in November follows growing criticism of Amazon over recent years.

Ongoing opposition

Recent months have seen ongoing opposition to the multinational in the US, where the company is based.

In December, California residents occupied an Amazon developer’s headquarters in protest over rumours that Amazon will be the tenant of a newly approved air cargo facility. Local communities say that the development will lead to more dead-end jobs and worsening air pollution.

In the first weeks of January Seattle City Council passed a bill restricting corporate donations in local elections after Amazon, which has its headquarters in the city, donated more than $1.5 million during the previous election.

Along with several other large corporations, Amazon sought to oust candidates who had supported plans for a new tax on the company in 2018, revenues from which were earmarked for affordable housing and homelessness services.

At the end of January, more than 350 Amazon employees spoke out against the conglomerate’s environmental policies.

The workers broke the company’s communications policy, which restricts them from publicly commenting on its business, in solidarity with colleagues who had been warned they could be fired for speaking out against its climate practices. Workers had initially criticised Amazon for pursuing deals with the oil and gas industry and providing services to companies like BP and Shell.

Amelia Graham McCann, Senior Business Analyst for the company commented,

“It is unconscionable for Amazon to continue helping the oil and gas industry extract fossil fuels while trying to silence employees who speak out.”

Now Athena says that it is coming together “to stop Amazon’s injustices”.

Ethical Consumer continues to call a boycott of Amazon for its aggressive tax avoidance practices.

See the Athena for All website for more information.

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